DASH Diet Blog: Living the delicious life according to the DASH Eating Plan
Category: DASH Diet Recipes
DASH diet recipes are full of vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, three building blocks of a delicious DASH-compatible meal, and relatively low on fat/oil and sugar. Scroll down to the recipe area to see how many servings of DASH diet food categories one serving of each recipe has!
Oh boy, this leftover salad was delicious! With so many flavors going on, it’s a feast of a salad. Let’s see: A savory sautéed chicken breast. A sweet and aromatic roasted rutabaga and carrots with currants, maple syrup and ras el hanout (a mild, fragrant North African curry powder). A reliable bed of lettuce, baby kale, grape tomatoes and scallion. Then everything gets a coat of bright, earthy, garlicky lime garlic tahini dressing. The combination was 100% spot-on and satisfying.
I made the salad using the curry-spiced rutabaga and carrots that I already had roasted, but you can of course start from roasting the root vegetables. Recipe for roasting is right here. You can save time by using pre-sauteed (or even better, pre-grilled) chicken breast as well. Then it’ll be a matter of assembling everything–perfect for a weeknight DASH diet dinner.
DASH diet considerations: This curry roasted root vegetable salad with lime garlic tahini dressing is an all-A student of the DASH diet realm. It packs about 4 servings of different vegetables (full of fiber and potassium); tahini helps it go light on oil while providing an incredibly earthy depth to the dressing; and simply cooked chicken breast provides lean protein.
The wide range of flavors, from bright, earthy tahini dressing to sweetly aromatic curry roasted vegetables, as well as the different textures really jazzes up the salad without a lot of sodium or oil. Give it a try! We skipped grains, but a pita would go perfectly with this Middle Eastern-inspired salad.
DASH diet servings:
4 vegetables & fruits
2 meats & fish
½ fat & oil
¼ nuts & beans
In a saute pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil on medium high and add the chicken breast. Saute until the chicken is cooked through, about 7-8 minutes, flipping once to brown both sides. Set aside in a wam place.
While the chicken breast cooks, make the dressing. Mix the tahini, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and grated garlic in a bowl large enough to toss the lettuce and kale comfortably. Add water, 1 tsp at a time, to thin the dressing to a pourable consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
To the bowl of the dressing, add the lettuce, baby kale, grape tomatoes and scallion. Toss to coat evenly.
Slice the chicken breast into strips.
Place the lettuce-kale mixture in two plates or bowls. Top with the roasted rutabaga and carrots, as well as the chicken breast strips.
Sprinkle some za’atar on top, if you like, before serving.
Sukiyaki is one of the better known Japanese dishes. Yet, despite its name recognition, sukiyaki doesn’t seem to be a regular on US Japanese restaurant menus these days. Which is kind of a shame, because it’s really tasty, easy and versatile. This sweet and savory sukiyaki with tofu and vegetables makes a tasty Japanese comfort dinner on cold, drizzly winter night.
Sukiyaki in its original form is a hot pot dish. You gather around a simmering shallow cast iron pot on the table, where thinly sliced beef, onions, mushrooms, tofu and other goodies are cooked right there. It’s a fun party dish when you have a group or just for the family. In Japanese homes, sukiyaki is sometimes made in the kitchen and brought out in individual bowls to the table, just like other non-hot pot foods, which is what I’m doing here.
The “soup” base is pretty simple, just a mix of soy sauce, sugar and mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine, which can be substituted with sugar). The beef can be, and often is, made the star of the show, but sukiyaki can also be made with just a couple of ounces of beef and a ton of vegetables. To make sure that a rich, beefy essence permeates all the other ingredients, use a cut of beef with a good layer of fat, or nice marbling throughout. I think mine was a brisket.
Other possible items you can use: Various mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, beech/shimeji, enoki, king trumpet, etc.), leeks, shirataki, napa cabbage, komatsuna, chrysanthemum leaves, carrots, turnips and even potatoes. Sukiyaki can also be made with pork or chicken. If going vegetarian, I’d use kombu (kelp) to boost the umami in the broth and maybe swap the broiled tofu with a fried tofu to give it a bit more of a bite.
