Arugula Pesto

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This is a bright and fresh pesto that works as a dip, sandwich spread, or pasta sauce. It’s a great recipe because every time I serve it, it disappears along with all of the veggies I served it with! I first had it at a friend’s potluck, so thank you again to whoever brought it : )

Arugula is an aromatic salad green that is high in vitamins A and C and low in calories. If you can’t find any at the store (although it should be available year round) you can substitute water cress which has a similar peppery taste or fresh baby spinach.

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Arugula Pesto

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups fresh arugula

1/2 cup almonds, toasted

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1/2 cup light feta cheese, crumbled

100ml olive oil

Juice from half a lemon

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until almost smooth.
  2. Serve with fresh veggies, bread, or on pasta.

Recipe adapted from Choices Market

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Light Caesar Salad with Whole Wheat Croutons

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The traditional Caesar salad usually gets a thumbs down from a nutrition perspective. A 1 cup serving of an original recipe Caesar can provide around 180 calories with about 75% of these calories coming from fat (~ 15 grams of fat per 1 cup). If you think of the typical restaurant salad serving size, it’s easy to see how this dish might not be the best choice. Fortunately for fans of this salad there are ways to bump up the nutrient density of the dish, while reducing the calories.

The key to making a lighter Caesar salad is to maximize the fresh garlicky and lemon flavours while decreasing the total amount of fat. It also doesn’t hurt to swap out white bread croutons for whole wheat ones and to add extra nutrients in the form of more vegetables.

To make this salad I used 1 head of Romaine lettuce and added a cup of mixed chopped vegetables (broccoli, peppers, carrots). I then followed a very simple recipe to make my own whole wheat croutons using low sodium whole wheat bread (once you have had them fresh out of the oven you will never buy packaged croutons again). I then used a Caesar dressing recipe I found on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution website. The dressing was very flavourful, so make sure you add only as much as you need to just coat the lettuce.

* Interesting fact about the Caesar salad: It originated in Tijuana, Mexico, and it’s creation is mainly attributed to Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States.

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Light Caesar Salad with Whole Wheat Croutons

Serves 8-10 as a side.

Ingredients:

Salad:

1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

1/8 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

* 1 cup mixed vegetables, chopped (if you are okay with a less traditional Caesar salad)

Croutons:

3 slices whole wheat bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried herbs, such as thyme, rosemary or oregano
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Dressing:

1/3 cup low fat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of ½ lemon
1/8 tsp salt
Ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Salad

  1. Mix together lettuce, Parmesan cheese, chopped vegetables, and dressing. Top with croutons.

Croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix bread cubes, herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a large bowl and then spread out in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Bake, tossing every few minutes, until golden brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes
  4. Allow to cool.

Dressing

  1. Whisk the yogurt, olive oil, grated Parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and lemon juice, together in a serving bowl.
  2. Season with the salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/recipes/CAESAR_ON_THE_LIGHTER_SIDE

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Whole Wheat Cheese Biscuits

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DSC_0279 These cheesy whole wheat biscuits are a nice side to a soup, chili, or green salad. They are great because they contain more protein and fibre than a typical white flour roll or biscuit, and they are just as easy to make. For a flavourful biscuit I recommend using a sharp cheese like aged cheddar. However, you can try using any cheese that you would like. You are also welcome to add in fresh or dried herbs such as thyme or rosemary.

* If you want to use margarine but find you have difficulty cutting it into the flour, try freezing it before you start this recipe.

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Whole Wheat Cheese Biscuits

Makes 12 biscuits.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine

3/4 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)

1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter or margarine and toss in the flour mixture until coated. Use a pastry blender or knife to blend the butter into the flour, until the butter is the size of small peas.
  3. Stir in the cheese. Pour in the buttermilk and use a wooden spoon to mix together. Do not over mix.
  4. Spoon dough onto baking sheet (about 12 biscuits).
  5. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.completelydelicious.com/2012/10/whole-wheat-cheddar-biscuits.html

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