Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad

This is one of my favorite lunch recipes! It’s simple and easy to prep.  It’s packed with flavor and easily digestible energy sources to keep you going without the slump of the mid-afternoon. Plus every bite is a mouthful of nutrient dense, high fiber foods. Let’s look at a few nutritious components of this salad.

Quinoa

Per 1 Cup

  • 8 grams of Protein
  • 5 grams Fiber
  • 15% RDA of Iron
  • 13% RDA of Zinc
  • Contains a small amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Baby Kale

I enjoy baby kale since it’s easier to chew and can have a sweeter, milder taste than regular curly kale, but pretty much has the same nutritious benefits. So if you want raw kale in your salad, use baby kale next time to see how you like it.

Per 1 Cup

  • 3 grams of Protein
  • 2 grams of Fiber
  • 134% DV of Vitamin C
  • 206% DV of Vitamin K
  • Loaded with powerful Antioxidants

So dig in and enjoy!

Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 4 Servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 15oz can (1 1/2 c) garbanzo beans
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 5 oz pkg of baby kale

Directions

  1. In a small pot, add quinoa and broth and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and mustard. Pour into medium size mixing bowl.
  3. Add the cranberries, shallot, parsley, and garbanzo beans to the medium bowl and mix with the dressing.
  4. Once quinoa is cooled, add to the dressing mixture and combine together.
  5. To serve, take a handful of baby kale and top it with about 1 cup of the quinoa mixture and eat immediately!
  6. To store, keep the quinoa mixture separate from the baby kale until ready to eat.

Nutritional Information

449 Calories | 9.6 g Fat | 1.1 g saturated fat | 0 g Trans Fats | 0 mg Cholesterol | 315 mg Sodium | 72 g Carbohydrates | 13.6 g Fiber | 9.6 g Total Sugar | 18.2 g Protein

Macro Sources

65% Carbohydrates | 19% Fat | 16% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.4 Fruit
  • 2.1 Grain
  • 0.6 Meat Alternative
  • 2.5 Vegetables
Meal Prep

If you are wanting to have this salad for lunches throughout the week, here is how I pack mine. Keep the baby kale separate from the quinoa mixture since it will wilt the leaves, and store in the fridge! As you can see, I have sophisticated meal prep skills. : )

 

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Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Pesto, Cannellini Beans, & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Because spring is here and the weather keeps heating up, having a lighter pasta alternative is a great thing to have. Plus spaghetti squash is already gluten free, low fat, and has fiber. There’s really no losing here.

This is one of my favorite ways to have spaghetti squash, other than regular marinara sauce with other veggies and a protein. This avocado pesto gives you good fats without oil and a creamy texture without dairy. Then adding the cannellini beans or another protein like chicken adds to it to make it a balanced meal. This is a very low calorie meal, so feel free to add in garlic bread, salad, soup, etc.

Spaghetti Squash

Oh spaghetti squash! The vegetable that doesn’t require a spiralizer to make vegetable noodles. I always say, the easier the better, and the less kitchen appliances the better! Or at least it will be more likely that I’ll do it. I enjoy cooking and cooking healthy recipes. However, there is a thing called life and a lot of time it’s the time that gets in the way. So the easier a recipe is, the less time intensive it is, and the less appliances you have to clean after is very important.

You do have too cook spaghetti squash, so it’s not a raw “noodle”, but it’s simple. It makes a lot and you can freeze it or have it as part of a meal prep for the whole week. It does take time to cook, but not a lot of your personal time. If you have never cooked a spaghetti squash before, check out my “How To Cook Spaghetti Squash” post.

Avocado Pesto

This pesto is something you can use on toast, with pasta, as a dip, etc. Usually pesto you find at the store has unnecessary oil and will add cheese to it. Which for here and there is not a bad thing, but if you want a healthier option to make sure the fats you are having are your healthy fats, and if you are trying to stay away from dairy but still want your pesto, check out this recipe!

