Tropical Green Smoothie

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Delicious as part of a meal or a yummy snack!

Have you ever tried your hand at a “Green Smoothie?” I was a big skeptic, I mean, it’s green. But don’t let that prevent you from giving it a go; you may very well enjoy it as I did! Heck, it is even husband approved.

Why go green? Adding greens can help you meet your quota of fruits and veggies for the day. But beyond that, green veggies come loaded with additional water content, iron, and fibre; in fact, kale contains a bountiful amount of vitamin C. And, most importantly, you most likely won’t even taste the greens since other flavours usually take over.

This version of a green smoothie is perhaps my very favorite. When you live in Winnipeg, also affectionately known as “Winter-peg,” you sometimes crave a bit of paradise. And voila, this comes close! (Ok, maybe not exactly white-sandy-beaches-paradise, but it kinda sorta tastes like it!).

Tip: Blend your green smoothie in stages. This ensures your green smoothie will be “homogenous”. Blend up your leafy greens and liquid-base first, then you’re ready to add any remaining fruits or veggies.

For more smoothie tips and hacks, be sure visit my friend Jessica Penner’s blog post, here.

I added a few heaping spoonfuls of hemp hearts. These little guys have a nutty flavour and come loaded with protein, fibre and fat; the good kinda fat! And now, for the recipe; makes 2 – 3 portions and keeps well over several days. Enjoy as a meal replacement, a snack or as a post workout beverage.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tropical Green Smoothie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen (should be ripe—frozen banana will make it more creamy)
  • 1 cup pineapple, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup mango, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups water (you can also use milk or your favorite milk alternative)
  • 2 cups packed spinach/kale
  • ½ - 1 scoop of your favourite protein powder *optional
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 4 tbsp hemp hearts/seeds
Instructions
  1. Blend your chosen green leaves with the water. Liquify for a few seconds until the leaves have emulsified into the water.
  2. This is a good time to blend in your protein if you decide to add some.
  3. Blend remaining ingredients until smooth.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Spot the heart?

– With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

 

 

The Vitamin you SHOULD be Taking

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Pictured above is my little cocktail of daily nutrition supplements. With the help of my amazing physician and some critical thinking on my part, this concoction is just right for me at this life stage. It includes a good quality probiotic, prescription iron supplement and vitamin D.

Vitamins—their purposes, roles, and needs were the focus of many discussions this year. This was largely due to mainstream media articles and a few studies suggesting that vitamin supplements aren’t necessary for all individuals. Disclaimer: this statement is true. Not everyone needs to take a multivitamin; you may not be deficient in a nutrient if you’re eating a variety of foods in adequate portions.

Having said this, there is one nonnegotiatiable supplement, and that my friends is vitamin D. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D can actually be made in our skin when we are exposed to sunlight. We can also source vitamin D from a few food sources, such as in fortified milk, fish, and to a lesser extent, eggs and mushrooms.  A quick fact: to get enough vitamin D from milk, you would need to drink 10 cups per day. Idealistic? Sure. Realistic? Unlikely.

Because of  its’ poor bioavailability in foods,  we run the risk of being vitamin D deficient. Furthermore, when you live in a city affectionately called “Winterpeg” it can be difficult to make vitamin D subcutaneously because we’re often bundled up in the spring, fall, and winter months. According to research, Canadians actually produce zero vitamin D between October and May. And, if you’re wearing sunscreen in the summer months you’re also less likely to being producing vitamin D.

There’s so much fuss about it, but do I really need vitamin D?

It plays a key role in helping our bodies absorb and utilize calcium. As a result, we can help maintain healthy bones, muscles, and teeth by having a-okay stores of vitamin D. Beyond this, new research is showing that the human body has evolved with more receptors for vitamin D. Increasingly, there is substantial evidence that vitamin D can improve our immune health, prevent certain forms of cancer, fight inflammation, and even promote better mental health.

So what’s the point?

It’s virtually impossible to get enough vitamin D from food alone. Consider taking a single vitamin D3 supplement. I typically recommend my clients take between 1000 – 2000IU daily depending on their intake of other vitamin D containing foods. This recommendation applies to anyone I see over the age of one (so, basically everyone!). If you or a family member is not a ‘pill person,’ talk to your pharmacist about a liquid or chewable version of vitamin D which is readily available.

Can I overdo taking vitamin D?

