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
Servings: 4 servings as a meal | about 2 cups each | 16 ounces
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
Nothing says summer quite like barbecue. And in Texas, we love our barbecue and barbecue sauces. I try to get in the smokey flavors any way that I can.
This salad is one you can take as a side to a picnic, or top it with barbecue chicken, sliced sausages, or chickpeas (like I have below) and have it as a meal. It’s an easy summer dinner that doesn’t heat up your house. Then adding the Yogurt Ranch recipe I have to it helps to give you not only the smokey barbecue flavor, but the creaminess without it being heavy and you can make it dairy free.
Barbecue Chopped Salad
Servings: Makes 12 cups or more, 6-8 side servings, or 4-6 main servings with BBQ chicken, sausage, or chickpeas
If you are taking it somewhere, make sure to keep sauces and toppings separate so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy.
2-3 cups of Salad with 1 Roasted Chicken Breast, 2 tbsp Average BBQ Sauce, & 4 tbsp Yogurt Ranch
407 calories | 6.9 g fat | 1.5 g polyunsaturated | 2.2 g monounsaturated | 1.8 g saturated | 0 g trans fats | 149 mg cholesterol | 550 mg sodium | 32 g 23.5 g carbohydrates | 3 g fiber | 15.5 g sugar | 60 g protein | 113% Vitamin A | 95% Vitamin C | 78% Vitamin K
2-3 cups of Salad with 3/4 cup drained canned Chickpeas, 2 tbsp Average BBQ Sauce, & 4 tbsp Yogurt Ranch
426 calories | 4 g fat | 1.3 g polyunsaturated | 0.7 g monounsaturated | 0.4 g saturated | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 734 mg sodium | 52 g carbohydrates | 10 g fiber | 20 g sugar | 16 g protein | 113% Vitamin A | 95% Vitamin C | 82% Vitamin K
You’re trying to watch your fat, but you just really want to dip those carrot sticks you have as a snack into a huge creamy bowl of ranch. Does this sound like you? Sounds like me! Here is an alternative to when you just can’t take it anymore and need to have that creamy tangy dipping sauce or salad dressing. I had originally made a plant-based version using a plant-based mayo, but it was still using a whole lot of oils and was fattening. This can still be made plant-based and is low in fat, or if you don’t have a problem with dairy, using low-fat yogurt and skim milk will do the trick just the same. Feel free to use this to indulge in something that isn’t really that bad.
Regular Ranch Dressing:
1 tbsp serving | 73 calories | 7.7 g fat | 1.0 g carbs | 0.4 g sugar | 0.2 g protein
Yogurt Ranch Dressing:
1 tbsp serving | 10 calories | 0.1 g fat | 1.5 g carbs | 1.1 g sugar | 0.9 g protein
Servings: 1 tbsp serving, about 20 servings, makes 1 1/3 cup
1 cup unsweetened low fat plain Greek Style yogurt (I used Kite Hill’s unsweetened plain almond milk yogurt)
1/3 cup low fat milk or unsweetened plant based milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Mix together the yogurt and milk until creamy.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk together.
Ready to serve. Store in an air tight container for 1 week.
10 calories | 0.1 g fat unsaturated | 1 mg cholesterol (0 mg if using plant-based ingredients) | 73 mg sodium | 1.5 g carbohydrates | 1.1 g sugar | 0.9 g protein
*Note that Greek Style dairy based yogurt will have less fat than the almond milk version. However, most of the fat from the almond milk version is from almonds, which is your healthy omega fatty acids, so it’s the healthy unsaturated fat instead of saturated.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of soggy creamy coleslaw. I’m picky about my cabbage since I’m not personally a huge fan. A light crisp coleslaw, especially with cilantro, yum! And of course, I have to make it pretty. If I can buy the purple cabbage and use that instead of the everyday green cabbage, it just makes it that much more appealing and fun! To me it seems to be a little more richer and earthier in flavor than your regular green head of cabbage.
Some of the numbers between the two are pretty interesting
Red cabbage has 85% of the daily vitamin C, while green cabbage only has 47%.
Red cabbage contains 10% more vitamin A than green.
Red cabbage has double the amount of iron than green cabbage.
And with any fruit or vegetable – the deeper the color, the more antioxidants. Red cabbage is higher in antioxidants than green!
