Salads & Sides

Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain

When I say “local” I’m talking about our garden.  Did you know we have a farm in our backyard? Yeah, didn’t you know that all Ohioans live on farms?  haha, jk.  In all reality we live in the suburbs, but lately I’ve felt like we live on a farm because our garden is growing out of control! Maybe it’s because of all the rain we’ve had this monthLocal Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 2….Our roses are pretty, no?  Too bad a couple days after this photo was taken, they died.  Oh well, at least the basil and mint are still thriving.  I find myself walking outside to pick them each day for salads, grilled veggies, and pasta dishes.  It’s like living in the Mediterranean.

And then there are the peppers……Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 3

The peppers aren’t thriving so much. This is the second year we’ve tried to grow peppers and it’s just not working out in our favor.  Is there a pepper secret?!

The tomatoes are out of control.  This photo was taken a few weeks ago and since then they have grown another foot.  Nick was concerned at one point that they may all die, but he’s wrong (he’s such a garden worrier.  And, warrior).  We’ve already had about five ripe tomatoes fall to the ground.Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 4Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 5

This broccoli should have been picked a couple days after this photo, but instead it grew too big, too fast, and sprouted yellow flowers.  Oops.  We’ve learned for next year.Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 6

And then there are the zucchini and squash plants.  Our pride and joy.  The zucchini are growing so fast, we can’t keep up with them!  The spaghetti squash still have a few more weeks.Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 7

We now have weapons to use in case anyone breaks into our home.  No joke.  These things could kill.Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 8

Hopefully you love zucchini as much as we do, because there will be a few zucchini recipes coming up on this blog soon. Be warned. Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 9

Here are some of my favorite summer recipes from past blog posts (all of which contain some-type of local Ohio ingredient, or herb that can be grown in the summer months);

FODMAPs-Friendly Salsa

Baked Zucchini Roll-ups

Gluten Free Zucchini Cakes with Greek Yogurt and Chives

Grilled Zucchini with Mint and Feta

Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad

Zucchini and Summer Corn Soup

Bulgur-Blueberry Salad

Pasta with Scallops, Zucchini and Tomatoes

And then there is the farro and wild rice salad that I made on the Fourth of July.  It was such a huge hit, my mom told me I just had to put it on my blog (which of course, I was planning on anyway).  I made up the recipe using this fun image from the New York Times.Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 10

And the grain choices are; wild rice, rice, bulgur, farro, quinoa, pearled barley, steel cut oats, or couscous. The idea is to mix 2 cups cooked grain, 1 cup fruit, vegetable, or both, and some flavorful accents. Next, toss with a nice vinaigrette.

I wanted to use farro because, as you know, I’m experimenting with new whole grains this summer, but I also thought wild rice sounded lovely.  Here is what I came up with;

Farro and Wild Rice Summer Salad

Serves: 6


 1 cup cooked wild rice (how to cook wild rice)

1 cup cooked farro (how to cook farro) **

1/4th cup cucumber, chopped

1/4th cup cherry tomato, halved

1/4th cup red grapes, halved

1/4th cup dried apricots, quartered **

1/4th cup walnuts, chopped

1/4th cup reduced fat feta

2 Tbsp. capers

2 Tbsp. chopped mint, fresh

Vinaigrette:  2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl, then toss with vinaigrette.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

**NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet reduce the farro to 1/2 cup, and increase the wild rice to 1.5 cups.  Or, if you are really sensitive to wheat-like-grains (which contain oligosaccharides), use quinoa instead of farro.  Also keep in mind that apricots contain FODMAPs.  You may want to omit these, or use something else such as 1/4th cup dried shredded coconut (this small amount of coconut should be tolerated by most).Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 11Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 12

Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 13

Estimated nutrition facts for 1/6th of salad

Nutrition Highlights:  Excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamin A, good source of iron and vitamin C.Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 14

Here is a little insight on farro;

Farro is a a plant and grain all its own. A grain of farro looks and tastes somewhat like a lighter brown rice. It has a complex, nutty taste with undertones of oats and barley. But lacking the heaviness of many whole-wheat grains, farro tastes more elegant than earnest.

