We bid a stylish adieu to Quinoa Week with this super healthy twist on your favourite and mine, the burrito. The beans and quinoa provide a great deal of both protein and fiber, and when you add all your fave veggies (you can easily get 5 servings into this power meal) you’ll be full and happy for days. For those of you who eat dairy, topping your bowl with a little shredded cheese adds calcium and even more protein, but a little salsa and hot sauce is all you need for great flavour!

Ingredients (serves 2):
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
1 small head broccoli
1-1/3 cups frozen or canned corn kernels
1 cup beans (I like refried, though they’re generally the most sodium-y)
1 6-ounce bag fresh spinach leaves

for extra yumminess: avocado slices, grated cheddar, crushed red pepper, hot sauce, and your favourite salsa (i LOVE peach!)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice up your broccoli, zucchini and squash. Roast veggies for about 20 minutes, pulling them out after 10 minutes to add your corn to the baking sheet and stir the other veggies with a spatula to allow them to roast evenly. (If you like, you can brush them with a bit of olive oil; I omitted the oil this time cause I’ve had a very decadent weekend.)
2. Wash & dry spinach and sautee it in a non-stick pan. When it’s nice and wilty, add the beans and quinoa and stir until everything is nice and warm.
3. Add roasted veggies and all your favourite toppings!

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup with Spinach

This experiment produced a delish result that can be served all sorts of ways–even as a saucy base for a pasta dish. Though I seasoned it mostly with Italian herbs, the black beans made a yummy addition and spiked the protein content.

Of course, I added a big scoop of quinoa as well (this being Quinoa Week and all.) You don’t have to make your soup from scratch to use this trick; adding the versatile grain (which, I remind you, is a complete protein!) to any healthy soup turns your side into a meal–try it with a butternut squash or chicken & vegetable base, too.

So far this soup has kept nicely for 3 days, and I’m expecting it to last through the weekend. If you’re feeling crafty, play with the spices and let me know what you come up with!

Note: I used my food processor to whirl everything up, but you should be able to get away with using a blender if you don’t have one.

Ingredients (makes 2 big bowls or about 4 cups) :
4 ripe vine tomatoes (romas work well)
2 red bell peppers
2-1/2 cups chopped frozen spinach
6 big, fresh basil leaves
1 TBSP olive oil
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried or fresh minced thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
salt & pepper
1/3 cup cooked quinoa for each serving

other additions: crumbled feta or a few shavings of mozzarella or parmesan; zucchini & squash slices roasted or sauteed in a teaspoon of olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the peppers and tomatoes. Cut the tops off of the peppers–trying not to waste too much of your veggies–and scoop out the seeds (not to worry if you don’t get them all; I didn’t even bother to de-seed mine, and having a few seeds in my soup didn’t bother me a’tall.)
2. Place peppers & tomatoes on a baking sheet. If you have one that is at least half an inch deep, use it; you’ll want to preserve the juices that start to drain while the veggies are roasting. Let them hang out in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until they’re nice and soft. Meanwhile, thaw your spinach.
3. When the roasted veggies are ready, let them cool to a temperature comfortable for handling. If you’re using a blender, you’ll want to slice them into smaller pieces; if your food processor has super-sharp blades, you should be able to get away with big pieces.
4. Throw everything into your whirling device and liquify, adding the juices from the baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Get creative with your toppings!

Clubbin Sammy

Though I was a vegetarian for 11 years, I’ve crossed back over to the dark side, and I really enjoy nothing more than a meat-tastic indulgence like this one. Club sandwiches generally have three slices of bread, but that’s for the birds, really. Two slices work just fine. Toasting them is key, so you get that nice crunchy bite.

