Category: Recipes

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 people
 
Ingredients:
1 Mason jar
¼ cup lemon juice 
¾ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon of pepper 
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
2 cans of low-sodium garbanzo beans
15 cherry tomatoes (equivalent to 1 cup halved)
1 cup of peeled and chopped cucumber (skin can be left on if desired)
1/2 cup chopped or sliced red onion
1/2 package of mint leaves (chiffonade; equivalent to about 1/3 cup)
1 cup of cubed feta cheese (use low moisture, part skim if available)

Preparation:

  1. In a mason jar, combine ¾ cup olive oil with ¼ cup lemon juice. Add 2 garlic cloves, ¼ tsp pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Shake everything together and store it in the refrigerator until use.
  2. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans under running water in a colander. Ensure there is no excess water and then place them in a bowl.
  3. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl.
  4. Peel and chop the cucumber and slice the red onion. Add both to the bowl.
  5. Chiffonade the mint leaves by stacking them on top of one another, rolling them up, then making small cuts with a knife. Add it to the bowl.
  6. Cut the feta cheese into large chunks and add it to the bowl.
  7. Add 1/3 cup of dressing and mix all of the ingredients together until evenly distributed.

Nutritional Benefits

  • This recipe contains ingredients from three different food groups (protein, vegetables, and dairy), making it a well-balanced meal
  • Each 1/2 cup serving provides 6 grams of plant-based protein, which is equivalent to the protein found in 1 oz. of meat. Plant-based protein is free of cholesterol and saturated (unhealthy) fat, making it a healthier alternative to animal protein sources
  • This recipe does not require any heating or cooking methods, making it suitable for all skills levels
  • Garbanzo beans are high in fiber (provide 6 grams/half cup), especially soluble fiber which can help: reduce blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increase satiety, and regulate your digestive system. They are also a good source of iron, folate, phosphorus and calcium
  • Cucumbers are low in calories and contain Vitamins K, A, and some antioxidants
  • Mint contains Vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight infection as well as promotes eye health. Mint is effective for relieving digestive problems such as upset stomach, indigestion, and nausea
  • Cherry tomatoes contain several antioxidants including: Vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene, which all protect against free radicals, reduce the risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancers, and promote eye health
  • Red onion is a great way to add flavor to a dish without adding calories, fat, or sodium. They are a good source of Vitamins C, B-6, and manganese, and small amounts of other nutrients and antioxidants

Tips

  • If you cannot find low sodium beans, you can always purchase the regular version. When you rinse and drain the can under cold water, you remove any excess sodium
  • Garbanzo beans can be swapped out for canned or cooked lentils
  • If you are vegan, omit the feta cheese
  • It is important to eat a variety of colored vegetables in order to get a variety of nutrients. You can easily swap out any of the vegetables used for others, just make sure that you have multiple colors represented. I recommend bell peppers in place of tomatoes 
  • Red onions contain a gas that causes eye irritation and tears when cutting. To reduce this, you can chill the onion for 30 minutes and then cup off its top, peel the outer layers and leave the root intact. If you don’t have time to wait 30 minutes, you can set up a desk fan across from your workstation
  • You can add whole-wheat pita, whole grain crackers, or a corn tortilla to the meal for extra fiber, whole grains, and representation of a 4th food group
  • You can add any herbs or spices to the dressing (i.e. thyme, rosemary, oregano) for added flavor

These recipes were developed and are owned by Melody Sayers, MS, RDN, NASM-CPT. They cannot be published or adapted without permission from the owner. Reposting or sharing must include an acknowledgement of the original recipe owner @elevateyourplate. Please contact elevateyourplatenutrition@gmail.com to be granted permission access for republishing or adaptation.

Immune-Boosting Recipes

Staying healthy is more important now than ever as we learn to navigate through our new reality. Nourishing our bodies with healthy food not only helps us fight infection, but it also helps us: manage our weight, prevent disease, gain energy, and promote longevity. 

I am so excited to share these five healthy recipes with you. Not only are they delicious, but the ingredients and spices were carefully and purposefully selected for their containment of specific nutrients that help support a healthy immune system. Every dish hits the 7 major immune boosting nutrients: Vitamins A, C, D, E, probiotics, zinc. Not to mention spices, such as garlic and turmeric, are utilized for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The main dish includes: Salmon & Vegetable Skewers with a Nonfat Greek Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce. Side dishes include: Quinoa & Spinach, Cucumber, Tomato, & Avocado Salad with a Garlic, Lemon, & Olive Oil Dressing. For dessert, you have an antioxidant packed fruit salad.

This meal is not full of immune boosting nutrients, but it is perfectly balanced as it includes foods from all five food groups. If you are vegetarian, you can always substitute tofu for salmon. If you are vegan, you can substitute the nonfat Greek yogurt with a non-dairy yogurt substitute.

I recommend batch cooking the salad, quinoa, and fruit salad to save yourself time later on in the week with meal prep.