Farro is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E. It grows best in barren, high-altitude terrain and is almost always grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Because it is so easily digested and so low in gluten, farro can often be eaten by people who are normally gluten-intolerant.Local Produce-Inspired Recipes, And a Salad With the Lower-Gluten Grain 15


Note:  While this grain might be “low in gluten” that doesn’t mean it’s gluten free. It’s NOT safe for those with Celiac disease.

Something else worth noting about farro? It contains 7 grams of protein per serving (1/4th cup dry). That’s more than quinoa, my friends.  And even though the calories are a bit higher in farro (compared to quinoa) the fiber is also about 2 grams greater.  I think farro might be my new best friend (because you can only eat so much quinoa, right?!  Not to say I’m done with quinoa, I still love it).

QUESTION:  Have you tried farro?  What combination of ingredients would you use from the salad diagram above??

Great a great Tuesday everyone, and thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

Salads & Sides

The Best Quinoa Salad, EVER

Ok, I know what you’re thinking….”Really, Gina, the best?  I mean, come on, how could it be the best?!”.  Let me preface this post by telling you that ever since I was a young girl I have been obsessed  with olives (black, green, I don’t care) and anything pickled (I can only imagine what I will crave when I’m pregnant. I have this feeling I will be making Nick go for grocery runs to get me some pickled beets. Seriously, I just know it).  Last year around this time our neighbor Katie came over with an amazing quinoa salad.  I took one bite and instantly fell in love.  I realized it was the combination of cucumber and dill that really grabbed hold of my taste buds, and sent me to heaven on Earth (haha, like that?!). When I asked her for the recipe she basically just gave me the list of ingredients and told me she just adds everything together, without measuring. Well, as strange as that sounds, when I tried it for the first time last year, it worked! And of course, when I tried it again this year, it worked again (who doesn’t love a recipe that involves zero measurings?!).  Of course, I know there are a handful of people who get some anxiety when a recipe doesn’t tell you exactly how much of each ingredient to use, therefore I’ll provide some measurements for you (and I will use these to come up for an estimate for the nutrition facts).

The Best Quinoa Salad, Ever

Serves ~5


Quinoa (~ 2 cups cooked)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (~ 2 Tbsp)

Carrot (~1 large)

Cherry tomatoes, halved (~5-6)

Reduced-Fat Feta cheese (~1/2 cup)

Cucumber, chopped (~1-cup)

Dill (~3 loose Tbsp)

** When you make this recipe yourself be sure to add more or less of certain ingredients, based on your own preferences. **


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, allow to sit for about an hour so the flavors all blend together, then devour and thank me   Actually no, thank my neighbor who introduced this salad to me a couple of years ago.  I’ll never forget it.  It was a moment of pure bliss.  There is something about the dill and the cucumber (pickle, hello!) plus the feta and olive oil that really got me hooked.

NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, you’ll be pleased to know this is low FODMAPs.  Enjoy!The Best Quinoa Salad, EVER 17The Best Quinoa Salad, EVER 18

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/5th of recipe

Nutrition Highlights:  Good source of protein, iron, and fiber, and an excellent source of vitamin AThe Best Quinoa Salad, EVER 19

Other Nutrition Highlights

– Quinoa is a gluten-free whole grain

– The olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which may help reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol

– The tomatoes contain lycopene, which promotes skin, heart and prostate health

– The carrots and tomato contain beta carotene, which promotes skin and heart health and may play a role in cancer prevention

– The fats from the olive oil help you absorb both the lycopene and beta carotene. Do you ever eat tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. by themselves? You should always include a few healthy fats to help promote the bioavailability (absorption) of their disease-fighting nutrients! Another way to promote bioavailability is to cook these foods.

I really love how salads, of all types, are basically a blank canvas.  You can do just about anything to a salad to make it fit your own taste preferences.  I’ve got a couple more whole-grain salads coming your way soon, so get excited.

Question:  Which ingredient would you add more or less of, to make this recipe fit your unique taste preferences?

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

Salads & Sides

Red, White and Blueberry SALSA!


