Lean & Green Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats – Protein Pasta

Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta, a higher protein and gluten-free option for dinner!

So, how does a plate of pasta fit in with my higher protein diet? Let me tell you! As many of you know, I’ve been eating a higher protein diet for the last several years and really scaled back the amount of carbs that come in the form of bread, baked goods, rice . . . and pasta! You may have read one or two of my posts on the importance of protein, there have been many!

Jennifer Fisher Yoga Side Plank

A higher protein diet helps me stay lean and mean for running, Crossfit, yoga and all my other fitness endeavors. Oh yeah, and for LIFE — that especially!

As a long-time athlete, I decided it was time to take a closer look at what I’ve been eating and how wit as or was not fueling my goals. While carbs have their time and place on my plate (like leading up to and during an endurance event and, of course, pretty much any and all vegetables whenever I want), kicking up my protein intake has really helped me build some much-needed muscle I need to stay competitive as I creep up into the shadows of being 49 years old!

Explore Asian Organic, Gluten Free Pastas

So, until I recently found the Explore Asian line of higher-protein pastas, I had been eating my beef ragu on top of zucchini, my stir-fry on top of spinach and my chicken noodle soup without, err, noodles – you get the idea! As much as I love the extra servings of veggies, sometimes it’s nice and comforting to have pasta to twirl around on your fork or slurp from a spoon. Explore Asian has given me back pasta options – and options that are ridiculously healthy and can be quickly cooked into a nutritious meal that fills me up and helps me stay lean and strong. I’m winning already!

Explore Asian Organic, Gluten Free Pastas

All in all there are five flavors, but I especially love these three Explore Asian products- Black Bean Spaghetti, Edamame Spaghetti and Thai Brown Rice Noodles. Every batch is made with the finest, organic NON-GMO ingredients that are also vegan, gluten free, organic, Kosher certified and come in low on the Glycemic Index (around 20).  Additionally, Explore Asian has about 400% more protein and fiber and 60% fewer carbs than other pasta making them a great option for diabetics, vegetarians or those following a low-carb, high-protein diet!

Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta makes a high-protein vegetarian meal.

I’m sharing a yummy, easy “pasta” recipe (Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats) using the Edamame Spaghetti from Explore Asian the pasta, coming straight out of the bag, is simply made from edamame beans and water, that’s it!  One serving of this bean-based pasta offers 24g of protein in a 2 ounce dry serving – this is pretty much spot on with the recommended 25 – 30g recommended per meal. You don’t really need to add any additional protein, but I threw on a few extra edamame beans to get to the upper range and flavored it up with some zesty kumquats and feta cheese.

Explore Asian Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta

The pasta is so easy to boil up too! It basically cannot be overcooked and the fiber content from the beans offers a great texture that keeps this pasta in a constant state of just-right al dente! This means the pasta products will work well in a crock pot and left overs hold up beautifully for reheating the next day! Check out this other recipe I made earlier in the year with the Black Bean Spaghetti — Black Garlic & Steak Curry!

Black Garlic Beef and Bean Curry

You can find Explore Asian gluten-free pastas at Whole Foods, Costco and Fairway stores as well as at http://www.explore-asian.com/.  Costco is now even selling the Edamame Spaghetti in 2lb boxes!

Use the STORE LOCATOR to find the retailer closest to you.

Try this gluten-free, organic, high-protein pasta out for yourself! If you do, take a picture of your recipe using Explore Asian products and enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Whole Foods.  Head over to the recipe database for inspiration, get cooking, and then send a photo of your finished dish to info@explore-asian.com no later than December 24, 2015.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Explore Asian.

