blue cheese & olive pasta salad

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

(I’m bringing back an old favorite today, for new and necessary pictures and fresh words.)

If I can be really honest with you all (my closest internet friends that is) I’ve been having a hard time being so far away from our family and friends. After a super fast, unexpected trip to Wisconsin, having some of our best friends in town and spending a quick weekend in Florida with Richie’s family, I was missing everyone.

EVERYONE! Even though I’m pretty laid back, I was dramatically asking why we live in California, why we moved away, why I can’t see everyone as much as I like and every other dramatic question I could think of. Apparently even I, have my moments more often than I’d like to admit. I was, in a word, homesick.

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

And this salad brings me a little closer to home. It’s one of my mom’s standard pasta salads and like I mentioned in the original post, she is the queen b. when it comes to pasta salads. Even the words “pasta salad” remind me of summers in Wisconsin, al fresco dinners (in the screened-in porch, because … mosquitos) consisting of chilled pasta salads and fresh produce.

Summers and a life when my hair turned a greenish hue from spending most of the day at the pool, biking home only for lunch. Summers and a life in Minneapolis that was packed with warm-weather rejoicing and grilling out with friends any time we could. Summers and a life in Los Angeles that’s different, but still so full and delightful.

Sometimes you just need to sulk a little bit…but homesick or not, I’ll never sulk about food and definitely not this pasta salad.

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

It’s the ideal side for your grilled main courses of the summer season. It’s got bites of chewy pasta, salty olives and blue cheese, sweet, green grapes and flavorful green onions. It’s really simple, but also complex when bites include a taste of every flavor.

The dressing is also simple: just some mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt & pepper.

Simple, delicious, satisfying. Food like this is what I love about cooking.

And family + friends are what I love about this life!

nutrition facts: 333 calories, 15 grams of fat, 39 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, 10 grams protein

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: entree salad side high protein sugar-free vegetarian cheese pasta spring summer

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 8 oz fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onion (about 4-5 onions)
  • 4 oz gorgonzola (or any blue cheese), crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced green grapes
  • 6 oz can of black olives, drained and sliced in half

Instructions

Prepare pasta as directed.

Set aside.

Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt & pepper until smooth.

Prep remaining ingredients: chop green onion, crumble blue cheese, slice grapes and olives.

Toss all ingredients together until combined.

Chill for a few hours before serving.

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quinoa & arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

I came home from Thailand with some serious inspiration to start making big ol’ pots of grains and beans.

And that is precisely what I did. In a jet-lagged haze I made lentils, black beans (which I wayyyyyy overcooked) and quinoa. At five in the morning. :)

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

Does anyone else have trouble cooking beans? I don’t know why I find it so complicated, but they never turn out right. Maybe I just need some more practice, but I think I’m going to try cooking them in the crock pot, I’ve heard good things with that method!

Anyway…whenever I make quinoa, I’m reminded that I don’t really love plain quinoa. I need to put it in something or at least dress it well. When I made this big ol’ pot of quinoa, I knew I wanted to put it into a salad. I was craving something bright, fresh and flavorful to eat for lunch this week. Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is all of those things.

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

I added lemon juice and zest to the vinaigrette to give it that light lemon flavor that I love in salads this time of year. I chose arugula instead of sautéed kale to keep it fresh.

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

I added chopped almonds for some extra staying power and a necessary crunch. (For even more staying power, I recommend topping it with some garbanzo beans, chopped hard boiled eggs or grilled chicken.)

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

This salad is all of the things I wanted it to be. It’s bright and light; nutritious and tasty. What more can you ask of a little seed and some greens?

Note: This salad is best made ahead of time to let the flavors deepen, and it’s great the next day.

nutrition facts: 350 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: entree salad side gluten-free high fiber high protein kosher vegan vegetarian spring summer

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

    For the Salad

    • 1 cup quinoa
    • 6-8 cups arugula
    • 1/2 cup almonds, roasted and chopped

    For the Vinaigrette

    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about one lemon)
    • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
    • 3 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp honey (vegans, use maple syrup!)
    • 3 Tbsp minced shallots (about one)
    • salt & pepper

    Instructions

    For the Salad

    Prepare quinoa as directed.

    Let cool.

    Toss quinoa, arugula, almonds and dressing until combined.

    For the Vinaigrette

    Whisk together all ingredients.

    Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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    5 plant-based (vegan) recipes

    With Earth Day right around the corner, I’m making a conscious effort to think about my impact on this amazing earth of ours. I grew up in a family who recycled religiously, reused sour cream containers (and sugar bags for lunch bags – which was SO embarrassing!) and even composted. So at a young age, it was instilled in me that leaving as little of footprint as possible was of the utmost importance.

    These days, I make the best effort I can to reuse, reduce and recycle. (And I’m proud that I’ve almost kicked my plastic water bottle habit!) But there is always room for improvement and that’s what is important to look at. In the coming months, my goal is to buy more local food – preferably straight from the source through a CSA membership or more frequent visits to the farmer’s market.

