Posts Tagged ‘Spinach’

Here is a tasty meal to help you with eating more vegetables in the New Year! First up, spinach!

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

inspired by others, long ago…(not sure where or who)

1 Tbsp oil

1 large onion, chopped

1-1/2 Tbsp ginger, grated

1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste (more or less)

1-1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

1-14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

1-14 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

6 cups fresh spinach, torn if large

1/4 – 1/2 cup water, (depending on how juicy your tomatoes are)

1/2 tsp salt

plain yogurt

rice, if desired

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute until soft. Stir in the ginger and saute for another minute or so. Stir in the curry paste and sugar until the onions are coated with the paste and there are few lumps, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and let it simmer for a minute or two. Stir in the spinach and water and cook until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, taste and add more if desired. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, over brown rice.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. Click on over and check out the other recipes!


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I have had a hankering for enchiladas. Especially after finding a huge jar of 505 Diced Roasted Green Chile at Costco. And after spotting some Kroger brand, jarred, gluten free enchilada sauces. I also had some Sandwich Petals languishing in the freezer that desperately need to be eaten.

Originally these were supposed to be rolled enchiladas. But, unfortunately, after defrosting the Sandwich Petals and warming them slightly in the microwave, they didn’t want to roll up very easily, and instead cracked, so I immediately came up with plan b, a warm and cheesy, gooey, enchilada casserole. Serve it up with a green salad and some gluten free cerveza (or Crispin hard cider, like I did!)

So… I don’t have a photo yet because we were too anxious to dig into this tonight and thus it was a little runny since we didn’t let it set up at all, which didn’t make for a good photo. Maybe later this week I will add one…?

Spinach and White Bean Enchilada Casserole

Recipe by Renee

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1-1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder

2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed

1 can petite diced tomatoes

12 oz fresh spinach

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

2 cups milk, divided

4 oz cream cheese

12 corn tortillas, depending on size you may need more or less (or Sandwich Petals)

2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in large saute pan. Add onions and saute until they are beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add cumin and chipotle chili powder. Cook 1-2 minutes more. Mash up 1/4 of the white beans and add all beans to pan along with tomatoes. Stir well, add spinach and salt and cover pan. Cook until spinach is wilted. Then remove the lid and let it simmer while you prepare the white sauce. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and stir well. Slowly whisk in milk, a small amount at a time. Add cream cheese and cook until thickened, stirring frequently. (Thanks to Book of Yum for this aspect of the recipe.)

Spread a small amount of the white sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange corn tortillas so that the bottom of the dish is covered (you may have to cut some in two to make it work). Spoon part of the bean mixture over tortillas, then a bit of the white sauce, then some of the monterey jack cheese. Repeat layers and top with a thicker layer of cheese on the very top. Bake until bubbly and cheese is beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to set up for about 10 minutes before serving.


And I just may have another enchilada recipe up my sleeve this week since I still have that giant jar of green chile in the cabinet!

This post is linked to Seasonal Sundays at Real Sustenance. As well, it is linked to Real Food Weekly at The WHOLE Gang. Click on over for more delicious recipes.

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Is there such a  thing as healthy pasta with Alfredo sauce? Perhaps not, but you can’t blame me for trying!

You see, Alfredo sauce is a craving of mine. And I got the craving the other week. Unfortunately I had no Alfredo sauce in the house and I am not one to make it from scratch either. In fact, out of the jar is what makes it so comforting to me, I don’t have to do too much!!

So last week I bought a jar of Classico Roasted Garlic Alfredo sauce. (It says Gluten Free on the label!) And then I got to feeling under the weather and so I *really* wanted carbs and cheese, and lots of it! And this is what I ended up with…

Alfredo Vegetable Pasta

Alfredo Vegetable Pasta

an original from Beyond Rice and Tofu

1 pound of pasta, gluten free *

1 – 15 oz jar Classico Alfredo sauce, check the label

1 – 15 oz can artichoke hearts in water, chopped

8 oz frozen spinach

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, not in oil, chopped

1/4 – 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed to thin

1 – 15 oz can white beans, drained (or garbanzos, cooked chicken or shrimp*)

a few Kalamata olives, sliced

fresh basil, torn

Cook pasta. For gluten free pasta, use lots of water in a large pot. And stir frequently to prevent it from sticking together.

Empty contents of sauce into a medium saucepan. Add artichoke hearts, spinach and tomatoes and stir to combine. (You can add the spinach still frozen like I did.) Add broth as needed to thin slightly.  Add beans and just cook till beans are heated through.

Drain pasta. Place in serving bowls and stir in some sauce. * Top with olives and basil. Enjoy!


* My favorite pasta is Trader Joe’s brand, which is the same as Tinkyada pasta.

