Chickpea Salad Sandwich Without Mayo

Get out of your lunchtime rut and make packing lunches more exciting with this Chickpea Salad Sandwich. 

half of a chickpea salad sandwich on a cutting board

Ever get in a lunch rut? Need new ideas for packing your kids’ or your own lunch? Are packable noontime options dwindling? Surely you’ve met the ‘What shall I pack for lunch?” question.

I always pack my lunch for the next day the night before. If not, I’m typically running out the door and a Siggi’s yogurt, KIND bar, and a piece of fruit are just tossed in my bag on my way out. I don’t mind those “snacky” kind of lunches once in a while, but I’d prefer more of a meal kind of lunch.

Plant-Based Proteins:

This chickpea walnut sandwich is a plant-based tuna/chicken salad makeover. I always try and make sure protein is present at lunchtime to help keep me full through the afternoon. Chickpeas are the perfect pulse for this recipe because the firm texture holds its shape. The addition of the walnuts is key for the crunch factor, while also providing heart-healthy fats.

chickpea salad sandwich on rye bread with an apple

Are garbanzo beans the same as chickpeas?

Yes. Originally the name garbanzo bean came from the Spanish community and over time different cultures have referred to them as another name. Eventually, these beans came to be known as chickpeas to most people in the world today.

Are chickpeas lectins?

Yes, chickpeas are considered a legume, and all legumes contain lectin. Lectin, a protein, binds to carbs and is known to some as an anti-nutrient. This is somewhat a controversial concept, because people with stomach sensitives may see an effect, but most do not. Also, most foods containing lectin are high in antioxidants, so the good outweighs the bad. If you are concerned about lectins, know that once they are cooked, the lectin is deactivated.

chickpea salad sandwich on rye bread cut in half

Ingredients for Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

  • chickpeas
  • walnuts
  • plain Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt is a great substitute for mayonnaise to trim back on saturated fat and replace it with a boost of protein and calcium instead.
  •  Dijon mustard
  •  honey
  • scallions
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • whole wheat bread, toasted
  • (Optional) Toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion

How to Make a Chickpea Salad Sandwich Without Mayo

Mash the chickpeas in a small bowl using a fork. Don’t over-mash, we aren’t making hummus!

Mix in the nuts, mustard, greek yogurt, honey, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the chickpea salad on your bread to make the perfect sandwich. You can also add it on top of a salad, or dip with crackers – this chickpea walnut mixture is versatile to get you out of your lunchtime rut.

vegetarian chickpea salad sandwich on a cutting board

Should you rinse canned garbanzo beans?

You should and mainly it’s because the liquid contains a lot of unnecessary sodium which is why. most recommend draining and rinsing chickpeas before using.

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cut in half chickpea sandwich

Chickpea Walnut Sandwich

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2
  • Category: sandwich

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
  • (Optional) Toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion

Instructions

  1. Add chickpeas to a bowl and lightly mash with a fork. (Not too much. We aren’t making hummus!) Add walnuts, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, honey, and scallions and mix together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Add a desired amount of the chickpea mixture to the bread and add desired toppings. Top with the other slice of bread.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker.

Keywords: sandwich, vegetarian, plant-based

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Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

Do you have an Instant Pot and don’t know where to start? I am still getting the hang of it, but I’ve mastered how to make PERFECT hard-boiled and soft-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the American Egg Board and the Egg Nutrition Center. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!

instant pot hard boiled eggs on a gray plate next to egg carton and shells

What Can the Instant Pot Do?

215,000+ Amazon customers purchased the Instant Pot on Prime Day alone. Now that it’s in everyone’s kitchen they are looking for new recipes to try.

The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.

New to using the Instant Pot? Learn about these seven tips for efficiently using your Instant Pot.

While I am still learning all the functions of the Instant Pot, the first technique I mastered was preparing hard and soft-boiled eggs.

infographic for cooking eggs in the instant pot

How Are Eggs Healthy?

One large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids. Nearly half the protein is in the yolk so don’t ditch the yolk!

Eggs were once avoided and criticized for their cholesterol content. However, the totality of scientific research has shown no or little effect between dietary cholesterol and cardiac outcomes or markers of heart disease risk in healthy individuals.

