roasted asparagus & red pepper quinoa salad

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Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

I’m the person who always brings a salad to get-togethers. Whether they’re picnics or backyard grilling parties, you can always count on me to bring a salad. Annoying? Maybe, but amidst the dips and desserts, salads always seem like the perfect addition to any table.

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

A few weeks ago, I made no less than eight batches of quinoa salads. Ok, kind of an exaggeration, but after the second day of bringing bowls of quinoa salad to work, people started asking what was going on.

I asked for feedback between a black bean & quinoa salad and this one and instead of getting any opinions, all I got was requests for the recipes, $5 from someone who had forgotten their lunch that day and a major boost to my quinoa salad ego. Naturally, I’m thinking about setting up a little quinoa salad shop at work.

All this is to say that I’ll probably share the black bean version sometime in the near future!

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

But we’re talking about the roasted asparagus & red pepper quinoa salad today. I love this salad! It’s vegan (but you don’t have to tell), it’s gluten-free (but no one has to know) and it’s got 12 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per serving, thanks to the beans + quinoa! (You can share this fact.)

It’s healthy, but so delicious and flavorful. It’s colorful and light; but the hefty servings are unquestionably satisfying. Serve it on top of some greens if you like or top with some grilled chicken or tempeh for an extra boost of protein.

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

Lunch. Is. Served.

nutrition facts: 409 calories, 20 grams of fat, 46 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 12 grams protein

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: roast entree salad side gluten-free high fiber high protein vegan vegetarian beans quinoa

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus 1 Tbsp
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red pepper
  • 2-15 oz cans garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 cup chopped parsley

Instructions

Roast asparagus: preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove tough bottoms of asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces. (You should have about 2 cups.)

Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and cook for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Prepare quinoa: Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer.

Add quinoa and 2 cups water to small pan.

Stir, season with salt and bring to a boil.

Lower heat, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

Prepare vinaigrette: while quinoa is cooking, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, dijon, mustard, shallot and salt & pepper.

Remove quinoa from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and toss with vinaigrette.

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans.

When quinoa is cool, toss with remaining ingredients. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

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lemon feta dip

Lemon Feta Dip | A Nutritionist Eats

If we have met in real life, there is about a 95% chance that we’ve eaten cheese together.

If we have never met in real life, there is about a 95% chance that if we were to meet, we would eat cheese together.

Why? Because it’s kind of my thing. Friends know that if they come over, they can always count on a good cheese plate.

Family knows that at a get-together, you can find me at the cheese plate.

Lemon Feta Dip | A Nutritionist Eats

I think it’s in my blood. I was born and raised in Wisconsin, fondly known as America’s Dairyland, and I grew up drinking milk, eating yogurt and snacking on cheese and crackers on a daily basis. Oh, and playing on dairy farms. Just like my mom, it would be a bad day if my fridge had less than three varieties of cheese at any given time. (And parmesan doesn’t count, that is a staple food, not an “eating” cheese.)

It’s why there is no shortage of cheese talk on this site. And I promise that I’ll never go dairy-free on you. You can count on that. (I do love some almond or coconut milk, but when it comes to half & half, yogurt and cheese, it’s real dairy all the way.)

Lemon Feta Dip | A Nutritionist Eats

This lemon feta dip is a variation on one of my favorites, Roasted Red Pepper Feta Dip. It’s made in a similar way, but with a totally different flavor profile. While the roasted red peppers mellow out the feta in the Roasted Red Pepper Feta Dip, the lemon brings out the pungent feta flavor in this version. It’s quite tasty.

In addition to the flavorsome feta and lemon, garlic and red pepper flakes give the dip a nice bite. The chives are totally optional, but give it nice color and fresh flavor, so I recommend them.

Serve this Lemon Feta Dip with pita chips and some kalamata olives or add it to your favorite sandwich.

Lemon Feta Dip

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: blender appetizer sandwich snack gluten-free vegetarian cheese Greek spring summer fall

Ingredients (about 2 cups)

  • 8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 8 oz block of feta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • garnish: minced chives, red pepper flakes, olive oil

Instructions

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over low heat in a small pan. Add minced garlic and heat until garlic starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. (Careful not to burn the garlic!)

Remove from heat and add red pepper flakes to oil.

In a processor, pulse together cream cheese and feta cheese.

Add the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, juice and zest from lemon and garlic oil to processor and pulse again until combined.

Spread onto a plate or bowl and top with garnishes if desired.

Serve with pita crackers and kalamata olives.

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classic açaí bowl

Classic Açaí Bowl | A Nutritionist Eats

If you have no idea what an açaí bowl is…know that you are not alone.

I probably wouldn’t know either except that I worked in the natural food industry for five years (meaning you see everything out there!)…and now I live in Southern California, where Açaí Bowls are available at every juice bar. And said juice bars are on every corner. If you live in Southern California and you don’t know what an açaí bowl is, then you might be alone. (Not really though because plenty of people in my office didn’t know what it was when I was eating it.)

