Tag Archives: pine nuts

Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes

The earthiness of the spinach and the WOW flavor of the sun dried tomatoes really combine to make this a memorable pasta dish. This is a special one, for sure !

Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes

4 servings
321 calories per serving

1 c chicken broth
12 dehydrated sun dried tomatoes
8 oz. FiberGourmet penne
2 T pine nuts, toasted
1 T oil
1/4t red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
4 c baby spinach, chopped
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

To toast nuts, place in a hot skillet and sauté for a few minutes until toasty brown and aromatic then set them aside. Bring the broth to a boil then add the tomatoes and let soak for 15 minutes to rehydrate them. Keep the broth and remove the tomatoes and chop coarsely. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Heat oil in a skillet and add oil and red pepper and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the spinach, salt and pepper and cook 3 minutes then add the broth and tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Pour broth mix over pasta and sprinkle with ¼ c cheese. Mix well. Plate and top with pine nuts and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Eggplant Caponata

This makes a great side dish or a perfect appetizer served with Crostini bread or crackers. Every caponata you find is a little different – there are so many components that it is easy to get different versions. This one uses very little oil and is my absolute favorite. By pre-cooking the eggplant in the oven, you use much less oil and you won’t even miss it ! It has all my favorite things and has a great depth of flavor.

Eggplant Caponata
Eggplant Caponata

6 servings
149 calories per serving

1 large eggplant, trimmed, but not peeled and then cut into 1 inch cubes
½ t salt
2 t oil
2 c chopped celery
¼ c celery leaves, chopped
1 c chopped onions
½ c water
2 t minced garlic
1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes (including the juice)
2 T tomato paste
20 small black olives, chopped (you can use green if you prefer)
2 T white wine vinegar
1 t unsweetened cocoa
½ t black pepper
Kosher salt to taste
¼ c chopped basil
¼ c toasted pine nuts
2 t oil

To toast pine nuts, sauté in a hot, dry skillet for a few moments – until golden and aromatic. Place eggplant cubes in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with ½ t salt. Mix well so that all eggplant is salted. Then place a small plate or bowl on top of the eggplant and weight it by placed a canned product or some other heavy object. The salt and the weight will draw some of the bitter liquid from the eggplant and you will end up with a much sweeter tasting caponata. Let sit for an hour then rinse eggplant and pat dry. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with Pam, and place eggplant on sheet in a single layer. Cook for 20 minutes then remove from oven and set aside.

Heat a skillet and add 2 t of oil. Also spray with a bit of pan and then sauté onions and celery on medium high heat until partially softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté a minute longer. Add ½ c water and continue cooking another 10 minutes. If the mix gets dry, add up to ¼ c more water to keep it moist. Add tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste and olives and cook on medium for 10 minutes until sauce thickens a bit. Add eggplant, vinegar, salt, pepper and cocoa and cook on low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in toasted nuts and 2 t oil. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Pasta and Brie (Baltimore International College)

To me, there is nothing more heavenly on my tongue than a melting morsel of brie. Now add in that I am a carb hound and cannot live without pasta…follow me to Pasta and Brie courtesy of Baltimore International College School of Culinary Arts. This recipe is PERFECT !! It combines 2 of my most favorite things in the world. I don’t know who at the Baltimore International College School of Culinary Arts came up with this recipe, but it outranks any pasta and cheese recipe that I have ever tried. It is true heaven.

Along with the perfect brie flavor, the fresh herbs and pine nuts are just a flavor explosion. This is definitely one of those meals that will impress…and it’s not hard to put together at all.

I tweaked their version just a bit to bring this in under 400 calories. It’s a bit high on the calorie count, so serve as a side to a light piece of fish – or have it for lunch. The portion size is definitely enough for a filling lunch and you won’t forget the cheesy brie goodness.


Baltimore International College School of Culinary Arts has many, many recipes for you to try out (just go to the menu option ‘Programs” and then you will see a link to the recipes. And if you know someone with a passion for food looking for formal schooling, pass along the link. So make sure to visit – just click the banner below 🙂

4 servings
387 calories per serving

4 oz. brie (I removed the coating but you don’t have to)
1 T olive oil
3 T chicken broth
15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 t minced garlic
1 T chopped parley
4 basil leaves, sliced thinly
1 oz. pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. FiberGourmet pasta (penne, rotini or short fettuccine) – without FiberGourmet, you have to add 80 calories per ounce of pasta)

Heat oil and broth and add in the tomatoes. Add in the garlic, parsley, basil, nuts, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Stir brie into tomato mix and mix well to melt then pour it over the pasta and serve immediately.