This healthified version of the classic club is all about lean(er) protein and healthy fats–ham & turkey, avocado, and turkey bacon for that essential bacony touch. Reduced-fat cheese adds calcium without too much extra fat; the veggies provide vitamins A, C, and E, and add to the fiber content of the whole grain bread.
Now, if there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I. HATE. MAYONNAISE. Ugh–even typing that word makes me want to gag. If it’s hiding, like in deviled eggs or spinach-artichoke dip, fine, I can play along and pretend it’s not there, but if it’s on my sandwich, I lose my appetite. It’s just the thought of that substance jiggling slowly, as only mayonnaise can do…alright, enough, I can’t take it anymore. Needless to say, I’ve omitted mayo from my twist on this classic recipe, but you can do whatever you like in your own home. I’m not here to judge.
2 slices whole grain bread
2 slices ham
2 slices turkey
2 strips turkey bacon
1 slice reduced-fat sharp cheese, like cheddar or swiss
1/3 avocado, sliced thinly
1/2 a roma tomato, sliced thinly
dark salad greens
2 tsp. of your favourite spread (I recommend dijon, garlic, or honey mustard–anything but the M-word)
Toast the bread while you fry up some turkey bacon. Wash the greens and slice the avo and tomato. Layer everything on your mustardy toast, and add some hot sauce if you’re into that kind of thing.
yay for photography by seth c. drury!

Immaculate Conception Salad

This heavenly salad gets its name because it was conceived of by my mom, Mary, and because it manages to combine something from EVERY FOOD GROUP (when served with a hunk of whole-grain bread) in the most delicious way possible. Remember that cereal that tried to pull off the same feat, Basic 4? Yeah…it’s alot better than that. And because it is basically a food pyramid in salad form, it boasts a wide variety of nutrients: protein from the chicken, calcium from the feta, vitamin A & fiber from the dark leafy greens, vitamin E and minerals (like iron & magnesium) from the pine nuts, and tons of vitamin C from the orange & sweet potato. Vegetarians could try substituting soy protein for the chicken; if you feel like trying a veg version of this salad, let me know how it turns out!

You can easily come home from work and prepare this salad in less than 30 minutes. It’s the kind of thing I’d suggest making in a giant batch, because believe me, you’re gonna want leftovers. The recipe below makes about four servings.
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large sweet potatoes, coarsely chopped
2 oranges, coarsely chopped
1 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 bags (about 8 cups) dark salad greens
a little salt & pepper and olive oil for cooking
your favourite fruity vinaigrette (i LOVE Annie’s papaya poppyseed!)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you chop the sweet potatoes. Spread the bite-size pieces onto a baking sheet, drizzle with a Tbsp. of olive oil, and rub them around to cover all sides. Grind or sprinkle salt and pepper over the sweet potato, and pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes.
2. Pour another tsp. of olive oil into a frying pan, and get the chicken going. Add a little salt and pepper while they cook.
3. Wrap a whole-grain baguette tightly in foil and pop it into the oven to warm. Check on the sweet potatoes, giving them a little stir with your spatula.
4. Wash and dry the greens and chop the oranges. Throw them into a bowl or onto a plate and sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup of crumbled feta.
5. When the chicken is done, transfer it to a cutting board and cut it into bite size pieces (or serve it in breast-form for if you’d rather.) Throw the pine nuts into the frying pan and toast over medium-low heat, stirring. This only takes a minute or two and totally transforms the flavour of the pine nuts!
6. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and add everything to your salad. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and say a Hail Mary. 
p.s. thanks to my roommate seth for taking a great picture!

Greek Goddess Wrap

This has been my lunch of choice lately. It makes a delicious meal without being too heavy. I like to use whole wheat lavash because it’s the easiest to roll, but you can use a regular tortilla if you don’t want to buy an extra item. 
I learned how to roll the perfect wrap when I worked in a little Manhattan vegetarian cafe. The trick is to line up all the ingredients on one end, fold the sides in, and roll from the filled end.  Omit the feta to make this sandwich vegan, or add some grilled chicken for a protein boost. Try serving it with a little greek vinaigrette for dipping!
1 whole wheat lavash
2 Tbsp hummus
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1 mini cucumber, or 1/2 medium cucumber
1 cup dark leafy greens, washed & dried
1 roma tomato, or 4 grape tomatoes, sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled & shaved
5 olives (kalamata or california,) sliced
Spread hummus evenly over the lavash. Add the ingredients in rows, starting from one end (keeping the other end emptyish will help prevent spillage when you roll.) Fold in the sides and roll, keeping the roll tight. Cut in half on the diagonal.