Tex-mex

Pinto Bean Poblano Soup

During the week I look for meals that are quick, easy and fit the healthy category too! This pinto bean  poblano soup has always been a hit. It really takes very little effort and time and just a few simple ingredients. SO  good. I picked up a few poblano peppers from the farmers market  and had a can of pinto beans on hand, so I decided to blend them together in a nice, hearty soup. I topped it with some avocado pieces and baked crispy tortilla strips that I just sprayed with olive oil and popped into the oven until crisp. I made enough for leftovers, but my sister ate them all! I guess I’m just going to have to make it again! Here’s the recipe.

Note: Poblano peppers are on the mild side but depending on the pepper may be slightly spicy. If you’d like less heat, remove the veins and seeds, if you’d like more, add a jalapeno or some chili flakes. 

You will Need

  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3 small poblano peppers or 2 medium sized ones
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • optional can of vegetable broth

Poblano

Directions:

  1. Roast  the poblano peppers in a 450° oven until they blister. Turn over once one side blackens a little bit and allow the other side to broil.
  2. Remove from the oven, and place poblano peppers in a bowl, covered with a lid to steam them.
  3. Remove the skins and seeds and chop.
  4. In a pot, heat some oil
  5. Add chopped garlic and onion and saute until transluscent
  6. Add 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes and saute some more
  7. Add the poblano peppers, and pinto beans and salt liberally
  8. Add an optional can of vegetable broth or some water and allow this to simmer on medium for about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and blend
  10. Garnish with some tortilla strips, avocado, chives, cilantro, greek yogurt or whatever you would like!  My garnish was some pea shoots, avocado and home-made tortilla strips.
  11. Serve!

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Servings: 3-4

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Spicy Black Bean Hummus

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Planning to entertain? Here’s a really quick and easy recipe for black bean hummus. I also use it in sandwiches and atop toast! It is high in fiber and protein and really smooth and delicious 🙂 I really like making my own hummus because I can control what goes in it. You can also switch up the flavors and blend it to the kind of texture you like.

You Will Need

  • 1 1/2 cup of cooked black beans (using the liquid it was cooked in)  or 1 can black beans, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno
  • cumin powder
  • Garlic
  • cilantro
  • A squirt of lime
  • olive oil
  • optional tahini paste

To Prepare

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine  beans, half a jalapeño, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp cumin powder and break off a few leaves of cilantro. Use the juice of 1 lime wedge, just for flavor.
  2. Be careful with salt if the beans were salted when cooking. Season with salt.
  3. Add a little  water, or the liquid the beans were cooked in. Drizzle in a bit of olive oil.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. If you would like a creamy consistency, add a tablespoon of tahini and blend. If you would like it more sharp, add garlic.
  6. Serve!

Lentil and Mushroom “Taco” Lettuce Wraps with Creamy Avocado Lime Sauce

I can’t get enough of these lettuce wraps! The recipe I made was supposed to feed four, but the two of us finished it off at once! I’ve been  low-carbing it lately–don’t ask why. For the recipe I used Boston Bib Lettuce, because they are so pretty, but you can use regular taco shells, tortillas, or iceburg lettuce. The “tacos” in this recipe are made out of lentils and cremini mushrooms, with red pepper and onion. It has a nice hearty feel to it without using the meatless crumbles which are mainly gluten and not very nutrient-rich. I used my own taco seasoning for this recipe!

DSC_0122The taco seasoning was made from:

  • 2 tbsp Paprika (smoked or sweet)
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp  cumin powder

Use any combination of these ingredients and it tastes just like taco seasoning from a pouch, without all the preservatives and sodium.  I topped this with a creamy avocado lime sauce and a side of home-made pico de gallo. The pico was just onion, tomato, a little bit of jalapeño and cilantro, lime and salt.  Delicious! I’m definitely making more!

