Campfire Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry with Quinoa

stir fry

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Campfires are an essential element to all great summers, and this year, I hit the ground running. In mid-June, the season kicked off with a trip to Acadia National Park. While my sweetheart prefers sleeping under the stars, I tend to gravitate towards luxury hotels. One night of camping followed by an evening in charming Bar Harbor was the ultimate win-win.

Aside from the beautiful mountain views, the best part of camping, is of course, the food. S’mores are wonderful, but a girl cannot survive on chocolate stuffed grahams alone, especially after hours of hiking. Therefore, 99% of my vacation preparation was spent brainstorming the perfect campfire meal.

The trusty cast iron skillet was a mandatory passenger on our trip, so a one-pot meal, like stir fry, quickly proved to be our winner. I opted for quinoa instead of the usual brown rice, because it is one of the quickest cooking whole grains, often requiring only 12-15 minutes of cook time. The chicken was a welcome, hearty choice after a day on the trails, but if you’re looking to keep this plant based, you can also sub tofu or shelled edamame.

Stir Fry Collage

Campfire Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry with Quinoa

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 pound chopped mixed vegetables (we set aside about a 1/2 cup of the veggies for breakfast the next morning)
  • 6-12 oz grilled chicken
  • 2-4 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

Method:

  1. Get a good fire going!
  2. Add quinoa and 1 cup water to camping pot and cover.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking,  warm oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over the fire, then add the veggies, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
  5. Once the quinoa water starts bubbling, and the onions start to become translucent, add the chicken to the skillet. The quinoa needs to cook until all of the water is absorbed, and the grain sprouts a curly “tail”.
  6. When the quinoa looks like it’s almost ready, add the teriyaki sauce to the skillet, then stir well to combine.
  7. Once the quinoa is cooked, add the quinoa to the skillet, and stir to incorporate it into the teriyaki mixture.
  8. Divide the stir fry onto two plates, for serving. If there is any leftover after serving, cover the pan in foil so that it stays warm if anyone wants seconds. Best enjoyed in front of a crackling fire.

Nutrition per Serving: 570 calories, 21g fat (2.5g saturated fat), 46g carbohydrates (7g fiber, 10g sugar*), 48g protein, 124mg cholesterol, 310mg sodium, 37% Vitamin A, 234% Vitamin C, 7% Calcium, 20% Iron

*estimated added sugars: 4.5g

Acadia National Park

^^ Beautiful Acadia

– Kelly

10 Healthy Apple Recipes

Apple Picking at Green Mountain Orchard in Putney, VT

This weekend I ventured out to Vermont for an afternoon of leaf peeping and apple picking. The first stop was Green Mountain Orchards in Putney. They aren’t organic, but at least they practice IPM (integrated pest management). Next up was a late lunch in Brattleboro. We ate at Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery, a fun biergarten (the red building in the photo below) that overlooks the Connecticut River. Vermont never disappoints, but the fall foliage this weekend was especially stunning.

Brattleboro, VT

After coming home with approximately 30 apples (and that was just my half of the haul!) I am excited to get in the kitchen and start experimenting. Have you stocked up on this ubiquitous fall fruit? Here are ten healthy apple recipes (obligatory apple pie not included)…

Slow Cooker Apple Sauce

1. Slow Cooker Apple Sauce // The Kitchn

I’m always looking for ways to get more use out of my slow cooker, so this recipe was a no-brainer. Apple sauce isn’t usually a pantry staple for me, but these fragrant, stewed apples have been great to stir into my oatmeal in the mornings. For a snack, I like to stir a spoonful of natural peanut butter into my applesauce. You can also layer it with yogurt and granola, or use it to sweeten baked goods.

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal

2. Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal // Monica Matheny, The Yummy Life

This is a great recipe that I’ve turned back to over the years. These days I don’t use nearly as much sugar as the original recipe calls for, and I tend to up the flax seed as well.

