Meatless Monday Recipes: Forbidden Rice Pilaf courtesy of inSHAPE

Considered by the ancient Chinese to be the finest grain, black rice was
served only to the Emperor and forbidden (hence the name) to commoners.
Fortunately for us, that isn’t the case any longer!

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Considered by the ancient Chinese to be the finest grain, black rice was served only to the Emperor and forbidden (hence the name) to commoners. Fortunately for us, that isn’t the case any longer! Not only can we utilize the grain to add visual impact to our plates, but also for a healthy boost to a dish.  Black rice carries all the great nutritional aspects you’d expect from brown rice with the added boost of heart-healthy antioxidants. Loaded up with walnuts and veggies, this dish is still light but filling and totally easy to prepare!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked black rice
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Preparation:

Drizzle olive oil in sauce pan, and drop tomato, onion and garlic in for a quick sauté.  Once onions are relatively clear and tomato skins are tender, remove from heat. Add a bit of water to deglaze pan then use hand mixer to purée to desired consistency. Add 2 1/2 cups of water and the uncooked rice. Return to low heat and cover. Cook for about 35-40 min.

Toss with veggies and chopped walnuts and serve.

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  

Meatless grilling tips and Dijon Grilled Asparagus & Onions for Meatless Monday

The grill has an obvious association with meat, but with a little effort and creativity it can be utilized to make delicious dishes that will keep you on your Meatless Monday path! Check out these 10 great tips to kick up your meatless grilling, along with a recipe to help you fire up your BBQ.

For those of us shaking off the chill of a long winter season, the first warm(er) days of spring are a most welcome sight. It’s not uncommon to drive through any New England town on a Saturday and see a dude in shorts, a hoodie, and a Red Sox cap grilling in 50-degree weather. Months of 20- and 30-dgree weather will do that to a community!

The grill has an obvious association with meat, but with a little effort and creativity it can be utilized to make delicious dishes that will keep you on your Meatless Monday path!

Check out these 10 hot tips for tasty meatless summer grilling that’ll get you fired up for a healthy BBQ season, courtesy of Meatless Monday:

  1. Many vegetables can be thrown right on the grill with just a light brushing of olive oil (with delicious results)!  Fresh corn, tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, squash and bell peppers are just some to try. 
  2. Kabobs are a BBQ staple that make the perfect meatless entree.  Add tofu cubes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted potatoes or just about any other vegetable that strikes your fancy.
  3. Grilled fruit is amazing too.  For a sweet side dish or dessert, try peach halves, pineapples, plums, melon, kiwi, pears or figs with a touch of honey marinade.
  4. Swap a hamburger for a portobello mushroom burger or grilled eggplant slices.  Put the BBQ’d veggies on a bun and add your favorite toppings, like avocados, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers or an olive spread.
  5. Try a veggie burger recipe that celebrates hearty ingredients like black beans, lentils, quinoa and chickpeas.  You can also find healthy pre-made patties at supermarkets and natural food stores.
  6. Make a delicious, smoky pizza pie right on the grill — all you need is pizza dough, sauce and your favorite vegetables thinly sliced or pre-grilled.
  7. Use your favorite marinade recipe to add flavor to extra firm tofu cubes.  Grill them up and add them to a salad, serve them with veggies or enjoy them on their own.
  8. Add grilled vegetables to a filling summer salad.  Garnish fresh lettuces with a bit of fruit, feta cheese and olive oil to complete the dish; or think beyond lettuce and concoct a bean or grain salad.
  9. Consider your sides when planning a meatless BBQ.  Pasta salads, raw vegetables and hummus dip are great ways to turn your plant-based dishes into a full meal.
  10. End the meal on a healthy note with a tray of fresh fruit, a parfait or homemade smoothies.

Dijon Grilled Asparagus & Onions

Spring onions are grilled with asparagus spears for a smoky sweet flavor as well as a stunning presentation. Sliced shallots, white wine vinegar and dijon mustard provide a savory contrast to season these delectable vegetables.
(This recipe comes to us from Kristina of formerchef.com. Serves 8.)

Ingredients: 

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For the dijon vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the grilled asparagus and onions:

  • 1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1 pound spring onions*, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

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*Spring onions are
sweet onion bulbs attached to greens found in farmer’s markets and the produce
section of grocery stores in Spring and Summer.

To make the Dijon
vinaigrette:

Whisk the sliced shallot, vinegar, olive oil and Dijon
mustard together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To complete the Dijon
Grilled Asparagus & Onions:

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Toss the trimmed asparagus and halved onions in a large bowl
with the tablespoon of olive oil, taking care to ensure all ingredients are
evenly coated.

Place the asparagus spears and spring onions onto the heated
grill, taking care to place the green portion of the spring onions on a cooler
part of the grill. Grill, rotating every 2 minutes or so for about 6 minutes,
or until the asparagus are tender.

Plate the asparagus and onions on a large platter. Drizzle
with the Dijon Vinaigrette and enjoy!

Meatless Monday Recipes: Chilled Spring Veggie Soup courtesy of inSHAPE

Say the phrase, Spring Peas, and you just have to smile! They are so
delicate, sweet, and totally flavorful. They also rock the house with
fiber, macro and micro-nutrients, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Paired with our creamy soup base made with other spring veggies and
pureed roasted chestnuts, this chilled soup is a total palate pleaser.

Say the phrase, Spring Peas, and you just have to smile! They are so delicate, sweet, and totally flavorful. They also rock the house with fiber, macro and micro-nutrients, and anti-inflammatory properties. Paired with our creamy soup base made with other spring veggies and pureed roasted chestnuts, this chilled soup is a total palate pleaser. And for Meatless Monday, it’s a complete meal!.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small (or 1 large onion), chopped in chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7-8 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups fresh bok choy (stems and greens)
  • 10-12 fresh ramps, chopped
  • 10 oz roasted chestnuts (about 24 of them)
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • fresh mint for garnish

Preparation:

Note: To get the most flavorful soup, consider preparing the base the day before.

In a large stock pot over high heat, drizzle olive oil and saute onions and garlic for 5-6 minutes, until onions are transluscent. Don’t let anything burn, but a slight brown is ok. Pour in water, then add salt and pepper, bok choy, and ramps. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and let simmer as long as possible (this is when we put the pot in the bag).

In a small saucepot over low heat, simmer chestnuts in rice milk for 20-25 minutes. If you purchase the roasted nuts in a package, they will already be quite soft, but the rice milk will help soften them even more and help liquefy them in the soup. When you are ready to puree the entire batch, stir the chestnuts into the soup pot and liquefy (I used a hand mixer). Taste for flavor and adjust salt and pepper tastes, then refrigerate over night.

When you are ready to serve the dish, blanche the peas for 1-2 minutes then flash with cold water to cool off. Pour soup over the peas in bowls and garnish with chopped mint. Enjoy.

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.