Alright, it’s confession time. I absolutely ate my way through the holidays. I mean, I went all out with sweets and wine and homemade Chex mix (because we all know the homemade stuff is at least a million times better than the stuff that comes in a bag). No treat went uneaten. I’m not even sure what got into me because moderation with food is typically not a challenge for me. But I did it, and I did it joyfully!
What’s done is done and now it is time to get back on the wagon of eating a balanced diet. I ate salads all last week for lunch because I actually do love vegetables but I was bored by Friday. I was eating the same mixture of ingredients that I always reach for when making a salad. I need some variety if I‘m going to stick with eating healthier. As usual, I also want to make this easy on myself so I looked through my fridge and pantry for ingredients I already had on hand. This quinoa bowl gave me a change of pace in terms of both texture and flavor but was also incredibly easy to make.
- To make this an even faster recipe, feel free to use a premade pesto from the store rather than making the one included in this recipe.
- You can absolutely portion this out ahead of time for lunches. Just hold off on adding the pesto until you are ready to eat it.
Blueberry and Pesto Quinoa Bowl
4 cups raw baby spinach
1 cup cooked quinoa, cold
2 Tablespoons pepitas
½ cup feta crumbles
¾ cup fresh blueberries
1 ½ cups basil leaves
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
1 ½ teaspoons garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Place spinach in bottom of a large bowl. Top with quinoa then pepitas, feta and blueberries.
For the pesto, combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Drizzle pesto over quinoa bowl as desired.
When I was pregnant I couldn’t get enough broccoli. I would eat it any way I could get it – raw, steamed, roasted, mixed into another dish. Of course, the rest of my cravings weren’t quite as healthy so I tried to embrace this one as much as often as possible. As I was reaching the end of the third trimester I just couldn’t stay on my feet long enough to make a full dinner so I started coming up with easier, faster recipes to satisfy the cravings. I suppose it could have been the crazy hormones that guided me to experiment with different flavors. However, I still find myself enjoying this broccoli recipe post-pregnancy.
- I saved myself the time it takes to cut the broccoli by using a 12oz bag of broccoli florets. According to the nutrition information on the back of the bag, it is already 4 cups.
- The red pepper flakes add a pretty mild kick of flavor but if you aren’t a fan of heat at any level just leave that ingredient out.
4 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread broccoli florets out on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over broccoli. Sprinkle red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper over broccoli. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice from each half over broccoli. Stir broccoli to get a relatively even coating of ingredients. Roast in oven for 18 minutes or until edges of broccoli are slightly crispy. Serve warm.
I can recall learning about food groups and nutrition back in first grade. At some point my teacher started asking students what their favorite food was and then asking what food group(s) that might fall into. Naturally, most kids were choosing dishes like pizza, ice cream or tacos. Not me. Nope, this little odd ball proudly responded with “Salad!” Seriously?!?!? What kind of six-year-old declare salad as a favorite food? It was true though and to this day I’d be happy to sit down to a really great salad over most other dishes. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still like to chase those veggies down with some kind of dessert but an awesome salad is hard for me to resist.
With this lifelong love of salad you might think that I would eat them on the regular but I don’t. Inevitably, I’m too lazy to chop the vegetables or the produce I bought went bad before I found the motivation to pull out the knife and cutting board. This week I was determined not to use up what I already had in the fridge and then added one or two items that were on sale at the grocery store. Healthy eating and cheap??? YES!!! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
- Grill the chicken ahead of time, it tastes great cold on this salad. You could also sub out the chicken for shrimp, salmon or even steak if you’re trying to use up some leftovers.
- If you don’t have a jar on hand for the dressing, mix the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
Green Salad with Grilled Chicken
5oz bag baby spinach
5oz bag baby arugula
1 cup cucumber, diced
½ cup radish slices
1 cup broccoli florets
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
¼ cup shredded parmesean cheese
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced or chopped
For the dressing:
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Add all salad ingredients into a large bowl, toss to combine. In a mason jar, add all dressing ingredients, cover jar with lid and shake to blend well. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss so salad is evenly coated.