Honey Vanilla Bean Stuffed Dates – Recipe Redux

Honey Vanilla Bean Stuffed Dates

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 date half

Calories: 28 • Total Fat: 1.6g • Total Carbohydrate: 3g (Fiber: 1g • Sugars: 2g) • Protein: 1g

Nutritional Highlights

Low Calorie • Rich in Good Fats • Gluten-Free •  Vegan Option

I remember my first encounter with dates. I was on a spring break trip in Tunisia, Africa and they came on the side of every meal. The locals ate them like candy so of course I had to try them. As soon as I tried my first one I knew exactly why they were so popular. In the course of the week I probably ate my body weight in dates and had the sugar high to prove it. Let’s just say moderation was not on my mind that trip. Side note: have you ever tried authentic African cuisine? It is sooooooo good.

Anyways, although dates are relatively high in sugar compared to other dried fruits, they have a multitude of health benefits when eaten in moderation. They’re packed with fiber which increases satiety and helps with irregularity, are rich in Vitamin A and antioxidants, decrease inflammation, and are packed with all natural sugars which make them a perfect pre-workout snack.

stuffed dates

Although my trip was several years ago, I still love dates and try to use them in any recipe I can (hence the inspiration for this Caramel Apple Pie Dip). So, when I read this month’s Recipe Redux theme I knew exactly what to make. Here was the challenge:

A Vacation-Inspired Recipe 

Start unpacking your favorite vacation memories. Think about a trip you took state-side or internationally and create a healthy recipe from an unforgettable meal you enjoyed. Or, create a recipe from a native ingredient you saw or tasted on your travels.

Enter these stuffed date bites. To balance the carbohydrates in the dates, I added protein and a little healthy fat by filling them with Greek yogurt and then topping with walnuts. They’re a perfectly well-balanced snack for any time of the day or even an appetizer for your next party!


Honey vanilla bean stuffed dates

Servings: 40 date halves

INGREDIENTS
  • 20 dates, pitted and halved
  • 4 tbsp (2 oz) light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • walnut halves (40 total)
METHOD
  1. Using a sharp knife, cut each date in half and remove the pit.
  2. In a small bowl, beat  the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, honey, and vanilla bean (or vanilla extract).
  3. Transfer the filling to a piping bag or a small ziptop bag with one corner cut off. (Note: you can also use a butter knife or spreader). Fill the center of each date half with the cream cheese.
  4. Top each one with a walnut half and drizzle with honey.
  5. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
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    recipe redux

Tropical Kiwi Quinoa Salad with Apple Lime Dressing

Tropical Kiwi Quinoa Salad

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: about 1/3 cup

Calories: 157 • Total Fat: 6g • Total Carbohydrate: 23g (Fiber: 4g • Sugars: 6g) • Protein: 3g • Vitamin A (51%) • Vitamin C (116%) • Iron(6%) • Magnesium (7%)

Nutritional Highlights

Excellent Source of Grains • Rich in Good Fats  • No Added Sugar • High Fiber • Gluten-Free • Vegan • Paleo • Good for Healthy Skin, Hair, Nails, Bones • Immunity Booster


Disclosure: I received free samples of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a contest sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit and am eligible to win prizes. I was not compensated for my time.”

I almost forgot how much I love kiwi until I had it this summer at a friend’s barbecue. She made this unbelievable salad with strawberries, spinach, and kiwi and then topped it with feta and a homemade honey-lime vinaigrette. It was so good.  I have really talented friends.

So when Zespri Kiwifruit sent me free samples of their SunGold kiwis it was no surprise that a tropical salad came to mind. One with lots of veggies, healthy grains, and a hint of sweetness from the most beautiful kiwis I have ever seen.

kiwi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know kiwi is one of the healthiest and most convenient fruits out there? I had no idea just how nutritious these little tropical powerhouses were until I hopped over to the Zespri’s website and read their article on the 10 Reasons to Eat a Kiwifruit. Not only do they require no peeling (just cut them in half and scoop out with a spoon), they are also non-GMO, contain 3x more Vitamin C than an orange and each one is only 55 calories a pop! With those kinds of stats there’s a good chance I’ll be swapping my daily apple with a kiwi or two.

