After a food-heavy holiday like Thanksgiving, the last thing any of us wants to do is eat unhealthy food or food that’ll make us feel bloated. Cue protein-rich, low-fat, and veggie-based meals like this one! My GENK girls and I made this after a long day of indulging our other senses…we went to see the latest Twilight movie and then rented The Lucky One (the Nicholas Sparks flick starring Zac Efron). Yea. It was a good day of indulgence :).
The food was indulgent, too, even though it was healthy! We made everything from scratch and enjoyed all the wonderful flavors of green onion, lemon, dill, and cumin. Delish. Oh, and then we made chocolate chip cookies. Kind of killed the health kick, but it was necessary!
So here we go with our recipes. The quinoa burgers needed no bun, we just ate them topped with heaping spoonfuls of the cool, creamy tzatziki. The combination really hit the spot. And the asparagus — so, so good! It’s my new favorite way to eat the vegetable. The recipes uses a unique cooking method that isn’t quite steaming, isn’t quite roasting, but an in-between approach. I’ve done lemon and parmesan with asparagus before but this recipe really took me by surprise.
Quinoa Burgers (Adapted from Eating Well, Living Thin)
1 cup quinoa (cook in 2 cups of salted water, makes about 2 cups of cooked quinoa)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 carrot, finely grated
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 green onions (or scallions), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of salt
olive oil for frying
1. While you are cooking the quinoa, combine the cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, garlic, and spices.
2. After the cooked quinoa has cooled for a few minutes, add that to the bowl and mix.
3. Preheat a large saucepan on medium-low heat and add a thin coating of olive oil (
4. Using a large spoon, gently scoop the mixture and place it into the pan, then use a spatula to gently press them into a “patty” shape about 1/2 inch thick.
5. Pan-fry until golden brown, flipping every 3-4 minutes until the patty holds together.
Tzatziki Sauce (Adapted from Eating Well, Living Thin)
3/4 cup thick plain Greek yogurt (we used Fage)
3 tbsp low-fat sour cream
1/2 cucumber, sliced very thinly (note: you could also seed and then grate it, but I pride myself on my paper-thin slicing abilities so we opted for that route)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp fresh dill (note: we used fresh dill, so if you use dried make sure you taste along the way)
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.
2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Note: in our case, we added a little more dill and garlic powder. If making it again, I might also add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice). Ideally, let it sit for a few hours in the refrigerator so the flavors can combine.
Lemon Asparagus (Adapted from About)
1 bunch fresh asparagus (about 1 lb.), bottoms trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
parmesan cheese, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1. Add asparagus, olive oil, water, and garlic to a large saute pan with a lid.
2. Cook uncovered on high heat for two minutes, or until the water has almost evaporated.
3. Toss asparagus with tongs. Cover the pan and continue to cook for 1 minute.
4. Remove the lid and toss the asparagus. Then cover the pan again and cook for 1 minute.
5. Repeat (note: we did about 5-6 total minutes with the lid on) until the asparagus are crisp-tender and may be slightly browned in spots.
6. Add lemon juice, remove the garlic cloves, and add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Garnish with lots of shaved parmesan cheese.