    So why the plant-based recipes? It seems that every spring, I’m drawn to more plant-based foods and less meat. The term ‘plant-based eating’ has been growing in popularity but the phrase is a bit confusing – and I think that’s the idea. The short explanation is that it’s a vegan diet (while some may consume a limited amount of animal products like eggs or dairy) and it seems to me that it’s a vegan diet without the vegan junk food and without the (sometimes polarizing) vegan label. It’s real, whole, unprocessed food – full of plants – and most of the time it’s beautiful. (Learn more about plant-based diets here.)

    But it’s not just about me. (Wait, what?!) A diet with more plants and less meat helps to reduce our ecological footprint (animal products require a lot of land, water and resources). As Mr. Pollan so wisely tells us, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” And also? It’s delicious. Here are 5 plant-based (ok, vegan!) recipes that are so tasty and gorgeous that even the most stubborn of carnivores won’t miss the meat.

     

    5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes

    5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

    1. This Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese has been on my list of recipes to make since…the first time I laid eyes on it. And while we typically think of mac and cheese falling into the junk food category, this cheese, made with cashews, is anything but. (image & recipe via Minimalist Baker)

    5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

    2. I know. I’m craving tofu now too. This Crispy Baked Salt & Pepper Tofu is much easier than it seems – simply toss and bake – and enjoy. (image & recipe via Heartbeet Kitchen)

    5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

    3. Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad is just that. This colorful salad is filled with fresh veggies and nutritious buckwheat noodles for a meal that screams spring to me. This post also gives some great insight on not giving yourself a vegan label and I pretty much love it.  (image & recipe via Eating for England)

    5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

    4.  These Not-So-Sloppy Tempeh Joes made such a satisfying lunch, I’ve got to make them again soon. Don’t be put-off by the steps and ingredients, it’s worth it! In fact, I’d recommend doubling the recipe. (image & recipe via Chickypea)

    5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

    5. No matter the label, almost all of us love dessert and I think that Banana Split Ice Cream Pie is the perfect way to end things. (Both a meal and this post.) I mean, bananas are roasted and then turned into banana ice cream which is laid into an almond flour crust and topped with coconut whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Come on! (image & recipe via The First Mess)

    What is your favorite plant-based recipe or meal?

    shrimp cocktail with green goddess dressing

    Green Goddess Dressing | A Nutritionist Eats

    If you could eat a meal (or have a drink) with anyone, who would it be? I usually pick Anthony Bourdain because, well, I’m slightly obsessed with him. But on the rare occasions that I catch Barefoot Contessa (Ina’s show on the food network), I always think,  I’d love to attend one of her cocktail parties. They’re a little uptight, yes. But there’s no denying that she knows how to throw a party.

    Now if I could attend one of her parties – with Anthony Bourdain – well then I’d be living out all of my food celebrity dreams.

    Green Goddess Dressing | A Nutritionist Eats

    But the title of this post isn’t “food celebrity dreams,” it’s shrimp cocktail with green goddess dressing and it happens to be inspired by Ina herself. What is green goddess dressing? It’s not the tahini-based “goddess dressing” versions by Annie’s or Trader Joe’s that I always try to like but never do.

    Traditionally, green goddess dressing  contains a  blend of mayonnaise, sour cream, chervil, chives, anchovy and tarragon. It dates way back and was made popular by a San Francisco hotel in the 1920′s which was actually inspired by “Sauce au Vert” (Green Sauce) served with Green Eel in France.

    Ina’s version is a blend of mayonnaise (a requirement for green goddess dressing), basil and the other usual suspects but the real surprise was serving it with shrimp! Brilliant! As someone who loves shrimp cocktail, I welcomed a change of dipping options, but purists may not and in that case use the dressing for veggies, salad or spread on crackers. (Richie is one of the purists I speak of and while he loved the green goddess dressing itself, he wasn’t a fan of dipping shrimp in it.)

    Green Goddess Dressing | A Nutritionist Eats

    And only because I feel like this needs to be addressed…If you’re scared of anchovy paste (but seriously, you shouldn’t be) you can omit it. (Sigh.) The dressing is still flavorful and delicious, but the flavors aren’t as deep so go buy a little tube of it to keep in the fridge for occasions like this. And caesar salad.

    Green Goddess Dressing | A Nutritionist Eats

    The only unfortunate thing about this shrimp cocktail with green goddess dressing? That it wasn’t served in the Hamptons. West Hollywood will have to do…

    nutrition facts: (for dressing only, 10 servings) 88 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber

    Green Goddess Dressing

    by Emily Dingmann

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

     

    Ingredients (about 2 cups)

    • 1/2 cup roughly chopped green onion
    • 1 1/2 cup roughly chopped basil
    • 1 cup roughly chopped parsley
    • 1/4 cup roughly chopped shallot
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
    • 2 tsp anchovy paste
    • 1 cup light mayonnaise
    • 1 cup 2% greek yogurt
    • salt & pepper

    Instructions

    *All herbs and onions are roughly chopped, then measured.

    Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender.

    Pulse until well combined and desired consistency.

    Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

    Serve with veggies, on a salad or with shrimp cocktail.

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