One yellow flag in this sukiyaki dish for DASH diet followers is that it can fill up your daily sugar intake limit . The trick is to not drink the broth. Without the broth, the amount of sugar absorbed in the tofu, vegetables and beef is probably half of what’s used, which makes it a much more reasonable 1/4 serving or so of sugar.
Sweet and Savory Sukiyaki with Tofu and Vegetables
DASH diet considerations: This sukiyaki tofu and vegetables leverages the typical Asian approach of using meat as seasoning to cut down on the DASH diet servings of meat. The bulk of the protein comes from the tofu, rather than the beef. The dish can be loaded up with a lot of different vegetables, and the sweet, savory and rich broth makes everything taste addictively delicious and comforting.
One yellow flag in this sukiyaki dish for DASH diet followers is its impact on your daily sugar intake. Sukiyaki broth is on the sweet side, and one serving of the sukiyaki does come with ¼-½ serving of sugar. All is not lost, though: You can stay on the low side of the spectrum by not drinking the broth. (This is hard to do--it’s so yummy! Lol.) For this reason, it’s probably better to serve the sukiyaki and rice separately, rather than make it into a sukiyaki don (sukiyaki rice bowl).
This sheet pan za’atar salmon dinner was what made me–belatedly–realize why sheet pan dinners are everywhere these days. It’s an amazingly easy way to make a delicious dinner: Once you set everything up in a sheet pan, it’s largely hands-free. Even the setup doesn’t take all that much effort. Chop, season, arrange, and you’re more or less ready to go. Woot! (To keep the salmon juices from seeping into the veggies, I did use a piece of aluminum foil to keep them separate. Oh, so much work! :P) Since sheet pan dinners can be made pretty low fat, I think they are a great technique for DASH diet followers.
For this sheet pan za’atar salmon dinner, I’m using two spice mixes to push the flavors in the Middle Eastern and North African direction: Za’atar and ras el hanout. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix with a complex, savory, green and slightly floral flavor profile. What’s in it can vary depending on who made the mix, but mine has thyme, oregano, sumac and sesame seeds. I used za’atar for the salmon.
Ras el hanout, on the other hand, is from North Africa. It’s a pretty versatile “curry” powder, though it usually seems to be not spicy. I tend to detect cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, clove, ginger and other warm, sweetly aromatic spices in this mix; to me, it smells somewhere between an apple pie and a curry. Which is probably why it goes well with roasted vegetables, as in this recipe. To add another dimension or two, I added maple syrup and dried currants for a touch of sweetness and tang to the earthy root vegetables.
Adding a dollop of garlic-spiked Greek yogurt or a cucumber-studded tzaziki sauce on the side might add a refreshing coolness to the otherwise all-warm dish. (I should have thought of that when I made this sheet pan dinner!)
Also! These sweet, aromatic, curry-roasted carrots and rutabaga made a great salad topping a couple of days later. I made a quick garlic lime tahini dressing for that salad, and it was a darn good salad with a lot of contrasting flavors. I’ll post the recipe for the salad in a day or two.
Sheet Pan Za'atar Salmon Dinner with Curried Carrots, Rutabaga & Dried Currants
DASH Diet considerations: Roasting is one of the low-fat ways of cooking meats and vegetables, and that holds true for the sheet pan za’atar salmon dinner. It’s a good balance between 2 servings of fish and 2-3 servings of fiber-rich root vegetables. You can serve the za’atar salmon and curried root veggies with a whole wheat pita, with dill rice or by itself, if you are already above or close to the DASH diet grain goal.
Kenchin jiru is a traditional Japanese soup with an origin in Buddhist temples where monks sustain themselves with vegetarian meals. My mom used to make it vegetarian, too. However, I like to add a tiny bit of meat or chicken to add that satisfying savoriness to the soup. Kenchin jiru is easy to make with almost any root vegetables you happen to have. It doesn’t require a long list of esoteric sauces or spices, either: You just need soy sauce and salt. That’s it! You’ll be amazed how much complexity the vegetables and a teensy bit of meat or chicken can give to this comforting soup. In this regard, it’s very similar to the pork miso soup with root vegetables and shiitake mushroom that I posted recently: It’s a super-simple recipe with BIG flavors.
