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Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini-super easy healthy dinner you can make ahead of time. Incredibly delicious! Taste Love and Nourish

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted anything. January is one of the most hectic months for me. Most of my days have involved lots of numbers, too much paperwork, and just basically, trying to pack away twenty-thirteen and start a fresh new year.

But…in between all of that…I made this. Twice. In one week.

There’s just so much I love about this dish. Aside from how delicious it is, this meal is super healthy, easy to make, and can be prepared in advance and baked a day or even two later. Zucchini has a high water content, making it low in calories. So, once you stuff it with some flavorful veggies and the protein rich superfood quinoa, top with just a bit of mozzarella…you’ve got an amazing healthy meal. This is a light dish, so I serve it with a nice big salad or a bowl of hot soup.

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini-super easy healthy dinner you can make ahead of time. Incredibly delicious! Taste Love and Nourish

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium red pepper, finely diced
2 Roma tomatoes or 1/2 C. grape tomatoes, finely diced
6 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 – 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 C. baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 C. cooked red quinoa
3 – 4 large fresh basil leaves, torn
1 T. Parmesan, grated (optional)
1/2 C. mozzarella, grated

In a 12″ skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, onion and red pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté just until the onion softens a bit.

While you wait for the onions to soften, scoop just a bit of each zucchini out with a round scoop (or use a round measuring spoon). Chop the scooped bits up into a small dice put the zucchini aside.

Add the tomato, zucchini bits, thyme leaves and some salt and pepper to the pan. Continue to sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach wilts down.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the cooked quinoa and sprinkle with some fresh basil leaves. Add the Parmesan if using. Stir to combine and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment for easy clean up. Arrange the zucchini on the sheet. Using a small spoon (I use a regular teaspoon) divide the mixture between all of the zucchini. Cover the baking sheet with foil. You can refrigerate at this point up to a couple of days if you’d like to serve it later. Otherwise, place the sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, covered.

After 30 minutes, uncover and top each zucchini with some mozzarella. Place the sheet back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. If you’d like a browner top, raise the rack in the oven to the highest spot.

Remove from the oven and serve.

Serves 6.

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini-super easy healthy dinner you can make ahead of time. Incredibly delicious! Taste Love and Nourish

Notes:

  • To yield one cup of cooked quinoa, cook 1/3 cup of dry quinoa in about 2/3 cup of water. I like to prepare a whole pot of quinoa (1 cup quinoa in 2 cups of water. It will yield 3 cups cooked). I love having cooked quinoa in the fridge. Use it as breakfast with vanilla almond milk and some fruit, warm it up and top it with an egg or add it to some sautéed veggies as a great side dish with dinner or for lunch! Quinoa is pretty awesome!
  • I love red quinoa. I use it most. I think the red quinoa is just a bit less bitter. Another trick to using quinoa is to rinse it in a fine mesh sieve before cooking. That removes the saponins that can cause that bitter taste.
  • I cover the zucchini while baking because if you don’t, the quinoa will get a bit crunchy.
  • If you’d like, you can try topping this dish with a bit of a light marinara sauce!
  • If you love this dish, you won’t want to miss my Vegetable Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms!
  • To keep this vegan, eliminate the Parmesan and mozzarella. Use vegan substitutes if you’d like.

 

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini-super easy healthy dinner you can make ahead of time. Incredibly delicious! Taste Love and Nourish
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Apple Pie Smoothie Two Ways

Apple Pie Smoothie Two Ways
Apple Pie Smoothie Two Ways

This is what you make when you want your pie, but not the fat or empty calories! You may remember when I turned Blueberry Cobbler into a smoothie! Well, I’ve been feeling inspired since then to turn every one of my favorite desserts into a healthy smoothie!

I first developed this as a green smoothie…and it was incredible! I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Then I figured, there may be some of you out there who might find the green unappealing. So, I’m including the non-green version! I have to say, if you make this smoothie both ways and taste test, you’ll see what I mean when I say, “You’ll never, ever taste the green!” And honestly, my whole family actually prefers the green version! Give it a try and let me know which you like best!

Apple Pie Smoothie Two Ways

about 6 ice cubes
1 organic apple, washed, quartered and cored (leave the skin on)
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 C. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 t. cinnamon (I use Saigon cinnamon, see Notes)
pinch allspice
1 t. ground flaxseed (optional)
1 T. chopped walnuts (optional)
1 -2 large handfuls of spinach (just for the green version)
stevia, if desired

Put all ingredients, except for the stevia (and except for the spinach if you are going non-green), into the blender. Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy. Give it a taste to check the sweetness and add the stevia accordingly.

Serves 2 small servings or 1 large serving.

 

Notes:

  • I experimented with adding about a quarter cup of oats to this smoothie. It was OK, but adds a chewiness to it. Go ahead and add it if you think you’d like that. I prefer the ground flax. It adds a nice nuttiness, extra fiber and omegas without changing the texture.
  • If you are using plain almond milk, you may want to add 1/2 t. of vanilla extract.
  • I use Saigon cinnamon in this recipe. You can use any cinnamon you have. I like the Saigon cinnamon because it has a much bolder flavor that I really like!
  • Don’t add stevia until you’ve blended the smoothie and given it a taste. Depending on the sweetness of your apple and banana, you may not need it at all. I used it on my third test and it was way too sweet!