Green cabbage is still a healthy choice, but red definitely has it’s benefits too! I say go for the deeper flavor and color anytime you can.
High in Vitamin C
High in Vitamin K for Bone Health
High in Antioxidants
I’ve used this recipe as a side dish or as a topping on shrimp tacos. For my tacos I marinated chopped hearts of palm in spices and toasted them on the skillet instead of the shrimp. Whatever you want to use this with, it’s light and adds a crunch! No sogginess here.
1 tsp or more chipotle chili powder, optional for spice
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix together the shredded cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, mix together the orange juice, lime juice, agave or honey, cumin, and olive oil to make the dressing.
Combine the vegetables and the dressing. Add salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately. Or put in fridge for a few hours to get cold before serving.
59 calories | 2.5 g fat | < 0.5 g polyunsaturated | 1.7 g monounsaturated | < 0.5 g saturated | 0 g trans | 0 mg cholesterol | 27 mg sodium | 9.4 g carbohydrates | 1.7 g fiber | 5.3 g sugar | 1 g protein | 159% Vitamin A | 47% Vitamin C | 30% Vitamin K
Kombucha is fermented tea. It has a good amounts of probiotics and b-vitamins that has been shown to help digestion, detoxification, improve your immune health, and aids depression and calms you down when stressed. It can balance certain processes in the digestive system which helps the body to function.
If you are avoiding alcohol for any reason, know that kombucha does contain a small amount of alcohol naturally from the fermentation process. Most will contain 0.5% or less alcohol. If it’s any higher, they will be labeled as such. Just with anything you can always have too much of a good thing. This is a probiotic drink and it doesn’t take a lot for it to start helping and aiding your digestive system.
Now, if you are like me and love fermented foods and drinks, doesn’t like to drink sweet drinks, and enjoys something to sip on at the end of the day whether that’s tea, wine, or decaf coffee sometimes, try kombucha. It’s a probiotic drink that is fizzy, unsweet, and is low-calorie.
This is one of my favorite ways to “jazz up” my kombucha. I make a version of a moscow mule using kombucha, but I also add cilantro. I love cilantro in and on everything. So if you haven’t had it with crushed cilantro, give it a try!
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.
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
I love dinner recipes when everything goes in one dish! Easy to make, easy to clean, and delicious to eat! This is one of the recipes I make on a regular basis. Partly because my husband loves mustard. A little too much. And partly, because it’s a balanced meal and easy to make vegetarian/vegan. I usually make a pan for my parents and him, and then half the recipe to make a small version of it with chickpeas or garbanzo beans for me. I will be hopefully making more dishes like this for easy dinners with not a lot of clean up for weekday meals. You could also get this prepared the night before so that when you get home all you need to do is throw it in the oven.
Let’s talk nutrition for a moment. Not only is this recipe low in fat and high in fiber, there are specific things that potatoes and carrots are good for.
Good Source of Iron – Oxygenation of Cells
Good Source of Vitamin C & Zinc – For Immune Health
Good Source of Potassium – Heart and Muscle Health
Good Source of Beta-Carotene – helps slow down the aging of cells, including cells in the eye
Beta-Carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the liver
Vitamin A is converted in the retina to rhodopsin – used for night vision
Good Source of Vitamin A – protects the skin from sun damage
Honey Dijon Chicken with Red Potatoes & Carrots (with Chickpea Version)
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on size)
OR 2 cans of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 + 1/8 cup honey or agave (plus more for extra sauce to dip)
1/4 + 1/8 cup Dijon mustard (plus more for extra sauce to dip)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
3 lb. bag of red potatoes, chopped
12-16 oz. bag of baby carrots
Salt and pepper, if desired
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Make your sauce. Combine 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup mustard, rosemary, and olive oil. Whisk together.
In a gallon size bag, add potatoes and carrots enough to almost fill the bag. If you are using the chickpeas, you can pour those in too. Pour sauce over top. Close the bag and toss for about 3 minutes to make sure the sauce is covering the vegetables.
Pour vegetables in a prepared 9×11 baking dish. Add your chicken breasts on top. Make a smaller batch of the sauce – 1/8 cup honey + 1/8 cup Dijon mustard, and cover the top of the chicken breasts. If using the chickpeas, if you need to add a little extra sauce, drizzle some on top.
