Sweet Potato Nachos

A calorie bomb of greasy chips smothered in cheese …not exactly what you’d expect to get from these veggie loving, registered dietitians and personal trainer twin sisters (who just happen to have a sweet tooth), now is it? Thank goodness, you’re (partially 😉 ) right about that. While this may taste like the real deal, this is the souped- up, caloried-down version! You know, more like some of our dishes that watch your waistline but that tantalize the more naughty side of your taste buds like our Smoked Paprika ChipsGuilt-free Kale ChipsSpicy Carrot Fries, and our Skinny Zucchini Fries… And now these yummy nachos nibblers!

 

Are you ready for a cozy comfort food that makes an ideal savory and crunchy lunch (or dinner) and that will keep you satisfied for hours? Then say hello to hot hints of savory chicken and beans and soft hints of sweet peas and scrumptious, crunchy sweet potato chips.

 

Here’s what makes this skinny comfort food work its’ magic:

 

  • Rather than traditional nachos that rack in the calories and bloating-sodium with their fried chips, these nibblers get their crunch from crispy baked sweet potato chips.

 

  • Sweet potatoes provide the quality carbs that your brain craves—this feels so indulgent but in just 4-4.5 ounces 328 calories, the comfort-food carb craving is met with bloat-busting magnesium, potassium and filling fiber. Plus, you get anti-aging, skin protecting beta-carotene!
  • Instead of gobs of greasy cheese, this skinny-cho (you read that right—“skin- nacho!” ;)) uses reduced fat cheese and a surprising creamy twist, from the peas. This works magic on your creamy-texture craving taste buds and on your waistline.

 

  • Adios fatty beef, hola savory chicken for lean protein that keeps you feeling full for hours.

 

  • Beans –rather than refried, these skip the added fat and keep the creamy texture, staying lean and filling!

 

Plus, these nachos actually work to fight off a muffin-top! Here’s how:

 

  • One plate regular nachos = More than 650 calories, one plate of these bad boys is only 328 calories.

 

  • Fewer calories IN = Less fat ON the body

Buh-bye unsightly gut bulges! Packed with fiber to flush waste and toxins out of the colon:

 

  • No constipation= flatter tummy

 

  • Less tummy poof: Hello magical bloat-busting combo of magnesium and potassium! Plus, they’re low in sodium to keep bloat at bay, flat belly ahoy!

Traditional nachos are loaded with belt-bursting sodium and an entire plate would set you back at least 2400mg, OURS SAVE YOU 2000 mg even if you eat the whole plate!

 

 

Savory Sweet Potato Nachos

 

This cozy comfort food is so healthy and filling you can make it your main meal! Or simply take this healthy spin on a fan favorite and serve it for guests!

 

Makes 3 Servings (entree sized)

Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes

½ cup black beans

½ cup frozen peas

½ cup shredded chicken breast (or canned chicken)

¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese, reduced fat

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Rinse sweet and thoroughly clean potatoes and thinly slice (about 3 mm thick). This is most easily done using a paring knife and working slowly, and of course carefully!
  3. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place potato slices on the baking sheet to make a nice even layer of slices (it doesn’t have to be neat just even!). The potatoes can be overlapping and it doesn’t necessarily need to be one potato per layer! Place potatoes in oven.
  4. While potatoes are baking, prepare frozen peas as directed on bag, drain and rinse black beans, and pull apart and shred chicken breast OR drain and pull apart canned chicken.
  5. After about 20 minutes, take potatoes out and flip the chips (they should be a little crispy on the side that was facing up and soft and warm on the bottom). Bake for another 15-20 min.
  6. After the potatoes are baked and crispy on both sides, take them out of the oven, place them on a plate and top with peas, black beans, chicken, and cheese. Enjoy this scrumptious meal for lunch, for dinner or with friends! It serves 3!

