This Lemony Tuna and White Bean Kale Salad with Avocado has been my go-to salad the last couple of weeks. I’ve made it for quick lunches and I’ve also packed leftovers to take with me to my daughter’s volleyball tournament over the weekend. You know I felt so much better eating this salad in the bleachers instead of concession stand food!
There is a lot of quality protein in this kale salad. Tuna, specifically this Genova Yellowfin Tuna, is one of my favorite proteins to salads each week. I have partnered up with Genova for this recipe but I discovered this tuna a few years back when my grocery store had it on sale (this is the salad I first made with this tuna!). I picked up a few cans back then and I have been hooked on its rich, savory taste ever since. You can find where Genova is sold near you here.
As part of the dressing for the salad, I used the olive oil from the tuna itself in addition to fresh squeezed lemon juice. I made sure to squeeze the lemon over the kale first (to help soften it a bit) while I was preparing the rest of the salad ingredients. You can massage the kale with the lemon juice at this time if you like (I did not but it does help tenderize it).
The tuna is packed in pure olive oil with no additives or preservatives.
Also, I love their easy to open tops!
If you are into meal prepping, this is a good salad for meal prep since the kale can hold up to wilting and can last in the fridge dressed for a couple of days. If you add extra lemon directly to the avocado, it will help it from browning as well. I’ve loved having it ready to go in the fridge for a couple of days.
Hearty, healthy salads like this are my favorite kinds of meals – ones you can absolutely feel good about!
Lemony Tuna and White Bean Kale Salad with Avocado
Yield: 2 large salads or 4 smaller salads
Total Time: 15 minutes
4 cups chopped kale
1 15 oz can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
juice from 1 lemon
1 can Genova Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
1 avocado, diced
2-4 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Place kale in a large bowl. Pour lemon juice over kale and toss to coat. Let sit while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Drizzle the oil from can of tuna to kale. Add white beans, red onions and tuna to bowl. Add avocado and gently toss all ingredients until well combined. Season with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.
For the longest time, I had some major Trader Joe’s envy every time I saw someone mention or post a picture of their coveted Trader Joe’s finds. Our area finally got one a couple years ago and I finally get what they hype is about – it’s a cool store! I love the unique selection, the quality of the ingredients, the people that work there and the prices. My Trader Joe’s isn’t around the corner from me so I don’t shop there regularly, but I like to take little field trips there every now and then to pick up some favorites. (You can read about my first trip to Trader Joe’s right here!)
One of my favorite sections to check out at TJ’s is their spice section. I’m a bit of a spice junkie so I’m always bringing home something to try. I know not everyone has a Trader Joe’s nearby so I wanted to host a fun giveaway today to share some of my favorites with you!
Here are the details:
There will be TWO winners.
Each winner will receive 4 jars of spices – 1 Chile Lime Seasoning Blend, 1 Onion Salt, 1 Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, 1 Lemon Pepper Grinder
I picked this book up at the used book store at my local library (for $1!) not realizing it was from the same author as The Woman in Cabin 10 which I read and enjoyed last year.
Nora receives an unexpected invitation to an old friend’s hen (bachelorette party) whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to in 10 years. She makes the decision to attend the celebratory weekend away and ends up heavily involved in what turns into a twisted, psychological thriller.
The Birch family is spending their first Christmas together in years, but this holiday comes with a catch – their oldest daughter is returning home from treating an epidemic in another country and is required to stay in quarantine for one week, so her family is too by default. It seems that each family member is carrying their own secrets into quarantine, which makes this week long living situation all the more interesting.
I read Everything I Never Told You a couple of years ago by the same author and really enjoyed her storytelling. Little Fires Everywhere unfolds in a affluent suburb called Shaker Heights where everything seems a little too planned and perfect. You will get to know the Richardson family – a mom, dad and 4 kids – and their new tenants, a single mom, Mia and her daughter Pearl. Mia and Pearl’s arrival and instant relationship with the Richardson family shakes things up for everyone, especially when Mrs. Richardson becomes obsessed with Mia’s mysterious past.
Change up your Taco Tuesday routine with these easy Taco Turkey & Black Bean Rice Bowls. These rice bowls are also great for meal prep!
One thing I’m quickly learning these days is that the more prep I do as far as meals go, the smoother dinnertime is during the week. For instance, when you find yourself with some time to spare over the weekend (or while you are in the kitchen already cooking up something else), go ahead and cook up some brown rice to put in the fridge ready to go for another meal. I’ve been trying to do that each week and because I did last week, for instance, these Taco Turkey and Black Bean Rice Bowls were a breeze to pull together for dinner. Cooking up the brown rice ahead of time freed up some cook time at dinner where I just had to pull together the taco meat and bean mixture while assembling the bowls.
Normally a pound of ground turkey doesn’t go very far for my hungry family of 5. I stretched it a bit by bulking it up with black beans, chopped red pepper and onion as it was browning. Four out of 5 of us love black beans so adding them to our taco meat is always a more economical (and healthier) option in my book.
