I have a confession to make. I've really fallen off the healthy lifestyle wagon this year. I've been super busy and feeling totally unmotivated, which has resulted in a lot of ordering in and a lack of regular exercise. Consequently, I haven't been looking or feeling my best the last couple of months. BUT, I'm back on track! The past two weeks I've been eating healthy again (minus the occasional weekend treat) and have upped my workouts back to 5 times a week. I can't wait until the Chicago weather warms up enough for me to start running again, but until then I'm doing a combination of spin and barre classes at a local studio. (Quick plug: Fit Girl Studio in Lincoln Park is wonderful and I recommend it to all ladies in the area. They do spin, yoga, and barre, all of which are fantastic.)
As part of my return to healthy eating, I've been trying to bring my lunch to work, instead of going out all the time (added bonus: saving lots of money!). Enter Mediterranean quinoa bowl. It's a super well-rounded, healthy dish that's so delicious, I don't miss eating out. The dish highlights some of my favorite Mediterranean ingredients, such as roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, feta cheese, and Marcona almonds. The originial recipe is a little more bare bones, but features capers and broccolini. I can't stand capers and my local market doesn't stock broccolini, but feel free to use either. I added in the Marcona almonds, but toasted pine nuts would be great too (just not as healthy).
This quinoa salad makes an excellent brown bag lunch, but it's also hearty enough to fill me up at dinnertime after a tough workout. The recipe makes about 5 servings for an eater such as myself, maybe 3 for a voracious eater such as Pat. So it's a nice thing to make on a Sunday or Monday night and have lying around for the rest of the week. It tastes great served warm or chilled and is perfect with a glass of white wine. I've really been digging this Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc as of late. Cheers to healthy eating!
|This quinoa salad makes a great side, but is also hearty enough to be a meal on its own|
Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl
Serves 5 (or 3 big eaters)
1 c quinoa
2 c chicken broth, vegetable broth or water (I used Progresso Tuscan style chicken broth)
3/4-1 c broccoli florets
14 oz can of chickpeas, drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked fresh chickpeas)
7 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced into thin strips
6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
4 oz block of feta, cut into cubes
3 tbsp roasted salted marcona almonds
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1 tbsp high quality olive oil
Dash of red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
First make the quinoa: bring quinoa and broth (or water) to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer the quinoa (minus any residual liquid) to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
While quinoa is simmering, cook broccoli. I like to cook mine in the microwave because it's quick and easy, but if you prefer another method, go for it. If cooking in the microwave, place broccoli in a medium bowl with about 1/4 c water and cover (I just put a plate over the top of my bowl). Microwave in 30-second increments until broccoli reaches your desired doneness, 2-4 minutes.
Add broccoli to bowl with quinoa. Then add in chickpeas, roasted red peppers, artichokes, feta, almonds, parsley, Meyer lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and oregano. Mix well. Taste for salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Enjoy warm or cold. Keeps well in the fridge.
Source: adapted from Sprouted Kitchen