Thursday, February 23, 2012

Creamy White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

This wildly flavorful dip is a favorite of mine. I love it as a dip served with chips and crudite, but it is also delicious as a spread on sandwiches or wraps. The cannellini bean base makes it rich in protein and fiber, so it's as healthy as it is delicious.

1 Red Bell Pepper
1 can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 small clove Garlic, roughly chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 pinches Cayenne Pepper

To roast the red bell pepper, place pepper on a sheet pan under the broiler. Keep rotating the pepper until all skin is black and charred. The cooking time changes depending on the oven. When the outisde is blackened and blistering, remove from broiler and place in an air-tight container or paper bag and allow to cool (this makes the skin easier to remove, but when I'm low on patience I use tongs to remove the skin right after it comes out of the broiler).
While the red pepper roasts, add all other ingrdients to the bowl of a food processor (or to a mixing bowl if using an immersion blender). When red pepper is cool, remove skin, seeds, and stem and cut into strips. Add red pepper strips to the other ingredients. Blend until smooth. Refriderate for at least 1 hour prior to serving so that flavors can merry.

Servings: 5 Serving Size: approximately 1/4 cup; 100 calories per serving

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Falafel Burgers with Tomato-Cucumber Vinaigrette Slaw

Falafel is one of my all time favorite foods, but, because it's deep-fried, it's not the most healthy dish in the world. However, eating falafel doesn't have to mean cheating on your healthy lifestyle. My nutritious and lightened-up Falafel Burgers are incredibly flavorful and tasty, especially when paired with my Tomato-Cucumber Vinaigrette Slaw. They are equally delicious served in a more traditional fashion, stuffed in pita bread and topped with tzatziki sauce. The choice is yours!

1 cup Yellow Onion, peeled and roughy chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons Cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh Parsley
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Olive Oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt (plus more to taste)
Freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
4 cups Tomato-Cucumber Vinaigrette Slaw (click for recipe)
1/2 cup Reduced-Fat Feta Cheese

Preheat 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion to skillet and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic to pan and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, remove from heat. Combine chickpeas, onion and garlic mixture, cumin, salt, and pepper to a bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend mixture until smooth. You can also use a food processor for this step. Add egg and chopped parsley to chickpea mixture and combine using a fork. Cover mixture and refridgerate for 20 minutes. Form mixture into 8 patties.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Preheat 2 teaspoons Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium heat (or 1 teaspoon if cooking patties in two batches). Add patties to skillet and cook 5 minutes per side. Transfer patties to a cookie sheet lined with parchment or coated in non-stick cooking spray. Bake patties for 10 minutes, flipping once. Serve hot Falafel Burgers with slaw and/or any other desired condiments.

Servings: 4 Serving Size: 2 Falafel Burger patties, 1 cup of slaw, and 1 1/2 tablespoons Feta; 325 calories per serving (just the Falafel is 290 calories per serving)

Tomato-Cucumber Vinaigrette Slaw

This is the perfect slaw recipe because it's simple, delicious, versatile, and full of vitamins, fiber, and calcium. Serve it as a simple side, on top of burgers and sandwiches, or mix in protein like beans or chicken for a quick lunch.

1 10-ounce package Shredded Cabbage
1 cup diced English Cucumber
1 cup halved Grape Tomatoes
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Black Pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and toss until well combined. Cover and refridgerate for at least 20 minutes before serving, but even better the day after.

Servings: 4 Serving Size: approximately 1 cup; 80 calories per serving

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rosemary-Balsamic Mushroom and Swiss Turkey Burgers

A friend asked me if I had a secret to keeping turkey burgers moist. Making burgers with turkey breast is a healthy alternative to more fattening cuts of meat, but it's easy for the burgers to turn out dry and flavorless. My Rosemary-Balsamic Mushroom and Swiss Turkey Burgers are succulent and juicy because I add grated onion and sauteed red bell pepper to the burger mixture, and the mushroom topping adds an extra boost of flavor. These burgers look like an indulgent treat, but in reality they are lean and nutritious, so you can eat-up without the guilt.

