All tagged Lunch

Summer Tomatoes Two Ways!

Local tomatoes from QuintaMKE (@quintaMKE) taste like sweet summertime! Roasted Tomato Couscous Salad pairs perfectly with big slices of heirloom tomatoes, dressed with olive oil and fresh basil.  Serve for lunch, a light dinner, or as a stunning addition to brunch with family and friends!

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Couscous:

1 1/3 cup Israeli couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cup boiling water

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:

1 pint cherry tomatoes

Drizzle of olive oil

Pinch of salt

Pinch of dried thyme

Dressing for Roasted Tomato Couscous Salad:

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon white wine vinegar

10 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Pinch of pepper

Fresh Heirloom Tomatoes:

2 heirloom tomatoes

Sprinkle of seasoned salt (Crazy Jane’s Mixed Up Salt or Garlic Salt)

Pepper to taste

5 basil leaves, thinly sliced

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 400 °F.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, sauté couscous and olive oil for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.

When couscous is toasted and slightly brown, add salt and boiling water.

Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12 minutes.

Add cherry tomatoes to a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and dried thyme. 

Toss to combine, then roast for 10 minutes.

Once the couscous is finished cooking, turn the heat off, and add the roasted cherry tomatoes (and juices from roasted tomatoes!).

Add the couscous dressing ingredients (olive oil, vinegar, basil leaves, pepper) and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Slice the heirloom tomatoes into large slices and place onto a large platter.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil, and top with fresh basil.

Pour the Roasted Tomato Couscous to the platter next to the fresh heirloom tomato slices.

Enjoy warm, room temperature, or cold!

Why (the science):  Roasted tomatoes are high in lycopene, which helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Mexican Fiesta Quinoa Salad

This recipe is a crowd-pleaser! Colorful and delicious, Mexican Fiesta Quinoa Salad is the perfect recipe for healthy meal prepped lunches, quick weeknight dinners, or part of a festive summer BBQ!

Serves: 6-8

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth

1 15.5 oz can black beans

1 cup fire roasted corn

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

How (your directions):

Add quinoa and vegetable broth to a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then cover, lower heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add black beans, corn, olive oil, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, and salt to a large bowl.  Stir to combine.

Once quinoa has finished cooking, turn heat off and allow to sit, covered, for another 5 minutes. 

Add quinoa to the black bean and corn mixture.  Top with thinly sliced spring onions.

Enjoy warm, room temperature, or cold!  Store leftovers in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Why (the science):  Quinoa and black beans are rich in protein, making this a satisfying lunch throughout the week!

5-Ingredient Creamy Broccoli Soup (Vegan, GF)

This 5-Ingredient Creamy Broccoli Soup comes together in less than 30 minutes and couldn’t be easier to make!  It has a silky-smooth texture, made creamy from the red potatoes, and is the perfect meal prep recipe.  5-Minute Creamy Broccoli Soup is nutritious, freezer-friendly, and perfect for lunch or a light dinner.

Serves: 6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

½ teaspoon salt

5 medium red potatoes, diced

6 cups veggie broth

8 cups broccoli florets

To serve: freshly cracked pepper

How (your directions):

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add diced yellow onion and salt.  Sauté for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent.

Add red potatoes, veggie broth, and broccoli.

Bring to a boil, then cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Turn off heat.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and creamy.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer soup carefully to a blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy hot with freshly cracked pepper!

Why (the science):  Broccoli is a cruciferous veggie, meaning it has powerful anticancer effects!

Quinoa Crusted Quiche with Roasted Tomatoes and Thyme | GF, Dairy-Free |

Quiche is typically not a healthy meal- it’s usually loaded with heavy cream, half and half, butter, cheese, and sometimes bacon or ham.  This Quinoa Crusted Quiche with Roasted Tomatoes and Thyme is super healthful and rich in protein and antioxidants!  The quinoa crust holds its form with the help of omega-3 rich flax meal, and the eggy center is dairy-free.  This quinoa crusted quiche can also be meal prepped for a week of healthy breakfasts that you can simply heat and eat 😊

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

2 tablespoons flax meal

4 tablespoons water

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ teaspoon dried thyme

6 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¾ cup unsweetened almond milk or Ripple (pea protein milk)

Cooking oil spray

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 425 °F.