Avocado Pesto

  • Servings: 1 cup, 4 Servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 2 garlic cloves, raw
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, you can use parmesan if you want dairy

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add 1-3 tablespoons of water to it while blending.
  2. Use right away or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Nutritional Information

1/4 Cup Serving

77 calories | 3.9 g total fat | 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat | 2.5 g monounsaturated fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 535 mg sodium | 6.6 g carbohydrates | 2.9 g fiber | 0.6 g sugar | 5 g protein

Making a Meal or Side Dish

Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Pesto, Cannellini Beans, & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4 servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 medium size spaghetti squash, baked
  • 1 Avocado Pesto Recipe
  • 4 Sun-Dried Tomatoes, dry not packed in oil, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can or 2 cups cooked Cannellini Beans (you can use another protein like chicken if you’d rather)
  • Italian seasoning, if desired
  • Salt and Pepper, if desired

Directions

  1. Heat up the cannellini beans, if not already warmed. You can add Italian seasoning and salt and pepper if you’d like to season them for extra flavor. If warming on the stove, keep the juice from the canned beans and heat them with the seasoning.
  2. Place about 2 cups of spaghetti squash noodles in a serving bowl. Add about 1/4 cup of avocado pesto on top.
  3. Sprinkle with Sun-dried tomatoes & cannellini beans or chicken.
  4. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

1 Serving with Cannellini Beans

153 calories | 5.3 g total fat | 1.1 g polyunsaturated fat | 2.6 g monounsaturated fat | 0.8 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 568 mg sodium | 23 g carbohydrates | 7.4 g fiber | 6.3 g sugar | 7.4 g protein

Okra with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Nothing says spring vegetables better than asparagus and okra to me. Although both are used in the fall too! Okra is one of those things that people either love or hate. If you are a texture person, more than likely you don’t like okra. At restaurants you’ll usually see fried okra, not fresh. I wanted to give you a fresh okra recipe to switch up your sides this spring. Since I was limited when I was younger to what I could have, I’m all about variety now!

Let’s take a minute and talk about okra.

Okra

1 Cup of Okra

  • 33 Calories
  • 0.2 g Total Fat
  • 7 mg Sodium
  • 299 mg Potassium
  • 7 g Carbohydrates
  • 3.3 g Fiber
  • 1.5 g Sugar
  • 1.9 g Protein
  • 38% DV Vitamin C
  • 14% DV Vitamin A
  • 14% DV Magnesium
  • 8% DV Calcium

This vegetable is good for lowering cholesterol, maintaining a good blood glucose level, supports your immune system, and helps to promote a healthy pregnancy due to the vitamins and minerals including folic acid, that it provides. Okra has also been shown in a study to help prevent kidney disease, which is good news for those with diabetes.

On To The Recipe

Okra has been paired with tomatoes since forever, but I like using fire roasted tomatoes for the flavor. Season however you’d like but I like adding a Cajun seasoning mix to mine and fresh garlic. You can have this as a side or make it into a main dish by adding chicken breast and brown rice. If you are vegan or vegetarian, add black eyed peas or butter beans instead of the chicken. Either way, it’s a great dish!

Okra with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

  • Servings: 6 side servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1.5-2 lbs. raw okra, sliced
  • 2 15 oz. cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp Cajun seasoning

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large skillet. Add in the yellow onion and cook until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add in your okra, canned tomatoes, and creole seasoning. Let simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes.
  3. Serve as a side alone, or over rice.

Nutrition Information

Per Side Serving

114 Calories | 4.43 g total fat | 2.0 g monounsaturated fat | 1.2 g polyunsaturated fat | 0.6 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 328 mg sodium | 14.7 g carbohydrates | 7.5 g fiber | 6.5 g sugar | 4 g protein | 65% Vitamin C | 23% Folate | 16% Calcium | 29% Magnesium

Okra with Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Butter Beans

Yum! I just added a can of small butter beans to the mixture and heated it through and ta da! I had my dinner.

 

Dairy Free Parmesan

This is one of those things I keep in my cabinet all the time. It’s great to use as a topping like parmesan for pastas, salads, and anything else. The other good thing is that you can store it in the pantry for a few weeks since it’s all dry ingredients. Simple, dairy-free, and soy-free alternative to parmesan cheese that’s nutritious. Yes please!

Nutritional Yeast

The main ingredient is nutritional yeast. If you have dabbled into vegan cooking you most likely have heard of it. Let’s talk about what it is and what it is not and then look at why it’s nutritious.

  • Nutritional Yeast IS
    • the same type of yeast that’s used to bake bread and brew beer.
  • Nutritional Yeast IS NOT
    • Active yeast
    • Baker’s yeast and Brewer’s yeast is bought as an active ingredient to leaven bread and to brew beer. Nutritional yeast is what is left over after the yeast cells are killed.