Government and health organizations have revised their dietary cholesterol recommendations. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans place no daily limit on dietary cholesterol intake. Foods like egg yolks and some shellfish are higher in dietary cholesterol but not saturated fats making them a healthful choice along with healthy eating patterns.

Hard-boiled eggs are something I pretty much meal prep every week for myself. One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including choline plus the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, all just for 70 calories.

three hard boiled instant pot eggs on a gray plate next to the shells

Why the Instant Pot method works:

Now, I know making hard-boiled eggs on the stovetop is not too challenging, but this Instant Pot method makes it even simpler and in just 5 minutes, they are ready. Plus, there is a science behind why cooking eggs in the Instant Pot make them easier to peel. The reason according to Alton Brown is:

“Eggs that are quickly heated are easier to peel than eggs that are slowly heated, say in cold water brought to a boil. Fast cooking prevents the white from bonding so epoxy-like to the outer membranes. Since pressure steamers can generate temperatures between 230 and 250 degrees F it is suspected that this is actually why folks think they’re magic egg machines.” Also, thorough cooling eases peeling by allowing the proteins in the albumen to fully set and harden, thus preventing tearing.

instant pot sitting next to gray striped towel

How to Make Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

Pour the water in and place the rack (trivet) in the bottom. Then sit the eggs on the rack in the Instant Pot in a single layer.

Cook for 3 minutes on high pressure. Once the timer goes off, quickly release the pressure.

Transfer the eggs to a bowl with ice and cold water until they are cool enough to hold in your hand.

Peel right away.

The Best Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs

If you want to make hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot, pour the water in. Set the rack in the bottom. Place the eggs on the rack. Cook for 5 minutes using high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath. Peel once they are cool enough for you to hold.

Tips for Making

  • Make sure the eggs are in a single layer, do not stack them.
  • There is an accessory you can buy that is specifically for making eggs in the Instant Pot that may allow you to cook more at a time.
  • When you release the pressure, place a towel over the top. Also make sure the pressure cooker is away from cabinets so the steam doesn’t ruin them.

How Long Do Cooked Eggs Last?

Hard-Boiled Eggs will keep up to a week in your refrigerator. Make a few perfect hard-boiled eggs to create delicious recipes throughout the week.

cobb salad topped with hard boiled eggs made in the pressure cooker

A few ways I use hard-boiled eggs are:

  • Pair hard-boiled eggs with avocado and tomato. I usually just add a little salt and pepper, but when I’m looking to add an extra pop of flavor, I add everything but the bagel, sesame seasoning blend.
  • For a filling snack, try my version of a “quick deviled egg”. Scoop out the yolk, mix with hummus and fill back in the egg white.

Ways to Use Instant Pot Eggs

(source)

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Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 3
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 5
  • Method: Instant Pot

Description

Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.


Ingredients

Scale

Ingredients:
Eggs (up to as many that can fit in an even layer in your Instant Pot – do not stack)
1 cup water

Equipment:
Instant Pot with the rack


Instructions

Place the rack in the bottom of the pot. Pour the water in the pot. Place the eggs on the rack.

For soft-boiled:
Set Instant pot on high pressure on manual 3 minutes. Quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.

For hard-boiled:
Set Instant Pot on high pressure on manual 5 minutes. Natural release 5 minutes then use quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.


Keywords: eggs, instant pot, meal prep

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Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs
Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs

Zucchini Bread Smoothie

This Zucchini Smoothie tastes exactly like your favorite veggie bread! Only 8 ingredients needed for a full on powerhouse in a glass!

zucchini smoothie in a small glass with straw next to diced zucchini

This smoothie literally does taste like zucchini bread. When I took the first sip of this smoothie, my tastebuds could identify every single flavor that was blended together.

We pretty much have all heard of adding leafy greens to smoothies but have you considered veggies like zucchini. I recently started adding this vegetable to my smoothie with the plethora I’ve been picking up from the farmer’s market.

The other recipe that I run to when I have too many zucchini on hand is my chocolate chip zucchini bread, which I’m sure everyone has tried at some point (there’s also a gluten free version). One thing I really love about this smoothie is that it’s healthy, but its taste is absolutely delicious!

