Pea Pesto Pasta

Today is such an exciting day for me as I have been patiently waiting to share this recipe with you! After so much trial & error I finally came up with a recipe I am proud to call my own. I will be sharing with you my recipe for the perfect pesto pasta that is not only delicious but loaded with a variety of nutrients. Pesto is one of those foods that I know so many people love but it can typically be pretty price to make at home all because of the very pricey pine nuts. Not only is pesto a little pricey to make at home but it is also not the healthiest. Pesto is is typically loaded with olive oil & Parmesan cheese which contributes quite a bit of calories in just a small amount. In order to make this pesto healthier & more cost-effective I made a few changes.

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Stuffed Zucchini (Two ways)

Zucchini boats (two ways)

In the last few weeks, I have spent so much time working on various recipes but sometimes they take longer to develop than others. The process of running a food blog is that of trial and error. I would say most of the time, the process of creating recipes is fairly straight forward but that’s not always the case. The last few recipes I have tried to nail have been an absolute headache, but I wanted to put out something I knew would be easy and delicious and that is how these zucchini boats came to be. Now, I personally tend to eat more vegetarian style on a day-to-day basis but I wanted to give you a healthier option that also contained leaner sources of protein because I realize not everyone centers their meals around veggies. So with that being said, I have provided a recipe with both a vegetarian option and a ground turkey version so that way no matter how you eat, you can find something that works for you and your lifestyle. In addition, these are also great if you are being mindful of your carb intake which can be important if you are prediabetic or full-onset diabetic. However, even if you’re like me and obsessed with everything carbs, you will love these because they are absolutely delicious and definitely do not taste “healthy”.

These zucchini boats are so incredibly easy and more importantly packed with tons of flavor. They come together in 30-40 minutes and are perfect to prep in advance for a busy week ahead. I packed them to take to work a few days in a row just because they were so easy, filling, & nutritious.  I didn’t bake the zucchini for too long because I wanted them to maintain their shape so you could eat it like a taco if you want.  That’s how I ate them and I basically shoveled them into my mouth one after another because they’re that good.  I definitely think they’re worth a try and keep in mind like all my other recipes, you can sub whatever veggies you have on hand. Now that I’ve rambled on long enough, let’s get into what you will need to make the 2 variations of these zucchini boats.

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Soy & Lime Veggie Skewers

Veggie Skewers

Since the weather has warmed up, I have been taking advantage of the relatively nice weather and grilling outside. During the warmer months, I prefer to grill because it helps to avoid heating up the house by using the oven. Also, the fact that it gives food a perfectly smokey & delicious char is an added bonus.  Adrian & I have been on a grilled corn kick and the other day when we were waiting for it to finish up, I started thinking about how good skewers would be charred on the grill.  I feel like skewers or kabobs scream summer and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show you yet another way to incorporate more veggies into your diet in a non-boring way.  Since these skewers do not have meat, I knew that meant I needed to do something to these veggies to make them burst with flavor so that is when I started playing around with marinade ideas. I wasn’t really sure what kind of flavor I wanted them to have, but I just started combining flavors I knew would be delicious. First, I added soy sauce for that umami/salty flavor and then proceeded to add in minced garlic because I can’t think of a time where garlic & soy sauce ever tasted bad. To cut the saltiness a bit, I added in some lime juice for some acidity and lastly included some organic raw honey for sweetness. As I whisked away I continued to taste it to make sure everything was balanced and before I knew it, I had created the perfect balance of sweet & savory. This marinade can really be used for anything but I highly recommend you try marinating mushrooms for these skewers because it will change your life! Since mushrooms are so porous and spongelike, they absorb the marinade very well and pack a lot of flavor into each mushroom.  The longer you marinate these for the better they taste so I would recommend leaving them for as long as you possibly can to maximize the flavor. Now with all that being said, let’s get into the details of this recipe.

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Falafel + Yogurt Sauce Recipe

 

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Happy Sunday!

I hope you have all had a wonderful and refreshing weekend after what I’m sure has been a busy week for everyone. I myself have had quite the last two weeks so I made sure to spend some time pampering myself this weekend. One of my favorite things to help me decompress is to develop new recipes. When I’m in the kitchen it’s like all of my sources of stress disappear and I find myself to be calm, cool and collected.  This weekend I had a flood of recipe ideas that I can’t wait to share with you because you are going to LOVE them! For today, I will be sharing with you one of the recipes I finally perfected after much time and that is my beloved falafel recipe. The first time I had falafel was in a local Greek restaurant in the form of a pita sandwich. I loved how filling and fresh it was and couldn’t stop thinking about it for a while. I decided to give making them at home a shot with one major modification– I would avoid deep frying them in oil. One of the best parts about falafel is the crispiness of the falafel itself, but I figured I could make them just as delicious by simply pan-frying them instead. After making a few tweaks to the recipe I finally landed on a winner and today I get to share it with you. These falafels can be used to make lettuce wraps, pita sandwiches, salads, and so much more as they are extremely versatile. They provide a healthy serving of fiber and plant-based protein along with an abundance of vitamins and minerals. These falafels require very minimal heating which makes them great as we dive deeper into the warm weather season!  I especially like to make these at the beginning of the week to keep them in the fridge so I can quickly make a meal. The necessary ingredients are very minimal which also makes this recipe incredibly budget-friendly! Let’s get started by getting into what you will need to make this recipe.

