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Dishes so satisfying you won’t miss the meat. By Tanya Pai
You could have this fennel, mushroom, and tomato pizza for dinner tonight. Photograph by Ali Eaves.

Going meatless (even occasionally) is good for your health, good for the environment, and—with the right recipe—great for your taste buds. In honor of World Vegetarian Day on October 1, we’ve rounded up some easy-to-make, meat-free options that are packed with nutrition and fall flavors: light snacks, slow-cooker soups, even a feast made for two. (And if you want to celebrate National Homemade Cookie Day afterward as a reward; Best Bites has you covered.) Read on for the recipes, and if you try one, tweet us at @washwellbeing to let us know how you liked it! 

Garlicky chickpea soup is great for chilly nights. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Soups and Chili

Kale-and-Cannellini-Bean Soup 

Vegetarian Chili

Gluten-Free Curried Carrot Soup

Crock-Pot Moroccan Lentil Soup

Garlicky Chickpea Soup

Butternut-Squash-and-Apple Soup

This cauliflower pasta is easy to make and packed with vitamin C. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Hearty Main Dishes

Brown-Rice-Stuffed Eggplant

Eggplant and Tofu With Curried Mint-Tomato Sauce

10-Minute Pita Pizza

Simple Cauliflower Pasta

Pizza With Fennel, Mushrooms, and Cherry Tomatoes

5 Delicious Vegetarian Mains 

A 3-Course Vegetarian Meal for Two

Brussels sprouts get crunch from almonds and a touch of sweetness from dates. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Snacks and Sides

Brussels Sprouts With Slivered Almonds and Dates

Tabbouleh With Lemon-Garlic Dressing

3 Low-Calorie Pumpkin Seed Recipes

Vegan Sweet Potato Latkes

Lemony Mint Quinoa

Zucchini 3 Ways

Sweet Potato and Apple Stacks

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being. 

Posted at 04:00 PM/ET, 10/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Easy ways to incorporate apples, sweet potatoes, and other seasonal favorites into your diet. By Alison Kitchens

The official start of autumn brings a few things with it—cooler weather, changing leaves, and insatiable cravings for fall foods. Dealing with the last one? Check out the six recipes below to help.

Do you have a favorite fall recipe of your own? Share it in the comments below.

Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Sweet Potato and Apple Stacks
This simple snack combines two of our fall produce favorites.

Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Pumpkin Pancakes With Spiced Apples
These pancakes are low in calories but still have tons of flavor.

Photograph by Ali Eaves.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus
Sweet potatoes add an autumn twist to this classic dip.

Photograph by John Wilwol.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
There are only a few ingredients in this warming soup, but it will feed you for days.

Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Pumpkin Pie Shake
Ditch the pumpkin spice latte and try this healthy shake instead.

Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Baked Apples With Honey and Oats
Put your favorite apples to good use with this easy snack recipe.

Find Alison Kitchens on Twitter at @alison_lynn

Posted at 11:21 AM/ET, 09/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Cool down with this refreshingly light dish. By Tanya Pai
Photograph by Mariana Diaz.

The calendar may say it’s September, but the weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo. As the sticky heat hangs around, certified health coach Mariana Diaz turns to this layered salad of fruits and vegetables to cool off. “I really love this salad because it has only three ingredients and involves no cooking,” she says. “I find it perfect for these warm days, since it’s really refreshing.”

Pineapple is packed with vitamins A and C, phosphorus, and potassium, and is a good source of fiber. Cucumber and jicama—which is crunchy and lightly sweet—are low in calories and high in water, making them extra-hydrating. 

Serve this on its own as a pretty side dish, or with cottage cheese for a snack or light lunch. 

Ingredients
1 medium jicama
3 cucumbers
½ pineapple


Directions 
1) Shred the jicama, cucumber, and pineapple—use a knife to slice them into very small, thin pieces, or grate them. 
2) Layer all of the ingredients in a ring-shaped bowl: Place the pineapple into the bottom of the bowl, then add a layer of cucumber, and finish with the jicama (this order will allow for a strong base).  Press each layer down firmly as you go, to ensure they take the shape of the bowl.
3) Flip the bowl onto a plate, and serve. You can substitute the pineapple for mango or any other fruit you might prefer. 


Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 09/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Preserve a taste of summer with these easy-to-make crunchy snacks. By Tanya Pai
Classic dill pickles are easy to make in the refrigerator. Photographs by Amy Rizzotto.

Back in June, MOARfit owner and blogger Amy Rizzotto shared a peek at her daily diet with her one-day food diary. Her meals—many of them from original recipes—looked so delicious that we asked her to share yet another healthy recipe with Well+Being. She obliged with these dill pickles that are simple to make and taste great on top of a burger or on their own as a snack. 

“Pickles are especially wonderful in summer, when it’s easy to get fresh, locally grown baby cucumbers,” Amy says. “They are mostly water, so they’re not only refreshing and hydrating on hot summer days, but they’re also low in calories and loaded with vitamins C and A, as well as potassium.” She recommends buying organic cucumbers, as the vegetable is high on the Environmental Working Group’s 2014 Dirty Dozen list, which ranks produce most contaminated with pesticides.

There are myriad flavor and spice combinations for pickles available, but “there’s nothing more classic than a crisp and sour dill pickle,” says Amy. 


Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Makes 2 pint jars
Nutrition per serving: 15 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams fiber, 3 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram sugar, 440 milligrams sodium. 


Ingredients
1½ pounds baby cucumbers (about 8 to 10 small cukes)
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 fresh sprig of dill for each jar
1 tablespoon mustard seed, whole
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, smashed


Directions
1) Wash and dry the cucumbers. Trim away the blossom end of the cucumber, which contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles. Leave the pickles whole, cut them into spears, or slice them into coins, according to preference.
2) Divide spices and herbs (dill, mustard seed, garlic, turmeric, and red pepper flakes) evenly between two pint jars.
3) Pack the pickles into the jars. Trim the ends if they stand more than half an inch below the top of the jar. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing the cucumbers.
4) Combine the vinegar, water, lemon juice, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Pour the brine over the pickles, filling each jar to half an inch from the top.
5) Gently tap the jars against the counter to settle their contents and remove all air bubbles. Top off with more pickling brine if need be, then tightly close jars with lids.
6) Wait at least 1, but ideally 3 days before eating. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
7) Serve alongside your favorite veggie burger or with a plate full of light summer barbecue fair. Or, if you’re like me, munch on them for a healthy snack any time of day!

Find more of Amy’s healthy recipes on her website. Have a recipe of your own to share? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured.

Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 08/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Swapping the usual mayo for hummus makes this creamy salad delicious and healthy. By Chris Campbell
Photograph courtesy of the Wild Pea.

Summer is usually high time for cold salads. Egg, tuna, and chicken salads are classics, whether as side dishes at a cookout or piled high on a sandwich.

Unfortunately, traditional versions of those salads involve copious amounts of mayonnaise—which means a lot of extra saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. Sure, there are a host of light and vegan mayonnaise options on the market, but ditching the mayo altogether can lead to some surprisingly satisfying results.

One easy substitution: hummus, a favorite option of chef Blake Wollman. As the owner of the Wild Pea, outside Baltimore, he’s been making hummus for more than a decade—his company produces more than 350 flavors of the chickpea spread, which is high in protein, iron, dietary fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Wollman’s go-to chicken salad recipe trims the extra fat from the mayonnaise, but doesn’t skimp on taste. “Chicken salad is such an easy and classic food,” he says. “Switching out the mayo for hummus makes it so much healthier, but it still has that creaminess, plus even more flavor thanks to the curry. You can put it on top of a green salad, have it as a sandwich, or just grab a fork and dig in.”

Curry Chicken Salad

Serves 6

Nutrition per serving: 242 calories, 24 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 2.8 grams sugar, 10.5 grams total fat, 2.7 grams saturated fat, 205 milligrams sodium. (Does not include optional ingredients.)

