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.


Ingredients

Scale

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

Ingredients

Scale

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.


Ingredients

Scale

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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Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

Make dinnertime stress-free with this simple Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies recipe.

steak with veggies on a sheet pan

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

March is an exciting month for dietitians, as it is National Nutrition Month. National Nutrition Month® is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. In years past there was a theme to go along with National Nutrition Month’s initiative.

sheet pan with steak, broccoli, and squash

This year, I’ve teamed up with the NY Beef Council for National Nutrition Month to help make dinnertime less stressful with simple strategies and a delicious recipe.

We all seem busier than ever and dinnertime looks different for everyone. Getting home from long days at work, to juggling kids after school activities, or feeling exhausted and grabbing take out; every night the chore of dinner getting on the table can be stressful.

How can you make nourishing meals more manageable? Sheet pan dinners! Simply make a full dinner all on one pan. Sheet pan meals are great fresh out of the oven, but also really great as leftovers. Cook once, eat twice! Repurpose as is, eat over a whole grain, or enjoy over greens for a robust salad. The possibilities are endless!

sheet pan dinner with steak and veggies

When creating a sheet pan dinner, think about ingredients that will provide energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. To this end, aim to eat a variety of delicious foods that balance the taste you love with good nutrition.

Beef is part of a satisfying heart-healthy lifestyle. All beef is a natural source of 10 essential nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Research shows that lean beef enjoyed as part of a heart-healthy diet and exercises, can help lower cholesterol, lose weight, and lower blood pressure.

What is “lean” beef?

To be considered lean, a 3.5-oz serving of cooked beef must have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol. Look for the word “loin”, “round”, and 95% ground beef in the name when finding a lean cut of beef. A few samples of lean beef cuts are top sirloin steak, strip steak (top loin steak), tenderloin steak, or 95% lean ground beef.

Less stress dinnertime strategies:

Maximize your prep time

What are you more likely to cook with midweek? A head of unwashed broccoli still wrapped from the grocery store or the broccoli that is washed, trimmed, and stored in a produce bag ready to be cooked? I think we all know the answer here.

Create a plan

Look at your week ahead before you go grocery shopping and plan meals for the week. This will alleviate the “what’s for dinner?” question, prevent food waste, which will then in turn save you money.

Acknowledge the chaos

There are days that will just not go according to plan and that’s okay! To really make meals manageable, it’s important to be realistic with what to expect. Unrealistic expectations may set you up for a failed experience before the meal even begins. Plan for sheet pan dinners mid-week when you know you will be short on time.

Enjoy the moment

Whether you are dining solo or with a crowd take that time to enjoy the meal and be in the moment. Enjoy the company or the solidarity without outside distraction. We all need time to disconnect from technology.

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steak & veggies on a sheet pan

Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 16
  • Total Time: 31 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: sheet pan

Description

Make dinnertime stress-free with this simple Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies recipe.


Ingredients

Scale

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound strip steak


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to broil (500°F). Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot of water, parboil squash for 5 minutes, to slightly soften. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine butternut squash and broccoli. Add 1-tablespoon olive oil, half the garlic, 1-teaspoon of thyme to the vegetables, and salt and pepper, to taste; toss to combine. Add to the baking sheet in an even layer.
  4. Pat steak dry. Add to the baking sheet in between the vegetables. Brush steak with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil and rub with the remaining ½ teaspoon thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper on both sides.
  5. Place in the oven and broil until steak is browned and charred at the edges; about 6-8 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and flip the steak and toss the veggies. Cook for an additional 6-8 minutes for medium-rare, until an inserted thermometer, reads 145°F.

Notes

Cook time may vary due to the thickness of the steak. Use a digital thermometer to determine doneness.

Keywords: sheet pan, steak, beef, one pan meal, dinner

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References:
Sayer RD, et al. Equivalent reductions in body weight during the Beef WISE Study: Beef’s Role in Weight Improvement, Satisfaction, and Energy. Obes Sci Pract 2017. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/osp4.118/full

Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon

You’ll be soon adding this easy Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to your weekly dinner menu rotation.

salmon layered with ginger and lemon in an instant pot

A lot of Instant Pot recipes are used for tough cuts of meat. The function of the Instant Pot creates steam under extreme pressure and forces it’s way to the tough fibers of the meat breaking them down to become tender.

But what if you have an already delicate protein like salmon?

hands holding a bowl of quinoa, salmon, and green beans

You can still utilize the Instant Pot for more delicate proteins like salmon, but the Instant Pot is utilized a little differently.

Instead of searing and submerging in liquid, utilize the steaming rack of the Instant Pot. Add a little liquid on the bottom which will steam the salmon and infuse flavors into the final product. For this recipe, I used vegetable broth and a few sprigs of parsley. Utilize different herbs to infuse flavors.

salmon placed in an instant pot

By simply laying the lemon and ginger on top of the salmon fillet, the flavors penetrate into the salmon fillet creating fresh and vibrant flavors.

While the cooking time is only 3 minutes in the Instant Pot, allow an extra 5-10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to full pressure, then it begins the three minute cook time.

quinoa, salmon, and green beans in a white bowl with white napkin

Research shows eating seafood two to three times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause. Seafood provides unique health benefits as a lean protein and is the best source for omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats essential to human health and development.