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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

vegetarian tortilla soup (1)

Growing up, I used to spend hours watching the Food Network. Some of my favorites were Giada De Laurentiis, Rachel Ray, and Ina Garten. I would sit there in front of the t.v. like a sponge absorbing everything they said and keeping their flavor combinations in mind. Very seldom would my mom ever follow their recipes but there is one I remember and still think about and that was Rachel Ray’s chicken tortilla soup. What stood out to my mom and myself about her chicken tortilla soup was the use of chorizo in the base of the soup. It looked so good and as we sat there salivating for the remainder of the show, we decided to give the recipe a shot. Let me just say that was the best chicken tortilla soup I had ever had. Fast forward to now and obviously, I realize that a vast majority of the recipes Rachel Ray and for that matter, any other Food Network chef made weren’t very healthy. Naturally, I decided to make it my mission to lighten it up a bit and so about a few months ago I had one of my good friends over and I made my version of the chicken tortilla soup and he absolutely loved it. Instead of utilizing regular pork chorizo which is high in saturated fat, and cholesterol I swapped it for soy chorizo. In addition, I also added in black beans for extra fiber and protein.

Although my version of the chicken tortilla soup was a huge hit, I got to thinking if I could make a vegetarian version that would be just as delicious. Now, if you wanted to still make this a chicken tortilla soup, all you need to do is swap out 1 cup of beans and 1 cup of quinoa for shredded chicken (total of 2 cups). After lots of tasting and tweaking, I found a winner and man is it satisfying. Today I will be sharing with you my recipe for my vegetarian tortilla soup.  In order to create a soup that would be hearty and feeling just like traditional chicken tortilla soup, I decided to use quinoa because as I have mentioned many times before, quinoa is one of the only plant-based options that is considered a complete source of protein. Quinoa is a grain that contains all nine of the essential amino acids we must obtain from our diet which is why I decided to use it in place of the chicken. Quinoa is also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals so it’s a great way to boost this soup. In addition, I also added in some extra veggies for an extra serving of fiber.

This recipe is so easy and comes together in a total of 30 minutes as it is just a matter of dumping things into a pot and allowing them to simmer together. The longer it sits for, the better it tastes as it gives the flavors a chance to combine. Now let’s get into all that you will need to make this dish.

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Gluten-Free Lemon Basil Pasta Salad

blog lemon basil pasta (1)

In about 2 weeks, I will be heading back to school to complete the last few classes I need to apply for my master’s program. As time is of the essence, I’m on the hunt for recipes that are quick, easy, and nutrient dense. If you can relate, then I think you will appreciate this recipe because it takes under 30 minutes to make, is loaded with a variety of nutrients, and won’t break the bank. The recipe I will be sharing with you is my gluten-free lemon basil pasta salad.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers


stuffed bell peppers (1)

Hi guys!

Welcome back to Life at the Mesa, it sure feels good to be back with another recipe after taking some MUCH needed time off. After taking a break for a while I feel so inspired and have so many new recipes in mind as we move forward. One thing about me that should be pretty apparent by now is that I am a creature of habit. When I come up with a recipe, I like to figure out how many different ways I can make it work so that way I don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen and so that I don’t get bored with my meals. Today’s recipe is no different as it will be featuring one of my all-time favorite recipes and that is my Mexican Quinoa. Quinoa is so incredibly diverse and also incredibly healthy for you. It is hands down my favorite grain because as I have mentioned previously, it is one of the few plant-based options that is considered a complete protein. For more info on protein click here to read more about the different types and sources of protein.

This recipe was created last week when I was in a hurry to make dinner but was craving something really hearty and satisfying. As I was looking through my pantry thinking of what I could make the first thing that came to mind was my Mexican quinoa as I also had the necessary pato sauce on hand. As much as I love the Mexican quinoa just as is, I wanted to make something different so then I came across some bell peppers in the fridge that I needed to use along with some zucchini and then this creation was born. These stuffed bell peppers are out of this world delicious and so incredibly easy to make. From start to finish it can be done in under 30 minutes and the toppings are endless. It’s a really great recipe to throw in any veggies you may have lying around that you need to use. Not only is it insanely good but of course it is loaded with a variety of nutrients but the most notable being protein, fiber, and vitamin C. Now, without further delay, let’s go ahead and jump into all the items you will need to make these delicious stuffed bell peppers!


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Chickpea Salad

 

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I think it’s safe to say, we all are on the hunt for quick, easy, and healthy recipes that are great to make in advance and keep on hand whenever. All of us lead busy lives so I get that you really don’t want to spend that much time putting anything together. That’s exactly why you need to make this chickpea salad sandwich a part of your usual menu. It started out as an attempt to make vegetarian “fish cakes” but as I tasted the mixture I found myself wanting to eat it then and there as is. That’s when I figured it would be perfect to use anywhere you would normally use tuna salad. Add it to a green salad, a wrap, or as a simple sandwich and I’m telling you, you’ll be surprised just how good chickpeas can be. The ingredients are simple and I’m sure you have about 95% of the ingredients in your kitchen as we speak. It takes almost no time to prepare and is even better the next day once the flavors have had a chance to marinate together. Before we get into the specifics of the recipe, let’s talk a little bit about the star of the show, chickpeas.

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Mexican Rice Inspired Quinoa

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Growing up in a Hispanic household Mexican rice was always a staple side dish for just about every meal. My mom would serve it alongside enchiladas, tacos, sopes or really just about anything. There’s no doubt that it’s a tasty dish, but the thing about traditional Mexican rice is that it requires frying in oil. Although the browning of the rice helps to develop a delicious dish, it is not the most healthy method. While I definitely enjoy it from time to time,  I find myself turning to this recipe that I will be sharing with you today more often. I wholeheartedly believe that eating healthy should taste just as amazing as it makes you feel, so I attempt to recreate some of my favorite foods using healthier more nutrient-rich foods. Today I will be sharing with you one of my favorite ways to enjoy quinoa that mimics the flavors in Mexican rice.

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