(Family Features) The spring season brings to mind flowers blooming and plants springing back to life, making it the ideal time to enjoy fresh produce in meals throughout the day. Salads are of course one of the easiest ways to combine the flavors of your favorite fruits and veggies, but you can take your greens to the next level with refreshing recipe ideas.
Creating a cool, satisfying salad can be easy when you start with quality ingredients like Fresh Express salad blends, NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes and Litehouse dressings for versatile bases in a nearly endless array of options. For example, salads aren’t limited to lunch or appetizers – this Breakfast Salad Bowl makes for an energizing start to the day by combining classic salad ingredients with quinoa, bacon and avocado.
Perfect for those busy weeknights, heartier salad recipes can also provide quick, simple dinner options. As a more traditional mix to enjoy at the family table, this Salmon and Grains Salad Bowl brings together salmon, tomatoes and chickpeas on a bed of lettuce topped with ranch dressing.
Find more ways to create hearty salads this spring at litehousefoods.com/iheartsalad.
Salmon and Grains Salad Bowl
- 4 ounces salmon
- 2 tablespoons paprika, divided
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 15 ounces chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ounces Fresh Express Sweet Butter Lettuce
- 1 cup red quinoa, cooked
- 6 ounces NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing
- Heat oven to 350° F. Sprinkle salmon with 1 teaspoon paprika; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake on lined baking sheet 15 minutes, or until it reaches desired doneness.
- In bowl, toss chickpeas in olive oil and remaining paprika; add salt and pepper, to taste. Add chickpeas to lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 F 30-40 minutes.
- Add lettuce to plate or bowl. Top with quinoa, chickpeas, salmon and tomatoes. Drizzle with ranch dressing.
Breakfast Salad Bowl
- 10 ounces NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 ounces Fresh Express Baby Spinach
- 1 egg
- 2 bacon strips, halved
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Litehouse Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
- Heat oven to 400° F. Toss tomatoes in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake tomatoes on lined baking sheet 40 minutes.
- In skillet, add remaining olive oil and cook baby spinach until wilted, stirring as necessary.
- Cook egg as desired. Remove egg from skillet and set aside. Add bacon to skillet and cook until crispy, turning halfway through.
- In bowl, layer quinoa, bacon, avocado, egg, spinach and tomatoes. Drizzle with jalapeno ranch dressing.
(Family Features) Whether you’re hosting a houseful of guests or simply keeping your family’s hunger at bay before dinner, appetizers can be a home chef’s best friend. Simple options like dips allow for personalization while keeping cook time to a minimum.
The next time you’re looking for a quick fix, consider this Caramelized Sweet Onion Hummus recipe that’s ideal for pairing with pita bread, veggies or crackers. With the layered flavor, color and texture of onions serving as a key ingredient, it’s a nutritious substitute for less health-conscious appetizers and snacks.
In fact, onions can be called nature’s ninja because of their many “skills.” Onions add abundant flavor to a wide variety of foods with just 45 calories per serving as a source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and other key nutrients such as folate, calcium and iron. They are also rich in heart-healthy nutrients and have been shown to help prevent some cancers.
Find more recipe ideas at onions-usa.org.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Caramelized Sweet Onion Hummus
Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association
- 1 whole garlic head
- 4 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon, extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1/2 cup tahini (toasted ground sesame seeds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Cut top of garlic head off and place cut-side down on pan; drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until garlic is soft. Once cool, squeeze garlic from each clove.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir onion frequently until slices begin to brown. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until onions are soft and reach medium brown color.
- Rinse and drain chickpeas; reserve 3 tablespoons liquid.
- In food processor, blend chickpeas, reserved liquid, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, remaining olive oil and onions until combined and smooth. Serve with pita bread, veggies or crackers.
Source: National Onion Association
Resolve to make nutritious eating a priority
(Family Features) Discovering a better version of yourself is all about striking balance. That’s especially true when it comes to making smarter food choices that you can maintain over time.
A sustainable, long-term healthy eating approach, such as the Atkins low-carb lifestyle, emphasizes variety and balance. Start planning a low-carb menu filled with high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats with these tips from Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education for Atkins.
Fill up with fiber-rich foods. Foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-glycemic fruit (like berries) and whole unrefined grains are considered carbohydrates, but they don’t raise your blood sugar the way processed carbs do. Fiber slows the entry of glucose into your bloodstream so you don’t experience insulin spikes that encourage your body to produce and store body fat. Try to eat between 25-35 grams of fiber a day.
Reduce inflammation. A low-carb approach eliminates refined and processed foods and sugars that can cause inflammation. Focus on foods that decrease inflammation, such as colorful low-glycemic vegetables, low-sugar fruits, protein and healthy fats such as olive oil. The ground turmeric in this Golden Milk recipe offers an easy way to fight inflammation without sacrificing flavor.
Kickstart your morning. Start your day with a protein-packed choice such as these Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats. You’ll get the omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants from the chia seeds along with protein and healthy fats to keep you energized while avoiding high-sugar breakfast alternatives.
Satisfying, Low-Sugar Swaps
Eating on the go can easily cause you to grab a high-sugar option, but there are simple swaps to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Satisfy your hunger with an option like the Atkins Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar. Made with sweet chocolate and rich, creamy peanut butter, this bar offers 16 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and only 2 grams of sugar to satisfy your hunger without the guilt.
Find more recipes like these for Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan or Spicy Crispy Chickpeas and ideas for a balanced, low-carb approach to eating well at Atkins.com.
Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Net carbs: 4.41
- 1 bunch thin spear asparagus
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1/4 teaspoon, extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 salmon fillets (4 ounces each), no more than 3/4-inch thick
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil-based mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon minced or pressed garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- Wash asparagus and remove woody ends. Place on rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pinch of salt. Arrange in single layer, leaving space for salmon. Place salmon skin-side down on sheet. Brush with remaining olive oil and season with remaining salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake 12 minutes.
