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Tuscan risotto with kale, mushrooms, and walnuts

This classic dish gets upgraded to main meal status with the addition of hearty mushrooms, Tuscan kale, and crunchy walnuts. It’s so easy to prepare, and better yet, you can have this elegant vegetarian dish ready in about 35 minutes. This traditional method of making risotto involves standing at the stove and stirring for around 18 minutes. It might seems a little labor intensive compared to low-fuss pastas, but to achieve the signature creamy texture risotto is known for, it’s well worth the effort. If you’re not vegetarian, and if you want to serve this as a side dish instead, consider pairing it with your favorite chicken Marsala for a tasty Italian combo. This Tuscan risotto with kale, mushrooms, and walnuts will easily be your new favorite go-to recipe this fall and all year long. Tuscan risotto with kale, mushrooms, and walnuts Serves 4 Ingredients 5 cups vegetable or chicken…

Vegan Thai-inspired snow pea salad with peanut dressing

Crunchy, colorful and full of flavor. This crisp Thai-inspired salad tossed in a mildly spicy peanut dressing is a total powerhouse of nutrition. Carrots, snow peas, cabbage, quinoa — it’s going to be your new salad obsession. You can instantly add more oomph with grilled chicken, beef, or shrimp, but it’s just as satisfying and filling without any animal protein added. Vegetarians might already know that quinoa and peanut butter are both excellent sources of plant-based protein. (Quinoa brings about 8 grams of protein per cup, and peanut butter brings about 8 grams per two tablespoons.) This superfood salad is addictive! The peanut sauce is similar to that served at your favorite Thai restaurant with chicken satay or with fresh spring rolls, but it’s easy to whip up with ingredients common at your everyday supermarket. You’ll want to put it on everything! Get creative with your salad. Add anything from…

The Best Broccoli salad for dinners, potlucks

This creative broccoli salad combines veggies, fruits, nuts and dairy with a crumbling of turkey bacon for a delightful side dish that everyone will enjoy. It’s the perfect make-ahead meal that can store in the fridge for up to three days — and I swear, it gets even tastier with a little bit of time. What really makes this broccoli salad great is the tart and sweet Greek yogurt dressing brightened up with a splash of apple cider vinegar. And, of course, crunchy turkey bacon takes any dish to the next delicious level. If you wanted to make a more decadent version, feel free to use mayonnaise and real bacon instead, or save some time by using pre-cooked bacon bits — the kind usually found in the salad aisle. *Note: If you’re going to make ahead, hold off on adding the bacon, apple chips, and almonds or you’ll lose the…

Roasted butternut squash with cranberries, goat cheese and walnuts

Cranberries can turn just about anything into a festive side dish. I’m definitely guilty of overusing the little red seasonal berries, but I can’t get enough of their sweet, tart taste this time of year. Roasted butternut squash is good on its own, but trust me, it’s made better by a little juicy pop. I learned a saying years ago — “If it grows together, it goes together.” (It’s actually pretty common in the gardening and food world nowadays.) I think about it often when I pair foods. And it’s so true. Strawberries and rhubarb; tomatoes and basil; squash and cranberries. They both peak this time of year and are a perfect pair. I purchased some pre sliced squash at the grocery store the other day. I couldn’t resist. It was on super sale since it was about to go bad. That meant I needed to use it up right…

Cheesy Zucchini Casserole makes perfect late summer side dish

At this point in the summer, you’re probably still picking lots of zucchini and squash from your garden. Or if you’re lucky, friends are trying to offload their extras. This zucchini casserole is a great way to use up all the zucchini and squash you have laying around. It might be the end of summer, but the warm weather means it’s still solidly squash season. This recipe is rich and creamy and made perfect by a melty blend of Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. You’ll love this as a late summer side dish. Cheesy Zucchini Casserole Ingredients 4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick 1 half of a medium onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 tbsp butter 1/2 cup heavy cream 5 ounces Gruyere cheese, roughly shredded 3/4 cup fresh Parmesan, grated salt and pepper Directions Preheat oven to 450ºF. Grease an 8×8 inch casserole dish and set aside. In…

