January 31, 2013

Bulgur Vegetable Chili

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Have you ever cooked with bulgur? I bought it on a whim recently while strolling through the grocery store. It caught my eye because I've never cooked with it (let alone even tasted it) so I was excited and curious to try it out. Upon doing a little research, I found that bulgur is a cereal food made from many different wheat species, and can be used to substitute rice or couscous. I went looking for recipe ideas and found a vegan chili from Naturally Ella. I used that as a guideline and couldn't resist tossing in a few more veggies. It's worth noting that I bought quick-cooking bulgur, cutting the cooking time way down (about 10-15 minutes instead of 45). If you have regular bulgur, you'll need to let it simmer longer. Let me tell you... my first bulgur-cooking experience was a huge success! I found it to be a wonderful substitute for the meat you'd find in traditional chili - it really thickened it up and made it hearty. It was so delicious I kept going back throughout the day to get more.


Vegan, gluten-free (if you replace bulgur with quinoa, rice, etc.)
Adapted from Naturally Ella

Ingredients
1 green pepper
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 zucchini
1 carrot
1 1/2 cups corn (I used frozen)
8 oz. cherry tomatoes
15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup bulgur (or 1/2 cup for less thick)
15 oz. can tomato sauce (1 1/2 cups)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (more for a bigger kick)

Directions
Prep veggies: dice onion, bell pepper, carrot, zucchini, mince garlic, and halve tomatoes.
In a stockpot over medium-high heat, sauté onion, bell pepper, carrot, zucchini, and garlic for about 7-8 minutes.
Add corn, tomatoes, and spices. Sauté another 3 minutes.
Add 3 cups broth, tomato sauce, bulgur, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bulgur is cooked. (Or about 45 minutes if using regular bulgur.)
It will become very thick as the bulgur absorbs the liquid, and even more after sitting a bit. Add more broth/water to thin it out if desired.

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January 21, 2013

Touchdown Bean Dip

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For years now, this awesome bean dip has been joining us on the couch for football Sundays. It seems to be a real crowd-pleaser. I really love the combo of refried beans and black beans. I finally got around to sharing it with you since... oh yes, it's Super Bowl time! It comes together pretty quick but you could also prepare it ahead of time (through all steps except heating in the oven). Then just cover, refrigerate, and pop in the oven when you're ready, leaving no hassle come game time. We also love smoked paprika and ground chipotle to change up the flavors!

Husband digging in :)

Gluten-free, vegan (use dairy-free cheese)

Ingredients
15 oz. can vegetarian refried beans
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small onion (or 1/2 large)
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup shredded 3 cheese blend (more or less)
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt to taste
Tortilla chips for dipping
Optional toppings: tomatoes, green onion, olives, etc.

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Dice onion and mince garlic. In a saucepan over medium-high, saute onions, garlic, cumin, and salt for about 8 minutes or until softened.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add refried beans and black beans. Stir with spatula to combine, and heat for a few minutes until refried beans soften.
Transfer mixture to a lightly sprayed 8x8 inch glass baking dish. Top with cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Top with diced tomatoes, green onions, or other toppings of choice. Serve with tortilla chips.

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January 16, 2013

Crazy for Quinoa

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I've gone quinoa crazy! Quinoa is the super hero of super foods if you ask me :) It's nutrient richness is off the charts: it's a complete protein, heart-healthy, contains fiber, folate, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and it's low allergy risk making it a great choice for children/toddlers and the gluten intolerant. It was also one of the things that kept me feeling great during pregnancy.

Here's a collection of fun, delicious ways we love to incorporate this awesome superfood into our diet. I'll keep adding to this list as I post new quinoa recipes in the future. Enjoy!


RECIPES

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What is quinoa?
Pronounced KEEN-wah, it first became popular around 3000 BC in South America. Whoa, talk about ancient! Since quinoa is able to grow and survive in a wide range of growing conditions and has amazing nutrient richness, it's popularity soared for thousands of years. Around 1200 AD, maize and quinoa were the two main foods of the Inca Empire. More recently it's been gaining lots of attention in the United States and Canada.



Where do you buy quinoa?
I get mine in a prepackaged box at Trader Joe's.
There's white, red, and tricolor. Thanks to it's growing popularity, you can also find it in bulk bins at your grocery store.



How do you store quinoa?
Reseal the original package or store in an airtight container (I seal the bag with a twist tie).
It will keep even longer if stored in the fridge, but I've never done this.



How do you prepare quinoa for cooking?
Most people prefer to give it a good rinse in a fine-meshed strainer which helps remove the bitter residue from the saponins.



How do you cook quinoa?
In a saucepan, add 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid.
(You can use broth to give it more flavor, but most of the time I just use water.)
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the liquid has absorbed. Done!



Tell me, what's your favorite way to use quinoa!?


January 7, 2013

Chickpea Salad

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My husband requested more cold lunches to take to work, so the recipe wheels started turning and I recalled a delicious chickpea salad that we ordered from a food hut in the Chicago airport. It was so light and refreshing, and this is my attempt to recreate it (with some additions and TONS of veggies). Who ever would have guessed I'd be trying to recreate airport food?! I wish I had the name of the place to give proper credit for the inspiration, but apparently my taste buds were too busy being blown away for me to lift my nose out of the bowl long enough to glance up and check it out. Sorry little food hut!


Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small bell pepper (yellow, red, or orange)
1 carrot
1/2 english cucumber
12 oz. cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt/pepper to taste

Optional: If you like more of a "bite", add some finely diced onion, and substitute a minced garlic clove for the garlic powder.

Directions
Finely dice bell pepper, carrot, tomato, and cucumber.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.

Serving suggestions: it's great as is, but you could also serve it over lettuce/spinach, mix it with quinoa, serve with pitas, or sprinkle feta on top.

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Also check out this list of 12 must-try fresh, colorful salads!

January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! Top Posts of 2012

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Happy New Year my friends! It's been a very exciting year for me here at The Garden Grazer. After a few years (yes, years!) of dreaming about starting a food site, I finally made it happen early 2012. It's been an awesome adventure and learning process, and I appreciate all your kind words and support. I LOVE being able to share recipes with you!

In celebration of the new year, I put together a few favorites lists. Below you'll find the top 10 most popular recipes as far as page views, as well as my husband's personal favorites and my personal favorites. Here's to a healthy 2013 coming up! Can't wait to share more recipes with you all.

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Asparagus Risotto
Loaded Veggie & Black Bean Quesadillas
Marinara Sauce
Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas
Mac 'n Cheese with Broccoli
Grilled Cheese with Pesto
Pesto Cavatappi
Vegetable Panini
Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad
Restaurant-Style Salsa
Asparagus with Balsamic Dressing
Maple-Vanilla Candied Nuts

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Rainbow Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa


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