Mediterranean Cod En Papillote

Step up your culinary game with this surprisingly easy Mediterranean Cod En Papillote made with Norweigian cod.

Mediterranean Cod En Papillote

This post is sponsored by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

During this time, we are staying inside and limiting the number of trips to the grocery store. Rethink the protein choices on your grocery list. Add seafood! Build recipes around lean fish with pantry ingredients you have on hand. Just starting out cooking seafood? Simple is best! Only a few ingredients and seasonings are needed to make fish delicious.

Being strategic when grocery shopping and relying on pantry staples is key. Here in New Jersey, there are limits on amounts of certain proteins like chicken and eggs. At the grocery store, there is a whole department dedicated just to seafood. Don’t skip it!

Health benefits of eating more fish

Eating seafood two to three times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause by 17 percent. New to adding seafood into your menu repertoire? Start with a mid-flavored, firm fish like cod. Norwegian cod to be exact!

Tips for buying fish

There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to seafood – both wild and farmed. The origin of the seafood is something you should be looking out for, as every country has completely different practices.

Sustainability has been one of the main objectives of the Norwegian fishing industry, and they are committed to producing seafood in a safe, controlled, and sustainable manner. And I know this because I actually traveled to Norway myself with the Norwegian Seafood Council and saw how seriously Norway takes sustainability and how strict regulations that maintain fish supply are meticulously upheld.

According to the USDA, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a consumer labeling law that requires retailers (grocery stores and supermarkets) to identify the country of origin on certain foods, including wild-caught fish, farm-raised fish, and shellfish.

What does “en papillote” mean?

Don’t be intimidated by this recipe, en papillote is a culinary technique that any home cook can master in their kitchen. 

The term en papillote (pronounced: ON pah-pee-YOHT) means “in paper” or “in parchment”. It is a moist-heat cooking method because it is the steam from within the package where the food is enclosed by parchment paper that cooks the food. More delicate proteins, such as fish or chicken, are more commonly cooked en papillote as they can be quickly cooked by this steaming method.

Steaming en papillote requires no special equipment other than parchment paper. The food won’t stick and parchment paper is easy to seal not allowing any liquid to escape. Just make sure to tightly seal the edges. Plus, clean up is easy – just toss the parchment when you’re done!

How to build flavors

The key to creating a flavorful en papillote dish is building flavors. When cooking en papillote, there are usually vegetables as the base with herbs and seasonings, topped off with the protein. The vegetables contain moisture and during the cooking process generate steam, which cooks the protein enclosed in the parchment pouch. Additional herbs and seasonings are used to build flavors.  Mediterranean flavors inspired this recipe creation. 

Mediterranean ingredients on parchment paper

Get cooking together

This recipe is the perfect way to get everyone involved in the kitchen.

  • Raid the pantry to play around with different spice and herb blends
  • Get the family involved – everyone makes their own signature creation
  • Little hands (kids) can help make this meal. Have them help stack the ingredients, wrap the parchment paper, etc.
Mediterranean Cod ingredients layered on parchment

Health Benefits of Cod

Norwegian Cod is a lean fish. It contains only up to 3% fat and almost no carbohydrates. It is an excellent source of:

  • Protein
  • Vitamins (such as B12)
  • Selenium
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (a meal-sized portion of cod delivers the recommended daily intake)
  • Iodine
step by step guide for Mediterranean Cod En Papillote recipe
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baked cod on top of mediterranean vegetables

Mediterranean Cod En Papillote

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: seafood
  • Method: En Papillote
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Description

Step up your culinary game with this surprisingly easy Mediterranean Cod En Papillote made with Norweigian cod.


Scale

Ingredients

2 (5-ounce) pieces of Norwegian cod (or other white fish like snapper, grouper, or monkfish)
salt
pepper
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
2 pieces of parchment paper


Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat cod dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Fold the parchment paper in half. On one side of the parchment paper layer the tomatoes, olives, capers, onion, pepper, and garlic. Top with fillet, drizzle with olive oil, red pepper flakes (if using) and place lemon slices on top.

Fold the other half of the parchment paper on top and seal the edges making a small fold every 1/2-inch all the way around to create a half-moon shape.  Repeat with another piece of parchment and remaining ingredients. 