Kenchin jiru with a bowl of rice (and maybe a side of quick-pickled cucumbers) could be a perfectly satisfying, if humble, DASH diet meal for someone who likes Japanese home cooking. (Me and Hubby!) Other times, we treat kenchin jiru like a simpler miso soup, accompanying a spread of main dish like a broiled fish, rice and a couple of veggie-leaning sides. You can even have this hearty soup with a hunk of baguette–which we did the other day. I have to admit, I was surprised by how well this odd combo worked!
Other common ingredients in kenchin jiru includes daikon, lotus root, shiitake or enoki mushrooms, spinach and fried tofu. I’d have used daikon if I had one on hand. Alas, I was out of daikon, so the trusty turnip stepped up and filled in the gap. If you want to make the soup vegetarian and more traditional, omit the beef. In that case, I’d stir-fry the ingredients in a bit of sesame oil before adding water. The sesame oil adds the extra kick that a vegetarian version probably needs.
Kenchin Jiru: Japanese Tofu, Root Vegetables & Maitake Mushroom Soup
DASH diet considerations: Kenchin jiru is a wonderful addition to your DASH diet soup repertoire. It’s full of vegetables, plant-derived protein from tofu and only a tiny bit of meat, maybe ¼ serving per person. It’s also oil-free. Some recipes call for stir-frying the ingredients before simmering them in the soup, but this step really isn’t necessary, thanks to the surprisingly robust broth from the little it of beef.
Place the water, along with carrot, turnip, taro, maitake and gobo, in a pot. Bring to a boil on high.
Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium so it keeps boiling gently. Cook for 15-20 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked through.
Add the beef strips to the soup.
Add the soy sauce to the soup. Stir, taste, and add salt as needed.
Divide the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the sliced scallion.
*Gobo is a (somewhat absurdly) long, thin, fibrous root that is chock full of toasty, earthy flavor with a slight bit of sweetness that develops when cooked. Also called burdock root, you can find gobo in Japanese, Chinese and Korean grocers.
**I buy thinly sliced meats from a Korean or Japanese grocer. They are sliced almost paper-thin and high quality (i.e., a small amount lends a huge amount of flavor). If you don't have access to this kind of meat, a small amount of ground beef or chicken might work instead.
Miso soup is a mainstay of Japanese home cooking. It’s one of my go-to comfort foods. In my DASH diet life, miso soup also serves as a handy dandy tool to balance out some of the more meat- and fat-heavy meals. I made this pork miso soup with root vegetables just for that purpose, and it was so comforting and delicious!
Even better yet, it’s super easy. You may have heard that you need to make a “dashi” broth for your miso soup, or add some dashi powder (which is the easy route I take). Not in this pork miso soup with root vegetables. Thanks to the meaty flavor of the pork and the complex, deeply earthy flavors of the combination of root vegetables and shiitake mushrooms, broth is totally unnecessary. All it takes to build the full flavor of the soup is to simmer the ingredients and dissolve the miso at the end. That’s it! The soup basically makes itself, if that makes sense.
This stew-like miso soup gets better overnight in the fridge. Definitely make more than you’d have in one meal. You might want to add fresh scallions after reheating the leftover soup. They add a nice bright pop to the otherwise earthy, savory soup.
Pork Miso Soup with Root Vegetables & Shiitake Mushroom
DASH diet considerations: This pork miso soup with root vegetables is a DASH diet winner: It uses very little pork and no fat, yet somehow turns into a robust, deeply satisfying soup that feels like a complete meal with just a plain bowl of rice. Aside from the ones I used, you can use any root vegetables you have on hand, like potatoes, rutabaga, turnips or taro.
Miso does contain a fair amount of sodium, so you don’t want to go overboard. However, the rest of the ingredients provide such a medley of flavors that you really don’t need a ton of miso to make it tasty. Start with 1 tablespoon of miso and add more little by little, if you find it lacking.