Teff Porridge with Apples, Dates and Pecans

3. Teff Porridge with Apples, Dates and Pecans // Aube Giroux, PBS Food

For those that haven’t tried teff (a porridge-y , African whole grain with undertones of cocoa), this recipe is a great way to familiarize yourself with a new healthy ingredient.

Apple, Almond and buckwheat muffins

4. Apple, Almond, and Buckwheat Muffins // Green Kitchen Stories

These muffins are filled with a sweet surprise: a gooey, applesauce center. I don’t usually bake gluten free, but I love that this recipe is heavy on healthy, wholesome ingredients.

Israeli Couscous and Apple Salad

5. Israeli Couscous and Apple Salad // Delish

Crunchy apples and tangy feta are a winning combo. For a more flavorful, nutritious twist, swap out the Israeli couscous for whole wheat couscous, bulgur or quinoa.

Whole Wheat Bread, Apple and Cranberry Dressing

6. Whole Wheat Bread, Apple and Cranberry Dressing // Martha Rose Schulman, New York Times

Thanksgiving in a bowl. Need I say more?

French Lentil Soup with Parsnip & Apple

7. French Lentil Soup with Parsnip and Apple // Dana

Hearty lentil soup is one of my absolute favorite foods, so I’m dying to try this apple and parsnip studded stew.

Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf

8. Glazed Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf // Oh She Glows

While some of my friends and family will undoubtedly be turned off the idea of a veggie loaf, this nutty lentil loaf looks deliciously hearty to me. They’ll come around to meatless mains soon enough!

Roasted Acorn Squash and Apples with Quinoa, Kale, and Tahini Maple Dressing

9. Roasted Acorn Squash and Apples with Quinoa, Kale, and Tahini Maple Dressing // Edible Perspective 

I am on a huge tahini kick lately, so this autumn squash bowl is calling my name. For those that haven’t experimented with tahini (outside of its supporting role in hummus) prepare to be amazed.

Butternut Squash Apple Pear Crisp

10. Butternut Squash Apple Pear Crisp // Edible Perspective

I love that this recipe incorporates rich winter squash into the classic apple crisp, for a welcome boost in both flavor and nutrition.

– Kelly

Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds

Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds 1

Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds

Blueberries, oats, Greek yogurt, almonds… the gang’s all here! These are basically all of the go-to “superfoods” in a dietitian’s arsenal, so naturally I had to combine them into one recipe.

Instead of my usual splash of milk, thick and creamy Greek yogurt offers more protein and probiotics, and helps keep you full. I usually hesitate to add refined sweeteners to porridge, but the scant ½ teaspoon of maple syrup here (yes, I got out the measuring spoons) is just the right touch of sweetness to tie the ingredients together. This is a prime example of “everything in moderation.” I don’t necessarily say no to sugar, but I insist that it be used with care.

This recipe was inspired by my mom, who always cooks her oats with a large handful of frozen blueberries. We’re obsessed with these particular oats from Bob’s Red Mill, so she sent me home with a large package the last time I was in Houston. The texture is what makes this Scottish oatmeal unique; it’s somewhere between steel cut oatmeal and cream of wheat. But just like my tried-and-true rolled oats, this creamy breakfast is microwave friendly and ready in a flash. Plus, if you do it my way, you end up with purple oatmeal. How’s that for a Monday morning?

Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds 3

Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Scottish Oats
  • 1/3 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat Organic)
  • 2 tablespoons almonds (about 16 almonds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

Method:

  1. Combine the oats, blueberries, and water in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Then stir the mixture, and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. (Trust me about the large bowl.)
  2. Let the oatmeal sit in the microwave for one minute (this is the hardest part). Then, transfer oatmeal to a serving bowl if desired.
  3. Stir in the Greek yogurt, drizzle the top of the oatmeal with a scant 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup, then top with almonds and serve.

