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Blackberry and Watermelon Caprese

Blackberry and Watermelon Caprese

Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean to skimp on your H2O! Hydrate yourself with this new recipe for a refreshing Blackberry Watermelon Caprese!       Drink Up! No matter the season, adequate hydration is crucial all year round! Who hasn’t […]

Breakfast Polenta: Simple, Sweet, Savory

Breakfast Polenta: Simple, Sweet, Savory

Tired of oatmeal every morning? Try breakfast polenta as your next sweet or savory brunch alternative!   A-maize-ing Polenta Are you more of a sweet or savory breakfast eater?  Most days I crave eggs during the week, but on weekends I am ready for a […]

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Lay off the mayo with some heart healthy avocado! Try my

new recipe for this Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad at your

next cookout!

 

Hold the Mayo…

When it comes to our favorite side dishes at summer cookouts, we mostly think of creamy coleslaw, potato salad, and pasta salads. These rich and tasty sides are usually sneakily loaded with mayonnaise. Instead of filling up on healthy fats or protein, we are piling on too much of this decadent condiment. Don’t get me wrong–they are quite delicious paired with a juicy grilled burger (or in my case a veggie or salmon burger).

I am also not against mayonnaise as I use it in homemade tuna salad or my favorite sushi rolls. Excessive amounts, however, lead to much more fat and calories than in the recommended one tablespoon serving. Just one serving provides about 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. Not the end of the world, but most cole slaw and pasta salads are using way more than this.  Some recipes call for at least a half cup to one cup of mayonnaise in their recipes! To modify this pasta side favorite, I figured I would try the creamy and rich flavors of avocados!

 

avocado macaroni salad
Want to put those leftover vegetables to use? Stir them in a macaroni salad and add more texture and taste!

 

 

avocado macaroni salad
A delicious twist on the cookout staple using heart healthy avocado!

Recipe for Avocado Macaroni Salad

This pasta salad makes an excellent side dish to your favorite burger, but it is also just as tasty for a weekday lunch or dinner. Pair it with a side salad or your favorite vegetable for a well-balanced summer meal. If pasta salad is not your favorite, try substituting mayonnaise for the avocado dressing in a potato salad or cole slaw. And if avocados are not your favorite for this pasta salad, anoter great mayo substitute is plain yogurt.

Have any leftovers? Keep it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This pasta salad is likely not the best for freezing due to the avocados ripeness. For a debate on freezing avocados read this article from Food 52 here. Compared to my favorite avocado brownies recipe I created this year, these treats can be frozen. Since the avocados were cooked in the batter, the taste and texture was not affected.

 

avocado macaroni salad
A generous gift from a generous friend! How cute are these plates from Italy?

 

Lastly, I’d like to thank two special people for this recipe. First thank you is to my dear friend, Juliette, for her generous gift of these gorgeous plates from Italy. These adorable plates have been very useful for my cooking adventures!  Also, my wonderful mother-in-law, Elise, for being my “sous chef” and taste tester in the kitchen while we developed this avocado macaroni salad!

Hoping everyone is enjoying their summer cookouts this season with lots of fun and delicious seasonal produce!

 

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces macaroni pasta, uncooked
  • 2 celery stalks (about 1 cup), finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and largely chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring salted water to boiling. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (or according to package instructions). Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  2. In a large food processor, combine the garlic, shallot, avocado, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pasta, avocado mixture, vegetables, and dill.
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Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers

Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers

Add some spice in your life this summer season with these delicious and healthy Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers! Move over beef patties!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Want a dish that hydrates, restores energy, and satisfies hunger? Try my new recipe for this Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl!   I received free samples of NuGo Nutrition bars mentioned in this post. I was compensated for this blog post. The opinions and comments of […]

Light and Healthy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Light and Healthy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

A fulfilling and nutritious meal in under 30 minutes! Try this summer classic, Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho for a light and healthy dish this season!

 

 

Gazpacho Basics

Ice cream is not the only summer refresher! Stay cool with vegetables! Gazpacho, a cold soup summer favorite, is packed with tons (and I mean tons) of vegetables! What makes this dish so amazing? It takes very little time to make, and can include a variety of vegetables! Leftover vegetables in your refrigerator? Say so long to food waste!

Traditional gazpacho includes red tomatoes as the base using a 3:1 ratio of tomatoes to other vegetables. However, there are different types of this soup ranging from vibrant red to delicious green and white.  Thanks to the addition of other vegetables, gazpacho can be unique in flavor and texture.

 

heirloom tomato gazpacho
Try fresh avocado for a fun topping boosting with healthy fats!

 

In this heirloom tomato gazpacho recipe, I used cucumbers and red pepper for extra vegetables adding more taste and texture.  The traditional version of gazpacho also includes fresh bread. For this version, I used only what I had available in my kitchen. Feel free to add either bread or breadcrumbs for a heartier texture. Want some fun toppings to your gazpacho?  Try fresh avocado (as I did in this recipe), an additional olive oil drizzle, or even fresh basil. If you want to add more protein to make this a complete meal, add white beans, cheese, or even seafood on top! To learn more about the creative varieties of gazpacho, check out this article by Food & Wine.

