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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I picked up a bag of frozen salmon burgers form Costco a while ago. They are a decent alternative to a freshly made salmon burgers, though a little weirdly spongy-chewy. The nice thing about them for DASH diet followers is that the sodium content is relatively under control at about 10% of the daily limit. I used those frozen salmon burgers to put together this quick DASH dinner.
In this recipe, frozen salmon burgers are topped with crunchy, vibrant Asian coleslaw and served on a whole wheat roll. The slaw is scented with just a bit of sesame oil and works like a sauce on the burger. This means you don’t need mayo and other fat- and sodium-heavy sauces to make the salmon burger interesting. On the side, I added “green French fries,” a.k.a. green beans. Freshly grated ginger to the green beans goes well with the vaguely Asian theme, and spices things up without a lot of salt–another DASH diet win.
Salmon Burger with Asian Coleslaw & Ginger Butter Green Beans
DASH considerations: This salmon burger meal is the straight A student of DASH diet. The salmon burger on a whole wheat bun provides lean protein and whole grains, while the abundant Asian slaw, lightly dressed with sesame oil and sushi vinegar, adds a crunchy, vibrant supply of vegetables. Ginger-spiked green beans with just a little bit of butter seals the deal with one solid serving of vegetables without adding a ton of sodium or butter. Skip buttering the rolls to reduce the amount of fat in the meal. (It doesn’t really need the butter or mayo.)
4 vegetables & fruits
2-3 meats & fish (depending on the size of the patties)
2 fat & oil
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the salmon burger patties, according to the package instructions. Mine took 3-4 minutes per side, cooking from frozen.
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add a small pinch of salt once boiling.
While the salmon burgers cook, sprinkle the shredded cabbage with a pinch of salt and toss to mix in a bowl. Knead the cabbage with your hand to help the salt penetrate the cells. Let sit for a few minutes.
Add the green beans to the boiling water and blanch briefly. Drain thoroughly once the green beans turn bright green.
In the same saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat and add the green beans back in. Add the grated ginger. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Turn the heat off so the green beans don’t overcook.
Squeeze as much water as you can from the shredded cabbage. Drizzle the sesame oil and sushi vinegar. Add the scallions and toss to combine.
Cut the kaiser rolls in half horizontally and toast the pieces lightly.
On the bottom pieces of the rolls, arrange the sliced cucumber.
Once the salmon patties are cooked through, top the rolls with the salmon patties.
Pile as much of the cabbage slaw on top of the salmon patties. You’ll be surprised how much you can put on!
Place the top pieces of the rolls on top of the slaw. Serve with the green beans on the side.
In Frankfurt, green sauce (grune sosse or grüne soße in German) is ubiquitous. The somewhat tartar-like sauce with a ton of herbs magically manages to be refreshing and hearty at the same time. Simple boiled vegetables like potatoes and broccoli get a serious upgrade with a dollop or two of this stuff–add a slice or two of ham, and you have a complete, satisfying meal. In this adapted version, I use common ingredients (think Greek yogurt instead of quark) and fewer herbs (bye bye, borage and burnet), but the bright, herby and hearty sauce comes out pretty close to the real deal.
A few years ago, we spent a couple of nights in Frankfurt on the way to and from a year-end vacation in Paris. One night, we went to an apfelwein inn where we sat on a communal bench, elbow-to-elbow with locals and tourists alike, drinking from a beautiful ceramic jug of the German hard cider. It was a cold winter night but inside the warm, steamy inn, the atmosphere was jovial and convivial, just as I’d imagine an old roadside inn serving locals and travelers hundreds of years ago.
I had a giant plate of schnitzel with boiled potatoes, topped with a local green sauce. A delightfully bright, herby and creamy sauce made with (I guessed) sour cream and a ton of herbs, the sauce was a perfect accompaniment to the earthy potatoes and hearty schnitzel. Apfelwein kept flowing, our tummies got full, and we trekked back to our hotel happy and satiated.