Nutrition per Serving: 350 calories, 11g fat (1g saturated fat), 22g protein, 40g carbohydrates (11g sugar*, 8g fiber), 6mg cholesterol, 42mg sodium, 1% Vitamin A, 2% Vitamin C, 21% Calcium, 16% Iron

*Only 2g added sugars, all of the rest are naturally occuring

– Kelly

Summer Harvest Linguine with Cannellini Beans

Whole Grain Linguine with Wheat Beans and Summer Vegetables

A somewhat unlikely duo, beans and pasta are an odd sounding but much loved combination in my repertoire. The beans contribute protein to an otherwise carb-heavy meal, offering a delightful change in texture, and a rich, hearty flavor. This Italian inspired dish uses creamy cannellini beans and whole wheat linguine as a canvas for sautéed summer vegetables (heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, and Tuscan kale). Grated parmigiano reggiano and fresh basil round out the meal.

Late Summer Farmers Market Vegetables

^^ Fresh from the farmers market! Pro tip: Pick up your eggplants and tomatoes now, before they retire for the season

Sauteed Summer Vegetables

Whole Grain Linguine with Tuscan Vegetables

^^ This recipe is great for entertaining, and was the first meal I served on my new roof patio

Summer Harvest Linguine with Cannellini Beans

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 oz whole wheat linguine
  • 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium to large eggplant, chopped
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans (or other white bean), drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut or torn into ribbons

Method:

  1. Cook linguine according to package instructions. After draining, toss the pasta with one teaspoon olive oil (to prevent noodles from sticking) and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and eggplant.
  3. While the onion and eggplant are softening, chop the tomatoes.
  4. Once the tomatoes are chopped, add them to the skillet (the eggplant will have absorbed all of the oil by this point, so the pan will need the liquid from the tomatoes).
  5. Add the garlic, salt, oregano, and cannellini beans, stirring occasionally.
  6. While the vegetables are cooking, remove the kale leaves from their stems and tear or chop into bite sized pieces.
  7. Add the kale to the skillet, stirring until kale is wilted.
  8. Dive the pasta among four plates, then top each plate with the vegetable mixture. Garnish each plate with one tablespoon each parmigiano reggiano and fresh basil.

Whole Wheat Linguine with Summer Vegetables

Nutrition per Serving: 510 calories, 12g fat (2g saturated fat). 23g protein, 86g carbohydrates (20g fiber, 15g sugar*), 4mg cholesterol, 435mg sodium, 233% Vitamin A, 250% Vitamin C, 31% Calcium, 37% Iron

*none are added sugars

– Kelly

Blueberry Picking + 10 Healthy Blueberry Recipes from the Web

Blueberry Picking at Parlee Farms

Gloomy (and thankfully, exaggerated) forecast aside, I started my Sunday with a blueberry picking double date to Parlee Farms, about an hour north of Boston near the New Hampshire Border. The pick-your-own prices were reasonable ($3.99 per pound), which means I now have three pounds of fresh picked, local blueberries to work through (kid stuff compared to Ashley and Josh’s ten-pound haul).

Whether you also have a plethora of fresh blueberries at your disposal, or you just want to take advantage of current sales and seasonal abundance, I’ve gathered up plenty of meal ideas to kickstart your culinary creativity. See below for ten healthy blueberry recipe ideas from around the web…

Ambitious Kitchen Muffins

^^ Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins from Ambitious Kitchen // I love that this recipe works in whole wheat flour, zucchini (another abundant summer ingredient), and applesauce.

Turmeric_breakfast_muffins_2

^^ Turmeric Breakfast Muffins from Green Kitchen Stories // I’ve been dying to try this recipe for months now. These muffins are gluten-free (not what I usually lean towards), but luckily I have whole grain buckwheat flour (and plenty of blueberries!) on hand.

peach blueberry oatmeal (4)

^^ Peach Blueberry Oatmeal from The Oatmeal Artist // So simple, yet so delicious. I had a similar dish (“slow cooked oats with chefs topping”) at The Willow Rest in Gloucester, MA a few weeks ago, and have been craving this combo ever since.