 

Nutrition Facts for 1 serving

Calories: 328, carbs: 47.3g, fat: 6.3g, saturated fat: 2g, protein: 23.5g, sodium: 479.5mg, fiber: 9.8g

Sweet Potato Nachos
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Serves: 3 4 oz. servings
Ingredients
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup black beans
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup shredded chicken breast (or canned chicken)
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese, reduced fat
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Rinse sweet and thoroughly clean potatoes and thinly slice (about 3 mm thick). This is most easily done using a paring knife and working slowly, and of course carefully!
  3. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place potato slices on the baking sheet to make a nice even layer of slices (it doesn’t have to be neat just even!). The potatoes can be overlapping and it doesn't necessarily need to be one potato per layer! Place potatoes in oven.
  4. While potatoes are baking, prepare frozen peas as directed on bag, drain and rinse black beans, and pull apart and shred chicken breast OR drain and pull apart canned chicken.
  5. After about 20 minutes, take potatoes out and flip the chips (they should be a little crispy on the side that was facing up and soft and warm on the bottom). Bake for another 15-20 min.
  6. After the potatoes are baked and crispy on both sides, take them out of the oven, place them on a plate and top with peas, black beans, chicken, and cheese. Enjoy this scrumptious meal for lunch, for dinner or with friends! It serves 3!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 oz Calories: 328 Fat: 6.3g Saturated fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 47.3g Sodium: 479.5mg Fiber: 9.8g Protein: 23.5g

 

 

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cranberry Pancakes

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cranberry Pancakes

By now you likely know how we feel about pumpkin…we’re obsessed! 😉  And if you didn’t already know this, if you take a few seconds on our site, it’s hard to miss some of our faves like our Pumpkin Pie Oat Muffins, Skinny Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Frosting, Pumpkin Cake Spice Roll,  Pumpkin Pancakes, Pumpkin Spiced Latte, and our Protein Pumpkin Pancakes with Banana Cream SyrupOur love affair started with our mom’s pumpkin pie, which she sadly only made at Thanksgiving time, but it wasn’t long before pumpkin was one of our favorite frozen yogurt flavors and before we were mixing it in everything. We still can’t get over that pumpkin is actually a veggie, so you get fiber and loads of powerful phytonutrients to calm your insides and to ultimately keep you looking more youthful, yet it’s ideal and rich-tasting in crave-worthy treats. Its’ creamy texture is amazing for making waistline friendly recipes, especially given that it’s so low in calories (only 40 calories in ½ cup)!

And while some may say, we have enough pumpkin recipes and enough pancake recipes, we beg to differ.  You can never have too many.  And now drum roll pleasesay hello to these Pumpkin Oatmeal Cranberry Pancakes!

We’re not gonna lie.  While we do enjoy pumpkin year-round, we got the idea for the pumpkin pancakes while seeing all the carved pumpkins and feeling the chilly air come into town before Halloween, and it reminded us that it was time to make something new with the popular plump, orange vegetable  and to include several spices that it tastes phenomenal with — cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Bonus:

Pumpkin’s packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that may protect the body against aging, heart disease and cancer. And to keep your heart healthy, pumpkin has fiber, potassium and vitamin C.

Cooking Tip:

Another cool thing about pumpkin? You can use it as a butter or oil substitute, just the way that applesauce is used in the recipe as a substitute for vegetable oil. Say hello to this perfectly sweet and perfectly healthy!

 

Makes 6-7 pancakes

2 pancakes per serving

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes  

Ingredients:

1 medium egg (we use Eggland’s Best because they have 25% less saturated fat than other eggs)

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ can of pumpkin

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ tablespoon almond butter

1 tablespoon applesauce

3 tablespoons skim milk

½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup flour

⅛ cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, deshelled

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Prepare a skillet on medium-low heat with either oil in a spray bottle or melted butter in a spray container ( to disperse calories, the way that you would using cooking spray, just without additives or harmful chemicals that are often used to get the can to spray).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix egg with baking soda.
  3. Using a whisk, mix together ¾ can of pumpkin, vanilla extract, almond butter, applesauce, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  4. Next, add oats, flour, cranberries and pumpkin seeds and mix with a spoon.
  5. Using ¼ cup measuring cup scoop out batter and place in prepared skillet. Repeat with another scoop.  You may have room on the pan for another 1-3 scoops but be sure to leave several  inches in between each pancake so that they can spread out.
  6. Cook for approximately 4 minutes until slightly browned and batter is setting. Then flip pancake and cook for approximately another four minutes.  When pancakes is slightly browned on each side and firm remove from heat.  You may need to spritz more oil on the pan before the next batch to prevent sticking.
  7. When finished, serve pancakes with a 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt on each and sprinkle with cinnamon.

 

Nutrition Analysis (per 2 pancakes and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt): 287 calories, 7 grams fat, 24 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams sugar, 297 milligrams sodium, >10 grams fiber

 

The Nutrition Twins work with Eggland’s Best to help people get more nutrients from their food.