Vitamin D supplements have no known side effects if they’re taken at the appropriate dose. A dose of 4,000 IU/day is considered the tolerable highest dose a person can consume long-term without risk of adverse effects. Still concerned? Feel free to contact me or speak to your physician for more information!

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

To all the Sweethearts out there: Here’s what you need to know about sugar

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Photography purchased from Shutterstock.

In recent months, the sweet ingredient itself – sugar – has been busy making headlines. If you don’t already know why, you should. Consuming too much sugar is not beneficial to our health. It’s associated with a variety of health conditions, so it’s important to know the facts.

So what is sugar? Simply put, sugar is a carbohydrate that provides energy (calories) to our bodies. Other than that purpose, sugar has no specific nutritional benefit (for example, it isn’t high in iron or other nutrients). In other words: beyond carbs, sugar isn’t doing much for you. (Remember that we all need carbs in our diets, but not without some healthy limits).

Where is sugar found? Sugars can occur naturally in many foods. We can’t do much about that type of sugar. For example, milk, fruit, some vegetables, and grains contain sugar. Sugar can also be added to foods and drinks to enhance the flavor, texture, or to preserve a food such as in jams and jellies. This is where you want to keep an eye open!

What’s the problem? Canadians are consuming a lot of foods with added sugars. This is the type of sugar you want to be worry about and be conscious about controlling. Over time, a high intake of sugar can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, cancer and high cholesterol.

In a day, you may consume two cookies, a bowl of cereal, a few glasses of juice or a cola beverage, a handful of dried mango, and fruit flavored yogurt – what’s the common thread? All of these foods are very likely laced with hidden sugars that have been added by manufacturers (or consumers via that handy spoon in the sugar bowl). Now, if you’re getting most of your calories from whole foods that come from the earth and eat little in the way processed foods, then no need to worry – you’re likely on the right track.

Did you know a glass of orange juice is pretty much equivalent to eating 3 or 4 oranges all at once? Would you eat that many oranges in one sitting? Not to mention you miss out the bountiful load of fibre and phytochemicals that get lost in the processing. And about that tempting can of cola: it contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar with no nutritional value whatsoever. Would you ever dare to place 10 teaspoons of sugar into your coffee? (Or, better yet, would you pop 10 sugar cubes in your mouth?). I think (or hope!) not.

So, what can you do?

  • Get informed. Get in the habit of reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists. Usually anything that ends in an “-ose” or “-ide” is a hidden form of sugar (monosaccharide, dextrose, maltose etc).
  • Limit the amount of processed foods you eat.
  • Load up on fresh, canned or frozen fruits and veggies that are loaded with fibre, water content, and other nutrients.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar you use in your coffee, baking & preparation of other foods.
  • Sip smart. Instead of gulping down heaps of juices and soda beverages, try sipping on low fat milk, water, or even plain soda water.

The bottom line: Just because we need to be informed of sugar consumption doesn’t mean you need to forgo making your favorite chocolate chip cookie, never ever make pavlova again or never sip on that fizzy cola drink. What it means is you not only need to know where/what sugar is, your body deserves to know. Another tid bit in case you’re wondering: my favorite sugar substitute lately has been honey and agave nectar; still sugar, but with more of the natural good stuff.

For more information about sugar visit www.dietitians.ca or visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation for their position statement on this hot topic!

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

Lentil and Yogurt Spread

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

If you’re in need of changing your usual deli-meat lunch sandwich for something a bit different (and likely less sodium packed), then this recipe post was meant for you.  The protein comes double packed all thanks to the Greek Yogurt and lovely lentils used in this spread. I opted to use this mixture on a fresh loaf of the “Health Bread” which can be purchased at a local Main Street bakery called A L’Epi De Ble (attention Winnipegger’s: you have not yet visited this gem of a place, you must). But really, you can enjoy this spread by the spoonful, wrapped in lettuce, with whole grain crackers or even with baked pita slices.

This spread speaks “health” – I mean, take a look at the short list of ingredients. Each, so simple on its own, but when combined they come together magically to create a satisfying and drool worthy concoction. Give it a try and let me know what you think. The original source of this recipe came from a beautifully crafted food blog I love to follow, 101 Cookbooks.

*note: instead of using a plain olive oil, I used a sample of chilli infused Prairie Oil – the olive oils are infused, packaged and sold right here in Manitoba. Local loving made easy!

