Blueberry and Pesto Quinoa Bowl

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.

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Tips:

  • 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.

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Blueberry and Pesto Quinoa Bowl

Serves 2

Bowl Ingredients:

4 cups raw baby spinach

1 cup cooked quinoa, cold

2 Tablespoons pepitas

½ cup feta crumbles

¾ cup fresh blueberries

 

Pesto Ingredients:

1 ½ cups basil leaves

2 Tablespoons pine nuts

1 ½ teaspoons garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 

Directions:

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.

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Roasted Vegetables with Lemon Dressing

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Easy, healthy and delicious. That is what I love about roasted vegetables but let’s get real here, I’m over the boring potatoes or broccoli. I still need easy but I also need variety both for my palette and my sanity. Why not experiment with a variety of vegetables? I really don’t think you can go wrong with roasting any vegetable out there. My latest vegetable obsession is asparagus so I sometimes add extra of it in this dish. Feel free to adjust quantities based on what is a favorite in your household.

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Tips:

  • Watch the pine nuts carefully as you toast them, they burn easily.
  • Depending on how evenly your oven cooks, you might want to rotate the pan half way through the roasting process.

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Roasted Vegetables with Lemon Dressing

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus cut into 1” pieces (discard stem end pieces)

1 large red bell pepper diced into bite size pieces

1 large zucchini, sliced and quartered (or two small zucchini, sliced and halved)

1 ½ cups matchstick carrots

1 medium shallot, chopped

1 ½ teaspoons garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt & ground black pepper

1/3 cup pine nuts

 

Dressing:

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 medium lemon

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place all vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir ingredients until evenly coated with olive oil. Spread vegetable mixture onto prepared cookie sheet. Roast in oven for 35-40 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, place pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat. Stir nuts in pan until they are slightly brown and aromatic then remove from heat.

In a small bowl, mix all dressing ingredients.

When vegetables are finished roasting, put them back in the large bowl. Pour in the dressing and add the pine nuts. Stir until all ingredients are evenly coated in the dressing.

Lemon Roasted Broccoli

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.

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Tips:

  • 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.

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Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli florets

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 lemon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Directions:

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.