Versatile snacks from "Grab 'n go" to unexpected lunches

Whenever I'm contemplating food on the go, because inevitably it will happen, I struggle with food that's healthy, filling, and energizing. I know granola bars are an easy grab 'n go snack, but they're so heavy on grains, sugar, or suspicious ingredients so I end up walking away empty handed. Recently, when I started planning what food I would take with me on the bus trip to march in DC, I set out to find the perfect recipe to fit my needs.

If you've read anything about me, or know me personally, you know I'm a Heidi Swanson 101cookbooks.com devotee. Naturally that's where my search began, and she didn't disappoint. The essentials for the search were: grain-free or a minimal amount, high protein, and easy to transport; and, it's a win-win if I already have some of the ingredients on hand. Enter Kale quinoa bites for the win! They fulfilled my requirements, and so much more. In the recipe there were only whole ingredients, I could identify them-instead of Googling them, and I was able to pronounce each one. When chatting with clients about choosing ready-made foods, these are the requirements we attempt to adhere to as closely as possible.

Getting familiar and more comfortable with labels and identifying the ingredients is key. In a previous series I covered my top 3 to avoid, and monitor. 

  • Part 1 Discovery here
  • Part 2 Partially Hydrogenated Oils here
  • Part 3 High Fructose Corn Syrup here
  • Part 4 Sodium here
  • Part 5 Next Steps here

Let's dive into the recipe. After a quick freezer check, I discovered I had tri-color quinoa on hand, the colorful appearance adds a little pizzazz to the bite. Unless indicated otherwise on the package, I recommend rinsing the quinoa prior to use. The seeds are coated with a bitter tasting compound called saponins which may affect your dish. Since quinoa is a small seed, use a fine sieve, if you don't have one use the basket for your coffee filter like this, or the coffee filter. When measuring use 1 dry cup + 2 cups liquid (water or broth) = this yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa. Since the recipe called for 2.5 cups, I ended up with a bonus 1/2 cup+ for another dish. Unfortunately, I discovered the hard way quinoa has a short lifespan in the refrigerator, so I packed the extra quinoa in a glass container and put it in the freezer. Besides cleaning, this first step was somewhat hands off only taking 15 minutes to cook after it came to a boil.

After assembling the rest of the ingredients and prep, here's my spin:

  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • scant 1/2 t fine grain sea salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale (Because the rib is more delicate, I chose Lacinato Kale; it's sometimes referred to as Tuscan, Black, or Dinosaur Kale)
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame (I chopped this roughly)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I slice it down the middle and remove the germ. For some people this causes stomach upset, and it may cause bitterness in your dish. And, I smash it with the flat end of the knife to release the healthy compounds, then wait 15 minutes before adding to my dish)
  • 3/4 breadcrumbs (I used a combination of ground up oatmeal and sourdough bread which resulted in a tasty, toasted crust on top). While researching substitutions for breadcrumbs, I found several clever options on bon appetit, click here to check them out. Use about 2/3 of the breadcrumbs initially and wait for them to soak up the moisture, be sure to keep a little on the side to sprinkle on top.

In the recipe, Heidi suggests using parchment tabs in the bottom of your tin so they pop out more easily, I highly recommend doing this because it made them effortless to remove.

These were yummy and so easy to transport, they're perfect for a plane, bus ride, and even your morning commute. They're also versatile, I doctored up the extras at home with a bit with avocado, feta cheese, an egg, and a drizzle of olive oil for lunch. I ended up with about a dozen & 1/2. Store them in a solid container in the freezer, pull it out the night before to thaw, or pop it in the oven or microwave.

Click here for the full recipe.

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