Category Archives: lunches

Strawberry Spring Salad

A week ago I was running with ear warmers, gloves & my fleece-lined lululemon pants (i.e. the best piece of running gear I’ve ever purchased. Hands down.). This morning, Kate & I headed out at 6 am in shorts & tees, taking pictures like this:

Cherry Blossoms Jefferson 1


Spring has arrived! This means a lot of things – my favorite season is finally here, for one – and the grocery store shelves are reflecting the shift. Thanks to our CSA last year, I know all too well that strawberries must be purchased in season or not at all. Once you taste them fresh off the vine, first thing in the morning at the office, you’ll never go back.

Before this week’s 90* days hit, I hoped I could passive aggressively force spring into action by taking advantage of a fruit sale at TJ’s. On sale? Organic? In April?! PLEASE TASTE GOOD & bring warm weather with you.

Spring strawberry salad 1

If you bring a tasty salad to the menu, too, that’d be great.

Strawberry Spring Salad
Makes 2 servings

5 medium strawberries, sliced & chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 cucumber, halved & sliced
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Salt/pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette
2-4 cups organic mixed greens
Optional: chickpeas (or lean protein of choice ), squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Grab a fork, sit on a deck/porch, in a park or right near a window as the sun shines in, and enjoy!


Filed under DC, lunches, recipes, vegetarian

Vegan Almondmilk Broccoli & Sage Risotto

It’s been a while since we’ve sat down to have dinner together. Grab a fork, this is one of my favorites…

The first time I tasted risotto it was homemade; Denver lulu-friend/chef Whitney & I would have weekly cook-at-home dinner parties, and her kitchen skills weren’t to be messed with. A foodie at heart, this girl makes a mean risotto – dry white wine, authentic parmesan n’ all.

Fast forward two years: (mostly) giving up dairy might mean I don’t enjoy the salty taste of parmesan (nearly as often) these days, but it doesn’t mean recipes can’t be altered to create veg-friendly versions of a few favorites. Once I realized that quite a few dairy-free eaters enjoy homemade risotto, the experiments had to commence.

Risotto pairs well with any combination of vegetables – peppers, edamame, broccoli and mushrooms tend to be my favorite add-ins. This specific version balances seasonal butternut squash and chopped broccoli with fresh herbs and Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Originalin place of heavy cream, saving a lot of calories and swapping in much healthier fat. (If you pick the almond milk over skim milk, you’re saving 30 calories! And lactose, too.)

And with this version? We’re clearing the bowls of every last bite.

Heather Calcote Vegan Sage & Broccoli Risotto

Vegan Sage Broccoli & Squash Risotto
Makes ~4 servings

1 cup Arborio rice
1 ¼ cup
Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Original
½ cup light coconut milk
1 ½ cup water
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup butternut squash, peeled & chopped
2 tbsp green onion, chopped
Salt/Pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped

In a deep sauté pan, heat oil over medium. Add squash, broccoli and green onion, sautéing for 4-5 minutes (until softened). Season with salt and pepper to taste (approx. ¼ tsp of each). Add rice and toss for one minute. In a separate bowl, whisk liquids with herbs. Add one cup of liquid mixture to rice and vegetables, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and continue mixing liquid in ½ cup at a time as it absorbs; stir frequently. Once all liquid is added (total cook time: 20-25 minutes), serve warm over a bowl of greens or as a side.

Silk2 010

Per Serving:
Calories: 245 | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: <1.0g
Carbs: 44g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 4g
Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 150mg

If you compared this to a classic risotto, you’re looking at a 500+ calories per serving vs. 245, and upwards of 13g of saturated fat vs. less than 1g. This vegan-friendly option has a similar texture and better flavor, in my opinion, while actually providing the nutrients of a “side” vs. an entrée. Bring this to your next potluck and nobody will be wondering where the butter is.

The true taste test: I cooked this for our meat-lovin’ friends and it got two-thumbs up. Success!

This recipe post is part of a sponsored campaign with Silk and FitFluential, LLC. All opinions are my own.


Filed under dinners, food, lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian

Slow-Cooker Recipes: Spiced Red Lentil Soup

Coming off of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend left us both craving a warm bowl of vegetables and a night watching Christmas movies (although, when does that not sound like a good time?). It’s cooled off a little bit in the District, leaving me with reason to finally bust out the slow-cooker and test its power.

Crockpot DOTR

If you’re like me and have little to no clue what to do with these, the following links are immensely helpful:

7 Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes Fitness
Healthy Crock-pot & Slow-cooker Recipes & TipsEatingWell

(Look towards the bottom for more specific recipes.)
Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes Pinterest Board (jackpot!)
Vegetarian Slow-Cooker RecipesAllRecipes
Vegan & Vegetarian Slow-Cooker RecipesSavvy Vegetarian

I selected something that involved red lentils and other ingredients that we happened to have on-hand. With a few modifications, this was our first slow-cooker success!

Spiced Red Lentil Soup
Makes ~4 servings

1.5 cups dry red lentils
3 cups organic vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1 can (15 oz.) organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 tbsp. green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. oil
Seasonings to taste: salt/pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano
Optional add-ins: chickpeas, black beans, green chili, celery, corn.

In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium. Add garlic, carrots and onion, cooking until all are softened. Transfer to slow-cooker and combine with all remaining ingredients.

Cook on “high” for 4 hours…and voila! That’s it. Grab a bowl & spoon!

Spiced red lentil crockpot chili


Slow-cooker fans – what are your go-to recipes? I’m still slightly terrified of leaving this on for the whole day, but it makes a great weekend dinner that provides lunch leftovers! I ate this the next day with a handful of kale thrown into the mix.


Filed under dinners, lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian

Thanksgiving Side: Sauteed Kale & Nutmeg Salad

Tomorrow is a day of family and feasting for those of us in the States. This morning’s yoga class was a “tribute to the birds” – we did crow, bird of paradise, eagle & pigeon – as we casually call this holiday “Turkey day!”.

The class was great – love me some arm balances and hip-openers! – but the Thanksgiving-Turkey association? Not my thing. I have a menu of bird-free eats lined up for D & I, largely thanks to holiday recipe roundups from Ashley (Edible Perspective) and the Peas clan.

One dish will be new to us, and is thanks to Lindsey’s post on Nutmeg and my recent kitchen salad experiment.

Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

kale nutmeg salad 1

2-3 cups raw Kale
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 block tofu, chopped (Optional)
1 tbsp. e.v. olive oil
1/4 cup pepitas
Seasonings: nutmeg, black pepper (~1/4 tsp. each)

Heat oil over medium in a large/deep sauté pan. Add onions, peppers and tofu, cooking and stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and seasonings, continue stirring and sautéing until all vegetables are soft and tofu is starting to brown (if applicable).  Toss in raw kale leaves to coat and cook slightly; mix in pepitas and serve warm.

kale nutmeg salad 3

The Nutmeg flavor tasted so good with this mix of vegetables; I never would have thought to throw that seasoning on a salad, but I am so glad I did. Now I know it’s delicious in treats and healthy eats! Its flavor is reminiscent of holiday baked goods and oatmeal cookies, making this salad the perfect healthy complement to your Thanksgiving day dining!


What’s healthy on your holiday menu? What’s your t0tally-worth-it splurge/indulgence?

Happy dining & celebrating!

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Filed under food, lunches, recipes, vegetarian