Lentil and Yogurt Spread
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Serves: 3-5
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts *preferably toasted
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
Instructions
  1. Gently chop the spinach and basil leaves, trying hard to not bruise them.
  2. Place the lentils in a bowl and mix in the spinach, basil, parsley, and garlic.
  3. Squeeze the lemon into the lentils. Mix to combine, and then fold in the yogurt gently to prevent the lentils from mushing up.
  4. Drizzle in the olive oil and honey. Fold in the toasted walnuts. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  5. When assembled on toast, or if enjoyed alongside a salad simply garnish with Parmesan.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeNita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

 

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Letting Go and Looking Forward

Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeYes, you can call me out. I’ve been MIA (missing in action) on the blogging platform. But, for good reason. The man and I packed up our belongings in preparation for a move into what will be our first official home. It’s been a busy season this past fall and I’m ready for a break.

Pictured above is our last family photo in the first place we had the pleasure of calling home.

I thought departing from this place would be a joyous occasion. But instead my heart is met with sadness. This is the place we spent our first years as husband and wife, day by day, morphing into one. It’s a place that housed growing pains, lessons, sadness and then there were moments of freedom, laughter and most of all, love. A lot of love. As we embark on creating a new home, I’ll certainly hold onto the memories wrapped within these walls. Moving isn’t fun, and sometimes life isn’t fixed up to be a magical fairytale, but that’s when it’s okay to surrender, and let love win.

I’m looking forward to stock piling a few more posts of the next few weeks. So please, stay tuned.

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

GNI Feature: Easy, Fancy, Grown Up (but not really) Party Snack Ideas

 

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Pretty spices.

This post will mark the finale of the Girls Night In feature that was running on the Carrots and Cake blog over the past few weeks. As we bid farewell to what was a short but sweet summer, I’m hoping I can look forward to the fall season with open arms and that I can introduce you to some of my favorite fall recipes.

If you’ve ever hosted a girls night or any form of entertaining you know that multitasking is a skill you’ll need to really hone in on. Preparing in advance will save you from feeling overwhelmed and what I want to talk to you about is selecting a few quick n’ easy munchies that you can whip up in minutes!

The Cheese Plate

Putting together a cheese plate takes very little time and effort. It’s a great way to serve a dairy product in a sophisticated way for guests to enjoy or nibble on while the rest of your items are getting prepped. Cheese often gets a bad rap for its high fat content but people forget how rich it can be in nutrients like calcium, vitamin B12 and protein. For my girls night, I served up a variety of cheeses generously donated by Bothwell Cheese – the finest cheese makers in Manitoba! I take great pleasure in sourcing local food products. My favorite is the classic marble cheese but when I’m feeling adventurous I enjoy snacking on the Jalapeno Pepper Jack

I often pair my cheese plate with whole grain crackers such as Mary’s Gone crackers but you can also utilize a crusty baguette, raisin bread, sourdough or pumpernickel. Just remember the idea is not to overwhelm the taste of the cheese – check out the Dairy Goodness site for more information on entertaining with cheese. It’s also fun to pair cheese plates with pickles, roasted garlic, dark chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. What’s your favorite way to enjoy cheese?

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Thanks again Bothwell Cheese.

Parmesan Popcorn 

Popcorn isn’t just for the movies–you can pop a modest portion and top it with unique ingredients to create fun flavours. I’m a big believer that popcorn is the most versatile food out there. Popcorn is a totally unprocessed whole grain that also contains fibre. You can enjoy it sweet or savoury. Nix the pre-packaged microwave, store-bought, and movie theater varieties which are usually laced with a ton of additives, fat and salt. Instead, air-pop a handful of kernels in a dab of fat such as butter, olive oil or even coconut oil. The Food Network has an easy microwave method if that’s the route you’d like to take or you can pop it on the stovetop.

I had a guest who brought over a super-duper-awesome popcorn maker which made it really easy to prepare popcorn. It’s not necessary to buy a fancy popcorn maker but if you’re interested, they can be purchased for extremely affordable prices, usually less than $20.00. I packaged the popcorn into cute little sandwhich bags and topped the mixture with cayenne pepper and Bothwell Cheese Smoked Parmesan.

As far as toppings, here are a few that I personally enjoy, but the list could be endless:

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon + Vanilla extract
  • Garlic powder
  • Parmesan Cheese

CnC_gni popcorn Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

p.s. If you haven’t already checked it out, this is a short snippet of what my #gni looked like. Enjoy!

