Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Spinach Pistachio Pesto

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Pesto

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Spinach Pistachio Pesto

June is zoodle mania in our house. There’s something about the start of summer that gets my spiralizer hummin’! This salad is a play on a old favorite of mine: this roasted corn and spiralized zucchini noodle salad with cherry tomatoes. I ate the heck out of that salad in 2014.

I love this recipe because it’s veggie on veggie on veggie. Could it be healthier? I think not. The first level of veggie is the spinach pesto. I threw some baby spinach, parsley, pistachios, miso paste, and a little Parmesan cheese into the food processor. I blended that up to create this beautiful creamy pesto that I tossed with the spiralized zucchini noodles, which are the second level of veggies. Then I tossed the zoodles with sauteed asparagus and chopped cherry tomatoes, the third level of veggies.

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Pistachio Pesto

This zoodle salad is truly satisfying and super tasty. Why is it so satisfying? Well for one, between the spinach and the veggies, it’s packed with fiber. I also didn’t skimp on the fat. I used pistachios, olive oil and a bit of Parmesan cheese in my pesto. I could have just eaten my spiralized zucchini with some marinara sauce, that would have been quick and easy. But it likely wouldn’t have been as satisfying for the long haul. You have to add some fat and a bit of protein to make a truly satisfying meal.

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Spinach Pesto

For some people, this is definitely not enough to keep them full. I totally get that! This would be a side dish for my husband (and it was!). He would need a protein and another carb on the side to feel “done.” He grilled up some steak and had a small sweet potato with this salad. I was actually okay with it as is. Keep in mind I had 2.5 times the serving he did. My dinner strategy is to get full off more veggies. It works!

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Pesto

However you need to make your veggie noodles work for you, I say get it done. Whether as a side dish or a main meal, spiralizing your veggies is a great way to eat more of what does a body good — especially this time of year when we have tasty tomatoes, fresh corn and tons of zucchini to look forward to!

Need a little more inspiration? Below are a few more recipes:

Sauteed Asparagus with Zucchini Noodles & Spinach Pesto

Yield: 2-3 servings

Sauteed Asparagus with Zucchini Noodles & Spinach Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 zucchinis, spiralized
  • 1-2 Tbsp veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • sea salt
  • For the Pesto:
  • 2 big handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Snap the asparagus by the ends and chop into bite sized pieces. Heat a saute pan with 1 tsp olive oil and add asparagus, let saute for 1 minute. Add broth and cook until broth evaporates and asparagus are cooked, but still a bit crunchy (you don't want mushy asparagus).
  2. Spiralize zucchini and set aside. Slice the tomatoes. In a food processor, add all the pesto ingredients, except the oil. Process while slowly adding oil through the top. Keep pulsing until well combined, scraping down sides, if needed.
  3. Toss zoodles with some of the pesto and place in a serving bowl. Top with asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Serve immediately.
http://foodconfidence.com/2016/06/02/spiralized-zucchini-noodles-spinach-pesto/

zoodlesandasparagus

Tempeh Taco Salad with Creamy Avocado dressing

Tempeh Taco Salad with Cilantro Avocado Dressing

I was asked by an eblast reader to health-up her favorite taco salad. I was up for the challenge, but first I had to consider for a moment what makes a taco salad unhealthy?

Tempeh Taco Salad with Avocado Cream

I came to the conclusion that it boils down to composition. Oftentimes, and especially in restaurants, there’s too much of the not so good stuff and not enough of the healthy stuff. What’s interesting (and annoying) about this is that restaurants think that’s what we want. They think we want it loaded with meat, cheese, sour cream and dressing and we could care less about the greens, beans, veggies and tomatoes. I don’t know about you, but I’m just the opposite. I hate ordering a salad where the focus is on the meat and cheese and the veggies are basically just condiments thrown in for good measure. I want a salad that’s piled high with greens and veggies. That other stuff is just fluff.

Healthy Tempeh Taco Salad

This easy to make salad is great if you love taco flavor! The base is a huge handful of baby spinach atop a bed of Romaine lettuce. Then it’s piled high with cherry tomatoes, roasted corn, and black beans. I sprinkled the top with fancy shredded cheddar (I only used about a tablespoon) and about 5 sliced olives. Then I topped it with about 5-6 sprouted tortilla chips and drizzled on just enough avocado-Greek-yogurt-lime-cilantro dressing.