Who has time to write a blog post on a day like this?!  Not me! That’s why I’m making this short and sweet.  If you haven’t figured out what to bring to your cookout today, I’ll say “You’re Welcome” in advance. This is simple and amazing (and trust me, it was approved by about 100 customers at the store yesterday).  Enjoy, and have a WONDERFUl Fourth of July!

Red, White and Blueberry SALSA!


  • ½ sweet white onion, minced **
  • 2 ripe red tomatoes, diced
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro (or mint)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced **
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt


  1. Combine, allow to sit for 30 minutes or overnight, then enjoy!
  2. Serve with your favorite chips.
  3. Crunch away.


** Because of the onion and avocado, this is not a low FODMAPs recipe. You could, however, omit the onion and just eat some of the avocado (about 2 Tbsp. avocado shouldn’t cause problems).Red, White and Blueberry SALSA! 21Red, White and Blueberry SALSA! 22

 And now I’m off to make a farro and wild rice salad.  I’ll post this one soon (it’s my next whole grain experiment. Can you believe I’ve never tried farro?!  Have you??)Red, White and Blueberry SALSA! 23

All the “Fixins’” for my farro and wild rice salad

See you tomorrow with a Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream recipe. Great way to ring in July.  Right?!

Salads & Sides

Mediterranean Salmon Salad on Whole Grain Crackers (Thrifty Thursday)

Are you in the office all day, with not much time to eat? Need a quick source of protein for your lunch (and your answer is yes, because everyone could use a quick source of protein around lunch time!)? Ok,take the time before work and whip this up.  It’s bound to be filling and fulfilling.  Yes, it will please both your stomach and your taste buds.  Ok, I know what you’re thinking about the salmon….you may not make many friends if you brings salmon or tuna (both, by the way, contain a good enough amount of omega-3 and protein to make them great choices) but you could always swap the fish for poultry.  It’s true, make this recipe with chicken if you’d like, or just eat and forget about what others think. Actually, this recipe contains so many other powerful flavors and smells, maybe no one will notice the….fish.  You tell me, try it yourself, be daring!

I get Diabetes Forecast Magazine, because the articles fascinate me, and I never fail  to learn something that I didn’t know before picking up the latest issue.  I also love their recipes (as I’ve said in the past).  I hate when people use the term; “The Diabetic Diet”…because, well, I follow a diabetic diet, and I’m certainly not diabetic.  What is known as a “Diabetic Diet” is actually just a healthy diet, period. As most healthy diets do, it focuses on more nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources like whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and veggies, and also unsaturated fats, and lean proteins such as fish and poultry.  Needless to say, the following recipe is from Diabetes Forecast Magazine.  And since it’s Thrifty Thursday, I’d like to point out that this recipe is cheap and filling (~$1/serving, on average)!

Mediterranean Salmon Salad

Serves: 5

Serving Size: 1-cup salad and 3 medium crackers
Estimated Price Per Serving: ~$1.70


  1. 3 Tbsp. plain nonfat Greek yogurt *
  2. 3 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
  3. 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  4. 1 tsp. maple syrup (or honey)**
  5. 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  6. 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper


  1. 1 can lentils, drained and rinsed **
  2. 1 can (12 ounces) salmon, packed in water, drained (or tuna, if you wish)
  3. 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced (about 1/2 cup)
  4. 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
  5. 1/2 cup diced red onion **
  6. 1-1/2 Tbsp. capers, drained
  7. 6 large green olives
  8. 15 Whole Grain Crackers **


In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the lentils, salmon, red bell pepper, red onion, basil, and capers.  Pour dressing on the salmon mixture and combine.  Serve with crispy whole grain crackers (or however you wish!).

**NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, you will most likely be fine with the Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt contains less lactose than regular yogurt, and with only 3 Tbsp in this entire recipe it shouldn’t be a problem), but you’ll want to use maple syrup instead of honey, omit the red onion, and choose gluten-free crackers (look for a neutral-flavored whole grain variety).  Lastly, lentils contain FODMAPs but the canning process reduces them, so they should be tolerated ok.  If you are really sensitive to GOS and FOS, take a Beano or off-brand enzyme tablet, and be sure to rinse your lentils well!Mediterranean Salmon Salad on Whole Grain Crackers (Thrifty Thursday) 25

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1-serving

Notice the sodium…it’s high.  But keep in mind you can reduce this by draining and rinsing your lentils (this wasn’t accounted for in the nutrition analysis)!  You can actually reduce the sodium in your canned foods by 40% simply by draining and rinsing them.