Add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to a large sauté pan.  Set heat to high, bring to a boil, then cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add cherry tomatoes to a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and thyme.  Roast at 425 °F for 15 minutes.

Add flax meal and 4 tablespoons water to a large bowl.  Stir to combine and set aside.

To another large bowl, add eggs, salt, pepper, and dairy-free milk.  Whisk to combine.

When the quinoa has finished cooking, add quinoa to the bowl with the flax meal.  Stir to combine.

Spritz a tart pan or pie dish with avocado oil to prevent quinoa crust from sticking.  Add quinoa and flax mixture to the pie dish, then press evenly into dish and up the sides to create a crust.

When the tomatoes have finished roasting, place them evenly on top of quinoa crust. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.

Pour egg mixture over the tomatoes.

Bake the quiche for 35 minutes.

Serve hot or warm!

Why (the science):  Roasted tomatoes are high in lycopene, which is especially healthful for men in helping reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

 

Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mint and Creamy Goat Cheese | GF |

Who doesn’t want to make a recipe in under 30 minutes that can last all week in the fridge, and be enjoyed at any meal, be that breakfast or dinner!  This Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mint and Creamy Goat Cheese is rich in antioxidants, as well as protein to keep you full and satisfied.  Make once, enjoy all week!  The perfect simple meal prep recipe 😊

Serves: 6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

3 tablespoons orange juice (juice from 1 blood orange)

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 lb. strawberries

20 fresh mint leaves

2 oz. goat cheese

Walnuts to serve

How (your directions):

Add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to a large sauté pan.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, create an easy vinaigrette by adding orange juice, olive oil, and salt to a large bowl.  Whisk and set aside.

Slice strawberries and chiffonade the mint.  Add to bowl with the vinaigrette.

When the quinoa has cooked for 15 minutes, turn off the heat, but leave the quinoa in the covered pan for 5 minutes.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then add to the bowl.  Stir to combine.

Place in refrigerator for a few minutes to cool.  Once cooled, crumble the goat cheese into the quinoa salad.

Serve room temperature or cold, and top with walnuts.

Enjoy for lunch or dinner (or even breakfast!) throughout the week.

Why (the science):  Mint and other herbs are high in antioxidants, which helps reduce inflammation and boost your immune system, which helps you feel better in general!

Anti-Inflammatory Pasta Salad | Plant-Based Vegan |

I love a good pasta salad, and this recipe for Anti-inflammatory Pasta Salad is GREAT!  It’s one of those super simple meals that feels incredibly satisfying and nourishing.  Packed with antioxidants from the colorful array of veggies, along with the fiber and plant-based protein, this Anti-inflammatory Pasta Salad is designed to keep you both satisfied and feeling healthy.  It’s the perfect meal prep recipe for lunches and dinners, since it lasts all week in the fridge.  Bring to any picnic or outdoor event, too!

Serves: 6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 box spinach fusilli

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Freshly cracked black pepper (~1/4 teaspoon)

1 zucchini

1 pint cherry tomatoes

12 sweet peppers

How (your directions):

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt (enough that the water tastes like the ocean) and add your pasta.  Boil according to package instructions, about 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, add olive oil, vinegar, salt, Italian seasoning, and black pepper to a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Slice zucchini into small pieces, cherry tomatoes in half, and dice the sweet peppers.  Add to the vinaigrette and stir to combine.

When pasta is finished cooking, strain and add pasta to the vegetables.  Stir until evenly combine.

Enjoy immediately, room temperature, or store in the fridge in an airtight container for 5 days.

Why (the science):  There’s a reason I often remind you to eat the rainbow!  Each veggie color represents different antioxidants and phytochemicals that keep your immune system strong and you feeling your best 😊

Grilled Romaine & Corn Salad with Basil Aioli Dressing (Vegan, GF)

If you’re bored with the same meals and are looking for the simplest and quickest way to switch it up, then you’re going to love this Grilled Romaine and Corn Salad with Basil Aioli Dressing.  The dressing and salad come together in 15 minutes flat! The Basil Aioli Dressing is creamy, dreamy and just happens to be super healthy and vegan (but don’t tell your spouse and children that...)  Whip up this showstopper salad in both winter for some needed brightness and color, and in summer to impress your BBQ party guests. 