Place both pouches on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the parchment paper, has puffed up and fish is cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and cut with scissors or unroll, being careful of the hot steam that will escape.

Keywords: cod, seafood from norway, En Papillote, fish, seafood recipe

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Other ways to prepare cod

  • Baked
  • Broiled
  • Fried
  • Sauteed
  • Steamed
  • Poached

White Bean Shakshuka

Whip up this one-pan smoky White Bean Shakshuka for a weekend brunch, but it is just as good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

cast iron skillet with white bean shakshuka with a piece of bread

What is Shakshuka?

Shakshuka is a Mediterranean meal of poached eggs in a simmering tomato sauce with spices.

The beauty of this dish is that you can play around with the ingredients to customize it for your preference. I’ve even made a green shakshuka before!

Why you should always keep a well-stocked pantry.

Writing this blog post now, we are in the midst of COVID-19. We are taking fewer trips to the grocery store and may need to rely on pantry staples to create nutritious meals around. Mealtime inspiration is just a can opener away.

cast iron skillet with shakshuka

Is canned food healthy?

Canned foods are an easy, cost-effective way to eat healthy year-round. They are a simple, realistic way people can incorporate nutrients into meals.

Nutritionally speaking, canned food is comparable to its cooked fresh and frozen counterparts. Canned fruits and vegetables are packed at their peak of harvest, which means they are packed at their peak nutrient value. Crops that go directly from the field to the processor often retain vitamins better than those that travel hundreds of miles across the country and sit for days in produce bins. (resource)

portion of white bean shakshuka on a ceramic plate

What ingredients give this shakshuka a smoky flavor?

The smoky flavor mainly comes from two ingredients in this recipe – the fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika.

  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
    Fire-roasted tomatoes are made by charring the tomatoes over a flame before they’re diced and canned. You may even see little black flecks within your can. That is from the tomato making direct heat with the flame creating that smoky flavor.
  • Smoked Paprika
    Smoked paprika is made from pimiento peppers that have been dried and smoked over an oak fire, then ground into a fine powder, creating that earthy and smoky taste.
Cast iron skillet with a brunch recipe scooped with a wooden spoon

What equipment you need to make shakshuka:

  • Cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan* (see FAQ below if you don’t have one!)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener
  • Colander
plate of tomato sauce mixture with an egg and bread
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White Bean Shakshuka

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Whip up this one-pan smoky White Bean Shakshuka for a weekend brunch, but it is just as good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!


Scale

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups packed baby spinach
4 large eggs
Salt, to taste Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup feta crumbles
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Red pepper flakes, if desired
Crusty bread or pita, for serving


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet, preferably cast-iron over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes until tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  2. Add the smoked paprika, oregano, and tomato paste, consistently stirring for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. 
  3. Pour in the crushed tomatoes with their juices, beans, and spinach. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for 5 minutes to give the flavors time to come together and spinach has wilted.
  4. Turn off the heat. Use the back of a spoon to make a well in the tomato/bean mixture and crack the egg directly into it. Gently spoon a bit of the tomato mixture over the whites to help contain the egg. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes. They’re done when the egg whites are an opaque white and the yolks have risen a bit but are still soft. They should still jiggle in the centers. (Keep in mind that they’ll continue cooking after you pull the dish out of the oven.) Cook to preferred doneness.
  6. Transfer the hot skillet to a heat-safe surface like the stove. Top with crumbled feta, fresh parsley, and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve in bowls with crusty bread or pita on the side.

Notes

Don’t have an oven-safe pan or cast-iron pan? No problem! Once you have cracked the eggs into the skillet, lower the heat and place a lid on top and cook until the desired doneness.

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plate of white bean shakshuka with poached egg and a slice of bread

FAQ:

What if I don’t have a cast-iron pan?

Not a problem! Once you have cracked the eggs into the skillet, lower the heat and place a lid on top and cook until the desired doneness.

What if I can’t find fire-roasted tomatoes?

You can use regular crushed tomatoes for this recipe! If you are looking for an extra smoky flavor, then add a little extra smoked paprika.

What if I don’t prefer the smoky flavor?

Use plain crushed tomatoes and paprika (not smoked).

Edamame Avocado Hummus

Move over chickpea hummus. There’s a new hummus in town – Edamame Avocado Hummus. 