Don’t let the green color be a turn-off. Actually, most green smoothies are the ones with the best nutrition profiles!

For the future when you need a savory zucchini side dish try these Zucchini Carrot Fritters.

green zucchini smoothie on a board next to white towel and diced zucchini pieces

Healthy Zucchini Smoothie Ingredients

Check out all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are packed in every glass you make!

Banana: rich in potassium and fiber
Zucchini: vitamins C and A, potassium, folate, and fiber
Spinach: potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6, B9, and E, high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium
Walnuts: rich in omega-3 fats, protein, copper, manganese
Cinnamon: polyphenol antioxidants
Ginger: anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
Orange Zest: fiber, vitamins, and polyphenols

Smoothie Meal Prep Tips

If you are a beginner at making smoothies, I recommend starting with baby spinach. It’s a neutral veggie that blends well. Honestly, if you are using nut butters, protein powder, and/or berries; all of those ingredients overpower the taste of the spinach. You can’t even tell it’s in there!

PRO TIP: After you open your spinach (the kind in the plastic containers from the store) place a paper towel on top. This keeps the condensation from the lid off the greens and makes it stay fresher a little longer.

Chop and steam your zucchini before adding it to your smoothie. Not only does it blend better this way, but your body can absorb more nutrition. When you steam the zucchini, it breaks down the cell wall and opens up the micronutrients, which makes it easier for your body to absorb and digest.

Transfer the steamed zucchini to a parchment-lined baking sheet and place it in the freezer (this is also a good tip for berries too). Once they are frozen, place them in small plastic bags so you can easily toss them in the blender the next time you go to make a smoothie.

You can watch the video for all of the smoothie tips if you want!

healthy zucchini smoothie in a small glass with paper straw next to diced zucchini pieces
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Zucchini Bread Smoothie via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #zucchini #zucchinibread #smoothie

Zucchini Bread Smoothie

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Zucchini bread in smoothie form, while adding in extra veggies!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 small banana (frozen)
  • 1/2 cup zucchini (chopped, steamed, and frozen)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped (or 1 tablespoon Pamela’s Nut Flour Blend)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. For a thicker consistency, add ice. For a thinner consistency, add water.

Keywords: smoothie, drink

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Cranberry Relish

With just five simple ingredients this Cranberry Relish will add a pop of color and a side dish full of nutrients that will be a great addition to the table at any holiday gathering.

a small bowl of cranberry relish next to lemon, garnish, and single cranberries


With Thanksgiving just a few days away, everyone is finalizing their Thanksgiving Day menu. Thanksgiving dinner is all about timing. What needs to be in/out the oven or stovetop. I am always a fan of the menu items that can be made ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about factoring that in the day of the festivities.


This recipe is inspired by one of my friend’s aunt’s recipe. (Hi Steph!) I was scrambling last week to get a menu together for my Thanksgiving cooking class at work. I’ve been teaching multiple Thanksgiving Day-themed cooking classes for work the past 3 years now. I get a lot of the same people attending the classes, so I didn’t want to repeat any previous recipes used in class.


I tend to catch up with family and friends on my way to and from work in the car. Whoever invented Bluetooth, thank you! I was chatting with Steph on my way home from work and I mentioned how I didn’t know what I was making yet for my class the next day. She was told me about her Aunt’s cranberry relish recipe that her family goes crazy for every year. What I really loved about it was it was only a few simple ingredients and everything goes right into a food processor. Plus, it is a recipe that can be made ahead of time. I did tweak the original recipe to make it healthier.

Cranberries: What’s So Great About Them?

I’m so glad you asked! Cranberries are actually full of antioxidants known as PACs, which may help reduce inflammation related to chronic diseases and aging.

A cup of fresh cranberries is a great source of fiber and Vitamin C, but the downside is that they only come into season during the fall.

The good news is that you can buy up several bags of fresh cranberries and freeze them to have year-round!


Also, research indicates that consumption of flavonoids in foods and beverages may decrease the risk of atherosclerosis.

In vitro and in vivo experiments with flavonoids demonstrate that flavonoids are dietary antioxidants and inhibit LDL oxidation, inhibit platelet aggregation and adhesion, inhibit enzymes involved in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism that affect the immune response to oxidized LDL and their uptake by endothelial macrophages, may induce endothelium-dependent vassorelaxation, and may increase reverse cholesterol transport and decrease total and LDL cholesterol.

