Three Healthy Dinner Inspiration

PHOTO CREDIT: Restore353

1. Stuffed Grape Leaves

Sure, you can buy them in tins or at the deli, but they are DELECTABLE homemade. I first tried this recipe three years ago to bring them to a themed dinner party, and I have been making them ever since. They are a fun dish to prepare-- very hands-on, and it almost feels like you're making a craft! I like the recipe from Food Network (included below). I normally eat mine with a dollop of Greek Yogurt and paprika. Mmmm. 

Ingredients:

Two large onions, finely chopped

1/2 c. olive oil

1 bulb garlic

1 large, ripe tomato, chopped

1 c. lemon juice

1 tbsp. tomato paste

Sea salt

Black pepper

1 c. Rice (I like using wild rice, but suit yourself)

1/4 c. chopped dill

1 16 oz. jar prepared grape leaves (this saves time)

Directions:

Put the onions and oil in a skillet and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. While the onions cook, peel the garlic cloves and mash them to a paste in a mortar and pestle. Add this to the pan along with the tomato, lemon juice, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the rice. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the dill. Set aside to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate.

While this is cooling, drain the grape leaves and carefully pull them apart. Put them into a bowl and cover them with cold water. Let them soak until you are ready to roll.


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a grape leaf on your work surface, shiny side down. Add 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture to the middle of the grape leaf. Fold the sides over the rice and roll the leaf into a small log shape, about the size of George's thumb. Repeat with the remaining rice, placing the stuffed leaves into a 9 by 9-inch baking dish. When the dish is full, cover the stuffed leaves with several layers of flat grape leaves and pour in 1 cup of water. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Serve cool.

PHOTO CREDIT: Restore353

2. Summer Spinach & Apple Salad

I am a big fan of salads in the summer, because they are easy to make, transportable, refreshing, and you can combine many of your favorite disparate things into one yummy dish. This salad is a good balance of sweet, salty, fruity, and savory. 

Ingredients:

Fresh spinach, rinsed (always rinse your greens! You don't know what happened to them before you bought them!)

1 Granny Smith apple or tangy apple of your choice

Black olives

Quinoa or other protein (optional)

Dried cranberries

Tahini dill dressing or dressing of your choice

Directions:

DRESSING:

Blend the following in a blender or food processor:

1/2 c. fresh tahini

1/2 c. water (and more at your discretion, if too pasty)

1-2 cloves garlic

1/4 c. lemon juice

1/2 T. apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste (I use pink salt and a few cranks of fresh pepper)

1 c. fresh dill

SALAD:

Place spinach on a plate or in a bowl. Place the rest of the ingredients in the bowl, and douse with dressing. (This dressing is healthy so use as much as you'd like!) If you are not a vegan, this salad is also delicious with a little crumble of blue cheese and an extra sprinkle of sea salt. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Restore353

3. Summer Veggie & Chickpea Bowl

As you can see, there is more than one way to use that delicious tahini dill dressing!! I love it on a nice hearty bowl of veggies and beans, for a filling dinner that is also detox friendly (minus the cheese). Make two servings. For lunch tomorrow, double the recipe and pack a bowl for lunch! Give yourself something healthy to look forward to. 

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, or 1.5 c. boiled chickpeas

Two steamed sweet potatoes

1 c. steamed broccoli (I steam both simultaneously)

1 c. quinoa, prepared

Tahini dill dressing (recipe above)

Feta cheese

Nutritional yeast

Directions:

Place the quinoa as the bottom layer on your plate/bowl, and then layer chickpeas on top. Place steamed veggies alongside, and then sprinkle with cheese and nutritional yeast. Pour dressing on top, and let it soak in all the way to the bottom layer. You can mix it all up or eat each part separately. You can eat it hot or refrigerate it for a refreshing cold dish. Any way you do it, it is delicious. 

Namaste!