Have you been charged with preparing the Mother’s Day feast this year? Here’s a secret – you can celebrate the moms in your life without slaving away in the kitchen. These recipes are simple and healthy, which every mom (and cook) will appreciate. They are light enough for a beautiful spring day and easy enough to prep the night before, leaving you with plenty of time to shower your mom with the love and gratitude she deserves.
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Zucchini, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Mint
This salad is the perfect accompaniment to anything grilled. It travels well, for an easy picnic side. An added bonus – it’s vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Quinoa packs a punch with its high protein and fiber content, and the zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes provide big flavor. What’s more, this healthy salad works well with the Medifast diet and encourages weight loss.
4 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
10 sun-dried tomatoes
Boiling water to cover
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, mashed or minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup roasted and salted pistachios, chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup packed fresh mint leaves
Bring water or broth, quinoa, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy, about 15 minutes. While the quinoa cooks, bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour over it the sun-dried tomatoes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes are softened. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl to let cool.
Drain and chop the sun-dried tomatoes and add them to a large bowl, along with the garlic and zucchini. Toss them with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and add to the quinoa. Stir in the scallions, lemon zest and juice, and mint. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve or pack.
*Loosely adapted from Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide from the editors of Martha Stewart Living
Moroccan Lamb Kebabs
Spring is the best time of year for a taste of savory, grilled lamb. There are quite a few ingredients in this recipe, but they come together quickly, and everything can be prepared and packed up the night before, so all you have to do is light the grill on Mother’s Day. You will need 10-15 wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before beginning.
Makes 12 kebabs
2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch pieces
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 Granny Smith Apples, cut into large chunks
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked in 4 cups of water for two hours, then drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup minced cucumber
In a small bowl combine the spices for the rub. Place the lamb chunks in another bowl and full coat all of the pieces with the spice rub. Sprinkle with salt to taste and drizzle with olive oil. Cover the lamb and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
While the lamb is marinating, prepare the Tzatziki sauce. In a blender or food processor, puree the sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. It should be nice and thick, but pourable. Add a bit of water if it needs thinning. Now fold in the cucumbers, parsley, and cilantro.
Prepare the kebabs, by skewering a mixture of lamb, apple chunks, and onion wedges until you have used everything up. You should have 12 kebabs. Heat your grill and cook the skewers for 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip them and cook for another minute or so. Serve the kebabs with Tzatziki sauce on the side.
*Adapted from Clean Eats, by Alexandro Junger, M.D.
These mouth-watering recipes can be great meals to enjoy while on the Medifast diet program. Not only will they help you on your weight loss journey, but also they will impress your family, and your mom on her special day.