Serves: 2-4 (2 meals, 4 sides)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Basil Aioli Dressing:

1 cup raw cashew halves

½ cup boiling water

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)

1 garlic clove

1 20-gram package basil

For the Salad:

½ tablespoon olive oil

1 head romaine, rinsed and dried

½ sweet corn, frozen

How (your directions):

To make the Basil Aioli Dressing, start by placing cashews in a small bowl and covering them with ½ cup boiling water.  Let stand 5 minutes.

While cashews are soaking, heat grill pan over medium heat.  Slice the head of romaine in half.  Tip: do not remove the tough bottom that holds romaine head together.

Once heated, add the olive oil to the grill pan.  Place each romaine half, cut side down, onto grill pan.  Next to the romaine, add the frozen corn.  Cook romaine halves and corn 3-4 minutes.

While grilling, add cashews and their soaking water, salt, lemon juice, garlic clove, and basil to a blender. 

Blend until smooth.

Plate by placing grilled romaine halves onto a large serving platter, then evenly distribute grilled corn on top.  Drizzle liberally with the Basil Aioli Dressing.

Why (the science):  Creamy dressings from the store are loaded with processed ingredients, preservatives, and unhealthy fats.  This Basil Aioli Dressing is super nutritious, between the heart-healthy and protein-filled cashews and the anticarcinogenic garlic.  This creamy dressing is something to feel good about 😊

Apple, Brie & Arugula Open Sandwich

We all need a meal up our sleeves that takes 5 minutes to throw together (but doesn’t look like we did).  I make this Apple, Brie & Arugula Open Sandwich for lunches or dinners when I’m in a pinch.  But even if I had all the time in the world to cook, this would still be a classic worth coming back too 😊

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

2 slices artisan bread (I use a seeded multigrain)

1 ounce brie

1 handful arugula

½ apple

1 teaspoon good olive oil

Salt and pepper

How (your directions):

Lightly toast the slices of bread.

While the bread is toasting, slice the ½ apple into thin slices.

When bread is done toasting, spread brie cheese onto each slice.  Top with arugula and slices of apples.

Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Voila!

Why (the science):  This sandwich might be the easiest way to eat your fruits and vegetables 😊

Zucchini Tea Sandwiches

I love tea sandwiches- small, bite-size, dainty and perfect for tea…As a play on an old favorite (cucumber tea sandwiches), I love the idea of creating full size Zucchini Tea Sandwiches! It couldn’t be easier or quicker to cut zucchini into thin ribbons, layer them on toasty bread with cream cheese, and drizzle them with really good olive oil.  These are great for a very quick lunch, but would be beautiful to serve to a crowd on a wooden cutting board 😊

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

2 pieces whole wheat oat bread (or your favorite bread)

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1 small zucchini

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil, to serve

How (your directions):

Toast bread to desired doneness.  Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, slice zucchini into long, thin ribbons.

Once bread is toasted, spread one tablespoon of cream cheese (regular or vegan) onto each slice.

Layer the zucchini ribbons lengthwise across each slice.  Trim off crust (and eat!), then serve Zucchini Tea Sandwiches on a wooden cutting board.

Season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Enjoy!

Why (the science):  Zucchini is rich in flavonoids, which means it can help slow down aging processes by neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals.

 

 

Hemp, Avocado, and Tomato Salad (For One!)

This salad is so yummy and refreshing, and full of heart healthy fats to keep you full!  And it only takes 5 minutes and 7 easily accessible ingredients to quickly slice, assemble, and drizzle 😊

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

2 cups butter lettuce and radicchio (I use a prewashed mix from Trader Joe’s)

10 cherry tomatoes

½ small ripe avocado

1 tablespoon hemp seeds

1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar (the older, the sweeter)

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of Crazy Jane’s Mixed Up Salt (or any seasoned salt- this one is a blend of garlic, onion, salt, and spices)

How (your directions):

Onto a large plate, place the 2 cups of butter lettuce and radicchio blend.

Slice cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise, then distribute evenly on top of the lettuce.