 

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Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta makes a high-protein vegetarian meal.
Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta
Print Recipe
Make a quick and healthy dinner of edamame pasta tossed with feta and kumquats - this gluten-free, high-protein spaghetti is perfect fuel for the athlete.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta makes a high-protein vegetarian meal.
Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta
Print Recipe
Make a quick and healthy dinner of edamame pasta tossed with feta and kumquats - this gluten-free, high-protein spaghetti is perfect fuel for the athlete.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, Srirracha, and olive oil.
  3. Put edamame beans, chopped kumquats and sauce into pot with drained pasta and toss until everything coated.
  4. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.
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Orange Miso Steak Lettuce Wraps + 6 More Protein Salads

Adding grilled strip steak to my Orange Miso Lettuce Wraps ups the protein to 25 grams -- perfect for the #proteinchallenge!

I love LOVE salads, many of you know that – I post my salad photos ( #saladselfie #saladrevolution #saladintheATX)  nearly every day on Instagram @thefitfork.  Often the mounds of lettuce I get at casual restaurants or take-away are pretty skimpy on the protein – this makes me hungry within the hour, no matter how BIG the salad was – that’s one of the reasons I prefer making my salad at home. Protein is so important for people living a fit and active lifestyle – adequate quality protein promotes heart health, helps muscles recover and grow and gives a long-lasting feeling of fullness that prevents unhealthy snacking later in the day. I got a chance to talk about this and the 30 Day Protein Challenge on Good Day San Antonio on 4th of July Morning!

Sharing ways to get more protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner on KENS5 Great Day San Antonio.

Sharing ways to get more protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner on KENS5 Great Day San Antonio.

There are lots of ways to boost the protein in salads, everyone should be aiming to get 25 – 30 grams of protein per meal adding beans (edamame, garbanzo, and black beans are some of my favorites) and adding a modest amount of nuts with heart-healthy oils like (almonds, walnuts and pistachios are so good) are two ways to reach optimal protein intake – I also love these Snack Crisps from Eat Enlightened. They are baked crunchy from broad (fava) beans and come in a bunch of yummy flavors like Sriracha, Garlic and Barbeque! For only 100 calories, I get an extra 7 grams of protein and lots of satisfying crush – whoohoo, they work as paleo croutons!

Lean beef ups the protein in this healthy, asian-inpsired salad.

Of course, the most direct way to pump up the protein in a salad is by adding lean red meat; chicken, turkey or other poultry; or fish, shrimp  or type of seafood. Today, I’m sharing my recipe for Orange Miso Beef Lettuce Wraps along with a collection of other beef salad ideas I curated in a collection for Mode Stories.

Check out Beef Up a Light Lunch – Seven Steak Inspired Salads

by The Fit Fork at Mode

Eat Nakd Bars - thefitfork.comAlso, I wanted to share with you a yummy snack I’ve been enjoying lately –  Eat Nākd from Natural Balance Foods . Eat Nākd bars are basically fruits and nuts “smooshed” together in a nutritious, healthy bar for convenience  Eat Nākd Protein Crunch bars are just as delicious and are have a bit of plant-based protein added for sustained energy. Individually wrapped for convenience and available in a ton of tempting flavors (hello chocolate mint), these bars are the perfect way to get some quick energy before a workout or when you need a little pick-me-up to nosh on at the office. They are also vegetarian and Paleo diet friendly; gluten, wheat and dairy free; and have no added sugars or hidden extras. These bars are made in Britain and you can order online with quick delivery – this product totally worth checking out!

protein challenge badge

Click photo to sign up!

Join the 30 Day Protein Challenge — you’ll learn how to get enough protein in your diet. Or, you’ll discover why you should rearrange the protein you’re already eating — did you know most Americans eat 2/3s of their daily requirement at dinner? It needs to be evenly portioned out through the day! The #ProteinChallenge also gives you access to delicious recipes and support with nutrition tips and a hunger scale to help you optimize your health!

What is your favorite or most unusual way to add protein to a salad? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

This post is sponsored in part my Mode Media. 