Zesty & Savory Succotash

When we entered our freshman year of college we already knew what we wanted to do as career—become registered dietitian nutritionists, and possibly with a minor in kinesiology (the study of movement). This was the during same time that we were dabbling with vegetarianism and just as the dining hall food was turning us off and left us turning to meals that we could create ourselves in the dining hall, without relying on someone there to cook it for us. We were former athletes who knew that satisfying, delicious and healthy food was the key to having energy and to feeling great, and since we often found ourselves turning to the salad bar, we knew we couldn’t just eat vegetables to survive. And so it wasn’t long before one of our staple, hearty, delicious meals was born…succotash!

Pssst… here are a few other dishes inspired by our younger days:

Lentil & Chickpea Stew

Spaghetti Squash with Red Lentil Pumpkin Sauce

Black Bean Quinoa Chili with Avocado

Lentil Vegetable Soup 

 

This version below is a spin-off of our college saving grace—only this is amped up a notch! This colorful, fragrant, and delectable vegetable side dish is packed onions, colorful corn and edamame, and a sneaky little bite of crispy turkey bacon (this is optional but recommended to us by our amazing intern Kelly Robison who makes it this way!). This dish leaves you wanting more without fail, every time! With a simple and easy preparation in hardly any time, this colorful dish is one you’ll serve regularly to a crowd…or just make for yourself as a personal favorite! Enjoy!

 

Zesty & Savory Succotash

 

 

 

Serves 5

1-cup servings

 

Ingredients

1 red onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2/3 cup of sweet corn

3 cups shelled edamame

8oz can black beans, drained

4 pieces turkey bacon, nitrate-free

 

Directions

  1. In a pan (we use a 16-inch pan), cook four pieces of bacon over low .

2, Remove bacon from pan and set aside, drain grease from pan and place back on stove.

  1. Add chopped onions to the pan and sauté 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add chopped bell pepper and sauté an additional .
  3. Add edamame, corn, and black beans to skillet and stir over medium heat until entire dish is heated through, about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Crumble bacon and mix into the dish.
  • Serve and enjoy!

 

Nutrition Information

Calories 159, Carbs 20g, Protein 11g, Fat 3g, Fiber 4g, Sodium 181g

 

Zesty & Savory Succotash
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ⅔ cup of sweet corn
  • 3 cups shelled edamame
  • 8oz can black beans, drained
  • 4 pieces turkey bacon, nitrate-free
Instructions
  1. In a large pan (we use a 16-inch pan), cook four pieces of bacon over low heat.
  2. , Remove bacon from pan and set aside, drain grease from pan and place back on stove.
  3. Add chopped onions to the pan and sauté 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add chopped bell pepper and sauté an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Add edamame, corn, and black beans to skillet and stir over medium heat until entire dish is heated through, about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Crumble bacon and mix into the dish.
  7. - Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 159 Fat: 3 Saturated fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 20 Sodium: 181 Fiber: 4 Protein: 11

 

 

Speedy Skinny Cranberry Almond Cookies

These yumsters were created as part of a winter-holiday inspired recipe challenge.  Our sweet tooth wanted “in” but our jammed-packed schedules and our hopes of keeping our waistline in tact wanted “out”.  And guess which won?  Both of them!!  Yahoo!!

By now you likely know that as identical, veggie-loving, registered dietitians, personal trainer twin sisters with a wicked sweet tooth that we work hard to keep from getting too unruly 😉 , we do all that we can to let our sweet tooth live a little while also preventing it from getting the best of our health and our waistline.  We believe that we all deserve to have a little bit of fun without deprivation and without sacrificing our favorite pants–skinny jeans and all!  Amen to that!  So we’re constantly creating little treats that are so delish that we can turn down some wildly decadent desserts that we’d pay for later because we’d RATHER eat our delicious, waistline-sparing goodies! 🙂

If you like our Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Skinny Speedy Walnut Oatmeal Cookies,  our 5 Minute Microwave Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and our Wild Blueberry Cookies –you know just what we’re talking about!  And thanks for telling us that you love how quick and easy they are to make, perfect for when you want to indulge and need a quick alternative to heading face first into a tub of ice cream.

You’ll never believe that these new sweet treats have no sugar added, boast only 82 calories per delicious cookie (plus, they’ve got fiber and nutrients!)—and they take just 5 minutes to mix and 5 minutes to cook in the microwave!  We gotta admit, we’re pretty smitten with these lil’ numbers.

