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Oct 08

Tabbouleh with a Twist

Anytime is an ideal time for experimenting with new foods and recipes in the kitchen! A recent visit to the Birchwood Cafe right off of Riverside Avenue in Minneapolis inspired this post to feature a recipe they do extremely well: tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a vegetarian dish that originates from Lebanon and comes from the Arabic word, aabil, meaning seasoning. This dish, typically served as a starter or side, incorporates cucumbers, tomatoes, bulgur wheat, parsley and mint to make a refreshing summer salad.                              

(Photo courtesy of blog contributor Emily Champoux; features Mark Bittman's Quinoa Tabbouleh)

Mark Bittman, an American food journalist, author, and columnist for the New York Times, gives this dish a new twist by adding white beans for more dietary fiber, and substituting quinoa for bulgur wheat to add more protein! This dish is sure to be a hit for dinner tonight or at an outdoor picnic with family and friends! Quinoa Tabbouleh (Recipe source: Mark Bittman) Makes: 4 servings; Time: 40 minutes

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
  • 6 or 7 radishes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 celery stalks (leaves included if possible), chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • About 6 black olives, pitted and chopped, optional
  • 1 cup cooked or canned white or pink beans, drained, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios or almonds, optional

1. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with 3/4 cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and bubble gently until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Toss the warm quinoa with the oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with pepper. (You can make the quinoa up to a day in advance: Just cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before proceeding.) 2. Just before you're ready to eat, add the remaining ingredients and toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you prefer or add more oil or lemon juice, then serve. Try out this unique tabbouleh recipe with dinner tonight!

Apr 29

Top Your Salad Series: Protein Punch

Spring has sprung, which means fresh, local produce is heading our way! Salads are a great way to add veggies to any meal, but they don't have to be the same boring old salad. Traditionally, salads may lack adequate protein if they consist mostly of greens, vegetables, dressing, and croutons. Making sure your salad is loaded with a healthy protein source is vital for keeping you feeling full all afternoon. Pick up some of these toppings to pack a protein punch to your salad. salad

(Photo source: Taste of Home)

  1. Try a meat
    • Grill up a chicken breast the night before and add sliced cold chicken to your salad. Pairs great with strawberries, almonds and poppy seed dressing. Add croutons, Parmesan cheese and Caesar dressing for a tossed Caesar salad.
    • Try thinly sliced beef with mandarin oranges, water chestnuts and an Asian-style ginger dressing.
    • Crumble bacon with blue cheese, or add tuna with a squeeze of lemon juice for a variety of creative options.
  2. Add some beans
    • Beans are an easy way to add protein, iron and fiber all-in-one. Most have a mild flavor, and add another dimension with their soft texture. Mix together garbanzo beans with cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and sliced avocado with balsamic dressing and add on a bed of greens.
  3. Go for grains
    • Grains are a great source of protein to keep you full. Toss wild rice, quinoa, or cooked barley on a bed of greens or enjoy your grain on the side such as a baguette.
  4. Don't forget the eggs
    • One hard-boiled egg added to your salad adds 6 grams of protein. A simple addition with a great protein punch. Not a fan try tofu or edamame for additional protein.
How do you add protein to your salad? You may also like: Top Your Salad Series: Fresh Fruit

Feb 25

Here Comes a New Smoothie Idea

Making a smoothie can be a simple and nutritious replacement to juice in your daily breakfast meal; depending on the ingredients can even turn into your full breakfast! With smoothies you are able to easily change up the content every day by mixing and matching your favorite fruits, adding creaminess or crunchiness, even tossing in leafy greens. When comparing to a pre-made juice concentrate, smoothies have more added benefits. They provide natural fiber and protein, which are key nutrients most fruit juices are lacking. Fiber and protein are essential breakfast nutrients because together they help keep you feeling fuller for longer. In addition, adding a handful of spinach or other green vegetable you get a boost of calcium, folate and vitamins A, C and E. Check out this link from Eating Well to read more on the benefits of smoothie 's vs juices. PB & J Smoothie The peanut butter and loads of fruit give this simple, yet delicious smoothie a reminiscent flavor of that traditional PB&J sandwich we all love. PB&J Smoothie (Photo source: Ingredients:
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries mixes are great)
  • _ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • _ tablespoon chia seeds (optional but a great way to add Omega-3 and protein)
  • 1-1_ cup(s) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • _ frozen banana


  • Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender.
  • Cover and blend at a high speed.
  • Pour into a large glass, cup or bowl.
  • Enjoy!
*Optional - Top with almonds and a sprinkle of granola, bran flakes and raisins or fresh fruit! What's your favorite smoothie addition?

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