Black Lentil Muffins – Made from Leftovers!

I have a confession to make: I love leftovers! Absolutely love them. First of all, they allow me to get creative in the kitchen, which — you guessed it — I love. More than that, though, it’s great to know that I’m using up all of my food because ain’t nobody got time for wasted food.

So when I recently made Chicken Cacciatore and had leftover black beluga lentils and the delicious tomato-y sauce that the chicken was cooked in, I figured — ‘hey, I can make something DELICIOUS with that!’ Combined with a recent discovery of lentil loaf (thanks to my friend/master chef Pam), lentil muffins seemed like a natural choice.

Image

Did I mention these are incredibly easy to make? And that you can cook up a whole batch and then freeze them for later use? Leftovers of leftovers? Getting crazy here!

Recipe: Italian Black Lentil Muffins

Black beluga lentils can be found at most grocery stores. They are full of protein and fiber as well as anthocyanins (powerful antioxidant compounds). Nutritional yeast lends a cheesy, savory flavor along with protein and B vitamins. Find it at Whole Foods or a health foods store.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked lentils (left over from the night before)
  • 1 cup tomato-based sauce (also leftover from the night before)*
    • If you don’t have leftover sauce, use either pre-made pasta sauce or whip up a quick batch: 1 can no salt added organic diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves garlic – minced, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon black pepper)
  • 2 cups organic arugula
  • Approximately 8 Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons juice from jarred Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 egg
  • pinch red pepper flakes (about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste)

Image

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients
  3. Coat muffin pan (for one dozen) with cooking spray. Evenly distribute lentil mixture throughout panImage
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes (until top is crunchy)

*Please note that due to the use of leftover tomato sauce in which chicken was cooked, this recipe is NOT vegetarian. However, if you use pre-made pasta sauce or make your own, you can keep it vegetarian.

 

Enjoy warm or cold, over salad, with eggs or by themselves. These are delicious dipped in hummus as well!

Image

Image

 

Wild Blueberry, Avocado and Sweet Corn Salsa {Recipe ReDux Sponsored Contest}

“Wild blueberries, you make my heart sing…”

When I found out that the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) was sponsoring this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge, I could not have been more thrilled. I have long been a lover and proponent of wild blueberries.

I buy organic wild blueberries on the regular at Trader Joe's.

I buy organic wild blueberries on the regular at Trader Joe’s.

Not only do wild blueberries have double the antioxidants of regular, cultivated blueberries, they also have a deeper, richer blue/purple color and contain less water, making them ideal in both sweet and savory recipes.

I’ve been reading Jo Robinson’s “Eating on the Wild Side,” which has taught me that over time, we’ve altered many of our fruits and vegetables to make them larger, change their color or make them easier to store or transport. Sadly, that often comes at the expense of nutrition. But not wild blueberries — they are the same berry that existed 10,000 years ago!

Wild_Blueberry_Avocado_Corn_Salsa

I like to throw frozen wild blueberries into everything from oatmeal to salads to smoothies and Greek yogurt. They also make for great sauces that are perfect for topping seafood, poultry and red meat (veggies and beans too!).

Oh, and the anthocyanins (antioxidant that contributes the deep purple color) found in wild blueberries, along with other nutrients, have potential benefits including brain and heart health, anti-aging and cancer and diabetes prevention, among others.

Here’s a savory take on wild blueberries: in a salsa!

Recipe: Cumin-Dusted Salmon with Wild Blueberry, Avocado and Corn Salsa

The salsa is also fantastic over chicken, beans and lentils, or over greens for a quick and flavorful salad. The jalapeno is optional, depending on how hot you like it. You can also add 1/2 of a red onion to punch it up a bit.

Makes: 4 servings

Salmon_with_Wild_Blueberry_Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound wild salmon filets (cut into four, 4 ounce pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed
  • 3/4 cup organic frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 fresh avocado (preferably California avocado, if available), cubed
  • 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 small fresh jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place salmon, skin side down, on baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until salmon is opaque.

Mix remaining ingredients (wild blueberries through jalapeno, if using) to make the salsa. Top salmon filets evenly with salsa.

Nutrition information: 330 calories; 15 g fat (2 g saturated fat); 80 mg cholesterol; 365 mg sodium; 18 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 31 g protein; 10% daily value for vitamin A; 39% daily value for vitamin C (excellent source!); 20% daily value for iron (excellent source!)