Ingredients

1.3 pounds chicken breast
8.5 ounces plain hummus
½ tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped mango or golden raisins, as desired (optional)

Directions

1) Prepare cooked chicken as you desire (diced, shredded, etc.).

2) In a bowl, mix the hummus, honey, and spices.

3) Add the chicken and mango or raisins (if using) to the hummus mixture and mix well to combine. Serve.


Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail us at wellbeing@washingtonian.com.

Find Chris Campbell on Twitter at @campbler.

Posted at 11:29 AM/ET, 08/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A creative way to use up an abundance of summer squash. By Chris Campbell
Photograph by Danielle Omar.

Chances are high that when picking up your CSA or while shopping your local farmers market, you’ve noticed an abundance of zucchini. The delicious summer squash is at its peak—and luckily it can be prepared countless different ways to keep your taste buds excited.

One of registered dietitian Danielle Omar’s favorite preparations for zucchini is using it to create vegetable noodles. We tried this trick a few months ago, and the result here is just as flavorful. Subbing fresh veggies for prepackaged pasta makes for both a fun time in the kitchen and a healthier meal.

“This delicious, high-fiber dish makes use of all the gorgeous summer produce available now—fresh corn, zucchini, and tomatoes,” says Omar. “It also works well with any kind of corn you have on hand: roasted, grilled, steamed, frozen, or even canned. It’s a great side dish with grilled shrimp or salmon and can be prepared in less than 15 minutes.”

Lemony Zucchini Noodles With Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Corn

Serves 4

Nutrition per serving: 190 calories, 5 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams dietary fiber, 11 grams sugar, 8 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 165 milligrams sodium.

Ingredients:
4 zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1½ cups corn, roasted, grilled or steamed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful fresh basil, diced

Directions:

1) Heat oil in large sauté pan and add tomatoes, salt, and lemon zest. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break apart.

2) Add corn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more, then stir in lemon juice and basil.

3) While sauce is cooking, spiralize or julienne zucchini and place in a large mixing bowl.

4) Add tomato sauce to zucchini and toss to combine. Serve immediately.


Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail us at wellbeing@washingtonian.com.

Find Chris Campbell on Twitter at @campbler.

Posted at 01:55 PM/ET, 08/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Lemon, tomatoes, and mint give a fresh taste to this easy-to-make dish. By Chris Campbell
This chilled quinoa salad makes for a perfect light summer dinner. Photographs by Chris Campbell.

In the dog days of summer, a heavy dinner is about as appealing as finding yourself in the hot car on Metro. For a light meal that’s still packed with flavor and nutrition, registered dietitian Cheryl Harris loves this chilled quinoa salad. It’s easy to whip together, offers plenty of fiber and protein, and relies on seasonal ingredients—tomatoes, lemon, and mint—for a bright taste. 

“It’s a perfect lunch pack-along, and since it’s gluten-free and vegan, it’s a great dish for sharing with friends at picnics or potlucks,” says Harris. 

Lemony Mint Quinoa

Serves 2

Nutritional information: 383 calories, 7 grams fat, 64 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 19 grams protein.

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, toasted
2¼ cups vegetable broth
Juice of ½ lemon
15 mint leaves, coarsely torn
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste


Directions

1) Toast the quinoa in a large skillet over medium heat until it smells toasty and browns a bit, about 10 to 15 minutes. This can be done in advance or skipped altogether, but toasting gives the quinoa a deeper flavor. 

2) Add the broth to the skillet, bring to a boil, and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Stir halfway through and add half of the mint leaves. Add lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper to taste. 

3) Let cool completely. Add tomatoes and the rest of the mint, and serve.

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail us at wellbeing@washingtonian.com. 

Find Chris Campbell on Twitter at @campbler

Posted at 10:40 AM/ET, 07/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Nothing says summer like this refreshing marriage of produce. By Chris Campbell
Photograph by Emily Codik.