Cranberries contain both hydroxycinnamic acids and flavonoids. The cranberry flavonoids belong to three groups: anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins, which make cranberries a great addition as part of a heart-healthy diet. Source: The Cranberry Insitute.

infographic describing the health benefits and nutrition of cranberries

What You Need For Cranberry Relish

  • fresh cranberries
  • lemon
  • pineapple rings – I am using canned with the juice drained, you can use fresh if you would like.
  • sugar
  • honey

How To Make Cranberry Relish

Add the cranberries to the food processor and pulse until they begin breaking down. Depending on the size of your food processor you may have to do this in batches.

Slice the lemon into wedges and remove the seeds. Add the wedges, with the peel on, to the processor and pulse just until it breaks down.

Then add the sugar, honey, and pineapple rings. Continue pulsing until the relish reaches your desired consistency.

Can You Make Cranberry Relish with Nuts?

Yes! Because I recommend chilling cranberry relish overnight so all of the flavors come together, fold them in just before serving. Pecans and walnuts pair well with cranberry dishes, but you can add any variety of nuts.

I like smaller pieces, so if you have whole pecan or walnuts chop you can chop by hand or throw them in a food processor for a few pulses.

close up of cranberry relish made with real cranberries next to lemon half

What’s the Difference Between Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Relish?

Relish is made with raw ingredients that are blended together then chilled. Traditionally cranberry sauce is actually cooked (unless you are eating it from the can) and is much sweeter.

Can You Use Frozen Cranberries?

You can use frozen, just know the flavor is much more muted, but that’s usually the case when you swap frozen fruits and veggies for fresh.

Be sure you allow for some additional time so they can thaw completely. Then drain the cranberries to remove the excess liquid.

Cranberry Relish Serving Suggestions

In case you were wondering, here are some of the popular ways cranberry relish is served.

  • As a holiday side dish
  • Over Brie or cream cheese
  • With crackers – you could use a salty variety or graham crackers for a sweeter version
  • Topping – use the leftover to top off your pancakes, waffles, or yogurt bowls

How Long is Cranberry Relish Good For?

You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. This also means you can make it ahead of time if you are prepping for holiday meals to ease the stress! 

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Cranberry Relish

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: side dish

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 (20 oz) can pineapple rings, juice drained
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Instructions

  1. Place cranberries in a large food processor and pulse to begin to break down the cranberries.
  2. Cut lemon into small wedges and remove any seeds. Add the whole lemon to the food processor with the cranberries (do NOT remove the peel). Pulse to begin to break down the lemons with the cranberries.
  3. Add pineapple, sugar, and honey. Pulse to reach desired consistency.
  4. Let chill overnight to allow the flavors to come together.

Notes

*If using frozen cranberries, let thaw completely and drain to remove any excess liquid before preparing this recipe.

Keywords: cranberry relish, cranberry, side dish, thanksgiving, holiday

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Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Culinary Nutrition Consultant of chefjulierd.com
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Roasted Maple-Mustard Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts have just enough tang and the right amount of sweetness! The perfect side dish that pairs well with just about any meal! 

close up of maple mustard glazed brussels sprouts in a white bowl

Some people may turn their nose up at the thought of Brussels sprouts, but honestly, they just need to try cooking them a different way! The maple mustard glaze brings in so much flavor, adding a twist to just regular roasted sprouts. 

With the holiday season just around the corner, these become a staple around our house. Once you try them I promise you will be eating this delicious side dish all year long! 

Because this is a sheet pan recipe, it’s easy to make and almost hands off! So while these are great during the week, you can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a larger crowd without much more prep work.

Why I Love Brussels Sprouts

For starters, brussels sprouts are packed full of nutrients and rich in Vitamin K and Vitamin C. They also contain an antioxidant called kaempferol, that may help to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy heart. 

If you aren’t a seafood lover, double up on your Brussels because they are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3s! 

