Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese

Are you looking for a new and creative way to utilize spaghetti squash? Let me introduce you to my new favorite recipe: Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese! It’s easy to make and the entire family will love it! 

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese on a white plate, one piece dipped in marinara sauce

We all know that spaghetti squash has many health benefits. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One of the reasons I love using spaghetti squash so much when I’m cooking is because of how versatile it can be. 

What ingredients do I use for this Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese?

This recipe calls for ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. From eggs to parmesan cheese and various seasonings, I’m sure you have most of the ingredients on hand already. If you want to kick the recipe up a notch you could add other various seasonings as you see fit! 

How do I make this Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese? 

It’s very easy to make, which is another benefit if you’re busy or on the go. The most difficult part of the entire recipe is preparing the squash (which really isn’t even difficult at all!). 

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese on a white plate with a small dish of marinara sauce

How do I serve the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches?

Personally, I like to each them alone for a quick lunch or snack. If you want to make these for dinner, you can serve them with your favorite soup! You’ll find some of my favorite soup recipes here: https://julieharringtonrd.com/recipes/?_search=soup 

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese being dipped in a small white bowl with marinara sauce

How do I cook spaghetti squash? 

The easiest method to cook the spaghetti squash for this recipe is in the microwave. However, you can also use your instant pot or oven. You’ll find the instructions in the recipe card below! 

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Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese on a white plate with a small dish of marinara sauce

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Do you have spaghetti squash but you aren’t quite sure what to make with it? Let me introduce you to my new favorite recipe: Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese! It’s easy to make and the entire family will love it! 


Ingredients

Scale

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 eggs
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Instructions

  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves skin side up in a microwave-safe baking dish. (You can cook each squash half separately if your baking dish is too small to fit both, or cook both at once.) Fill the dish with about 1 inch of water.
  2. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. When done, a fork poked through the skin should slide easily into the squash. Continue microwaving on high for another 2 to 5 minutes as needed, until fork tender. When cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the strands of squash from the inside. (see notes below for alternative cooking methods)
  3. Using a cheesecloth or thin dishtowel, squeeze excess liquid from the squash (there will be a lot!). 
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, parmesan, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Add the spaghetti squash and mix well breaking up any clumps of squash. 
  5. Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat. Coat waffle iron well with cooking spray. Add half the squash mixture to the waffle iron and cook until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes, depending on your waffle iron.
  6. Open waffle iron and sprinkle one side of the waffle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Gently fold over the other half of the waffle on top of the side with the cheese. Gently press down on the waffle iron and continue cooking until the cheese has melted.
  7. Serve alongside tomato soup or dunk in marinara sauce. (or just enjoy it as is!)


Notes

Alternative methods to cook spaghetti squash:

Instant Pot – Slice the spaghetti squash in half and then scoop out the seeds in the center.
Place a trivet or steamer basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add a cup of water into the bottom. Arrange the cut squash halves on top of the trivet and secure the lid. Place the steam release valve in the lid is in the sealing position. Use the pressure cook or manual button to set the pressure cooker to cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. Release pressure and remove from Instant Pot.

In the oven – Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Drizzle the cut side with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 40 minutes or just until fork-tender. Let cool until able to handle. Flip spaghetti squash over and run a fork down the squash to separate into strands.

Keywords: spaghetti squash recipe, waffle, low carb, vegetarian

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FAQ

Do these Spaghetti Squash Grilled Cheese Waffles freeze well? How do you reheat them?
Yes! Feel free to meal prep these in advance. I would suggest heating them in the oven to warm up to retain their crispiness.

What if I don’t have a waffle iron?
Not to worry! You can still make the concept of this recipe by adding a scoop of the spaghetti squash mixture to a frying pan, crisp both sides and add cheese in the middle.

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese on a white plate with a small dish of marinara sauce

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Rustic Apple Galette

Get creative with apples this season and switch it up by making this Rustic Apple Galette.

slice cut out of an apple galette

We are all creatures of habit. When I have apples on my grocery list, I walk straight to the produce department and pick the same few apple varieties each time. When I was in culinary school, it really opened my eyes to exploring new foods. I’m not just talking about unique foods, but rather some of the everyday foods that we don’t necessarily take advantage of. The majority of grocery stores carry over six varieties of apples at a time. When I was a supermarket dietitian, during the fall season, I’ve seen even up to 15 varieties taking up a spot in the produce department.

