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Vegan Quinoa & Kale Power Protein Bowl

Vegan-chickpea-quinoa-kale-zucchini-UPCLOSE…and the quinoa-palooza has officially begun!  🙂 These twin sister, registered dietitians and personal trainers are fans of this healthy comfort food and we’ve gotta give a girl (and a guy!) some carbs!  Yup, we’re all for healthy carbs (phew! ) like quinoa –a wholesome, high protein, high fiber, healthy carb that prevents your energy from dipping, preventing sugar cravings!  The truth is, if you have a moderate portion (about 1/2 -3/4 cup cooked of a wholesome carb (hello quinoa!)  you’ll avoid the nasty cravings for the unhealthy carbs because you’ll give your brain and muscles carbohydrates, the fuel they need, so you won’t crave energy!  That means you won’t be looking for an energy boost or a quick pick-me-up—buh bye sugar cravings!

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Not only have you been requesting lots of recipes with quinoa, (that’s why we’ve given you lil’ numbers like our:

One-Pot Quinoa Chickpea & Avocado Bowl

Coconut Quinoa Chicken Nuggets

One-Pot Black Bean Quinoa Chili with Avocado

Quinoa Breakfast Nibbles

Choco-nilla Oats & Quinoa Swirl

Vegan_Quinoa_Kale_Collage

…but we knew it was time to make some more since the clamoring has continued! Quinoa is warm comfort food in the winter—and makes cool, comfort food in the summer.

And since summer days beg for a cool dish,, this spiced summer bowl filled with summery greens like zucchini and kale and protein packed heroes like quinoa and chickpeas can be made ahead of time and only gets better as it waits. What more could you ask for!? Oh except that you can prepare this without the added olive oil for an even lighter meal with even fewer calories for the same great taste!

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Vegan Quinoa & Kale Power Protein Bowl

Have one delicious serving as a side to grilled fish or chicken and veggies, or make a whole meal of it by having three servings.  

Makes 5 servings (approximately 1/2 cup each)

Ingredients

Dressing: (2 tbsp added 48 calories/ serving)

1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp paprika

small pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tsp minced garlic, plus ½ tsp for oil dressing (you may want to add more garlic if you’re a garlic lover!)

sea salt to taste

Salad:

½ cup quinoa, cooked (we used a mix of red and white just for fun!)

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained

1 medium zucchini, cut into evenly sized, small chunks

1 cup curly kale, leaves chopped into small pieces, stems removed (measure 1 cup of chopped kale leaves)

 

This dish can be made without any oil for a lower fat meal. (See below)

 

0006_NutritionTwins-chickpea-quinoa-kale-zucchini-garlic-paprika-tumeric-cumin_logoDirections with oil.

  1. Place olive oil in a small bowl and mix the cumin, turmeric, paprika, red pepper flakes (optional), ½ tsp minced garlic and a pinch of salt into the olive oil, set aside to marinate.
  1. Before cooking the quinoa according to the package, we toasted ours slightly for 1 minute by lightly spritzing olive oil in a spray jar in a pan to bring out more flavor. You can omit the olive oil and toast briefly, too, just stirring over the heat for 1 minute.. After toasting, cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  1. Next spritz the same pan you toasted the quinoa in with a little olive oil and sauté over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, the 2 tsp minced garlic, chickpeas, zucchini and kale. Just until the garlic releases it aroma and the zucchini begins to sweat. Remove from heat. Season with salt to taste.
  1. Toss sautéed vegetables and chickpeas with quinoa. Let sit for a few minutes, the heat will further soften the kale.
  1. Give the oil and spice mix a stir, drizzle over the entire bowl and stir. . . Salt to taste.

This can be eaten immediately and also tastes great chilled– and if you put it covered, in the fridge for a little while to chill, the flavor’s will also mingle and increase!

 

Directions without oil.

Mix cumin, turmeric, paprika, optional red pepper flakes, ½ tsp garlic and salt together, dry.

Skip step 1 and begin with Step 2.

After Step 4, sprinkle sparingly, mixing and tasting, the dry spice mix over combined quinoa, chickpea and vegetable bowl until the flavor suits you.

