5 trader joe’s meals (5 ingredients or less!)

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Deep question of the day: where do you guys grocery shop?

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

I tend to shop based on proximity, but the store has to have the natural and organic selection of foods I’m looking for or it just won’t work. In my current neighborhood (West Hollywood!) there are quite a few options within walking distance. I tend to visit most of them (Whole Foods, Gelson’s and Bristol Farms) on a pretty regular basis to see what new foods are out there, but Trader Joe’s is, without a doubt, a weekly stop for me. I can find most of the things I need – and for a pretty reasonable price – but I’ve got to admit that I love the frozen and convenience foods that Trader Joe’s offers. (If you’re ever wondering how something is, just ask. I’ve probably tried it!)

Recently, my friend Lynn and her husband came up with this super-clever buzzfeed video featuring Trader Joe’s mashups:

I loved the video and the premise –  it’s absolutely what inspired this post!

I started brainstorming some of my favorite trader joe’s combinations that fit the following criteria:

  1. under five ingredients (all but one are made with three ingredients)
  2. fairly healthy (all of them come in under or around 500 calories)
  3. include a vegetable (because every meal should!)
  4. delicious (again, because every meal should be!)

Here are the 5 Trader Joe’s meals that I came up with:

Classic Southern Dinner:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Let’s start with an easy, classic meal: bbq chicken breast, mac & cheese and collard greens. Prepare the mac & cheese and bbq chicken as directed and lightly steam or saute the collard greens. *I really like their “reduced-guilt” mac & cheese, but have yet to try the gluten-free variety!

Palak Paneer Eggs:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Why have I not combined Indian food with eggs before? Ah-mazing. Top cooked palak paneer with a fried or poached egg and serve with hot naan. This will definitely become a regular in our meal rotation – perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tortilla Pizza:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats
Tortilla pizzas are one of my favorite meals and considering that I’ve eaten them on  regular basis for years, it was a no-brainer. When topped with sauce, arugula, cheese and turkey meatballs, this is a particularly filling pizza. Simply bake the tortilla until crisp, top with sauce, cheese, arugula and warmed meatballs and bake until cheese has melted. (Brown rice and sprouted tortillas are my favorite to use.)

Chimichurri Rice & Sausage:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Chimichurri rice is a somewhat new item and I’m so glad I finally put it in my cart – it’s delicious (so is the kimchee rice!).  When it’s combined with chicken sausage and a vegetable, you’ve got a balanced dinner that comes together in minutes. Slice and saute the sausage and rice as directed while you roast the broccoli in the oven.

Pasta with Mushrooms & Parmesan:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

This vegetarian meal is delicious and simple. And absolutely OUTSTANDING if you add a drizzle of truffle oil or sprinkling of truffle salt. Simply prepare the pasta and mushrooms as directed and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Use your favorite pasta variety.

Got any favorite quick meals to share? 

P.S. I’m really sorry if you don’t have access to Trader Joe’s! Come visit and I’ll take you on a tour. :)

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?

new product favorites (april)

JustMayo-RetailJar

hampton creek just mayo. I bought this because I thought it was real, homemade mayo. Turns out it is vegan mayo. I contemplated taking it back to Whole Foods because I’m not usually a huge fan of vegan mayo, but figured I’d give it a try. It was DELICIOUS. And sorry honey, I never told you it was vegan. I’m pretty much counting down the days until I can buy their chipotle version, I love the packaging, the flavor, the texture, blah, blah, blah! I’m obsessed!

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

wildbrine sauerkraut. I tried this a few years ago at Expo, and am so glad it’s in stores now. The Dill Pickle is by far my favorite and it is such a delicious way to get in some fermented foods in on a daily basis. (Side note: Has anyone made their own raw sauerkraut? I’m tempted!)

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

everlane frozen wheat grass shots. These come frozen (like an ice cube) and can easily be tossed into a juice or smoothie. I love that I can add a bit of concentrated wheat grass without the hassle of dealing with wheat grass. I don’t really care for the flavor of straight wheat grass, but these are really mild and per the website, this is because it is grown outside instead of indoors like most wheat grass. 

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

shell-n-all fried peanuts. I found a bag of these at World Market and after trying shell-on peanuts in Napa, I’ve been trying to find something similar. They are crunchy and delicious – and the nutrition stats are similar to regular roasted peanuts. Score! (7 Facts You Want to Know about Peanuts)

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

vega one vanilla. I’ve been loving Vega’s “all-in-one nutritional shake” which is full of protein, fiber, greens, enzymes, probiotics and a slew of vitamins and minerals. (Both the chai and vanilla are fantastic!) I keep things simple and love vanilla vega one + frozen strawberries + spinach + coconut/almond milk.

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

chipotle garlic sauce. We found this line of spicy sauces, rubs and snacks at a local LA event, and man the Chipotle Garlic Sauce is so good. I loooooove it on chicken drumsticks. (Even more so than buffalo sauce which was my favorite!) They also have some fun popcorns but beware, even my spice-loving brother couldn’t handle the ghost pepper candied popcorn! 

Have you recently tried a new food that you love and/or I NEED to try? 

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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