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One of the things we love about these cookies is how truly easy they are to whip up!

 

cranberry_almond_cookie1

 

Serves: 4 small cookies or 1 large cookie

Ingredients:

1 very ripe banana, mashed

3 Tbsp. rolled oats

1 Tbsp. almond butter

1/8 -1/4 tsp almond extract (use the higher amount if you like it more almond-flavored)

1 Tbsp slivered almonds

2 Tbsp dried cranberries

 

Directions:

  1. If using an oven rather than microwave, preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, smash banana. Add almond butter, almond extract and oats, stirring until thoroughly combined. Stir in cranberries and almonds.
  3. If using microwave: For one large cookie, simply spread mixture in bowl and microwave on high for 4-1/2 minutes. If you are making four cookies you can spray a plate, 4 small bowls or 4 ramekins. (The ramekins are nice to keep the cookies contained and perfectly round.)
  4. Scoop out about 2-1/2 tablespoons each, and flatten on the plate or in ramekin. Repeat for each ramekin.
  5. Place the four ramekins or the one plate in microwave on high for 4 minutes. Depending on the strength of your microwave cooking time may vary. Simply use a toothpick or a fork and poke cookie the whole way through. *If wetness comes off on fork or toothpick, continue to put back in microwave in 30 second increments until cooked.

If making one big cookie, you may want to place plate in fridge or freezer to help “congeal” for a minute after cooking.

*If using oven: Place 2-1/2 Tbsp of mixture on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven when cooked completely through.

Makes 4 Cookies.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (1 Cookie): 82 Calories, 12 g carbohydrate,3 g fat, 2 g protein, 25 mg sodium, 2 g fiber

One large cookie: 327 Calories, 49 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat, 8 g protein, 2 mg sodium, 8 g fiber

Speedy Cranberry Almond Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 cookies
Ingredients
  • Speedy Cranberry Almond Cookies
  • Other than the fact this cookie has no added sugar and tastes insanely delish and perfectly sweet, it’s packed with wholesome goodness. They serve up protein, nutrients and fiber.
  • Serves: 4 small cookies or 1 large cookie
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 3 Tbsp. rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter
  • ⅛ -1/4 tsp almond extract (use the higher amount if you like it more almond-flavored)
  • 1 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Directions:
  2. If using an oven rather than microwave, preheat to 375°F.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, smash banana. Add almond butter, almond extract and oats, stirring until thoroughly combined. Stir in cranberries and almonds.
  4. If using microwave: For one large cookie, simply spread mixture in bowl and microwave on high for 4-1/2 minutes. If you are making four cookies you can spray a plate, 4 small bowls or 4 ramekins. (The ramekins are nice to keep the cookies contained and perfectly round.)
  5. Scoop out about 2-1/2 tablespoons each, and flatten on the plate or in ramekin. Repeat for each ramekin.
  6. Place the four ramekins or the one plate in microwave on high for 4 minutes. Depending on the strength of your microwave cooking time may vary. Simply use a toothpick or a fork and poke cookie the whole way through. *If wetness comes off on fork or toothpick, continue to put back in microwave in 30 second increments until cooked.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cookie (when making 4) Calories: 82 Fat: 3 g Carbohydrates: 12 g Sodium: 25 mg Fiber: 2 g Protein: 2 g

 

 

speedy_skinny_cran_almond_cook_collagespeedy_craberry_almond_cookiescollage

 

Pumpkin Pie Oat Breakfast Muffins

Pinch us, these twin sisters who are registered dietitians and personal trainers with a sweet tooth must be dreaming! Pumpkin pie for breakfast?!without guilt or regrets?!  You bet!  These healthy breakfast muffins prevent all excuses to skip breakfast.  Most people tell us that when they skip breakfast it’s either because they don’t have time to eat it, or they’re not in the mood, or they’re just not hungry.

Well with these pups, time becomes a non-issue because you can simply make them in advance and grab ‘em and go—then eat ‘em on the run! And if you’re not in the mood for breakfast, that just may change if you add delicious pumpkin pie into the breakfast mix because guilt-free pie that just happens to boost your energy is hard to resist!

Not hungry for breakfast? No worries, toss these in a bag and eat them mid-morning when you do get hungry!  A healthy, energy boosting breakfast is just as good mid-morning!

