I love sweet and savory! And there are times of the year I crave pineapple. Spinach and pineapple smoothies, grilled pineapple, cold pineapple chunks to snack on, pineapple chicken salad (or chickpea salad for me), etc. This recipe brings pineapple into my lunch or dinner and I love it! I’m sure using grilled pineapple and grilled sweet potatoes would add another layer of flavor that would be amazing! But here are some reasons why I love this salad from a nutrition stand point.
- Excellent Source of Fiber
- High in Antioxidants – neutralizing cell damage
- High in Iron – helps to bring oxygen to the cells
- High in Calcium – bone health
- High In Potassium – maintains healthy blood pressure and heart rate
- Excellent Source of Fiber and Starch – which breaks down easily and is soothing to the stomach, even helping stomach ulcers.
- High in Vitamin C and Zinc for Immune Health
- High in Beta-Carotene – lowers inflammation inside and out
- Helps to Regulate Blood Sugar
- High in Vitamin C for Immune Health
- High in Manganese for Bone Health and Connective Tissue
- Contains the Digestive Enzyme Bromelain which Aids the Liver, and Breaks down Mucus in Sinuses and Lungs
And then you add in the vitamins and minerals in the lime juice, the healthy fats in the avocado, and the metal detoxing benefits of cilantro – holy cow! I love this salad! Feel free to indulge! We also have roasted corn on the side to add for those who don’t have an adverse effect like me.
Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Pineapple Salad
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cup fresh diced pineapple
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup lime juice, about 2 limes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- fresh chopped avocado as topping, optional
- roasted corn as topping, optional
Adding chicken breast or shrimp to this would be a great way to make it a meal for those that are not plant-based.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the olive oil, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Toss the sweet potato chunks with the olive oil mixture in a gallon size bag to distribute spices. Spread on baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, toss about 1/2 way through. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make the rest of the salad. In a large bowl, mix together the black beans, diced pineapple, diced red onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and garlic.
- Once the sweet potatoes are cooled, add to the black bean mixture and toss. If desired, add salt and pepper, and top with avocado and/or roasted corn.
*This is not including any added salt, the avocado, or roasted corn as a topping if you choose to add it.
273 calories | 8 g total fat | 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 5 g monounsaturated fat | 1.2 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 455 mg sodium | 44 g carbohydrates | 18 g fiber | 6 g sugar | 12 g protein | 285% vitamin A | 49% vitamin C | 583% vitamin K | 55% magnesium | 25% iron
This is one of my favorite go-to lunches when I’m running around! 3 simple ingredients. That’s it! Using avocado as a dressing is something I learned from Engine 2. It makes perfect sense. Especially with kale. It’s so rough and hearty that massaging in the avocado into the leaves isn’t going to hurt it one bit and it’s easier to eat. I also love this salad because it’s great for inflammation.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats (good fats) which have been shown to lower inflammation. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and regulate blood sugar levels because of this. They also contain vitamin E, vitamin C, manganese, selenium, and zinc which is beneficial to help soothe inflammation.
Kale has a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which is a combo that is balanced so that it is anti-inflammatory. It’s high in antioxidants like beta carotene which is fat-soluble. Which means that it is broke down by fat. So the fat in the avocado in this salad will help break down and be better absorbed into your body. They work hand and hand.
Red onions are high in an antioxidant called Quercetin. You might have heard me talk about this before. It works as an anti-histamine so it’s one of the foods that is great for allergy sufferers. Along with that among other things, not just an allergic response, but it helps with inflammation in the body.
Here is my simple 3-ingredient kale salad that I use for lunch for busy weeks.
Simple 3-Ingredient Kale Salad
- 1 large bunch curly kale, leaves torn into bite size peices
- 1 medium avocado, pitted
- 1 small red onion, about 1 cup
- Juice of 1 large Lemon
- Salt and Pepper, if desired
- Put washed and torn kale in a large mixing bowl.
- Take the flesh of the avocado and add to the bowl. I usually will cut the avocado into small pieces before adding. With your hands, press the avocado into the kale. Since kale is so hardy and rough, it can take being mashed. Massage the avocado into the kale until all the avocado is incorporated and kale is a little softer.
- Add chopped red onion and toss.
- Add lemon juice and salt and pepper if desired. I usually have these on hand always so I don’t see it as extra ingredients.
- Serve immediately, or later that day. It will keep in the fridge for a few hours.
For 4 Large Servings with Lemon Juice
139 Calories | 8 g total fat | 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 4.9 g monounsaturated fat | 1 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 43 mg sodium | 15.5 g carbohydrates | 7 g fiber | 3.6 g sugar | 5.5 g protein | 434% Vitamin A | 175% Vitamin C | 799% Vitamin K | 16% Calcium | 21% Magnesium | 10% Iron | 16% Potassium
Brown rice is one of those things you put with anything and has become a staple in my house for a long time. Here is one we use for lighter meals, perfect for spring and summer, to go with fish, salads, and grilled anything! It’s good to become creative with rice if you are not having anything over it since it can be bland and can get boring especially with how much we use it. Adding fresh herbs, garlic, onion, juices like tomato, etc. can really bring on the flavor! Let’s look at why brown rice is so nutritious.