Your favorite brown rice will work for these Taco Turkey and Black Bean Rice Bowls, but I like to add an extra boost of nutrition by using my favorite sprouted rice and quinoa blend that I have picked up at Costco in the past (unfortunately I didn’t see it last couple trips to Costco, but I’m hoping it comes back.).
If you are into meal prepping quick grab & go meals for yourself and/or other family members, this is a great recipe for that! Just portion out the rice into 4-6 containers (this will all depend on the amount of rice you want in your meal obviously) and add the the taco meat topping to each. I would keep the cold topping ingredients in a separate container to add after heating up the rice and and taco meat. Or add extra lettuce and eat cold with salsa as a taco rice salad bowl!
Taco Turkey & Black Bean Rice Bowls
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 can Bush's Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup salsa
For the rice bowls:
2 cups cooked brown rice
plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add your ground turkey to pan and break up with a wooden spoon.
As your ground turkey is browning, add your bell pepper, onion and spices to the meat mixture. Continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes until veggies are softened and turkey is cooked through.
Add black beans and salsa to turkey mixture and gently stir to combine. Turn off heat.
Build your rice bowls by adding a scoop of brown rice to your bowl, then topping with turkey and black bean mixture. Add toppings of choice but I love to add shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, avocado, Greek yogurt and hot sauce.
When you are trying to get back in the salad, keep it simple with this Chopped Tomato and Spinach Salad. A few ingredients and a light oil and vinegar dressing is all you need to feel good about eating salad again.
January is almost over, is everyone ready to get back in the salad again?? Is it just me, or is January a tough month? I love the whole fresh start business but it always takes me a few weeks to get my feet grounded again after the holiday season. Maybe it’s just me? Doesn’t keep me from trying though. I have been hitting the gym as much as I can and trying to get into a routine of cooking more vs eating out…but salads are usually tough for me this month. And you know, I love salads.
One thing I did last week that made a HUGE difference was prep my salad greens on Monday. If you’ve missed this post in the past, I have added a video for my salad prep process that I swear by. I bought a package of romaine hearts, cut them up, washed them in the salad spinner and bagged them up. I have done this countless times in the past but I really noticed the difference in this simple act of of meal prep last week because I ended up eating salad for lunch 4 DAYS IN A ROW. I went from no salad to 4 days of salad, and the main reason was because I had easy to reach salad ingredients to pull from to make myself a quick salad. In addition to my prepped salad greens I had a bag of matchstick carrots, olives, chopped celery, rotisserie chicken or tuna that I added every day. Kept it simple and easy and I’m going to try to do something similar this week.
Now, back to this Chopped Tomato and Spinach Salad. One thing that stumps me with salads when I’m missing them is what kind of salad to make. It’s like my mind shuts down and I have to dig deep and get back to basics. I love spinach salads and they are super easy to throw together with pre-washed packaged salad greens, it really doesn’t get much easier to have that part done already. For this salad I added to the spinach my favorites – tomatoes, onion, kalamata olives. That’s it, easy peasy.
For a salad like this I like to just dress it in simple oil and vinegar. I mixed a couple teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a small jelly jar with some salt and pepper and shook it up. I don’t typically measure my oil and vinegar but try to keep it at equal parts although if you don’t like it too vinegary you can add a little bit more oil to balance it out. Drizzle this over your salad for two and trust me, it’s all you need for a light refreshing salad you will feel good about eating.
I realize a salad like this Chopped Tomato and Spinach Salad is beyond simple and a little basic to post as a recipe…but in talking to friends and personal experience, it’s not just recipes we are all in need of but IDEAS. I personally am always looking for new ideas, especially when it comes to something like salads and getting more veggies into my day.
If you are on Facebook and are interested in sharing recipes and ideas for healthy living with others, please join my group here!
Some simple salads to add to help you get back in the salad:
Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add balsamic vinegar and oil to a small bowl or jelly jar with lid and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle desired amount over salad.
Additional preparation directions:
Combine tomatoes, onion, and olives in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Toss to combine. Serve tomato mixture over a bed of fresh spinach, gently toss to spread dressing. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil if you prefer.
This recipe made 2 large dinner salads or 3-4 smaller salads.
Orange Walnut Crusted Salmon is a great option for a fresh and light dinner. High in protein, low in carbs and heart healthy – ready in just under 30 minutes! This recipe was created in partnership with Fisher Nuts.
Since the new year began, I have been really making an effort to cook more healthy meals at home to avoid eating out. Sometimes that is easier said than done. With trying to cook more at home, I am also trying to add some variety to our meals – as much as we love them, we have been getting a little bored of our go-to dinners.
I don’t cook salmon very often and when I do I always wonder why not. This Orange Walnut Crusted Salmon was pretty effortless and the entire meal was ready in just under 30 minutes. It’s a light, high in protein, low in carb meal and with all the omega-3s in the salmon and walnuts, it’s heart healthy too. It’s pretty much a winner all around in my book.
The topping is so flavorful and only has a few key ingredients – walnuts, fresh squeezed orange juice, honey and a little oil. That’s it!