Tempeh Taco Salad with Creamy Avocado dressing

You might  be wondering what about the meat? Well, that’s not meat, folks. That’s tempeh. I steamed, crumbled, and sauteed tempeh with my favorite Trader Joe’s taco seasoning. Tempeh is fermented soybean and it’s great for your gut health (it’s also pretty yummy if you make it right).

This is how I made your typical taco salad just a little bit healthier: 

  • added baby spinach
  • switched out ground meat for crumbled tempeh
  • used less cheese
  • used less chips
  • used a moderate amount of healthy dressing

“Healthing it up” is pretty simple and something you can easily do yourself with any salad.

Healthy Tempeh Taco Recipe with Creamy Avocado Cilantro Dressing. Made with Greek yogurt. Super delicious, healthy and easy to make recipe for quick weeknight meal!

Tempeh Taco Salad with Cilantro Avocado Dressing

Yield: 1 serving

Tempeh Taco Salad with Cilantro Avocado Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 package Tempeh
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 big handful baby spinach
  • 2 big handfuls Romaine Lettuce
  • 1/2 cup roasted corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 5 black olives, sliced
  • 5 Tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon fancy shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • dash water

Instructions

  1. Steam tempeh in a steamer basket for about 10 minutes until soft. Heat a small saute pan with olive oil. Crumble steamed tempeh with hands into pan. Add taco seasoning and a tablespoon or so of water. Stir until well combined. Set aside in small bowl. To a blender add the avocado, Greek yogurt, lime juice, salt and garlic powder. Blend until well combined and taste for seasoning. Add a little water if too thick. In a salad bowl, add greens, tempeh, and remaining salad ingredients. Top with salad dressing. You will have dressing and tempeh left over for another salad tomorrow!
http://foodconfidence.com/2016/05/26/tempeh-taco-salad/
Miso kale caesar with sprouted bread croutons

Miso Kale Caesar

Salad month continues with my Miso Kale Caesar recipe. It’s a healthed-up version of an iconic salad. It deliciously delivers all that is great about this beloved menu mainstay: lettuce, cheese, and bread. Does it get any better than that?

I remember in high school I went on a Caesar salad kick. I decided that whenever I ate out, that’s all I would order: a fully dressed Caesar salad. No dressing on the side business. No fish or protein on it, either.  It was pretty easy to do, most menus offer a Caesar salad of some sort. I’m not sure why I did this or how long my Caesar salad kick lasted, but I bet I enjoyed it!

kale caesar salad

My taste buds have grown up a bit since then and now I tend to go for the Caesar when it’s doing a little something special. Like my Miso Kale Caesar with homemade croutons. There’s little not to love about this healthy bowl of creamy greens topped with toasted bread! 

kale Caesar salad

The Miso Caesar dressing is a delicious mix of Parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, miso paste, garlic, and Dijon mustard. I tend not to over-dress my salads, which is great because a little goes a long way with this flavorful dressing.

Kale Miso Caesar Salad with homemade croutons

I massaged the miso caesar dressing into the curly kale and let it sit in the fridge while I made the croutons. I brushed some olive oil on two slices of whole grain sprouted bread, seasoned them with Herbamare seasoning (Italian blend) and then just popped them into the toaster oven.

Miso kale caesar with sprouted bread croutons

Once the toast was ready, I added a few slivers of Parmesan cheese and this salad was ready for eating! I love serving it topped with the warm croutons.

If you’re a Caesar salad fan, I hope you’ll give my version a try!

Miso Kale Caesar

Miso Kale Caesar

Ingredients

  • 1 head curly kale, de-stemmed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • 3-4 Tablespoons cold water
  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Parmesan shavings, as garnish

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the grated Parmesan cheese, miso paste, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and mustard. Blend until mixed and then add water as needed to thin down dressing. Remove kale from stems and place in large bowl. Add dressing and massage into kale with both hands until kale wilts and shrinks down. Brush olive oil onto bread slices and season with salt and pepper (or seasoning salt). Toast bread and then slice into squares. Add salad to bowls and top with croutons and Parmesan shavings.
http://foodconfidence.com/2016/05/19/miso-kale-caesar/

misokalecaesar