 

 

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

 
 Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

GNI Feature: Minted Cranberry & Pecan Quinoa salad!

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Just a little sweet but mostly fresh!

While many of us in Winnipeg (and elsewhere) are preparing for the fall season, I’m still planing to savor every bit that is left of summer. Over the next week, I’m hoping to wrap up the “girls night in” feature by sharing just a few more recipes. This particular quinoa salad is extremely simple to make and can easily be prepared the night before, allowing the flavors to mingle and marinade the quinoa. If you are hoping to prep this in advance, I highly suggest adding the pecans just before serving time.

Similar to when I shared the Almond Crusted Salmon recipe, this dish also makes use of an amazing sauce produced by my friend Peter Fehr of Gourmet Inspirations. I specifically used the Strawberry Balsamic with Basil sauce for this recipe and it added an extra richness and flavor to the end result. I don’t often source convenience food items, but when hosting calls for multitasking I’m all for local handcrafted food items that make little use of preservatives and this sauce fits the bill!

Okay, okay, enter drum-roll. The recipe below – and, a huge *thank you* to my friend Peter for contributing to my fun #gni!

Minted Quinoa & Cranberry Pecan Salad
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • Garnish: handful of mint, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • Juice from 1 whole lime
  • ⅓ cup Gourmet Inspirations "Strawberry Balsamic with Basil" sauce
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa as directed ensuring you've rinsed the quinoa beforehand (rinsing your quinoa is a must!) and allow it to cool.
  2. Mix in pecan halves, cranberries, raisins and mint. Set aside.
  3. To make the dressing: Juice lime and add strawberry sauce.
  4. Season with onion powder and black pepper.
  5. Add desired amount of dressing to salad. Dressing will keep in fridge for up to 1 month.

 Here’s a few more snippets of my “girls night in” — photos captured by the amazingly talented team at Samba Joy Photo & Art.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeCnC_Quinoa_Saucep.s. If you haven’t already checked it out, this is a short snippet of what my #gni looked like. Enjoy!

 

 

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

GNI Feature: Almond Crusted Salmon with Gourmet Inspirations

 

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Thanks to Gourmet Inspiration!

For the girls night in I hosted, I had my foodie friend Peter Fehr of Gourmet Inspirations help me serve up a few appetizers using his handmade finishing sauce, Strawberry Balsamic with Basil. Let me tell you, if anything was a hit that night, it was this baby right here. Perfectly cooked, crunchy and flavorful is exactly what this dish was. But, to be honest–I wouldn’t expect anything short of perfection from Peter. I’m excited for him to continue sharing his product with the world and wish him all the success (don’t worry, more to come with Peter in future posts)!

Salmon is loaded with a bounty of nutrients. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids it offer a TON of anti-inflammatory properties for our body. It also serves as a source of vitamin D and is an excellent choice for lean protein. There are so many ways to cook up salmon–you can grill it, poach it, pan-fry it, bake it or even steam it. For this recipe, we created a crunchy crust by processing almonds and submerging the salmon into it. I wouldn’t have had it any other way! For the purpose of serving this dish “appie style” we opted to slice the salmon into strips and just before serving, Peter arranged them beautifully into bite size pieces.

Thank you Peter for lending a hand, sharing your passion and getting us inspired. Recipe below: 
GNI Feature: Almond Crusted Salmon with Gourmet Inspiration
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 2 salmon filets, skinned
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • All purpose flour as needed (approx ½ cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup sliced raw almonds (or slightly pulsed), spread on a shallow plate
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. Gourmet Inspirations’ Strawberry Balsamic with Basil Sauce
  • 2 fresh strawberries for garnish
Instructions
  1. Season salmon with salt and pepper
  2. Dredge one side of salmon in flour
  3. Dip that same side in the beaten egg
  4. Press salmon with sliced almonds (on the egg/floured side only)
  5. Flash fry in olive oil on a shallow pan, set to medium-high heat (approximately 2 minutes)
  6. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked through
  7. Top salmon with strawberry balsamic sauce
  8. Garnish with a fresh sliced strawberry
Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

Visit http://gourmetinspirations.ca/ to find out how you can get your hand on this finishing sauce.

GNI_Salmon_peterGNI_Salmon_closeup

Photo credit goes to my friends at Samba Joy – Photo & Art. They-da-bomb!

p.s. If you haven’t already checked it out, this is a short snippet of what my #gni looked like. Enjoy!