*By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

*I work on behalf of the California Avocado Commission. I was not compensated or asked to include California Avocados — I just really love them. 🙂

Stay tuned for two more delicious wild blueberry recipes to come this week (hint: one includes chocolate and the other, cheese).

Click the icon below for more Recipe ReDux-er Wild Blueberry Recipes.  I want to try them all!!

Quinoa Power Breakfast: Gluten, Dairy and Egg-Free

Quinoa is often praised by dietitians and other health professionals as a super-food. While I find the term “super-food” a little gimmicky, it is mostly true in the case of quinoa. A grain, quinoa (pronounced KENN-wah) is a good source of both fiber (with more than 5 grams/cup) AND protein (more than 8 grams/cup). While we know that whole grains, like quinoa, generally contain fiber, we don’t always get that one-two punch of fiber and protein.

The best part? Quinoa’s amino acid profile is considered complete, meaning it doesn’t lack an amino acid like many other grain products do. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins for our body. Our body can make ten of the 20 amino acids we need to make proteins in our bodies, but the other ten — considered essential amino acids — must be supplied by the foods we eat. Most plant sources of protein don’t provide all of the essential amino acids, so it’s even more impressive that quinoa does.

I find that most people view quinoa as a savory food, often mixed with veggies and beans (and meat/poultry too) to create a quinoa salad. Think about it, though, quinoa is really just a bland-tasting grain when you get down to it. Thus, you can use it in sweeter preparations as well. Alas, Breakfast Quinoa! It’s a terrific option for when you have leftover quinoa from the night before (assuming you didn’t use broth or savory herbs to make it). Just mix with whatever fruit and nuts you have on hand, plus some cinnamon or other sweeter spices. It’s more filling than oatmeal, because it contains more protein and fiber (the satiety dynamic duo, if you will). Check out my delicious Banana Coconut Quinoa below!

Banana Coconut Power Breakfast Quinoa:

Breakfast_Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • One cup quinoa, cooked (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp)

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions or heat up leftover quinoa. Stir in coconut oil when hot, then top with sliced banana, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.

 

 

Tandoori Tempeh Kabobs with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Tempeh is hands-down my favorite soy product. Pronounced temp-ay, tempeh is a fermented soybean product that also contains whole grains (I love the Organic 3 Grain Tempeh from Trader Joe’s, which includes millet, barley and brown rice), giving it a nice texture and crunchiness. High in protein and fiber and with mostly unsaturated fat, tempeh is a wonderful vegan/vegetarian protein.

What I like most about tempeh, however, is its versatility. I can cut it into strips, cube it, halve it and even mash it to incorporate it into various recipes. Tempeh originated in Indonesia and naturally pairs well with Asian flavors, however, I love using it for other types of cuisine: rustic, with carrots and onions and earthy herbs like rosemary, “down-home,” with BBQ sauce, corn and greens and even sweetened up with roasted acorn squash, nuts and dried fruit. Here’s my latest concoction: tempeh skewers (who doesn’t love food on a stick??) with peanut dipping sauce. You can also see some of my other tempeh creations below (blog posts to follow).

Tandoori Tempeh Kabobs with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce:

Tandoori_Tempeh_Kabobs

Ingredients:

Tempeh Kabobs:

  • 1/2 block of tempeh (I used the aforementioned TJ Organic 3 Grain Tempeh), cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, preferable organic
  • 1 Tbsp tandoori spice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sriracha sauce, to taste
  • 2 skewers (can you tell I used chopsticks??)

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp low sodium teriyaki sauce (I like the Island Teriyaki version from TJ, which contains yummy sesame seeds)
  • Sriracha, to taste

Directions:

In medium saute pan, heat olive oil for 1 minute. Add carrots and saute 5 minutes. While carrots are cooking, toss tempeh with tandoori spice (or if you’re lazy, sprinkle tandoori over tempeh) and skewer. When carrots are done, transfer from pan to plate and add tandoori tempeh skewers to pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until you get a nice sear on all sides of tempeh. Serve skewers over cooked carrots and garnish with Sriracha sauce.

For dipping sauce, heat peanut butter for 20-30 seconds in microwave, or until the peanut butter is nice and melty. Add teriyaki sauce and Sriracha to taste.

 

More tempeh favorites:

Tempeh and Eggplant “Ratatouille:”

Tempeh_Eggplant_Ratatouille

 

Tempeh-Stuffed Acorn Squash:

Tempeh_Stuffed_Acorn_Squash