* I have been eating a bit of meat or fish here or there to bump up my perennially low B-12 levels. I added some cooked (frozen) shrimp to mine.

* Keep leftover cooked pasta and sauce separate. Reheat pasta in a covered bowl with a teaspoon or two of water in the microwave. Reheat sauce separately and then combine as desired.

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I love pesto. But my husband does not. So it is one of those things I make for myself, and I only make him eat it occasionally. This summer I have been keeping a small bowl of traditional basil pesto in the frig and I have been enjoying it smeared on toasted Udi’s or Canyon Bakehouse bread with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a slice or two of tomato. So delicious.

I had made some basil pesto earlier this week because my basil plants needed trimming and when I was digging around for something for lunch today, I found some leftover brown rice penne.  So I lightly heated up the pasta (add a bit of water and put a lid loosely on it – I’ve found that it helps to reheat leftover gluten free pasta slightly, even if eating it cold or room temperature) and stirred in a big spoonful of pesto. Then I sliced up some cherry tomatoes and added a few little chunks of fresh mozzarella, salt and fresh ground pepper. What a delicious lunch!

But I have also been known to make other types of pesto. A while back I made sun-dried tomato and spinach pesto. And when I saw Linda’s Pesto Challenge over at The Gluten Free Homemaker, I knew I needed to post this recipe since it has been languishing in my “future posts” folder for about six weeks now. I initially made this back when I was still harvesting a lot of spinach. No spinach growing right now, but it is almost time to plant spinach for a fall harvest.

Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Pesto and Pasta

Inspired by all, but an original recipe by Renee

1 pound bag of brown rice penne *

3 cups fresh spinach, divided

4 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

3 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

olive oil

1-15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz. can artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped *

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta according to directions. If you are making gluten free pasta, be sure to use a lot of water, more than you would for regular pasta. And be sure to stir the pasta frequently when you begin cooking it as it can clump together easily. Drain pasta. (Drain pasta into a colander with the remaining spinach in it if you prefer your spinach to be wilted.)

In a food processor, combine 1 cup of spinach leaves, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse it while slowly adding enough olive oil until it is of a pesto consistency. Taste and adjust according to your preference.

Stir pesto into warm pasta and remaining 2 cups of spinach leaves. Add chickpeas and artichoke hearts and top with crumbled goat cheese. Easy, delicious and nutritious!


* My preferred gluten free pasta is Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta. For this dish I used the penne but you could use any shape. My other favorite pasta is Tinkyada, which may be the same as Trader Joe’s pasta, just under a different label.

* I prefer the artichoke hearts that are canned in water, not oil. I typically find them at Trader Joe’s. And depending on what I am making with them, I will buy the water or oil.

**This post is linked to The Gluten Free Homemaker’s Pesto Challenge on Gluten Free Wednesdays and Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.** And be sure to check out past Gluten Free Wednesday pesto posts here.

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This past month I haven’t been blogging so much about each of the individual meals I have been making, although most meals have been photographed. So I thought I would do a little round-up of photos of the meals and a brief yea or nay vote on some of them.

Spinach Avocado Grapefruit Salad from In My Box

I enjoyed this salad, although my husband, who is not a big fan of spinach, did not. The oil in the avocado and then the tang of the grapefruit is all the dressing this needs. The leftovers even held up and made it into my lunch the next day. Yea for me.

Gingered Skirt Steak with Snow Peas from goodLife{eats}

Instead of steak, we used tofu ‘steaks’. We also omitted the oyster sauce and added 1/2 Tbsp more of both the hoisin and soy sauces. We served this over rice vermicelli noodles which I had attempted to pan-fry. (They didn’t turn out so great.) The stir fry was delicious and next time I will serve it over rice instead of the noodles. The noodles didn’t have much flavor and actually detracted from the rest of the dish. Snow peas were fresh from our garden. Yea for us both.

Baked Salmon (me) and Baked Tofu (husband), Stir-Fried Snow Peas with Scallions and brown rice

I baked the tofu in Book of Yum’s Yummy Grilled Tofu marinade. And the snow peas and carrots were sautéed in sesame oil with green onions. I baked my salmon with a red pepper/five spice powder rub and a rice vinegar/honey marinade. It was very tasty. Yea for us both. And yea for using up the rest of the snow peas we had from our garden this year.

Sichuan Tofu with Garlic Sauce from Fat Free Vegan

We’ve made this dish before and really enjoy it. We used canned, sliced water chestnuts instead of fresh ones. On the side we had some brown rice and steamed broccoli. I follow Susan’s recipe for the most part except I have found that we like a little more sauce in the final dish and so I double the marinade. Yea for us both.

