I’m having a love affair with eggplant lately. I guess I never realized how versatile it is. I always knew it was nutritious but didn’t see a big variety of cooking options until I came across this recipe. It inspired me to add a couple of ingredients and tweak some others. What I got was a delicious new eggplant recipe that happens to be gluten-free and vegetarian.
You can eat this dish plain on it’s own, add some feta or olives (kalamata or black) or both, top a veggie burger or have it as a side dish. All of the ingredients bring out the delicious flavor of the roasted eggplant. This made me like eggplant even more.
1½ cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained if not using pre-rinsed variety
3 cups vegetable broth
1 large eggplant, cubed (about 1 inch cubes)
8 - 10 ounces of baby spinach (I used a 6 oz. bag and a half of another 6 oz. bag)
½ cup crumbled feta
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (can sub with soy sauce but it wouldn't be gluten free)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon onion salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon sweet basil, dried
pinch salt and pepper
"Optional: ¼ cup sliced kalamata olives or black olives
Preheat oven to 420 degrees.
Cover a cooking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray (I used coconut oil spray).
In a large bowl combine cubed eggplant, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Make sure eggplant is coated in olive oil.
Place eggplant on cookie sheet, bake for 10 minutes. Stir and bake for another 10 minutes.
Once cooked, set aside.
While eggplant is baking, you can prepare the quinoa.
QUINOA (if you haven't it before, this is my go-to technique):
Bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Once the little sprouts appear on the quinoa and all the broth has been absorbed, remove from heat and set aside.
While your eggplant is cooking and quinoa is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon garlic. Saute for a minute until lightly browned.
Add spinach and saute until just wilted.
Once eggplant is done, remove from cookie sheet and put in skillet with spinach, reduce heat to low. Saute for a minute, stirring occasionally.
Add coconut aminos, dijon mustard and onion salt to skillet and combine with eggplant and spinach.
Add cooked quinoa and combine. Saute everything for a couple of minutes until everything is distributed evenly.
If you choose to add kalamata or black olives, you can stir them in now or you can use them as a garnish, it's up to you.
You can either stir in the feta now or use it as a garnish, that's up to you too.
I can’t say enough about this dish. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It’s so deliciously Mexican. When I got to finally taste it – it was muy bueno!!! I cannot stop eating it. It has all the flavors of a savory Mexican dish. Plus it’s paleo (if you omit the cheese), gluten free and vegetarian.
There are tons of veggies and lots of protein from the quinoa and black beans. Really filling! I didn’t miss the meat at all, I found the inspiration for this amazingly delicious dish here and made a couple of tweaks to boost up the protein level and veggie factor.
This was so easy to throw together and can be eaten on it’s own with a little sour cream, in a gluten free (or regular) tortilla or taco shell or top lettuce and make a delicious Mexican salad. I added cheese on the top because my husband is not paleo and this was a good way to get him to eat this. Turns out, he LOVED it! He really really loved it.
You could very easily make this vegan also by using vegan sour cream and vegan cheese. Or omit them all together. It still rocks!
**I ALWAYS RECOMMEND USING ORGANIC INGREDIENTS WHENEVER POSSIBLE**
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 package cherry tomatoes sliced (seeds and liquid discarded, then dice remaining tomatoes) or a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes - drained
1 cup frozen sweet corn
¼ cup green onions (white part), reserve the green part for garnish if desired
2 - 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 - 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives
1 - 8 ounce bag Mexican blend shredded cheese (can sub with vegan cheese that melts) Cheese is not Paleo so if you are going true Paleo, omit the cheese.
1¼ Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes so that it doesn't burn. Once quinoa is done, put in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
While the quinoa is cooking, using a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium/high heat and add garlic. Saute garlic for a minute to brown, give it a few stirs so not to burn.
Add corn, bell peppers, jalapeno, cumin and chili powder to skillet and saute for 3 - 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and lime juice, saute for another 3 minutes.
Once everything is sauteed, add mixture to the quinoa and combine.
Add cans of black beans and onions to the quinoa mixture, combine.
Pour everything in to a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Top with black olives then cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes.
*Optional: top with a dollop of sour cream or fill a tortilla or top a bed of lettuce for a taco salad.
Turkey and Quinoa Cabbage Rolls – Paleo and Gluten Free
I don’t know what got me all jacked up to make cabbage rolls. I’ve never made cabbage rolls before but there was just something about it that I needed to eat.
I went looking for a great cabbage roll recipe and stumbled on a few really good ones but this one from www.12tomatoes.com caught my attention. I could easily make it paleo and gluten free so I was down-like-a-clown-wearing-a-crown 🙂
I didn’t know what I was getting myself into because I’d never made cabbage rolls before but this recipe is basically very easy if you break it into 4 small stages.
Step 1 – At the same time you are boiling the cabbage leaves you can be cooking the quinoa. Put the head of cabbage in large pot of boiling water but cut the core off first. I found it helpful to cut slices across the bottom of the leaves so that when they were ready to be peeled off I wouldn’t have to tug them off the bottom. Boil for about 8 – 10 minutes but if you see leaves starting to peel away, go ahead and remove them carefully and set aside until you have about 10 – 12 good rollable leaves.
While the cabbage water is heating up put a cup of quinoa and 2 cups of vegetable broth (organic of course) in a medium pan and bring it to a boil. If you have a favorite way to make quinoa, got for it but this is how I make mine and it comes out perfect every single time. I use the already rinsed kind so I don’t have to do that step.