I would love to hear your comments if you try any of the recipes. Happy cooking : )

Salmon & Vegetable Skewers with Nonfat Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Serves: 4 people

 

Ingredients:

  • Wooden skewers (any length)
  • 1 pound of fresh salmon (remove the skin and bones)
  • 1 medium zucchini or squash
  • 2 bell peppers (choose a variety)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika 
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste (optional)
  • 8 oz. nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ medium cucumber
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 mint leaves
  • Food safe gloves

Preparation:

  1. Submerge the wooden skewers in ice cold water. Set a timer for 30 minutes
  2. Pour 8 oz of nonfat Greek yogurt into a bowl.
  3. Peel ½ a medium cucumber. Grate it using the largest-sized blades. Then squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can until the pieces feel dry. Set it aside.
  4. Chiffonade 10 mint leaves by stacking them on top of each other, rolling them up, then making small cuts with a knife.
  5. Combine the cucumber, mint, 2 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice, ½ tsp minced fresh garlic, and ¼ tsp kosher salt in the yogurt. Mix well until the contents are evenly distributed. Store in the refrigerator until use.
  6. Remove the skin and bones from the salmon using deboning tweezers. Carefully cut the salmon into 1” in cubes. The pieces need to be large enough to put through the wooden skewer. 1 pound of salmon yields roughly 25-30 1” pieces. 
  7. Chop the zucchini and bell peppers into 1” pieces and place them into a bowl.
  8. Combine 4 Tbsp of olive or grapeseed oil, ¼ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp paprika, and ½ tsp Kosher salt into a bowl and mix with a spoon. 
  9. Put on food safe gloves to avoid staining your hands, clothes, linens, and surfaces.
  10. Pour the marinade over the zucchini and bell peppers and using your hands, ensure it evenly coats all of the contents in the bowl. Next, carefully add your salmon into the bowl and coat each piece with the marinade. 
  11. Remove wooden skewers from ice cold water.
  12. Assemble your skewers as desired.
  13. Turn the stove top on medium heat. Place the assembled skewers on the grill pan. Grill each side of the salmon for 1-2 min/side or until fully cooked. There are a total of 4 sides. The salmon should be a bright pink color when fully cooked. Let the pieces cool before serving.

Tips: 

  • Substitute salmon for extra-firm tofu or skinless, boneless chicken breast.
  • If you are vegan, lactose intolerant, or allergic to dairy, you can substitute the nonfat Greek yogurt for a non-dairy yogurt. 
  • You can cook the skewers in the oven instead of grill them. Set the oven at 350 degrees and cook for 15 minutes, making sure to rotate them so that all sides of the salmon are cooked.
  • You can also BBQ them.
  • Use any extra mint leaves to make spa water.

Spinach, Avocado, Tomato, & Cucumber Salad with a Garlic, Lemon, & Olive Oil Dressing

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4 people

 

 Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (about 16 pieces) (halved)
  • 1 medium avocado
  • ½ medium cucumber
  • Mason jar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice 
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt

Preparation:

  1. In a mason jar, combine ¾ cup olive oil with ¼ cup lemon juice. Add 2 garlic cloves, ¼ tsp pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Shake everything together and store it in the refrigerator. 
  2. Place 8 cups of spinach in a bowl. 
  3. Cut the 1 cup of tomatoes in half, chop ½ of a cucumber, and cut up 1 medium avocado. Add the tomato, cucumber, and avocado in the bowl. Set aside. 

Tips: 

  • Double up on the recipe to sneak in more vegetables or to have as leftovers. 
  • You can substitute baby spinach for kale, baby spring mix, or chopped romaine. 
  • If you suffer from kidney stones, substitute the spinach for one of the options above
  • To cut the avocado, hold each end with your hands. Slide the knife directly in the center and rotate the avocado until your knife has made its way around the entire thing. Use your hands to rotate it open and remove the pit. 
  • You can add any extra herbs or spices to the dressing (rosemary, thyme, oregano) for added flavor

Quinoa

 

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4 people

 

 Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup of dry quinoa (any color)
  • 1 ⅓ cups of water

 Preparation:

  1. Optional: pour ⅔ cup of dry quinoa into a fine mesh colander and rinse under running water for at least 30 seconds and drain well. This step helps remove any bitterness 
  2. Combine ⅔ cup quinoa and 1 ⅓ cup of water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat for 10-20 minutes, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  3. Remove the quinoa from the heat. Let it steam on the stovetop for an additional 5 minutes keeping the lid on. This step gives the quinoa time to pop open, so it’s nice and fluffy. 

Tips: 

  • You can substitute the quinoa with a whole-grain option such as: brown rice, buckwheat, farro, amaranth, etc.

Fruit Salad

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4 people

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cartons of raspberries
  • 1 carton of blueberries 
  • 1 carton of blackberries
  • 4 cuties

Preparation:

  1. Rinse and dry all of the berries. Combine them in a large bowl.
  2. Peel the cuties, ensuring you remove any fibrous pieces. 
  3. Add cuties to your bowl and mix the fruit together.

Tips: 

  • You can substitute any of the berries for a different berry of your choice.
  • Cuties can be substituted for oranges or grapefruit slices

These recipes were developed and are owned by Melody Sayers, MS, RDN, NASM-CPT. They cannot be published or adapted without permission from the owner. Reposting or sharing must include an acknowledgement of the original recipe owner @elevateyourplate. Please contact elevateyourplatenutrition@gmail.com to be granted permission access for republishing or adaptation.