Penne with Spinach

This is a great ‘white pasta’ dish – the ricotta, parmesan, spinach and garlic just work so well together. And when you add in the toasted pine nuts, the flavor meter goes off the charts. You definitely have to try this one !!

Penne with Spinach
Penne with Spinach

2 servings
357 calories per serving

4 oz. whole wheat penne pasta (if you use FiberGourmet pasta, the calories drop by 60 calories per serving !)
6 oz. fresh or frozen spinach
½ c part skim ricotta cheese
2 T shredded parmesan cheese
1 t lemon zest
¼ t kosher salt
½ t pepper
2 T toasted pine nuts

Cook pasta according to package instructions adding frozen spinach to the water the last 2 minutes. If using fresh spinach, put spinach in colander and drain pasta over it. Put pasta in bowl with spinach and stir in cheeses, lemon, salt and pepper. Plate and add pine nut garnish.

Mushroom and Feta Salad

This has sooooo much flavor in it that you just want to keep eating and eating ! It was just a perfect mix of ingredients and makes a great lunch serving.

Mushroom and Feta Salad
Mushroom and Feta Salad

2 servings
270 calories per serving

6 T Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette dressing, divided
2 large Portobello mushroom caps
1 medium yellow squash, sliced
5 c mixed salad greens
½ c chopped roasted red peppers
½ c low fat crumbled feta cheese
2 T toasted pine nuts

Brush mushrooms and squash with oil and 2 T of the dressing, Grill or broil 3-4 minutes each side and then cut mushrooms into slices. Add mushrooms and squash to lettuce and peppers. Add the rest of the dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and nuts and serve immediately.

To toast nuts, heat a dry skillet and sauté nuts 5 minutes or so. You will know they are done because you will star to smell the nutty aroma 🙂

Chopped Salad

The idea of a chopped salad is to get all the ingredients chopped uniformly and small – otherwise, it is just not a chopped salad ! And to me, prepping things in this fashion DOES make a difference in the flavor of the salad. There is something about getting a bunch of the ingredients in your mouth at the same time – it just makes for a flavor explosion !

Chopped Salad
Chopped Salad

6 servings
200 calories per serving

1/2 c white balsamic vinegar
3 stalks celery, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 large peach, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
2 c coarsely chopped arugula or spring mix or any other crisp greens
1 c thinly sliced napa cabbage
3 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 oz. crumbed low fat goat cheese
½ c slivered almonds or pine nuts, toasted
1 large hard boiled egg, sliced
Smoked paprika

Mix together all the veggies with oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and then add in cheese and almonds. Top with eggs and sprinkle with paprika.

To toast the almonds, simply place in a hot skillet and sauté until toasty and starting to brown.

Pesto Potato Salad

Instead of basil, this pesto is made with arugula and adds a nice tang to the salad. Sometimes instead of the yukon gold potatoes I use unpeeled new potatoes and the recipe is just as delicious !

Pesto Potato Salad
Pesto Potato Salad

8 servings
208 calories per serving

2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
2 ½ c arugula leaves
1/3 c parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 c pine nuts, toasted
3 T water
2 t lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ t salt
½ t pepper
¼ c olive oil
1 c grape tomatoes, halved

Cook potatoes covered in salted water 25 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool. Then peel the potatoes and cube them. Here is a great video on how to easily boil and peel potatoes.

In a food processor mix arugula, 1/3 c cheese, 1/3 c pine nuts, water, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper then slowly add the oil and mix thoroughly. Pour mix over potatoes and stir in tomatoes. Serve at room temperature.

Southwest Spinach Salad

What a symphony of flavors ! Your mouth doesn’t know what to be the happiest about – is it the pine nut accent? Or the spicy pepperjack cheese? Or the creamy avocados? Or the smoky chipotle dressing? This is one of THE BEST salads I’ve ever made.

Southwest Spinach Salad
Southwest Spinach Salad

4 servings
300 calories per serving

8 c fresh baby spinach
1/2 c corn with sweet peppers
1/3 c halved black pitted olives
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
2 oz. diced pepper jack cheese
2 plum tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges each
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
1 ripe avocado cut into 16 slices
3 T lime juice
2 T oil
1 t chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/8 t salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T toasted pine nuts
A few extra squirts of lime juice if you like your salad nice and ‘wet’

Combine spinach, corn, olives, cilantro and cheese. Place 2 c worth on each plate. Arrange tomato, egg and avocado slices atop the spinach. Combine lime juice, oil, chopped chipotle, salt and garlic. Whisk well and pour over salads. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

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