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (With Olive Oil):

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 106 Calories, 3 g Fat, 0 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 21 mg Sodium, 16 g Carbohydrate, 4 g Fiber, 2 g Sugar, 5 g Protein

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (Without Olive Oil)

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 94 Calories, 1 g Fat, 0 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 21 mg Sodium, 16 g Carbohydrate, 4 g Fiber, 2 g Sugar, 5 g Protein

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Vegan Quinoa & Kale Power Protein Bowl
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Ingredients
  • ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • small pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic, plus ½ tsp for oil dressing (you may want to add more garlic if you’re a garlic lover!)
  • sea salt to taste
  • ½ cup quinoa, cooked (we used a mix of red and white just for fun!)
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into evenly sized, small chunks
  • 1 cup curly kale, leaves chopped into small pieces, stems removed (measure 1 cup of chopped kale leaves)
Instructions
  1. Directions with oil.
  2. Place olive oil in a small bowl and mix the cumin, turmeric, paprika, red pepper flakes (optional), ½ tsp minced garlic and a pinch of salt into the olive oil, set aside to marinate.
  3. Before cooking the quinoa according to the package, we toasted ours slightly for 1 minute by lightly spritzing olive oil in a spray jar in a pan to bring out more flavor. You can omit the olive oil and toast briefly, too, just stirring over the heat for 1 minute.. After toasting, cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  4. Next spritz the same pan you toasted the quinoa in with a little olive oil and sauté over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, the 2 tsp minced garlic, chickpeas, zucchini and kale, Just until the garlic releases it aroma and the zucchini begins to sweat. Remove from heat. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Toss sautéed vegetables and chickpeas with quinoa. Let sit for a few minutes, the heat will further soften the kale.
  6. Give the oil and spice mix a stir, drizzle over the entire bowl and stir. . . Salt to taste.
  7. This can be eaten immediately and also tastes great chilled-- and if you put it covered, in the fridge for a little while to chill, the flavor’s will also mingle and increase!
  8. Directions without oil.
  9. Mix cumin, turmeric, paprika, optional red pepper flakes, ½ tsp garlic and salt together, dry.
  10. Skip step 1 and begin with Step 2.
  11. After Step 4, sprinkle sparingly, mixing and tasting, the dry spice mix over combined quinoa, chickpea and vegetable bowl until the flavor suits you.
Notes
*Nutrition shown for recipe using oil, see blog for nutrition facts without oil.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 106 Fat: 3 g Saturated fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 16 g Sugar: 2 g Sodium: 21 mg Fiber: 4 g Protein: 5 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

Gluten-Free Tilapia Tacos with Zucchini Tortillas

In college we went on a zucchini kick.  It wasn’t necessarily intentional—we just liked zucchini and it turned up in nearly every dinner dish we made, adding a deliciously slightly sweet flavor and a bit of a meaty texture.  Burritos, pasta, wraps, sandwiches, it was there.  Now, as registered dietitians, we appreciate zucchini even more, knowing it is a nutrient-powerhouse, thanks to its’ fiber, phytonutrients, vitamin C and eye protective nutrients (lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin).   So the other night when we made a new gluten free taco dish, old reliable happened to be in the house and we just had to add it- -putting a new twist on tacos.

And although we’re registered dietitian nutritionist who appreciate wholesome carbs (you better believe you read that right 😉 !), we don’t mind that this scrumptious taco swaps them for a just as satisfying, lower calorie surprise!  Instead of the traditional white or wheat tortilla say hello to this gluten-free zucchini taco shell that is stuffed with yummy, kickin’ flavors like cayenne-seasoned tilapia, red cabbage, tomatoes, and cilantro! Packed with protein, this dish is super satisfying!