- In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and garlic.
- Remove sheet pan from oven, sprinkle asparagus spears with cheese and cook 3 minutes, or until fish reaches 145° F and asparagus spears are tender and beginning to brown on tips.
- Plate one fillet and half the asparagus, drizzle each plate with about 2 tablespoons mayonnaise sauce and serve.
Spicy Crispy Chickpeas
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Net carbs: 8.3
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon ghee (or clarified butter), melted
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- Heat air fryer to 390° F 3 minutes.
- Using fine mesh sieve, drain and rinse chickpeas. Use towel to gently pat chickpeas dry, removing skins. In small bowl, toss chickpeas with ghee and salt.
- Cook in single layer in air fryer 6 minutes. Pause and shake bowl; cook 6 minutes. Pause and shake bowl; cook 3 minutes.
- In separate small bowl, sprinkle chickpeas with spices and toss to evenly coat. Chickpeas can be stored in open container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Net carbs: 3
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 10 drops liquid stevia extract
- In small pan, whisk coconut milk, almond milk, water, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and pepper. Warm over medium heat until hot but not simmering, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in sweetener and serve.
Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats
Prep time: 5 minutes
Chill time: 3 hours
Net carbs: 6.84
- 1 Atkins Chocolate Banana Shake
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut shreds
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- fruit, such as sliced bananas or berries (optional)
- In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine shake, rolled oats, chia seeds, hemp hearts, coconut and almonds. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Top with fruit, if desired.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan, Spicy Crispy Chickpeas, Golden Milk, Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats)
Create kid-friendly meals using canned foods
(Family Features) Back-to-school season means busy schedules filled with extracurricular activities, homework and carpools. It can be challenging to find quality time to spend with loved ones, let alone get a wholesome, homemade meal on the table.
A simple way to create more moments with your family and still serve up nutritious and delicious dinners is to make sure you have canned foods on-hand.
According to a study published in “Nutrients,” a pantry stocked with canned produce helps adults and kids eat more nutrient-rich foods, leading to healthier overall diets. Canned foods also help cut down on meal prep, so you spend less time in the kitchen and more time together with your family doing the things you love.
“As a busy mom, canned foods are my secret weapon in the kitchen and ensure that I always have the makings of a nutritious meal for my family all year long, and especially when the kids are back in school,” said Holley Grainger, registered dietitian and mother of two. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested at the peak of ripeness and canned within only four hours after being picked, sealing in their nutrition and flavor. So, I know I have year-round access to my family’s favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables right in my pantry.”
Canned foods also make it easy to get the kids involved in the kitchen, with recipes like Pumpkin Mac and Cheese or Hearty Chickpea Vegetable Soup, so you can help build a positive connection to healthy eating for your children. Plus, the family can “go green” and recycle the cans after they’re used; in fact, cans are the most recycled food and beverage containers in America.
For more flavorful recipes, and to learn more about the benefits of cooking with canned foods, visit CansGetYouCooking.com.
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces rotini or medium shell pasta
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Grease 1 1/2-quart baking dish. In 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and milk; cook until mixture is thickened and smooth. Stir in pumpkin, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Remove from heat; whisk in cheeses until smooth. Stir in cooked pasta; toss to mix well. Spoon into baking dish.
- Melt remaining butter; stir in breadcrumbs to coat well. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and mixture is golden.
Hearty Chickpea Vegetable Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 cans (14 3/4 ounces each) low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 medium squash)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) sliced carrots, drained
- 3 cups kale, coarsely chopped
- In 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Cook onion and garlic until just softened, stirring frequently. Stir in cumin; cook 1 minute.
- Add broth, water, butternut squash and salt. Over high heat, heat to boil.
- Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes until squash is tender.
- Add garbanzo beans, carrots and kale. Continue to simmer about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Source: Can Manufacturers Institute
(Family Features) As days get longer and the weather gets warmer, take your meal outdoors for some tasty al fresco dining featuring a fresh and easy-to-prepare salad.
With minimal ingredients and maximum flavor, this combination of radicchio, California green ripe olives, chickpeas and Parmesan is sure to find its way into your seasonal meal occasions, from at-home dinners to garden parties.
Boasting vibrant purple hues, radicchio not only looks beautiful on the plate but packs a unique and pleasing, bitter flavor that is complemented by the texture added to each bite by toasted sunflower seeds and chickpeas.
Completing the salad are California Ripe Olives, which are grown by farming families across California. The California green ripe olive is similar to the black ripe olive but features a more mild and buttery flavor profile.
Find more tasty recipes at calolive.org.
Radicchio Salad with Olives, Chickpeas and Parmesan
Recipe courtesy of the Simply Recipes blog
Prep time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 large head radicchio (10-12 ounces)
- 1 can (16 ounces) California green ripe olives, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste
- Add sunflowers seeds to small, dry skillet. Toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until seeds are toasted around edges and smell fragrant.
- Transfer seeds to bowl to cool.
- Peel away and discard a layer or two of outer radicchio leaves if they look wilted or battered. Cut head of radicchio into quarters through root. Trim away root.
- Cut each quarter crosswise into strips, 1- to 1 1/2-inches thick. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
- Add olives, chickpeas and 3/4 cup cheese to bowl with radicchio.
- Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss gently until ingredients are evenly coated. If cheese clumps together, break apart with spatula and stir in.
- Let salad stand at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour.
- Add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve salad on individual plates or one shared platter. Top with remaining cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.
Substitution: If radicchio is unavailable, try frisee, endive or another bitter green.
Note: Salad is best served within one hour of preparation, but can be stored in airtight container in fridge for several days.
Source: California Olive Committee