Tag Archives: green food

Salsa Style Blackbean Pasta

June 1, 2015 – Rene MacVay, Food Blogger | Healthy Recipe Variations

Since I had to become gluten free I have reduced my pasta intake quite a bit. Pasta used to be a great go to for me, as it was a quick meal to fix and great leftovers to take to work the following day. A few Gluten Free pastas have come along that are organic, non-GMO, high in fiber, and cook without getting soggy. I can enjoy pasta again!

Tolerant Black Bean Pasta is a great addition to my pantry as it has great texture and flavor. I was looking for something to make for a quick evening dinner and decided to us up a few ingredients I had from my recent trip to the farmer’s market. I had a little of each ingredient, so pasta was the perfect way to marry the flavors and use the fresh ingredients.

This recipe takes less than a half hour from opening the refrigerator to finishing clean up. Enjoy a healthy meal…or put it in an airtight container and take it with you for a great lunch. Enjoy as a meal on its own or a side dish with a sandwich or salad.

Base Ingredients:

1 ear of corn … corn cut off the cob (yields about 2 cups)

½ Red Onion

½ Red Bell Pepper

1 Tomato (I used vine ripe)

Basil (for garnish)

Pasta – 1 Cup Tolerant Black Bean Rotini

Olive Oil

2 TBSP Butter (unsalted)

¼ Cup Vegetable Broth

Variations in keeping with Salsa theme:Untitled

 Add a few cloves of crushed Garlic

 Substitute Shallots for Red Onion

 Add a Hot pepper like a Jalapeño, Serrano, or Habanero depending on your personal interest in HEAT

 Add a cup of diced Mango if you wish a bit of sweet flavor


1. Cut the corn off the cob

2. Use a mandolin to cut the pepper and onion into small slices (or dice small with a knife)

3. Sautee all three ingredients in a pan with 2 tbsp butter and ¼ cup vegetable broth

4. Once onions are translucent turn off heat.

5. Add 3 cups of water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of Tolerant Black

Bean Rotini. Stir from time-to-time. Drain after 5 minutes…reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.

6. While pasta is cooking dice the tomato.

7. Add pasta water, diced tomato, and pasta to pan with the sautéed vegetables.

8. Cook until water evaporates.

9. Transfer to a plate, bowl, or airtight container. Sprinkle with Olive Oil and/or Basil to garnish.

Enjoy this YogaLean meal and other Gluten Free Recipes on Healthy Recipe Variations.

Broccoli Greens Tofu Stir Fry

Not only do I love to eat light and healthy foods, but I also do not like to waste food. When I had an opportunity to try broccoli and cauliflower greens I was elated! This was an opportunity to experience two vegetables I love in an entirely new way. UntitledI have used the greens as a side dish on their own and have enjoyed using them in stir-fry dishes also. The great thing about a stir-fry is that it is a way to use of vegetables that you have in the refrigerator. You do not need to have a large portion of any one vegetable to make a successful stir-fry. Each time you make a stir-fry you can use a different sauce as well. It can be an ever-changing recipe. Of course, when you find a combination you like, you may want to make it time and time again!

1 package EXTRA FIRM TOFU (Azumaya brand is Non-GMO and Gluten Free)

1/2 a box of Thai Kitchen Stir-Fry Rice Noodles or 2 Cups cooked rice

Vegetables (aim for 4 -6 cups uncooked):

5 Large Broccoli Stems/Leaves

5 Large Cauliflower Stems/Leaves

4-6 Garlic Cloves (depending on size)

I used 1 cup Tessemae’s Lemon Chesapeake All Natural Dressing/Marinade/Dip

1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth (Unsalted is preferable).

1. Decide if you wish noodles or rice. If you wish rice, start the rice cooking as step one. If you want noodles, wait till the vegetables and tofu are done. Cooking rice is 2 cups of liquid per 1 cup of dry rice. Cook a single batch if you are not interested in leftovers, double (or more) the recipe if you wish leftovers.

