Crunchy, Juicy Apple, Edamame and Chickpea Salad – An Easy Side Dish to Balance Your Plate

I created this recipe and post in partnership with Nestlé’s Balance Your Plate program. I was compensated for my work, and all opinions are solely my own.

This sweet and savory side salad comes together quickly even on busy school nights by combining canned chickpeas wi Read more

Spiralized Summer Squash and Pistachio Salad {The RecipeRedux – Podcast Episode #290}

Summer squash is abundant this time of year at farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and in CSA baskets, and it’s the star ingredient in this recipe for Spiralized Summer Squash and Pistachio Salad. It’s easy to make and filled with flavor thanks to a lemony dressing with basil and mint.

Spiral Summer Squash and Pistachio Salad via


True confession: I do not like summer squash. I find it bland, watery, and, as my daughter would say, “meh!” However, I LOVE this salad. And I am not alone. I had two friends over for dinner the day I made this and they told me they also do not like summer squash. But, all they could do during dinner was go on and on about how much they loved this salad! The crunch and fresh flavors, not to mention the spaghetti-like shape, makes it fun for kids (even picky kids and adults) of all ages.

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Garlic Scape Pesto with Scapes From My CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

Until I was a member of a CSA (community supported agriculture) a decade ago I had never heard of a garlic scape.  I’ve received scapes in my Farm Direct Coop CSA share several times and have always wanted to make garlic scape pesto. 

Garlic Scape Pesto via

I love walnuts so decided to use them in my pesto along with the usual olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and basil found in traditional pesto.

Garlic Scape Pesto via

Garlic scapes are the flowering stems or stalks of garlic shoots that poke out of the ground as garlic grows. They’re harvested before the garlic is fully grown, and this allows the garlic bulb to fully mature. They taste like garlic, but with a milder flavor.

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Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad {Recipe Redux} – Inspired by Teaspoon of Spice Blog

Classic panzanella salad is made with tomatoes and chunks of stale (or toasted) bread. Other components include onion and fresh basil. I gave this  tasty Tuscan salad a new and even more nutritious fix by adding some extras including mozzarella cheese, paper-thin slices of English cucumber and radishes, juicy diced watermelon, and mint. I left the onions out since my kids don’t love ’em!

Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad via #salad #watermelon

Every month, we join other like-minded healthy food bloggers for The Recipe Redux cooking challenge. This month, we’re all celebrating ReDux’s 5th birthday by celebrating each other. For the challenge, were were asked to pick a fellow ReDuxer by going to their blog and either making one of their recipes or creating a recipe inspired by theirs.

Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad via

I chose a recipe for Portable Cherry Caprese Panzanella Salad, created by Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD. Deanna is a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian, food blogger, and co-founder of The Recipe Redux. She blogs with her dietitian partner, Serena Ball over at Teaspoon of Spice where you’ll find fast, healthy, family-pleasing recipes — the kind of food I like to make too. I discovered Deanna’s Portable Cherry Caprese Panzanella Salad when she featured it on one of her Facebook LIVE broadcasts. (If you haven’t seen any of Deanna’s Facebook LIVE broadcasts yet or her Healthy Kitchen Hacks, be sure to check them out.) I loved the panzanella-with-fruit idea so much that I decided to give classic panzanella salad my own unique spin by adding watermelon, cucumber, radishes, mint, and mozzarella. I’ve made this recipe two times in the past week, fed it to family and my interns (we have three nutrition students working with us right now!), and I plan to make it over the July 4th weekend as well.

Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad via #salad #watermelon

This salad says summer to me. It’s juicy, crunchy, creamy, sweet, light, and refreshing. I served it as a main dish, but this salad could easily do double duty as a side dish.

For me, the watermelon and mint really make this salad special. You could also add blackberries or raspberries. Red onion or thin slices of green onions would also work really well in the mix.

Thanks for the inspiration Deanna!

Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad
I don't like to heat up my kitchen in the summer, which is why I turn to salads like this one. Plus, salads can be super nutritious. For my panzanella salad makeover, I use whole wheat bread versus white, add fresh mozzarella cheese for satisfying protein, and load up on the produce by going above and beyond the tomatoes, which you'd expect in a panzanella salad: English cucumber, radishes, watermelon, and mint.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 (Yield = 6½ cups)
  • 3 slices whole grain bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 radishes, cut into thin rounds or half moons (3/4 cup)
  • ½ of an English cucumber, cut into thin half moons (1-1/3 cups)
  • ¾ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1½ cups cubed watermelon, (about ½-inch cubes)
  • 12 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 12 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
  2. Place the bread cubes in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and stir until the bread is evenly coated with the oil. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted and crispy. Stir every 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. Place the cooled bread cubes on a large platter or in a large bowl. Add the cheese, radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, watermelon, mint, and basil and stir gently to combine. Drizzle with the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil and the balsamic vinegar to taste. Stir gently to combine. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.

Check out all the other Recipe Redux creations this month!

Freekeh Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and California Avocado – A Pulse Pairing Recipe!

– 2016 is the International Year of Pulses and what better way to celebrate than with a pulse-pairing recipe featuring nutrient dense California Avocados, lentils, and chickpeas. This recipe is vegetarian and perfect as a main dish or side salad. 

Freekeh Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and California Avocado via #vegetarian #vegan

Lentils, chickpeas, dry beans, and dry peas are pulses. They are high in protein and fiber, inexpensive, and they contain important nutrients like iron, potassium and folate. The United Nations declared 2016 the “International Year of Pulses” (IYP) to raise awareness about the health, nutrition and sustainability of this humble plant-based food group and to celebrate the role of beans, chickpeas, lentils and other pulses in feeding the world.

Avocados pair perfectly with pulses, because together, they provide a mouth-watering symphony of flavors, textures, and nutrients. In this vegetarian recipe for Freekeh Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and California Avocado, the hearty, earthy pulses compliment the creamy, indulgent flavor of the avocados. Together in this scrumptious salad, they provide an impressive 9 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, and 20% iron per serving.

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A Roundup of 18 Grilled Fruit and Vegetable Recipes – Part 1: Grill Something Unexpected

Looking for new ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your family’s diet? Grill them! Grilling brings out the natural sweetness of vegetables and makes fruit even sweeter.

My roundup of 18 grilled produce recipes below and my family-pleasing Grilled Broccoli with Garlic highlight why grilling fruits and veggies is easy and unexpected. And if you want even more grilling inspiration, be sure to check out part 2 in our series and podcast, featuring our Asian Grilled Turkey Tenderloin with Pineapple.

produce on the grill via

When most people think of grilling, burgers and chicken may come to mind, but vegetables and fruits can be cooked on the grill just as easily and with amazing results.

Grilled Broccoli with Garlic via


My new recipe for Grilled Broccoli with Garlic (courtesy of my sister, Diane) is a winner because it’s easy, delicious, and nutritious. Scroll down for the recipe.

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Lemony Asparagus and Peas + A Dinner Hack for Surviving Spring Sports

Balance your favorite frozen entrée with this side dish of Lemony Asparagus and Peas for a simple spring meal you can serve on the busiest nights of the week!

Lemony Asparagus with Peas via #vegetables #BalanceYourPlate

I created this recipe and post in partnership with Nestlé’s Balance Your Plate. I was compensated for my work, and all opinions are solely my own. 


America’s favorite pastime is in full swing, which means your kids are probably playing Little League games under the lights and rushing to team practices that last well past dusk. It’s a magical time for kids, but all that running around and coming home late can interfere in a big way with America’s other favorite pastime: DINNER.

Family Dinner via #vegetables #BalanceYourPlate

What’s a frazzled parent to do? Well, having ‘been there, done that’ with Josh and Simon for more spring times than I can remember, I’ve cooked up a winning strategy for getting fast, convenient, and nutritious meals on your family’s dinner table, even when you walk in the door well past the dinner hour. The secret to fueling your family, especially your pint-size athletes, is to ‘balance your plate.’

