Gluten free and Healthy Baked Spinach Chickpea Fritters
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A few weeks ago I made some spinach chickpea fritters and froze the leftovers. I could have just gobbled them down even though I was no longer hungry, because they were delish, but I am so glad I chose to freeze them instead. I am a huge proponent of making things ahead of time and freezing them (you kinda have to when you work full time, have over an hour long commute and a ten month old), and my frozen foods have come to the rescue several times over the past month.

 

 

Spinach Chickpea Fritters with Dip

 

 

Anyways, I am super happy I froze some of my spinach chickpea fritters because we spent last week in the hospital (baby v had bronchiolitis and pneumonia but is doing great now) and came home very tired to a house with a limited food selection. I searched through the freezer looking for something easy to feed baby v (I did not want to have to run to the grocery store) and was ecstatic when I found a tupperware full of my spinach chickpea fritters. Now I know what your thinking….is she posting a recipe for babies? Yes and no. This is a recipe for everyone. It does work great for babies because the patties are easy to pick up, and they contain iron from the chickpeas and spinach, which growing babies need a lot of. However, they also make a healthy, delicious and good looking appetizer for adults. It’s a win-win for all!

 

Blended Chickpeas

 

These spinach chickpea fritters are incredibly easy. Basically you blend and mix everything together and then plop the batter down on a parchment paper lined pan, add a little olive oil, and pop them into the oven. And the only thing I really had to clean afterwards was my blender and a few measuring instruments. These fritters are also super customizable. You can use this recipe as a template and switch out different flavors and spices. I’m thinking next time maybe adding some cumin or curry, or maybe even experiment with adding some feta.

 

 

 

Gluten free and Healthy Baked Spinach Chickpea Fritters

 

 

Spinach Chickpea Fritters

Ingredients
1-16 oz Can Reduced Sodium Garbanzo Beans
1 Cup Raw Baby Spinach
4 Tablespoons Almond Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking powder
1 or 2 Cloves Chopped Fresh Garlic
1 Egg
Olive Oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add beans and garlic to food processor or good blender and pulse until well blended. Add egg and spinach and continue to blend until you get a uniform green mixture. Remove blade from blender and stir in baking powder and flour. You should have a pasty green mixture that smells garlicky. The mixture should be too thin to roll into balls but thick enough to plop on a pan without running. Line baking pan with parchment paper and use a spoon to scoop out 12 large fritters in the baking sheet. Lightly brush or drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15-20 min. Turn on broil and broil for another minute or so until edges brown slightly.
 Gluten free and Healthy Baked Spinach Chickpea Fritters
*And if you need some dip just mix the ingredients below…
1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Parsley or Dill
Dash of Ground Black Pepper
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Mediterranean Quinoa Bake
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When I’m short on time or I’m running low on fresh vegetables, I like to combine fresh veggies with canned ones for a quick and easy meal that still helps me meet my nutritional needs. When buying canned ingredients, I compare different brands and choose the one that is lowest in sodium, preferably no salt added, if possible. I also drain and rinse my canned beans and veggies that do have salt added to help further decrease the sodium level. If you like to use a lot of canned ingredients I would suggest investing in a little mini colander so you can easily rinse off your canned beans and veggies without having to use your bigger one. That way you can save precious dishwasher space and you may be more likely to actually take the time to rinse them off :)

 

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Bake

 

 

This week was pretty busy so I wanted to make a really easy, healthy and delicious meal that would be able to feed both me and my husband for two nights. Throwing veggies, beans, and whole grains into a pan and baking it seemed like a really good way to accomplish my goal. I also wanted to do a vegetarian dish because 1) I love vegetarian dishes, 2) Adding meat seemed like an unnecessary extra step, and 3) My friend Stephanie is a vegetarian who loves casseroles/bakes and is always looking for healthy recipes…so this recipe was partly for her. I chose to use mediterranean flavors in this recipe because I love them… annnnd I also happened to have a can of artichokes in my pantry I wanted to use. So if you like easy healthy recipes, veggies, chickpeas, and quinoa, this recipe is just for you.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Bake

Mediterranean Quinoa Bake

Ingredients 
1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
1 Can (16 oz) Reduced Sodium Chickpeas- Drained and Rinsed
1 Can (14 oz) Quartered Artichoke Hearts- Drained and Rinsed
1 Can (12 oz) Roasted Red Peppers- Drained and Rinsed
3 Cups Raw Baby Spinach
4 Plum Tomatoes – Sliced
1 Cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
3/4 Cup Reduced Fat Crumbled Feta Cheese
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Directions
Cook quinoa according to package directions and preheat oven to 350 degrees. While quinoa is cooking, add remaining ingredients except for feta cheese and balsamic vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Toss ingredients together mixing well. After quinoa is done cooking, spread quinoa evenly in a 9×13 inch glass baking pan. Top with veggie mixture. Cook in oven for 20 minutes or until veggies are warm and soft. Remove from oven, sprinkle feta cheese and drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top of casserole. Place back in oven for about 5 more minutes until cheese is warm and slightly soft. Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy!
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Vegetarian Lasagna Roll ups
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I love pasta, vegetables and cheese so I am sure to enjoy any recipe I can make that includes all three of them, so a vegetarian lasagna really gets me salivating. Unfortunately, because I am gluten free, I often cannot order pasta dishes at restaurants, but at least there are a lot of gluten free pasta brands available at the grocery store. I usually stick to whole grain brown rice pasta (whole grains provide fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals and are important for heart health) and my favorite brand is Jovial. It doesn’t get mushy or anything like some of the other rice pastas, and I even make a special trip to a Publix that is farther from my house every once in awhile so I can stock up on it (it is that good).

If you are gluten free just make sure you use a gluten free (and whole grain) lasagna noodle and gluten free tomato sauce. Vegetables, eggs and cheese are naturally gluten free, but always check your labels just in case! If you are not gluten free, I would recommend choosing any whole grain lasagna noodle.

Making a whole lasagna seems like a daunting task to me, especially when I am just cooking for myself and my husband. Instead of filling a giant pan with layers upon layers of lasagna, I decided to roll up the lasagna noodles with a cheese and spinach mixture, top with a spicy red pepper tomato sauce, mushrooms and shredded cheese. I really like this idea cause everything is already portioned into 8 rolls. I planned on only eating 1 roll but I managed to stuff a second one in… I couldn’t help myself…it was so good. (I’m pretty sure my husband had 3 though so I don’t feel that guilty)

 

Lasagna roll ups

Ingredients
8 Whole Grain Lasagna Noodles
1 cup Nonfat or Reduced Fat Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg
1 10 ounce Package Frozen Spinach, thawed, excess water squeezed out
1 1/2 cups of Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
1 2/3 cups Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup Shredded Reduced Fat Four Cheese Italian
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. In an 8×8″ glass pan add 2/3 cup of tomato sauce and spread to cover bottom. Add ricotta, egg, spinach and 1/4 cup shredded cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Add garlic, basil and oregano. Mix well. Allow cooked noodles to cool slightly and lay out on a cutting board or baking sheet. Spoon 3 tablespoons of cheese/spinach mix on each noodle, spreading down the length of the noodle. Roll each noodle up and place seam side down in pan with tomato sauce. Sprinkle mushrooms over top after all 8 noodles are rolled up in the pan. Pour a cup of tomato sauce and a quarter cup shredded cheese evenly over the roll ups. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min or until it is piping hot inside and mushrooms on top are soft.
 Vegetarian Lasagna Roll ups in Pan
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