So besides all of the amazing health benefits, Brussels sprouts can be cooked in so many ways which makes them really versatile in the kitchen.  Simply changing out the sauce, glaze, or seasoning offers a whole new side dish. Let’s not forget they are great in salads when they are shredded too! 

top shot of roasted maple mustard brussels sprouts in a white bowl

Ingredients for Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts 

lemon juice

Dijon mustard

maple syrup

olive oil

salt and pepper

Brussels sprouts

How to Make Roasted Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts 

Prep your baking sheet by spraying it with non-stick spray or using parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. 

Once you have halved and trimmed the Brussels sprouts, mix those in and stir until they are fully coated. 

brussels sprouts roasted with a maple mustard glaze in a white bowl

Pour the mixture in an even layer onto the baking sheets. You can drizzle the remaining glaze over if there’s any left in the bowl. 

Roast for about 30 minutes or until the brussels are tender and caramelized. Stir them occasionally or flip with a spatula half way through. 

Can You Use Frozen Brussels Sprouts? 

You can if that’s all you have. Allow them to thaw completely before roasting.

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Roasted Maple-Mustard Glazed Brussels Sprouts

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: roasting

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, halved and trimmed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
  3. Mix in the Brussels sprouts until they are fully coated. Pour the Brussels sprouts on an even layer on the baking sheet, drizzling any remaining glaze on top.
  4. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Brussels sprouts should be tender and caramelized to your desired doneness.

Keywords: Brussels sprouts, roasting, vegetable side dish

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Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Culinary Nutrition Consultant of chefjulierd.com
close up of roasted brussels sprouts with a maple mustard glaze with text overlay

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese

Are you looking for a new and creative way to utilize spaghetti squash? Let me introduce you to my new favorite recipe: Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese! It’s easy to make and the entire family will love it! 

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese on a white plate, one piece dipped in marinara sauce

We all know that spaghetti squash has many health benefits. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One of the reasons I love using spaghetti squash so much when I’m cooking is because of how versatile it can be. 

What ingredients do I use for this Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese?

This recipe calls for ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. From eggs to parmesan cheese and various seasonings, I’m sure you have most of the ingredients on hand already. If you want to kick the recipe up a notch you could add other various seasonings as you see fit! 

How do I make this Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese? 

It’s very easy to make, which is another benefit if you’re busy or on the go. The most difficult part of the entire recipe is preparing the squash (which really isn’t even difficult at all!). 

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese on a white plate with a small dish of marinara sauce

How do I serve the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches?

Personally, I like to each them alone for a quick lunch or snack. If you want to make these for dinner, you can serve them with your favorite soup! You’ll find some of my favorite soup recipes here: https://chefjulierd.com/recipes/?_search=soup 

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese being dipped in a small white bowl with marinara sauce

How do I cook spaghetti squash? 

The easiest method to cook the spaghetti squash for this recipe is in the microwave. However, you can also use your instant pot or oven. You’ll find the instructions in the recipe card below! 

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Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese on a white plate with a small dish of marinara sauce

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Do you have spaghetti squash but you aren’t quite sure what to make with it? Let me introduce you to my new favorite recipe: Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese! It’s easy to make and the entire family will love it! 


Ingredients

Scale

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 eggs
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Instructions

  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves skin side up in a microwave-safe baking dish. (You can cook each squash half separately if your baking dish is too small to fit both, or cook both at once.) Fill the dish with about 1 inch of water.
  2. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. When done, a fork poked through the skin should slide easily into the squash. Continue microwaving on high for another 2 to 5 minutes as needed, until fork tender. When cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the strands of squash from the inside. (see notes below for alternative cooking methods)
  3. Using a cheesecloth or thin dishtowel, squeeze excess liquid from the squash (there will be a lot!). 
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, parmesan, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Add the spaghetti squash and mix well breaking up any clumps of squash. 
  5. Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat. Coat waffle iron well with cooking spray. Add half the squash mixture to the waffle iron and cook until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes, depending on your waffle iron.
  6. Open waffle iron and sprinkle one side of the waffle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Gently fold over the other half of the waffle on top of the side with the cheese. Gently press down on the waffle iron and continue cooking until the cheese has melted.
  7. Serve alongside tomato soup or dunk in marinara sauce. (or just enjoy it as is!)