2. For crispier TOFU (omit this step if you are not looking for crispy), drain the package and allow some water to be removed. I place the tofu block in a kitchen towel and place it between two dinner plates for about 1 hour. This step can be done the night before, while you are at work, or skipped entirely.

3. Wash and chop the vegetables you are using. Try to make the vegetables into even sized so they cook at the same rate. With the greens and stems, I do put thestems in the pan a few minutes before the “leafy section”.

4. In a sautee pan place 2 TBSP Toasted Sesame Oil and the vegetables. Add the marinade and broth. Cook on medium heat. Stir from time to time. If you need additional liquid to soften the vegetables, add ¼ cup of water at a time.

5. After the vegetables have started, cut the tofu and place in a second sauté pan with 2 TBSP Toasted Sesame Oil. Sprinkle pepper on the tofu if you wish the additional flavor. Cook on medium heat and rotate the tofu periodically so all sides brown and form a bit of a crust.

6. When vegetables and tofu are done, turn the burners off and let rest for a few minutes. If you are making noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil. Once a running boil is attained, break the noodles in half and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir once or twice. Drain noodles.

On your plate put a bed of noodles or rice then add the vegetables. The tofu can be sprinkled on top or arranged in a pattern for a finished presentation.

Enjoy and savor the flavors!

Option: Sprinkle nuts or sesame seeds over the top.

Read more Gluten Free recipes at Healthy Recipe Variations Blog. Enjoy being YogaLean as you enjoy an active lifestyle and make healthy eating choices.

Peas and Asparagus Your Way


I make a concerted effort to eat fruits and vegetables when they are in season, when they are at their peak. Asparagus is in season in March and April in California which means not only is the vegetable fresh but also reasonable in price. This vegetable is low in calories but high in fiber, folates, vitamins, and antioxidants. I was excited to see the nutritious asparagus on sale! I love roasted asparagus and steamed asparagus, but wished to try something new! Therefore, I purchased peas to cook along with the asparagus to make a satisfying side dish. I purchased organic frozen peas to supplement what I was able to purchase in the store.


This dish can be adapted in several ways. I’ll give you suggestions after the base recipe. Enjoy this YogaLean recipe that is low in calorie, high in flavor, and satiates you for a long time. Have fun playing with your food! Read more recipes on my blog, http://healthyrecipevariations.blogspot.com/.


Base Recipe:

I package of Asparagus (usually about a pound)

1 pound peas or 1 (one) 16 ounce bag frozen (organic if possible) peas

Half a Vidalia Sweet Onion or 4 cloves of garlic

Olive or Walnut Oil

Vegetable broth


  • Chop the onion or garlic into small pieces and add to a pan with 2 TBSP oil
  • Prepare the asparagus. Hold the spear in both hands. Snap the base off the rest of the stem. The brittle and fibrous end will break off leaving the tender portion of the spear. Chop the spear into dime size pieces. Leave the “decorative tip” as it is. It is tender and will cook swiftly. (Also, it is attractive to look at and will end up being a great garnish for the dish!)
  • If using frozen peas, no broth will need to be added. If using fresh peas and asparagus, add ½ cup of low sodium vegetable broth to the pan.
  • Sautée until the vegetables are tender.

OPTION 1: Stop here and serve in a bowl. You can garnish with sesame seeds or cheese (I suggest Feta or Parmesan) if you wish the decoration and crunch.

HINT: This is a great side dish for a sandwich or lean protein. Baby red skinned potatoes would be a good pairing.


OPTION 2: At this point, add 1 cup of cooked quinoa to the pan JUST BEFORE the liquid is absorbed. Stir to combine the ingredients. Serve.

HINT: Add fried tofu, chicken, or beef to this dish for additional protein.