Edamame Avocado Hummus ingredients in a food processor

I recently did a presentation about smart snacking. One thing I like to mention about smart snacking is to opt for real food first. Snacking is an opportunity for nourishment. 

Yes, grabbing a bar is quick (some bars do pack in great nutritional value), but really think about your snacks throughout the day. How many of them are real food vs. processed foods?

Edamame Avocado Hummus in a small white bowl

I’ve been challenging myself to include more veggies into my snacks. I go through snacking phases, and raw veggies have fallen out of my routine a little bit.

Snacking is more fun when you are dunking. I love dunking my veggies into hummus, but I decided to switch it up a bit and use edamame as the base instead of chickpeas. Edamame, a plant-based protein is a young soybean that has been harvested before the beans have had a chance to harden.

Edamame Avocado Hummus in a white bowl with carrots and crackers

Adding avocado to the edamame helps make this dip creamy. Avocados can act as a booster to help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from the foods eaten with them, like vitamin A. Vitamin A foods, like carrots, contain carotenoids, which not only promote healthy skin but benefit the heart and immune system as well. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals. So, pair carrot sticks with this delicious dip!

carrot being dunked into green dip
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Edamame Avocado Hummus in a white bowl

Edamame Avocado Hummus

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: dip
  • Method: no-cook

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (can sub olive oil)

Instructions

  1. Add edamame, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, onion powder, pepper and salt in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds and scrape down sides.
  2. Slowly drizzle in oil while motor is running and pulse until reach desired consistency.

Keywords: hummus, avocado, edamame, dip

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Blueberry Chia Jam

This Blueberry Chia Jam has now become a staple in my refrigerator. With just four simple ingredients you have a delicious and flavorful jam without excess sugar. Mix and match or combine different berries for a variety of flavor combinations.

Blueberry Chia Jam in a small mason jar with a wooden spoon

HOW TO MAKE CHIA JAM

You might see a few variations of chia jam recipes floating around the internet, but after testing this recipe a few times, here are some tips I’ve gathered.

STOVETOP METHOD

Simply heat frozen berries and water over low-medium heat and gently simmer for the berries to defrost and their natural sugars begin to breakdown. Avoid using high heat as the berries will not defrost evenly and the natural sugars of the berries will scorch the bottom of your pan.

Using a potato masher or the back of a fork, mash the blueberries so they burst. The jam may look still very liquidy at this point. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, chia seeds, and sweetener, if using. The chia seeds thicken the jam as it rests and begins to cool.

MASHED VS. BLENDED

Simply leave the jam as is, mashed and chia seeds fully intact if you enjoy the texture and a chunkier jam. Or opt for a smoother consistency and pulse in a food processor or blender until you reach the desired consistency.

Blueberry Chia Jam on a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter

HEALTH BENEFITS OF WILD BLUEBERRIES

All blueberries are not alike! By nature, wild ones have a more intense flavor, deeper blue color, and 2x the antioxidants than their regular cultivated blueberries.

Ever wonder why you can only find wild blueberries in the frozen department? Wild Blueberries are frozen fresh within 24 hours of harvest when their flavor and antioxidant goodness are at their peak. In fact, tiny, potent wild ones contain less water than regular blueberries, so they freeze better than ordinary, larger blueberries.

FLAVOR VARIATIONS

Utilize this recipe as the base and mix and match with other berries or berry combinations. Try a mixed berry combination using blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries or go for a bold combination of a mixture of cherries and blackberries. Thinking about going tropical and using pineapple or mango? I would recommend using white chia seeds vs. black chia seeds.

ADJUST FOR SWEETNESS

This is a much lower sugar jam than those found on the grocery store shelves. Highlighting the fruits natural sugars is the star of this recipe, but an optional sweetener can be added in if desired.

Blueberry Chia Jam in a small mason jar

HOW TO USE CHIA JAM

Use this jam anywhere you would typically use any jam or jelly. Spread on toast, top on oatmeal, or swirl into yogurt.

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Small mason jar filled with blueberry jam

Blueberry Chia Jam

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: dip/spread
  • Method: stove top

Description

A few simple ingredients and you can whip up this jam in no time. Mix and match with different berries for a variety of flavors.