Use this simple and flavorful Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to help you meet the mark for enjoying seafood 2-3 times each week!

#TeamGoodFat

Embrace the unsaturated fats found in foods such as walnuts, seeds, plant oils, avocados, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel, and herring.

Fats play an essential role in human health from head (brain) to toe (joints). Replacing just 5 percent of your caloric intake from so-called bad fats (like trans and saturated fat found in red meat) with unsaturated fat from seafood and plant-based foods can reduce your risk of death by 27 percent.
(source)

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quinoa, salmon, and green beans in a white bowl

Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 3
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 34 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot

Description

You’ll be soon adding this easy Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to your weekly dinner menu rotation.


Ingredients

Scale

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
1 pound salmon fillet (about 1-inch thick)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small knob (about 2 tablespoons) fresh ginger, sliced
1 lemon, sliced


Instructions

Pour broth and parsley in the Instant Pot and then put in the steamer rack (coated with cooking spray) at the bottom, making sure the handles are extended up.

Place salmon, skin side down, on the steamer rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer on pieces of ginger and lemon.

Close the Instant Pot and make sure vent is turned to “Sealing”. Plug it in, press “Steam” and press the + or – buttons to set it to 3 minutes. When the Instant Pot beeps that it’s done, quick release the pressure, being careful to stay out of the way of the steam that will shoot up. Press the “Warm/Cancel” button. Remove lid, and using hot pads, carefully remove rack with salmon and set on a plate.

Serve alongside a whole grain and vegetable for a complete meal. 


Notes

Cooking time may vary. Depending on the thickness of your salmon, 3 minutes is perfect for a fillet that’s about 1 inch at its thickest part.

Keywords: salmon, Instant Pot, dinner, healthy fats, heart healthy

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Lemon Vinaigrette

Brighten any salad, grain, or vegetable dish with this simple lemon vinaigrette. Made with ingredients you probably already have on hand, simply whip this up in a mason jar.

Lemon Vinaigrette in a small glass jar

I don’t think people realize how EASY it is to make a homemade dressing. The most basic vinaigrette recipe is mixing an acid and a base. Then just add seasonings you enjoy. Simply pour ingredients into a mason jar and shake away. Your dressing is made! How easy was that? Plus, making it in a mason jar is ready to store any leftovers.

Lemon Vinaigrette in a small glass jar

If you want to go beyond the basics, use this guide to build your own vinaigrette.

Create a homemade vinaigrette

Choose your acid:

This can be in the form of vinegar or citrus juice. Pick something that matches with your salad mix-ins. Opt for a sweet acid like white wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or an orange juiced, for salads that have fruit. 

Try acids like apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, or other citrus juices. 

Tip: Think about the components of your salad. If you have a salad with bright colors, avoid darker vinegar. Once the salad is dressed, those bright vibrant colors will look muddy. Remember – we eat with our eyes first! 

Choose your base:

The base is oil. Use good quality oil. This can be a simple olive oil or fancy garlic and rosemary-infused walnut oil. Again think about the components of your salad. If there are avocados in your salad, why not try avocado oil? 

Try oils like olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil, hazelnut oil, or other flavor-infused oils. 

Add seasonings:

If you are new to making dressings, simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing with a pinch of salt and pepper will work just fine. Once you are comfortable making dressings, try amping it up with other seasonings. 

Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to add a little tanginess and also to help create a creamier vinaigrette. Add a teaspoon of miso for an umami flavor. Try using fresh herbs for a pop of flavor. For a sweet vinaigrette, add a little maple syrup or honey. 

Lemon Vinaigrette in a small glass jar

Once you start playing around with different combinations, you’ll start to know what flavor combinations you like best!

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lemon vinaigrette in a small jar with lemons

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup 1x
  • Category: dressing
  • Method: no-cook

Description

This lemon vinaigrette is incredibly easy to make. Drizzle it on all your salad and veggie recipes!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced (approx 1/3 cup juice)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Simply measure ingredients and add to a mason jar. Secure lid and shake. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


Keywords: dressing, vinaigrette, homemade, mason jar, salad dressing, healthy fats, lemon, citrus, cooking tips

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One-Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté

This one-pan chicken sausage & gnocchi saute utilizes simple ingredients to create a delicious meal in minutes.

kale with chicken sausage and gnocchi

I never understood the mad rush to the grocery store when there is an inkling of news about the possibility of snow. Previously, working as a retail dietitian, the madness was unreal. The aisles with the bread and milk would be completely wiped out. I guess everyone’s instinct is to survive on bread and milk if they get snowed in? I’ll never understand.

Sausage, gnocchi, and kale in a white bowl

My kitchen isn’t always completely stocked and with news of snow, I’m the last person you will see heading to the grocery store. I don’t want to deal with the craziness!