This delicious nut topping can easily be made with pecans as well. This is my 5th year working with Fisher Nuts and I am always including their nuts in my recipes. I love the fresh flavor of Fisher Nuts and their resealable bags are super convenient for storage – I keep mine in my fridge and add them to salads and yogurt daily. I typically see them in the baking aisle in my local grocery store, but if you are having trouble finding them they are now available for purchase on Amazon.
Here are a few cooking tips while preparing this Orange Walnut Crusted Salmon:
Use the measuring spoon for the oil first, then honey. The honey easily pours out of the spoon without sticking when you do it this way.
Bake the salmon on the middle rack to avoid burning the walnuts in the topping. Keep an eye on the nuts during those last few minutes!
Let the salmon rest in the baking dish for just a couple minutes before serving to allow the liquid from the topping to thicken up a bit – spoon it over each piece of salmon for extra flavor.
I’ve already made this twice and my family loved it – you can’t beat easy salmon recipes like this. It’s officially part of the dinner rotation!
These Chicken Pesto Quesadillas are simple and quick to make using just a few staple ingredients. They are a favorite in my house!
One of the things I’m trying to do this year is to go back into my archive of recipes here on the blog and update photos for them. I love looking back at old photos and reading my words from years ago, seeing how things have changed in almost 10 years. 10 years!!
When I first posted this recipe for Chicken Pesto Quesadillas I was a young stay-at-home mom to a 3 year old and 1 year old. Those two are now 13 and 10 years old and we have a little 4 year old in the mix! My, has time gone by. I originally posted this recipe during the summer and in those days I am sure I had plenty of fresh basil growing on my patio and I was picking up tons of bell peppers from the produce store weekly. Making fresh roasted red peppers is really easy to do and something I love to make as often as I can. Although homemade roasted red peppers are fairly easy to make, I don’t really have as much time these days to make them so I rely on some convenience items like jarred roasted red peppers AND jarred pesto (in case you missed it I just posted this roundup for healthy recipes using pesto). I’m pretty picky about both but I found these peppers recently at Trader Joe’s and love them.
These quesadillas are incredibly simple and quick to put together. I used some leftover rotisserie chicken I had in the fridge and in just a few minutes had a healthy and delicious meal for one (or just as easily for two or three or more!).
Originally posted August 5, 2008
Over the weekend, I made some pesto and roasted some peppers. Using some leftover chicken, I came up with these very tasty quesadillas. I decided to use goat cheese in them but my husband thought that fresh water mozzarella would be better (he’s not as big of a goat cheese fan as I am!)…so you decide on the cheese you want to use, either one would taste great! I will definately be making these again, the flavors worked perfectly together. If you can make your own pesto and roasted peppers great – but if not jarred will work!
2 teaspoons prepared pesto (I like to use Kirkland brand)
2 oz cooked chicken breast
1 oz crumbled feta or goat cheese
1 roasted red pepper
Place tortilla in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Spread 1 teaspoon of peso on half of the tortilla. Top with chicken, then roasted pepper and cheese. Spread 1 teaspoon on other half of tortilla. Fold over and continue to warm in skillet for about 2 minutes.
Carefully flip quesadilla over to other side. Let warm for an additional 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted tortilla is crisp.
Cut in half and serve with a tomato salad.
Nutritional Information (via My Fitness Pal): 333 calories / 15g fat / 6g dietary fiber / 24g protein
Add these healthy recipes with pesto to your weekly meal planning! All are easy to make and delicious, using freshly homemade or your favorite jarred pesto.
A while back, I had a conversation with a friend about pesto – she had never really used it in her cooking and asked me “what do you do with it??”. I love conversations like this because it makes me remember how much I love exchanging ideas with others when it comes to cooking and food. What may be old news to someone may be completely new to someone else.
I’ve been making and cooking with pesto for years but it wasn’t something I grew up with – even in my Italian family. I started making it when I started cooking as an adult (thank you Giada) and I typically only make it when I have big pots of basil growing on my patio. As much as I wish I could make fresh pesto all the time, reality is, buying a jar of my favorite pesto from Costco happens more often than homemade. When I discovered this pesto (I’m usually hesitant to buy jarred sauces but the ingredient list is pretty straight forward on this one), it became a regular purchase for me when I shop at Costco. It’s one of my favorite convenience items that you can almost always count on finding in my fridge.
My favorite way to use pesto is very basic – tossed in pasta. My kids and husband love pesto pasta and I usually serve it as a simple side or as a main meal with some veggies and chicken. My sister-in-law Jamie introduced me to this Baked Pesto Salmon recipe and I make it very often. My friend Julie recreated one of my favorite soups to order out, this Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto from Panera and it is absolutely delicious! I’ve also used in in cold pasta salad as well as a quick marinade for grilled chicken. So good!
Over the years, I’ve shared a few recipes using pesto here on the blog. I wanted to feature them for anyone else who has recently picked up a big jar of pesto and is wondering what to make!
If you have a favorite recipe using pesto, share it with us in the comments! I always love hearing from you and I know everyone appreciates finding new ways to cook with our favorite ingredients.