Adding grilled strip steak to my Orange Miso Lettuce Wraps ups the protein to 25 grams -- perfect for the #proteinchallenge!
Miso Orange Steak Lettuce Wraps
Print Recipe
This healthy, Asian inspired salad can be grabbed and wrapped up to-go -- or eat like a traditional salad! Beef and edamame beans pump up the protein so you'll be satisfied through to the next meal!
Adding grilled strip steak to my Orange Miso Lettuce Wraps ups the protein to 25 grams -- perfect for the #proteinchallenge!
Miso Orange Steak Lettuce Wraps
Print Recipe
This healthy, Asian inspired salad can be grabbed and wrapped up to-go -- or eat like a traditional salad! Beef and edamame beans pump up the protein so you'll be satisfied through to the next meal!
Instructions
  1. Combine Rub ingredients; smear evenly onto beef steaks.
  2. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill 11 to 15 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.
  3. Carve steaks into slices. Place lettuce leaves on serving platter. Evenly layer vegetables onto lettuce leaves. Top evenly with steak. Drizzle with vinaigrette; sprinkle with nuts.
  4. Tip: To pan-broil steaks, preheat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook steaks 12 to 15 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.
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More Fun Time! 15-Minute Chicken, Lentil & Veggie Green Wraps

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Birds Eye®, and Tyson® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FastFreshFilling http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Chicken Lentil and Veggie  Green Wraps with Sriracha Ranch Dressing makes a quick and healthy summer lunch or dinner that uses the microwave!

Chicken Lentil and Veggie Green Wraps with Sriracha Ranch Dressing makes a quick and healthy summer lunch or dinner that uses the microwave!

Hey, it’s finally summertime. After months and months of frantic school year schedules, we busy parents need to cut ourselves some slack! While preparing a nutritious home-cooked meal is important for the well-being of any family, so is enjoying quality fun time together outside the kitchen. Personally, I have been spending an extra hour with the kids at the pool, gym or playing outdoor games without any worry of rushing back to get dinner going – and no, we are not ordering pizza or hitting the drive through on the way home!

Shopping for Birds Eye and Tyson at Walmart.

Shopping for Birds Eye and Tyson at Walmart.

Instead, I’m relying on the Birds Eye Steamfresh® Protein Blends and Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Chicken Breast Fillets I know are waiting in the freezer. Combined with a few other fresh ingredients in my produce bin, I have a super nutritious, protein-rich meal to serve my hungry boys in less than 15 minutes – and without turning on a hot oven or grill! My entire recipe for Chicken, Lentil & Veggie Green Wraps with Sriracha Ranch can be made entirely in the microwave. It’s so freakin’ awesome and easy that even my kids can make dinner and bring it out to me while I rest myself pool side on the chaise lounge.

I am so loving these Birds Eye Steamfresh® Protein Blends, there are four different blends that combine veggies with added protein from ingredients like lentils, beans, quinoa and such. The California blend used in my Chicken, Lentil & Veggie Green Wraps is loaded with lentils, broccoli and edamame – all which are surprisingly good sources on plant-based protein. In fact, these Birds Eye Steamfresh® Protein Blends are a great dinner solution for vegetarians.

collard wrap with product

However, my family is a bit more carnivorous – so, no surprise the fully-cooked Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Chicken Breast Fillets were a hit. These 100% all natural pieces of white meat chicken can be used creatively in countless recipes and boast appetizing, caramelized hatch marks that make each fillet look like it’s been pulled straight off the grill!

Wrapping up the chicken and lentil edamame mix in collard greens.

The recipe is so easy just add carrots to the protein blend and microwave — and reheat the chicken in the microwave too! Then pile it in fresh, raw collard greens, Swiss chard or kale and roll up!

Chicken Lentil and Veggie Collard Green Wraps with Sriracha Ranch

Eat your collard greens!

Eat your collard greens!

 

You can find both the  Birds Eye Steamfresh® Protein Blends and Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Chicken Breast Fillets products in the freezer section of Walmart. And don’t forget to get your collard greens!

