July 29, 2014

Wild Rice Spinach Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing

We are in love with this salad! All summer we've been chowing down all sorts of lettuce, bean, and quinoa salads, so I wanted to make an earthy rice salad instead. It was the perfect change of pace! I love the chewy texture and nutty flavor of wild rice. It's complimented nicely with fresh spinach and a simple lemon-garlic dressing that really brightens it up. (Not to mention the beautiful rainbow of veggies!) It's a highly adaptable recipe, so play around as you see fit. You can substitute the wild rice with black rice, brown rice, quinoa, or other grain. If you're needing a protein boost, toss in some hemp hearts or beans (I loaded ours with hemp hearts right after taking these pictures - they're perfect in here!) Fresh herbs are a lovely addition as well. This meal is great served chilled or at room temp, making it a great choice for take-along lunches, BBQ's, potlucks, etc. Enjoy!

Vegan, gluten-free

1 cup wild rice
3 oz. spinach
8 oz. grape tomatoes
1 orange bell pepper
1 cup corn (thawed, if frozen)
3-4 green onions
Optional: hemp hearts, beans, fresh herbs

{For the dressing}
Juice from 1 lemon (about 3-4 Tbsp.)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt

Cook rice according to package directions. (1 cup rice to 4 cups water.)
While rice is cooking, make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients and set aside.
Prep the veggies: dice the bell pepper, slice green onions, halve/quarter the tomatoes, and roughly chop the spinach. Place all veggies in a large bowl.
When rice is done cooking, drain and excess water and add to the large veggie bowl. Toss to combine. The spinach will slightly wilt from the heat.
Whisk the dressing and pour over the salad. Stir to combine.
Serve immediately, or chill for an hour or more.

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Keep 'em comin!

July 22, 2014

Black Bean Avocado Enchiladas

YOU GUYS! I'm so excited to share that I finally veganized our all-time favorite Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas. It posed a challenge since there was so much cheese, and I wanted to find a replacement other than soy cheese (even though that works great too). So of course, creamy avocado came to mind and I also added quinoa for an extra protein/nutrient boost. And not wanting to miss out on a little cheesy flavor... I sprinkle nutritional yeast on top before serving - a great final touch! The sauce ingredients look long, but half are simply spices you can change up to your own liking. (Try ground chipotle for a smoky kick!) It's an easy, delicious sauce you'll want to eat with a spoon... I may or may not speak from experience ;) Hope you give these a try!

Vegan, gluten-free (with corn tortillas)

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
2 small/medium avocados
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups corn (thawed, if frozen)
4-5 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
8 large tortillas (or about 10-12 corn tortillas)
Nutritional yeast for sprinkling
Optional: lightly sauteed spinach

{For the sauce}
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use gluten-free)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder
Salt/pepper to taste

Rinse and cook quinoa according to package directions, using 1 cup water.
Meanwhile, make the enchilada sauce: in a small bowl, add flour and spices. In a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil. Once warm, add tomato paste and flour/spices. Cook 1 minute, whisking. Whisk in broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Salt/pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, dice the avocado, and slice green onions.
In a large bowl, add black beans, corn, green onions, cumin, and lightly sauteed spinach if using. Add cooked quinoa, and stir. Add avocado and lightly toss to combine.
Preheat oven to 375.
In a lightly sprayed 9x13 baking dish, pour a small amount of sauce to coat the bottom.
Evenly distribute the black bean/quinoa mixture to the center of each tortilla, roll up, and place seam side down in the dish. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
Bake about 25 minutes.
Optional: garnish with cilantro, green onions, or sprinkle nutritional yeast before serving.

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More enchiladas!

July 12, 2014

Blueberry-Basil Dressing on Spinach Salad

I was harvesting my wildly growing basil plant, trying to come up with new ways to use it, and recalled the small mountain of blueberries stashed in the fridge. Huh - blueberries and basil? Why wouldn't that be good? So I did some experimenting and came up with this deliciously tangy-sweet blueberry dressing with basil undertones. The rich color is so wonderful and inviting - I love it! Drizzling it over a simple spinach salad is all it needs to really shine. Feel free to add other nuts, berries, or some thinly sliced onion if you prefer. Enjoy!

Vegan, gluten-free

Baby spinach
Blueberries (or other berries)
Walnuts (or toasted almonds, maple-vanilla candied nuts, etc.)

{For the Blueberry-Basil Dressing}
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/8 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. agave/honey
Pinch of salt

In a blender or food processor, add all dressing ingredients and blend until relatively smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. (Salt/pepper if needed, more agave/honey for sweetness, more vinegar for tang, etc.)
Assemble salad on a plate, and drizzle desired amount of dressing on top.

*Note: the dressing will gel a little upon sitting. Simply stir before drizzling, or add a touch of water to thin out if desired. Stores in a covered container in the fridge for a couple days.

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