Classic Açaí Bowl | A Nutritionist Eats

We can start at the beginning.

What is Açaí?

Açaí is a superfood berry from the Amazon and açaí bowls are essentially an açaí smoothie topped with fresh fruit and some granola. Traditionally, the bowls are simple with sliced banana, granola and some guaraná syrup for some sweetness.

Classic Açaí Bowl | A Nutritionist Eats

 

Açaí has very little naturally occurring sugar – each serving of 100 grams of puréed açaí contains 0-2 grams of sugar. For comparison, 100 grams of bananas contain about 12 grams of sugar.

 

 

Classic Açaí Bowl | A Nutritionist Eats

Health Benefits of Açaí:

When açaí came onto the health food scene years ago, it was touted as a superfood. The term superfood doesn’t actually have a legal definition and is used more for marketing, but in my opinion ‘superfood’ means that a food has high levels of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, healthy fats, etc. (Old School Superfoods you have at home!)

Classic Açaí Bowl | A Nutritionist Eats

 

Açaí is rich in antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats. Pretty impressive for a little berry, so I definitely consider it a superfood.

 

 

 

Classic Açaí Bowl | A Nutritionist Eats

How to Make an Açaí Bowl:

While the possibilities are endless, I wanted to stick with the classics. (With that said, I can’t wait to try some of the fun additions featured in this great graphic from Sambazon: Anatomy of an Açaí Bowl)

Açaí bowls are really easy to make, they just require a trip to the natural food store to pick up some puréed açaí (found in the freezer) and a blender! The toppings are up to you. Since it is naturally really low in sugars, you might need to add a little honey or agave, or maybe the toppings will add enough. You can always try it without and then drizzle with honey if you need it.

nutrition facts*: 337 calories, 11 grams of fat, 6 grams protein, 57 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber (*calculated using unsweetened almond milk)

Classic Açaí Bowl

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: blender breakfast beverage gluten-free high fiber vegan vegetarian spring summer

Ingredients (2 servings)

    Açaí Bowl

    • 7 oz frozen açaí
    • 1 cup milk of choice
    • 1 banana
    • 1 Tbsp honey (optional)

    Toppings

    • sliced banana
    • berries
    • granola

    Instructions

    Blend together açaí, milk, banana and honey.

    Pour into bowls and top with desired toppings.

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    cinco de mayo inspiration

    When we were in Thailand (I know, I need to fill you in!) we fell into a consistent schedule of breakfast–>beach–>lunch–>pool–>snack–>sunset-at-beach bar–>shower–>dinner. Notice a theme there? Lots of food. It was totally my kind of vacation. And while I absolutely loved the fresh shrimp salads I ate on a daily basis (usually during the snack portion of the day) I was really craving/wanting avocados. Precisely chips and guacamole.

    I was hardly in a place to complain, so I didn’t. (Ok, maybe like once.)

    But when we came back to LA, I was allllll about the Mexican food. And avocados of course, but that’s standard. I’ve been researching chilaquiles, I’ve been researching burritos and I’ve been craving the old-school tortillas + refried beans + cheese that my old roommate and I used to eat all the time. Note: “researching” in my world means I’ve been eating a lot of the aforementioned foods and you’ll probably hear about them soon. 

    So naturally, the combination of cinco de mayo recipes everywhere + my current food focus means I’ve been drooling over pretty much everything on the internet right now. I wanted to share some of my favorites – both light and… not-so-light.

    Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

    Sip: Any good cinco de mayo celebration includes margaritas and I love this one because it’s made with all fresh ingredients. It’s been deemed the “best margarita you’ll ever have” and bonus – it’s less than 200 calories per drink. ¡Salud! Recipe and image via Cookie & Kate.

    Guacamole Bar | A Nutritionist Eats

    Spread: Guacamole bar. This is a really old post (sorry!) of mine, but a really fun – and delicious – idea that allows everyone to personalize their own guacamole. And…bacon!

    molettes3final-1024x742

    Simple: Mollettes are SO simple, but satisfying and delicious nonetheless. Especially perfect if you’re feeding a crowd or picky people.

    Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

    Sea: Fish tacos are kind of mandatory in my book and these Spicy Fish Taco Bowls fit the criteria perfectly. (And I can pretty much guarantee this version will be much easier to eat.) Image and recipe via Pinch of Yum.

    Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

    Splurge: Tijuana Fries don’t really need much of an explanation. Ok, I’ll give you the short version: chipotle carnitas + salsa + queso +avocado topped fries. It’s a lengthy recipe (everything is made from scratch) but I can bet that the results are worth the effort. (And the GIF is amazing!) Recipe and image via Half Baked Harvest.

    Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

    Sweet: Finish off your celebration with light and flavorful Mango-Lime Ice. Churros are no doubt delicious, but this will hit the spot. Recipe and image via Epicurious.

    Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

    Soooooo cute: these diy mini cactus piñatas make me want to have a party and do crafts. And I’m not even a crafty person. Image via Oh Happy Day

    Are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year? I want to live vicariously through you…