Scale

Ingredients

1 cup frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
optional sweetener: 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sugar


Instructions

  1. Add frozen blueberries to a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the berries have thawed and started to break down, use a fork or potato masher to break them down further. 
  2. Stir in vanilla extract, chia seeds, and sweetener of choice, if using. Remove from heat and allow jam to cool and thicken for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Spoon into a mason jar as is and store in the refrigerator. (Alternative method: Add jam to a food processor or blender and puree until desired consistency is reached. Spoon into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator. 

Notes

Store jam in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Keywords: blueberry chia jam, jam, chia, blueberries, wild blueberries, low sugar

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Green Bean Potato Salad

Gearing up for picnics and barbecues this summer? Add this Green Bean Potato Salad to the menu.

Green Bean Potato Salad in a wooden bowl

One of my jobs during summers at college, I was working at this outdoor catering company, where we prepared food on-site at graduation parties, barbecues, picnics, etc. When working in catering, you have to prepare recipes in large quantities to feed the masses. One of my least favorite things to prepare is the potato salad.

Green Bean Potato Salad in a wooden bowl

Traditional potato salad is dressed with mayonnaise. That is one condiment that I just never enjoyed. Now, just imagine preparing potato salad for 100+ people at one time. The amount of mayo I had to scoop daily was unreal.

Since I don’t personally enjoy mayonnaise, I wanted to create a non-mayo based dressing for potato salad with an added twist by adding green beans and corn. Don’t be afraid to switch up a classic and bring something new to the table, like this Green Bean Potato Salad.

Why use red bliss potatoes for this Green Bean Potato Salad

Red potatoes have smooth thin skin. Its skin is edible, so it’s not necessary to peel or remove it after cooking. Like many waxy varieties, red potatoes are low in starch and won’t produce a light, fluffy texture. They are best used for boiling and roasting and work well in dishes that would benefit from a potato that holds its shape, even when sliced and diced, like for this Green Bean Potato Salad.

Health benefits of potatoes

Poor potatoes have a bad reputation in some people’s eyes. “Oh, I can’t eat potatoes because they are too starchy” Yes, potatoes are starchy because they are carbohydrates and carbohydrates give us energy. Also, there are many nutritional benefits that potatoes provide our bodies. They are high in potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. When enjoyed in moderation and prepared in a healthy way, potatoes can be a nutritious addition to your diet.

Culinary term: blanching & shocking

The word blanch refers to a cooking technique in which food is briefly immersed in steam or boiling water, usually followed by shocking, which is rapidly cooling the food in an ice bath or with cold air.

When you blanch food for the right amount of time it helps maintain flavor, color, texture, and nutritional value. No one wants limp and soggy green beans.

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green bean potato salad in a wooden bowl

Green Bean Potato Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

1 pound red bliss potatoes
2 ears of corn, shucked
1 pound French green beans, cut in half
1 lemon, juiced (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. In a large pot add potatoes. Fill with water and bring to a boil and season with salt. Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes).
  2. Using tongs, carefully remove the potatoes and let cool. Add corn to the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes, or until corn is tender.
  3. Using tongs, carefully remove the corn and let cool. Add the string beans to the boiling water. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until green beans are tender. Drain green beans and immediately put them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. When cooled drain green beans and let dry. 
  4. When potatoes are cooled, dice into cubes. Cut corn off the cob. (see notes below for a tip to do this easily)
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Add potatoes, corn, and green beans. Toss to coat.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Let the potato salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let all the flavors marinate.

Notes

Tip to cut corn off the cob.

Substitution tip: Don’t have corn on the cob? Swap for sweet canned corn or frozen corn kernels. 

Keywords: potato salad, green beans, corn, potatoes, side dish, recipe

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This recipe was originally posted in July 2013. The photos and content of the post have been updated.

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Tomato Cucumber Salad

With just five simple ingredients, this Tomato Cucumber Salad will become a regular side dish to serve up with any spring or summer recipe.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

Why I love this Tomato Cucumber Salad recipe

Who says salads have to start with a bed of lettuce? We’ve chatted before about how salads don’t have to be boring! What I love the most about this recipe is simple its ingredients, taking less than 10 minutes to put together, and can turn into so many new variations. (see below)

Using mini cucumbers is key

While any kind of cucumber can work in this recipe, I urge you to seek our mini cucumbers, because I think it really makes the recipe. No need to peel the skin. The skin of mini cucumbers is tender and delicate. Just simply slice into coins and they are ready to go.