Once the quinoa is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Set timer for 20 minutes. Stirring the quinoa about every 4 – 5 minutes until you see the curly ends sprout from the quinoa. Once done, remove from heat and let cool before adding it to the egg/turkey mixture.
Step 2 -While cabbage is boiling and quinoa is simmering you can start the next stage.
In a large bowl combine the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar), lemon juice and coconut aminos (can sub with soy sauce or Worcestershire). Set aside.
Step 3 – In another large bowl combine ground turkey, egg, onion, coconut milk (can sub with regular organic milk), salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add the quinoa once it has cooled off. The reason for this is that the hot quinoa can prematurely start cooking the egg.
Step 4 – Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. I sprayed it mine with coconut oil. Put about a little over a 1/4 cup of turkey/quinoa mixture in each leaf, fold in edges and tuck everything in.
Put cabbage rolls in pan folded edges down. Once you’ve got all your rolls rolled, pour the tomato mixture over the top.
Put in the oven for an hour at 350 and BAM, you friggin’ made CABBAGE ROLLS – what what!!
Turkey and Quinoa Cabbage Rolls - Paleo and Gluten Free
2 - 14.5 ounce cans organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 - 8 ounce can organic tomato sauce
2 Tbs coconut palm sugar (can sub with 1 Tbs brown sugar)
1½ Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs coconut aminos (can sub with soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put the head of cabbage in large pot of boiling water but cut the core off first. I found it helpful to cut slices across the bottom of the leaves so that when they were ready to be peeled off I wouldn't have to tug them off the bottom. Boil for about 8 - 10 minutes but if you see leaves starting to peel away, go ahead and remove them carefully and set aside until you have about 10 - 12 good rollable leaves.
While the cabbage is boiling, prepare the quinoa. Put 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for 20 minutes. Stir every 4 or 5 minutes. Quinoa will be done when most of the liquid has boiled away and the little curly q's have sprouted from the quinoa. Set aside and let cool.
In a medium bowl combine tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, coconut palm sugar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
In another medium bowl combine beat egg, coconut milk, turkey, onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cooled off quinoa.
Put a little over a ¼ cup of turkey mixture into each leaf. Wrap, tuck in the ends and place in baking sheet folded side down.
Again, I’m thinking about my poor freezing cold family and friends back home in Illinois. But anytime is a good time for chili but none more fitting than when it’s cold outside so I made this super nutritious, low fat chili, PALEO, gluten free and vegan optional chili.
The sweet potato and carrot give this chili a subtle sweetness and combined with the spiciness of the cayenne pepper and other seasoning, makes the tastiest combination. This is not your Dads chili.
This chili is super easy, the only things you precook is the turkey and onion and you can cook them in the same pan. Then you dump everything else in your cooker, add the cooked turkey and onion and set the timer. Done and Yum!
You can easily make this vegan buy replacing the turkey with a cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water or by adding more sweet potato and carrot and an extra can of beans.
Baked Chicken in Artichoke Hearts and Spinach – Paleo and Gluten Free
I don’t think I’ve ever liked artichoke hearts as much as I do in the recipe. It took me a really long time to appreciate them just like asparagus. But now like asparagus, I can say I love artichoke hearts.
Artichoke hearts have antioxidants, 9 times more Vitamin C than orange juice or red peppers and 10 grams of soluble fiber per artichoke. Not a bad resume.
Browning the chicken in a pan on the stove prior to baking is totally worth it and I think really makes the recipe go from good to kick ass. I used chicken (bone-in) cut into 8 pieces from Trader Joes. Using a very sharp knife, I removed the skins to make it lower in fat. Use 6 – 8 pieces for a family meal but if its just you and your sweety, 4 pieces will be fine. Just halve the rest of the ingredients.
I also made this same dish with boneless, skinless chicken breast and it came out fantastic too. You’ll prepare everything the same but reduce the baking time by about 5 minutes.
While the chicken is browning on the stove (about 7 – 10 minutes on each side), cut up the onions and carrots. Then once the chicken is browned, remove it to a plate and using the same juices in the pan, saute the onions, carrots, artichokes and garlic. After about 5 minutes, the veggies should be softened up. Now add a bag of fresh baby spinach and once it gets good and wilted, pour everything from your pan into your baking dish and pour the broth over the veggies. Now nestle your chicken pieces in the veggies and broth and bake for 20 – 25 minutes (for bone-in) or 15 – 20 minutes (for boneless). Check to see if its done by slicing into the thickest piece and if there’s no pink, you are good to go.
Baked Chicken in Artichoke Hearts and Spinach - Paleo and Gluten Free
6 - 8 bone-in chicken pieces (thighs, chicken breast, legs) OR 2 - 4 pieces of boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans (14-ounces) quartered artichokes, rinsed and drained
1 yellow onion, diced fine
1 red onion, diced fine
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped OR 2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 bag (6 to 8 ounces) fresh baby spinach
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425.
Heat oil and butter in a large pan.
Brown chicken for about 7 - 10 minutes each side until nicely browned.
Remove chicken from pan and set aside on a plate.
Using the same juices saute the onions, carrots, artichokes and garlic for about 5 minutes or until veggies have softened up.
Add bag of fresh baby spinach to the pan and once it gets good and wilty.
Put the veggies in large baking dish and pour the broth over the top.
Nestle your chicken pieces in the veggies and broth and bake for 20 - 25 minutes for bone-in OR 15 - minutes for boneless. Just cut the pieces open to make sure there is no pink before serving. If you need to cook longer than do 5 minute increments at a time so not to overcook.