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Salad Recipes

Mayo Free Vinaigrette Dressed Potato Artichoke Salad
Salad Recipes, Uncategorized

Artichoke Potato Salad dressed with Vinaigrette

Dear Diary,

Someone recently summed up summer for me and I have to say it makes a lot of sense. Memorial Day weekend is the “Friday” of Summer with what seems at the time to mean endless days of sun and fun until Fall arrives. It kicks off the season of no school, beach days, vacations, and relaxation. Fourth of July is like the “Saturday” of Summer and everyone loves Saturday. It’s placed safely in the middle and means we Americans celebrate freedom and independence. Labor Day ends up being the “Sunday” Summer bummer which means it’s come to an end with a new season starting. Sunday usually signals there is work or school on the horizon and it’s time to jump back into routines and responsibility.

Beginnings and endings can be so difficult. Sometimes we flounder at the beginning of something because it’s new and scary and outside of our comfort zone. Starting a new job, new way of eating, or new exercise routine means we jump into the land of the unknown. Yikes! Endings can be even more difficult as we often have no choice or control over if or when they occur. Sunday evening will come to end the weekend just like Labor Day will come to end the Summer whether we like it or not.

For me, comfort comes from things that do stay consist. Food and our need for it stays consistent no matter what season it is. Holidays are a smorgasbord for the senses including taste. Memorial Day tastes like corn on the cob, potato salad, grilled chicken, and strawberry shortcake to me. I’m not a fan of mayo so I needed to come up with a good mayo free potato salad to pull out every Memorial Day. I think this year will be the beginning of a new yearly Memorial Day tradition.

Artichoke Vinaigrette Potato Salad

  •  1 1/2 – 2 pounds small yellow potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped oil marinated artichokes
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, green tops included
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon 21 seasoning blend, I use Trader Joe’s
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions: Rinse potatoes, cut in half or quarters for bite sized pieces, and place in a large pot with water covering the top of the potatoes. Bring to a gentle boil for 15 mins, remove for heat, drain and place in a mixing bowl to cool. While the potatoes are cooling chop the artichokes, green onions, and parsley and add to potatoes. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, combine with the potatoes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with more chopped green onions and parsley.

Summer Salad from Diary of a Dietitian
Salad Recipes, Uncategorized

Avocado, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Dear Diary,

School is out and so are the fresh fruits and vegetables! Summer is the best time to eat perfectly ripened, juicy berries loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many years ago, I was with my friend Pam in Las Vegas and we went to the crepe place in Paris (the casino that looks like the Eiffel Tower). We ordered triple berry crepes and as we ate she said, “Oh man, this tastes like summer in my mouth!” It was winter in Michigan at the time and a little taste of summer in Vegas was something we both needed.

Over the years, I have thought of her saying that and how much food is a part of our seasons. Apples, pumpkins, and cinnamon are as much a part of Fall as the leaves changing on the trees. Winter makes me crave veggie laden soups and stews that have cooked all day in the slow cooker. Summer is reserved for salads, berries, and refreshing iced tea. This salad bursts with freshness, crunch and creaminess that is a virtual summer party in my mouth.

Bolthouse Farms makes an exceptional line of yogurt based salad dressings that have become my go to when I don’t have time to whip up something homemade. Their Mango Chipotle, at 40 calories for 2 tablespoons, is the perfect compliment to any fruit based salad. Bolthouse Farms dressings are found in most major grocery stores in the refrigerator section.

Avocado, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

  • Mixed Salad Greens (Spinach, Romaine, Kale, Arugula)
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Strawberries, quartered
  • Turkey Breast, chopped
  • Walnuts, chopped
  • Almonds, chopped
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Mango Chipotle Bolthouse Farms Salad Dressing

Directions: Built your salad and enjoy with a tall glass of unsweetened iced green tea! Mango, blueberries, and apples would be great add-ins to this salad.

Click here for more information about the health benefits of berries including weight loss and metabolism boost!