Notes

Alternative methods to cook spaghetti squash:

Instant Pot – Slice the spaghetti squash in half and then scoop out the seeds in the center.
Place a trivet or steamer basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add a cup of water into the bottom. Arrange the cut squash halves on top of the trivet and secure the lid. Place the steam release valve in the lid is in the sealing position. Use the pressure cook or manual button to set the pressure cooker to cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. Release pressure and remove from Instant Pot.

In the oven – Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Drizzle the cut side with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 40 minutes or just until fork-tender. Let cool until able to handle. Flip spaghetti squash over and run a fork down the squash to separate into strands.

Keywords: spaghetti squash recipe, waffle, low carb, vegetarian

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FAQ

Do these Spaghetti Squash Grilled Cheese Waffles freeze well? How do you reheat them?
Yes! Feel free to meal prep these in advance. I would suggest heating them in the oven to warm up to retain their crispiness.

What if I don’t have a waffle iron?
Not to worry! You can still make the concept of this recipe by adding a scoop of the spaghetti squash mixture to a frying pan, crisp both sides and add cheese in the middle.

Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese on a white plate with a small dish of marinara sauce

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Rustic Apple Galette

Get creative with apples this season and switch it up by making this Rustic Apple Galette.

slice cut out of an apple galette

We are all creatures of habit. When I have apples on my grocery list, I walk straight to the produce department and pick the same few apple varieties each time. When I was in culinary school, it really opened my eyes to exploring new foods. I’m not just talking about unique foods, but rather some of the everyday foods that we don’t necessarily take advantage of. The majority of grocery stores carry over six varieties of apples at a time. When I was a supermarket dietitian, during the fall season, I’ve seen even up to 15 varieties taking up a spot in the produce department.

It’s not just apples to apples. Different apples contain different tastes, culinary uses, and may even ripen at different times during the season. Here are some apple varieties to look out for and ways to use them in the kitchen.

Best apples for making applesauce:

  • Pink Lady
  • Granny Smith
  • Braeburn

The best apple for making tart applesauce is a Pink Lady (for a tangy-sweet flavor) or, depending on taste, you could opt for a true tart variety like Granny Smith. Unless you have a high-powered blender, be sure to peel the skin prior to cooking. Add a hint of sweetness without added sugar, by sweetening applesauce with cinnamon.

Best apples for baking:

  • Granny Smith
  • Pink Lady
  • Golden Delicious
  • Fuji

There are a few! Apples on the sweeter end of things are a good choice, as their higher sugar content means you can go a bit lighter on added sugars in the recipes. If you want your apples to maintain a bit of crispness, look for firmer apples that will maintain texture under the heat.

Best apples for salads:

  • Honeycrisp
  • Pink Lady
  • Fuji
  • Jazz
  • Empire

For salads, you’ll want a crunchy apple that doesn’t brown too quickly when sliced or chopped.  Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Fuji, Jazz, and Empire apples have bright white flesh that resists browning when cut.

Best apples for stuffing:

  • Pink Lady
  • Golden Delicious

Looking for a balance of sweet and savory in your stuffing recipe? Both Pink Lady and Golden Delicious varieties make a great addition to savory stuffing with their firm texture and sweet/tart flavor.

Best apples for making galettes:

  • Golden Delicious
  • Pink Lady
  • Honeycrisp
  • Golden Delicious
full apple galette on a piece of parchment paper with a slice cut out

What is a galette?

A galette is a French term for round or freeform crusty cakes. The fillings can be made with both sweet or savory ingredients.

The best apples to use for making an apple galette is one that is sweet and tart that holds up exceptionally well to heat, like pink lady, fuji, or honey crisp. If you are looking for a little extra tartness, using Golden Delicious apples is a great way to go too.

apple galette with a slice removed and a knife

Next time apples are on your grocery list, I challenge you to choose a different apple variety than your typical choice.

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Rustic Apple Galette

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD

Ingredients

Scale

For the crust:
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter (5 tablespoons), cut into ½ inch pieces
3 tablespoons low-fat milk
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

For the filling:
3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced (choose a firm, sweet and tart variety, like Pink Lady)
2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1 large egg white, lightly beaten
(optional) 1 teaspoon sugar


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Unwrap dough and place on a floured surface. Roll out dough to a 15-inch circle. Place the dough on the baking sheet. Evenly, spoon the apple mixture onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges.
  3. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples. Brush edges with the whisked egg white. Sprinkle with sugar, if using.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Cut into 8 wedges.