Nutrition Highlights:  Good source of fiber, iron and vitamin A.  Excellent source of protein, and vitamin C.  Bonus: ~300-500 mg EPA/DHA per serving. Not bad my friends.Mediterranean Salmon Salad on Whole Grain Crackers (Thrifty Thursday) 26

Step two, MIX dressing with salad and take in the wonderful summer aromas.

I was tempted to just eat this bowl of deliciousness, straight up. To be honest, I could have easily polished off the entire recipe in one sitting, but like the good little dietitian I am, I waited about 15 minutes to make sure I wasn’t just eating because it was so freaking delicious.  Fifteen minutes later, the protein and healthy fats kicked in, and I was full.  Pleasantly full. In fact, the crackers weren’t even necessary.  I think this would also go really well on top of a bed of lettuce or spinach, or even as a topping for a sandwich or wrapped in a whole grain tortilla.Mediterranean Salmon Salad on Whole Grain Crackers (Thrifty Thursday) 27

The only crackers I had were pretty tiny, but you get the idea.  When I did the nutrition facts I used 3 smaller whole wheat crackers to give you an idea of the nutrition.  You can use any variety that you like.Mediterranean Salmon Salad on Whole Grain Crackers (Thrifty Thursday) 28

QUESTION:  Do you like canned salmon?  I do.  Can you tell?  Do you have any other simple recipe ideas you’d like to share?  I do get a lot of questions about quick protein sources for lunches at work, and I know tuna and salmon tend to smell a bit….but I still love to recommend them!  They’re convenient, and in all reality most people don’t mind the nice smell of the ocean

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

Salads & Sides

Minty Blood Orange and Watermelon Salad

Oh the summer gardening stress has started again.  Poor Nick. He works so hard on our garden, but it never seems to turn out quite as he wishes.  For starters, we planted this mint about a month ago, and we’ve been warned from countless people that we need to transplant it to a pot so it doesn’t start growing out of control and stealing the nutrients from our other plants.  Warning heard, it was moved last week.  Of course, since it’s the first ting in our garden to really start thriving, I was sure to snip some mint and make a few things….mint smoothies, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and mint on top of steamed veggies with Parmesan cheese.  I also made this lovely watermelon salad, even though I can’t eat watermelon (watermelon is not low FODMAPs).  Watermelon. It’s so juicy and sweet and full of nutrients. Yet my body rejects it. Oh well.  Sometimes I just have to make food, despite not being able to eat it myself. I made this for a work demo one day and it was such a big hit that I figured I’d make it again for a family reunion.  Once again, it was a huge hit (although the flies liked it too, ewww).  It’s just so easy to make, I could really care less that I can’t enjoy it myself.  I mean, I did have one tantalizing taste……every cook/chef/or even dietitian-wannabe-chef needs to taste their food before serving!Minty Blood Orange and Watermelon Salad 30

Don’t have blood oranges? Neither did I when I wanted to make this recipe.  But I did have blood orange olive oil, so I recreated this salad sans the actual blood oranges, and made a couple other “healthy choice” adjustments. It was amazing.  Click the link above if you’d like to follow the original recipe (or use my recipe and just use regular olive oil, half the watermelon, and add a couple blood oranges to the mix!)

Minty Blood Orange and Watermelon Salad

Serves 4


1 small seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into chunks **

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

½ cup reduced-fat feta cheese

  3 tbsp Extra virgin Blood Orange olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Add the watermelon to a large bowl, sprinkle with mint, feta, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Let chill for about an hour. Serve cold.

**NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, try this with cantaloupe instead.  I think it would taste wonderful.  It’s on my list of salads to try!

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1 -serving

Nutrition Highlights:  Low sodium, excellent source of vitamin A (plus lots of lycopene!) and vitamin C.Minty Blood Orange and Watermelon Salad 31

QUESTION:  What’s your go-to summer salad when you have to bring something to a cookout?  I have three; this minty watermelon salad, this quinoa salad, and this bulgar blueberry salad.

