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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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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    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 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. :)