Quick and Healthy Meals
You can take just a few minutes in the kitchen to prepare a healthy DASH meal. In fact, with some planning you may not even have to stand over the stove much at all. These quick and healthy DASH recipes come together in a snap so you can get back to business. Each meal includes many DASH food choices to add to your daily DASH tracker. Choose the meals you want to try and add the ingredients to your shopping list.
Sauté 2 cups fresh, pre-cut or frozen vegetables (such as carrots, onion, bell pepper, spinach and zucchini) with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (or 1 teaspoon dry basil), and fresh ground black pepper. Toss vegetables with ½ cup cooked pasta, rice or couscous. Top with 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese.
Bake a russet or sweet potato in the oven or in the microwave. Slice warmed potato open and fill with ½ cup of steamed (fresh or frozen) vegetables. Top with one of the following: 1 ½ ounce grated cheddar cheese, ½ cup cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons lowfat sour cream, ½ cup lowfat yogurt. Try adding low fat canned chili, bean dip, or salsa.
Breakfast for Dinner
Serve two 6-inch whole-grain pancakes, waffles, or French toast with 1-2 scrambled eggs, 1 cup of sliced fresh fruit and top with ½ cup of yogurt.
Soup & Salad
Add 1 cup of frozen vegetables and ½ cup of canned and drained beans, cooked rice, barley, or small pasta to a can of reduced-sodium soup. Heat thoroughly, adding a small amount of water or lowfat milk if needed. Serve with a tossed green salad and whole-grain bread.
Pasta Salad Improvised
In a large bowl combine one 15 ounce can of drained beans, one 3 ounce can of water-packed tuna, 3 cups thawed frozen or fresh vegetables, 2 cups cooked pasta, 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, dill or thyme) and ½ cup prepared salad dressing. Toss and serve chilled. Pack into individual portion containers for a grab-and-go lunch. Serves 4.
Creamy Pesto Pasta
In a food processor or blender, puree ½ cup pesto with ½ cup silken tofu or lowfat plain yogurt. Toss with 4 cups of hot pasta and 1 cup of thawed frozen peas. Sprinkle with ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Serves 4.
Spread ½ cup reduced-sodium marinara sauce on a 12-inch prebaked whole wheat pizza crust, or use 4 whole wheat English muffin halves. Top with 1 cup fresh, lightly steamed, or grilled vegetables and 6 ounces of shredded part skim mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 degrees until crust is lightly browned and cheese is melted. Serves 4.
Bean and Chile Tostadas
Spread ½ cup canned refried beans on a 6-inch whole wheat tortilla. Top with ¼ cup canned diced green chiles or ½ cup chopped fresh bell peppers, and 1 ½ ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until tortilla is lightly browned and cheese is melted. Top with 1 cup shredded green cabbage and salsa.
Southwestern Chicken and Brown Rice Burritos
Cook quick brown rice and set aside. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, ½ cup diced green onions, and 1 cup diced leftover skinless chicken breast. Stir in ½ teaspoon ground cumin and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook until chicken is warmed through. Heat two 6-inch whole-wheat or soft corn tortillas in the microwave. Place ½ cup rice and ½ cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle with 1 ½ ounces shredded cheese and fold. Try substituting cooked beans or other leftover lean meats for the chicken.
Cook quick brown rice and set aside. Heat a wok or skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon minced garlic and 4 cups fresh pre-cut vegetables, and sauté until tender-crisp. Mix together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger and ½ cup low sodium chicken broth, and add to the veggies. If desired, thicken the sauce with ¼ teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water. Stir mixture into the veggies and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Serve stir-fry over rice and top with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. Serves 2.
(Try steam-sautéing using low sodium broth to cook the vegetables instead of sesame oil.)
Simple Spring Salad
Toss 2 cups of baby spinach leaves with 1 ounce crumbled feta or chevre (soft goat cheese) and ½ cup sliced strawberries. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons low-fat balsamic vinaigrette and top with a few twists of fresh ground black pepper. For additional crunch, toss in a small handful of toasted, chopped walnuts.
Hearty Entrée Salad
Toss 1 cup of romaine lettuce with ½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup rinsed canned garbanzo beans, 1 ½ ounces crumbled blue cheese and 2 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette dressing. Place on a plate and top with 3 ounces of sliced grilled flank steak. Try this salad with grilled skinless chicken, grilled fish, or with any leftover cooked meat.