What’s left?

A nutty, cheesy flavoring. Most nutritional yeasts on the shelves are fortified with B vitamins and can be a very rich source. Not only that but as a cheesy flavoring that is natural, take a look at the nutritional value.

1/4 cup serving

  • 60 calories
  • 0.5 g fat
  • 5 g carbohydrates
  • 3 g fiber
  • 0 g sugar
  • 8 g protein
  • 980% Thiamin (B-1)
  • 750% Riboflavin (B-2)
  • 290% Niacin (B-3)
  • 350% B-6
  • 460% Folate
  • 730% B-12

Good news, B vitamins are water soluble and is not stored in the body, so taking high amounts of b-vitamins is not a concern. They are known to help with energy by aiding in digestion, they are neurotransmitters so they help reduce the chance of stroke, helps with memory, hormone production and health, building blood cells, and maintaining healthy nerve cells.

I can’t say your regular cheesy topping can do all of that.

 

So here is my recipe for a flavorful cheesy topping with some major added nutritional benefits!

Dairy Free Parmesan

  • Servings: Makes 1/2 cup, 1 tbsp per serving, 8 servings
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt, optional
  • Dash of pepper if desired

Directions

  1. Pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor until combined
  2. Store in an air tight container and store in the pantry for a few weeks. Top everything with it!

Nutritional Information

43 calories | 1.8 g total fat | 0.1 g saturated fat | 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.3 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 22.5 mg sodium | 2.9 g carbohydrates | 1.9 g fiber | 0.5 g sugar | 3.8 g protein

Energy Sources

26% Carbohydrates | 38% Fat | 36% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion

N/A

Greek Chickpea Salad or Pita Filling

This is a great recipe to add to your meal prep for lunches. I always look for lunches that won’t “bring me down” come the mid-afternoon slump. Sometimes you just can’t avoid it, but I do notice that whatever I eat for lunch can directly effect it. Easily digestible carbohydrates and raw food always keeps me running! Not all people are the same, but for me this recipe truly does the trick for busy days. Whether I have it as is, a bean salad, or I have it in a whole wheat pita – this is something I keep in mind for lunches.

Let’s talk a little about why this recipe is nutritious.

Chickpeas
  • High in Fiber – Good for Weight Management and Bowel Health
  • Can Help to Reduce LDL (bad) Cholesterol
  • Omega-3 Fats – Reduce Inflammation
  • Good Source of Protein
  • Rich in Minerals for Bone Health
Low-Fat Yogurt
  • Good Bacteria for Gut Health & Immune Health
    • Relieves bloating and cramping
    • Combats bacteria in the stomach and intestines that can cause infection.
    • Helps prevent yeast infections by balancing pH levels
Cucumbers
  • Promotes Detoxification by Helping the Liver
  • Balances pH in Body
  • Balances Blood Sugar
    • A hormone in cucumbers helps the pancreas to utilize insulin
  • High in Vitamins & Minerals for Eye, Bone, Teeth, and Nail Health

Meal Prep Tip

If you are making this in advance, make sure to pat dry the chopped cucumber and tomatoes before adding them to the bowl. This will dry up excess water/juice so that the salad doesn’t become watered down the next day or two when you eat it.

Greek Chickpea Salad or Pita Filling

  • Servings: 4 Servings
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Ingredients

  • 2 cans chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain yogurt
  • juice from 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, if desired
  • whole wheat pitas, if using

Directions

  1. Take the chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, and cherry tomatoes and stir together.
  2. In a small bowl make the yogurt sauce. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, fresh dill, and garlic and combine.
  3. Add the yogurt sauce to the chickpea mixture and taste. If desired, add salt and pepper.
  4. Serve immediately as a bean salad, in pitas, or store for later.

Nutritional Information

349 calories | 5.5 g total fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 2.1 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.1 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 1.2 mg cholesterol | 484 mg sodium | 56 g carbohydrates | 15.5 g fiber | 11.2 g sugar | 19.1 g protein

Macros

64% Carbohydrates | 14% Fat | 22% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.3 Fruit
  • 1.2 Meat Alternative
  • 0.2 Milk Alternative
  • 2.8 Vegetables

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash

The original “zoodle”, spaghetti squash! Spaghetti squash is something easy to make, you just need to know how and to have the time to prep it before. Depending on the size of the squash, it can make a lot, so my suggestion would be to make sure you have people to share it with or have a few different sauces to eat with it throughout the week for meal prep. It doesn’t have much of a taste so any sauce will be the taste. Marinara, pesto, lemon garlic, creamy mushroom, red wine sauce, etc. The dishes are endless. Soon I’ll be sharing some of my sauces to have with spaghetti squash for a lighter and more nutrient dense pasta alternative that’s gluten free.