Slice a small, ripe avocado in half.  Using the half without the pit (save the half with the pit, covered, in the fridge for another time), remove the skin.  Place halved avocado cut-side down onto cutting board, then slice thinly.  Fan the avocado slices and place in the center of the salad.

Sprinkle hemps seeds over the salad, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Season to taste with a pinch of salt or seasoned salt.

Enjoy immediately!

Why (the science):  Hemp seeds are a rich source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  You can sprinkle hemp seeds on savory dishes (from salads to pastas to soups) and sweet dishes (top a smoothie or bowl of oatmeal for added crunch).

 

 

Raw Vegan Pad Thai

This might be one of my absolute favorite ways to eat vegetables!  The Miso Pad Thai sauce alone is worth making- drizzle over greens or roasted vegetables- yum! Perfect for hot weather, this Raw Vegan Pad Thai will satisfy you for lunch or dinner while making you feel light and energized. 

Serves: 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Miso Pad Thai Sauce:

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp coconut aminos or soy sauce

1 tsp miso paste

¼ cup almond butter

3 medjool dates

Juice of ½ lemon

1 clove garlic

¼ cup warm water

Pad Thai:

2 large carrots

1 red bell pepper

2 medium zucchini, julienned

2 small English cucumbers, julienned

1 spring onion, sliced thinly

Toppings: sesame seeds, alfalfa sprouts, pinch of salt

How (your directions):

For the Miso Pad Thai Sauce, add all ingredients to a high-speed blender.  Blend on high for 1 minute until smooth.  Set aside while you prepare the Pad Thai ingredients.

Grate 2 large carrots and add to a large bowl.  Thinly slice 1 red bell pepper and add to the carrots. 

Using a vegetable peeler, julienne 2 zucchini.  When it becomes difficult to julienne the zucchini, dice the remaining zucchini into small pieces.   Add zucchini to the bowl.  

Repeat the julienne process with 2 English cucumbers.  Add cucumbers to the bowl.

Thinly slice 1 spring onion and add to the bowl. 

Pour the Miso Pad Thai Sauce over the prepared vegetables.  Toss gently until all ingredients are evenly coated in the sauce.

Serve immediately by diving the Pad Thai salad onto two plates.  Top with sesame seeds, alfalfa sprouts, and a pinch of salt. 

Tip: if preparing the Raw Vegan Pad Thai in advance, do not add the dressing, as the salt will pull out the water from the vegetables and make the salad soupy and watery.  Dress salad with the Miso Pad Thai Sauce when ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Why (the science):  Every vegetable has a different combination of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, so you’ll benefit from the array of colors in this salad!

Crunchy Curry Salad with Farro

Crunchy Curry Salad with Farro is filling salad, heart enough to be a meal on its own, but light and crunchy and crisp.  Refreshing for a hot, summer day!

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

What (your ingredients):

½ cup farro

¼ teaspoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon paprika

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lemon

1 head of kale

5-7 radishes

½ large seedless cucumber

1 orange bell pepper

1 shallot

How (your directions):

Heat 5 cups of water in a large pot with 2 teaspoons salt.  Once boiling, add the farro and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to a large bowl, add curry powder, cumin, paprika, lime juice, and lemon juice.  Stir to combine.

Finely chop kale and add to the bowl with spices.  Massage 2 minutes to soften kale.

Dice radishes, cucumber, and bell pepper and add to kale. 

Mince 1 shallot and add to kale salad.

Once farro is cooked, drain farro, then add to kale salad.  Mix to combine.

Enjoy immediately or store in refrigerator for the next day’s lunch or dinner!

Why (the science):  Spices have anti-inflammatory powers, so combine spices to flavor your meals in replace of adding salt.  If the salad needs salt, add a pinch, but you won’t need a lot with the flavors of curry and cumin 😊 

Strawberry and Mint Spring Rolls with Lime Peanut Sauce | + Video |

Crunchy, creamy, sweet, spicy- all the perfect notes for a light and refreshing lunch!  Spring rolls are easy to make, and I’ve even created a video to show you how!