0007__nutritiontwins-baked-oatmeal-pumpkin-pie_logo

 

Pssst… looking for more healthy recipes?  Please feel free to search this site! And here are a few to try…

Lime Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Greek Quinoa Salad

Smoked Paprika Chips

Chocolate Drizzled Granola Balls

Breakfast Quinoa Nibbles

Coconut Fruit Pops

 

0006__nutritiontwins-baked-oatmeal-pumpkin-pie_logo

 

What makes Pumpkin Pie Oat Breakfast Muffins so awesome (other than the fact that they’re guilt-free, energy boosting, pie-on-the-go)?

Oats: Starting the morning with whole grains helps get your day started on the right foot. Think quality carbs for energy.  Whole grains help you feel full longer and help maintain blood sugar levels until your next meal.

Pumpkin: The bright orange pumpkin color does more than just lift spirits, it’s packed with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins!  It’s got vitamin C, a great immune system booster, and it’s got vitamin A, great for eye health and for preventing the damage that occurs naturally with aging. Beta-carotene has many benefits including keeping your body younger/ helping to prevent degenerative diseases and it helps in the prevention of cancer.  Pumpkins also boast a healthy serving of fiber, to help you stay fuller longer.

Pepitas (aka, pumpkin seeds): These little seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan an important part of the production of serotonin… aka a mood booster!

 

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Pumpkin Pie Oat Breakfast Muffins

Celebrate all things pumpkin in this on-the-go baked oats treat; it’s filled with a nutritious blend of your fall favorites.  Pair these with a serving of vanilla or plain nonfat Greek yogurt—the perfect way to add protein (up to 18 grams).  Think of the combo as kind of a pumpkin pie with whip cream, minus the guilt.

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

2 cups old fashion oats or rolled oats (not instant)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup almond milk (we used unsweetened vanilla)

3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin

1 egg (we used Egglands Best because they have 25% less saturated fat compared to other eggs)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup dried cranberries (if you’d like these a little sweeter we suggest adding an additional 1/4 cup).

3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

1 Tbsp seed & grain blend (we used Trader Joe’s Super Seed & Ancient Grain blend,  you can use whatever type of seed or grain you have on hand!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 12 cup, cupcake pan with muffin papers or coat with non-stick spray.
  3. Combine all ingredients and mix completely until thoroughly combined in a bowl.
  4. Divide batter into 12 cups so that it’s evenly distributed.
  5. Bake for 18-22 . When done, the tops will be firm and not gooey or moist. Poke with a toothpick—and when it comes out clean, the muffins are ready! Be careful not to over bake.

 

0008__nutritiontwins-baked-oatmeal-pumpkin-pie_logo

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 105 Calories, 2 g Fat, 0 g Saturated Fat, 16 mg Cholesterol, 75 mg Sodium, 20 g Carbohydrate, 2 g Fiber, 8 g Sugar, 3 g Protein  

 

The Nutrition Twins work with Eggland’s Best to help people get more nutrients from their food.

Pumpkin Pie Oat Breakfast Muffins
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups old fashion oats or rolled oats (not instant oats)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond milk (we used unsweetened vanilla)
  • ¾ cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1 egg (we used Egglands Best (www.egglandsbest.com) because they have 25% less saturated fat compared to other eggs)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (if you’d like these a little sweeter we suggest adding an additional ¼ cup).
  • 3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp seed & grain blend (we used Trader Joe’s Super Seed & Ancient Grain blend, you can use whatever type of seed or grain you have on hand!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 12 cup, cupcake pan with muffin papers or coat with non-stick spray.
  3. Combine all ingredients and mix completely until thoroughly combined in a bowl.
  4. Divide batter into 12 cups so that it’s evenly distributed.
  5. Bake for 18-22 minutes. When done, the tops will be firm and not gooey or moist. Poke with a toothpick—and when it comes out clean, the muffins are ready! Be careful not to overbake.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 105 Fat: 2 g Saturated fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 20 g Sugar: 8 g Sodium: 75 mg Fiber: 2 g Protein: 3 g Cholesterol: 16 mg

pumpkin_pie_oat_muffins_collage

Oil Free Basil Spinach Pesto

Do  the scents of certain foods take you back to happy days?  Oh the memories!  This Basil Pesto brings us back… 🙂