When I think of spaghetti squash I think of the first time I had it. When my mother was going through chemo treatments, she was trying to eat more organic foods and to stay away from starchy processed white foods. Since spaghetti was a weekly meal for us then, and now, she decided to try it out. It was delicious! The texture is different than pasta, but it is still soft and you can still twirl your fork around and enjoy slurping your favorite sauce!

So let’s get started and I’ll share the nutritional facts after.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Scoop out the center with the seeds.
  • Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash in half.
  • Scoop out the center and any seeds.
  • Rub with a small amount of olive oil and salt and pepper if desired.
  • Lay face down and stab with a knife 5-6 times on each side.
  • Once oven is preheated, put in the oven for at least 40 minutes. Depending on the size it might take up to 1 hour.
Bake for 40-60 minutes depending on size.
  • When the skin of the squash looks a little wrinkled and the bottom is started to brown, your squash is ready!
  • Cool for a few minutes and then flip them upside down. With a fork from the longer side toward the center start pulling away the strings.
  • Add with your favorite sauce and enjoy!
Spaghetti squash ready to use and eat!
Nutritional Information

There are nutritional benefits to both, especially if the grain version is a whole grain pasta whether gluten free or whole wheat. But this is a simple and easy way to lighten your pasta bowl and not feel stuffed and bloated after eating a full bowl, or two, of spaghetti. Check out the differences.

1 Cup Spaghetti Squash

  • 31 Calories
  • 0.6 g total fat
  • 7 g carbohydrates
  • 1.5 g fiber
  • 2.8 g sugar
  • 0.6 g protein
  • 2% Vitamin A
  • 3% Vitamin C
  • 2% Calcium
  • 3% Magnsium

1 cup Regular Spaghetti Pasta

  • 221 Calories
  • 1.3 g total fat
  • 43 g carbohydrates
  • 2.5 g fiber
  • 0.8 g sugar
  • 8 g protein
  • 0% Vitamin A
  • 0% Vitamin C
  • 1% Calcium
  • 6% Magnesium

Less Fat Mushroom Stroganoff

There is something about stroganoff to me that is comforting and screams of home. Like the comfort foods post I made a few months ago, this is one of the meals I will make more for it to be a comfort than anything else. However, I’ve made it to be dairy-free and lower in fat than the usual stroganoff so the comfort food is a little more tailored to my needs other than being comforting. The reason why it’s “less fat” instead of “low-fat” is because “low-fat” means that there are 3 grams or less fat per serving. This recipe, there is 5 g or less per serving. So although I can’t technically say it’s “low fat”, it’s pretty close! Let’s take a look at the swaps.

Plain Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream

Sour cream is usually what makes the stroganoff creamy. But using plain yogurt instead you can cut the fat and calories dramatically. The information below uses plain whole milk yogurt. You can even make it lower in fat and higher in protein if you use low-fat Greek yogurt. For myself, to make it dairy-free, I use a plain unsweetened almond yogurt by Kite Hill. The information for that yogurt is somewhere between the plain yogurt and the low-fat sour cream listed below. But the example given, is to just give you a rough estimate of what happens when switching from sour cream to yogurt.

It’s such a simple swap! Whenever I use this swap I do notice the sauce is a little thinner, but is still creamy. Since both sour cream and yogurt are cultured, they both have a similar taste so the flavor doesn’t have to change very much either. If you haven’t notice I’ll use plain yogurt instead of another form of cream in a lot of recipes, and there will be more to come. It has a better ratio of protein, carbs, and fat compared to the alternatives which helps make the dish more balanced.

Other Substitutions

Dairy Free/Nut Free

To make this dairy-free I used the plain almond milk yogurt from Kite Hill. There are other nut-free and dairy-free plain yogurts out there that can be substituted.