When I develop a recipe, I always think about the perfect bite. When slicing mini cucumbers into a coin, it takes the same shape and size of the cherry tomatoes so you are able to get everything all in one bite. Plus, it’s more time consuming to peel, seed, and quarter a regular cucumber.

Recipe Tip

If you are using a conventional cucumber, I recommend removing the seeds. Why? Because they are bitter and don’t want any bitterness added to the dish. For a conventional cucumber, peel, scoop out the seeds, slice and cut in quarters for this recipe.
For other cooking tips, go here.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

How to make this Tomato Cucumber Salad

  1. Chop vegetables.
  2. Whisk together dressing.
  3. Toss together.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
    It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Storage Tip

Keep this Tomato Cucumber Salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

Variations

Additions

Chickpeas: Drain and rinse a can or two of chickpeas and add to the mixture. This will add different textures, plus a good source of plant-based proteins

Feta cheese: I love feta cheese. Hold off on seasoning with salt and pepper at the end after tasting with the feta cheese. Feta cheese will add salt to the dish, so maybe a little sprinkle of pepper will be fine. Also, if making this dish in advance, add feta just before serving.

Red onions: The key is to thinly slice red onions, so they don’t overpower the whole dish. If you are looking for something a little sweeter or more tang, try adding my Quick Pickled Onions.

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baby cucumbers with cherry tomatoes in a wooden bowl

Tomato Cucumber Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Light and refreshing salad to compliment any spring or summer dish. 


Scale

Ingredients

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 mini cucumbers, sliced into coins
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. Add cherry tomatoes and cucumbers to a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Drizzle over cucumber and tomatoes. Add basil.
  3. Toss everything to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Notes

Variations:
– Add chickpeas
– Add feta cheese

Keywords: cucumber, tomato, salad, no cook, vegetables, low carb, recipe

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Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

Salads don’t have to be boring! By adding cooked and raw elements like in this Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad can elevate any salad experience.

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in wooden bowl with wooden serving spoons

There is nothing worse when trying to enjoy a kale salad and your jaw becomes numb with all the chewing. It’s most likely that the kale wasn’t treated properly. Kale is very fibrous, but the simple technique of massaging kale can change your whole kale salad experience. I’ve talked all about this already here.

Salads don’t have to be boring! Mix and match with various food groups, flavors, and textures. I like to add both raw and cooked elements to add different depths of flavor.

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a white bowl

Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes provide additional sweetness from their caramelization.

Tips to perfectly roast vegetables:

  • Cut vegetables approximately the same size. This will prevent smaller pieces from overcooking and larger pieces not being cooked through.
  • Don’t overdo it on the oil. One tablespoon of olive oil is enough for a full tray of vegetables. Instead of drizzling the oil when the vegetables are already on the sheet pan, toss in a large bowl then place vegetables on the sheet pan. This will ensure all vegetables are evenly coated.
  • Don’t crowd the pan. Vegetables should be an even layer on the sheet pan. Overcrowding can result in the vegetables steaming rather than roasting.
  • Stop stirring. Simply flip vegetables halfway through the cooking process. Constant stirring won’t allow the vegetables to caramelize evenly on each side.
  • Looking for easy cleanup. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a wooden bowl with wooden serving utensils

With a little meal prep, this salad can come together in minutes. Roast sweet potatoes in advance, wash and chop kale, batch cook quinoa, and make the dressing. By getting the prep process started earlier on can help put meals together in minutes. With kale being very fibrous, it lasts longer in the refrigerator. I wash and chop kale for the week and store it in a breathable produce bag. Then, I can easily prepare a salad; add it to a smoothie, or sauté for a quick side dish.

Fun Fact:

Have you ever notices kale that has been sitting in the refrigerator for a longer period of time, the edges start to turn an orange/yellow color. Yes, the kale is aging, but it’s not going bad. As kale ages, the deep green chlorophyll color begins to fade and the vitamin A & C colors shine through. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamins A & C.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a wooden bowl with wooden utensils

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Salads don’t have to be boring! By adding cooked and raw elements like in this Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad can elevate any salad experience.