And before I go, did you know that today is “National Eat Your Vegetables Day”?!  In honor of vegetables I’d like to share this photo from a food demo I did at work last week.  Grilled veggies, thrown into a bowl of balsamic vinegar, Tuscan oil and a dash of seasoning. Delicious.Minty Blood Orange and Watermelon Salad 32

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

Salads & Sides

Shrimp Salad Lettuce Wraps

Did you have a nice cookout on Monday?  I was working. Can you believe it?!  Yeah, I worked Monday and will be taking my “Memorial Day” on Friday instead.  I plan to get creative in the kitchen with some summer smoothies and to experiment with some new grains and seeds (mainly chia and possibly millet).  I also plan on doing some reading.  I just ordered two books; one about planning for pregnancy and how to make yourself more fertile (for lack of a better explanation!) and the other is about how to make food taste amazing, even if it’s healthy (yes, so many people automatically hate food because it has the word “healthy” associated with it.  I will learn the tricks for masking that “healthy” flavor and turning health foods into foods you crave.) This book is certainly not for me, as I love almost all healthy foods, but instead, this book was purchased as a guide to help me educate my clients on how to create healthy and delicious foods.  I’ll blog about both of them sooner or later.  And speaking of health foods, today’s recipe contains many healthy ingredients, paired perfectly to create a crave-worthy meal.  Please, take a look!

  Shrimp Salad Lettuce Wraps


  • ½ lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned corn (drained and rinsed)**
  • 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼th tsp. Old Bay seasoning **
  • 8 butter lettuce leaves
  • ½ lb. tomatoes, cut into wedges (optional)


  1. Grill corn on a grill pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes,  then add the shrimp and grill both, together, for about 2 minutes (flip the shrimp after 1 minute).
  2. Remove corn and shrimp from the grill to allow to cool.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and seasoning.
  3. Toss the shrimp and corn with the lemon/mayo/seasoning mixture.  Serve the salad in the butter lettuce leaves, and top with tomato wedges, if you wish.


** If you follow a low FODMAPs diet, keep in mind that most corn these days is the sweet corn variety, which contains FODMAPs when consumed in amounts larger than about ¼th cup.  You can look for a non-sweet version of corn (such as white corn) or you could reduce the corn in the recipe (maybe make the total ½ cup instead of 1 cup).  Also, keep in mind that Old Bay seasoning contains garlic and/or onion.  You can reduce the amount called for in the recipe, or use your own garlic and onion free seasoning instead.

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 4 leaves/wraps (1 serving)

Nutrition Highlights:  Under 300 calories, a good source of fiber, an excellent source of vitamins A and C.Shrimp Salad Lettuce Wraps 34

You know those nights when people end up coming over, but you weren’t expecting company?  This is the perfect meal (or even appetizer if you want to make this for 3-4 people), for those occasions.  I like to keep frozen shrimp in my freezer at all times because it works so well in many recipes.  It can be thawed in running cold water, or overnight in the fridge.  It can be added to salads, pasta, or mixed with a few simple ingredients, such as in this recipe, and transformed into deliciousness. And do you see those really red tomatoes??  Hopefully, we’ll have more of those in our garden this year, they’re already starting to grow!  Nick the farmer is having a successful gardening season…so far.Shrimp Salad Lettuce Wraps 35

These wraps were seriously amazing.  I would suggest them for any summer gathering, especially when paired with the bright red tomatoes!  And if you have someone who insists on bread, this would also taste wonderful on a slice, or two, or whole-grain bread.

Let me ask, are you a fan of lettuce wraps?  I remember the first time I tried them at PF Changs, and I was hooked.  Granted they were filled with salty meat, and crispy veggies, which is hard not to like, but there are some people who just don’t like using lettuce for wraps.  I’ve also been known to get the lettuce “wrap” or “Bread” at Jimmy John’s.  Why not save the carbs? The inside meat, cheese, and vegetables are the best part anyway, right?

I hope everyone enjoys their Wednesday.  I’ll be at work, dreaming of my weekend ahead.  Yes, sometimes it really stinks having to work on the weekends and some holidays, but it makes those weekends when you don’t have to work that much better!