Or maybe I’ll just make a big batch of this Tropical Kiwi Quinoa Salad for lunch while I daydream about sitting under a cabana at the beach…….


Tropical kiwi quinoa Salad with apple-lime VINAIGRETTE

Servings: 6

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa + 1 cup water
  • 1 cup mango, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, chopped
  • 2 Zespri SunGold kiwis, diced, divided
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1.4 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1.5. tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • salt and pepper, to taste
METHOD
  1. Add quinoa and water to a small pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed (about 10 minutes). Fluff with a fork and allow to cool completely.
  2. Once quinoa is cooled, add mango, avocado, cabbage, 1 diced kiwi, red pepper, carrots, onion, and parsley and stir until combined.
  3. Make dressing by mixing together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, salt, and pepper. Pour over quinoa and stir.
  4. Top with remaining diced kiwi and serve chilled.

 

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recipe redux

Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini Cups – Recipe Redux

Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini Cups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 (based on 15 servings)

Calories: 38 • Total Fat: 1.6g • Total Carbohydrate: 3g (Fiber: 1g • Sugars: 0g) • Protein: 3g • Vitamin A (19%) • Vitamin C (9%)

Nutritional Highlights

Low Calorie • Vegetarian • Low Carbohydrates •  No Sugar • Gluten-Free • Good for Healthy Skin, Hair, Nails, Eyes • Immunity Booster

Zucchini is one of my all-time favorite vegetables. Maybe that’s because the first time I had it was in zucchini bread so naturally I thought that’s actually what zucchini tasted like. Since expanding my palate and become a self-proclaimed vegetable aficionado, I’ve learned to appreciate this tubular squash for more than just a really great addition to a sweet dessert bread.

zucchini cups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So when I read this month’s Recipe Redux theme I knew exactly what to make. Here’s the challenge:

Get Your Fruits and Veggies in Shape

With produce galore, now’s a great time to enjoy lots of fruits and vegetables. Show us how you’re serving the bounty of gardens and orchards in shapes like ribbons, noodles, cut-outs, or other creative cuts.

My result: these super simple and oh-so tasty lasagna stuffed zucchini cups using the natural shape of zucchini as a vessel for healthified comfort food goodness.

This recipe makes a perfect appetizer any time of the year, but is especially flavorful in the summer when zucchini and tomatoes are in peak season. Enjoy one or two prior to a meal rich in lean protein and moderate in complex carbohydrates. To make it as a meal, cut the whole zucchini in half lengthwise and hollow out the center, then add cooked ground turkey breast in between the layers of vegetables and cheese. Yummy!


Lasagna stuffed zucchini cups

Servings: 15-20 (depending on size of a zucchini)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb zucchini (about two zucchini weighing 0.5lbs each)
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped (or frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained)
  • 1/4 cub fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper, dash of each
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp salt-free Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • cooking spray
METHOD
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Wash zucchini and slice into 1.5 – 2 inch slices. Using a spoon or melon baller, hollow out the zucchini until about 3/4 of the center is removed. (*Save the insides to add to the vegetable mixture). Be careful not to make the bottom too thin or the filling will fall out. Spray a pan with cooking spray and place the zucchini cups on the tray. Roughly chop the insides you scooped out (remove seeds before chopping if necessary) and set aside.
  2. In a non-stick skillet lightly coated with cooking spray add the garlic and onion over medium-high heat and cook until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes). Add the tomatoes and cook an additional 3 minutes. Next add the spinach, basil, and the insides of the zucchini and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside as you make the cheese filling.
  3. Combine ricotta and parmesan cheeses in a medium bowl. Add Italian seasoning and stir until combined.
  4. Put a thin layer of vegetables in the bottom of each zucchini cup, add a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture, then top with another thin layer of vegetables.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place back in the oven for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

These are best eaten right after they are made. If you want to make them ahead of time you can prepare all of the ingredients 1-2 days before, store them in the fridge, then assemble and bake them before they’re ready to be served.


recipe redux