 

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

GNI Feature – Very Berry Pavlova

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Very Berry Pavlova

Pavlova – I was first introduced to this delicate dessert by a dear friend of mine. She’s the kind of friend who, no matter what, will always handcraft a dessert when we visit. No, she’s not the cake-mix kinda gal. She’s the whip your own whipping cream, chop berries and use a springform pan kinda woman. I like her. Okay I lied, I love her.

If you haven’t yet tried pavlova, you’re missing out. I prefer homemade versions over those sold in stores or at other restaurants. It’s a dessert that really needs to be enjoyed when it’s fresh. Each mouthful is packed with sweetness (but not too much), a cool touch of whipping cream and burst of fresh flavor from the fruit you use. I added pistachios to my final product to add a bit of a crunch, and color. If you want to go nut-free, by all means, go for it!

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Now, when it comes to dessert, this is full-fat, full-sugar. There’s no “lightening” up when it comes to pavlova (or atleast I haven’t tried). It’s an all-in kind of dessert. Does that make me feel badly? Of course not. Pavlova takes a gentle touch and I’d much rather prefer to spend as much time enjoying it as I took to prepare it. In situations like this, I always allude to something Michael Pollan wrote about in his book, Food Rules. He mentioned that french fries are often enjoyable. But, when you take time to prepare them by hand it can become quite labour-some. When you’re feeding a family that can amount to a lot of time and energy to hand-prepare fries if you’re serving them several times a week. So would you necessarily make french fries regularly? Probably not. But once every 6 – 8 weeks, sure! That’s how I feel about pavlova.

I was never raised in a family that placed emphasis on desserts. I remember my parents serving something sweet only “once in a while” in between birthdays. Looking back, since discovering pavlova roughly four years ago, I’ve probably only made it a handful of times. So, like I said, I go all in.

I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy this recipe and dessert as much as I do. It’s a definite crowd pleaser. You can bake it into what shape or size you wish. I changed things up by making a 4″ pavlovas. The recipe was sourced from The Joy of Baking website. And fair warning, prepare to make the pavlova 4-5 hour prior to serving, you’ll need time for it to cool slowly in the oven. See below:

Very Berry Pavlova
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • Pavlova
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1½ tbsp granulated white sugar (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Fresh fruit of your choice- kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, mango etc.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 - 8 inch circle on the paper. Turn the parchment paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks (about 5-6 minutes). Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in.
  5. Spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center; you want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.
  6. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the outside is dry and is a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven.
  7. The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.
  8. Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate.
  9. Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the sugar and vanilla and then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue.
  10. Arrange the fruit randomly, or in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream. Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours.

A few more drool-worthy photos by: Samba Joy Photo & Art.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeNita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Here we go, all in!

Oh, and just incase you missed the magical video that my friends at Samba Joy created for me, see below!

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

Pesto Turkey Meatballs

Nita Sharda Carrots and Cake

J-j-juicy.

By now you’ve learned that I’m a sucker for easy, flexible and tasty recipes. Here’s one that can be adapted to your liking. Though the protein used in this recipe was ground turkey, you can also opt out for chicken which can be less expensive and more readily available in grocery stores or your local meat market. I often shape the meat into juicy meatballs and eat them over a bed of pasta or on a salad. But here’s a suggestion: given the warm summer temperatures in Winnipeg, it’s also nice to form the mixture into a patty and make a sophisticated “grown up” turkey burger! If you’re going this route, choose toppings like red onion, spinach and roma tomatoes.

Oh, and I’m proud to say that this recipe is freezer friendly.  Hells yeah!  #mealprepmoday anyone?

When it comes to sourcing pesto, most brands are quite comparable.  When I have extra time on my hands, I’ll even whip some pesto up myself (but honestly, that rarely happens). If you’re concerned you might not use that jar up right away and it will go waste just hold up!  Pesto is extremely versatile! You can use it instead of pizza sauce, add it into marinades and use it as the base of a dressing for this Confetti Quinoa Salad.

Okay, okay…on to important things. The recipe, below.

Pesto Turkey Meatballs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1lb Ground turkey or chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup Pesto
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ bread crumbs, or more depending on moistness of meat (for gluten free, use alternative)
  • ¼ cup Feta
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients. It's okay for the mixture to be a bit "gooey"--poultry tends to be very moist.
  3. Shape into 2" balls (or patties, you'll get about 5 or so).
  4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes or until ready.

Enjoy!

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda