Category Archives: sugar free

Spring Veggie Quinoa Salad {Passover Friendly}

veggie quinoa salad

I know a lot of people dread Passover because of all of the food restrictions, but for someone who is already gluten-free, my diet actually doesn’t change all that much for Passover, except I don’t eat kitniyot (rice, beans, and other legumes).

This recipe is great for any spring meal, but it is also very Passover friendly. It’s also versatile in that you can add any vegetables and herbs that are in season in your area. Some of my favorite combinations are:

  • Baby asparagus, heirloom grape tomatoes, scallions with dill
  • Red, orange, yellow, and green bell peppers with basil or mint
  • Roasted beets and butternut squash with rosemary
  • Roasted eggplant and grape tomatoes with sauted onions and scallions (pictured above)

I like to keep the dressing light and simple–just lemon juice, good quality olive oil, salt and pepper. But feel free to experiment!

This recipe will serve 4-6 as a side dish, and can easily be double or tripled but you may need more dressing.

Chag sameach (happy holidays)!

Spring Veggie Quinoa Salad {Passover Friendly}

Ingredients

1 cup of quinoa
1 + 1/4 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups of veggies of your choice
1/4 cup chopped herb of your choice
juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Place quinoa, water, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit, still covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Scoop into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. In the meantime, chop or roast your desired vegetables and herbs (for roasting, I recommend cubing evenly and roasted at 400 for 20-25 minutes). Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Toss quinoa with vegetables and dressing. Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/04/spring-veggie-quinoa-salad-passover-friendly/

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad w/ Lemon-Tahini Dressing

kale and butternut squash salad via Chosen Bites

Over the last few years I have added a number of foods back into my diet that previously my system was not able to handle, like dairy, oats, and kale.

Kale is a great source of antioxidants, calcium, vitamin A, C, and a powerhouse source of vitamin K. It’s also chock full of minerals like potassium and iron, and a good source of natural fiber. Kale has become a bit of a fad in the last few years, and it’s been in the news a lot recently both for its health benefits and potential health pitfalls. While kale is a powerhouse source for vitamin K, which is important for calcium absorption, it also contains compounds that, ironically, can interfere with calcium absorption.

All of this is to say, I’m happy to be able to add kale back into my diet, but as with every food, my philosophy is “everything in moderation.” So, eat kale because it’s good for you, but don’t eat too much.

kale and butternut squash salad via Chosen Bites

One of may favorite ways to eat kale is raw in a salad, but wilted first with a dressing of acid (like lemon juice or balsamic vinegar), oil, and salt. There are a lot of recipes that say you need to massage the kale for a while, but I just sort of squeeze it with my hands while I’m tossing it the first time, and then just toss the rest of the time with tongs.

This salad includes one of my favorite vegetables, roasted butternut squash. I used to hate squash with inedible peel (don’t like the texture) but I have since discovered that I actually hate all squash but butternut squash. If you don’t like butternut squash, sweet potatoes would be excellent in this salad too.

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad w/ Lemon Tahini Dressing

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 head of kale
3 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
3 Tbsp prepared tahini
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup dried blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Smash and peel garlic cloves. Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil, spread evenly on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 for 25-30 minutes until squash is fork tender but not mushy. Remove garlic clove to a small bowl and mash with a fork. Set squash aside to cool.
  3. While squash is roasting, de-stem and slice kale into ribbons (I roll several leaves up and slice). Place kale in a large bowl. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper and mashed roasted garlic, and pour over kale. Using your hands, toss to evenly coat the kale, squeezing handfuls of kale as you do this. Allow kale to sit for 30-45 minutes, tossing again every 10-15 minutes or so.
  4. When squash is cool to the touch, add to kale and toss to coat in dressing. Add dried blueberries and additional salt to taste. Serve at room temperature.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/03/kale-butternut-squash-salad-w-tahini-dressing/

Smoky Roasted Chickpeas {Healthy Snacking}

Savory Roasted Chickpeas

Last year, I experienced a scary anaphylactic reaction to what we think was walnuts. In the aftermath, I saw an allergist who told me in no uncertain terms that I have to carry an epi-pen, and that I should never eat anything that makes my mouth itch or tingle. Of course thinking back on it, walnuts always made my mouth feel a little prickly, I just never thought much of it.