It’s not just apples to apples. Different apples contain different tastes, culinary uses, and may even ripen at different times during the season. Here are some apple varieties to look out for and ways to use them in the kitchen.

Best apples for making applesauce:

  • Pink Lady
  • Granny Smith
  • Braeburn

The best apple for making tart applesauce is a Pink Lady (for a tangy-sweet flavor) or, depending on taste, you could opt for a true tart variety like Granny Smith. Unless you have a high-powered blender, be sure to peel the skin prior to cooking. Add a hint of sweetness without added sugar, by sweetening applesauce with cinnamon.

Best apples for baking:

  • Granny Smith
  • Pink Lady
  • Golden Delicious
  • Fuji

There are a few! Apples on the sweeter end of things are a good choice, as their higher sugar content means you can go a bit lighter on added sugars in the recipes. If you want your apples to maintain a bit of crispness, look for firmer apples that will maintain texture under the heat.

Best apples for salads:

  • Honeycrisp
  • Pink Lady
  • Fuji
  • Jazz
  • Empire

For salads, you’ll want a crunchy apple that doesn’t brown too quickly when sliced or chopped.  Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Fuji, Jazz, and Empire apples have bright white flesh that resists browning when cut.

Best apples for stuffing:

  • Pink Lady
  • Golden Delicious

Looking for a balance of sweet and savory in your stuffing recipe? Both Pink Lady and Golden Delicious varieties make a great addition to savory stuffing with their firm texture and sweet/tart flavor.

Best apples for making galettes:

  • Golden Delicious
  • Pink Lady
  • Honeycrisp
  • Golden Delicious
full apple galette on a piece of parchment paper with a slice cut out

What is a galette?

A galette is a French term for round or freeform crusty cakes. The fillings can be made with both sweet or savory ingredients.

The best apples to use for making an apple galette is one that is sweet and tart that holds up exceptionally well to heat, like pink lady, fuji, or honey crisp. If you are looking for a little extra tartness, using Golden Delicious apples is a great way to go too.

apple galette with a slice removed and a knife

Next time apples are on your grocery list, I challenge you to choose a different apple variety than your typical choice.

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Rustic Apple Galette

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD

Ingredients

Scale

For the crust:
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter (5 tablespoons), cut into ½ inch pieces
3 tablespoons low-fat milk
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

For the filling:
3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced (choose a firm, sweet and tart variety, like Pink Lady)
2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1 large egg white, lightly beaten
(optional) 1 teaspoon sugar


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Unwrap dough and place on a floured surface. Roll out dough to a 15-inch circle. Place the dough on the baking sheet. Evenly, spoon the apple mixture onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges.
  3. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples. Brush edges with the whisked egg white. Sprinkle with sugar, if using.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Cut into 8 wedges.

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This recipe was originally posted in the November 2018 issue of Today’s Dietitian.

FAQ:

Do I have to make a homemade crust?
Nope! You can definitely skip that step and use a pre-made pie crust.

What other fruits would work well in this recipe?
Any fruits that don’t have too much moisture. Pears, plums, and peaches work well in galettes.

What savory flavor combinations would you try?
I developed a savory root vegetable galette for the American Pecan Council that was delicious!

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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!


Ingredients

Scale

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).

Pear Walnut Muffins

Enjoy as part of breakfast or alone as a snack. These Pear Walnut Muffins are simple to make with big flavor.

Pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other
pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other on a cooling rack

How to know if a pear is ripe

Remember to “check the neck”. Pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Pears are harvested when they reach maturity, and when left at room temperature pears slowly ripen from the inside out.

Apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe.

What’s different about green anjou pears?

Anjou pears have a more egg shape appearance. Their dense flesh holds up well in heated applications like baking, poaching, roasting, or grilling and they are delicious when sliced fresh in salads or eaten as an out-of-hand snack.

pear walnut muffin cut in half on a white plate

How to make Pear Walnut Muffins

The recipe for these pear walnut muffins is pretty much a straight forward muffin recipe.

  1. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  2. Fold in mix-ins.
  3. Bake!

Recipe Notes:

Why sift flour?

Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.

Be mindful of the size.

When chopping ingredients to mix into the batter, be mindful of the size. Chop ingredients in an even size. For the pears in this recipe, think about each bite of the muffin – big enough to note the taste and texture but not too big that it takes over.