Baked-Blueberry-Oatmeal-1.jpg

^^ Baked Blueberry Oatmeal from Nutmeg Nanny // This oatmeal bake is a tried-and-true recipe in my kitchen. (I’ve featured it here and here).

SONY DSC

^^ Blueberry + Avocado Detox Smoothie from Jillianastasia // When in doubt, throw your berries in a smoothie!

berryzinger

^^ Berry Zinger Smoothie from The Crunchy Radish // Lemon and ginger can elevate a common berry smoothie into something special.

Brain-Power-Salad-51

^^ Brain Power Salad (Spinach Salad with Salmon, Avocado, and Blueberries) from Gimme Some Oven // Salmon and avocado pair wonderfully with nearly any fruit, but antioxidant filled blueberries keep this “brain food” recipe on theme.

TPW_4112

^^ Grilled Chicken Salad with Feta, Fresh Corn, and Blueberries from The Pioneer Woman // It’s not often that I link to a Pioneer Woman recipe on this site, but the grilled chicken and fresh summer produce are a refreshingly nutritious foundation.

blueberry_goat_cheese_pizza2-600x901

^^ Blueberry Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Proscuitto from In Sock Monkey Slippers // I will definitely be using blueberries on a flatbread pizza this week. If things go well, you might even have a recipe post coming your way!

Healthy Cheesecake Made with Greek Yogurt

^^ Lightly Sweetened Greek Yogurt Cheesecake from Kelly Toups // I couldn’t end this list without sharing a recipe from my own collection!

What’s your go-to blueberry recipe?

– Kelly

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (No sugar!)

Like any self-respecting locavore, I aim to feature seasonal farmers market produce whenever possible. But alas, my penny-pinching food budget has the final say, which is why I tend to avoid picking up groceries until every scrap of food in the cupboard has been eaten.

That brings me to this chocolate cranberry milkshake. More indulgent than fresh fruit, but more nourishing than a chocolate milkshake, this cocoa-cranberry beverage is the perfect balance of nutritious and delicious. Cranberries may not be popular this time of year, but if they’re in my freezer, they’re fair game. Eating healthy need not be expensive; so if you’re out of fresh fruit, don’t hesitate to use up what you have on hand (frozen fruit, dried fruit, or fruit canned in water or juice). Par for the course with my other milkshake recipes, this one is sweetened with fruit alone, meaning you don’t have to worry about nutrient-empty added sugars.

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (Healthy! No sugar!)

Cranberry Chocolate Milkshake

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen cranberries (unsweetened)
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 1 date, pitted and chopped (or 1 Tbsp date paste)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)

Method: Add all ingredients to blender, and blend to combine.

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (Secretly healthy! No added sugar!)

Nutrition: 280 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 59g carbohydrates (9g fiber, 43g sugar*), 9g protein, 4mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 8% Iron, 26% Calcium, 10% Vitamin A, 29% Vitamin C

*none of these sugars are the dangerous added sugars – all are naturally occurring

– Kelly

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Move over, baklava! Sugar-kissed nuts and cinnamon have found a new home.

In this Mediterranean-inspired quinoa recipe, I let dried fruit and cinnamon contribute all of the sweet taste — no added sugars needed. Dried figs are startlingly sugary, and when joined with Turkish apricots, raw walnuts, and cinnamon, this breakfast cereal is given a decidedly Mediterranean flair. Oatmeal is usually my go-to breakfast grain, but warm summer mornings call for cold cereal, and this quinoa fits the bill.