That’s it for now. More to come this week…

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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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As I mentioned in my Meal Plan post this week, we had two new recipes to try, both from a recent issue of Sunset magazine.

The other night we made the Indian Saag with basmati rice. My non-celiac husband also had some naan (Indian flat bread) with his. I really enjoyed it. My husband on the other hand, wasn’t too thrilled with it, mainly because it is almost entirely spinach! He and spinach don’t get along so well, perhaps too much fiber? Or is that too much information? (I may get in trouble for this review!) But, when pressed he said it was good. But I am not sure it got the ‘make it again’ vote from him.

Indian Saag

Adapted from Sunset magazine

1  medium onion, chopped *see notes below
2  tablespoons  olive oil
6  garlic cloves, chopped
2  teaspoons  minced fresh ginger
1/2  teaspoon  ground coriander
1/2  teaspoon  turmeric
1/2  teaspoon  cayenne
1/2  teaspoon  garam masala
1/8  teaspoon  ground cardamom
2  pounds  spinach leaves, chopped *
1  cup  plain low-fat Greek yogurt *
1  teaspoon  kosher salt *

In a large pot, cook the onion in the oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, being careful not to burn it.  Add the ginger and spices and cook about 1 minute. (It may be helpful to have all these measured out into one little bowl and just dump in all at once.) Add about 1/4 of the spinach to the pot and stir it in, allowing it to mostly wilt and then add more spinach in batches until all of it is in the pot and wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt and salt. Serve over rice.

*I used two medium onions, we like onions!
*I had only bought two bags of spinach = 24oz, so not quite as much as the recipe calls for.
*I used non-fat plain yogurt as I save my Greek yogurt for breakfast.
*I used sea salt.

The turmeric turned it nice shade of yellow, which I wasn’t really expecting. I don’t recall restaurant Saag looking so yellow, but I think it may have been a combination of a couple of things I changed while cooking. Like I said above, I had less spinach than called for. I also did not measure out the yogurt exactly, so there might have been more and this made it more soupy. It was also regular plain non-fat yogurt and not the thicker Greek yogurt. But all in all, it was a great dish and the rice soaked up the extra yumminess of the sauce well.

Next time I think I will try it with Greek yogurt or reduce the amount of yogurt to reduce the sauce (or just measure it). I will probably also use more onions as I love onions cooked in Indian spices.

And now for the slaw.

Asian Peanut Slaw with Tofu

Adapted from Sunset magazine

1/4  cup  canola oil
1/4  cup  fresh lime juice
2  tablespoons  soy sauce (make sure it is gluten free)
2  tablespoons  sugar
1  teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1 pound of extra firm tofu, cut into 8 slices
2  cups  thinly shredded napa cabbage *
2  cups  thinly shredded red cabbage
1/2  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
1/2  cup  thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/4  cup  sliced green onions
1/2  cup  roasted unsalted peanuts
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a measuring cup, mix up the oil, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar and chile flakes. Slice the tofu into 8 slices and place slices on a clean tea towel, wrap the tea towel over top the tofu and place a heavy pot or cutting board on top for about 10 minutes to absorb some of the water.

Preheat broiler. In a large baking/casserole dish, place the tofu slices flat and spoon over about half of the oil and lime mixture. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. Maybe flip it over once.

Meanwhile, chop up the vegetables and throw them into the bowl. Mix them up and then toss with the remaining dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place pan of tofu on about the middle rack of the oven, under the broiler. Don’t place it too close or the oil could get too hot in the pan and catch fire (eek!). Broil for about 6-8 minutes, flip the slices and put it back in for another 6-8 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Serve the slaw topped with peanuts and a couple slices of tofu on the side.

*Also known as savoy or Chinese cabbage.

I actually made more than the recipe called for as I was just chopping up vegetables until I thought it was enough for us to eat and have some leftovers. Plus, I had so much cabbage, I figured I should use up as much as possible before it sits in the fridge and gets bleh because then it will just go to the chickens. And that is okay, as they love cabbage. But it was intended for human consumption first. No worries, they get plenty of scraps. So I also made more dressing since I had more vegetables but I made too much and poured it all on. I should have poured on a bit first to see if it was the right amount but I didn’t. Hopefully I learned a lesson there. Only time will tell.

We both really enjoyed this. It is very similar to another slaw recipe I make but with a slightly different dressing. Sorry I didn’t take a photo, I need to get into the habit of keeping my camera in the kitchen with me. Let me know if you try it! You can also go back to the original recipe and make it with pork if you aren’t a tofu fan. But try the tofu, it is really quite tasty because it just soaks up whatever sauce or marinade you put on it. Just be sure to buy the extra firm tofu and squeeze some water out first.


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