Put the dish, uncovered, in the oven for about 35 minutes or until the vegetables start to brown on sides and chicken juice is running clear.
Let cool for about 5 minutes and serve! While it’s resting, if you need to whisk together extra sauce to dip or drizzle on top, do it now before serving.
555 calories | 8.5 g fat | 1.9 g polyunsaturated fat | 3.7 g monounsaturated fat | 2.2 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 204 mg cholesterol | 459 mg sodium | 59 g carbohydrates | 6.9 g fiber | 32 g total sugar | 64 g protein | 673% Vitamin A | 22% Vitamin C | 8% Calcium | 40% Magnesium | 38% Potassium | 33% Zinc
435 calories | 5.7 g fat | 1.7 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.9 g monounsaturated fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 87.5 g carbohydrates | 15 g fiber | 37 g total sugar | 13.4 g protein | 673% Vitamin A | 22% Vitamin C | 13% Calcium | 29% Magnesium | 25% Potassium | 21% Zinc
An easy savory breakfast to prep is always something I love! And green chilies. Eggs have had some hype over the last few years and there is debate over whether they are something healthy to eat or not. Let me take a minute to talk about them and why you might not need to be so afraid to have them.
Eggs have gotten a long and bad reputation for being bad for your cholesterol levels. True, eggs are high in cholesterol and there is no nutritional need to ingest cholesterol since our body, mainly the liver, makes it for us. However, eggs or other foods high in cholesterol are not necessarily the culprit when it comes to high cholesterol. Here is a peer reviewed study of egg consumption and the risk of increasing high cholesterol and stroke risk. They found there was no real evidence that eating high cholesterol foods, like eggs, resulted in high blood cholesterol or a greater stroke risk.
That being said, here are some tips on how to lower cholesterol which includes decreasing weight (even 5 lbs.), eating high fiber foods, and eating less saturated fats.
So now that we know eggs aren’t as bad as they might have seemed before, let’s look at the Green Chile Muffin recipe and nutrition!
Take a medium muffin tin and if not using liners or it’s not a non-stick tin, coat the insides with oil. I used a small amount of coconut oil.
Put about 1 teaspoon of green chilies in the bottom of each of the 6 muffin molds, and about 1 tablespoon of the green chilies.
In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper until mixed together. Pour into the muffin molds until almost fill. Start with 3/4 of the way full and fill with what may be left.
Cook for about 15 minutes. Top with cheese and cook for another 3-5 minutes
Let rest for a few minutes before trying to move the egg muffins out of the tin.
To store, place in the fridge for about 3-4 days.
For a more balanced breakfast, have 1-2 egg muffins with 1/2 cup of fruit.
1 Egg Muffin = 192 calories | 12.7 g total fat | 1.72 polyunsaturated fat | 5.37 monounsaturated fat | 3.89 saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 626 mg cholesterol | 8.27 g carbohydrates | 3.5 g fiber | 2.92 g sugar | 12.89 g protein
Now that we have the egg version, and after all this is Food Allergy Awareness Month/Week, here is an egg/soy/gluten/corn/dairy free version for a savory Green Chile Breakfast Muffin.
Tip: You might want to eat this with some green salsa since the garbanzo flour can make it dry.
Green Chile Garbanzo Flour Breakfast Muffins
1 1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 1/3 cup unsweetened, plain plant based milk
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 4oz can chopped green chilies
1/2 c minced green onion
Salt and Pepper
Optional: 1/2 cup plant based cheddar shreds
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Take a medium muffin tin and if not using liners or it’s not a non-stick tin, coat the insides with oil. I used a small amount of coconut oil.
In a medium-large bowl whisk together all ingredients, except for the plant based cheddar shreds if you are using, until smooth.
Pour mixture into the muffin tin. It will not rise very much so fill them to the top.
Cook for 18 minutes. Top with the plant based cheddar shreds if using, and cook for 5 more minutes. 23 minutes total.
Let cool for a few minutes before moving them from the muffin tin.
For a more balanced meal, have with a 1/2 cup of fresh fruit.
If the muffins seem a little too dry, have a small amount of salsa to eat with it.
