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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Carrot Cake Re-Mix with Greek Yogurt Frosting

Want to cut 500 calories per serving and lots of sugar from classic carrot cake? Give our healthy Carrot Cake Re-Mix a try. It’s made with wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour, walnuts, carrots (of course!), and canned pumpkin with a vanilla Greek (or Skyr) yogurt frosting versus the usual sugar/cream cheese combo. And the portion is reasonable, so it’s satisfying but doesn’t leave you feeling ridiculously stuffed.

This is one of our most extreme makeovers ever!

Carrot Cake Re-Mix with Greek Yogurt Frosting via #healthy #dessert

We love nothing more than the challenge of taking a buttery, sugary, all-white-flour dessert and “fixing” it with slimmed down, flavor-filled, and nutrient-rich ingredients. That’s exactly what we just did with a classic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting recipe sent to us by podcast fan (and now, friend!), Patty F., a mom of two.

Carrot Cake Re-Mix with Greek Yogurt Frosting via #healthy #dessert

Patty got the recipe from a friend and had a few ideas for how she could give it a makeover starting with swapping half the white flour for whole wheat. We hit the ground running, and after two tries and lots of healthy carrot cake later, came up with the following makeover strategy:

For the Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour => 1 cup AP flour + 1 cup whole wheat flour
Regular eggs => Omega-3 eggs
2 cups sugar => 1 cup sugar
1½ cups oil => 1/2 cup oil + 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
Add ins => Ground flaxseed + walnuts

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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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25 Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet {Podcast #287}

Struggling with picky eaters? Looking for new ways to add variety, more nutrition, and kid-friendly flavors to every-day meals? Stuck in a snack rut? Curious how much added sugar is lurking in your family’s favorite foods? Wondering out how much fiber your family needs for optimal health?

25 ways to improve your family's diet via #picky #kids #nutrition

On this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, we share highlights from our 5-part blog series on 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet TODAY. We gathered all 25 of our doable, practical, and realistic strategies below and dish about them on the podcast. There’s something for everyone here, and we hope our tips get you closer to boosting the nutritonal GPA of your family’s diet.


Click the PLAY button above to tune in!

This week’s podcast is sponsored by Chobani Kids® Greek Yogurt Pouches and Tubes. We were compensated for our work, and as always all opinions are our own.

How to market good nutrition to kids via #nutrition


1. Make healthy foods highly accessible and attractive: Kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they’re cut into fun shapes and presented in playful ways. From fresh berries used as a “decoration” for a smoothie bowl topping to a Halloween Skeleton made with vegetables, a dash of creativity can really spark a child’s interest. And if you serve fruits and veggies at the start of the meal when kids are hungry, they’ll be more willing to take a few bites too.

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet Today! – Part 5: Add 5 Extra Grams of Fiber to Your Diet Every Day

Do you and your kids consume the recommended 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day (19 grams for children 1 to 3 years old)? Fiber is good for digestion, lowers blood cholesterol, keeps blood sugar in check, plays a role in maintaining a healthy body weight, and is the “food” of choice for the trillions of beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. Despite all the positive health benefits of fiber, on average, most people consume just 15 grams a day.

5 Ways to Add 5 Extra Grams of Fiber to Your Diet via #fiber

We’re all about baby steps, so if your diet falls short on fiber, boost your intake by adding just 5 extra grams a day.

In Part #5 of our 5-part series on Easy Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet, we have 5 surprisingly easy ways to eat those 5 extra grams.

PART: Add 5 Extra Grams of Fiber to Your Diet

5 Ways to Add 5 Extra Grams of Fiber to Your Diet via #fiber

Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce

Black Beans: Your gut is home to more than 100 trillion bacteria, and they thrive on a fiber-rich diet. So turn to beans for an excellent source. Incorporating just a third of a cup of black beans (or any bean variety for that matter!) into your meals and snacks brings you 5 grams closer to meeting your daily fiber goals. Toss beans into your family’s favorite soup, use as a filling in our black bean enchiladas, add to an omelet, or incorporate into a favorite salad.

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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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Arugula, Farro and Pistachio Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Add a healthy, flavorful spin to homemade vinaigrette with convenient frozen raspberries, and then toss the dressing into this nutrient-packed salad made with arugula, pistachios, farro, goat cheese, chickpeas, avocado, carrots… and raspberries! 