 

Tacos 1 original (1)

 

Psst… looking for more healthy recipes? Please feel free to search this site! And here are a few to try…

 Turkey Stir-fry Fiesta

Lentil Vegetable Soup

One-Pot Black Bean Quinoa Chili with Avocados 

Tacos 4 logo

 

Gluten-Free Tilapia Tacos with Zucchini Tortillas

Makes two tacos

Ingredients

For the zucchini tortillas:

1 cup zucchini, shredded

1 egg (we use Eggland’s Best because they use an all vegetarian hen feed and their eggs have 25% less saturated fat and 5X the vitamin D of other eggs)

1 tsp. oregano, fresh, chopped

1 tsp. fresh, chopped basil

6 Tbsp. gluten free flour

 

For the filling:

3 ounces tilapia (approx. 1 medium filet)

Dash red cayenne pepper (adjust for personal preference of spiciness)

1/4 cup cabbage, shredded

1/4cup tomato, diced

4 heaping spoonfuls plain Greek yogurt (about ½ cup)

Sprinkle cilantro

1 lime, squeezed for juice

 

Directions

For tortillas

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set aside a baking sheet covered in wax paper.
  2. Squeeze out excess juice from the shredded zucchini with your hands and discard juice.
  3. Mix zucchini, egg, oregano and basil in a bowl.
  4. Using a spoon, mix in flour, adding a few tablespoons at a time until all mixed in.
  5. On a cutting board, sprinkle flour and divide the zucchini mixture in half.
  6. Flatten each part of zucchini mixture to a thin, round tortilla shape that is no thicker than 0.2mm thick.
  7. Place the two tortillas on covered baking sheet and place in oven.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  9. Set aside on a baking rack after they are done.

 

For the filling:

  1. Thaw out fish if frozen.
  2. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and turn on stove to medium heat.
  3. Cook the fish in the skillet. Add a dash of cayenne pepper while the fish is cooking (careful, it may make you sneeze/cough if you get too close!)
  4. After the fish is done cooking, cut the lime in half and squeeze juice over the meat.
  5. Add approximate measurements of toppings such as the fish, cabbage, tomatoes, Greek yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro. (the nutrition facts are for those measurements but you can add more or less to account for your own personal tastes/cravings!!).
  6. Dig in and enjoy!

Nutrition facts (for one taco)

Calories: 198, carbs: 23g, fat: 6g, saturated fat: 1g, protein: 21g, sodium: 100mg, fiber: 2g

Nutrition facts (for two tacos)

396 Calories, 45 g carbs, 12g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 42 g protein, 200 mg sodium, 4 g fiber

 

Tacos 3 original (1)

The Nutrition Twins work with Eggland’s Best to help people get more nutrients from their food.

Gluten-Free Tilapia Tacos with Zucchini Tortillas
 
Author:
Serves: 2 tacos
Ingredients
  • For the zucchini tortillas:
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1 egg (we use Eggland's Best because they use an all vegetarian hen feed and their eggs have 25% less saturated fat and 5X the vitamin D of other eggs)
  • 1 tsp. oregano, fresh, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh, chopped basil
  • 6 Tbsp. gluten free flour
  • For the filling:
  • 3 ounces tilapia (approx. 1 medium filet)
  • Dash red cayenne pepper (adjust for personal preference of spiciness)
  • ¼ cup cabbage, shredded
  • ¼cup tomato, diced
  • 4 heaping spoonfuls plain Greek yogurt (about ½ cup)
  • Sprinkle cilantro
  • 1 lime, squeezed for juice
Instructions
  1. Thaw out fish if frozen.
  2. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and turn on stove to medium heat.
  3. Cook the fish in the skillet. Add a dash of cayenne pepper while the fish is cooking (careful, it may make you sneeze/cough if you get too close!)
  4. After the fish is done cooking, cut the lime in half and squeeze juice over the meat.
  5. Add approximate measurements of toppings such as the fish, cabbage, tomatoes, Greek yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro. (the nutrition facts are for those measurements but you can add more or less to account for your own personal tastes/cravings!!).
  6. Dig in and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tacos Calories: 396 Fat: 12 g Saturated fat: 2 g Carbohydrates: 45 g Sodium: 200 mg Fiber: 4 g Protein: 42 g

Gluten_Free_Tilapia_Tacos_Collage

Kale Chicken Burrito Bowl

This hottie reminds us of the good ‘ole days… 🙂 . When we were in our junior and senior years of college and living in an apartment and no longer in the college dorms, we used to have so much fun making dinner. Every night we made something together that was fairly fast and easy—and of course, since we were studying to be registered dietitians, it was healthy too! 🙂 We loved what we called our “Open-faced Burrito”, which was all of the ingredients of a burrito, not rolled into a burrito! It was absolutely delish, and even to this day when we think about it, it makes us smile (and it makes our mouths water!). So now that variations on “bowls” and everything from rice bowls to chicken bowls are all the rage, it reminds us of our Open-faced burritos. So we made this Kale Chicken Burrito Bowl as a throwback to our beloved Open-faced Burrito (which inspired this Skinny Burrito Bowl and this Burrito Bowl.

