BBQ pork loin and cucumber, black bean, quinoa salad

Here’s a delicious, healthy recipe for you. It’s full of the things your body needs, and light on what it doesn’t. This dish has protein, loads of veggies, whole grain, citrus and fiber, while budgeting fat, sodium and sugar content. The bit of kick is an added bonus for your metabolism and circulation, if you can take the heat.

This meal is easy to make and convenient to prepare since you can make the salad ahead of time and let it chill while the pork marinates, leaving only the final step of grilling the pork loin. I knew I’d be in the gym all day, so it was nice to have almost everything done already when I got home. We will definitely be adding this one to the dinner rotation.

Pork loin rub

  • 0.3-0.5lb/pp pork loin

Ingredients below are per each pound of pork loin.

  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil (just enough to make a paste)
My husband looked up how to grill the pork loin in a way that keeps it juicy and tender, and it came out perfect. He seared it for three minutes, or until it has black grill marks on either side, then turned the grill down to med-low to finish cooking (time will depend on thickness). Remember that it will continue to cook a little when you remove it from the heat, so take it off and let it rest for about 3 minutes before cutting. Use the rub recipe below at least 2 hours prior and let it marinate in the fridge, but bring it back to room temperature before you grill it.

Cucumber, black bean, quinoa cold salad

  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 chopped, seeded red pepper
  • 1 diced, seeded tomato
  • 1 chopped avocado (optional)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 can rinsed, drained black beans
  • 1 cup prepared quinoa
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp agave nectar or honey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp pepper
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions and set aside to cool. Rinse and drain canned black beans. Chop up all of your fruits and veggies and add them to a large bowl with beans. Mix all of your liquids and spices and pour them over the veggies and beans. Finally, stir in the quinoa, cover, and put in the fridge to cool until ready to serve.
Serve pork with salad. The hot pork right off the grill is great next to the cool salad. Enjoy!

Recipe: Butternut squash ‘quinoa’ risotto

I’ve been on a quinoa kick recently, and last night I tested it as a risotto substitute. I’m happy to say it was a very easy success.

I was able to get my hands on a butternut squash last week, so I used that and some arugula in the risotto. All told, we had a healthy serving of veggies, protein, calcium, fiber and a little healthy starch and fat.

The sweetness of the squash and the pepperiness of the arugula paired very well, and the parmesan added creamy deliciousness without fighting the other flavors. I added a little salt and pepper during cooking, but it may not even need it. The ingredients came together to take care of all of it perfectly.

We served the risotto next to a couple lean ribeyes. My husband might be the huge Jimmy Buffett fan of the house, but I’m the one with the carnivorous habits. Last night was great though because he really loved his steak, too. I’ve switched up my marinade, and he mentioned how much he liked it, and how it didn’t need any A1 sauce, multiple times.

We were both proud members of the clean plate club last night.

For the steak marinade, I mixed equal parts good balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce with a little dijon mustard, a small squeeze of agave nectar (could also use honey) and garlic pepper. I only had about 3 hours to marinate them, but it proved to be enough time for all the flavors to meld.

This recipe serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a vegetarian meal.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Risotto

  • 2.5 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup dry,uncooked quinoa
  • 1 large handful / half a bag of fresh arugula
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Cube and steam squash until it is almost mashable.

In a large skillet, combine oil, garlic, onion and quinoa over low-medium heat. Stir continuously  for about 4 minutes, or until you can smell the quinoa starting to toast. Add squash and arugula, along with about 3 turns each of  your salt and pepper grinders. Turn the heat up to medium, and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add half of your broth, and cook until all of it is absorbed. Heat the remaining broth and add 1 cup more of it to the dish. Stir regularly, and begin mashing up the squash with your wooden stirring spoon. Leave just enough unmashed to give it a little texture. Once all of the broth is absorbed, turn the heat back down to low, add the cheese and stir. Finally, add the remaining (hot) 1/4 cup of broth and stir until the risotto is creamy. Serve hot, and enjoy!