This meal is all about letting the flavors of the roasted vegetable and fresh lemon juice shine. I know I say it all the time but roast, roast, roast your vegetables for maximum flavor! Using fresh vegetables in a pasta sauce reduces the need for excess oil, cheese, or other flavorings. The trick to this dish is making a fresh, uncooked tomato sauce with just lemon juice, heirloom tomatoes, and salt/pepper. When the hot pasta combines with the sauce it slightly warms it and allows the flavor to coat the noodles. I used whole-wheat penne here but feel free to use whatever pasta or whole grain you like.
Roasted Cauliflower Penne
8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 large heirloom tomatoes
1 large lemon, zest and juice
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss the cut cauliflower with oil and a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss together and place cauliflower onto a roasting pan; bake for 25-30 minutes. Cauliflower will be cooked and slightly brown at this point.
While the cauliflower is roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Combine the cooked pasta with the roasted cauliflower, pan juices, lemon zest, lemon juice, and chopped tomatoes. You want the hot pasta and cauliflower to lightly cook the tomatoes. Finely chop the rosemary and add to the pasta along with the red pepper flakes.
Per serving (4): 255 calories, 5g fat, 49g CHO, 9.6g fiber, 11g protein
Serve warm or room temperature!
As most of you know, weight loss and then weight maintenance can be very challenging to do on your own. While there is no “magic bullet” for weight loss, there are some great tools out there to help you out. I want to share my two favorite with you here, Shop Well and Eat Smart Kitchen scales.
This is one of my favorite websites to direct clients to- a free website that helps you create custom grocery lists based on your preferences.
How it works: The ShopWell scoring system rates foods from 0-100 based on how well they match your health needs. When you set up a profile, you put in what types of food work for you — Heart Healthy; Gluten Free; Athletic Training, ect. Then they show what foods are right for you. This is a great site not only for zoning in on specific brands that fit with your health needs but a great resource for people with food allergies and sensitivities.
You can print off your grocery lists from the site or go paperless and use their App. Either way, I love this site and hope it helps make grocery shopping a little easier.
And for the record- I don’t work for ShopWell or get anything from them for writing this post, I just really like the site and want to share it with you!
The kitchen scale is one of my favorite tools for both baking and portion control. A kitchen scale is a great way to ensure you measure accurately so your item comes out like it’s supposed to. Whenever I bake, I measure my flour instead of scooping it into a measuring cup. Since too much/too little flour can really make or break a item like cake, measuring is a fool-proof way of producing delicious baked goods. Plus, it couldn’t be simpler! Place a bowl on the scale, tare it, add the flour and you are good to go.
The other great purpose of a food scale is accurate portion and calorie control. I love the Eat Smart Precision Pro Scale because it’s digital and allows you to measure in grams, kilograms, oz, and lbs. For items that are hard to measure a correct portion of, like pasta, the kitchen scale is a easy and convenient way to make sure the amount you want to eat is the amount you prepare.
The Eat Smart scales come with a calorie factor cookbook which is a very simple way to count calories. Weigh the amount of food you want to eat, multiply the weight by the conversion factor and you have the exact amount of calories of that item. So simple! While I don’t encourage calorie counting every day, unless there is a very specific timeline for weight loss/gain, it’s a great tracker and awareness tool. If you start to notice weight creeping back on, taking a look at portion sizes is usually the first place I start. The scale can help you see what an average day looks like and make choices from there.
There are lots of scales out there and if you think a kitchen scale is a tool you would use on a daily basis to analyze all of your foods, then check out a more advanced model like the Eat Smart Nutrition Pro Scale. This scale not only has all of the weigh features like the model above but it also breakdowns the amount of fat, protein, carbs, sodium, fiber, and nutrients. I recommend this one to clients with diabetes where carbohydrate counting is essential.
What tools do you use? What are your favorite weight loss apps?
A few times a month I teach a course on healthy cooking and current nutrition topics. I love showing people unique but do-able ingredients, like this quinoa. This seed has become more popular lately but unless you know what it taste like, I understand that it might still be foreign.
My cooking section focuses on the deliciousness and ease of plant-based cooking. I don’t ever expect anyone to switch over to a vegetarian diet but eating meatless a few times a week still produces great benefits, especially for heart and colon health. It doesn’t stop there, a recent report came out showing that eating meatless 1 day a week has more of an environmental impact that eating locally grown foods!
I made this salad at an event last month and it was a big hit. If you’ve been following my recipes, you know what a fan of these dishes I am. I usually make a grain salad a week and eat it for lunch over the next few days. It’s a perfect mix of complex carbohydrates, protein and a little fat to keep me satisfied and focused in the afternoon.
Black Bean and Mango Quinoa Salad
1 red pepper, diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno, minced
1 cup quinoa
2-3 large limes, zested and juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
3 tbsp. good quality olive oil
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Cook the quinoa:
Rinse the quinoa before cooking. This is important to remove any “bitter” taste once the quinoa is cooked.
Place quinoa in a pot and add 1 1/2 cups water and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil then cover the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let the quinoa sit for about 5-7 minutes. Fluff with a fork like you would rice. Don’t use a spoon as the quinoa will clump and become mushy.
Add the cooked quinoa to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the quinoa salad and toss.
Have you seen this cookbook yet? Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is one of my favorites and I have been doing a lot of cooking from it recently. As you know, I love salads and this book is full of amazing, healthy salad creations. Here are two of my recent favorites:
Pad Thai Salad with Red Curry Tofu
& Chef Salad with Eggplant Bacon
This salad was really good and I added baked tofu to the top. The eggplant bacon was awesome! You have to trust me on this one, the texture was very similar to bacon and the smokiness was spot-on.
What cookbooks have you been into lately?