Kale Chicken Burrito Bowl from The Nutrition Twins

Psst… looking for more healthy recipes? Please feel free to search this site! And here are a few to try…

When it comes to dinner, we always want something satisfying after a long day of work, something that tastes absolutely amazing, and something that’s got a TON of nutrients.

This Kale Chicken Burrito Bowl’s got it all!

Kale Chicken Burrito Bowl from The Nutrition Twins

But above all things, it tastes incredible!

Here’s what makes this bowl SO great:

  • Kale | a nutrient powerhouse high in Vitamin, A, C, manganese, copper and a slew of other amazing vitamins and minerals.
  • Chicken | a lean protein source that will help you stay satisfied and full longer in addition to aiding in muscle and tissue repair.
  • Brown rice | fiber-rich; it also helps keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  • Avocado | this fruit (yep, it’s a fruit) is rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, potassium, and fiber (to keep you full!)–and we’ve never been girls to tell a lie–and truth be told, it’s creamy deliciousness makes us drool! 😉

 

Kale Chicken Burrito Bowl from The Nutrition TwinsKale Chicken Burrito Bowl

This yumster makes 4 servings. So, if you have 4 people to feed you’re all set! Otherwise, you can package up the leftover ingredients and enjoy it later in the week!

Makes 4 bowls

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts (about 10 oz of chicken total)
  • 1 Tbsp dried chives
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • about 4 loosely packed cups (1 bunch) Tuscan or curly kale, ribs removed and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup lime juice, divided
  • 1 Tbsp evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 avocado, sliced into big chunks
  • Garnish: chopped cherry tomatoes, hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Chicken:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the chicken breasts in a glass-baking dish and fill the dish with about an inch of water. The water should just cover the bottom of the baking dish and not cover the chicken completely.  Sprinkle the chicken breast with chives, chipotle, smoked paprika, and salt.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Shred the chicken with the juices and cooking water using two forks and mix it all together and set aside in a separate dish.
  2. Rice:  Place 2 cups of water with rice in a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until all water is drained.  Remove from heat and fluff with fork.
  3. Kale:  Whisk together 1/4 cup lime juice, olive oil, jalapeño, cumin and salt.  Toss the kale with the lime dressing in a large bowl.
  4. Avocado: Combine the remaining lime juice with the avocado in a food processor. Process until smooth.
  5. To serve, spoon a ¼ of the rice, a ¼ of the chicken, and a ¼ of the kale into a bowl. Top with ¼ of the avocado and a few quartered cherry tomatoes.

Nutrition Information per bowl (not including the tomatoes or hot sauce)

Calories 237, Total Fat 10 g, Cholesterol: 41 mg, Sodium 240 mg, Potassium 272.6 mg, Carbohydrates 20 g, Fiber 5 g, Sugar 1 g, Protein 20 g

Kale & Chicken Burrito Bowl
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: lunch, bowl, gluten free, dairy free
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4 bowls
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts (about 10 oz of chicken total)
  • 1 Tbsp dried chives
  • ⅛ tsp chipotle powder
  • ⅛ tsp smoked paprika
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • about 4 loosely packed cups (1 bunch) Tuscan or curly kale, ribs removed and chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup lime juice, divided
  • 1 Tbsp evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
  • ½ jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 avocado, sliced into big chunks
  • Garnish: chopped cherry tomatoes, hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Chicken: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken breasts in a glass-baking dish and fill the dish with about an inch of water. The water should just cover the bottom of the baking dish and not cover the chicken completely. Sprinkle the chicken breast with chives, chipotle, smoked paprika, and salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Shred the chicken with the juices and cooking water using two forks and mix it all together and set aside in a separate dish.
  2. Rice: Place 2 cups of water with rice in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until all water is drained. Remove from heat and fluff with fork.
  3. Kale: Whisk together ¼ cup lime juice, olive oil, jalapeño, cumin and salt. Toss the kale with the lime dressing in a large bowl.
  4. Avocado: Combine the remaining lime juice with the avocado in a food processor. Process until smooth.
  5. To serve, spoon a ¼ of the rice, a ¼ of the chicken, and a ¼ of the kale into a bowl. Top with ¼ of the avocado and a few quartered cherry tomatoes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl Calories: 237 Fat: 10 g Carbohydrates: 20 g Sugar: 1 g Sodium: 240 mg Fiber: 5 g Protein: 20 g Cholesterol: 41 mg