When Hubby picked up a can of genuine apfelwein from a beer store nearby, all this fond memory came back, and I had to make some schnitzel with this green sauce to go with the cider. I got a-Googling. As it turned out, the Frankfurt-style green sauce contains a hard boiled egg, which gives the sauce a subtle savory body and extra richness, similar to how boiled eggs work in tartar sauce.
I also found out that the green sauce calls for quite a few types of herbs, some of which I hadn’t even heard of. Since I didn’t want to end up with a fridge full of wilting herbs, I decided to get just a couple: Watercress, which is easy to consume in a salad; parsley, which can go into a stock or chimichurri sauce; and chives, which is totally versatile. Despite the omissions, the sauce came out pretty close to what I remembered. I love this sauce!
Bright, Herby Frankfurter Green Sauce
DASH considerations: The Frankfurter green sauce might not be particularly great when seen from the DASH perspective. It does somewhat depend on what you compare it to, though: As a substitute for straight sour cream, for instance, this is a much lighter version with less fat and sneaky addition of greens. However, you wouldn't be eating a cup of this stuff, so it's kind of, sort of, negligible in the grand scheme of things...
DASH servings (for 2 tablespoon of the green sauce):
I would just count it as 1/2 serving of fat and maaaaaybe 1/4 serving of vegetables. The rest ends up being pretty miniscule.
Boil, cool and peel the egg. Chop the egg roughly.
In a tall-sided bowl (I used the plastic container that came with my immersion blender), combine the egg, sour cream, Greek yogurt, watercress, parsley, chives and lemon juice. Using an immersion blender, blend until the ingredients form a more or less uniform, smooth mixture. (Add the extra virgin olive oil along with all the other ingredients, if using.)
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
There are so many possibilities with this sauce:
The first night, I served it traditional, with boiled potatoes, broccoli and a chicken schnitzel (that uses mustard instead of an egg as the coating agent, a neat trick I learned from Blue Apron).
It’s fantastic as a sandwich spread. I made a ham sandwich with cucumber and lettuce on bread smeared with this sauce for a hiking lunch, and it was glorious.
It would be lovely on top of potato pancakes, in place of sour cream.
We made a tasty New Year’s Eve appetizer of smoked salmon and cucumber on crackers with a dollop of the green sauce. Nom nom!
There’s a lot of flavors going on in the roasted pumpkin and chorizo black bean quinoa bowl: Hearty black beans, caramelized sweetness of the roasted pumpkin, a bit of heat and Tex Mex zing from jalapeño and chili powder, the bright acidity from tomatoes and lime juice that lightens up the whole thing. On top of all that, just a small amount of Mexican smoked chorizo lends an amazing depth and savoriness to this almost-all-veggie bowl. It’s a complete meal in one bowl, but thanks to all these flavors and a variety of textures, you won’t get bored till the very last bite!
In our home, the recipe below yielded 2 dinner servings, plus about ⅓ cup of black bean-quinoa mixture left over. I’m thinking that it’d be awesome in a quesadilla format… I can even toss in the remaining roasted pumpkin I still have in the fridge. (It was a big pumpkin.)
Roasted Pumpkin & Chorizo Black Bean Quinoa Bowl
DASH benefits: This pumpkin and black bean quinoa bowl has a lot going for it from the DASH perspective: A ton of vegetables, sweetness without the added sugar (roasted pumpkin, I love you!), amazing meaty flavor from a tiny bit of chorizo. Aromatic chili powder and tart lime juice also reduce the need for extra sodium to create a satisfying flavor profile. This quick and economical bowl is also packed with a good amount of lean protein: Both black beans and quinoa are high on the list of great plant sources of protein.
Place the quinoa with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on high. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 13-14 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
While the quinoa cooks, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion, jalapeño and chorizo. Sauté on medium heat until the onion is slightly browned.
