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.

Powered by Recipage

 

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.

Powered by Recipage

review: blue apron

Ohhhhh, Blue Apron. You make dinners so fun!

Blue Apron Review | A Nutritionist Eats

What is Blue Apron?
Blue Apron delivers all the ingredients you need for three chef-inspired meals to cook at home. (Enough for two people.) So they plan the menu, they send you the ingredients and you cook some really delicious meals at home.

How does it work?
Each week (that you don’t opt out of) you are sent a box of three meals (for two people, though I’ve heard there is enough for small kids too) and recipe cards to go along with all of the ingredients. They literally send every single ingredient you need (with the exception of olive oil, salt and pepper). Have no fear, it’s all kept cool in an insulated box with freezer packs so even meat and fish are kept cold.

Pros | Blue Apron:

  • You can opt in or out of poultry, pork, beef, lamb, fish and shellfish.
  • You can also opt in or out of weeks as you like. There is no commitment.
  • It comes in a cooler box that keeps things at a safe temperature. My first box arrived when it was over 90 degrees in LA and I was a little worried about the salmon, but it was cold enough and the freezer packs were still frozen solid.
  • Every meal has a fresh vegetable component, which I love.
  • Ingredients are all ‘mise en place’ meaning everything you need is either ready to go or needs only a small amount of chopping or prep.
  • No waste: because you are receiving the exact amount of ingredient needed, there is nothing extra that can go bad in the crisper drawer.
  • It brought us out of our dinner comfort zones and was so fun to just spend time cooking in the kitchen.
  • I wouldn’t ordinarily buy numerous fresh herbs for one meal, but they make such a huge difference!
  • Oh, and everything was absolutely delicious.

Cons | Blue Apron:

  • Lots of packaging. I know there really isn’t away around it, but I cringed at the amount of packaging that was used. I was able to save a lot of the baggies and I’ll reuse them, but I still felt a little guilty.
  • The meals take some time. These are not 15 minute meals. We tried to embrace the multiple steps and pans by cooking together and making it an event, not just a chore. (Which worked pretty well!)
  • Price: $9.99/person/meal seems like a lot, but it actually helps us not eat out as much so in actuality it might save us money? We’ll see.
  • I would love to see the exact nutrition facts. Or at least something a little more specific. They give estimates, but they seem a little on the low side to me.

Would I like it?
If you are someone who is new to the kitchen or needs some new cooking inspiration, I think you would love it! It’s also a great way to have date nights at home – you and your love can cook together!

What did we eat?
The first week, I opted for only vegetarian + fish meals only and loved them, but felt like it was a better use of money to opt into the meat options as well so in our second week we had a chicken, salmon and a vegetarian meal.

Sample Meals:
These are the meals we received our first week.

Pizza Panini with Green Lettuce Salad:

Blue Apron Review | A Nutritionist Eats

This vegetarian meal was so cheesy, comforting and filling! It’s definitely not something I would normally make (Richie says that I never buy bread…) so it felt like a treat. The fresh oregano added so much pizza flavor and though our paninis were a little soggy, they were still delicious!

Coconut Curry Salmon Steaks with Celery & Bok Choy over Barley:

Blue Apron Review | A Nutritionist Eats

I was a little nervous about this meal…only because we had recently returned from Thailand, and I just figured it wouldn’t compare. I was wrong. Was it the best curry I’ve ever had? No. But it was so good. The salmon was crispy, the sauce flavorful and the barley chewy, it was a fun departure from rice.

Braised Heirloom Carrots & Crispy Goat Cheese:

Blue Apron Review | A Nutritionist Eats

I’m sorry that this is the worst picture (late dinner) …because it was one of our favorite meals! Every component was better than the last, it’s definitely something I want to make again.

This week was another Blue Apron week (yay!) and we had Salmon Rolls with Baby Beet and Pea Shoot Salad, Chicken Supremes with Sautéed Ramps, Sugar Snap Peas and Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Fried Green Tomatoes with Cajun Rémoulade Sauce and Boston Red Leaf Salad on the menu. So far, the salmon rolls left us both saying, “So good!” no less than seven times throughout dinner.

Want to try Blue Apron?

Sign up here for two free meals!

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.

    Powered by Recipage