Thanks for reading.

The Candid Rd

Salads & Sides

Ginger-Lime Seared Tuna with Spinach

I guess it’s not a secret that Nick and I are thinking of having children (or at least, a child) at this point in our lives.  I mean, we’re both thirty (or…..above, ahem….) and we’ve been together for a while and are ready for that next giant step!  That being said, no, I’m not pregnant, and nor do I plan to be in the really near future (although life never really goes as planned, right?!).  However I’ve been thinking about all of the foods that I’ll have to limit (or omit) once I do get pregnant (and drinks…, coffee, wahhhh!!!).  Tuna, one of my favorite types of fish, will definitely have to be an “every once in a while food”, check out the mercury levels of your favorite fish (including tuna) in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Appendices.  And if you’re pregnant and want to know how much tuna (and what types) you can and can’t eat, check out’s recommendations.

And of course we can’t forget what the Monterey Bay Aquarium has to say.  If you would like more information, visit their website.  Here is the information on Ahi Tuna.Ginger-Lime Seared Tuna with Spinach 37


Basically, when it comes to buying tuna, or any fish for that matter, it’s best to know where your fish is coming from and how it was caught. This may not be necessary all the time, but it’s especially true if you’re pregnant, have young kids who eat fish, or if you eat a specific type of fish on a regular basis.

Anyway…… because tuna tends to be higher in mercury, I’m getting my fill before I decide to start thinking about getting pregnant.  Next week I’ll be posting a Clean Eating Magazine recipe for sesame seared tuna and carrot salad.  But today it’s all about the ginger and lime!Ginger-Lime Seared Tuna with Spinach 38Ginger Lime Seared Tuna with Spinach


1.5 pounds tuna steak, cut into 4 even pieces (use a high to sashimi grade if you’re cooking it rare to medium rare)

  1. 1/3 cup olive oil
  2. 1/3 cup lime juice
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced *
  4. 1 piece of ginger (thumb-sized)
  5. course salt and ground pepper to taste
  6. 1/2 Tbsp. butter

4 handfuls of fresh spinach

** NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet omit the garlic and replace the garlic taste by using a tuscan or garlic olive oil instead of regular olive oil.


  1.  Mix olive oil and lime in a mixing bowl.
  2.  Crush ginger and mince, then mince garlic and add them with the salt and pepper into the bowl with the lime and oil.  Whisk thoroughly.
  3.  Place tuna pieces in bowl, turn them over in 10 minutes (basically you are marinating each side for about 10 minutes)
  4.  In hot skillet, melt the butter and then place tuna pieces in, pouring the rest of the marinade over them, about two to three minute son each side to sear to medium-rare.
  5.  Place a handful of fresh spinach on each plate, then plate a tuna steak on each bed of spinach.  Use the leftover marinade and butter in the skillet to drizzle over the tuna and spinach.Ginger-Lime Seared Tuna with Spinach 39Ginger-Lime Seared Tuna with Spinach 40

Estimated nutrition facts for one serving

Nutrition Highlights: Under 500 calories, excellent source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin C, good source of iron.  Also, based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines, this recipe provides ~200-400 mg EPA/DHA.

The original recipe called for rice, but I thought spinach would be a better choice.  First off, it’s a vegetable, and second, it’s lower in carbohydrate so you can leave room for a dessert Ginger-Lime Seared Tuna with Spinach 41QUESTION: Do you like tuna??  What’s your favorite kind and how do you like to prepare it?  I really love the lazy dinners of pouched tuna on top of a salad.  I don’t do this often, but it’s nice to have as an option sometimes.

Salads & Sides

Bulgur-Blueberry Salad (Perfect for Spring/Summer Cookouts!)