 

heirloom tomato gazpacho
Colorful heirloom tomatoes gives gazpacho a unique twist!

 

Eat Your Vegetables!

You’ve been told to eat your vegetables numerous times when you were a child, and there’s a reason why! Eating more fruits and vegetables has been linked to potentially reduce the risks of chronic illnesses. Thanks to the abundance of nutrition, they fight inflammation, help maintain a healthier weight, and even lower blood pressure.

Tomatoes, the main ingredient in gazpacho, are filled with many nutrients! Vitamin C, lycopene, and potassium just to name a few. Lycopene, a pigment that gives fruits and vegetables their rich red color is part of the carotenoid family. This antioxidant, a free radical fighter, has been linked to reducing risks for heart disease and cancer. Lycopene is naturally fat soluble. Pairing a small amount of olive oil in this gazpacho makes it even more easily absorbed. Need another example? A creamy tomato soup for the winter season such as my Creamy Tomato Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk!

For more on the types of nutrients in fruits and vegetables, and their roles in our health visit the USDA’s Choose my Plate.

 

 

 

 

Easy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Easy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped (makes about 2 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup heirloom tomatoes, largely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and largely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, largely chopped with seeds removed
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot, peeled and largely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional topping: chopped avocado, basil leaves, hot sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large food processor or high powered blender, pulse tomatoes until pureed consistency.
  2. Add the remaining vegetables, shallot, garlic, and paprika. Pulse until blended thoroughly.
  3. Slowly pour in the vinegar and olive oil from the small opening of the processor or blender while blending to evenly distribute the oil. Turn off the food processor.
  4. Transfer to a soup bowl and top with optional toppings or serve as is.
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Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Naan Pizzas

Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Naan Pizzas

A quick and healthy pizza in under 30 minutes! Try these tasty BBQ jackfruit Naan pizzas for your next Meatless Monday! Jackfruit, a magical, mysterious, and mouth-watering fruit that fools even meat lovers! The delicious fruit is taking over the role of chicken and pork […]

Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

Good things come in small sizes! Enjoy these inidividual mini cheesecake bites, bursting with berries and rhubarb, for under 200 calories!   More than a Pie Filling! We may recognize rhubarb as the perfect pairing for strawberries in pies and jams. Its natural tartness balances […]

Sauteed Radishes with Pesto and Chives

Sauteed Radishes with Pesto and Chives

A simple side dish in under 20 minutes! Try my new recipe for Sautéed Radishes with Pesto and Chives for this spring and summer!

 

Radiant Radishes

 

You may have seen radishes in salads or as a beautiful flower garnish at restaurants. Or, maybe as the vegetable favorite in the t.v. show, Fraggle Rock (I am an 80’s baby). These pink and plump root vegetables are also delicious on their own as a side dish!

Rich in Vitamin C, folate, and fiber, they also add a peppery taste and crunchy texture!  This makes them a great addition to salads, pasta dishes, and even omelets! Better yet, try them on their own with your favorite herbs and spices! Check out The Kitchn for more delicious ideas and recipes using radishes!

 

sauteed radishes
These peppery radishes make a great addition to any dish!

 

 

 

Simple sautéed radishes

These sautéed radishes are lightly browned in butter and topped with pesto, chives, and feta cheese. Save those radish leaves! The leftover greens make an excellent pesto to coat these sautéed radishes.  With the leftover pesto, the options are endless. Toss it in your favorite pasta, salad dressing, or marinade to your favorite meats or vegetables.

 

 

sauteed radishes
Don’t toss those radish leaves! They make a great pesto!

 

 

If you are not a pesto fan, skip the pesto and keep it simple. These buttery radishes are just as tasty with chives and feta. For a vegan-preferred diet, substitute olive oil for the butter and replace the feta with a dairy alternative or nuts for a protein source.

 

 

sauteed radishes
sautéed radishes with only feta and chives. Still just as tasty!

 

 

 

Sauteed Radishes with Pesto and Chives

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Sauteed Radishes with Pesto and Chives

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of radishes, quartered, stemmed and leaves reserved if possible
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • One tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Pesto Ingredients:
  • 2 cups radish leaves or other greens, washed and stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, raw (or other nuts of your choice)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

Instructions

  1. Prior to cooking the radishes, place all of the pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Process until a smooth consistency is achieved. Make sure to slowly pour in the olive oil while blending to evenly emulsify. Set the pesto mixture aside.
  3. In a large pan, melt the butter on medium high heat. Add the radishes and onion, sautee for 5-7 minutes until radishes are lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss the radishes with 1/2 cup pesto mixture at a time until evenly coated. (You will likely have extra pesto).
  5. Evenly distribute the coated radishes to plates and top with the feta cheese and chives.

Notes

If you prefer radishes without the pesto, top them with your favorite cheese and/or fresh herbs!

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Basic Vegetable Frittata Muffins

Basic Vegetable Frittata Muffins

Try these protein-packed frittata muffins for your next brunch or meal prep for a busy week ahead in only 30 minutes!   Skipping breakfast due to a hectic work schedule? Or planning a summer brunch with friends? These vegetable frittata muffins are quick and guaranteed tasty!  […]


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