Gluten Free

I’ve had this over brown rice, and even like a gravy over a baked potato. If there is not a gluten free pasta that you like, I’d try these options with it. To thicken the sauce, instead of using all-purpose flour, use your favorite gluten-free version like garbanzo flour instead.

Lower Starch/Lower Calorie

Instead of pasta, rice, or a baked potato, you can bake a spaghetti squash and use that as your noodles/base instead. Until I have my own instructions with pictures on using spaghetti squash, here is a step by step from Livestrong.com.

Red Wine

The other swap is that most stroganoff recipes use white wine. I love using red wine for this recipe for a couple reasons.

  • Red wine and mushrooms together are one of my favorites. It has a richer and deeper flavor.
  • Red Wine has antioxidants that white wine does not which is good for your heart health, and usually has less sugar content.

So dig in to a comforting but nutritious, more balanced, dish!

I’ll have the nutrition information for both whole wheat pasta and using spaghetti squash for one extreme to the other.

Less Fat Mushroom Stroganoff

  • Servings: 4 Servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil, optional
  • 16 oz mushrooms, portobello or white mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup flour, or garbanzo flour
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt, (I use Kite Hill for dairy-free)
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk, or unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1 lb. rotini pasta, or 4-5 cups cooked brown rice, or 4-5 cups spaghetti squash
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

  1. Cook pasta to package directions, or brown rice. If using spaghetti squash, bake it and let it cook before opening and pulling out the “spaghetti”.
  2. If not using a non-stick skillet, heat up oil in a large skillet and add the onion and mushrooms. Cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms are smaller. Add in the balsamic and Worcestershire sauce. Add in garlic. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together in a bowl the vegetable broth, red wine, and flour until there are no more clumps. When ready, add to the skillet and let simmer until the sauce starts to thicken.
  4. Add in the yogurt and milk and continue to thicken for another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Add in pasta, rice, or spaghetti squash when ready and toss with the sauce.
  6. Serve immediately. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Nutritional Information

With Whole Wheat Pasta

302 calories | 5 g fat | 1 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.8 g monounsaturated fat | 2 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 10 mg cholesterol* | 616 mg sodium | 53 g carbohydrates | 3.4 g fiber | 12 g sugar | 13 g protein | 14% Vitamin A | 11% Vitamin C | 32% Folate | 15% Calcium | 16% Magnesium | 18% Iron

With Spaghetti Squash

192 calories | 4.8 g fat | 0.7 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.6 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 10 mg cholesterol* | 550 mg sodium | 31 g carbohydrates | 3.5 g fiber | 15 g sugar | 8.8 g protein | 19% Vitamin A | 13% Vitamin C | 17% Folate | 17% Calcium | 15% Magnesium | 13% Iron

*Cholesterol is there only if using dairy products.

Know Your Ingredients: The Many Names of Wheat

Next on my “Know Your Ingredients” blog posts, is about the names of wheat and what products can contain wheat. There are many different reasons for avoiding wheat and needing to know the information in this post. There were some things I was not aware of. There are 3 major reasons why people avoid wheat.

  • Celiac Disease: This is an autoimmune disorder that shows itself in a reaction while ingesting gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. The reaction causes villous atrophy (flattening of the cells lining the small intestine) which can lead to malabsorption of nutrients, which then can lead to other health issues. There are over 200 related symptoms to celiac disease but some of them involve anemia, behavioral changes, stunted growth, joint pain, and head aches.
  • Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity or Gluten Sensitivity: This is not well defined. It is not an autoimmune disorder like celiac disease, and it is not an immune response like an allergy. There is more research and seeing if there are other components involved in causing the symptoms. The only way this is diagnosed is to rule out celiac disease and a wheat allergy, but following a gluten free diet is beneficial and improves symptoms.
  • Wheat Allergy: This, like other food allergies, is an immune reaction to any of the hundreds of proteins found in wheat, not just gluten. There is an immune reaction which one type of white blood cell sends out IgE antibodies to “attack” wheat and the rest of the body might send other chemical reactions to warn the rest of the body. This can involve abdominal pain, itching, swelling, nausea, swelling, trouble breathing, or anaphylaxis shock to name a few. The person might have to avoid wheat, but might not have to avoid gluten from non-wheat sources.

