Meatless Monday – Vegetarian Carbonara Recipe

This seems to be a week of firsts on the blog. Last night I shared my first StitchFix experience and today I’m sharing our first Meatless Monday recipe. A popular hashtag on both Twitter and Instagram each Monday, it inspires many people to eat less meat by experimenting with one day of meatless cooking or meals each week.  Over the years this movement has become quite popular as more and more research shows that reducing meat consumption can have many positive health benefits.

As I searched my blog, trying to see whether I’d previously shared a Meatless Monday recipe, I was surprised to not find a single Meatless Monday post. Maybe that’s because until recently, both Bo and I were of the mindset that a meal needed to have meat in order to be filling. Luckily, we’ve come a long way and now enjoy a meatless dinner every other week or so. Sometimes it is more simple, like spaghetti squash and marinara while other times it becomes a fun challenge which results in a delicious, often healthy recipe.

Tonight’s Meatless Monday recipe is the former. After a week of staring at the spaghetti squash just sitting on the counter, we knew we needed to put it to good use. An especially cold night inspired us to create a healthier version of one of our favorite comfort foods – carbonara. We ate our weight in carbonara when we were in Italy, our favorite of which was the fresh carbonara tossed table side in Rome during our meal at Felice A Testaccio. In fact, just thinking about it has my mouth watering. Can I please return to Italy immediately for wine, gelato and pasta? Until we can make our return, this recipe is going to be a regular in our rotation. It is healthy, at under 500 calories per serving, and it is full of rich flavor.

carbonara

We are very aware of the inherent contradiction in the term “vegetarian carbonara”.  After all, what is spaghetti carbonara without those deliciously salty hits of pancetta.  However, it is that luxurious egg yolk that coats the pasta that provides richness and makes the dish so luxurious.  For this vegetarian, carb-free version, we used spaghetti squash instead of pasta and a generous amount of sage for a rich, deep, flavor.
Worried this healthy, vegetarian dish won’t be enough to satisfy your appetite?  We paired it with a simple arugula salad to make a complete dinner for two.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Sage pic JPG
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Sage
Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves – grated on a microplaner
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (If you are a strict vegetarian, make sure you buy a vegetarian approved Parmesan such as Trader Joes!)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Extra virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks
1/2 Tbsp. heavy cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 375, and roast the squash for about an hour; cut in half, scoop out the seeds and use a fork to scrap the meat into a bowl – set aside
2) Beat the egg yolks and cream and add a pinch of salt; set aside
3) Heat butter and 1 Tbsp. of EVOO in a skillet over medium heat; add garlic and soften for 3 minutes
4) Add squash, sage, and Parmesan and toss to mix
5) Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper
6) Take the skillet off the burner and allow squash to cool for a minute
7) Fold in the egg / cream and mix lightly for about 30 seconds; adjust seasoning and serve immediately.
If you’re curious in the nutritional information, see below for the breakdown.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Sage
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Super Fruit Smoothie Recipe

As you guys know, even though the weather is finally cooling down, I am still loving smoothies. Most days I whip up a bowl-sized smoothie for breakfast or a smaller, lighter sized smoothie to sip as an afternoon snack.

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I spend a few minutes each day, staring into the pantry and refrigerator, before choosing the flavor profile for that day’s smoothie. Sometimes they are inspired by backed goods, like my favorite peach cobbler smoothie, while other days the goal is to recreate the Dairy Queen Blizzard of my childhood while still including good for you ingredients.

Therefore, when the gang at Superberries asked me to test on their nutritionally packed, aroniaberries, I couldn’t say no. How much fun would it be to spend some time in the kitchen, getting to know a new ingredient, while experimenting with different flavor combinations? The frozen aroniaberries I received were perfect to include in this smoothie recipe as well as my morning oatmeal this morning.

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I won’t lie, I immediately intended on packing this smoothie with all the wholesome goodness you so many people are craving this time of year. This smoothie includes a new to me berry, the aroniaberry. Aroniaberries provide the most balanced protection against the five most common free radicals which can lead to illness. In addition, this antioxidant rich fruit can help with exercise recovery which is especially important for those of us working out multiple times per week! This dark purple fruit is rich in polyphenols, which neutralize free radicals and minimize the aging process while boosting our immune system!