OPTION 3: Dice walnuts or pecans and place in a pan with ½ TBSP butter, 1-2 TBSP brown sugar (substitute honey or agave), and ¼ cup of water or vegetable broth. Reduce until the mixture caramelizes. Pour over vegetables or vegetable and quinoa mixture.


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this week, I wanted to make something GREEN. I did not want to go with the traditional pesto sauce or spinach and artichoke dip as those are things already on people’s go-to list. I wanted to find other simple recipes that were healthy, satisfying, and could please a crowd!

food gr

These dishes are YogaLean. They are easy to make, use very few ingredients, use natural products, and can be made in advance and in big quantities so healthy food is at your fingertips when you are hungry. Having healthy foods as go-to options will lead to making healthy food choices. Plan ahead. Play with your food. Have fun!

I started with a box of Quinoa Pasta from Ancient Harvest. I chose a plain quinoa pasta to highlight the GREENS in the dish in honor of St. Patrick’s Day!

Both side dishes are meant to serve two. If you wish to make them for more, just increase the quantity. Both can be meals on their own or side dishes to a seafood/meat/poultry dish or a simple sandwich.

Cook time: Set up to clean up was 45 minutes.

Enjoy cooking. Make a little extra so you have healthy food to eat as a snack. You can read more recipes on my blog!

Kohlrabi Pasta with Garlic, Onions, Chick Peas, and Lemon

Base Ingredients:

Kohlrabi leaves (2 cups)

Garlic (4 to 6 cloves)

Onion (RED adds more color to the dish, use 1/3 of the onion)

Vegetable broth (1 cup)

Lemon (1/4 cup juice…fresh squeezed is preferable, if possible)

Chick Peas (1 and 1/2 cups, dehydrated and reconstituted or from a can)

Quinoa Pasta (2 cups UNcooked)



  1. Begin by cutting one or two kohlrabi leaves (depending on size) into very small pieces.
  2. Rinse cut greens and set aside.
  3. Chop 4-6 cloves of garlic (depending on size) and 1/2 an onion. Place in a pan with 1 TBSP olive oil. Stir so the vegetables are evenly coated with oil and start to become translucent. At this point, add the broth and Kohlrabi leaves and cover. Stir frequently to ensure the liquid does not cook out of the pan. Add a bit more if you need to soften the kohlrabi more (personal preference).
  4. When the vegetables are cooking follow the instructions for the pasta on the box. I measured 2 cups of DRY pasta for this dish. The pasta will cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the water when still a bit el dente.
  5. Add the pasta, vegetable mixture, and chickpeas to the container in which you wish to serve the dish for two.
  6. Drizzle the juice of 1 lemon on the dish and toss just before serving.

k pasta

Serving Suggestions:

Can be placed on a bed of lettuce to make it a MAIN DISH.

Can be served as a side dishes to a seafood/meat/poultry dish or a simple sandwich.

HINT: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

k pasta close

Spinach and Feta Pasta with Sunflower Seeds


Base Ingredients:

Spinach leaves (1 cup)

Butter (1 TBSP)

Feta Cheese (Crumbled) 1/2 cup

Quinoa Pasta (2 cups UNcooked)

Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water

1/4 cup sunflower seeds to garnish/add crunch

spin fet


  1. As the pasta water is coming to a boil, rinse the spinach and cut into small pieces. Place in bottom of colander.
  2. After the pasta water comes to a rolling boil, add 2 cups of quinoa pasta and stir once. Remove after 5 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water and put in serving container. Drain pasta in colander. The hot water and warm noodles will blanch the spinach in the colander.
  3. Add the pasta/spinach mixture to the serving bowl or container in which to refrigerate the dish.
  4. Sprinkle with feta and sunflower seeds.


Sautee the spinach in olive oil and garlic then add it to the pasta.

Include olives to add a naturally salty flavor.

spin fetpclos

Serving Suggestion:

Can be placed on a bed of lettuce to make it a MAIN DISH.

Can be served as a side dishes to a seafood/meat/poultry dish or a simple sandwich.