Recipes, Salad Recipes, Uncategorized

Mayo Free Chicken Salad

Dear Diary,

I have always been intrigued by chicken salad. You can make up a big batch and eat it for days on crackers, bread, or lettuce. There’s just one problem with traditional chicken salad. MAYO. I grew up in a household that had both Hellman’s Mayo and Kraft Miracle Whip in the


Ingredients for No Mayo Chicken Salad from Diary of a Dietitian

refrigerator at all times. The smell and taste of both made me cringe and my family would often tease me by offering up a large spoonful of it. I, of course, obliged them with all the drama a young girl can muster when she does not like something. Cue the screaming and flailing of hands.

Going into my freshman year of college, I had not tasted anything that even looked like mayo. I came to like sour cream, cream cheese, and ranch dressing that year which aided me in gaining the dreaded “Freshman 15.” Mayo, however, has stayed on my hate list.

After roasting a chicken for my sons favorite chicken noodle soup, I decided to keep some chicken aside to experiment with a chicken salad recipe I could love. Most of the ingredients I used are staples in my house here in Southern California. We eat avocados almost daily and a variety of Greek yogurt can be found on any given day. I chose mango flavored yogurt but any fruit flavor would make this salad sing.

Mayo Free Chicken Salad

  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
  • 1 medium apple, chopped


    Ingredients for No Mayo Chicken Salad from Diary of a Dietitian

  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup red grapes, halved
  • 3 green onions, thin sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thin sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, fine chopped
  • 1 5.3 oz container of Greek yogurt, any fruit flavor
  • 1 small avocado, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Romaine lettuce leafs

Directions: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except romaine lettuce. Serve approximately 1/2 cup chicken salad in each romaine lettuce leaf and top with additional cilantro, green onion, or walnuts if desired.

Salad Hater Approved Taco Salad
Recipes, Salad Recipes, Uncategorized

Salad Hater Approved Taco Salad

Dear Diary,

I love salad. Huge surprise, right? Registered Dietitians need two things to be official, a license from the American Dietetic Association and a love of salad. The problem is, I like my salads the way I like my baked potatoes…toppings, toppings, and more toppings. I rarely eat baked potatoes since I can’t help but smother them in butter, sour cream, and salt. When it comes to salad though, I like to play around with a variety of healthy toppings and dressings to create a masterpiece that tastes as good as the calorie dense ones found in restaurants. Not an easy task.

If I ordered taco salad at a fast food place or mexican restaurant, it would most likely be the only thing I needed (energy wise) to eat for the whole day…okay, maybe two days. The problem with eating high calorie, high fat foods (aside from weight gain) is that they leave you feeling stuffed, bloated, and ready for a nap. Creating my own super satisfying version has helped me to not crave the full fat, full salt, too-full-feeling restaurant version.

Not everyone shares my love of the a good salad. My husbands face looks like he stepped on a Lego whenever I announce that it’s “Big Salad Night” in our household. He is the resident salad hater and is not shy about saying it. My taco salad, however, has become a staple in our dinner menu rotation and he has come to love it. I load it with turkey taco meat, black beans, veggies, a super simple low-cal dressing and a small amount of tortilla chips for that salty crunch. I made it one night when we had company and our cheese-loving relative said, “Wow, I just realized it doesn’t have any cheese and it I don’t even miss it.” In it’s infant stages, my taco salad did have cheese until I realized it really did taste amazing with or without it.

As with many of my recipes, I add a secret ingredient to the taco meat. Zucchini keeps the ground turkey from becoming dry as it cooks and provides an additional veggie. If the kids are not salad eaters, it’s easy to make hard or soft shell tacos with what you already have prepped for the salad. Just be sure to lock up the tortilla chips after your create your masterpiece!

Lite Taco Salad with Salsa Ranch Dressing

DIY Taco Seasoning (large batch)

  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes20150909172707532
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons ground black pepper


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated or finely chopped
  • Cooking Spray


  • Romaine Lettuce, chopped
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Yellow, Red, Orange Bell Peppers, chopped
  • Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • Black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Tortilla chips


  • Light Ranch Dressing (I like Hidden Valley or Bolthouse)
  • Salsa


In an air tight container, mix DIY taco seasoning spices. This is a large batch recipe and can be used as a seasoning for future salads, tacos or fajitas. Many variations of homemade taco seasoning can be found on Pinterest and have less sodium and more flavor than store bought packets.

