Meatless Recipes

Creamy Polenta, Shrimp, and Vegetable Bowls

Creamy polenta, shrimp and vegetable bowls

Creamy Polenta, Shrimp, and Vegetable Bowls are an easy way to include seafood in your eating plan.

I love quick, delicious dinners, don’t you? These creamy polenta, shrimp, and vegetable bowls are easy enough to make on busy weeknights, and elegant enough for guests. That’s my kind of meal!

I first wrote this post in 2016. I recently changed the recipe and I wanted to make you aware of the improvements. I’ve also added tips for customizing these bowls depending on what ingredients you have on hand. I love polenta and shrimp, but if you want to use chicken or another type of seafood, that works, too!

Eat Seafood Twice a Week

Experts recommend eating at least two seafood meals weekly, and as many as three meals ( a total of 8-12 ounces) in a week’s time if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Seafood is rich in protein, healthy omega-3 fats that support heart and brain health, and other nutrients, including choline, which is often in short supply in the American diet.

Shrimp is one of Americans’ favorite types of seafood: we eat an average of nearly 4.5 pounds a year per person. (I’m pretty sure I am a top consumer!) Most of the shrimp we eat is imported, but shrimp is also harvested and sold in the U.S. As fish go, shrimp is considered one of the safest.

Frozen shrimp and other frozen seafood are useful to have on hand to make meal prep easier, but you can also use the fresh variety, too.  You can even make these creamy polenta, shrimp, and vegetable bowls with frozen shrimp and you don’t have to thaw it before cooking!

How to Make Whole Grain Creamy Polenta

Creamy polenta is a mixture of cornmeal, water, butter, and cheese. (I add some milk to mine to make it creamier.)  I prefer whole grain cornmeal for its taste and health benefits.

For this dish, you may want to use a medium or coarse-ground cornmeal; packages of cornmeal labeled as polenta are usually coarser grinds. You can substitute grits for cornmeal but you won’t get the same results or the same nutrition profile.

Customize your Creamy Polenta, Shrimp and Vegetable Bowl

I am not into fussy, precise recipes. In fact, I love recipes that people can change around to suit their needs and what’s in their pantry at the moment. Here are some tips for making do in the kitchen:

  • No spinach? Kale works well in this recipe, too. I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure the bowls would be delicious with other greens, such as collard and beet, and with broccoli.
  • Canned, drained diced tomatoes can be swapped for the red bell pepper.
  • If you don’t have cornmeal in the house, or you don’t want to use it, swap pasta, farro, or rice. Farro is a whole grain, and whole wheat pasta and brown rice are, too. Any of the three will help you meet the suggested daily intake of at least three servings of whole grains a day.
  • Cooked chicken can take the place of shrimp. Polenta pairs well with chicken, meat, and seafood.

I‘m a big believer in using what you have on hand. Read this for how to make ingredient swaps that work. 


Creamy Polenta, Shrimp, and Vegetable Bowls

A simple, delicious meal in a bowl!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: highprotein, polentabowl, shrimpbowl
Servings: 4
Calories: 378kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large red bell peppers, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 5 cups baby spinach, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup whole grain cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 1% low fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 16 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
  • fresh chopped chives for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Place water in medium saucepan over high heat. Cover.
  • Add oil to large skillet. Heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the onion, red bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Add the spinach and saute for another 3 minutes or until the spinach has just wilted. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and stir well. Remove from the heat.
  • When the water has boiled, slowly add the cornmeal, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add the salt. Turn the heat to low and simmer the cornmeal, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the milk, cheese, and butter and stir until the butter is melted and the polenta is creamy. Cover and set aside.
  • Return the skillet to the medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is pink on both sides, about 5 minutes.
  • To serve, divide the polenta evenly between four bowls and top with the shrimp-vegetable mixture. Garnish with fresh chives, if desired.

Notes

Per serving: 378 calories, 16 grams fat (6 grams saturated fat), 210 milligrams cholesterol, 618 milligrams sodium, 30 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 31 grams protein, 653 milligrams potassium, 208 milligrams calcium 

pin for Creamy Polenta, Shrimp, and Vegetable Bowls

 

Easy No-Yeast Pizza Dough Recipe (white and whole wheat)

Pizza is one of my family’s favorite foods. Americans purchase 350 slices every second, so it’s safe to assume that you love pizza, too!  These days, you’re probably preparing more pizza at home than you’re buying, and you may be having trouble finding yeast to make the crust. No problem. This easy no-yeast pizza dough recipe (which can be made with white or whole wheat flour) is ready in less than 10 minutes.

Pizza made with no-yeast dough recipe.