 

 

 

What would you do with an extra hour of free time this summer? Do you have a go-to 15 minute meal? Please share in the comments below! XOXO Jennifer 

 

Chicken, Lentil & Veggie Green Wraps with Sriracha Ranch
Print Recipe
Microwave a healthy quick meal in under 15 minutes and enjoy more summer fun! This paleo green wrap uses kale, chard or collard leaves, chicken and veggies!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Chicken, Lentil & Veggie Green Wraps with Sriracha Ranch
Print Recipe
Microwave a healthy quick meal in under 15 minutes and enjoy more summer fun! This paleo green wrap uses kale, chard or collard leaves, chicken and veggies!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Instructions
  1. In microwave safe bowl with lid, add protein blend veggie with carrots; toss together. Microwave for approximately 4 – 5 minutes on high, stirring halfway through.
  2. Set fillets on microwave-safe plate and microwave on “reheat” for 2 – 3 minutes or until warmed through but not scorching hot.
  3. Wash and dry four big leaves of collard greens and remove stems from below the intersection with each leaf. Also carefully cut and remove about 1” of stem up into each leaf with a paring knife – this will make “rolling” the wrap later easier.
  4. Spoon ¼ of the cooked vegetable mixture into center of each leaf, spreading out a bit while leaving plenty of room on the sides.
  5. Cut the fillets in half lengthwise to create two longer pieces of chicken. Place one piece of chicken on top of the vegetable mixture.
  6. To form wrap, fold tops and bottoms toward each other and keep secure with hands. Next, take one of the longer sides, fold over top of chicken and begin rolling into other side of leaf – secure with a toothpick. Repeat for remaining bundles.
  7. In small bowl, mix together ranch dressing and Sriracha sauce until well blended. Serve with wraps.
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Sriracha Eating Tonight? How About Spicy Almond Halibut

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Sriracha Almond Halibut with Roasted SeaweedHey there, so “Sriracha” eating for dinner today? I hope you’re hungry because I’m sharing a simple healthy snack followed with a hearty halibut recipe – both with a spicy Sriracha spin.

The Sriracha brand of Hot Chili Sauce that lit a billion taste buds on fire.

The Sriracha brand of Hot Chili Sauce that lit a billion taste buds on fire.

If you haven’t been part this condiment craze, Sriracha is an Asian sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar. It first was produced by hand in the early 1980s and is sold in a signature squirt bottle with green cap and bearing a rooster on the front (so, I’ve always called it Rooster Sauce). In recent years, Sriracha has developed a cult-like following, but I’ve always been ahead of the curve when it comes to food and have been using it in my recipes since the early 1990s – while you can get it in your local grocery store today (even Walmart, it’s that mainstream), back then we’d have to venture down to the Asian market in Houston to score a couple bottles.

These days, Sriracha is used just about on everything, not just Thai or other Asian food  — you’ll find it used on eggs, meats pizzas, pastas and other entrees as well as a bold flavor for popcorn, chips and nuts. In fact, I’ve been enjoying a couple cans of Sriracha Almonds from Blue Diamond – the flavor is intense and spicy, but not so over-the-top that your taste buds can handle the heat.

Sriracha Almonds by Blue Diamond

We love to enjoy Sriracha Almonds from Blue Diamond just as they are or paired with crispy roasted seaweed for a far eastern-inspired snack. Almonds make a sensible snack any time of day, the protein and heart-healthy fats found in this nut are satiating and take away the “hangries” until mealtime.

Sriracha Almond Halibut with Roasted Seaweed

I love to make halibut for dinner – it’s such a hearty fish and great source of lean protein. However, the mild, sweet flavor of halibut needs a bit of spicing up in my opinion, so I decided to grind up some of the Sriracha Almonds to create a crunchy topping for this baked shrimp recipe. I’ve paired it with black rich (super rich in antioxidants) and edamame beans for a balanced, nutritious meal.

Sriracha Almond Halibut with Roasted Seaweed

This is the can you're looking for in the grocery store!

This is the can you’re looking for in the grocery store!

Are you a Sriracha addict, occasional user, or not so much of a fan?  

What’s the craziest thing you’ve used this chili sauce on?