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

3-4 rice paper sheets

Handful of red leaf lettuce

4-5 strawberries, sliced thinly

½ avocado, sliced thinly

6-10 mint leaves

2 tablespoons peanut powder or 1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon sriracha

2-4 tablespoons water

How (your directions):

Dip one rice paper sheet into warm water for about 5-10 seconds.

Lay rice paper sheet on a flat service.  Line a 4-6 strawberry slices onto the top third of the rice paper.

On the bottom third, place a few pieces of lettuce, mint, and avocado.

Roll the bottom edge of the rice paper over the lettuce, mint, and avocado.  Fold the left and right sides toward the center.  Then roll tightly toward the strawberries.  If in doubt, think of rolling the spring roll like you would a burrito.

Continue process to make 3-4 spring rolls.

Make the Lime Peanut Sauce by combine the peanut powder or peanut butter with the lime juice, sriracha, and water.  Mix until smooth.

Enjoy immediately!

Why (the science):  Red leaf lettuce is considered a calorie-free food, but it provides vitamin A for healthy eyes!

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Kale and Quinoa Salad with Fig and Walnuts

Full disclosure: I’m always intimidated to make salads, because I worry that they won’t be near as good as what I can order from a nice restaurant.  But THIS is the recipe that changes everything! Easy? Check! Café-quality? Check! Elegant but fast to throw together? Check! Kale and Quinoa Salad with Fig and Walnuts will be your go-to “I’ll bring the salad” dish to show off to all your friends 😊

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 bunch kale, torn into pieces

1 tablespoon pomegranate balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons walnut pieces

2 dried figs, cut into small pieces

1 oz. goat cheese

1/3 cup quinoa, cooked

How (your directions):

Place kale pieces into a large bowl.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Massage the kale for 2-3 minutes.  Tip: Massaging kale allows it to become more tender and slightly sweeter!

Transfer salad to a plate, then top with walnuts, figs, crumbled goat cheese, and quinoa.

Enjoy immediately or the next day!

Why (the science):  Quinoa is a complete protein, making it a great replacement for brown rice and other starches!

Anti-inflammatory Curry

When I’m feeling the aches of the flu or a bad cold, I crave a meal that can fight the inflammation in my body.  This Anti-Inflammatory Curry is quick and easy enough to make when you’re sick (yes, I know from experience) but is light and easy on the stomach, since it’s not spicy.  So often curries are heavy and fatty, but this curry is more like a broth.  Pairs perfectly with a side of brown rice!

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 teaspoon coconut oil

2 bell peppers, medium diced

1 block extra-firm tofu, cubed

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

2 large carrots, diced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons red curry paste

1 15-oz. can coconut milk

Brown rice to serve

How (your directions):

In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat.  Add bell peppers and tofu, then sauté for 5 minutes.

Add broccoli florets, diced carrots, and minced ginger.  Sauté for 5 minutes.

Add red curry paste and coconut milk and stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.

Serve over brown rice, and salt to taste.

Enjoy!

Why (the science):  Curries make powerful anti-inflammatory meals because they so often include foods to reduce oxidative stress in the body.  Coconut oil, broccoli, turmeric, and ginger are all found in this recipe, which means this curry battles oxidation and inflammation in a variety of ways.

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

There’s a reason pear and blue cheese salads are a classic- these salads are rich flavor while incredibly easy to make.  In fact, in 5 minutes (or less, if you are a quick pear slicer!), you can create this Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette.  This special salad is rich in heart-healthy omega-3’s and antioxidants.  Of course, the recipe can be extended for however many family members or guests you may be entertaining.  An elegant dish that any salad-hater will love 😊

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Dijon Vinaigrette

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Pinch of salt and pepper

½ cup olive oil

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

2 handfuls spinach

½ ounce walnuts

½ pear, sliced paper thin

1-inch cube gorgonzola blue cheese, crumbled

Drizzle of Dijon Vinaigrette

How (your directions):

Prepare the Dijon Vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients together.  Vinaigrette can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for future use.

To prepare salad, place a few handfuls of spinach onto a plate.  Then place sliced pears onto spinach a drizzle with Dijon Vinaigrette.

Sprinkle salad with walnut pieces and gorgonzola crumbles.

Enjoy immediately!