For me, a food allergy is much more terrifying than food intolerance because while my stomach might be really unhappy after eating gluten, I could die after eating a walnut if I don’t have my epi-pen. I was already vigilant about what I eat, but now I have to be even more careful. And as I paid more attention to what made my mouth tingle, I’ve had to completely cut out pecans and hazelnuts (I know!), and I’ve reduced my consumption of other nuts (except almonds) as well.

This is a roundabout way of telling you that I’ve had to get more creative with my snack options, since nuts have played a huge part in my snacking to date. Thankfully recipes for crunchy roasted chickpeas have been popping up all over the interwebs. Not only are chickpeas high in fiber and protein, they also have a good amount of iron (I have trouble with anemia) and are significantly lower in fat than nuts.  If you are nut-free, these roasted chickpeas are a great addition to trail mixes or tossed on salads.

This recipe is perfect for soothing my afternoon snack cravings.

Smoky Roasted Chickpeas {Healthy Snacking}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

1 15 oz. can chickpeas
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (if you have convection, use it!) and grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and dry them thoroughly. If you like, remove the outer skin of the chickpeas (optional). In a large bowl, drizzle the chickpeas with olive oil, tossing to coat. Mix together spices, sprinkle over chickpeas and toss again so everything is evenly distributed.
  3. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes until the chickpeas are crispy on the outside and some have cracked open down the center. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/02/smoky-roasted-chickpeas/

Sesame Caraway Crackers {Healthy Snacking}

Sesame Caraway Crackers via Chosen Bites

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, I am a big-time snacker–I eat smaller meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and enjoy (mostly) healthy snacks in between. I find that this “grazing” method cuts down on major hunger pangs, the 3pm snooze, and planning in advance for healthy snacks helps me to, well, eat healthy snacks.

These crackers are really versatile. You could make them sweet, savory, or both. I use sesame and caraway in this version, but you could easily make a cinnamon-sugar cracker if you prefer a sweet-salty snack. You could use fennel or cumin in place of the caraway, and throw in some black sesame seeds for some extra color. As long as you keep the proportions relatively the same, you should be find.

You could use almond meal for this recipe, but I find that a finely ground blanched almond flour works the best (I use this one from Nuts.com).

One important thing about these crackers–try to cut the crackers into equal sized pieces because otherwise they bake a little unevenly. With my first batch, I had to put the larger crackers back in for a few extra minutes because they weren’t quite done, but the outer crackers nicely browned and crispy. You also want to bake the crackers until they really are browned around the edges because otherwise they will be stale in texture the next day.

Sesame Caraway Crackers via Chosen Bites

Sesame Caraway Crackers {Healthy Snacking}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 40-50 crackers

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup ground brown flax seed (flax meal)
1/4 ground golden flax seed (flax meal)
3 Tbsp sesame seeds (black or white or a combination)
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white
4 Tbsp water, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. On a low speed, combine almond flour, flax meal, seeds, and salt.
  3. Add egg white and mix until well incorporated. Add 2 Tbsp water, then add remaining water 1 tsp at a time until the mixture comes together into a stiff dough (you may need more or less water than the recipe calls for).
  4. Turn dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and roll out with a rolling pin until it's about 1/8 inch thick (it will take up most of a 12x16 piece of parchment paper).
  5. Remove top piece of parchment paper and slide onto a baking sheet.
  6. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, slice the dough into 1x1 inch squares (try to keep them mostly the same size so they bake evenly).
  7. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes until the edges are browned. If the crackers toward the edge of the pan are browning but the inner crackers are not, remove the outer crackers to a cooling rack and return the inner crackers to the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  8. Remove parchment paper to a cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/01/sesame-caraway-crackers-healthy-snacking/