The only way to know the reason for any reaction, is to get tested. Wheat was one of the food allergies I had as a kid and eventually grew out of with age, and gluten doesn’t seem to bother me. However, one thing I do know, is that mixing your grains and getting a variety is helpful still. If I have too much wheat or gluten in the form of seitan (soy-free plant based ‘meat’ alternative) I will have some cramping and digestion upsets. So even if you do not have an allergy, sensitivity, or an autoimmune disorder that you know of, limiting or exchanging sources of wheat in your everyday diet is not a bad thing to do in general.

Photo by Shalitha Dissanayaka on Unsplash

Just like corn and soy, wheat is in “everything”. Here is a list I got from Kids with Food Allergies.

***Note a lot of the reasons for avoiding wheat is because of gluten, but this post is for wheat in general. Not a list of ingredients that can contain gluten, but can contain wheat as a whole.

Contains Wheat
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Bread (made with any kind of wheat flour, white flour, or bread crumbs)
  • Bulgar Wheat
  • Cereal Extract
  • Couscous
  • Cracker Meal
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer aka Farro
  • Farina
  • Flour (atta, club, common, durum, einkorn, emmer, farina, graham, kamut, maida, semolina, spelt, triticale, triticum)
  • Flour (all-purpose, bread, bromated, cake, enriched, high gluten, high protein, instant pastry, phosphated, plain, soft wheat, steel ground, stone, ground, self-rising, unbleached, white, whole wheat)
  • Fu
  • Gluten (wheat gluten, vital gluten, vital wheat gluten, fu)
  • Kamut (khorasan wheat)
  • Malt, Malt Extract
  • Matzo (Matzo Meal, matzoh, matzah, matza)
  • Noodles, pasta
  • Sietan
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Tabbouleh
  • Triticale
  • Triticum
  • Wheat, whole wheat (Wheat berries, wheat bran, whole wheat bread, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, wheat germ oil, wheat protein isolate, wheat starch, wheat sprouts, sprouted wheat)
  • Wheatgrass
Can Include Wheat
  • Artificial flavoring, natural flavoring
  • Caramel Color
  • Dextrin
  • Food Starch, gelatinized starch, modified starch, modified food starch, vegetable starch
  • Glucose syrup
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) and Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • Maltodextrin
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • Oats
  • Soy Sauce, Shoyu, Tamari, Teriyaki Sauce
  • Surimi
  • Vegetable Gum
  • Personal Care Items like make-up, shampoo, etc. can contain wheat ingredients.
Cross Contamination / Cross Reactivity

If you are needing to absolutely avoid gluten or wheat, know that cross contamination can happen with manufactured products. Unless they are a “gluten free” manufacturer, there can be small amounts of gluten or wheat that can make it’s way into the package. Most labels will have “made in a factory with …” and it will have wheat among the list. Know that you can react to those products.

Cross reactivity can happen when plants are similar and have similar proteins to one another. For instance, if you are allergic to wheat, there is a 20% chance you could be allergic to other grains. To make sure always get tested.

In Conclusion

Always get tested when you are questioning what it is you might have. Whether you have been diagnosed with a disease, allergy, sensitivity, or looking to limit your wheat intake keep in mind the list here. The other thing, is trying to buy and eat things without a label: fresh fruits, vegetables, other grains (can also have gluten-free on the package, like oats), nuts, seeds, etc. You won’t have to go as crazy as you might think reading labels if you eat whole foods that naturally do not contain gluten or wheat ingredients.

Garbanzo Flour Eggs

Since February is “Heart Health Month”, I thought I’d share with you an egg alternative that is truly heart healthy, and not just because it’s cholesterol-free. There has been studies that show it’s more the saturated fat than the dietary cholesterol that raises bad cholesterol. And although that might be true, eggs are one of the most dietary-cholesterol dense foods out there. So although there might be worse things for you to eat, especially when watching your cholesterol, limiting your intake of dietary cholesterol will help too.

Eggs are one of the things I craved when making the switch to being plant based. I have them here and there but it makes my stomach feel heavy and sometimes I’ll feel like I’m going to get sick about an hour after eating them. So I’ve looked for other options and here is an easy recipe to make at home for those staying away from eggs. Whether that’s because of an allergy, you’re watching your cholesterol, or are plant-based.

This recipe uses garbanzo flour. Since garbanzo beans have a sulfuric taste and smell, they do great for making an egg substitute. There is also a black salt called “kala namak”, usually found in Indian grocery stores, that has a sulfuric taste and smell too that you can use instead of regular salt. Note that it isn’t just “black salt” that you can find some places, but you will have to find something titled “kala namak”.