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Pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other

Pear Walnut Muffins

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10
  • Category: muffin
  • Method: baking

Description

These pear walnut muffins are the perfect addition to a breakfast or enjoy alone as a snack. Learn baking tips to create perfect muffins every time!


Ingredients

1 large ripe pear peeled, cored and diced (preferably d’Anjou)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Optional topping:
coconut sugar or coarse sugar
chopped walnuts


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together diced pears, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. 
  4. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the egg, Greek yogurt, apple cider, butter, and vanilla, until smooth. 
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently fold together until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
  6. Add the walnuts and pear mixture and any accumulated juice to the batter. Gently fold with a spatula until the pecans and pears are incorporated.
  7. Divide the batter between the muffin wells. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with coconut sugar and chopped walnuts. Allow the muffins to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter.
  9. Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Why sift flour? Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.

Keywords: pear, walnut, muffins, baked goods, baking

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How to freeze muffins and prevent freezer burn

Cool muffins completely before wrapping and freezing. To freeze, wrap securely in foil or freezer wrap, or place in freezer bags. Be sure to remove as much excess air within the bag as possible. Muffins can be stored frozen for up to 3 months.

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

Ingredients

Scale
  • 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.


Ingredients

Scale

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

Ingredients

Scale

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 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

Scale

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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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Do you have an overabundance of zucchini from your garden or the farmer’s market? Turn it into this delicious Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. With only a hint of sweetness, this can be enjoyed with any meal or snack.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread on a marble slab

Do you enjoy cooking or baking more?

I tend to enjoy cooking more as you can adjust the taste as you go and have more control throughout the process of a dish during the cooking process. For me, baking (especially when developing a new recipe), is much more intimidating. Why? Because you measure, mix, pour into a pan… and then hope for the best! Once that timer goes off you find out if it’s a win or a flop.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread sliced on a marble slab

This quickbread a little denser than regular quick bread, as I used half whole wheat flour. When I bake I try to squeeze in whole grains where I can. My favorite whole grain flours to bake with are whole wheat flour and oat flour. I’ve also been experimenting with almond flour and coconut flour too, which totally throw you for a curveball because they have very different baking properties.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread on a marble slab

Want to add your own twist to this chocolate chip zucchini bread? Turn it into a banana chocolate chip zucchini bread by swapping out the applesauce for mashed banana. Enjoy more texture? Try adding walnuts into the mix! Remember – recipes are just a guide. Always feel free to add your own twist.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread on a marble slab with a knife and napkin

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: baked goods
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

3 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 zucchinis)
1 cup chocolate chips


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Shred zucchini. Using paper towels press as much moisture you can from the zucchini.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Fold zucchini into flour. This will help zucchini being dispersed throughout the bread vs. clumping together.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, a little at a time, mixing until well combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle and comes out clean.
  8. Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before taking it out of the loaf pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Keywords: zucchini bread, zucchini, chocolate chips, baking, whole grain,

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This recipe was originally posted in 2013. The recipes, images, and content have been updated.

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Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad

Ribbon sliced vegetables in an Asian dressing is light and refreshing. This Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad is perfect for warmer weather and also a delicious change from a traditional salad.

Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulieRD - refreshing and light Asian inspired salad. #saladsthatdontsuck #carrot #cucumber #salad #Asiandressing #lowcarb #healthy #recipe

Utilize your vegetable peeler a little more than just removing the skin. No need for a fancy spiralizer. Simply continue to peel using your vegetable peeler to create delicate vegetable ribbons.

What are English Cucumbers?

I specifically used English cucumbers in this recipe. Why? Because English cucumbers (also known as burp-less, seedless, or hothouse cucumbers) taste is less bitter than conventional cucumbers, are milder and almost have a hint of sweetness. You can find them in the produce aisle wrapped in plastic. Conventional cucumbers are waxed protecting their skin, whereas English cucumbers are not and have a thinner more delicate skin that is protected by the wrapping.

Switch it up from your traditional lettuce-based salads and try something new! This quick and easy Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad is perfect to switch up your salad game in the warmer months.

Want to turn it more into a meal? Try adding shrimp on top.

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Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad in a white bowl with a vegetable peeler

Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 46 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: Asian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 2 large carrots, peeled 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots and cucumbers into ribbons. Combine the cucumbers and carrots in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Toss the cucumbers and carrots with the dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Chill for 20 minutes before serving.

Keywords: sesame, cucumber, carrot, salad, no cook, side dish, healthy, low carb

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