Tag Archive | Quinoa

Kaleprese Pasta Salad

Kaleprese Pasta Salad

I’m trying to find more ways to sneak healthy greens into everyday foods other than the cooked way. I am just not a fan of warm squishy greens – but more power to you if you do! For those of you who need a boat load of sauce or dominant flavoring I think you’ll be more than surprised at this awesome pasta salad. The kale is actually a pleasant addition to one of my favorite ‘salad’ flavors – Caprese and it’s dairy-free too.

Kaleprese Pasta Salad

  • 1 12 oz. package cooked gluten-free pasta (brown rice, quinoa, etc.)
  • 10 oz. grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1/8 tsp pink salt
  • 2 T basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dino/tuscan kale (~3 leaves)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder, optional
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic (save 1/2 tsp finely minced)
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice (~1/2+ lemon) white balsamic vinegar might be ok here
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and cooled (350° for 10 mins – flip 1/2 way)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 1/4 tsp raw honey, optional
  • Optional: mozzarella or parmesan


  1. It’s easy to cook the pasta while making the rest of the salad, or you can make in advance.
  2. In a bowl mix the tomatoes, salt, and 2 T basil. Allow to sit and drain before adding to pasta.
  3. In another bowl mix kale, garlic powder (if using) and 1 T olive oil. Massage kale with oil until softened.
  4. In a blender combine garlic, lemon juice, walnuts, 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil (enough to cover the blades), thyme, red pepper flakes, white pepper, honey and basil. Blend until almost smooth and all ingredients are well blended.
  5. Pour the dressing onto the pasta and mix, then add the kale, remaining garlic and tomatoes. Mix well and cool before serving.
  6. Optional: add mozzarella or parmesan.

Check out this other kale salad recipe and learn more about this awesome veggie! You can also try other veggies like arugula, spinach, dandelion greens or chard. Why stop there? Add green beans, peas, broccoli – anything you like! This is one easy way to enjoy eating your vegetables.


Chicken Soup for the Lazy Soul

Chicken Noodle Soup

Do you usually have the energy to make dinner for yourself, let alone for the other 1-5+ people waiting for you to make it for them? If you’re like me, then no, no you do not have the energy (or want to…same thing). What if I told you with about 10 minutes before and after work you can make…oh…a bunch of dinners?! Do you have a crock pot? Of course I do! I’m lazy remember?! What’s easier than putting stuff in and pressing ‘on’? I know a can is pretty convenient, but there is a lot more you don’t want in that can…like BPA, MSG and the usual suspect-sodium. According to my list of MSG aliases, Progresso chicken noodle has at least 3 MSG monikers listed. I’ve also never cut myself using a crock pot vs. the can opener.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup*

  • 8 cups water
  • 3-4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3-4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2-3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 tsp pink salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white or black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Italian (or other mixed) seasoning
  • 1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast (thawed)

The very last thing:

  • 1/2-1 lb quinoa pagodas or other thick and/or funky noodle – cooked before serving


  1. In order of appearance place all of the ingredients, except the pasta, into a crock pot.
  2. Set the crock pot for a convenient time (8 hours = after work, etc.) and note that longer is better.
  3. 20 minutes before serving dinner, boil some water, and cook your noodles for the allotted time but leaving them a little al dente (firm) so they don’t over cook and become mushy in the hot soup broth.
  4. Pour all of your noodles in with the soup, or serve noodles individually for better noodle consistency when reheated (store remaining noodles and soup separately).

I won’t tell a soul that you put more effort into cleaning out your wallet than you did making dinner. Scouts honor.

*(sounds better than “Crock pot Chicken Noodle Soup.” sounds more homemade)

Unfried Rice

Oh my goodness, fried rice. It’s like my all-time favoritest Asian restaurant food. But oh my goodness gracious is it UNHEALTHY!

I still occasionally indulge in some Thai fried rice, with shrimp (and make it last for 2 meals). But by occasionally, I mean once or twice every two months. A certain article I saw about the amount of oil used, and the post I did on MSG, really slapped my fried rice loving face.

First of all, if you are going to eat restaurant fried rice, for the love of pete make sure it doesn’t come loaded with MSG (see my informative post here).

Second of all, it’s oil city. And if you’ve eliminated MSG from the equation, this is what makes restaurant rice soooo much better than homemade fried rice.

Third of all, the rice may be genetically modified rice. If it’s golden rice?-You bet it’s modified. How do you know though? Ask. Two birds, one stone! Call ahead and ask if they use MSG and if their rice comes from a reputable source or if it’s organic. Call in the parking lot and use a crappy British accent even.

And lastly, you really can’t make it the same at home. It’s not you and it’s not the seasonings, it’s the fact that you don’t have a pipe dedicated to pumping insane heat into your stove and huge wok to mix the copious amounts of hot oil, etc.

As proud as I am of this fried rice recipe, it’s no restaurant Thai fried rice. But I would rather whip this up than drive on over to the restaurant, so there’s something! By no means is it a poor substitute, it’s just different. Unfortunately the fat, sugar and sodium additions in the Standard American Diet (SAD) are what keep most of us coming back for more, despite our best efforts. So if you’re jonzing for some fried rice that doesn’t even need meat, then give this a whirl.

20 Minute Vegetarian or Vegan Fried Rice (serves 2-3)

  • 1-1 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 T olive oil + 1 T olive oil-later
  • 4 carrots sliced
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 shallots (the small purple parts, not 2 whole unpeeled shallots)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 head broccoli flourets
  • 1 yellow pepper chopped or sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 T chili paste
  • 2 T cilantro chopped
  • Optional: 2 eggs sunny side up or whatever you like.


  1. Cook rice either the day before or right before you start your veggies. Most fried rice recipes online say the trick is to cook the rice the day before. Fried rice is traditionally a “leftover” meal, but I’ve used fresh cooked rice with no problems. If you don’t already have a rice cooker, GET ONE! It’s the best $15 you will spend, plus it cooks quinoa!
  2. Rice cooker rice takes about 15-20 minutes, so once you’ve started your rice, you can prepare and begin to cook your veggies.
  3. Heat 1 T oil in a large pan or skillet on medium. Add your carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and 1 T olive oil and saute until the veggies are your desired consistency. If you want super soft veggies, 10 minutes oughta do it. But if you like them with a bit ‘o crunch still then 6-7 minutes should do. Grab a pepper or carrot and gauge cooking time from there.
  4. Once your veggies are perfect, add your rice, chili paste, sesame oil and cilantro. Mix until combined and serve. Yields about 2 cups cooked fried rice per person (2).
  5. **If you’re using an egg, you can cook it after step 4. I cooked one as a last minute addition and my rice was still flaming hot. So don’t stress if you’re not even sure you want one until the end.

Nutrition Facts? Oh boy! You get everything except Vitamins B-12 and D!

Homemade compared to Panda Express Fried Rice (I adjusted to accommodate equal serving sizes):

Calories: 556
Panda: 627
Total Fat 19.2 g
Panda: 19
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Panda: 177 mg (yes I checked multiple times!)
Sodium 242.2 mg
Panda: 970 mg
Potassium 754.4 mg
Panda: Not on the grid!
Total Carbohydrate 85.8 g
Panda: 97 g
Dietary Fiber 7.4 g
Panda: 1 g
Protein 12.6 g
Panda: 14 g
Vitamin A 327.2 % and Vitamin C 151.5 %
Panda: Yeah, right!

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