Balance Your Plate via #BYP

 Balance Your Plate is an educational program that helps consumers with simple meal planning by pairing frozen meals and pizzas with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. The recipes and tips on their site (like my Lemony Asparagus and Peas!) are designed to help everyone meet the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
{For more information and resources from Balance Your Plate, visit}

 Lemony Asparagus with Peas via #vegetables #BalanceYourPlate

For my spring-time sports dinner hack, I cooked up a Balanced Plate using Grandma’s Chicken & Vegetable Rice Bake (Stouffer’s Family-Size meal), my Lemony Asparagus and Peas, fresh berries, and low-fat milk. 

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Orange Rosemary Quinoa with Beans and Pecans — A Meatless Meal for the New Year

If you’ve resolved to eat more meatless meals in the New Year, try this easy-to-prepare quinoa bowl flavored with rosemary and orange zest and filled with dried fruit and protein-powered beans and nuts. 

Orange Rosemary Quinoa with Beans and Pecans via #quinoa #vegan #glutenfree #vegetarian

I’m susceptible to food obsessions. This year alone, I’ve obsessed over overnight oats, smoothie bowlsspaghetti squash, cauliflower hacks, and just about anything from the kitchens of Chef Yotam Ottolenghi. As for quinoa, it’s been an ongoing obsession, and now that Trader Joe’s sells frozen quinoa that’s ready to eat in less than four minutes, I’m mega obsessed right now.

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Healthy Homemade Applesauce with Ginger and Raspberries + Lazy Latkes for Hanukkah

Celebrate Hanukkah with latkes, and top them with this naturally sweet, healthy homemade applesauce made with fresh ginger and raspberries.

Apple, Ginger Raspberry Sauce via #applesauce #healthy #hanukkah

One cup of frozen raspberries has a whopping 9 grams of fiber, and one medium apple (with the skin) has about 4.5 grams. So much good nutrition in just a few small bites!

Apple, Ginger Raspberry Sauce via #applesauce #healthy #hanukkah

The traditional toppings for latkes in my house are plain Greek yogurt (we prefer it to sour cream) and applesauce — preferably homemade.

Apple, Ginger Raspberry Sauce via #applesauce #healthy #hanukkah

But for this applesauce recipe, I decided to add a less-than-traditional twist by cooking the apples with fresh ginger, honey, and fiber-rich frozen raspberries.

Apple, Ginger Raspberry Sauce via #applesauce #healthy #hanukkah

I love recipes with simple ingredients, easy directions, and flexibility. When the applesauce is cooked, you can blend it up for a smooth sauce or mash with a fork or potato masher for a chunkier option.

Apple, Ginger Raspberry Sauce
Whether it's Hanukkah or any other time of the year, this simple applesauce can be served with latkes or as a side dish for roasted chicken or even a burger! Applesauce is kid friendly, and it's has always been one of the easiest ways to get more fruit into my family's diet.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 3 medium-size apples, cut into ½-inch pieces (4 to 5 cups)
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh chopped ginger
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  1. Place the apples, raspberries, water, honey, ginger, and salt in a medium pot and stir to combine. Place over medium-high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook at a low boil, covered, until the apples are very tender, about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Let cool about 20 minutes.
  2. Place the cooked fruit in a blender and blend until smooth and the peels are incorporated. (If you don’t have a blender and plan to mash the fruit with a fork or potato masher, you may want to slice off the peels first before cooking for a nice, smooth texture.)

I make latkes once a year at Hanukkah. To be honest, they’re not my favorite thing to make, but they are one of my favorites things to eat. Latkes are time consuming (and messy!), so this year, I found the ultimate Hanukkah hack that I simply couldn’t resist. (Thank you, Suzanne.)

Apple, Ginger and Raspberry Sauce

Even though I cooked up these Baby Cakes instead of shredding potatoes and turning them into luscious latkes, I did overachieve with the applesauce! Yes, I’m feeling a little bit of Jewish guilt over the latke hack, but I think the applesauce more than makes up for it 🙂

Another hack that caught my eye this Hanukkah season is a recipe for Tater Tot Latkes, which I saw over at Mashable.

What’s your favorite way to make applesauce? Do you have a Hanukkah hack you want to share?

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