DASH diet servings:
3 veggies & fruits
¼ meats & fish
¼ nuts & beans
200-400 mg sodium (depending on the brand and amount of miso you use)
In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Add the yam, gobo (burdock root), daikon, carrot and shiitake. Bring it back to a boil on medium high. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.
When the vegetables are done (the thickest pieces should be pierced easily), add the pork belly. Cook until the pork belly is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Dissolve the miso into the liquid. To make sure the miso is completely dissolved, take some of the liquid into a ladle and dissolve the miso in the ladle, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Give it a good stir, and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes so the flavors come together.
Add the ginger and ladle the miso soup into serving bowls. Serve with chopped scallion on top.
Hubby, who didn’t grow up eating this stuff, also loves miso soup. I like to think that miso soup has universal appeal. Then again, he’s been eating my miso soup for over a decade now–and he’s only one data point (albeit the most important one for me!). So I’m curious: For those of you who didn’t have a Japanese upbringing, do you find miso soup delicious and comforting? Could it be a part of your regular diet, if not already?
It’s winter, and winter calls for a chowder. Which is awesome, because I love chowder. With miso soup, chowder is tied at the absolute top of my favorite soup list.
Sunday evening, after spending a few hours wandering around on a windswept beach with beautiful golden grass and elegant sand dunes, I needed something warm and hearty but not too heavy. The temperature was in the upper 40s at the beach, but fog was rolling in. The dampness cut through, and I needed to warm up. Chowder to the rescue! I had Ecuadorian chorizo and a couple of poblano chiles on hand, so I decided to make a vaguely Latin American chowder using those. Instead of regular potatoes, I used sweet potatoes. It was a choice based entirely on convenience, but added an interesting bit of sweetness to the hearty, otherwise savory chowder.
I roasted the poblano chiles in the toaster oven. This extra step does add a smoky, roasty flavor to the chowder, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. Unless you can roast the poblano chiles on a charcoal grill, that is–if you have access to that luxury (an envy of all NYC apartment dwellers, let me tell you :P), definitely roast the chiles. They’ll take on the flame-grilled awesomeness and add another dimension to the chowder.
Poblano chiles can be a Russian roulette. I roasted three chiles, and tasted each before adding them to the pot. One was super-duper spicy, way too hot to put the entire thing in the chowder. The other two were completely mild. I set the spicy one aside for another use and used the two milder ones in the chowder. You might want to taste yours and decide how much to put in, depending on how spicy you like your chowder to be.
Sweet Potato, Chorizo, Roasted Poblano & Kale Chowder
DASH diet considerations: The sweet potato, chorizo, roasted poblano and kale chowder is a hearty winter soup with zesty Latin American flavors. A tiny bit of chorizo per serving (about one DASH diet serving of meat) is enough to give the soup a savory, faintly spicy backbone. Both sweet potatoes and kale are a good source of potassium; overall, it’s a veggie-filled soup of 3 vegetable servings.
As is the case with many soups, it can be on the high side for sodium. I used Better Than Bouillon for chicken stock, and with that option, this chowder has about 460 mg of sodium (from the soup base, salt and chorizo). For a complete DASH diet meal, pair it with a crusty whole wheat bread.
3 vegetables & fruits
1 meats & fish
¼ fat & oil
460 mg sodium
While the peppers roast, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes until the onions are slightly translucent and soft.
Add the chorizo and break it up into small chunks with a spoon or a spatula. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chorizo pieces start to brown, for about 3 minutes.
Add the sweet potatoes and cook briefly, stirring to coat everything in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the chicken stock to the pot. Cover and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
Remove the poblano chiles from the oven. Once cool enough to handle, remove the stem and seeds, then dice. Set aside. (You might want to check the spiciness level of the chiles here and adjust how much of the diced poblano chiles you add to the soup.)
When the sweet potatoes can be pierced easily through, add the kale and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the kale is wilted.
Add the milk, sour cream and roasted poblano chilies. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until everything is heated and the flavors are melded together.