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This recipe was originally posted in the November 2018 issue of Today’s Dietitian.

FAQ:

Do I have to make a homemade crust?
Nope! You can definitely skip that step and use a pre-made pie crust.

What other fruits would work well in this recipe?
Any fruits that don’t have too much moisture. Pears, plums, and peaches work well in galettes.

What savory flavor combinations would you try?
I developed a savory root vegetable galette for the American Pecan Council that was delicious!

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White Bean Shakshuka

Whip up this one-pan smoky White Bean Shakshuka for a weekend brunch, but it is just as good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

cast iron skillet with white bean shakshuka with a piece of bread

What is Shakshuka?

Shakshuka is a Mediterranean meal of poached eggs in a simmering tomato sauce with spices.

The beauty of this dish is that you can play around with the ingredients to customize it for your preference. I’ve even made a green shakshuka before!

Why you should always keep a well-stocked pantry.

Writing this blog post now, we are in the midst of COVID-19. We are taking fewer trips to the grocery store and may need to rely on pantry staples to create nutritious meals around. Mealtime inspiration is just a can opener away.

cast iron skillet with shakshuka

Is canned food healthy?

Canned foods are an easy, cost-effective way to eat healthy year-round. They are a simple, realistic way people can incorporate nutrients into meals.

Nutritionally speaking, canned food is comparable to its cooked fresh and frozen counterparts. Canned fruits and vegetables are packed at their peak of harvest, which means they are packed at their peak nutrient value. Crops that go directly from the field to the processor often retain vitamins better than those that travel hundreds of miles across the country and sit for days in produce bins. (resource)

portion of white bean shakshuka on a ceramic plate

What ingredients give this shakshuka a smoky flavor?

The smoky flavor mainly comes from two ingredients in this recipe – the fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika.

  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
    Fire-roasted tomatoes are made by charring the tomatoes over a flame before they’re diced and canned. You may even see little black flecks within your can. That is from the tomato making direct heat with the flame creating that smoky flavor.
  • Smoked Paprika
    Smoked paprika is made from pimiento peppers that have been dried and smoked over an oak fire, then ground into a fine powder, creating that earthy and smoky taste.
Cast iron skillet with a brunch recipe scooped with a wooden spoon

What equipment you need to make shakshuka:

  • Cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan* (see FAQ below if you don’t have one!)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener
  • Colander
plate of tomato sauce mixture with an egg and bread
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White Bean Shakshuka

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Whip up this one-pan smoky White Bean Shakshuka for a weekend brunch, but it is just as good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!


Ingredients

Scale

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups packed baby spinach
4 large eggs
Salt, to taste Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup feta crumbles
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Red pepper flakes, if desired
Crusty bread or pita, for serving


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet, preferably cast-iron over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes until tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  2. Add the smoked paprika, oregano, and tomato paste, consistently stirring for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. 
  3. Pour in the crushed tomatoes with their juices, beans, and spinach. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for 5 minutes to give the flavors time to come together and spinach has wilted.
  4. Turn off the heat. Use the back of a spoon to make a well in the tomato/bean mixture and crack the egg directly into it. Gently spoon a bit of the tomato mixture over the whites to help contain the egg. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes. They’re done when the egg whites are an opaque white and the yolks have risen a bit but are still soft. They should still jiggle in the centers. (Keep in mind that they’ll continue cooking after you pull the dish out of the oven.) Cook to preferred doneness.
  6. Transfer the hot skillet to a heat-safe surface like the stove. Top with crumbled feta, fresh parsley, and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve in bowls with crusty bread or pita on the side.

Notes

Don’t have an oven-safe pan or cast-iron pan? No problem! Once you have cracked the eggs into the skillet, lower the heat and place a lid on top and cook until the desired doneness.

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plate of white bean shakshuka with poached egg and a slice of bread

FAQ:

What if I don’t have a cast-iron pan?

Not a problem! Once you have cracked the eggs into the skillet, lower the heat and place a lid on top and cook until the desired doneness.