Have a warm pizza on the table in well under a half hour with this easy, no-rise crust!

 

How To Make Easy No-Yeast Pizza Dough

In traditional pizza dough recipes, yeast plays a big role in helping the dough to rise. In this recipe, baking powder and Greek yogurt stand in for yeast.

Baking powder helps the dough to rise but it needs the acid from the Greek yogurt to do its job. Greek yogurt also helps to tenderize the pizza dough.

You must use Greek yogurt in this recipe because regular yogurt is too thin to form the dough. Use any type of plain Greek yogurt you like, such as fat-free or whole milk.

How to Make Whole Wheat Pizza Dough with No Yeast

You can make this pizza dough recipe with 100% whole wheat flour instead of white flour, or a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat. I prefer whole wheat flour to all-purpose for a few reasons, although I just use what I have on hand.

Because the dough has Greek yogurt in it, it’s got more moisture than traditional pizza dough.  When I use an whole wheat flour, I find the dough is not as sticky and easier to work with.

I also prefer whole wheat flour for the nutrition it offers. Whole wheat flour has more fiber than all-purpose, and it contains higher levels of certain nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E. If you struggle to eat at least three servings of whole grains every day, whole wheat pizza dough is an easy, delicious way to include more.

However, it’s perfectly healthy to prepare this recipe with all-purpose flour, which is enriched with B vitamins and iron.  Refined grains, such as all-purpose flour, are part of a balanced, healthy diet.

Tips for Making Pizza Dough Without Yeast

Clear mixing bowl with flour, salt, and baking powder on a white surface and a cup measure full of yogurt.

This four-ingredient pizza dough without yeast is simple, fast, and foolproof.

 


If you have kids, this is a perfect time to get them into the kitchen to help, and to learn basic cooking skills, too.

 

yeast-free pizza dough on floured surface

 

The dough is wetter than traditional pizza dough, so be sure to generously flour your work surface and rolling pin.

 

yeast-free pizza dough on floured surface with person holding a rolling pin

Preparation tips:

• The crust will be thin, so be careful when you transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. It if rips, just pinch it to fix the tear. You can divide up the dough and make personal pizzas, which is fun for kids to do.

• Crimp the edges of the dough because it may spread a bit in the oven and you don’t want to lose any of your toppings.

• Top the dough with pizza or marinara sauce (or not!) and whatever cheese and other toppings that  you have on hand. Low-moisture cheese works best with this dough, as it already has a fair amount of moisture in it.

 

uncooked no-yeast pizza dough topped with tomato sauce and cheese

 

Your pizza can be ready in minutes using this easy no yeast pizza dough recipe, prepared sauce, and grated cheese!

 

Cooked sliced pizza made with no-yeast crust

Easy No-Yeast Pizza Dough

This no-yeast pizza dough uses 4 ingredients and is ready in less than 10 minutes.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Greekyogurt, norisedough, noyeastpizzadough, pizza, pizzadough
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or 100% whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425˚F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the Greek yogurt and stir combined.
  • Turn out the dough onto a clean, well-floured surface. Using a rolling pin that's been coated in flour, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.
  • Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and add toppings.
  • Cook on the bottom rack for 12-15 minutes.

Notes

• Don't overdo it on the toppings because the dough can get soggy. 
• The dough tends to be sticky, so be sure to generously flour the work surface and the rolling pin.
• Don't worry if the dough breaks when you're handling it. Just put it back together! 
• Double the recipe for a larger - or hungrier - group and make two pizzas, or divide up the dough for personal pizzas.

 

easy no-yeast pizza dough made with all-purpose or whole wheat flour

 

 

 

Pasta Salad with Chickpeas and Cottage Cheese

 

Pasta salad with cottage cheese and chickpeas.

Whole wheat pasta and chickpeas provide fiber and other nutrients that support health.

 

Macaroni salad is a staple at summertime picnics and BBQs across America. While this perennial favorite gets gobbled up by the ton every year, I can’t say that I’m a fan of the typical recipe. Pasta salad with chickpeas and cottage cheese is a better, more satisfying twist on this American favorite.

 


Read: Dozens of recipes for pasta salad with all kinds of interesting ingredients.


Meat and vegetables on skewers on a charcoal grill.

Pasta salad can be served as a side dish with meat or fish.

Pasta Salad is Good for You

Pasta salad with chickpeas and cottage cheese isn’t only for the warmer months; it can be a healthy option year-round, too. Here’s why.

