Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

Over the years, I have made quinoa salad quite often, usually with the same standard ingredients of black beans, cilantro and tomatoes. Quinoa pairs well with these flavors but this time I wanted to change things up for a slightly different flavor. I liked the slight sweetness in this dressing from the agave nectar. So, try it, and let me know what you think.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Adapted from The Perfect Pantry

1-1/2 cup quinoa

3 cups water

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

3 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, diced


2 tsp olive oil

1-1/2 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp rice vinegar

2 tsp agave nectar *

1/8 tsp chipotle chile powder

1/4 tsp salt

garlic powder

Cook quinoa in water according to directions. Let it cool.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl.

Combine all other ingredients except the avocado in a large bowl. Add cooled quinoa and pour dressing over the top. Mix well.  Gently fold in avocado and serve.


* You can substitute the agave nectar with honey if you’d like.

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Another favorite, especially in the summer. It is a great side dish to take to a barbecue, picnic or potluck as there are no dairy ingredients in it to go bad!

I am not sure where I originally found this recipe. It is one of those I wrote down years ago and didn’t note it. I am also not sure why it is called tabouli…I guess anything that has parsley, lemon juice and mint in it can be considered tabouli (or tabbouleh), right? Regardless, I love these flavors together.

Wild Rice Tabouli

1 cup wild rice, dry, cook per package directions *

1/2 – 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thin *

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup green onions

1 package mint leaves, torn *

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted


2 Tbsp soy sauce *

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp black pepper

Cook wild rice according to package instructions. Drain and cool. Combine rice, tomatoes, parsley, onions and mint in a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together. Toss to coat rice. Stir in pine nuts.


* I buy my wild rice at Trader Joe’s.

* Try to find sun-dried tomatoes that are dry, not packed in oil. If they are really dry, hydrate them in some hot water for about 20 minutes and then slice thin.

* One of those plastic packages of mint at the grocery store is the equivalent of about 2/3 cup of mint from your garden. Mint is super easy to grow. In fact some consider it a weed. If you do want to grow it, contain it in a pot as it will travel all over your yard and garden where you don’t want it.

* If you are cooking gluten free, be sure to use a gluten free soy sauce or tamari. LaChoy and San-J Wheat Free Tamari are both safe.

This post is linked up to Gluten Free Wednesdays over at The Gluten Free Homemaker, Friday Foodie Fix at The WHOLE Gang and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Go check them out for some other ideas.

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This is another of our tried and true recipes; the recipe card is well splattered. It also garnered a “very good” written on the top of the card. I am not sure where I originally found this recipe as I wrote it on a 3×5 card and did not note the source. I searched the internet for the same recipe and only found a few similar recipes but none that matched this exactly. The original recipe calls for more curry paste and fewer chickpeas than what I use. Below is my adaptation of this tasty recipe. We like to serve this over white basmati rice.

Creamy Chickpea Curry

1 Tbsp oil

2 tsp red curry paste *

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic. minced

1 – 14 oz can lite coconut milk *

1 Tbsp soy sauce *

1-2 Tbsp sugar

2 – 15 oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved)

1 cup fresh basil, torn

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add curry paste and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add onion and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more. Shake the can of coconut milk and pour into pan. Add soy sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the sugar, chickpeas and tomatoes. Heat until it is simmering once more. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Serve over rice.


* Red curry paste can be found in small jars in the Asian section of a large supermarket. I use Thai Kitchen brand. Two teaspoons makes us sweat, but comfortably so. If you don’t like things too spicy, start with 1 teaspoon the first time.

* I prefer to use lite coconut milk when cooking and I can’t tell a difference in flavor.

* Use a gluten free soy sauce if you are cooking gluten free. LaChoy and San-J Wheat Free Tamari are both gluten free.

This recipe was a part of Meal Plan Monday, check it out for more ideas.

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This recipe is one that we have made many times. It is a light and refreshing dinner. Be sure to check out the original recipe, as I make this one as written.

Lentils are a powerful protein source. One cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein. Wow! They are also high in fiber and thus fill you up for fewer calories. Only 230 calories per cup of cooked lentils. Not to mention, they make a great inexpensive meal!

