Category: fiber

polenta chickpea fries (4)

What do you think the most consumed vegetable in North America is?

…Potatoes! I don’t have anything against potatoes nutritionally, but they are likely eaten way to often and usually in their deep fried form.

A varied diet is something I always promote when I do my grocery store tours — it ensures you are getting all the nutrients you need and makes your meals more exciting! So, ditch the potato fries once in a while and make polenta chickpea fries!

This deliciously moist and nutrient dense cake has just the right amount of sweetness – with no added sugar! Sweetness is provided from the dates, almond flour and berry sauce. To top it off each piece offers 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. The texture is reminiscent of cheesecake and brownie :)

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake

Eggplant Parmesan



Photo Credit

I never used to buy eggplants because I didn’t know what to do them. Then I came across this recipe, and that changed in a hurry! I realized how much I love them and just how versatile they are. I love pan frying them or throwing them in stir fries, lasagna, casseroles and pasta sauce.  They absorb sauce well and take on all the delicious flavors and are a great vehicle for cheese! :) Traditionally eggplants are used in moussaka and baba ghanoush, two dishes I also love.

Some recipes call for you to salt the eggplant and let it sit for an hour (!!) to draw out bitter juices before cooking it. This is an extra step, I never do because 1. no one needs more salt in their diet and 2. it’s a pain in the butt, who has time for that?! Also, newer varieties of eggplant are less bitter than they used to be and if you buy smaller eggplants they likely won’t be bitter at all. I have never noticed a bitter taste either way, so don’t waste your time!

I always challenge people to try out new vegetables. I hear a lot of parents say “my kids don’t like vegetables” … once I do a little digging, I found out that they are being offered plain steamed broccoli or raw veggie sticks! These are great options, but won’t peak any child’s interest (unless you’re lucky!). So, I love to have recipes like this one (or this one) on hand to show parents that if you put a little effort into it kids will love vegetables just as much as me (…well that might be a stretch, but you get the idea).

Be creative, have fun in the kitchen and stop focusing all your time and effort on that meat dish. Spice up those veggies to make them the star of your meal, your heart (and your waist) will be very appreciative!

Enjoy! :)


Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 4


  • 1 large eggplant (I used a longer skinnier one, but fatter one work too)
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large egg whites)
  • 5 wasa or ryvita crispbreads; ground to a breadcrumb-like consistency in the blender (or crushed in a bag with a rolling pin), crush more as needed
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce w/ Italian flavoring
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (as you can see I just used whatever cheese I had)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, etc.)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice ends off of eggplant, and cut it lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips. Use a paper towel to blot eggplant slices on both sides (to remove excess moisture). Grease a large baking pan. Season crumbs with garlic powder, salt, pepper and additional Italian seasonings to taste. Coat eggplant slices on both sides — first with egg whites, and then with the seasoned crumbs.
  • Place slices flat on the baking pan, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Then, flip slices over and bake until browned on both sides (about 10 minutes longer). Remove pan from oven, but leave oven on.
  • Spread 1/4 cup of sauce over the bottom of an 8″ X 8″ baking dish sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Arrange half of the baked eggplant slices evenly over the sauce. Continue to layer ingredients evenly in this order: sauce (1/4 cup), mozzarella and parm  (half of each), sauce (1/4 cup), eggplant (remaining slices), sauce (1/4 cup), and cheeses (remaining amounts). Cover dish with foil and return to the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until heated throughout. Allow to cool slightly, and then cut into quarters.

**note: using the crisp breads is an easy way to make high fiber, tasty breadcrumbs, but traditional bread crumbs can be used instead

Lentil Barley Salad


Ever since I made this mushroom barley risotto I have been in love with barley.

I had this weird notion in my head that I didn’t like barley because I had only ever had it in soups I didn’t like. I was very wrong, it’s delicious!

Its got a great chewing texture, it’s super filling and it’s cheap! Which makes it a great option for a grain salad to pack for weekday lunches — or freeze in single serve portions if you don’t like eating the same thing every day. I am a huge fan of keeping single servings of meals in the freezer to grab on my way out the door.

Feel free to give this recipe your own flair by adding olives, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes, pickled beets or whatever suits your fancy.


Gold Star Nutrient: 1/2 a cup of cooked lentils has almost half your daily requirement for folate, which helps make red blood cells.

barley lentil salad

Lentil Barley Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • ½ cup green lentils, dry
  • ½ cup pot barley
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¾ cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup spinach, packed
  • ¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ small purple onion, finely chopped
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  1. Put the lentils, barley and whole garlic cloves (I actually used 3 but I LOVE garlic) in a medium pot and add water to cover by a couple inches; bring to a boil and cook for 45 min, or until tender.
  2. Drain well, discard the garlic cloves (or eat them on a cracker! mmm), and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl combine cooled lentils and barley and all the other salad ingredients.
  4. Shake the dressing in a small jar or whisk in a bowl, pour desired amount of dressing over salad and toss.
  5. Note: this dressing recipe makes much more dressing than I use personally but I generally don't like a lot, so dress it with less if your tastes match mine and save the rest in the fridge for other purposes.