Arugula, Farro and Pistachio Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette via #salad #RedRazz

In case you don’t have a ‘favorite’ go-to salad, we’re here to fill your salad void with a new recipe made with greens, grains, and a dressing featuring frozen red raspberries. It’s as flavorful as it is gorgeous! {We created this recipe in partnership with the National Processed Raspberry Council. We were compensated for our work, and all ideas are our own.}

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Gluten-Free Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar {Podcast #284}

This gluten-free, salad-to-go is filled with fiber, flavor, and heart-healthy omega-3 fat, and whether you’re a busy mom or a school-age kid, we’re pretty sure you’ll look forward to eating it for lunch! 

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

Our new recipe and this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast is sponsored by the California Walnut Commission.

Did you know that walnuts are the only nut—and one of the few foods—significantly high in omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid? One ounce (about a handful) has 2.5 grams of ALA, which is more than the recommended daily amount of 1.6 grams for men and 1.1 grams for women.

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

A few months ago, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released. The new recommendations from the USDA encourage all of us to reduce saturated fat intake and shift to foods high in the healthy polyunsaturated fats. Choosing plant-based foods like walnuts is a great way to help you meet that goal.

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

Walnuts are versatile. We love to grab a handful for a snack, add them to breakfast favorites like fruit & yogurt parfaits and overnight oats, and incorporate them into pancakes, cookies and quick breads. They also provide an easy way to add more plant-based protein to things like salads and pasta dinners.

Tune in to this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast by clicking on the PLAY button above for our easy Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar as well as two other recipes your family will love: Grab-and-Go Granola Bars and Rosemary and Sea Salt Walnuts.

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

This recipe is super easy. Start with two wide mouth, pint-size Mason jars, and fill each with light Italian salad dressing, quinoa, and white beans (AKA cannellini beans). Mix together and then keep building …

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

… with diced red bell peppers, feta cheese (that’s optional), and quartered kalamata olives …

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

… and then add the final touches with fresh basil and toasted, chopped walnuts. Yes please!

Each serving has over a day’s worth of good-for-you ALA omega-3 fat, 11 grams of filling fiber, and 14 grams of protein.

4.5 from 8 reviews
Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar
This gluten-free salad is seriously yummy, and it's super flexible. You can use any bean of your liking or add any veggie you love. Hmmm: Roasted beets sound good right now! And for even more flavor, go ahead and add some lemon zest to the quinoa/bean mixture or just before serving.
Recipe type: Lunch or Dinner
Serves: 2
  • 2 tablespoons light Italian salad dressing
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • ½ cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper (cut into ½-inch dice)
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
  • 12 pitted kalamata olives, quartered (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ to ½ cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • 2 ounces lightly toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
  1. Divide the salad dressing evenly between two wide mouth, pint-size Mason jars and top each evenly with the quinoa and white beans. Use a fork to stir the ingredients together until the quinoa and beans are well coated with the dressing.
  2. Continue layering each with the bell peppers, feta cheese as desired, olives, basil leaves, and the walnuts.
  3. Secure the lid and refrigerate. To serve, shake until the ingredients are combined, and then pour into individual bowls, or eat directly from the jar with a spoon or fork.
One salad has 25% vitamin A, 80% vitamin C, 20% iron, 10% calcium, and 2.7 grams ALA.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1 jar) Calories: 460, Fat: 29g, Saturated fat: 3g, Carbohydrates: 40g, Sodium: 590mg, Fiber: 11g, Protein: 14g


Walnut Giveaway

Thanks to our friends with California Walnuts, look what we’re Giving Away:

– Walnut tote bag, which folds into a walnut shell
– Walnut spatula
– Walnut apron
– Walnut Pear Chardonnay Handmade Soap made with walnut shells
– 1 Mason jar filled with walnuts
– One-ounce walnut sample packs
– Recipe cards

TO ENTER add a comment right here on this blog post and tell us about your favorite way to incorporate walnuts into your family’s diet. Or simply tell us why you’d like to win the giveaway! (U.S. and Canada only please)

We will enter you into the giveaway additional times if you …

> Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.

> Share the giveaway news with your Facebook fans and friends with a link back to the post.

> Follow us on Pinterest.

> Follow The Meal Makeover Moms on Facebook and Twitter (@MealMakeovrMoms).

Giveaway ends at noon on April 7th, so hurry up and enter! – Giveaway is CLOSED.

Ever wonder how walnuts are harvested? Check out this fun video!

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