spinach

Autumn Harvest Salad with Spiced Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Fall is without a doubt my favorite season. Not only do I love the cooler weather (minus the past couple of hot and humid days), but this season really embodies my favorite flavors. I've touched on some pretty delicious (if I do say so myself) fall-inspired breakfasts, but what about lunch or dinner?

I decided to take that spiced apple, autumn flavor and turn it into a salad that's perfect for lunch, dinner, or as a side or starter to a meal. I made the one pictured with chicken, but you can easily skip it to make it vegetarian (as well as the blue cheese for a vegan option).

Here's What You'll Need:

-2 cups baby spinach
-1/2 granny smith apple, chopped
-1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped or in pieces
-4 tbsp blue cheese
-4 tsp dried cranberries
-2 tsp sunflower seeds
-2 tsp pumpkin seeds
-pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 tsp)
-pinch of nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
-1 tsp coconut oil
-5 oz chicken, cooked

For the dressing:

-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-2 tsp water
-1 tsp honey
-1/8 tsp cinnamon
-very small pinch of nutmeg (about 1/16 tsp)

Instructions:

1) In a pan, heat the coconut oil until melted, toss in the walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and heat them for about 3 minutes (tossing regularly). 
2) In two bowls, separate the spinach.
3) Top each bowl of spinach with 1/2 of the chopped apple, blue cheese, dried cranberries, sunflower seed, and pumpkin seeds.
4) Split the spiced walnuts, and top each bowl.
5) Top with chicken if desired.
6) Whisk together the dressing ingredients, and top each bowl with half.
7) Enjoy!

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to subscribe for e-mail updates!

Apple Tuna Salad

As it starts approaching the end of the week, my fridge starts looking a little sparse. Fortunately, I was really feeling a simple salad, but just spinach and tomatoes weren't cutting it. Then I remembered the tuna in the cabinet and started thinking of ways to kick it up a notch.

Something I really love to do with tuna salad is throw in apples (see my Tuna Zucchini-Pasta Salad). I know at first that sounds a little weird, well a lot weird, but trust me, it's delicious! The salty tuna with the sweet apple is so unbelievably good! So I decided to replace the celery in your average tuna salad with some apple, throw in red onion, and cut back on the mayo by using some avocado.

Here's What You'll Need:

-4 cups spinach
-15-20 cherry tomatoes, halved
-2 cans tuna (in water)
-1 tbsp Just Mayo (which is vegan and non GMO, but feel free to use whatever mayo you prefer)
-1/4 avocado
-1/2 Granny Smith apple, chopped
-1/4 cup red onion, chopped
-sea salt and black pepper to taste
-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-2 tsp olive oil

Instructions:

1) In a bowl mix together the tuna, mayo, avocado, apples, onion, sea salt, and pepper.
2) In two bowl split the spinach and top each with half of the halved tomatoes.
3) Top each bowl with half of the tuna salad.
4) Drizzle on 1 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tsp of olive oil onto each salad. Top with additional sea salt and vinegar as desired, and enjoy!

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to sign up for e-mail updates!

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Something about this (somewhat) cooler weather really made me start craving pear. To counter the sweetness, I thought it would go really well with a nice blue cheese. I wasn't exactly sure how I wanted to eat the two together, and I went through all the options in my head (including literally smearing blue cheese on pear slices). At the end of this mental conversation with myself, I decided I could really use a refreshing salad. I knew I also had some vegan bacon, almonds, and sunflower seeds which could add a nice savory kick and crunch to the meal.

Here's what you'll need:

For the dressing:

-1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp olive oil
-1/4 tsp garlic powder (or less)
-1/4 tsp dijon mustard
-1/4 tsp German mustard
-salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

-1/2 cup of baby kale
-1/2 cup of baby spinach (feel free to do a full cup of either or substitute with the leafy green of your choosing)
-2 pieces of vegan (or regular or turkey) bacon, cooked and chopped
-1/2 pear, sliced
-2 tbsp blue cheese
-1/2 tsp sunflower seeds
-2 tbsp almonds, chopped

Instructions:

1) In a bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.
2) In a larger bowl, mix together the kale and spinach. Top with the pear slices, bacon, sunflower seeds, and blue cheese.
3) Drizzle on the dressing, and enjoy!

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to subscribe!

Shrimp Cobb Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Shrimp has been one of my favorite foods since I was a little kid. It has a nice flavor, provides protein, and is still light and low calorie.

I knew that I had shrimp at home and was really feeling a nice salad. I started going over the things I had in my fridge and literally couldn't think of anything. Then I thought about the bacon I randomly had leftover from a couple days ago (random because I never buy bacon). Shrimp wrapped bacon? That sounds delicious but not exactly what I was looking for.

I sifted through the limited other ingredients I had lying around, and each one fit perfectly into a summer-inspired lighter cobb salad. Instead of heavy bleu cheese or ranch, I could make a nice citrus vinaigrette and cut out the cheese.

Here's What You'll Need:

For the Salad:
-4 cups of baby spinach
-10 cherry tomatoes cut into thirds
-1/2 avocado, chopped
-1 ear of corn, kernels removed from cob (or 1 small can of corn, drained)
-2 slices of bacon
-2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
-6 oz shrimp
-1/4 tsp of paprika
-salt and pepper to taste

For the Dressing:
-The juice of one lemon
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 tbsp white wine vinegar
-1/2 clove garlic, minced
-1/8 tsp oregano
-salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

1) If you haven't already, cook your bacon slices in a pan or microwave until they are crispy, and chop them into small pieces.
2) If you haven't already, hard boil your eggs (you may also buy them already cooked). Chopped up the eggs.
3) Add the paprika, salt, and pepper to your shrimp and cook on a grill or in a pan on the stove. If you are using pre-cooked shrimp, I still suggest adding the seasoning and just heating up the shrimp a bit using either method.
4) You can either add all the ingredients into one large bowl or split ingredients in half and serve separately.
5) Mix together the dressing ingredients, add to the salad(s), and enjoy!

If you are hesitant about the dressing, please try it! It is seriously delicious in the salad. It balances so well with the egg, shrimp, and bacon and gives just that extra bit of added flavor to this meal. Let me know what you think, and feel free to subscribe below!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Shake

This weekend has been packed, and I knew that I had a full Sunday ahead of me. I wanted to whip up something quick but healthy...and also sweet. I had about 5 minutes before I had to run out the door, so I started throwing things into the blender, and that's where I came up with this delicious breakfast shake:

Here's what you'll need:

-2 bananas (I used fresh but you can use frozen to help with consistency)
-1 cup fresh spinach
-1 cup ice 
-1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1/4 cup peanut butter
-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions:

1) Add all ingredients into the blender. I put the ice at the bottom so that it blends easily followed by the bananas, almond milk, peanut butter, and cocoa powder. I add the spinach once the blender is already on and combining the other ingredients, but you can do as you please.
2) Once the shake is the desired consistency (about 1-2 minutes), pour into a nice big glass and enjoy!

Let me know what you think!