1 Garbanzo Flour Muffin = 170 calories | 6.46 g total fat | 2.5 g polyunsaturated fat | 2.3 g monounsaturated fat | 0.9 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 21.5 g carbohydrates | 6.1 g fiber | 3 g sugar | 8.72 g protein
This is one of those things I keep in my cabinet all the time. It’s great to use as a topping like parmesan for pastas, salads, and anything else. The other good thing is that you can store it in the pantry for a few weeks since it’s all dry ingredients. Simple, dairy-free, and soy-free alternative to parmesan cheese that’s nutritious. Yes please!
The main ingredient is nutritional yeast. If you have dabbled into vegan cooking you most likely have heard of it. Let’s talk about what it is and what it is not and then look at why it’s nutritious.
Nutritional Yeast IS
the same type of yeast that’s used to bake bread and brew beer.
Nutritional Yeast IS NOT
Baker’s yeast and Brewer’s yeast is bought as an active ingredient to leaven bread and to brew beer. Nutritional yeast is what is left over after the yeast cells are killed.
A nutty, cheesy flavoring. Most nutritional yeasts on the shelves are fortified with B vitamins and can be a very rich source. Not only that but as a cheesy flavoring that is natural, take a look at the nutritional value.
1/4 cup serving
0.5 g fat
5 g carbohydrates
3 g fiber
0 g sugar
8 g protein
980% Thiamin (B-1)
750% Riboflavin (B-2)
290% Niacin (B-3)
Good news, B vitamins are water soluble and is not stored in the body, so taking high amounts of b-vitamins is not a concern. They are known to help with energy by aiding in digestion, they are neurotransmitters so they help reduce the chance of stroke, helps with memory, hormone production and health, building blood cells, and maintaining healthy nerve cells.
I can’t say your regular cheesy topping can do all of that.
So here is my recipe for a flavorful cheesy topping with some major added nutritional benefits!
Dairy Free Parmesan
Servings: Makes 1/2 cup, 1 tbsp per serving, 8 servings
Pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor until combined
Store in an air tight container and store in the pantry for a few weeks. Top everything with it!
43 calories | 1.8 g total fat | 0.1 g saturated fat | 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.3 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 22.5 mg sodium | 2.9 g carbohydrates | 1.9 g fiber | 0.5 g sugar | 3.8 g protein
This is a great recipe to add to your meal prep for lunches. I always look for lunches that won’t “bring me down” come the mid-afternoon slump. Sometimes you just can’t avoid it, but I do notice that whatever I eat for lunch can directly effect it. Easily digestible carbohydrates and raw food always keeps me running! Not all people are the same, but for me this recipe truly does the trick for busy days. Whether I have it as is, a bean salad, or I have it in a whole wheat pita – this is something I keep in mind for lunches.
Let’s talk a little about why this recipe is nutritious.
High in Fiber – Good for Weight Management and Bowel Health
Can Help to Reduce LDL (bad) Cholesterol
Omega-3 Fats – Reduce Inflammation
Good Source of Protein
Rich in Minerals for Bone Health
Good Bacteria for Gut Health & Immune Health
Relieves bloating and cramping
Combats bacteria in the stomach and intestines that can cause infection.
Helps prevent yeast infections by balancing pH levels
Promotes Detoxification by Helping the Liver
Balances pH in Body
Balances Blood Sugar
A hormone in cucumbers helps the pancreas to utilize insulin
High in Vitamins & Minerals for Eye, Bone, Teeth, and Nail Health
Meal Prep Tip
If you are making this in advance, make sure to pat dry the chopped cucumber and tomatoes before adding them to the bowl. This will dry up excess water/juice so that the salad doesn’t become watered down the next day or two when you eat it.
2 cans chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/4 medium red onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup unsweetened plain yogurt
juice from 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
1-2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, if desired
whole wheat pitas, if using
Take the chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, and cherry tomatoes and stir together.
In a small bowl make the yogurt sauce. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, fresh dill, and garlic and combine.
Add the yogurt sauce to the chickpea mixture and taste. If desired, add salt and pepper.
Serve immediately as a bean salad, in pitas, or store for later.
349 calories | 5.5 g total fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 2.1 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.1 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 1.2 mg cholesterol | 484 mg sodium | 56 g carbohydrates | 15.5 g fiber | 11.2 g sugar | 19.1 g protein