Whenever I have lentils cooking on the stove, my husband comments on how good dinner smells. There is something almost meaty smelling about them. For a while I thought it was the smell of the bay leaves but even when I cook them without bay leaves, he still comments when passing through the kitchen. I think we just both like the smell of lentils!

The herbes de Provence pairs well with the lentils and the cayenne pepper gives it a slight kick. We serve it over chopped romaine. And sometimes if we can’t wait, we will eat it slightly warm too. It tastes great both ways.

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Here it is, finally!  A review of the Greek Quinoa and Avocado Salad that so many people commented on when I initially posted it for Meal Plan Monday almost two weeks ago. We both liked it. It wasn’t fantastic, but it was good. I wasn’t a big fan of the avocado despite liking avocados a lot. I think the strong, sharp taste of the feta overpowered the avocado and it just got lost. So I have been thinking of modifications for next time.

Also, when I looked at the nutrition facts over on the original recipe, I was a little concerned with the fat content. Yes, I know the fat is mostly from ‘good’ fats, but I was still concerned. I reduced it by using low-fat feta and less oil so that we could still indulge with the avocados.

So you’ve never tried Quinoa? (Pronounced: keen-wah.) Well, quinoa is a high-protein, gluten free, pseudo-grain. (Technically it is a seed.) You can read more about it here and here. It is a nutrition powerhouse. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization compares quinoa’s nutritional content to that of whole dried milk. Read more. Quinoa is a great addition to a vegetarian diet for these reasons. Many gluten free bakers also use quinoa flour to add nutrition to their baked goods. Since I am not much of a baker, I haven’t tried that yet.

Most quinoa recipes I have seen all seem to be along the same theme, so I was excited to see this recipe as it initially seemed a bit different. Thanks to my mother-in-law for sending me this recipe. She knows of my love of quinoa and has bravely eaten it at our house! We chose to eat this as a main course. There were no leftovers, even with my modifications below. Next time I will make more. I also think I will double the amount of quinoa, remove the avocado and add some chopped kalamata olives instead.

Greek Quinoa and Avocado Salad

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 cups water

1 cup uncooked quinoa *

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 cups spinach leaves, torn

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil *

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup low-fat feta cheese, crumbled *

2 small avocados, diced

Bring water to a boil in saucepan. Add quinoa and stir. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 12-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, place tomatoes, onion, spinach, lemon juice and oil in a bowl and stir. Sprinkle with salt. When quinoa is cool, stir into vegetable mixture. Top with avocado and feta.


* I buy Bob’s Red Mill quinoa from Costco in the large bags. It says that it has been rinsed already. Some quinoa will need to be rinsed to remove the saponin from the surface of the grains, check the box or bag.

* I reduced the amount of oil to try to reduce the fat content as well. It was plenty of oil.

* I use Trader Joe’s low-fat feta and like it. I can’t tell the difference.

Please let me know if you try this recipe too and what you think of it!

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Thai Tomato Soup

I knew we were going to have a busy evening one night this week since we had two new pullets (young hens) coming to live with us along with one pound of honey bees, both on the same day! So I wanted something in my meal plan that was fairly quick and easy.

This was a new-to-us recipe that we enjoyed. I served it with the classic grilled cheese. My grilled cheese was gluten free as it was made on Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Sandwich bread. This bread is wonderful and makes a lovely grilled cheese sandwich, as you can see in the picture below. My husband had his grilled cheese on wheat bread, made separately and carefully from mine, of course.

Thai Tomato Soup

2 tsp oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 inch knob of ginger, minced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-1/2 c water

1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 tsp sugar

3/4 tsp chili paste with garlic *

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 c lite coconut milk

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion until tender. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add sugar, chili paste and salt. Remove from heat.

Use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot until smooth. (Or carefully blend the hot liquid in your blender in batches – but be sure to let a little steam escape out from under the lid as you do so or you could have a problem.)

Add the coconut milk and heat through. Serve.


* Chili paste with garlic can be found in the Asian food section of most large grocery stores. Check ingredients to be sure they are gluten free!

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