For the Tacos:

You Will Need

  • 1 cup cooked lentils. (soak cook the lentils beforehand in a little bit of vegetable broth, or  just water and salt)
  • 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 red bell pepper , chopped
  • A handful of sweet corn (I used well-rinsed canned in this recipe)
  • Paprika
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Cilantro
  • Optional: Half a jalapeno for spice

To Prepare

  1. In a saucepan,  heat up a few tbsps of olive oil and drop in 1-2 tsp of cumin seeds
  2. Allow them to sputter and add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add the Bell pepper and  jalapeño and saute for a minute more.
  4. Add the spice mixture: 1 tbsp garlic powder,  2 tsp cumin powder, 2 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp onion powder and salt as desired. Be careful not to let this burn. Stir quickly and add the next ingredients.
  5. Add the lentils and a half a cup of water and let it simmer.
  6. Add in a handful of sweet corn. Stir, adding water if needed.
  7. Let this simmer, adding water whenever necessary for about 10 minutes.
  8. Garnish with cilantro and serve! DSC_0135

For the Avocado Sauce:

You will need

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Lime
  • Cumin Powder
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Salt n’ peppa

To Prepare

  1. In a bowl, mash 2 extremely ripe small avocados with 3-4 tbsp greek yogurt, the juice of half a lime
  2. Mix well, add a tsp of cumin powder, salt and pepper
  3. Add water or lime juice until you reach your desired consistency–creamy and delicious!
  4. Mix in finely chopped cilantro

Serve with pico de gallo and tacos. This makes an excellent dip too to munch on with tortilla chips!

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One-Skillet Quinoa with Sweet Potato

I love cooking, but I hate the cleanup! The cleanup often prevents me from cooking as much as I’d like to. This one-skillet quinoa helps! It’s everything you need in a meal in one pot! It has veggies, healthy carbs (quinoa and sweet potato), and protein (beans). It’s super simple and delicious and saves great if you want to have it for lunch the next day. All of these veggies are optional. Feel free to add in any veggie that you enjoy.

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You will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • half a jalapeno pepper.
  • 1 small sweet potato (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 small can sweet corn, rinsed
  • a handful of cooked black beans
  • Scallions
  • cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • Cilantro
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, rinsed.
  • 1 can low sodium vegetable broth

To prepare:

  1. In a skillet, heat up a little bit of olive oil and throw in 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  2. When they start to sputter, add onions, garlic and jalapeño
  3. Add sweet potato and saute for a few minutes
  4. Add the can of tomatoes and 1 tbsp cumin powder and stir
  5. Add the quinoa (rinsed) and saute for just a minute
  6. Add 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 cup water,  black beans and corn and reduce heat to medium
  7. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes
  8. Stir in some chopped cilantro and scallion, season with salt and pepper and serve!
  9. Optional: garnish with Avocado slices and lime

Enjoy!

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Stufft Poblano Peppers with Goat Cheese and Crumbled Tofu

Over the break I wanted to treat my parents to a nice, healthy meal that was a treat for the eyes and the tummy. My cousin Vika had made this really yummy dish over Thanksgiving, that really was the highlight of the meal. His dish had charred poblanos and was stuffed with peppers, beans and goat cheese. I decided to make a variation of this and give it more substance using crumbled tofu! It passed the test. Even my little sister, who is a huge critic of health food loved it!

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Crumbled tofu has no flavor but has an interesting  texture. It’s basically just regular extra firm tofu that you crumble using a fork. Tofu has very little flavor so be sure to use plenty of salt when doing this and wring out excess water using a cheesecloth. Lay the tofu out to dry before using.

**TIP: This works great as a vegan/Indian vegetarian alternative to scrambled eggs. DSC_9408

 

 

I broiled the poblano peppers and stuffed them with a mixture of tofu, beans, veggies and goat cheese and served it in a tomatillo sauce. (Also super simple to make but will post a recipe in another post.

All in all, a protein-packed, healthy, spicy delight! Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • Extra firm tofu (1/4 of packet crumbled)
  • 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 orange pepper chopped
  • Canned sweet corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • About a 4 oz goat cheese packet
  • Assorted beans (I had some extra from other recipes but I just used a handful of garbanzo and a handful of black beans)
  • Cilantro

Poblano

Prep:

  1. Preheat oven to 400-425
  2. On a baking sheet spray olive oil on peppers and
  3. Crumble the tofu and let it sit  on a towel to remove some of the liquid.
  4. Prepare any veggies you will be using

Directions

  1. Broil the peppers for about 15 minutes turning  the peppers about half way. When done, the peppers will have a nice char, but not too charred
  2. Once the peppers are cooled, gently slice the pepper on one side lengthwise so that it can be stuffed. Remove veins and seeds. Remove excessively charred skin gently.
  3. In a wok or saucepan  saute peppers. Add the tofu and let it brown slightly. Mix in beans, corn and goat cheese. Depending on the consistency you can add more goat cheese. Taste to make sure the mixture is seasoned with enough salt and pepper.
  4. Grab the pepper in one hand and spoon the mixture in with the other hand. It should be enough for 4 peppers.
  5. Garnish with salsa and serve with warm Tomatillo salsa.

