Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bean and Cauliflower Salad with Sunflower Seeds and Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Third post of the month-so glad to be getting back to making more recipes. Today's recipe is another one that's great with grilled food, and is perhaps appropriate for father's day because it's more of a manly salad because there's no wimpy lettuce just lemon juice and oil. This salad is a bit heartier because there's no lettuce; instead there's cauliflower and beans which are full of fiber and have a little protein too. Dressing this salad is a rich sun dried tomato dressing. As I was making this dressing I was afraid it would be too thick to dress a salad, but as I tossed the vegetables with the dressing it coated them nicely, but wasn't gloppy. This dressing would actually be great for a crudites dip, especially if you have vegan friends because there's no dairy in this dressing.

The color of the salad was complimentary to the little steak I grilled up alongside. It's a sirloin tip steak (aka: tri-tip steak), thinly cut. To me, it's in the same league as a skirt steak or top round steak---lean and relatively inexpensive (well, skirt steak used to be inexpensive before people kept mentioning how affordable it was...now it costs more). I happen to like sirloin tip steak the most, however, because it always seems really tender. Skirt steak seems to have more connective tissue and round steak tends to roll at the edges as you cook it. In terms of where the tri-tip steak comes from on the animal, its part of the bottom sirloin so it's posterior to the flank steak and anterior to the round steak. Anyway, this is not supposed to be a lesson on steak, it's supposed to be a write-up about this awesome salad, but if you are looking for a good, affordable option for dad or just for grilling in general, I suggest the sirloin tip/tri-tip steak.

If you didn't get the impression before, this was an awesome meal. I'm glad I took the time to prepare something special for my lunch because I haven't done that in a really long time. It was just what I needed after completing my P90X KenpoX workout!


Bean and Cauliflower Salad with Sunflower Seeds and Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Printable Recipe

1 cup frozen cut green beans, thawed
1 10-oz package frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
1 15-oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 dry-packed sun dried tomatoes
1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 tbsp white balsamic vinaigrette
2 tbsp light olive oil
2 tbsp raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
salt and pepper, to taste
stevia, or another sweetener to taste

1. Add the beans and cauliflower to a bowl.
2. In a mini food processor, blend the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and oil to make a thick dressing. Season with salt, pepper, and stevia, to taste.
3. Toss the beans and cauliflower with the dressing. Garnish with the seeds.

  • Servings per recipe: 4
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 241.9
  • Fat: 9.7 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 547 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30.9 g
  • Fiber:10.3 g
  • Sugar: 9.1 g
  • Protein: 9.8 g

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wheat Berry Salad with Black Beans and Mango

With most days for the past few weeks being over the 100 degree mark, my desire to heat up the kitchen as waned. My research project has taken off too, and I spend almost every day out in the vineyard. Spending most days out in the heat has kind of killed my appetite, and I only want to eat cold foods. I mainly eat crudites and fruit. This past weekend I took a little time to throw together a cold wheat berry salad that would keep for days and would have nearly every food category covered. I used what might be called more than my favorite fruit...a fruit I am obsessed with...mangoes. I can't seem to get enough of them! Plus they looked so pretty in this salad, which also had a lot of other colors playing in with red tomatoes and green, cool cucumbers (which I have eaten a lot of lately just because I figured they would help keep me hydrated). Black beans add some protein, but wheat berries have a good amount of protein, too, for a grain. Wheat berries are basically the whole wheat kernel in an unadulterated state, so if you're trying to add more whole foods in your diet, they might be a good addition. They're an excellent source of fiber too. If you can't find wheat berries, you can substitute brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, and whole wheat couscous, prepared according to their package directions.

This would be awesome at a barbeque because if you have vegetarians over it's substantial enough for a meal. I had this with grilled chicken and it was a great accompaniment.



Wheat Berry Salad with Black Beans and Mango

1 cup wheat berries
3 1/2 cups water
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 packet Truvia or other low-calorie sweetener, or to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 scallions, sliced
2 tbsp minced cilantro or parsley
salt and pepper

1. Add the water and wheat berries to saucepan with a pinch of salt. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook 1 hour or until tender. Drain excess water from the cooked wheat berries.


2. Toss the wheat berries with the black beans, mango, and tomatoes.
3. Blend the oil, vinegar, Truvia, cumin, and oregano in a small bowl. Toss the dressing with the salad and garnish with the scallion and cilantro or parsley.


  • Servings per recipe:4
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 324.5
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 328.5 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 61.1 g
  • Fiber: 12.1 g
  • Sugars: 8.6 g
  • Protein: 13.7 g

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Golden Sunrise Muffins

I made it through my first semester of my Ph.D. but even though classes are done I'm still eyeball-deep in work. I'm really loving my field work, however. I get to spend most days in the vineyard. If you've ever been to West Texas, you'll know how windy it is, and that wind comes sweeping through the rows of grapes to provide a little natural air conditioning as I work away. I'm so grateful to be doing this research project. It allows me to be outdoors and merges my love of plants and food.

Needless to say, I need to keep fueling my body with nutritious food. Now that the semester is over, I don't get to grab quick lunches out; I have been cooking more on my own. I actually prefer to cook my own meals as opposed to eating out because I save money and I know what I am preparing is more nutritious and I stay within my calorie and macronutrient goals. I do miss dining with my friends, but it always seemed that no matter how choosy I was at a restaurant my meals would blow my calories goals.


One of my favorite breakfasts is muffins because I can eat them over several days and the recipe can be worked to make them very healthy. This morning, though it's not a work day, I woke up and made a muffin recipe based off the old Betty Crocker recipe my mom used. I changed a lot of ingredients to make this recipe more healthy. I reduced the flour slightly and added ground flax seeds, which you can get in the cereal or baking section in the regular supermarket. They are a great source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. While fish oil is the best source of omega-3's, some people can't take them because they can cause upset stomachs, acid reflux, and are not vegetarian. Therefore flax is a great substitute. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour as well. In the design of one of my favorite muffins from the coffee place in my hometown, I added carrots and apples to make "Sunrise Muffins." I added golden raisins instead of regular raisins because I happen to like them more, and because they were on sale at my local health food store. As you can see from the picture, they are great quality, too.


 Instead of buttering these muffins, I suggest smearing on a little low-fat cream cheese because it makes these reminiscent of carrot cake.

Golden Sunrise Muffins
Printable Recipe

1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1/2 cup grated apple, with the peel
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup unbleached granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
non-stick cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, lightly beat egg, then blend in the ingredients up through the carrots.
3. Fold the dry ingredients (through the walnuts or pecans) into the wet ingredients until just combined. The batter should be lumpy. Fill each cup of the muffin tin about 2/3rds of the way full.
4. Bake the muffins 20-25 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove each muffin from the tin immediately.

  • Servings per recipe: 12
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 145.8
  • Fat: 4.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 15.9 mg
  • Sodium: 192.5 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 25.2 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Sugar: 11.3 g
  • Protein: 3.5 g
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