Ingredients

For the salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sweet potatoes, chopped, cut into cubes
8 cups kales, stems removed and chopped
1 cup quinoa, cooked
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:
1/3 cup golden balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt, to taste


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with cooking spray or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to the baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through until sweet potatoes have caramelized and are fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool completely. 
  3. In a large bowl, add the kale and massage to become tender. Add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Toss to combine.
  4. In a mason jar, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and maple syrup. Secure lid and shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. 

Notes

The addition of feta cheese to this salad is great if desired. 

Keywords: salad, quinoa, sweet potato, kale, walnuts, cranberries, healthy

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Play around with this salad combination. For a more filling meal add protein, like beans, grilled chicken, shrimp, etc. Switch up the dressing. Add fresh fruit, like pears, apples, or pomegranate seeds too.

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

These Peanut Butter Oat Bars are soft, chewy, and subtly sweet to add to a balanced breakfast or enjoyed as a snack.

homemade oat bars on a black slate

Dear future children, please do not have a peanut allergy. Your future peanut butter addict’s mom will be very sad. Peanut butter is a staple food in my diet. I can confidently say I enjoy peanut butter pretty much every day.

Did you know?

It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. (source)

Health benefits of peanut butter

Replacing saturated fat with similar amounts of unsaturated fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of dry-roasted peanuts (30 grams) contains 12 grams of unsaturated fat, only two grams of saturated fat, and no trans fat. 

Peanuts are an excellent source of (20% of the Daily Value):

  • Niacin: Niacin is an important B vitamin that helps to convert food to energy, aids with the digestive and nervous system, and helps the skin.
  • Manganese: Manganese is important for processing cholesterol, and nutrients like carbohydrates and protein.
    (source)
homemade snack bars on a black marble slab

Just one bowl, these bars are easy to whip up. Pair with a piece of fruit and/or yogurt for breakfast, or enjoy alone as a snack. If you are peanut butter obsessed like me, I even added a smear of peanut butter on top.

Peanut Butter Oat Bars stacked on top of each other

I kept this Peanut Butter Oat Bars recipe simple, but of course, you can add your own twist. Stir in chocolate chips, some nuts or seeds. I’m even curious to try tahini in place of the peanut butter.

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close up image of peanut butter oat bars

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Baked Good
  • Method: Baking

Description

These Peanut Butter Oat Bars are soft, chewy, and subtly sweet to add to a balanced breakfast or enjoyed as a snack.


Scale

Ingredients

1/2 cup natural peanut butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 small ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup finely ground flaxseed (see notes)


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, coconut oil, banana, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  3. Stir in cinnamon, rolled oats, and flaxseed, until well combined.
  4. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool for 15 minutes before slicing into squares. 

Notes

I used Manitoba Milling Co. Smooth Whole-Milled Flaxseed, which is more of a powdery/flour texture. 

Add chocolate chips or nuts, sprinkled on top or folded into the batter, as desired.

Keywords: peanut butter, oats, bars, breakfast, snack, whole grain,

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Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats (+ Freezer-Friendly Tip)

Make mornings easier by meal prepping a batch of Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats for the week and follow a simple freezer-friendly tip to enjoy steel cut oats in just minutes.

steel cut oats in a small white bowl with blueberries and sliced almonds

Who has time to make a fresh batch of steel-cut oats in the morning? If you do, more power to you, but like many, I prefer extra sleep vs. waking up earlier to make breakfast from scratch.

I previously talked about the differences between steel-cut, rolled, and quick oats. Steel-cut oats take the longest to cook. Why? Because the outside layer of the whole grain, the bran, is fully intact. A longer cook time penetrates through the bran creating tender, yet a chewy texture that retains much of its shape even after cooking.

steel cut oats in a metal measuring cup

Instead of spending time each morning making a serving of steel-cut oats meal prep a large batch for the week. Steel-cut oats can easily be made over the stovetop, but I love using the Instant Pot to make steel-cut oats because just add your ingredients, press a few buttons, and done! You don’t have to keep an eye on them, stirring often, to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot or bubbling over.

steel cut oats in a white bowl with toppings on a marble slab

I prefer to make the batch of steel-cut oats pretty plain because then there is the flexibility to add different toppings to create different flavor combinations. I do enjoy adding a cinnamon stick to the pot and the cinnamon flavor infuses into the oats. (This can easily be done with a few shakes of ground cinnamon too.)

frozen steel cut oatmeal in a jumbo muffin tin

Sometimes the idea of batch cooking can be too repetitive eating the same thing over and over, but instead, utilize this steel-cut oat freezer-friendly tip that can help continue to make steel-cut oats ready in minutes in the morning.