AUTUMN QUINOA SALAD

I’m convinced we grow sick of salads because we stop taking the time to focus on the flavors — or lack-their-of — that we’re adding to the bowl. We fall in a rut, and start throw tomatoes over lettuce, grab the nearest salad dressing and call it a day. With truly endless combinations of veggies, grains, and fruits, there’s no reason on Earth you should get sick of salad. Take the time to explore different fresh tastes and usual dressings, and you’ll surely opt for healthy salads much more often. Here’s a salad that’s interesting enough to serve to at a fall feast, yet simple enough to whip up for weekday lunch. You’ll have most of these ingredients already in your well-stocked pantry — just pickup an apple, lemon, and basil from the produce department. I like using Red Delicious apples because of the bright color and feeling of fall…

Healthy baked coconut shrimp

Something happens when you learn to cook at home. You realize that all those tasty items you order out at restaurants are overpriced, and you can usually make them healthier at home. Healthier means you get to eat them more often — an obvious win. Coconut shrimp was one of those appetizers for me. If it was on the menu, I was ordering it. But coconut is naturally high in fat, and who knows what other unspeakable ingredients get mixed in the batter — and fry oil is always frightening. Enter: my healthy version of coconut shrimp. It’s baked, so right away you’re eliminating the scary fats from frying. The crispy coconut will still give that craveable crunch. Plus, the sauce is often the star of the show anyway. Thai chili sauce with a hint of apricot and brown sugar can make pretty much anything better. So try this easy appetizer when…

Edamame, olive salad

This edamame, olive salad will make you feel like you’re lunching at a seaside restaurant on some far flung Greek island. I swear it! It’s such an unusual combination that your taste buds will think you’re on vacation. I had a variation of this salad last week at an unlikely waterfront spot in North Carolina. The restaurant served mostly seaside style bar food, except for this incredible side dish. I’m so glad I ordered it. It was easily my favorite thing I had that meal — aside from that delicious Southern sweet tea. That’s hard to beat. This edamame, olive combo makes for a simple salad but not one where you want to cut back on quality. A bag of shelled edamame should only run you a few dollars, so splurge on the fancy olives — you know, the ones from the olive bar. Or at least get a good brand of jarred kalamatas.…

Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

It’s finally that time of the year when you can introduce some lighter fare to your home cooked menu. Whether it’s lunch or dinner (or leftovers!), this Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad has all of the elements of a perfect summer meal. Just toss some bite-sized pasta and mini mozzarella, with fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and add some chicken for some protein. Then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s all the summer flavors you love, reconfigured as a quick and easy pasta salad. When you combine pasta and Caprese, could you ever go wrong? Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients 2 cups pasta (any shape) 2 cups chicken, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces 2 cups mini mozzarella pearls 1 cup cherry tomatos, halved handful of fresh basil, chopped + extra for garnish 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar, or balsamic glaze salt pepper Directions Cook pasta until…

Brussel sprout chips with a kick

Brussels sprouts aren’t exactly the most-beloved vegetable at the market. But as a member of the nutritious cruciferous family — think cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli — they should have a place in your healthy diet. Brussels sprouts are the killer combination of being both high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, but low in calories. A half cup of cooked sprouts is just 28 calories, but has 137 percent of your vitamin K (good for blood clotting and bone health), and 80 percent of your vitamin C (immune functions) along with other nutrients like vitamin B6, potassium, iron, thiamine, magnesium, and phosphorus. For people who don’t get enough fish or seafood, Brussels sprouts can be a good plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. They’ve also been shows to keep blood sugar levels steady, and some studies suggest that their high levels of antioxidants can help protect against certain types of cancer. Phew! That’s…