Tex-Mex Vegetable Bowls feat. Spicy Quinoa

The best thing about bowls is either their no-frills name or their simplicity to prepare—it’s a toss up. A few ingredients can combine to make a satisfying meal, as long as you follow a few rules. The perfect bowl will have a grain, a protein, a few vegetables, a jock, a rebel and a recluse.

…Wait. That last part was just the script of The Breakfast Club.
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While this is not technically a breakfast bowl, I approve of any and all veggies in the a.m., as per Dr. Robynne Chutkan’s simple 1-2-3 rule for a healthier microbiome and general wellness. (TL;DR: eat one vegetable at lunch, two at lunch, three at dinner.)

This bowl is more than prepared to meet your greens n’ veg needs. It’s got kale and romaine lettuce, onions, peppers, and fresh tomatoes. It’s got fluffy quinoa simmered in taco seasoning spices… That last one isn’t a vegetable, but it’s so delicious it warranted mention.
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The best part is that you can mix in whatever veggies you’ve got in your fridge or cupboard. Sautee fresh or frozen corn in with the peppers, sub your lettuce for spinach, or top with your favourite salsa. You can even make it vegan by omitting the yogurt and/or cheese! Don’t you forget about cheese.

Tex-Mex Vegetable Bowls feat. Spicy Quinoa
Serves 2
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1 cup quinoa, rinsed*
1 tbsp. chili powder**
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
1 can beans, black or kidney

1-2 hearts of romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/3 c. Greek yogurt or sour cream

Optional toppings:
Salsa
Jalapeno hot sauce
Cheddar cheese
Green onions
Tortilla chips

1. Rinse your quinoa and put it in a medium saucepan, sprinkling with all of the spices. Turn heat to medium, stirring the quinoa to toast it for about a minute.

2. Add 2 cups water. Cover with a lid and let the quinoa gently simmer for about 30 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Taste and add additional salt or chili powder if needed. Set aside.

3. In a medium frying pan, add olive oil over medium heat. Fry garlic until golden. Add onion and stir until soft, about two minutes. Add in the bell pepper and any other veggies, tossing them in now and sauteeng until soft. Add in the beans, stirring until warmed through.

4. Add in the tomato paste, stirring to to distribute with the veggies, until everything is warm and mixed together! Season with salt, pepper, and additional spices from the list above if desired. Remove from heat.

5. Assemble your bowls! Start with a good handful or two of lettuce and greens. Add 1/2 c.  each the quinoa and the spiced tomato/bean mixture, and sprinkle with diced tomato.

6. Top with your extras! This time around, I used Greek yogurt, jalapeno hot sauce, a little extra old cheddar and green onions… (Pro tip: take your Instagram photo first, and then mix everything together for more delicious bites!)

* This will make more cooked quinoa than you need, so get ready to add it to salads, tacos, soups—the possibilities are tasty!

**  You can use a packet of taco seasoning to sub for all of the spices in a pinch. Cook the quinoa with half, and add more after cooking as needed! Just look out for sodium!

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Simple Asparagus with Roasted Feta

My mom does an amazing version of this dish where she uses shaved parm instead of feta—but I feel feta is a little more summer-y and fresh.  Either way, it was probably the only reason my sisters and I ever ate asparagus growing up… Cheese could talk me into anything! You could serve me shredded rubber tire-fire nachos with queso on top and I’d be delighted.

This recipe seemed almost too simple to post, and yet it’s stupid to avoid sharing an idea or a flavour combination because of its simplicity. “Blog food,” as I sometimes think of it, stresses me out in its attempts to be so unique that it becomes exhausting.

I also couldn’t go an entire spring season without posting a recipe featuring asparagus, It’s probably a law somewhere.

Simple Asparagus with Roasted Feta 
Serves 2 – 4
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2 bunches asparagus, rinsed
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 – 3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
Coarse kosher salt, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (You may need more than one sheet, just make sure there’s enough room for the stalks to get roasty.)

2. Clean the asparagus by snapping off the bottom of the stalks, which will break at a natural point. Discard the inedible woody parts that break off.

3. Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat. Lightly sprinkle with salt.

4. Place in oven and roast for 10-15 minutes or until just starting to brown.* Remove and sprinkle with crumbled feta. Return to oven for 10 minutes until stalks have some crispiness and feta has melted.

*Asparagus stalks can be very thick or very thin—adjust cooking times accordingly!