Just before Gothamist was shut down (boo!), I saw a post about a lunch spot in Downtown Brooklyn that serves something that had me drooling instantly: Grain bowls made with (very green) scallion rice. The author practically gushed over the scallion rice. I wanted to try it. Being me, I decided to try making it myself, without ever tasting the original. 😛
The original scallion rice was actually a scallion fried rice. However, I decided to make a non-fried version to cut down on the fat content. I was fairly certain that the fragrances of the scallion, ginger and a small dash of sesame oil would be enough to elevate a plain bowl of jasmine rice to a next level–and I was right!
I wanted a quick but well-balanced, DASH-compatible dinner with a couple of different flavors going on, so I went with a grain bowl format. Aside from the teriyaki chicken and roasted pumpkin, this easy bowl gets a bright vinegar boost from a quick and crunchy cucumber pickle, and toasty goodness from a (also quick) carrot salad with sesame seeds. Don’t be scared by the long-looking ingredient list. As long as you have roasted pumpkin ready to go, this teriyaki chicken bowl with scallion rice comes together in about 20 minutes. I say it’s a pretty good DASH diet dinner for weeknights!
Teriyaki Chicken Bowl with Scallion Rice & Roasted Pumpkin
DASH diet considerations: The teriyaki chicken bowl with scallion rice and roasted pumpkin is a quick one-bowl meal that's well balanced on both flavor and nutrition departments. Just a small drizzle of sesame oil in the scallion rice gives it a nice nutty fragrance without weighing it down. Teriyaki chicken is sweet and savory; the two salads bring brightness and crunch, and roasted pumpkin adds a starchy texture and natural sweetness.
Mix the soy sauce, honey, sake and garlic in a small bowl. Add the chicken thighs and let sit to marinate.
Cook the jasmine rice in a small pot.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the chicken pieces and cook, flipping occasionally to get a nice browning going. When the chicken is cooked through, pour the marinade into the skillet. Cook it down until it thickens and coats the chicken nicely. Transfer to a plate and keep in a warm place.
While the chicken cooks, sprinkle the cucumber and carrot with a small pinch of salt in separate bowls. Toss to combine and let sit for a few minutes. This will draw out the moisture from the veggies, preventing them from getting soggy later.
Squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the cucumber and carrot.
Add the sushi vinegar to the cucumber and toss to combine.
Add the sesame oil and sesame seeds to the carrot. Toss to combine.
When the rice is cooked, fluff, and mix in the ginger, scallion, sesame oil and a small pinch of salt.
Divide the scallion rice between two serving bowls. Arrange the teriyaki chicken, roasted pumpkin and two salads on top.
We sprinkled some shichimi, a Japanese spice mix, over top. The citrusy, fragrant spice mix adds another dimension to the teriyaki chicken bowl, but it’s not a necessity. Sambal oelek, sriracha or other spicy sauce might be a fun addition on the side, too.
Kabocha is a Japanese green-skinned, flattened-looking squash/pumpkin with an intensely sweet flavor and a pleasantly dry texture. It doesn’t turn into watery mush like some pumpkin varieties do, even when cooked in liquid, and the earthy sweet flavor is wonderfully intense. It’s a pretty unique combination of flavor and texture. If you can’t tell, I really love it. It makes me happy to see them turn up in regular grocery stores here in the U.S.!
I found a great kabocha at the grocery store recently and have been enjoying it in a varieties of ways–simply roasted, simmered in soy sauce and a bit of maple syrup, and this dill-spiked creamy kabocha salad. It’s sweet without any sugar, thanks to the super-sweet kabocha. In DASH diet, daily limits for sugar is pretty low, so this is a boon to people with sweet tooth (like me!). The (differently) sweet yet green aroma of the dill adds a nice complexity to the kabocha salad. Additionally, the red pepper gives just the right amount of refreshing crunch and peppery bitterness to balance out the creamy base and sweetness.
