tasteovers by jackie

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grilled mango and spinach salad with avocado

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in tasteovers by jackie | 2 comments

grilled mango and spinach salad with avocado

I crave salads in the summer. How about you? When that urge strikes, here’s a new salad for ya. If you’re a mango lover like I am, it’ll literally make your mouth water!

The Recipe Redux theme this month is “Get Your Fruits and Veggies in Shape.” Rather than cutting up this salad’s fruit into a new shape, I decided to add shape on it. I created crosshatch grill marks on mango “cheeks.” Using grilled fruit is a simple way to upgrade a recipe! Not only does it add eye appeal, it adds smoky flavor interest. What’s more, I used grilled mango in two ways here—as cubes and pureed into the dressing.

Enjoy it!

Hint: Add black beans, edamame, or grilled shrimp or organic chicken to transform this side salad into an entrée!

Calories saved: 40

Why it’s better for you: Spinach and pistachios further boost this salad’s lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that can play a key role in prevention of age-related macular degeneration.

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juice-infused quinoa salad with pistachios

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

juice-infused quinoa salad with pistachios

“How can I make quinoa taste good?” I’ve been asked that question a lot! Here’s one answer to that. Use juice as the cooking liquid!

Try a juice that’s a flavorful blend of fruit and veggie juices with no added sugar. It’ll pump up the nutritional value to superfood levels. Plus, it’ll provide color and memorable flavor. Here I used a juice that’s a blend of carrot, apple and lemon juices, ginger puree, and coriander. But you can simply use plain carrot or orange juice if you have that on hand. (Hint: Alternatively, you can use half juice and half water as the cooking liquid for a lighter touch!)

Then, to add herbal fragrance, I’ve included fresh basil. For pops of color and crunch—as well as a protein and fiber boost—roasted pistachios are a highlight. A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil adds a just-right richness to this lovely recipe.

While it’s a high-flavored side dish when warm, I prefer to chill this, toss with baby arugula, and serve as a refreshing salad. Add it to your Meatless Monday recipe collection! Hope you enjoy it!


Calories saved: 150

Why it’s better for you: You’ll get a punch of superfood nutrients from cooking in juice rather than just water or stock.


Disclosure: I work with Wonderful Pistachios to help consumers make healthful snack choices.

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kale & couscous breakfast bowl with egg

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in tasteovers by jackie | 4 comments

kale and couscous breakfast bowl with egg

In honor of the Recipe Redux’s June birthday, I’ve chosen a fellow ReDuxer’s recipe for inspiration. The original recipe is 5-Ingredient Healthy Kale and Quinoa Bowl by Kara Lydon, “The Foodie Dietitian.” I appreciate her straightforward, holistic, plant-based approach to recipe creation that appeals to everyday cooks. Plus, Kara’s photography is beautiful. Her quinoa bowl recipe has just five main ingredients. Love the simplicity!

I went for a breakfast interpretation of Kara’s recipe—aiming to make the recipe in 20 minutes or less, since most of us simply don’t have the luxury of time to whip up a lengthy morning meal. I opted for whole-wheat couscous in place of quinoa to speed things up. I added lemon zest to heighten citrusy goodness and scallions to boost savoriness. I picked some thyme from my building’s rooftop garden to add herbal flair and fragrance. And I topped each bowl with an egg to make it notably breakfast worthy.

So how long did it ultimately take to fix from start to finish? It took 12 minutes for prepping all ingredients and bringing the water to a boil. It took 5 minutes total for the couscous and egg preparation–and then another 2 minutes for stirring, transferring to bowls, and serving. I finished with 1 minute to spare! What if you only have about 5 minutes of freedom in the morning? Make this recipe without the eggs the night before; chill; then in the morning, gently reheat the couscous mixture in the microwave (for moistness, splash a tablespoon water onto each serving before heating) and freshly prepare the eggs. Hint: For a power breakfast bowl, top each serving with two eggs instead of one–or stir some toasted pine nuts into the couscous!

Hope you try both Kara’s and my recipe!

Why it’s better for you: This version and the “before” version are both good for you!

