If your garden has an abundance of end of the season tomatoes, try this quick late-summer lunch for two. This recipe is vegetarian friendly and loaded with healthy whole foods.
(Photo by Hotblack, Morguefile.com)
End of Summer Garden Pasta
2 Tbs. olive oil
6 sliced shallots (or 1 cup chopped onion)
2 Tbs. minced garlic
1 cup chopped green, yellow or red sweet peppers (whatever grows in your garden!)
3 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes, including the skins
3 cups cooked whole wheat pasta or whole grain rice
Measure olive oil into a non-stick skillet and warm to a medium setting. Saute sliced shallots, minced garlic and chopped peppers until the shallots are opaque. Add the chopped tomatoes and allow the mixture to simmer and reduce for approximately 10 minutes.
For a more hearty sauce, add 1 cup of sausage-flavored soy crumbles (I like the Morningstar Farms brand) to the simmering tomato mixture.
Spoon the sauce over a bed of whole grain spaghetti or whole grain rice.
I crave chocolate-- a lot. Instead of reaching for a high calorie, preservative filled candy bar, my new addiction is a "chocolate-covered banana" smoothie! This sweet treat came about one morning when I realized I was out of vanilla soy milk and rice milk. Hey, chocolate for breakfast is ok, right?
Chocolate-Covered Banana Smoothie
2 1/2 cups of organic chocolate soy milk
2 peeled bananas, broken into chunks
1 cup ice cubes
Place bananas and milk in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Add ice cubes and blend until no ice chunks remain.
If you like rice, you will probably enjoy the small, round grains of quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah").
The grain from South America is considered a base for many meals, much like potatoes or rice. And, quinoa packs a huge nutritional punch. This whole food is high in protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins.
Here is a quick comparison from the Quinoa Corporation:
Quinoa: 16.2% protein
Wheat: 14% protein
Millet: 9.9% protein
Rice: 7.5% rice
A few weeks ago I made a cold salad of chilled quinoa blended with avocado, a splash of lemon juice and a little olive oil in the food processor. Then I topped it with sliced garden tomatoes--and it was delicious, and filling.
If you want to learn more about quinoa, check out:
I must admit, choosing to eat whole foods hasn't been as simple as grazing a salad bar. To maintain proper nutrition, get enough protein in my (vegetarian) diet and feel full, I've had to learn about some foods that used to be foreign to me.
In the past month I've ventured into the world of cooking lentils, split dried peas and quinoa.
And, it was easy.
The hardest part was finding these items at the grocery store.
During my new food adventure, I must admit, my favorite recipe so far comes from Alton Brown, the host of the Food Network show "Good Eats." On the next cool evening, I highly recommend putting a pot of this soup on to simmer!