After seeing the vibrant color of these berries, I was inspired to make a smoothie that would taste like a berry muffin and be vibrant in color. Waking up to a bright, cheery smoothie is the perfect way to start any day, right?


Super Fruit Smoothie

Super Fruit Smoothie

1 frozen banana

¼ cup frozen aroniaberries

½ cup Almond Milk (I prefer Califia unsweetened almond milk)

1 chopped, pitted date

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 serving vanilla protein powder

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional:

A sprinkle of your favorite granola such as Purely Elizabeth or ½ a crushed Nola Bar

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Instructions

1. In a high powered blender or food processor of your choice, blend together all ingredients placing frozen fruit and protein powder closest to the blade.

2. Blend until you it appears to be thick enough to eat with a spoon. If you’d rather sip the smoothie, then blend for a bit longer or add more liquid.

3. Pour smoothie into bowl or glass and top with optional crunch.

Want to create your own Aroniaberry smoothie or try the super fruit for yourself? Superberries are offering 25% off 6 Packs of Superberries Products as part of a New Year’s special. (Aroniaberry+ Daily Wellness Shots not included) Use the code BERRIES25in through January 25th.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Superberries. The opinions and text are all mine.

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The Best Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

turkey chili

Here’s what you should know about me. Once the temperatures dip below freezing, I crave a few things: warm slippers, flannel pajamas, chai tea, red wine, and chili. Seriously, I could eat chili every night during the Winter months as long as the flavors change.

Our tastes have fluctuated over the years, and we’ve most recently been eating white chicken chili rather than the traditional red chili. But, after last night’s dinner, I think I’m back on team red.

In fact, I’m about to make a very strong statement. This chili recipe is the best, healthy chili we’ve ever tasted. Hearty, filling, flavorful and rich it leaves you smiling from a full belly while still warming your mouth with smoky, rich flavors. A few surprise ingredients, like charred red peppers, will add depth to the flavor while only requiring a minute of extra effort. Trust me, it’s worth it.

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It’s one of those dishes that only gets better as a leftover, whether served for lunch or dinner. The few simple, surprise ingredients give it a rich, warm flavor that is often missing in healthy chili recipes. Made with lean, ground turkey, it’s healthy enough to eat during the month of January when 99% of blog readers are thinking twice about what they eat.

We recommend topping off your bowl with with jalapenos, shredded cheddar cheese, scallions and a dollop of sour cream before grabbing your largest spoon.


turkey chili

The Best Healthy, Turkey Chili

Servings: 12-14 depending on serving size
Active prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1-2 hours simmering
Ingredients:
2 medium onions (diced)
6 garlic cloves (grated on a micro planer)
2 red bell peppers (charred on the burner and diced)
2 pounds ground white meat turkey
4 15oz cans red kidney beans (rinsed well with cold water)
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes
10 Tbsp. chili powder (divided into 8, 1 and 1)
2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup bourbon
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. corn starch (to thicken if needed)
salt
pepper
olive oil
Directions
1) Place a large stock pot on the stove over medium high heat, once hot add about 2 Tbsp. olive oil
2) Add onions and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes or until the onions begin to soften
3) Add red peppers and cook for another 3 minutes – remove contents of pot to a side dish
4) Return pot to stove and add additional olive oil – once hot, add 1 lb of turkey and season well with salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp. chili powder and a little cumin (you can also add any other spices you like such as garam masala, turmeric, or paprika)
5) Once brown remove turkey to bowl with onions and peppers and repeat with other pound of turkey
6) Return all cooked ingredients to the pot and add kidney beans, tomatoes (crushing whole tomatoes in your hand as they go into the pot), stock, spices, herbs, bourbon and syrup
7) Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for at least an hour, up to 2 hours (the kidney beans should not be broken)
8) Season to taste with salt and pepper and if the chili seems a little thin, add corn starch a little at a time to thicken the broth
9) Garnish with any combination of white or green onions, avocado, cheddar cheese, sour cream, corn chips, cilantro, etc.
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