1/2 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 to 1 1/4 pounds Ground Turkey Breast
1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, finely diced (approx. half of a small pepper)
1 clove Garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 tablespoon grated Yellow Onion
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
10 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup low-sodium Chicken Broth
1 1/2 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried Rosemary
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, divided
4 slices Swiss Cheese (I prefer reduced-fat)
2 whole wheat English Muffins, split and toasted (or any other type of bun)

Preheat a small skillet and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add diced red pepper. After 2 minutes, add garlic. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, then remove from heat.

Preheat a large skillet and 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. In a mixing bowl, add turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, parmesan cheese, red pepper/garlic mixture, and grated onion (making sure that the juice from the grated onion is added as well). Mix well to combine. Form the turkey mixture into 4 evenly sized patties. Place patties in skillet and cook for 4 minutes. Flip patties and continue cooking for 5 additional minutes. During the last 2 minutes, add cheese and cover skillet with lid.

While burgers cook, preheat a small skillet over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms, chicken stock, and rosemary. When the liquid is reduced by half (after about 6 minutes) add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and balsamic vinegar. Cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until mushroom mixture is slightly saucy, but not too runny.

Top each english muffin half with 1 patty and 1/4 of the mushroom mixture. Enjoy!

Servings: 4; 330 calories per serving 
Serving Size: 1 burger, 1/4 of the mushrooms, 1 slice reduced-fat cheese, 1/2 english muffin 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vegetable-Chickpea Curry Stew

I absolutely love curry. There is just something so comforting about the deep and warm flavors. My Vegetable-Chickpea Curry Stew is super simple and delicious. I serve this rich stew with fiber-packed whole wheat couscous and top it all off with chewy, sweet dried apricots, a sprinkling of crunchy almonds, and a squeeze of lime. All of the flavors and textures come together perfectly to create one of my all time favorite Indian-inspired dishes.

1/2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Yellow Squash, cut into 1/2" to 1" pieces, about 1 to 1 1/4 cups chopped
1 medium Yellow Onion, outer layer removed
2 medium Carrots, peeled
2 1/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt, divided
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and finely minced (approx. 1 tablespoon)
3" piece of Ginger, peeled with a veggie peeler and finely minced
2 14-ounce cans of Chickpeas (aka Garbonzo Beans)
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Curry Powder
2 cups low-sodium Broth or Stock (either Chicken or Vegetable)
2 tablespoons Sliced Almonds
12 Dried Apricots, chopped into small pieces
1 Lime, quartered
2/3 cup dry Whole Wheat Couscous

Prep yellow squash, onion, and carrots. Chop the onion and yellow squash into 1/2 to 1" pieces (comes to 1 to 1 1/4 cups of each). Using a vegetable peeler, make long ribbons of carrot as if peeling until only the top of the carrot is left (comes to about 1 cup of tightly packed ribbons). The bright orange ribbons will look pretty running through the stew, but you can also finely dice. Heat olive oil in a large skiller over medium heat. Add squash, onion, carrot and 1 teaspoon of salt. After 4 minutes (stirring occasionally) add garlic and ginger. After 5 minutes (stirring occasionally), add chickpeas, cumin, curry powder, stock, and an additional teaspoon of salt. Bring mixture to boil uncovered and continue boiling until reduced to 1/3 of the liquid is left, approximately 10 minutes after boiling starts.

While stew is cooking, prepare 2/3 cup coucous according to package, using the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and no butter (makes approximately 2 cups).

Serve stew in a bowl, topped with couscous, dried apricots, almonds, and lime wedges for squeezing on top.

Servings: 4; Calories per Serving: 460
Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups of stew, 1/2 cup couscous, 3 dried apricots (chopped), 1/2 tablespoon of sliced almonds, and 1/4 of the lime (juiced)