- Good Source of Magnesium – Vital for Heart, Muscle, and Bone Health
- Good Source of Manganese – Trace Mineral Needed for Vital Functions
- Nutrient Absorption
- Production of Digestive Enzymes
- Bone Development
- Formation of Blood-Clotting Factors
- Immune Health
- High Fiber – Weight Management, Good Bowel Health, Lowers Blood Sugar, and more.
Lemon Dill Brown Rice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 tsp salt, optional
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
- 1 tbsp fresh dill
- Add butter or oil to a medium pan on medium heat. Heat through for a minute. Add in garlic, broth, and salt. Bring heat to high and cover until boiling.
- Add in rice and reduce the heat to low or medium-low for it to simmer, not boil. Cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
- Add lemon zest and dill. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve immediately.
291 calories | 8.5 g fat | 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 5.6 g monounsaturated fat | 1.3 g saturated fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 950 mg sodium | 48.5 g carbohydrates | 3.6 g fiber | 2.8 g total sugar | 5.1 g protein | 22% Vitamin A | 27% Magnesium | 16% Zinc | 100% Manganese
This is one of my favorite lunch recipes! It’s simple and easy to prep. It’s packed with flavor and easily digestible energy sources to keep you going without the slump of the mid-afternoon. Plus every bite is a mouthful of nutrient dense, high fiber foods. Let’s look at a few nutritious components of this salad.
Per 1 Cup
- 8 grams of Protein
- 5 grams Fiber
- 15% RDA of Iron
- 13% RDA of Zinc
- Contains a small amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
I enjoy baby kale since it’s easier to chew and can have a sweeter, milder taste than regular curly kale, but pretty much has the same nutritious benefits. So if you want raw kale in your salad, use baby kale next time to see how you like it.
Per 1 Cup
- 3 grams of Protein
- 2 grams of Fiber
- 134% DV of Vitamin C
- 206% DV of Vitamin K
- Loaded with powerful Antioxidants
So dig in and enjoy!
Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey or agave
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 15oz can (1 1/2 c) garbanzo beans
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 5 oz pkg of baby kale
- In a small pot, add quinoa and broth and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and mustard. Pour into medium size mixing bowl.
- Add the cranberries, shallot, parsley, and garbanzo beans to the medium bowl and mix with the dressing.
- Once quinoa is cooled, add to the dressing mixture and combine together.
- To serve, take a handful of baby kale and top it with about 1 cup of the quinoa mixture and eat immediately!
- To store, keep the quinoa mixture separate from the baby kale until ready to eat.
449 Calories | 9.6 g Fat | 1.1 g saturated fat | 0 g Trans Fats | 0 mg Cholesterol | 315 mg Sodium | 72 g Carbohydrates | 13.6 g Fiber | 9.6 g Total Sugar | 18.2 g Protein
65% Carbohydrates | 19% Fat | 16% Protein
Dietary Servings per Portion
- 0.4 Fruit
- 2.1 Grain
- 0.6 Meat Alternative
- 2.5 Vegetables
If you are wanting to have this salad for lunches throughout the week, here is how I pack mine. Keep the baby kale separate from the quinoa mixture since it will wilt the leaves, and store in the fridge! As you can see, I have sophisticated meal prep skills. : )
Anytime I see fresh green beans at the store I have to grab a bag. There will be a few more green bean recipes to come, but this was my first recipe I did with fresh green beans. They add a juicy crunch that I love. Then there’s cranberries. Fresh cranberries are great for vitamin C, but the dried, not so much. It’s more added as a flavoring and not a major part of the dish. You can use fresh cranberries if they are available but it will be more tart. So, if you are looking for a sweeter lighter side and with some health benefits, try this one.
- High in fiber
- High in Vitamin K for bone health
- High in antioxidants good for your immune system
- High in antioxidants good for your eye health
Green Beans and Cranberries
- 2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tsp black pepper
- Season with lemon zest & slivered almonds if desired
- Add water to a medium pot 2/3 full, and bring to boil.
- Add in green beans and boil for 5 minutes. Once they are somewhat soft but still have some crisp to them, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
- Add olive oil to large skillet and heat on medium-high heat. Add green beans, lemon juice, cranberries, and black pepper. Saute for about 5-10 minutes. With the lemon juice, the cranberries will get soft and start to let off more of their flavor as the lemon juice breaks it down.
- Once green beans are desired tenderness, turn off heat and serve.
- Season with lemon zest or slivered almonds if desired.
85 calories | 2.6 g total fat | 0.4 g saturated fat | 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.7 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 9.6 mg sodium | 12.4 g carbohydrates | 4.5 g fiber | 5.4 g sugar | 2.9 g protein
58% Carbohydrates | 28% Fat | 14% Protein
Dietary Servings per Portion