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Amazing Alkaline Quinoa

How to make it
This quinoa tabbouleh salad with feta and olives is full of fresh summer flavors — tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs for in your alkaline diet, best when just picked from the garden or a farm stand. Add a light citrus dressing, and you’ve got a great side dish or main dish salad.

acid alkaline diet
Regular tabbouleh is usually made with bulgar, a wheat product, and therefore contains gluten; I wanted to make a gluten-free version and also wanted to ensure it contained a complete protein, and so I opted for quinoa. Because I love feta and kalamata olives, I added them too and liked the salty amazingness they added to the dish. So I guess this is really a cross between a quinoa salad and a Greek salad. It’s easy to make, and light, delicious and nourishing alkaline food to eat.
Quinoa is one of the few grains (or seeds, actually) that is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs and cannot make on its own and so we need to obtain them from food. Quinoa is also quick and easy to make — very similar to making rice. Just put the quinoa and water or stock in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Viola. Done.
Meanwhile, chop all your veggies and herbs and make the citrus dressing. Mix everything together, and you’ve got a beautiful, colorful side or main dish salad.

I’m hearing about bowls everywhere — burrito bowls, broth bowls, breakfast bowls.  I didn’t really get it, until I tried one. What a quick, easy, inexpensive, HEALTHY dinner! Mine might not have alliteration, but it has legumes; it has whole grains; it has vegetables.  It has flavor.  And it’s good.

Other than how nutritious it is, and other than how delicious it is, the next best part is … the only cooking required is the quinoa.  And how easy is that?

I used quinoa because I had it in the cupboard, and I like it because it’s a complete non acidic protein.  Most alkaline whole grains aren’t.  (Technically, quinoa is actually a seed, but it’s often categorized as a whole grain).  A complete protein has all the amino acids that the body needs and can only get from food.  So even though this is a vegetarian meal, you’re getting plenty of protein between the quinoa and the beans.

alkaline diet

I topped the quinoa with a bed of Napa cabbage.  Now before you turn your noses, Napa cabbage (also called Chinese cabbage) is much more mild and tender than other types of cabbage.  I have made salads with a mix of alkaline Napa cabbage and Romaine lettuce before, and no one even knew it was cabbage.  I especially like it because it is a good source of so many nutrients, including dietary fiber, protein, thiamin, niacin, phosphorous, Vitamins A, C, K and B6, Riboflavin, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.  Where else can you get that many nutrients?  But you can use whatever greens you like best.

I topped that with a nice little pile of my black bean salad, which has corn, red pepper, jalapeno, red onion, and some yummy flavorings like cumin, Tabasco, lime juice, and olive oil.  Top that with some homemade acidic fruits or store-bought salsa and a dallop of Greek yogurt, and you’ve got one heck of a clean, vegetarian, nutritional powerhouse of a meal.

Ingredients:
• 1 c. quinoa
• 2 c. water
• 2 c. tomatoes, seeded and chopped1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
• 4 radishes, chopped
• 10-12 kalamata olives, chopped
• 1 c. parsley, fresh, chopped4 green onions, chopped
• 4 T mint, fresh, chopped
• 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled zest from 1 lemon3 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
• 6 T olive oil
• Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:
Combine water and quinoa in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop your tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, olives, parsley, green onions, and mint and combine in a large mixing bowl. Crumble in the feta and sprinkle in the lemon zest. Squeeze the lemon juice into a small mixing bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Add cooked quinoa to the large mixing bowl with the vegetables and herbs, add the dressing, and toss well to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve. It’s best to make a couple hours before serving to allow time for the flavors to meld.…

Alkaline Pasta Soup

One day I came home to discover my husband, who was experimenting with our new antenna by checking out how many channels we could get, watching a British cooking show.  This, in and of itself, is comical because my husband never watches cooking shows and is not a fan of British cuisine.  Yet, there he was, hyper focused on this show.

The chef, a middle aged woman, was making something with cannellini beans and made the claim that incorporating one can of cannellini beans into one’s diet at least once a month would reduce that person’s cholesterol level by fifty points.  I found this comical as well, because, well, it seems … how do I say this nicely … questionable.  Yes, legumes contain dietary fiber, which is believed to help reduce cholesterol.

Yet my husband, who is usually quite discerning, excitedly says, “Debra,” (this part is not comical.  I don’t like being called Debra) “you need to make more recipes with cannellini beans.”And so I dug this one out of my recipe binder — because increased dietary fiber is good for reducing cholesterol.  This soup, which I modified from a Food Network Magazine recipe published in November 2012, has made multiple appearances onto our table since then.

It’s really easy to make, which is the best part. Just sauté the onion in olive oil for a couple minutes.  Then add the carrots, garlic, tomato paste and thyme and sauté for a few more minutes.  Add the vegetable stock and the water. Bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and allow to simmer for about twenty minutes.  (I used brown rice pasta to make the soup gluten-free.  If you use regular pasta, you won’t need to simmer as long).  Then add the rinsed and drained beans and the chopped kale and simmer for about five to ten minutes more, until the kale has softened and the soup is a little thicker.  Add the vinegar; season with salt and pepper and, if you want, garnish with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Yummy.

Perhaps I’ll serve this once a month.  I’ll let you know if his cholesterol is down fifty points.  But wait, I used two cans of beans. We’re going for a hundred points here.  One hundred points! Kale, Cannellini and Pasta Soup.…