Mexican Quinoa

In San Diego there was a fast food restaurant that I sort of fell in love with. The place was called CBW, I’m pretty sure it stands for Crazy Bowls & Wraps, and they serve salads, bowls, and wraps. What I really liked about this place was that they had 3 options for filling. White rice, brown rice, and quinoa(!!). Quinoa is not something that you usually see at a fast food restaurant, but I absolutely love it. It’s a super food because it is a complete protein, high in dietary fiber, magnesium, and iron, and it is a source of calcium. Needless to say, when I saw it on the menu the first time we went there I was pretty excited.

I had 2 favorite menu items that I liked to order and when I saw this Mexican Quinoa on Annie’s Eats last year, it immediately reminded me of one of those items. So I made it for dinner one night and it has quickly become a staple in our meal rotation. It’s quick and easy, filling, and super good for you. Over the year I have made some adaptations and bumped up the veggie content (to more closely match the bowl at CBW). That’s the other great thing about this meal, it’s another one that is versatile. You can adjust the veggies, add extra spices, use different kinds of canned tomatoes. When I photographed this meal I used fire roasted tomatoes and added smoked paprika and a dash of Chipotle chile powder to give it a bit of slow-cooked smokey taste. I love that I can make small adjustments like that so the meal isn’t exactly the same every time I make it (though it has always been delicious!).

 

 

Here are some other delicious, and easy, vegetarian dishes!
Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
Squash and Kale Pizza
Grilled Vegetable Panzanella

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been craving tangy dressing a lot lately. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been gravitating towards lighter, springy-er dishes. That could be pregnancy related or could be that I’m just really ready to move on from heavy winter dishes (even if I do live in San Diego). Either way, when a friend on a cooking message board I frequent mentioned a pasta salad including asparagus, I was immediately intrigued. Suddenly vegetable pasta salad combinations were just swirling around in my head and I knew exactly what we were having for dinner.

The plan was for me to make grilled chicken and serve it with a large side of this Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad. The look on Jesse’s face when I told him the plan was kind of comical. He was sure that there should be some other side, or something! Much to his surprise (and my delight!) he loved dinner and he even felt full. It just goes to show that dinner doesn’t have to be heavy to be good. The leftovers also made an awesome lunch!

 

Here are a few more lighter side dish ideas!

Tangy Mustard Coleslaw
Southwest Pasta Salad
Spicy Cold Noodles

Greek Turkey Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce

Despite the fact that the last 4 recipes I have posted have all been desserts, we are actually eating real food too! In fact we’ve had quite a few good meals lately. Unfortunately for the blog we’ve been eating when it’s already dark and my attempts at photographing food with an external flash have come up a little short lately. The good news is that one of our delicious dinners made for pretty delicious lunch leftovers, and I finally was able to get a decent photo. The sun is starting to stay out a little later so hopefully this won’t be an issue for too much longer!

These are flavorful and good-for-you meatballs. On the first night, I served them with roasted potatoes and asparagus (probably not Greek…). For lunch, I laid them on a bed of lettuce, onions, bell pepper, and tomatoes, and served them with (homemade!) pita bread. It was delicious both ways. I actually loved the way the roasted potatoes and asparagus tasted when dipped in the tzatziki sauce. But I also really loved the way the pita bread tasted with the tzatziki sauce. Win win situation if you ask me!

Note: I found the turkey meatball recipe over on Skinny Taste and she also had a tzatziki sauce recipe, but I’m a huge fan of  Elly’s recipe so I stuck with that. Below both recipes are listed as I made them.

 

 

Baked Zucchini Fries

Jesse and I are potato people, so it’s no surprise that potatoes are my default side dish for a lot of meals. But the thing is, there is so much more out there than potatoes! Rice, quinoa, beans, vegetables… The possibilities are endless.  Sometimes you just have to remind yourself of the other options.

These baked zucchini fries are an awesome alternative to a potato side dish. The outside is crisp, the inside is tender, and they are the perfect vehicle for any sauce you like (and you know I like sauces!).  They are NOT french fries, but that’s OK. They are different and delicious.