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summery green smoothie cocktail

Posted by on Jun 13, 2016 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

summery green smoothie cocktail

Need a refreshing poolside, rooftop, patio, or backyard BBQ cocktail? Here you go! It’s basically a super good-for-you green smoothie … but spiked just right! Getting slightly tipsy never tasted so nutritious! It’s perfect for a summer weekend—or simply as an “adults only” accompaniment to Meatless Monday dinner. Healthy sipping!

Calories saved: 170

Why it’s better for you: Half the calories; twice the fun!

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vegan eggplant bacon “blt” sliders

Posted by on May 22, 2016 in tasteovers by jackie | 2 comments

vegan eggplant bacon “blt” sliders

Don’t bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan! Pick up an eggplant and transform it into crispy “bacon”—naturally! Seriously, your body won’t miss the preservative-laden bacon in this BLT. The eggplant “bacon” will still please your tastebuds in every way!

To make this finger food, my preference is to stick with this recipe as is, of course. However, it’s totally okay if you want to make personalized tweaks. Instead of whole grain rolls, try grilled whole grain baguette slices. Rather than the avocado spread, you can simply stick with tradition by smearing on a mayo of choice. Or switch up the greens with others from your farmers market.

Any way you stack ’em, these BLT bites will be a fun choice for a picnic or party on the patio. And it’s perfect timing for this recipe—it just so happens these vegan-friendly sliders slide right into the Recipe Redux theme of the month: “Small Plates for Sunny Days.” They’re just the right size to truly satisfy!

Calories saved: 280

Why it’s better for you: There’s no bacon–and no harmful sodium nitrite!

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grilled eggplant gyros with fresh tzatziki

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

Grilled Eggplant Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki

No mystery meat here! Instead, you’ve got 100% real eggplant with charry grilled goodness as the star of this super flavorful, super saucy gyro for vegetarians—or part-time vegetarians! One of the secrets to its scrumptiousness is the homemade gyro seasoning. Make several batches of it in advance so you have it on hand any time you plan to cookout! You’ll get plenty of fresh tzatziki sauce here, too. I absolutely don’t believe in skimping on that. This inspired gyro will surely become a new favorite at your backyard BBQ! Or whip out a grill pan and make this for a meat-free fix anytime. Hint: It’ll absolutely make a memorable Meatless Monday!

Calories saved: 270 calories

Why it’s better for you: Lots more fiber; lots less “bad” fats

Grilled Eggplant Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki

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power greens, papaya, and black bean taco salad bowl

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in tasteovers by jackie | 2 comments

black bean, papaya, and power green taco salad bowl

It’s April 22. Happy Earth Day, my fellow earthlings! There’s no more appropriate way to celebrate than with a bowlful of 100% plant-based goodness, right? This recipe is full of deliciousness, too. In honor of this eco-inspired day, as well the Recipe Redux theme-of-the-month (“Limpin’ Along for Lunch”), I bring you this super filling, superfood-style salad. But here’s a noteworthy tip: If your body isn’t used to getting plenty of fiber, you might actually want to first try a half serving of this recipe to start—so your digestive system doesn’t “freak out!” Either way, this scrumptious bowl will definitely help you break out of a lunchtime rut. Cheers to your palate and the planet!

Calories saved: 330

Why it’s better for you? Crazy (good) amount of fiber!

black bean, papaya, and power green taco salad bowl_tips2_

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vegan charred asparagus pasta salad

Posted by on Apr 3, 2016 in tasteovers by jackie | 2 comments

vegan charred asparagus pasta salad

When asparagus is in season, you betcha I’m going to find a way to eat it in every way possible! Though I crave the springy green veggie in a creamy pasta, like fettuccine alfredo, that’s obviously not so calorie- or heart-friendly. This recipe is my better-for-you answer to an asparagus-pasta combination. I’ve gone the pasta salad route since it’s more seasonal to be served with the warmer weather to come. You can use your favorite pasta pick; I’ve chosen an organic red lentil rotini here since it’s super healthy! Plus I wanted an option to serve to my gluten-free friends. But best of all, I’ve grilled the asparagus for that extra special smoky flavor and crave-worthiness! Enjoy this Meatless Monday-style delight as an anytime side or salad—or a light vegan lunch entrée.

Calories saved: 370

Why it’s better for you? Way more fiber; way, way, way less “bad” fat!

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