Friday, September 12, 2014

Middle Eastern Grilled Veggie & Lentil Bowls with Roasted Chickpeas and Yogurt Sauce

Eating lentils cold!?! What a fantastic idea! In the past, I've only ever eaten them in soups or all hot and stewy. But cold lentils are equally as tasty and good for you. This recipe is absolutely delicious. It makes me want to go to the Middle East and be enveloped in all their delicious spices and flavors. Not only can you eat it in a bowl (as pictured), but you can get creative and make it into a salad with some extra greens or slather the sauce on a tortilla and fix yourself a wrap! It's versatile, super tasty and definitely filling despite the lack of meat. You'll certainly get your protein fix from the chickpeas, greek yogurt and lentils :)

Middle Eastern Grilled Veggie & Lentil Bowls with Roasted Chickpeas and Yogurt Sauce

Adapted from Apples and Sparkle

Roasted chickpeas:
2 (15 oz.) cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/8 t. ground coriander
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. salt
pinch of ground allspice
2 T. olive oil

Tahini-yogurt sauce:
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
1 Tb - 1/4 c. tahini, store-bought (optional)
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 small clove of garlic, minced
pinch of salt
water, if needed to thin out to desired consistency

Cooked lentils:
1 c. green lentils, rinsed and picked over to remove any debris
4 c. water
1/2 t. salt

Grilled vegetables:
4 small zucchini, sliced 
2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
1 large sweet onion, sliced
olive oil

Extra toppings:
1/4 c. minced fresh mint
1/2 c. minced fresh parsley, divided
10.5 oz. pkg. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1. make the roasted chickpeas: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f. Spread the chickpeas out on a clean kitchen towel, using paper towels, blot the chick peas dry, quickly removing any skins that separate from the beans. Add the chickpeas to a large baking sheet sprinkle with the spices and salt and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast the chickpeas for 45 minutes to an hour, shaking the pan every 15 minutes. Let cool.

2. Combine all the components of the tahini-yogurt sauce, mix well and refrigerate while finishing the rest of the dish.

3. In a medium saucepan combine the lentils, 4 c. water and 1/2 t. salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape, about 25-30 minutes. Drain the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer, transfer to a large bowl.

4, grill the vegetables and finish the dish: Coat the veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill until tender and slightly charred. If you don't have a grill, pop them on a foil lined baking sheet in an oven preheated to 400 F for 40 minutes, turning after 20 minutes. Just before serving, add the remaining 1/4 c. parsley to the lentil salad. Serve the grilled veggies with the lentil salad, top each with some of the tahini-yogurt sauce and garnish with the grape tomatoes and roasted chickpeas.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake

Fajitas are magical. Well at least that's what I thought as a kid when I would see and hear the steaming, crackling plates whiz by me at Mexican restaurants. Then reality hit when I accidentally touched one of those crazy hot, black skillets. Is it weird that I still vividly remember that moment at my 4th grade friends birthday party? Well, needless to say, it didn't deter me from ordering fajitas. It just made the experience that much more exciting! Overall, fajitas are one of my all time favorites. Maybe it's because of the exciting presentation, or the fact that you get to build it yourself, or just because the flavors are down right amazing, either way I'm so glad fajitas are a part of my life. And now I'm proud to announce a not-so-exciting, but equally delicious approach to fajitas :)

Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake
Adapted from Two Healthy Kitchens
  • 1 16-ounce jar of your favorite thick and chunky salsa (see note)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed if needed – see note)
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips (to equal about 1½ cups)
  • 1 green pepper, cut into strips (to equal about 1½ cups)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ of a large sweet onion, cut into strips (to equal about 1¾ – 2 cups)
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into strips, or 1 pound chicken tenders (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Optional toppings for serving: shredded reduced-fat cheese, shredded lettuce, reduced-fat sour cream, avocados or guacamole, chopped cilantro or green onions, hot sauce such as Tapatío
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix salsa, black beans, chicken broth and quinoa in a 9×13 baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine peppers, jalapeno, onion, chicken, oil and seasonings until thoroughly combined. Spoon pepper mixture over quinoa mixture in baking dish.
  4. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40-50 minutes (depending on thickness of your chicken and peppers and your brand of quinoa), or until chicken is cooked through, veggies are crisp-tender, and quinoa is done (it will no longer look like tightly closed white dots but will instead be tender and you’ll see lots of quinoa “tails”).
  5. Serve with desired toppings.