What if I can’t find fire-roasted tomatoes?

You can use regular crushed tomatoes for this recipe! If you are looking for an extra smoky flavor, then add a little extra smoked paprika.

What if I don’t prefer the smoky flavor?

Use plain crushed tomatoes and paprika (not smoked).

Pear Walnut Muffins

Enjoy as part of breakfast or alone as a snack. These Pear Walnut Muffins are simple to make with big flavor.

Pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other
pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other on a cooling rack

How to know if a pear is ripe

Remember to “check the neck”. Pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Pears are harvested when they reach maturity, and when left at room temperature pears slowly ripen from the inside out.

Apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe.

What’s different about green anjou pears?

Anjou pears have a more egg shape appearance. Their dense flesh holds up well in heated applications like baking, poaching, roasting, or grilling and they are delicious when sliced fresh in salads or eaten as an out-of-hand snack.

pear walnut muffin cut in half on a white plate

How to make Pear Walnut Muffins

The recipe for these pear walnut muffins is pretty much a straight forward muffin recipe.

  1. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  2. Fold in mix-ins.
  3. Bake!

Recipe Notes:

Why sift flour?

Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.

Be mindful of the size.

When chopping ingredients to mix into the batter, be mindful of the size. Chop ingredients in an even size. For the pears in this recipe, think about each bite of the muffin – big enough to note the taste and texture but not too big that it takes over.

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Pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other

Pear Walnut Muffins

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10
  • Category: muffin
  • Method: baking

Description

These pear walnut muffins are the perfect addition to a breakfast or enjoy alone as a snack. Learn baking tips to create perfect muffins every time!


Ingredients

1 large ripe pear peeled, cored and diced (preferably d’Anjou)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Optional topping:
coconut sugar or coarse sugar
chopped walnuts


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together diced pears, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. 
  4. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the egg, Greek yogurt, apple cider, butter, and vanilla, until smooth. 
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently fold together until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
  6. Add the walnuts and pear mixture and any accumulated juice to the batter. Gently fold with a spatula until the pecans and pears are incorporated.
  7. Divide the batter between the muffin wells. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with coconut sugar and chopped walnuts. Allow the muffins to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter.
  9. Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Why sift flour? Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.

Keywords: pear, walnut, muffins, baked goods, baking

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How to freeze muffins and prevent freezer burn

Cool muffins completely before wrapping and freezing. To freeze, wrap securely in foil or freezer wrap, or place in freezer bags. Be sure to remove as much excess air within the bag as possible. Muffins can be stored frozen for up to 3 months.

Edamame Avocado Hummus

Move over chickpea hummus. There’s a new hummus in town – Edamame Avocado Hummus. 

Edamame Avocado Hummus ingredients in a food processor

I recently did a presentation about smart snacking. One thing I like to mention about smart snacking is to opt for real food first. Snacking is an opportunity for nourishment. 

Yes, grabbing a bar is quick (some bars do pack in great nutritional value), but really think about your snacks throughout the day. How many of them are real food vs. processed foods?

Edamame Avocado Hummus in a small white bowl

I’ve been challenging myself to include more veggies into my snacks. I go through snacking phases, and raw veggies have fallen out of my routine a little bit.

Snacking is more fun when you are dunking. I love dunking my veggies into hummus, but I decided to switch it up a bit and use edamame as the base instead of chickpeas. Edamame, a plant-based protein is a young soybean that has been harvested before the beans have had a chance to harden.

Edamame Avocado Hummus in a white bowl with carrots and crackers

Adding avocado to the edamame helps make this dip creamy. Avocados can act as a booster to help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from the foods eaten with them, like vitamin A. Vitamin A foods, like carrots, contain carotenoids, which not only promote healthy skin but benefit the heart and immune system as well. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals. So, pair carrot sticks with this delicious dip!

carrot being dunked into green dip
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Edamame Avocado Hummus in a white bowl

Edamame Avocado Hummus

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: dip
  • Method: no-cook

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (can sub olive oil)

Instructions

  1. Add edamame, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, onion powder, pepper and salt in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds and scrape down sides.
  2. Slowly drizzle in oil while motor is running and pulse until reach desired consistency.

Keywords: hummus, avocado, edamame, dip

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