It’s an easy salad that packs a surprisingly sophisticated harmony of flavors. (I also love the bright colors: Deep orange kabocha, red pepper and green dill make any dull plate pop.) I’d recommend using a Japanese kabocha if you can find it, but if not, other pumpkin and squash varieties may work, though the texture will be wetter. You may need to reduce the amount of yogurt-mayo mixture.
Dill Kabocha Salad with Red Pepper and Greek Yogurt
DASH considerations: This dill kabocha salad is wonderfully sweet without any added sugar, thanks to the natural sweetness of the Japanese pumpkin variety. Another plus from the DASH diet perspective is the lower fat content achieved by using half mayo and half Greek yogurt. Swapping out some of the mayo also gives you more control over how much sodium goes in.
2 vegetables & fruits
½ fat & oil
Dairy serving is negligible.
How’s your new year’s healthy eating resolution going–if you made one? Mid-January might be when a lot of people start feeling the January doldrums, whether they have a resolution or not. (I’m in the latter camp, but totally feeling the doldrums!) This salad might be just the booster you need if you are in a DASH diet rut.
I made this salad for lunch the day after we had a pretty indulgent dinner of Korean fried chicken and kimchi fried rice, which followed a fun weekend of lots of good (but not-so-DASH-compliant) food with my SIL. My DASH diet radar graph pretty clearly showed that I needed a meal that’s high on veggies and low on meats, fat and sugar to balance out the feasts, but I also wanted something that’d satisfy me and keep me going till I got back home to cook dinner. Otherwise I’d end up being either hangry or snacky–or both, lol.
This crunchy salad of cabbage, cucumber and other flavor-packed vegetables was just the thing I needed. The salad gets a “Thai” boost from a creamy peanut dressing spiked with ginger, garlic and lime juice. Smoked tofu adds a layer of savoriness and the much-needed protein without adding to the meat servings. Crushed peanuts are fun, and the fiber and fat in the peanuts helped me stay full.
Crunchy Thai cabbage salad with smoked tofu and peanut dressing
DASH considerations: Crunchy vegetables and savory smoked tofu make this salad quite satisfying, despite the lack of meat, chicken or egg. The peanut dressing, similar to the peanut sauce served with Thai-style chicken satay, is creamy and aromatic, tying all the salad ingredients together. Go easy on the dressing, and this salad is a good “reset” lunch after meat- and/or fat-heavy dinner.
Mix all the dressing ingredients except for the water in a small bowl.
Add and mix in water thoroughly, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dressing is at a desired consistency. (You want the dressing to be pourable enough to coat the salad easily.)
Mix all the salad ingredients in a bowl large enough to toss the salad.
Spoon about 1/3 of the peanut dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Add more dressing gradually if needed.
I brought the salad to work for lunch. To prevent the vegetables from getting soggy if you aren’t eating it right away, it’s a good idea to keep the dressing in a separate container and toss the salad just before eating.
I needed a quick but satisfying dinner one night. I had chicken breast I needed to use, and some Chinese broccoli, but not much else. Using some pantry staples, I threw together a surprisingly tasty, sophisticated-tasting sauce of lemon, capers and vermouth, for a simply sautéed chicken breasts. I paired them with roasted potatoes and a quick garlicky stir-fry of Chinese broccoli; regular broccoli or broccoli rabe would work just fine.
I like having a cooking liquor or two on hand, exactly for times like this. (And I make sure I do!) Dry vermouth, a fortified wine with aromatics, is a good choice; so is cream sherry or amontillado. They are a little sweeter (even when it’s called “dry”) and more complex than wine, and instantly adds a magically satisfying body to simple dishes. Since a little goes a long way, they aren’t necessarily expensive. The best part is that unlike wine, they don’t go bad, so I have no pressure to “use up” an open bottle.
Sautéed Chicken Breast with Lemon Caper Vermouth Sauce
DASH considerations: A simple sauteed chicken breast gets a tangy and subtly sweet upgrade from lemon juice and a dash of vermouth, while the occasional briny pop of the capers adds another dimension to this easy but surprisingly sophisticated-tasting dish. Pairing it with sauteed broccoli pushes up the meal’s fat content, so a salad might be a better idea for people following DASH diet closely.