Serves 4

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Mexican Black Bean Soup

It was cold and gloomy outside and I was in the mood for something quick, healthy, but somewhat exciting.  This protein-packed black bean soup is creamy, hearty and slightly spicy.  I remember having this soup when we lived in Mexico, topped with white onion and crema. Since it is blended, it tastes really creamy and is pretty filling for lunch I topped it with  chopped white onions, greek yogurt, cilantro and a squirt of lime.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of black beans, thoroughly rinsed (You can definitely use cooked dry beans, it’s way healthier!)
  • Veg bullion cube or 2 cans vegetable broth
  • 1 small-medium sized onion, chopped (roughly is fine)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • oregano
  • cumin seeds
  • Half a jalapeño pepper
  • Toppings: Greek yogurt, chopped onion, cilantro, lime

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pot. Add 1 tsp of cumin seeds.
  2. When cumin seeds start to sputter add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until transluscent
  3. Add half a jalapeño pepper, sliced and a pinch of dried oregano
  4. Add the beans to the pot, with 1 bullion cube and add water.
  5. Simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Keep adding water and stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from flame and blend. I blended using an immersion blender.
  7. Garnish and serve!

Serves: 2

black bean soup

Hearty Three-Bean Chili

DSC_6898Back as a grad student, I  had limited time to cook  between class and internships.  Very often I’d make a large pot of this vegetarian chili. I would enjoy a few meals in the week and freeze the rest in Ziploc containers. This chili freezes really well and tastes just as good reheated.  Needless to say, this dish has an insane amount of protein. I always find you feel better when you eat food cooked at home and this chili gave me that luxury and didn’t cost me too much effort.

Health stuff:

Beans:  Chili is a one pot meal. You’ll likely be full without needing any sort of carb dish. An interesting fact about beans, is that they are comparable to meat when it comes to calories. However, because of the high fiber found in beans, they will keep you full and satisfied for much longer. They are also low in sugar and saturated fat.

Peppers:  Unfortunately, cooking peppers on high heat removes a large portion of their phytonutrients. Don’t be too sad! They do still retain some of their antioxidant properties, and chili peppers in particular have proven to help burn calories.

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You will need:

  • 1 can of organic garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of organic red kidney beans
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 packet of Morningstar Farms meatless crumbles
  • 2 cans no sodium diced tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • 3 different types of bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion (I used half red, half yellow), diced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Chili seasoning (Not to be confused with red chili powder which is pure pepper. Chili powder comes in the spice aisle and has a mixture of chili, garlic, and other spices.)
  • Red chili powder (optional)
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced,  (seeds optional)
  • Cumin seeds
  • Cumin powder
  • Lime
  • Salt n’ pepa

Optional toppings: greek yogurt, sour cream, cheese, sliced jalapeño, onion, cilantro, a few dashes of cholula hot sauce

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Directions:

1. Thoroughly rinse the beans, and prep the veggies. Ideally, the healthiest option would be to use dried beans that have been soaked and pressure cooked. I found canned beans to be the quickest and easiest option.

2. In a large non-stick pot, add a few tbsps of olive oil and 2 tsp or so of cumin seeds

3. Once the cumin seeds start to ‘pop’, add in the onion, garlic and jalapeño.

4. Allow the onions to become slightly translucent before adding the peppers. I always use peppers of three different colors because I like the color combinations in the dish. Eat with your eyes folks!

5. Once the peppers are sautéed for a couple minutes, Add about 3 healthy tablespoons of chili seasoning (or one packet), one tbsp of cumin powder, and salt to taste.  You can add some red chili powder at this stage if you would like it to be extra spicy.

6. Add two cans of diced tomatoes that have been drained of the juice, 2 tbsp of tomato paste,  and the crumbles (it doesn’t matter if it is defrosted). Add water and reduce to medium.

7. Finally, cook, cook cook! The longer the chili cooks, the the tastier it will be. Stir occasionally, and check back in 20 minutes. If you’d like a thicker, heartier chilli, let it cook longer.

8.  When you think it’s done, squeeze the juice of half a lime and add in some chopped cilantro.

Serve with any of your favorite toppings. I served it here with some greek yogurt, red onion, jalapeño and cilantro.

Yum!

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