Whether packed up for an afternoon picnic or enjoyed at a weekend barbecue, tomatoes and watermelon are a delicious, healthy way to beat the summer heat. While they’re great on their own, they’re even better together, paired in a cool salad bursting with bright colors and tons of flavor. 

Food writer Emily Codik likes this simple recipe, which keeps the focus on the produce. “This salad is super-refreshing, thanks to the combination of chilled watermelon and ripe tomato,” she says. “And since it tastes somewhere between savory and sweet, it feels more indulgent than it actually is.”

Codik adds that the trick to the salad is letting it rest for a bit to allow the flavors to blend, with the watermelon picking up hints of tomato and vice versa. 

Tomato-Watermelon Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
1 pound chilled watermelon, cut into 1-inch chunks
½ pound tomato, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed pistachios
1 tablespoon crumbled feta
4 mint leaves, thinly sliced
Sea salt to taste

Directions
1) Combine watermelon and tomato in a bowl. Season with sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil and stir gently. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
2) Garnish with pistachios, mint, and feta. Add more salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 07/11/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Who says no to a guilt-free cookie? By Chris Campbell
Photograph by Kate Headley.

One of the saddest food myths out there is the idea that eating healthy means cutting out desserts. Here at Well+Being we’re all about the idea of everything in moderation, including sweets—especially when they involve nutritious ingredients, as in this recipe from registered dietitian Janis Jibrin and restaurant consultant Sidra Forman.

We loved their kale salad recipe so much, we asked the duo to dip back into their book, The Pescetarian Plan, for a healthy treat to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. These mild-flavored cookies will curb any dessert craving without the unnatural ingredients typically found in super-sweet junk foods.

“Especially this time of year, this is a perfect cookie to pair with pretty much any variety of summer fruit--stone fruit, berry, or melon,” Forman says. “The richness of sesame seeds, coconut, and olive oil make for a satisfying treat.”

Sesame-Coconut Cookies

Serves 8

Prep time: 5 minutes; total time: 20 minutes

Nutrition per serving: 114 calories, 2 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 5 grams sugar, 7 grams total fat, 2.2 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams total omega-3 fatty acids, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 17 milligrams calcium, 51 milligrams sodium.

Ingredients

½ cup whole-wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup coconut flakes
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
⅛ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
Dash of salt

Directions

1) Combine the flour, sugar, coconut, sesame seeds, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix in the oil, tahini, salt, and 2½ tablespoons water. Combine thoroughly using your fingers.

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the cookie batter into 8 parts, rolling each into a ball. Place cookies on the parchment paper and gently flatten with the palm of your hand.

4) Bake until cookies begin to turn golden brown, approximately 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 12:15 PM/ET, 06/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Transition from spring to summer with this easy-to-make salad. By Chris Campbell
Four ingredients make for a quick and delicious dish. Photographs by Chris Campbell.

As the temperatures continue to climb, on a steamy night it’s great to try out a fresh, light dish—especially when it takes just a few minutes to whip together. Registered dietitian Carlene Thomas created this vegetable dish as a new way to incorporate carrots and asparagus into your menu.

“Creating vegetable ‘noodles’ will brighten and lighten your meal,” says Thomas. “Vegetables such as asparagus are full of fiber, and pairing them with goat cheese, a good source of protein and calcium, as well as pistachios, this recipe will keep you satisfied.”

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 bunch carrots
1 bunch asparagus
8 ounces goat cheese
Shelled pistachios

Directions:

1) Wash carrots and asparagus. Peel carrots, and cut spears off asparagus. Using a peeler, thinly shave the carrots and asparagus stalks, setting aside the asparagus spears. Give pistachios a rough chop.

2) Freeze the goat cheese for 15 minutes. Then scoop 1 tablespoon-size portions and roll them between your palms to form balls. Roll the balls through the pistachios to coat them.

3) Layer bunches of peeled carrots to create a salad bed. Garnish with goat cheese balls and asparagus spears.

Posted at 11:05 AM/ET, 06/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()