oil_free_basil_pesto_1_logo

As kids, every day after school we’d have a play date with our best friend and next door neighbor, Mary.  Our routine?  As soon as we got home, Mary would come over to our house for a snack.  Both our mom and Mary’s mom had super health-food filled homes.  The exception to the healthy rule? Our mom had cream cheese and Mary’s mom had Skippy peanut butter (vs. the pure crushed peanuts, where the oil often separated out, at our house).  So we’d have two snacks—first we’d stuff celery with cream cheese at our house, we’d giggle for hours as we always did when we were together, and then we’d go to Mary’s and stuff celery with Skippy peanut butter.  By the time we’d arrive at Mary’s it was closer to dinner time and her Mom always had something fragrant cooking on the stove that she was preparing for dinner.   One of the dishes that smelled the best—and that stole our attention away from celery with Skippy peanut butter was Mary’s Mom’s Basil Pesto.  Mary’s mom, Janet, would find us with our spoons in her pesto rather than in the Skippy jar where they were on other days.  We still dream about that pesto!  This Oil Free Basil Spinach Pesto was inspired by Mary’s mom’s pesto.  But as registered dietitians, we’ve lightened up traditional pesto and had to share it with you!

 

oil_free_basil_pesto_2_logo

 

 

 

Pssst… looking for more healthy recipes?  Please feel free to search this site! And here are a few to try…

 

Lime Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Greek Quinoa Salad

Smoked Paprika Chips

Chocolate Drizzled Granola Balls

Breakfast Quinoa Nibbles

Coconut Fruit Pops

 

oilfreebasilpestocollage

 

Typically, pesto contains a lot of oil and dairy, and adds mega calories.  To make this zippy condiment a bit more nutritious and lower in calories, we removed the oil and cheese, added lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and spinach (we promise you can’t taste it!)—and you won’t believe how delish it is!

 

Wondering what nutritional yeast is and why we add it? We actually learned about this vegan, cheese alternative months ago and curious what it tasted like, we gave it a whirl, and we were hooked! We’ve been sprinkling it on everything we eat since! 😉 It’s got a cheesy, nutty flavor and looks like a yellow powder that is actually an inactive form of yeast.  It’s the same strain of yeast that bakers use to leaven bread, but bakers use the active form.   It’s a vegan source of protein and vitamin B12 (so it really hooks a plant-eater up!) and provides a savory quality to dishes it is added to and has zero sodium.  Yes please!

oil_free_basil_pesto_3_logo

Other star ingredients in this Oil Free Basil Spinach Pesto:

  • Walnuts | Omega 3 Fatty Acids (hello, gorgeous, moisturized skin and a healthy heart!), Copper, Manganese, Biotin
  • Spinach | Vitamin K, Vitamin A (goodbye damaging free radicals, beta carotene from vitamin A mops up these trouble-makers and fights cancer, aging and inflammation), Iron, Manganese, Vitamin C
  • Basil | Vitamin K (hello healthy bones and proper healing from cuts and blemishes), Manganese, Copper

 

Add this flavorful and nutrient-packed condiment to your summer (or spring, fall or winter, for that matter!) meals!

 

Oil Free Basil Spinach Pesto

This is one of our favorite ways to add flavor to just about any dish (think chicken, shrimp, salmon, zucchini noodles, veggie dip…)!

Makes 16 Tbsp Servings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup basil leaves, gently washed
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 3 Tbsp walnuts pieces
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp chives, optional
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp water

Directions:

  • Using a steel blade in the bowl of a food processor (or a high-powered blender), add the basil, spinach, walnuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, chives, and salt.  Blend until evenly ground.
  • With the machine running, slowly add 1-2 Tbsp of water to the mixture and blend until smooth.

Nutrition Information per Tablespoon:

  • Calories:  20 Fat:  2g Cholesterol:  0mg Sodium:  8mg Potassium:  37mg Carbohydrates:  1g Fiber:  0.5g Sugar:  0 g Protein:  0.7g

 

Oil Free Basil Spinach Pesto
 
Nutrition Information per Tablespoon: Calories: 20.2 Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 8mg Potassium: 37mg Carbohydrates: 1g Fiber: .5g Sugar: .1g Protein: .7g
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup basil leaves, gently washed
  • ½ cup spinach
  • 3 Tbsp walnuts pieces
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp chives, optional
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Using a steel blade in the bowl of a food processor (or a high-powered blender), add the basil, spinach, walnuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, chives, and salt.  Blend until evenly ground.
  2. With the machine running, slowly add 1-2 Tbsp of water to the mixture and blend until smooth.