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

^^Dried fruit (apricots left, figs right) and nuts make this recipe easy to enjoy year-round

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

^^New to quinoa? You can tell that it’s done cooking when a little white tail separates from the grain

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained (any color – I used red)
  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 4 extra large dried figs (or 8 smaller dried figs)
  • 8 dried apricot halves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk (I used organic skim milk)

Method:

  1. Bring water and quinoa to a boil. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 15 minutes. (The outside coat of the grain will separate into a curly tail when done cooking.)
  2. While the quinoa is simmering, chop the figs, apricots, and walnuts into small, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add the chopped fruit and nuts and cinnamon to a large bowl.
  4. When the quinoa is done cooking, add to the bowl and toss with the fruit and nut mixture until combined.
  5. How to serve: Divide the quinoa mixture among 4 mason jars, and add ½ milk to each jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (This allows the fruit to soften a bit, and also allows the flavors to mingle more freely.) Alternatively, you can also keep the quinoa mixture in a covered container in the fridge. Then, when you’re ready to eat, simply scoop about 1 cup quinoa mixture into a bowl, top with ½ cup milk, and eat like regular cold cereal.

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

Nutrition per serving (including milk): 290 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 47g carbohydrates (5g fiber, 16g sugar*), 12g protein, 60mg sodium, 10% Vitamin A, 1% Vitamin C, 21% Calcium, 15% Iron

*All sugars are naturally occurring – none are added sugars

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with Walnuts, Figs and Apricots

– Kelly

Lightly Sweetened Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

Healthy Cheesecake Made with Greek Yogurt

One of my recent work projects has involved gathering healthy dessert recipes, so I’ve been immersed in a world of cookbooks that feature fruits, nuts, and whole grains in any manner of clever combinations. (Tough job, but somebody has to do it ;)) While combing through these creations, I was inspired to get a little more creative with dessert than my ritual dark chocolate squares, and try my hand at a healthy, protein-packed cheesecake.

Healthy Cheesecake Made with Greek Yogurt!

Greek yogurt cheesecake might seem like a contemporary twist, but this dessert is actually adapted from a recipe that is over 40 years old. Indeed, one of my heroes (and former employers), Frances Moore Lappé, published her recipe for “The Thinking Person’s Cheesecake” in her seminal 1971 classic, Diet for a Small Planet (albeit, with regular yogurt, not Greek). My version stays pretty true to the original, resulting in a treat that’s both delectable and refreshing.

A stark contrast to the rich, cumbrous cheesecakes served at chain restaurants across the nation, the texture of this confection is airy and light (a good indicator of how you’re going to feel afterwards). But do be warned… when I say “lightly sweetened,” I mean it! Unlike the granola-laced crust, the sweetening in the actual cheesecake is very subtle (teetering towards undetectable), letting the fresh fruit topping shine against the creamy, tangy backdrop. That being said, for those looking to loosen their dependency on added sugars, I highly recommend that you give the recipe a try as written. Organic blueberries were on sale when I made this, but any fruit will do. And don’t hesitate to load it on – the fruit contributes a welcome, sugary zing.

Healthy Cheesecake Made with Greek Yogurt

Lightly Sweetened Greek Yogurt Cheesecake (adapted from Frances Moore Lappé, Diet for a Small Planet)

Serves 8

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup granola (I look for granola with less than 10g sugar per 50-56g serving)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3-4 tablespoons water

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta (about 13 oz)
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat organic)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 6 oz blueberries (1 small carton, about 1 1/4 cups)

 Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Add granola, walnuts, and ginger to food processor, and pulse into crumbs. Then add the water, and continue pulsing, until ingredients are combined.
  3. Evenly press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan to form a crust, and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While crust is pre-baking, prepare the filling. Add all filling ingredients except blueberries to a large bowl, and mix until combined.
  5. When crust is done pre-baking, remove from oven and evenly pour the filling into the crust.
  6. Put the cheesecake in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until center is firm.
  7. Immediately after removing the cheesecake from the oven, top the cheesecake with blueberries, pressing them gently onto the top of the cake.
  8. Let cake chill in refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight) before serving. (Store covered in refrigerator.)

