Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2-on-Tuesday: Quinoa-Stuffed Tomatoes with Spicy Cilantro Pesto

Saturday was the first day of college football season and I was in the mood for cookin' up
some spice! Here's another offering from the Forks Over Knives cookbook! As of this writing, I've been enjoying a mostly-plant-based nutrition since December 1, 2012! 

If you are considering making a lifestyle shift with fitness and nutrition to effect your health, I do have a couple of notes for ya...

  1. The first 2 weeks of your new fitness and nutrition lifestyle will be the hardest.
  2. If you can swing it -OR- if your health insurance covers a yearly wellness exam, DO IT! You'll have a good base of numbers to launch forward. Find out cholesterol, weight (ugh), blood pressure, thyroid (TSH) levels, then, you'll know what type of nutrition to pursue. Don't be too overwhelmed if your physician suggests meds to control these areas. Typically they opt for fitness and nutrition as their first prescription.
  3. Find a fitness regime that makes you smile -after the first 2 weeks of fatigue and muscle soreness- and STICK TO IT! Consistency is the key! The cheapest is walking or running. I love REFIT® & Zumba! Known as "The Angry Runner," I am intentionally trying to smile for a couple of seconds during each run.
  4. If there's a nutrition change, the hardest parts are (1) not giving up and (2) food preparation, if you have a busy lifestyle. When I don't prepare a menu or weekend food prep for the meals ahead, my husband and I will end up making poor nutritional choices and it'll cost us more money, too.

OK. On to the good stuff...FOOD!

Quinoa-Stuffed Tomatoes with Spicy Cilantro Pesto
(page 188, Forks Over Knives cookbook)

4 large Tomatoes, topped and scooped-out
1/2 Yellow Onion, peeled and diced small
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced small
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
2 ears Fresh Corn, kernels removed (+/- 1 cup)
1/2 (15 oz.) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked Quinoa
S&P, to taste
3/4 cup Spicy Cilantro Pesto

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and scoop out the flesh. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
  • Place onion and red pepper in a large saucepan and dry/water sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes. I like the veggies slightly crunchy!
  • Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes--careful not to scorch the garlic.
  • Add corn, black beans and cooked quinoa.
  • Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Mix-in the cilantro pesto.
  • Spoon quinoa mixture into tomatoes, arrange in baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes!
  • Prior to serving, top with some of the pesto!

Spicy Cilantro Pesto
(page 24, Forks Over Knives cookbook)

2 cups (+/-) packed Fresh Cilantro
1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds, toasted (I used pine nuts, instead!)
2 Jalapeño peppers, coarsely chopped (I used 2 because the tofu and nooch de-heated the peppers!)
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
Zest and juice of 1 Lime (I only had the bottle kind on hand.)
Salt, to taste
1/2 package Extra Firm Silken Tofu, drained
optional: 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (nicknamed "nooch")

  • Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pureé until smooth and creamy!
  • This recipe serves as a pretty good dip for baked corn chips, too!

Food Prep Tips: 

  • I had the "1/2" onion, red pepper and the 1/2 can of black beans from the previous night's recipe of Cheesy Mexican Quinoa.
  • Be sure to rinse your quinoa before cooking to wash-off the bitter outside. You can't see it, but it's there! Trust me, I forgot, once, and had a little upset tummy. Same with the black beans...rinse 'em!
  • To drain silken tofu (a different technique than draining firm tofu), remove from package and let sit for awhile or over night. The whey (the liquid you'll drain-off) will separate from the curd.

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