Drain the can of black beans and add 1 cup of the beans to the skillet. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the liquid is mostly gone. Season with chili powder. Taste, and add salt and pepper of needed.
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, tomato, scallion and cilantro. Drizzle with the juice of one lime half and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
To the skillet of black beans, add the cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Taste, and add salt and pepper of needed.
Line two salad bowls with torn lettuce leaves. Add the black bean-quinoa mixture. Top with the pumpkin-tomato mixture. Cut the remaining lime half into two and place on the side of the bowls.
*Any pumpkin or winter squash would work here. Sweet potato and yam would be lovely as well.
We are frequent patrons of craft beer bars. What that entails, aside from the potential of beer bellies, is leftover French fries. They are such a ubiquitous side dish at pubs and bars they are difficult to avoid. We usually try to limit our fat intake by one of us subbing the fries with a side salad and sharing the two sides, but subbing isn’t always possible. (We don’t always behave rationally, either, lol.) Anyhow, I often have leftover fries in the fridge. I could crisp them up in the toaster, but reheated fries are never as good as right out of the frier. Enters tortilla Española.
Authentic recipes slow-cook sliced potatoes in olive oil, which gives the potato tortilla a beautifully creamy texture and satisfying heft. This version with French fries has a less creamy, fluffier texture, but the richness of the fries does make for an easy yet indulgent breakfast. I usually use onion, but here, I’m using two onion relatives, leek and shallot, for an extra flavorful twist.
DASH Meal: Tortilla Española with Leek & Shallot
DASH considerations: Tortilla Española with leek and shallot is on the indulgent side. Pair it with a side of cut-up vegetable or fruit to balance out the higher fat content, and go easy on oil for other meals of the day. In summer, this would make an awesome lunch with chilled gazpacho and a hunk of country bread.
1.5 vegetables & fruits (2 if you count fries as a vegetable serving...)
1 meats & fish
1.5 fat & oil
Soups and chowders often taste better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two, but sometimes I don’t want to eat the same thing twice within a span of a few days. Adding curry powder to creamy chowders is a trick I use often to liven up a leftover in those cases. Here, I added a generous amount of Jamaican curry powder to the milk-based cod and cauliflower chowder from a few days ago, and served it as a soupy curry with basmati rice. It was warm, aromatic, savory and filling; just what I needed on a cold winter night after a day of work!
I also made a quick vinegar-based coleslaw and sliced up some tomatoes (not in the recipe below) to up the vegetable intake. The cool, crunchy vegetables were definitely a nice contrast to the warm, tender veggies in the curry soup.
DASH Menu: Jamaican Curry Soup with Cod and Cauliflower
DASH benefit: The same benefits as those for the original cauliflower cod chowder applies here: The curry gives you loads of vegetables and lean protein in an aromatic Jamaican curry sauce without the fat of heavy cream. Many recipes for basmati rice call for salt, but it really isn't necessary here, either, as it soaks up the tasty curry sauce in the bowl.
Rinse the basmati rice in a few changes of water. Add the rice and water in a small saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to a boil on high. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it bubble and simmer until all the liquid is gone, about 10-12 minutes.
While the rice cooks, toss the shredded cabbage with a pinch of salt. Let it marinate for a few minutes.
Squeeze out the moisture from the cabbage. Add the scallion, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar and freshly ground black pepper to the cabbage. Toss to combine.
Reheat the cauliflower cod chowder on medium low. Once heated through, add the Jamaican curry powder. Stir to combine thoroughly. Taste, and add more curry powder if needed.
Fluff the rice. Divide between two bowls and top with the curry.
*My favorite brand of Jamaican curry powder is Blue Mountain, which seems to be available at some chain grocery stores and Caribbean markets around here. I use the mild version in a yellow jar, not the hot one in a red jar. Other types of curry powder might also work (Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, etc.), but I think the garlic-thyme combo in the original cod chowder works best with the Jamaican flavors.