So let’s still talk about garbazo bean flour for a second and learn why this isn’t just an alternative egg recipe, but also a nutritious one.

Garbanzo Flour
  • High in Fiber to help with Weight Management, Heart Health, Stabilize Blood Sugar
  • Beans like Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), help to Lower Cholesterol Naturally
  • Lowers Inflammation
  • Improves Immune Fuction
  • Easily Digestible & Gluten-Free
Basic Recipe & What I Use

Before I show you the base recipe I use at home, I wanted to give you the equation I use for making garbanzo eggs.

1/4 garbanzo flour to 1/4 liquid = 1 large egg

The Liquid I Use

I use to use water but found that it came out dry. I used almond milk and it helped a little, but then I started using the liquid from a can of chickpeas known as “aquafaba” or bean water. It has proteins in it from the beans. Because of that, when whipped it can even be used in place of egg whites in some recipes. Since I use a can of chickpeas at least once a week, I just put the chickpeas in a container and store it in the fridge and use the liquid from the can. Easy as that!

It still comes out a little dry compared to normal eggs, but when you use it with other veggies and add a sauce it’s great! It does better as being an omelet since scrambling it can be a little bit of a hassle, but can still work!

Cholesterol-Free Garbanzo Flour Eggs

  • Servings: Makes 2-3 eggs worth, 1-2 servings
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 c garbanzo flour
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba (liquid from 1 can chickpeas)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • turmeric, for color
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste (or kala namak salt)

Directions

  1. Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl. Once it is combined, pour into skillet. If you are using a non-stick skillet you will not need to add any oil. If you do not have a non-stick skillet, use a small amount of oil before pouring. Heat the skillet on medium heat.
  2. Once the batter starts to bubble in the middle like a pancake would you can either flip it if you are going to use it as an omelet or start to scramble it with the spatula. You might have to cut it after it’s done to scramble it more once it’s out of the pan.
  3. It usually takes about 5-10 minutes for it to cook.

If you are wanting to make a scramble with veggies, the scrambling becomes easier since it won’t stick to itself as easily. I’m sure I’ll be adding some omelet or veggie scramble recipes soon using garbanzo flour.

Nutritional Information for Whole Recipe

107 calories | 1.8 g total fat | 0.2 g saturated fat | 0.7 g polyunsaturated fat | 0.4 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 181 mg sodium | 16.9 g carbohydrates | 2.9 g fiber | 2.6 g sugar | 6.0 g protein

Macro Sources

63% Carbohydrates | 15% Fat | 22% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 1.1 Meat Alternative
  • 0.5 Vegetables

Green Beans & Tomatoes with Fresh Oregano

Stewed tomatoes and green beans just go together. This is one of the side dishes I keep in mind any time of year and can go with just about anything. Simple ingredients, simple instructions, and so good! Nutritionally let’s look at the benefits of using fresh oregano. Sometimes we forget how powerful our fresh herbs are and what they bring to the table other than flavor. Fresh herbs are powerhouses of nutrients and antioxidants which is nice since we usually use a small amount of them when we cook. Here are some interesting facts about oregano, as well as many other herbs in general.

Fresh Oregano
  • Powerhouse of Antioxidants – 42 times the antioxidants found in apples
  • Improves Immune System
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Significant of Crucial Minerals for Bone Health

Dried herbs have their purpose in cooking, but to get the full benefit it’s always good to use fresh herbs when you can.

Green Beans & Tomatoes with Fresh Oregano

  • Servings: 4 Servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, ends snapped
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a medium pan on medium-high heat. If you are using a non-stick pot, you can put the heat on medium and cook the onions without oil. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Toss in the green beans, tomatoes, broth, oregano, and parsley. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the green beans are at the desired tenderness. I usually wait until the green beans are a dark rich green color, like the picture, and turn off the heat.
  3. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Add lemon juice and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

158 calories | 7.4 g total fat | 1.4 g saturated fat | 1.6 g polyunsaturated fat | 6.4 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 192 mg sodium | 18.5 g carbohydrates | 5.6 g fiber | 4.6 g sugar | 4.2 g protein

Macros

47% Carbohydrates | 42% Fat | 11% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion

3.0 Vegetables