Zucchini Avocado Guacamole

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Guacamole is a great dip for almost every occasion. It’s bright, fresh, and packed with nutrients such as potassium and healthy fats. However, the calories can add up quickly especially if you are eating it with chips! A great way to keep your calories down while still enjoying this delicious dip is to replace half of the avocado called for with a low calorie vegetable like zucchini or peas. Also, instead of serving guacamole with chips try having it with fresh veggies or whole grain crackers.

This recipe is great because it uses steamed zucchini to cut the calories, but still delivers on taste. You can cook the zucchini (as per the directions below) in a microwave or you can steam it on the stove.

Other variations: add more lime juice, mix in diced roma tomatoes, or sprinkle in some cumin

Per 1/2 cup portion, this dip serves up just under 100 calories

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Zucchini Avocado Guacamole

Ingredients:

1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 large ripe avocado, cubed

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 tsp hot sauce

1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Place zucchini in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave on High until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Drain zucchini, pressing lightly to squeeze out any liquid.
  3. Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl; add avocado, cilantro, onion, garlic, lime juice, hot sauce and salt and coarsely mash until combined, or until a desired consistency is achieved.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/skinny_guacamole.html

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Onions

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This is a recipe from one of my favourite magazines “Nutrition Action”. Each month I look forward to receiving this magazine in the mail. They have great articles that are easy to read and are applicable to everyone. The magazine also usually includes a few tasty recipes. I enjoyed this recipe because of the natural sweetness of the roasted sweet potatoes and onion.

Sweet potatoes are a versatile and nutritious root vegetable. When you are selecting them, choose ones that are firm and do not have any cracks, bruises or soft spots. Cold temperatures can have a negative impact on their taste, so avoid purchasing ones that are displayed in the refrigerated section of the produce department.

If you don’t have any sweet potatoes, yams can be used as a substitute.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Onions

Ingredients:

500 grams (about 2) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into half-inch cubes

1 large onion, chopped

2 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare a baking sheet.
  2. Mix together all of the ingredients so that sweet potato onion are well coated with the oil, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce.
  3. Roast about 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender
  4. Allow dish to sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Nutrition Action Health Letter, November 2012 edition

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Curried Rice and Lentil Salad

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This is a nice rice salad that works great as a side dish or as a main (it’s a complete source of protein!). The salad has a mild curry flavour and is light and refreshing. If you enjoy spicier foods feel free to use medium curry paste (or stronger) instead of mild. This salad will stay fresh for up to 3 days, so make it ahead of time for dinner or for lunches.

When I made the salad I toasted the almonds first to enhance their flavour and give them a crunchier texture. To toast whole almonds:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread nuts in one layer on ungreased shallow baking pan.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and fragrant.

This recipe makes about 10 servings. Each serving has about 300 Calories and 10 grams of protein.

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Curried Rice and Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice

2 tsp mild curry paste

2 1/4 cups low sodium vegetable stock

1 (19 oz) can lentils, drained and rinsed

1 cup almonds, whole

1/2 cup carrot, grated

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped

3 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp honey

pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the rice, curry paste, and vegetable stock in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or until broth is fully absorbed and rice is tender.
  2. Transfer rice to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Toss to combine.
  4. Salad can be eaten warm, or you can cover and chill salad until needed.

Recipe adapted from Thrifty Foods Recipes

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Black Bean Brownies

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These black bean brownies are chocolatey, moist, and so easy to make. All you have to do is throw the ingredients into a food processor, blend, and then bake. When the brownies come out of the oven they will appear light and cake like. Allow them time to cool and then refrigerate them. Placing the brownies in the fridge helps them to become more dense. If you are looking to add something  extra, you are welcome to mix in chopped walnuts, or you can also use a flavoured oil such as walnut or coconut oil instead of canola.

When the pan is divided into 16 portions, each brownie serves up approximately 120 Calories, 4 grams of protein, 2.3 grams of fibre, and 6 grams of sugar.

This dessert is suitable for individuals following a gluten free and/or dairy free diet.

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Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

1-19 oz can of black beans (no salt added), drained and rinsed well

3 eggs

1/3 cup of canola oil

1/2 cup sugar (can use honey)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup, sifted cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease an 8 ” inch square pan.
  3. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until it is smooth.
  4. Pour into the cake pan.
  5. Bake for 25-30  minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from pan, and cool completely.
  8. Cover and refrigerate.
  9. Serve with fresh fruit.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.mennonitegirlscancook.ca/2012/08/chocolate-black-bean-brownies.html

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

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This is a fairly simple peanut butter cookie recipe. I like them because they are very low in sodium, contain protein and whole grains, and combine peanut butter and chocolate chips. To be honest it’s that last part that is my favourite. Delicious! For maximal enjoyment I recommend that you enjoy these cookies with a glass of cold milk.

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup salt free margarine or butter

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/4  cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a baking sheet
  2. Cream together margarine, peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.
  3. Mix in whole wheat flour and baking soda.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips
  5. Scoop dough using a tablespoon, and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a fork to flatten down the dough.
  6. Bake for 12-15minutes. Allow cookies to cool slight on the baking sheet before moving to a cooling rack. (They can be a bit crumbly when hot)

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Spicy Black Bean Burgers

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Although there are a few good commercially prepared veggie burgers out there, I find that many of the ones for sale are either too salty or contain too many things I’d rather not eat. If I am in the mood for a veggie burger, this is the one that I will often make. These spicy black bean burgers are quick, easy, and can even be made ahead and then frozen.

For best results, try drying the black beans after you rinse them.

For a wheat free veggie burger you can substitute quick cooking oats for the whole wheat bread crumbs.

If you feel like veggie burgers, but aren’t in the mood to cook see this article (page 2 and 3) for a top 10 list of better choice commercially prepared veggie burgers. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/taste-test-best-veggie-burgers

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Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces

1/2 onion, cut into wedges

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp hot sauce

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

4-6 slices cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil.              If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
  3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into 4-6 patties. (If mixture is too wet, you can try placing in the refrigerator for an hour or so, or you can add more bread crumbs)
  6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.
  7. Add cheese slices and allow another minute or so for cheese to melt.

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/homemade-black-bean-veggie-burgers/

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