Cooked and cooled pasta (any kind) is a source of resistant starch, a type of fiber that feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut that help prevent colon cancer and support overall health. Legumes, such as chickpeas, and cooked and cooled potatoes, also provide resistant starch. Foods rich in fiber can help prevent, and manage, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Meatless Vegetarian Pasta Salad Recipe

I like a hearty pasta salad that’s more than a side dish.  Here’s how I build a better pasta salad to enjoy as a meatless meal or as a side dish.

Whole wheat pasta. Whole wheat pasta is a great way to include whole grains. I like the slightly nutty taste of whole wheat pasta, which is higher in fiber than the regular kind. I favor shapes such as rotini because the ridges hold onto the dressing.

Overhead shot of uncooked whole wheat pasta.

Whole wheat pasta is brimming with manganese, a mineral you need for strong bones and cartilage, and for many other bodily functions.


Read: Why carbohydrates are good for you


Legumes. Chickpeas, a type of legume, and pasta are a satisfying combo that you can really sink your teeth into.  Legumes provide protein, and fiber, which helps to better regulate your energy levels, and they supply iron, folate, and phytonutrients, which are plant compounds that protect cells from damage.

Cottage cheese. I like cheese in my pasta salad for the taste, as well as the protein and calcium. Using low fat cottage cheese in place of some of the feta cheese cuts down on calories and saturated fat.

Bowl of cottage cheese with a wooden spoon.

Low fat cottage cheese has 11 times less saturated fat than feta cheese, but is lower in calcium.

 

Plate of Pasta Salad with Cottage Cheese and Chickpeas.

Pasta Salad with Cottage Cheese and Chickpeas can be a side dish or a main meal.

 

Pasta Salad with Chickpeas and Cottage Cheese

Delicious pasta salad that's good for you, too!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chickpeas, cottagecheese, cottagecheeserecipe, macaronisalad, pastasalad
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook pasta until just about done (al dente). Drain well and place pasta in a large serving bowl.
  • Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, parsley, onion, cottage cheese, and feta cheese. Combine well.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the pasta mixture and toss until well combined. Serve chilled.

Notes

Per serving: 253 calories; 10 grams protein; 40 grams carbohydrate; 6 grams fiber; 7 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat); 6 milligrams cholesterol; 284 milligrams sodium; 80 milligrams calcium.

Pasta salad with chickpeas and cottage cheese

 

Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato

 

tuna burger topped with smashed avocado and tomato on a whole grain bun on plate with baby carrots

Tuna burgers are ready in less than 30 minutes!

We make tuna burgers with smashed avocado and tomato a lot at our house.  I love the recipe so much that I included it in my book, Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy. 

If you’re looking for an affordable, meatless meal, or you want a break from regular hamburgers, give these burgers a try.

Canned tuna helps you include seafood at least twice a week

Experts suggest that adults eat at least two fish meals weekly, and that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume two to three meals a week. However, you don’t need to be pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive to enjoy the benefits of these burgers!

My burgers are made with canned tuna, an inexpensive, convenient source of several nutrients, including protein, iodine, and omega-3 fats necessary for an adult’s heart health, and for a baby’s brain development and vision.

 

empty tuna can to form tuna burgers

Use an empty tuna can to form the burgers so that they are uniform in size and fit on the buns or English muffins.

 

 

golden brown tuna burgers in skillet

The tuna burgers should be cooked until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.  


Pro Tip

Make a double batch of this recipe and freeze half. They are easy to reheat for a quick lunch or dinner.


cooked tuna burgers wrapped to freeze for later use

Wrap cooked, cooled tuna burgers well and date the package. They will last for several months in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave and make the avocado/tomato topping just before serving.

tuna burger on bun topped with avocado-tomato mixture

Delicious and nutritious Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato pack omega-3 fats, fiber, protein, and much more!

 

Tuna Burgers with Smashed Avocado and Tomato

A budget-friendly, meatless option for lunch or dinner.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easydinnerrecipe, fishmeal, tunaburger
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 5 1/2-ounce cans or pouches of tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pitted ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 small tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 2-ounce whole wheat: sandwich buns, sandwich thins, or English muffins, toasted if desired

Instructions

  • Place the tuna in a medium mixing bowl and break into small pieces with a fork.  
  • Add the bread crumbs, eggs, shallots, and dill, and stir until combine well.  
  • Form the mixture into four burgers of equal size.
  • In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook burgers for about four minutes on each side.
  • In a small bowl, combine the avocado and tomato until just mixed, mashing lightly while stirring.  
  • To serve, place burgers on sandwich buns and top with the avocado-tomato mixture. 

Notes

Per serving: 
430 calories; 14 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 139 milligrams cholesterol; 810 milligrams sodium; 40 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams fiber; 39 grams protein

tuna burgers with avocado and tomato pinterest

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