Why (the science):  Pears are rich in flavanols, which have been shown to play an important role in improving insulin sensitivity (which means your insulin is more controlled)!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Sweet and Spicy Nuts

This recipe is inspired by a dear college friend who made this for me in college- a family recipe used for every Thanksgiving celebration.  Festive and comforting, yet delightfully easy, I love to enjoy this Roasted Acorn Squash for a yummy lunch on the weekends!  Use any candied sweet and spicy nut to make this side or entrée extra special, and be sure to dip each spoonful of squash into the melted butter in the center 😊

Serves: 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 acorn squash

2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons sweet and spicy nuts (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods has a few options)

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Cut acorn squash in half, remove seeds and stringy flesh from center, then roast on lined baking sheet for 40 minutes.

Once acorn squash has finished roasting, place one half in each bowl.

In the center of each half, add 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons sweet and spicy nuts (I used pecans), and 1 tablespoon cranberries.

Enjoy hot!

Why (the science):  One serving of acorn squash provides 145% of your daily vitamin A needs, which is critical for helping your eyes absorb light and for supporting cell growth in your heart and lungs!

Easy Tomato and Bell Pepper Pasta Sauce

This Easy Tomato and Bell Pepper Pasta Sauce is seriously the easiest and quickest pasta sauce ever.  Chop some tomatoes and bell peppers, simmer, add a punch of flavor with pesto and-BOOM!-dinner is ready!  Yep, that’s all it takes to make a dinner that doubles as a hot or cold pasta salad to take to work/school for lunch during the rest of the week 😊

Serves: 6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 lb. short pasta

2 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped (I used yellow/red/orange cherry tomatoes and orange heirloom tomatoes)

1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped

1 orange pepper, roughly chopped

½ cup water

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon pesto

How (your directions):

Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt to the salinity of the ocean (this ensures flavorful cooked pasta).  Cook pasta according to pasta directions, then drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, add tomatoes, peppers, a pinch of salt, and the ½ cup of water. 

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove lid and reduce liquid slightly for 5 minutes.

Transfer sauce to blender and add pesto.  Blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Pour sauce back into the saucepan and mix pasta into sauce over low heat, to finish heating through.

Serve immediately!  Also delicious cold for lunch 😊

Why (the science):  Bell peppers are full of vitamin C, A, and folate!  Not to mention, this Easy Tomato and Bell Pepper Pasta Sauce has ZERO sugar, a characteristic hard to find in most store-bought pasta sauces.

 

Strawberry Pepper Gazpacho

Strawberry Pepper Gazpacho is sweet with a kick!  The strawberries balance the spiciness of the jalapeno, and the peppers add body and texture to this bountiful summer soup.  I poured my gazpacho into two clean pasta sauce jars, making these the perfect grab-and-go meals or afternoon snacks.  Because it can be enjoyed cold or room temperature, strawberry pepper gazpacho can be enjoyed anywhere, be that work, school, outdoor festival, or picnic!

Serves: 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 lb. strawberries, rinsed (keep the green stems on!)

1 yellow pepper

1 orange pepper

6-8 small tomatoes

1 jalapeno, veins and seeds removed

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

How (your directions):

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until almost smooth but leaving a little texture.

Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for 4 days.

Enjoy!

Why (the science):  With colors like orange, yellow, and red, this soup is truly overflowing with vitamin C and antioxidants 😊

 

*Recipe updated from Purple Carrot

Grilled Plum Salad with Walnuts and Aged Balsamic | + Video |

Serves: 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

What (your ingredients):

3 plums

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups arugula

3 tablespoons raw walnut pieces

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze

How (your directions):

Heat grill pan over medium heat.

Slice each plum in half and remove the stone (pit).  Using a pastry brush or baster, brush olive oil onto cut side of plum and place onto grill.

Repeat process with remaining plum halves.

Grill plums for 10 minutes.  If desired, flip plums and grill on second, rounded side for an additional 5 minutes.  This will yield a sweeter and softer grilled plum.

Plate arugula, then top with 3 grilled plum halves.  Sprinkle with walnuts and a drizzle of aged balsamic.

Enjoy immediately!

Why (the science):  Plums are a good source of soluble fiber, meaning that prunes slow the rate of digestion.  The result?  Feeling fuller, longer!