I often get asked about bulgur at work; “what is it?” and “how do I use it?”.  To be honest, before making this recipe last year I had never used bulgur and didn’t know much about it.  All I really knew was that it’s a whole grain and that it’s used in the Middle Eastern dish tabbouleh.  But now that I’ve learned about the amazing qualities (in regards to taste, versatility and nutrition) of this wholesome grain I like to tell people if you’re looking for a new whole grain to use as the weather gets nicer and you start craving fresh, delicious salads, move over quinoa….bulgur is here! One serving of bulgur, which is 1/4th cup dry, provides a whopping 7 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. Not bad for a grain.  In fact, that’s pretty stellar.Bulgur-Blueberry Salad (Perfect for Spring/Summer Cookouts!) 43I found this recipe on a rack the store where I work, and thought it looked pretty and would be a great way for me to get “introduced” to bulgur.  I wasn’t sure I would like it, but to be honest,this was one of the best salads I have ever tasted.  The sweetness from the blueberries, combined with the savory taste of the feta, and the healthy fats from the walnuts……let me tell you, it was a winning combination!

Blueberry-Bulgur Salad

(Serves 8)

1/2 cup bulgur wheat

1.5 cups blueberries

4 ounces reduced fat feta

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup diced red bell

1/4 cup basil


2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


  1.  Cook the bulgur as directed on package.  Once cooled, add blueberries, feta, walnuts, parsley, basil, pepper, onion, and mix.
  2.  In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice juice, vinegar, sugar and mustard.  Whisk in oil; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle on salad; toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

** NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet you will want to replace the bulgur with a non-wheat grain, such as quinoa.  Bulgur-Blueberry Salad (Perfect for Spring/Summer Cookouts!) 44Estimated Nutrition Fact for 1-serving, or 1/8th of the salad

Nutrition Highlights:  Low fat, good source of fiber and vitamin A, excellent source of vitamin C.  And even that small amount of iron (5% DV) will be absorbed better because of the vitamin C.  Did you know that?!Bulgur-Blueberry Salad (Perfect for Spring/Summer Cookouts!) 45We served this salad with Sweet and Savory Grilled Chicken.  This would be a great combination for your next get together this spring or summer (although any lean protein would pair well with this salad)Bulgur-Blueberry Salad (Perfect for Spring/Summer Cookouts!) 46

Salads & Sides

Increase Your Iron Absorption with this Kale and Grapefruit Salad

Last week it was cauliflower, but this week I’m devoting a post to kale.  Ok, so this is not my first kale-devoted post. In fact, just recently I posted about my new found love for frozen kale in smoothies.  What can I say? I love it!  And while it may be true that my body can’t handle a lot of this (once again) cruciferous vegetable, I seem to be able to to manage a serving or two on occasion.  Similar to cauliflower, kale has been in the spotlight recently both for its “Super Food” powers and for it’s versatility in the kitchen.  Chefs are taking note.

Remember the kale salad I made at Thanksgiving?  It was wonderful.  I mean, both Nick and my dad ate it, so it had to be good!Increase Your Iron Absorption with this Kale and Grapefruit Salad 48

This kale salad is very similar, but much more simple, really.  The great thing about pairing a green vegetable like kale with a citrus fruit like grapefruit (or oranges in the case above) is that the vitamin C from the grapefruit will aid in non-heme (basically non-meat) iron absorption.  So for those of you who don’t get enough iron from meat, poultry, fish, do yourself a favor and pair your dark greens with some citrus!

 Kale and Pink Grapefruit Salad


  • 1 pink or red grapefruit **
  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups thinly sliced kale (ribs and center stems removed)


  1. Cut the peel and white pith from the grapefruit. Working over a small bowl, cut between the membranes to release the segments into the bowl.
  2. Squeeze juice from the membranes into the bowl. Strain the juice into another small bowl (you should have about ¼ cup juice total).
  3. Whisk oil into juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp. dressing. Toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  5. Toss salad again. Arrange grapefruit segments over the salad. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve.


** If you are following a Low FODMAPs diet, use oranges instead of grapefruit, or just be sure to eat only a couple slices of the grapefruit, as they do contain fructans. Also, you can add more flavor with a garlic or Tuscan EVOO.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: ¼ of salad Calories: 153 Fat: 8 Carbohydrates: 19 Fiber: 3 Protein: 5Increase Your Iron Absorption with this Kale and Grapefruit Salad 49Increase Your Iron Absorption with this Kale and Grapefruit Salad 50

If you follow a low FODMAPs diet you may be surprised that kale is actually not off-limits.  Ok, maybe I’m the only one who was surprised when I saw this on my new low FODMAPs iPhone app?Increase Your Iron Absorption with this Kale and Grapefruit Salad 51

I mean, kale is a cruciferous vegetable, such as cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli, so I assumed it was off-limits, but alas it is not!  But please, be warned, if you eat more than a cup it may cause side-effects (well, it does for me at least, ie: flatulence and bloat……sorry Nick).