Over medium-high heat, spray a large skillet with cooking spray and add ground turkey, onion, zucchini, and 3-4 tablespoons of the DIY taco seasoning. Brown the turkey mixture until fully cooked, approximately 8-10 minutes. Turn heat to low when the turkey is fully cooked and keep warm while you prep the salad and dressing.

On a large plate, layer vegetables and top with 1/2 cup turkey taco meat, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 avocado, and 6-8 tortilla chips per serving. Toppings that are low in calories can be added in any amount but high calorie toppings should be limited. Mix 1 tablespoon of light Ranch dressing with 2 tablespoons of salsa per serving. ENJOY!

Intermittent Day Eating, Recipes, Salad Recipes, Uncategorized

Thai Spiced Cucumber Salad

Dear Diary,

Thai food, hands down, is one of my favorite cuisines. Just thinking about Pad See Ewe, dripping with black bean sauce and cozied up to giant broccoli florets, has my mouth watering. Don’t even get me started on Yellow Chicken Curry and Pad Thai! It has become my go to comfort food in Southern California and I am known to scour Yelp and other review sights for top restaurant picks. As with all cultural food, some of the dishes can be high calorie and portion control is an absolute must when monitoring your calorie intake.

I started seeing some Thai Salad recipes pop up on Pinterest and decided I needed to create my own version. This salad is a great side for my pork tenderloin recipe or as a main dish on a low calorie day…hint, hint for my fellow 5:2 Intermittent Day Eating crew. I also needed to perfect using my handheld spiralizer, which is a bit of a daunting kitchen gadget if you haven’t used one before. Zoodles and Coodles are great ways to replace high calorie pasta with Zucchini and Cucumber “noodles.”

I have not cooked in a couple of weeks while traveling and hanging my hat in Michigan for the summer. I have to admit, it has been nice to step away from meal planning and preparation. While I appreciate the break, I am now starting to feel the pull of my kitchen back in California. For now, I will take inspiration from friends and family that are kind enough to feed my body and soul.

Thai Spiced Cucumber Salad

  • 2 large English Cucumbers, spiralized
  • 1/2 to 2/3 each Red, Yellow, Orange Bell Peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, spiralized
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cold, shelled edamame
  • 3 tablespoons Island Soyaki
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 1 tablespoon Peanut Oil
  • 2-3 fresh limes, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon black sesame seeds, optional

Directions: In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, green onions, cilantro and edamame. For instructions on how to use a handheld spiralizer, watch the video from Raw Nutrition Kitchen below. In a small bowl, combine Island Soyaki (I buy mine at Trader Joe’s but it is also available in most local supermarkets), honey, peanut oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Toss the sauce in with the vegetables and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Garish with sprigs of fresh cilantro.

Tips: Peanuts can also be sprinkled in just before serving for added crunch. Before spiralizing the cucumbers and carrots, slice half way through the vegetables, lengthwise, to create shorter and easier to eat “noodles.” Peanut oil can be replaced with sesame oil. Delete or increase the amount of crushed red pepper flakes to control the spice level.


Salad Recipes, Uncategorized

Hot Weather, Summer Salads

Dear Diary,

I love my go to recipes and this Orzo Salad from Cooking Light has been a favorite for several years. It’s the perfect combination of textures and the lemony dressing makes it feel like summer in my mouth. It works well as a side dish or as a main vegetarian course. I often double it so I am sure to have plenty left for lunches.

Most recipes I make once according to the original ingredients and directions but then modify later versions to add more flavor, color, crunch or health benefits.  This recipe is so close to perfection that the only thing I modify is using a bit more lemon juice and a bit less salt.

We hit over 90 degrees this weekend in Los Angeles area so this salad will be hitting my table tomorrow night!

Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Dill, and Lemon

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 (19-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.

Combine pasta, onions, cheese, dill, and chickpeas in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine.

Combine juice and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 327
  • Calories from fat: 29%
  • Fat: 10.4g
  • Saturated fat: 2.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.1g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8g
  • Protein: 10.8g
  • Carbohydrate: 47.6g
  • Fiber: 4.9g
  • Cholesterol: 13mg
  • Iron: 3mg
  • Sodium: 641mg
  • Calcium: 107mg