Please share in the comments below. XOXO — Jennifer

 

Sriracha Almond Halibut with Roasted Seaweed
Sriracha Almond Halibut
Print Recipe
2 tablespoons almond meal ½ cup Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds 2 sheets paper-thin roasted seaweed Sriracha sauce for drizzle
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Sriracha Almond Halibut with Roasted Seaweed
Sriracha Almond Halibut
Print Recipe
2 tablespoons almond meal ½ cup Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds 2 sheets paper-thin roasted seaweed Sriracha sauce for drizzle
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Grind almonds to coarse consistency in food processor.
  3. Pat halibut steaks dry and drizzle with olive oil. Rub tops of fish with 1 tablespoon of almond meal and then top with ground Sriracha almonds, pressing down into flesh.
  4. Bake the fish until opaque in the center, about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness.
  5. Garnish with Sriracha sauce and piece of paper-thin roasted seaweed.
  6. Serve with black rice and edamame beans , if desired.
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Plant-based Protein – Asian Chop Salad with Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips

Thanks to Gardein for introducing me to their Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips and for sponsoring today’s post.

I’m that fast girl you’ve been warned about. I talk fast, I run fast . . . . and, I like to get my food fast. But NOT fast food, no way.  To keep my diet fit and fresh, I like to make the majority of my meals at home, despite the insanely busy schedule I keep.  So, while a 30-minute weeknight meal might sound pretty quick to most, I’m kicking it up into super-sonic speed on the typical night with 10-minute, pan-to-plate dinners!

Teriyaki Chick'n Chop Salad is a fit, fast and flavorful meal that takes 10 minutes to make and fills you up with healthy plant-proteins.

Tonight, I whipped up a far-out, far-east inspired dinner using Teriyaki Chick’n Strips from Gardein. These tasty strips have 15 grams of plant-based protein for a mere 120 calorie cost. They are made with non-GMO soy and wheat, ancient grains and veggies and remarkably have a similar taste and texture to real chicken breast – they are also work for those of you who keep vegan and kosher diets. My husband,  a carnivorous guy who would normally turn his nose up at such “nonsense,” didn’t even realize he was eating a meat substitute! I call that winning dinner!  #MeetChef

Teriyaki Chick'n Chop Salad is made with plant-based protein and perfect for a #MeatlessMonday mealIn addition to the Teriyaki Chick’n Strips magic, I employed my favorite busy-night trick and used what I could find in the produce bin to make the remainder of dinner.   While the strips were browning for five minutes in the skillet, I quickly chopped up some jicama, carrots and red onion and thawed out shelled edamame that I always keep in the freezer. The Teriyaki Chick’n Strips come with a sauce packet that also I also found to make a serendipitous salad dressing (there was plenty to drizzle on everything)!

This quick and easy meal solution is definitely going to be in my dinner rotation — I now have more time for running fast . . .  and running errands!

jen running in yellow flowers

Gardein makes lots of other yummy, healthy, meatless proteins like Gardein Ultimate Beefless Ground, Golden Fishless Filets. Check back next week, because I’ll have a new recipe for you! All Gardein products are found chillin’ in the freezer aisle at your favorite grocery store.  Save yourself a dollar with this coupon (available for download until May 31, 2015).

Far Out Far East Chick'n Chop Salad - TheFitFork.com

What is your quickest go-to meal to make at home?

 

Teriyaki Chick'n Chop Salad
Print Recipe
This Asian-inspired salad uses plant-based protein, teriyaki sauce and chopped fresh veggies to create a fit, fresh and fast dinner solution.
Servings Prep Time
3 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Teriyaki Chick'n Chop Salad
Print Recipe
This Asian-inspired salad uses plant-based protein, teriyaki sauce and chopped fresh veggies to create a fit, fresh and fast dinner solution.
Servings Prep Time
3 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil on medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add thawed chick'n strips and cook for about 5 minutes, flipping once. Remove from heat. Add thawed sauce packet to skillet to coat strips.
  2. Toss carrots, jicama, edamame beans and onion into skillet and stir quickly to coat veggies with sauce, yet not heat them.
  3. Divide chicken and veggies among three plates and sprinkle with cashews. Drizzle with Sriracha sauce, if desired.
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