Salads & Sides

Shrimp Patties With Pomegranate Salsa

One of my best friends, Cathy, gets me a subscription to Clean Eating Magazine every year for Christmas.  I have told her a couple times that I love their recipes, but sometimes the nutrition-related articles they write contain some serious mistakes, which sort of rub me the wrong way.  This year she asked me if I’d like the subscription again, and I was eager to tell her yes.  I enjoy the recipes, but I often skip through the rest of the magazine (although they do provide some great tips on helpful kitchen gadgets, as well as cooking techniques).  January’s edition came to my front door a couple week’s ago and I saw this recipe for Shrimp Cakes with Pomegranate Salsa.  Since I’m obsessed with both shrimp and pomegranate, I knew I had to make it.Shrimp Patties With Pomegranate Salsa 53

Shrimp Cakes with Pomegranate Salsa

Serves: 4 (makes 8 patties)

Slightly modified from a Clean Eating Magazine recipe


 4 green onions, green parts only

1 cup pomegranate seeds **

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3/4 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed

3 slices whole-grain bread, made into bread crumbs (**Note: Substitute gluten-free bread if needed, or use 3/4 cup gluten-free Panko bread crumbs**)

1 egg white

1 tsp. mustard powder

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. olive oil, divided (**Note: I use garlic-infused olive oil for more flavor!**)

1 bag spinach (~6 large handfuls)

**NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPS diet,  take note of the changes I made with the panko crumbs and the olive oil.  Also, be aware that pomegranates are not low FODMAPs, but in amounts of ~1-2 Tbsp you should be fine.


  1. Make the salsa by mixing the green onion, pomegranate, and lemon juice.  Set aside.
  2. In a food processor process the shrimp into a paste (about 1 minute).  Transfer to a bowl and add the bread crumbs, egg white, mustard powder, pepper, and salt.  Gently shape into eight 3-inch patties.
  3. In a large nonstick pan heat 1 tsp. oil on medium.  Add four patties and cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook until golden brown on another side, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.  Add remaining oil to skillet and repeat with remaining patties.
  4. Divide spinach among serving plates.  Top with patties and salsa, dividing evenly.

Note:  These patties could also be used as a burger, or eaten alone, or on a bed of rice.  Get creative!  They are mighty tasty.Shrimp Patties With Pomegranate Salsa 54

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 2 patties, and the spinach and salsa

Nutrition Highlights:  Low saturated fat, excellent source of vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, and protein, good source of fiber.

And what about the cholesterol in shrimp?  Yes, it’s true that shrimp has more cholesterol than most fish, but research suggests the cholesterol in shrimp doesn’t negatively affect your actual cholesterol.  In fact, most research these days say it’s more important to reduce your saturated fat intake if you are trying to reduce your cholesterol, and shrimp’s saturated fat content is low (plus, check out the omega-3!).  And there are other things you can do to reduce your cholesterol, such as eating more fruits and vegetables (such as those paired with these shrimp patties).  But of course, if your doctor suggests reducing your cholesterol intake from food, I would avoid shrimp.Shrimp Patties With Pomegranate Salsa 55

Source: www.Dr.Gourmet.comShrimp Patties With Pomegranate Salsa 56

Nick really enjoyed his shrimp patties, but to be fair, he turned his into a shrimp burger on a whole-wheat English muffin, with…..ketchup.  Hey, it was organic (haha).  I was happy he ate the patties, as he often complains that the Clean Eating recipes don’t have enough salt (which, I tend to agree with, but I think it’s good to train our taste buds to enjoy less salt if we can!).  He got his extra salt from the ketchup.  I was happy eating mine with the spinach and pomegranate salsa.Shrimp Patties With Pomegranate Salsa 57

So festive. Right!?

And very tasty.