Kale Chicken Burrito Bowl from The Nutrition Twins

 

Kale_Chicken_Burrito_bowl_Collage

Pesto Portobello Mushroom Pizza

Pesto Portobello Mushroom Pizza

Growing up, every Thursday night was pizza night in our house. This was our favorite dinner and also one night that we knew that if we invited our friends over for dinner, they would love it—after all, what kid doesn’t like pizza, no matter how healthy it’s prepared?! Our mom, who cooked all of our meals from scratch would start making her pizza dough mid-afternoon, when she’d put it in the oven and wait for the dough to rise. After that, she’d work up a sweat kneading it for what seemed like hours. When she could round us up to help, this was one of our favorite parts—and we’d love using the rolling pin after kneading it to make the round pizza pie. She used whole wheat flour in her dough and we remember our dad requesting she use only half whole wheat flour because it made the dough too tough. 😉 We loved mom’s pizza and appreciated all the effort she put into it, but it would have saved her so many hours had she had known our delicious Pizzeria at Home secret! 🙂

mushrooms3label

We didn’t have to become registered dietitians to know how much everyone seems to love pizza—or to know how much so many weight-loss hopefuls feel guilty after eating it.  Guilty is the last thing we want for anyone to feel—especially after eating a food that can be delicious and guilt-free! After all, that’s why we created waist-line friendly pizza options like our Portobello Pizza, Easy Veggie Pita Pizza and our Polenta Pizza just to name a few.

mushrooms4label

And check out this way to make a your favorite food! By using a Portobello mushroom instead of carb-heavy dough, this pizza cuts back on carbs without cutting back on taste! (Pssst…if you remember our Balsamic Egg White Capped Portobello Burger , you’ll see another time the delish Portobello saved mega calories!)

 

Pesto Portobello Mushroom Pizza

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

Pesto:

½ cup tomato paste

¼ cup fresh basil, lightly packed

Garlic – ½ clove, peeled

Pizza Mixture:

2 portobello mushrooms, thoroughly washed and patted dry

½ cup tomato, diced

1/8 cup yellow onion, diced

½ cup green pepper, cut into slices

half of a medium zucchini (about 3 inches), diced

½ cup low-fat mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut out the stem and ribs from the mushroom caps. Spray the mushroom caps and baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Finely chop the fresh basil.
  4. Mix together the tomato paste, basil, and garlic. Add mixture to the bottom of the inside of each mushroom cap.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the tomato, onion, green pepper and zucchini. Fill each mushroom cup with the mixture.
  6. Top each pizza with ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until cheese has melted and looks ooey gooey and delicious! Enjoy!

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 pizza Calories: 158 Fat: 2 Carbohydrates: 18 Sugar: 9 Sodium: 284 Fiber: 5 Protein: 12 Cholesterol: 15

Pesto Portobello Mushroom Pizza
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Garlic – ½ clove, peeled
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, thoroughly washed and patted dry
  • ½ cup tomato, diced
  • ⅛ cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup green pepper, cut into slices
  • half of a medium zucchini (about 3 inches), diced
  • ½ cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut out the stem and ribs from the mushroom caps. Spray the mushroom caps and baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Finely chop the fresh basil.
  4. Mix together the tomato paste, basil, and garlic. Add mixture to the bottom of the inside of each mushroom cap.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the tomato, onion, green pepper and zucchini. Fill each mushroom cup with the mixture.
  6. Top each pizza with ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until cheese has melted and looks ooey gooey and delicious! Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 pizza Calories: 158 Fat: 2 Carbohydrates: 18 Sugar: 9 Sodium: 284 Fiber: 5 Protein: 12 Cholesterol: 15