I was so intrigued when I first heard about socca. It seemed like something I would totally love, it’s healthy, easy to make and great for bringing to parties!


This is such a versatile little flat bread, just think of your favorite flavor combo and add it in! I tried it plain first because I was curious about the base flavor but I recommend add ins to amp it up! Fresh and dried spices, cheese(s), olives, sun-dried tomatoes, shredded zucchini (drained), caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms – you name it!

One of my favorite combos is adding sauteed mushrooms, onions and sundried tomatoes to the batter and then serving the socca cut into strips with a truffle oil dip (1/2 cup plain greek yogurt mixed with 1.5-2 tsp truffle oil and a dash of salt).


For my first attempt I made it a little thicker, kind of like an unleavened pancake, but I prefer a thinner crispier (and cheesier) socca now. You can use it as a wrap, pizza crust, flat-bread, savory crepe or use it in place of naan or a pita.

1 cup of chickpea flour has 21g of protein, 10g of fiber and 25% daily value for iron (for men, women have higher needs) and as an added bonus this flatbread is gluten free for all those with sensitivities and allergies out there! socca

Socca – Chickpea Flatbread

-1 cup chickpea flour (I found it at superstore labeled Besan)
-1 cup lukewarm water
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1.5 tablespoons olive oil

Add Ins and/or topping ideas

-red pepper flakes, garlic, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika ….
-3 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
-1 cup shredded zucchini (make sure to squeeze out all of the excess moisture)
-caramelized onions
-sauteed mushrooms
-shredded cheese
-olives/olive tapenade
-sundried tomatoes
-1.5 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
-sauteed greens
-shredded potato
-fried/scrambled eggs


1. Sift the flour and whisk together with the water, olive oil,  salt and any other preferred dried spices in a small bowl. Let rest for 1/2- 2 hours or up to 12 hours (in a pinch I have skipped the resting). Then stir in any other desired add ins.

2. Set an oven rack six inches below your oven’s broiler and turn it on. Heat a cast iron skillet or oven proof frying pan on the stove over medium-high heat.

3.  Coat the bottom of the pan with a tbsp of olive oil. Whisk the chickpea batter and then pour 1/3 – half into the hot pan. Tilt the pan to help it spread evenly if needed.

4. Cook the socca a few minutes until set and browned on the bottom. Then pop under the broiler until you see the top of the socca begin to blister and brown. The socca should be flexible in the middle but crispy on the edges (or however you like it… it depends on the use how crisp or flexible you want it- I prefer it crispier)

5. Slice it into wedges or squares, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little good olive oil. Top with any desired toppings or use for your favorite dip. Repeat with any remaining batter.

Best served immediately while still warm, but can be refrigerated and re-toasted for up to a week.

(Socca can also be baked in a 450 F oven. Pour batter into a hot, greased baking dish and then broiled to finish. You really can’t go wrong, experiment and cook it however you like it best!)

This recipe was recommended to me by a friend (and fellow dietitian), and  it is awesome! Who knew barley could make such a nice risotto. It gets creamy but the grains stay nice and chewy, it’s a great combo! Barley also has more iron, protein and 5 times as much fiber as short grain rice.

This dish would look much prettier with the parsley added (if you’re trying to impress guests), but I didn’t have any on hand (personally I don’t really like parsley in it anyway!). The risotto thickens a bit once done cooking so keep that in mind and it keeps well to bring for lunches so make a big batch!


Mushroom Barley Risotto

Serves 4

Modified from Whitewater Cook With Friends


Olive oil
3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 large onion
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
2-2.5 cups chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup parsley (optional)

Heat stock in a small sauce pan until simmering. Meanwhile, heat enough olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot to generously coat the bottom. Saute barley until slightly toasted, about 5 min. Add onions and garlic and cook until transparent. Add mushrooms, and saute for another 5 min. Add the hot stock a 1/2 cup at a time stirring in between, cooking until most the liquid has been absorbed,  about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Test barley, it should be al dente. If still too firm add another 1/2 cup water and continue cooking until done. Turn heat off, stir in cheese, cover and let sit 5 min. Season with fresh ground pepper and parsley.


- Formerly known as Apron Strings and Healthy Things -

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