AMBA’s April Recipe: Mint Pesto Vegetable Salad

In the springtime, seasonal salads are a smart choice and healthy go-to.

AMBA’s April recipe comes from a reader in North Carolina. It’s a bright green beauty filled with English peas, green beans, snap peas, and a minty pesto.

This delicious recipe serves 4, can be prepared in 30 minutes, and is a perfect complement to chicken, fish, burgers, or on its own!

Salad Ingredients

  • 6 ounces green beans
  • 6 ounces sugar snap peas, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds with skins
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mint pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) crumbled feta
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are fragrant. Let cool and coarsely chop or crush them.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and peas, and let cook for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. (Total cooking time is 5 minutes.)
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to the bowl of ice water. Swish them around for about 1 minute. Drain them in a colander and spread them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Pat dry.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the beans, snap peas, peas, and radishes with the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the mint pesto and toss again.
  6. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar, if you like. Transfer to a bowl or platter. Sprinkle with the almonds, feta, and mint leaves.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

The Easiest (and Tastiest) Recipe Ever for Healthy Pancakes

We all love pancakes, right? They’re filling, a great winter comfort food, and – oh, yes! – absolutely deeeelicious! But this carb-heavy favorite don’t help us stick with our New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Or can they?

This recipe is from a reader in Texas. She describes these pancakes as a good source of protein, fiber, and – believe it or not – flavor. She writes, “I know ingredients like rolled oats and cottage cheese don’t sound like the ideal recipe for pancakes but give them a shot. They look like regular pancakes, and they sure do taste them too! It’s simply phenomenal you’re also cutting calories with these!”

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup rolled oats (dry)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet and spray with non-stick cooking spray or use a non-stick pan. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake. Flip when they begin bubbling.
  3. Cook until golden brown.
  4. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Tip: You can serve these up however you usually like your pancakes! with some powdered sugar and fresh berries.

October’s Recipe: Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Sausage & Cranberries

Welcome to October! For foodies, this is one of the best months of the year. Fall produce is in full swing, farmers markets are overflowing with autumn’s best flavors, from cauliflower to apples and pumpkins, and hearty, satisfying foods and flavors are in full effect.

This recipe has it all: comforting roasted winter veggies, lean protein from the chicken sausage, fiber from the quinoa, leafy greens, and a little pop of sweetness from the cranberries. It is a crowd pleaser and is perfect as a main or side dish!

Ingredients

  • 3 small butternut squash
  • 1 lb ground chicken sausage
  • 3/4 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1¼ cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups kale (stems removed)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Line a large baking sheet with foil and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut each butternut squash lengthwise in half. Scoop out all the seeds from inside with a spoon. Drizzle olive oil on the cut side of each squash and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. 
  3. Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast for approximately 30 minutes or until you can easily stick a knife all the way through.
  4. While the squash is cooking, make the filling. Start by rinsing the quinoa with cold water in a fine mesh strainer. Then in a medium sized pot, combine the quinoa and broth. Put the pot over high heat until you bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes. 
  5. Next, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan. Add the chicken sausage, season with salt and pepper, and use a wooden spoon to stir occasionally until the meat is brown and cooked through. Once brown, drain off any excess oil or liquid from the meat, then add the kale. Stir frequently for about 1-2 minutes, until the kale is wilted. 
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the cranberries.
  7. Once the quinoa is done and all the liquid is absorbed, then add the quinoa to the sausage mixture and stir it all together. 
  8. Once the butternut has cooked and cooled for a few minutes, it is time to assemble the meal. Before I transferred the filling, I scooped a little bit of the inside of the butternut out so that I would have more room for filling, then saved the rest for a later meal, but that step is optional. 
  9. To assemble, spoon the quinoa mixture into each butternut squash until they are full. You will have some mixture left over to save for later. 

Plate each butternut, serve and enjoy!

Got a Holiday Dessert Recipe to Share?

Our NCRGEA members have such great talents, and we want to showcase them in an upcoming free digital recipe book of holiday desserts. Here’s how you can participate:

  • Fill in the online submission form before October 25, 2023
  • Choose one of the 4 food categories (you can submit as many different recipes as you’d like!)
  • Write a brief story about what the recipe means to you as an Intro to the recipe!
  • Provide ingredients and cooking instructions and serving size for your recipe
  • Upload a quality image of the dessert under 25mb (optional)
  • Click Send button~ then, set your timers!
  • Digital release of the compiled cookbook will be on our website for free download by November 3, 2023. This is a digital cookbook; NCRGEA will not be providing printed copies

Any questions? Please email info@NCRGEA.com for further information.