Freezer-Friendly Tip:

After making a batch of these Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats, spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop about a cup of oats into each muffin tin well. Then add your favorite topping combinations.

Once hardened, dip the bottom of the muffin tin in warm water to help remove the single-serving steel cut oat portions and freeze in a container or bag for later use.

Then, simply add a single-serving portion of oats to a microwave-safe bowl with a few drops of water, and reheat in the microwave.

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Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats in a white bowl topped with blueberries and almonds

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 6
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Instant Pot

Scale

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups steel cut oats
7 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)


Instructions

  1. Add steel cut oats, water, and cinnamon sticks to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
  2. Secure Instant Pot lid and close the vent. Set Instant Pot on the manual setting for 6 minutes.
  3. When Instant Pot beeps, allow the pressure to naturally release for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, discard cinnamon sticks, and stir oats to incorporate any water that has risen to the top.
  5. Serve with your favorite toppings. (Combination recommendation: blueberries, sliced almonds, and honey)

Notes

Leftover oats can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or utilize the freezer-friendly method.

Freezer-Friendly Method:
Spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop about a cup of oats into each muffin tin well. Then add your favorite topping combinations. Once hardened, dip the bottom of the muffin tin in warm water to help remove the single-serving steel cut oat portions and freeze in a container or bag for later use.

Keywords: oatmeal, Instant Pot, steel cut oats, breakfast, cooking tip, oats

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Baked Apple for One

Craving something sweet, but don’t want to make a whole batch of a dessert recipe? Enter this delicious (and allergy-friendly) Baked Apple for One.

Baked Apple with vanilla ice cream on a white plate

I received free samples from Kip’s for the development of this recipe and am eligible for prizes for their recipe contest.

Baked fruit is often overlooked for dessert. Fruit is sweet as is, but when baked the natural sweetness intensifies. Baked apples are a delicious dessert. Simply remove the core, stuff with your favorite filling, and bake!

stuffed apple in a glass container

Using a dry-cook method, like baking, will break down the cell walls of the fruit and result in water loss from being exposed to heat. Be mindful of the cooking time. Too long, the fruit will become too mushy and mealy.

When creating a recipe for a single serving, there is no need to complicate the cooking technique with too many ingredients. If cooking for one, keep it simple!

baked stuffed apple with vanilla ice cream on a white plate

These baked apples are stuffed with Kip’s Granola Bark. Kip’s is an allergy-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan granola bark is free from the eight main food allergens, including peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, dairy, eggs, and soy, and additionally free of sesame and sunflower seeds.

For those navigating food allergies, Kip’s Granola Bark is a wholesome snack that can be enjoyed as is or incorporated into a recipe.

stuffed baked apple sliced
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baked apple on a white plate with vanilla ice cream and cinnamon sticks

Baked Apple for One

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking

Description

Craving something sweet, but don’t want to make a whole batch of a dessert recipe? Enter these delicious (and allergy friendly) Baked Apple for One.


Scale

Ingredients

1 honeycrisp apple (or another variety like gala or granny smith)
2 tablespoons crumbled Kip’s Cinnamon Crunch Granola Bark
1/2 teaspoon butter, melted (or dairy-free, soy-free margarine)
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon water


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Use a melon baller, carefully remove the stem and seeds from the apples, making a deep hole where the filling will go. 
In a small bowl, combine the crumbled Kip’s Cinnamon Crunch Granola Bark, butter, maple syrup, and ground cinnamon. Fill into the cavity of the apple.
Add water to a small oven-safe baking dish and place the stuffed apple on top.
Bake for 30 minutes, until apple, is fork tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Spoon the sauce drippings from the pan over the apples. Serve with ice cream, if desired.


Keywords: apple, baked apple, allergy-friendly, gluten-free, dessert

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