I think it’s fun to poke around the kitchen utilizing what I have on hand to create new meal ideas. I always say that makes me feel like I am on an episode of “Chopped“. (minus the crazy ingredients like cow’s tongue the contestants get in their mystery baskets)

One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté in a white bowl on a marble slab

Each kitchen no matter how big or small has four kitchen zones: the refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and countertops. Don’t just open the fridge and just decide “there’s nothing to eat, let’s grab take out.” Utilize the ingredients in each zone to create a meal. This recipe uses all four kitchen zones to create a delicious and balanced meal.

Refrigerator: chicken sausage, kale
Freezer: gnocchi
Pantry: olive oil, white beans, chicken broth
Countertop: garlic

chicken sausage and gnocchi in a white bowl

No need to rush to the grocery store when there is snow on the forecast. Just utilize what you have in each kitchen zone! And with simply one pan, chicken sausage & gnocchi saute came together in minutes.

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One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté in a white bowl

One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: one pan

Description

One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté making meal time a breeze


Ingredients

Scale

10 oz. gnocchi*, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 links chicken sausage*, sliced on a bias
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth


Instructions

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken sausages until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan. Add garlic, white beans and gnocchi. Saute until beans and gnocchi are warmed through. (Keep an eye on the garlic. Do not let it burn. Turn down heat if needed.)

Add chicken sausage back into the pan. Then, add kale and chicken broth. Stir to thoroughly combine ingredients. Cover until kale wilts. Remove lid and allow excess moisture to evaporate. 

Serve. Top with parmesan cheese, if desired. 


Notes

  • *Can use cauliflower gnocchi in this recipe, if desired.
    *I used Alfresco chicken sausage.

Keywords: kale, chicken, chicken sausage, one pan, gnocchi, white beans, beans, dinner

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Pumpkin Pie Bites

Do you ever have something on your to-do list that just keeps getting rolled over every time to a new to-do list? Welp. That’s posting this Pumpkin Pie Bites recipe. Sorry for holding out on you.

bite taken out of an energy bite

I know I am often the minority when it comes to the love of my paper planner. (Passion Planner to be exact) For the month of January, the pages are completely filled with meetings, cooking classes, presentations, parties, etc. I’m one of those people who likes being busy, but sometimes things fall through the cracks, like posting this recipe which has been sitting in draft for the past two weeks. #sorryivebeenbusy

bite taken out of a pumpkin pie bite

A version of this recipe was developed with one of my awesome JWU interns. I have a sweet spot for JWU interns and I am a JWU alum myself. I love spending days in the kitchen as a full “test kitchen” days. It’s been fun working with JWU interns because we speak the same “culinary language”. This recipe was tested a few times until the texture and taste came out just right.

energy bites in a white bowl on a stone slab

Batch cook these little energy bites for the week. They are the perfect on-the-go snack. Who says pumpkin season is over? Let’s keep the pumpkin around all year round!

bowl of pumpkin pie bites
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pumpkin pie energy bites in a white bowl on a slate

Pumpkin Pie Bites

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings (2 bites per serving) 1x
  • Category: snack, dessert
  • Method: no-cook

Description

Batch cook these bites for an energy-boosting snack during the day!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • boiling water, as needed
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon coconut flour*
  • 1  1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Soak the dates in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor. Process until fairly smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
  3. Transfer to a separate bowl and fold in chocolate chips. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Once chilled, scoop 1-tablespoon sized portions and roll into balls. The mixture makes about 16 bites. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Notes

If the dough is too sticky, pulse in additional coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. 

Keywords: pumpkin, pumpkin pie, energy bites, snack,

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Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

There is nothing better then cozying up to a warm bowl of soup on a chilly evening. Soups can pack in a ton of flavor utilizing various food groups creating a balanced meal.

A couple of weeks ago I had a cooking class called “Hearty Soups & Salads” and in the class, we discussed when making soup, the ingredients and steps are well thought out to build and develop depths of flavors.

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

You might think, pairing butternut squash and Honeycrisp apples would yield a soup too sweet, but with the addition of sharp cheddar and plain yogurt, adds a balance of salty, with a hint of tart and tangy.

When blended, this creates a silky smooth soup. Batch cook and freeze some for later.

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Properly cool, freeze, and reheat soup:

  1. Refrigerators and freezers cannot cool soups quickly enough for food safety protocols. Speed up the cooling process by placing the pot of soup in a bath of ice water in the sink. Stir soup to help release the heat.
  2. Label and date large ziplock plastic bags. To help pour soup in the bag, place bag in the bowl and cuff the bag over the edges. Ladle soup into each bag, let out excess air and seal.
  3. Lay bags flat in a single layer in the freezer. When completely frozen, stack bags to save space in the freezer.
  4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
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Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup in a white bowl

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD

Ingredients

Scale

1 tablespoon butter
½ sweet onion, diced
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 1/2 cup) [I used Cabot’s sharp cheddar]
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish


Instructions

Saute onions with butter over low medium heat in a large stockpot until translucent.
Add squash, apples, and stock or broth in a large pan; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan and simmer squash for 20 minutes or until very tender.
Uncover and let cool. Puree in blender or food processor, in batches, if necessary.
Return puree to saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir in yogurt, cheese, and ground red pepper. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
Whisk soup just until heated through (do not allow to boil). Serve sprinkled with chives.


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