Healthy Cheesecake Made with Greek Yogurt

Nutrition per serving: 310 calories, 16g fat (4g saturated fat), 26g carbohydrates (3g fiber, 15g sugar*), 15g protein, 16g cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 9% Iron, 19% Calcium, 4% Vitamin A, 11% Vitamin C

*About 10g added sugars (from honey and granola)

A note on nutrition: I based the nutrition data on 8 standard-sized slices, because I know very few people that would only eat 1/12 of a cheesecake this size. For fewer calories, feel free to serve the cheesecake in smaller portions. For example, if the pie was cut into 10 slices, (instead of 8), each slice would have about 240 calories. If cut into 12 slices, each slice would only have about 200 calories.

– Kelly

Slow Cooker Red Beans and (Brown) Rice

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Having started my elementary school years at a Catholic school in Louisiana, there is something about the Lenten season that makes me crave Cajun foods. From steamy gumbo to crispy catfish, my mouth starts watering for these comforting, Creole morsels before the last bite of King Cake has been finished. Today I’m sharing a recipe for a meatless, budget-friendly (and diet-friendly) recipe that is perfect for Fridays during Lent, and just about everyday in between!

This Red Beans and (Brown) Rice dish requires a bit of prep work and advanced planning (the beans have to soak and boil briefly before you toss them into the slow cooker), but I can assure you that this recipe is still incredibly simple!

Now, you may be asking, why bother to boil the beans? After all, isn’t the point of a slow cooker to eliminate that pesky step?

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Brown Rice

Indeed, most dry beans can be tossed in a slow cooker and cook beautifully, but red kidney beans are a special case. Undercooked red beans contain a toxin, so you must boil them for at least 10 minutes before you put them in the slow cooker. Note: this is a prime example of why it’s important to get recipes from reputable sources that have been trained in food safety (such as yours truly)!

Once your beans have gotten a head start on the stove, the slow cooker will soften the beans and develop the flavors of the dish. The familiar southern aroma comes not only from the seasoning, but also from the onion, celery, and green bell peppers (the “Holy Trinity” of Cajun cuisine).

Rice is a namesake component of Red Beans and Rice, but feel free to get creative with your grain base. Personally, I think a combination of different whole grains (like barley, quinoa, and farro) would go really well with this recipe. In fact, I was planning to use barley (hulled, not pearled), but my local Whole Foods was out. This hearty, rib-sticking bowl is best served alongside a dark green vegetable, such as kale chips (like I used) or collard greens.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Brown Rice 

Slow Cooker Red Beans and (Brown) Rice

adapted from MyRecipes.com

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry red kidney beans
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning (I use 3 tbsp, but if cooking for young children, I recommend 2 tbsp)
  • Optional: 7 oz Andouille sausage, sliced (I didn’t use sausage in the recipe today, to keep it budget-friendly and Lent-friendly, but I have used it in the past and it was delicious!)
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice (or other whole grains, such as barley, quinoa, or farro) for serving. This will make about 6 cups of cooked rice, which is enough for about eight ¾ cup servings.

Method

  1. Soak the dry beans in a pot of water for five hours. Then, drain the soaking water and add fresh water to the bean pot. Bring to a full boil, and boil for at least 10 minutes. NOTE: DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. RED KIDNEY BEANS CAN BE TOXIC IF UNDERCOOKED.
  2. Drain the boiling water from the beans. Then add beans and all other ingredients (including sausage, if using) to a slightly oiled slow cooker.
  3. Cook on high for 6 hours. Then remove the lid and cook on high for an additional 30 minutes. This will help it thicken up a bit.
  4. Before serving, prepare rice (or other whole grains, if using) according to package instructions. Two cups of uncooked brown rice will yield about six cups of rice, which is enough for eight 3/4 cup servings. 
  5. Portion about ¾ cup red beans over about ¾ cup brown rice in a bowl.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Brown Rice

Nutrition per serving (3/4 cup red beans over 3/4 cup brown rice, not including sausage): 390 calories, 2g fat (0g saturated fat), 18g protein, 76g carbohydrates (17g fiber, 3g sugar), 140mg sodium, 3% Vitamin A, 28% Vitamin C, 11% Calcium, 31% Iron

– Kelly