dinner, healthy, paleo, recipe, side dish, vegan, vegetables

Roasted Delicata Squash with Lemon Tahini Sauce


Roasted squash in the middle of August may not sound exactly tempting, but when I saw these squash at Whole Foods, I couldn’t resist. After cooking, the skin of the delicata squash softens and you can eat it! Meaning, no need to peel the skin, just trim and cook! I love anything that saves me an extra few minutes in the kitchen and so I braved the oven and got cooking.

What sets this recipe apart from other roasted squash is the to die for lemon tahini sauce! Tahini is one of the main ingredients when making hummus but this sesame seed paste is super versatile. It goes great in sauces and dressing to top pasta, vegetables, salad, and more. I love making a tahini dressing paired with a spinach salad and summer berries 🙂

Delicata squash is rich in beta carotene (which converts into Vitamin A). To help your body better absorb this valuable antioxidant, the addition of a healthy fat source (tahini sauce!) can help your body maintain it’s carotenoid and Vitamin A stores.


Roasted Delicata Squash with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 delicata squash, de-seeded and cut into half circles
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBS tahini
  • juice from half large lemon
  • 2 TBS water
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place cut squash in a single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Stir squash with your hands to ensure they are evenly coated with olive oil and spices.
  2. Bake in oven for ~30 minutes until squash is softened and caramelized. Halfway through cooking, flip squash allowing them to cook evenly on both sides.
  3. While the squash is cooking, prep the tahini sauce. Add tahini, lemon juice, water, herbs de provence, and fresh cracked black pepper to a dish and whisk together with a fork to combine. I also added a drizzle of olive oil to bring the dressing together.
  4. Remove squash from the oven and drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve immediately.
  5. Dressing will last in the refrigerator in a mason jar for 3-5 days.
main dish, recipe, side dish

Southwest Kale and Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Southwest Kale and Black Bean Quinoa Salad

I’ve been majorly MIA but when I’m not blogging you can most definitely find me ‘grammin on @kari_on_nutrition. However, I am trying to post more deliciousness on my blog.

What’s eaten up all my time? I recently started a new second job! Every Friday I head to Westwood and work in the radiation oncology department at UCLA. I’ve always been interested in oncology and the opportunity to work at the 5th ranked health system in THE COUNTRY was something that I couldn’t pass up. Never have I felt more challenged or learned so much in such a short amount of time. I often question if I’m the right fit for the job, however if it scares me that much than maybe it’s a right fit!

How does my job at UCLA relate to my Southwest Kale and Black Bean Quinoa salad? I stopped at Whole Foods for lunch last week and bought a delicious albeit expensive bowl of kale, nectarine, and quinoa salad. As I was eating it, I realized I could spend WAY less money if I made said quinoa salad myself. So last night after soccer, I brought this baby to life.

It’s protein packed and full of veggie goodness. Plus as a bonus, it includes homegrown tomatoes from my parents garden, local kale, and California avocados. Sustainable eating= happy Kari. I ate it over a bed of more kale and added some sliced chicken. It is great as a main dish or a side dish and would go great at a 4th of July BBQ (just sayin….)

Southwest Kale and Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (I used tri-color quinoa)
  • 3-4 leaves of lacinto kale, Julienned into strips
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro
  • juice from 2 limes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp each onion and garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz feta cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Add first 9 ingredients to a bowl and combine.
  2. Drizzle with ~ 1-2 TBS olive oil. Add spices little by little, tasting to see if it needs more. I don’t typically measure my spices- I just add and taste until it’s perfection 🙂

Enjoy!!

dietitian, exercise, food blogger, Hermosa Beach, recipe, registered dietitian, South Bay, sports nutrition, workout fuel

Poise Fitness

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Well! It’s been awhile! A lot has been going on in the Kari On Nutrition camp. Here’s what’s happened since I last posted:

  • I accepted a position at UCLA as a radiation oncology RD (!!!)
  • Spent a week in Kauai for my birthday (check out my Instagram @kari_on_nutrition for photos!)
  • Collaborated with #RD2Be Tawnie Kroll of Kroll’s Korner on a Q&A post for students (check the post out here!)
  • Had my roomie from my dietetic internship visit from Boston
  • Repeal the Seal and the Kids Eat Right Kraft debacle

Two weeks packed into 5 bullet points…impressive I know!

Sprinkled in between all this was a visit to Poise Fitness in Hermosa Beach. A few of my friends had been telling me about a class they had been taking at Poise, so I decided to take the plunge and e-mail Justin (the owner). After exchanging some e-mails with him, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a 5:30 AM class (!!!)My friends were right! I loved the class! Each week, Poise focuses on a different goal or movement. The week I came in, the focus was abs. The gym is split into three sections – functional movement (body weight exercises, flexibility, core), cardio (in the form of treadmills), and strength (weights, kettle bells). There are 10 rounds in each section, for a total of 30 rounds, 1 minute each. What I loved the most about this set up was:

  1. There were tablets that showed each movement. Along with the coach explaining the movement, we had a demonstration of how to do the movement correctly, ensuring proper form and optimizing our work out
  2. The movement changed every rotation. Talk about zero workout boredom. By constantly changing what movement we did, I knew that I was getting a total body workout
  3. You could control the intensity on the cardio. I remember during one of our last sets on the treadmill, the instructor was pushing us to increase our speed. I was feeding off his positive energy and upped the speed to 9.0, which I would not typically do in the gym on my own

This class was the ultimate HIIT workout. I wore my Polar heart rate monitor to track my fitness. I like using a heart rate monitor because it allows me to push myself more to get within my training goals to optimize fat burning and maximize my cardio effort. Tracking systems help me to monitor my progress and give me a way to gauge how I can improve. I highly recommend getting a heart rate monitor if you are looking to up the ante on your fitness goals. It’s a great motivator and can help you to challenge yourself to do more.

According to my Polar:

  • Max heart rate: 173 bpm
  • Average heart rate: 128 bpm
  • Calories: 606
  • 61% fitness (cardio)
  • 39% fat burning

To re-fuel my muscles after this workout, I like to combine protein, carbs/fiber, and healthy fats. This will replenish my muscles and keep me satisfied until lunch. A favorite post workout breakfast is my power breakfast sandwich. It’s a perfect mix of complex carbs to replenish muscle glycogen and healthy fat to provide satiety and a dose of fiber. The addition of 1 egg provides 6 grams of protein, to help with muscle rebuilding, and increase the meal’s staying power. I choose sprouted bread because it is higher in fiber and I feel is more nutritious than other whole wheat varieties. There are no fillers/additives and the ingredients are all items I can pronounce 😉

Power Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sprouted bread (like Ezekiel), provides 30 g carbs
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 egg
  • handful of spinach

Directions

  1. Toast bread.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray (I prefer coconut oil spray). Crack egg into pan and cook until desired level of doneness.
  3. Mash avocado on the toast with a fork. Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Add salt if desired.
  4. Top toast with avocado and handful of spinach.
  5. Eat & enjoy!

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What is your favorite post-workout breakfast? How do you re-fuel your muscles?

A special thank you to Poise Fitness for having me! It was a great workout and I can’t wait to come in again (aka tomorrow!).

Note: Poise Fitness provided me with a free class. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

dietitian, dinner, main dish, nutrition, recipe

Chipotle Lime Fish Tacos

Currently I am battling a nasty cold/bronchitis/the flu that has made my senses a little stuffed up and my mind a little boggled. When your sense of taste/smell has been compromised, I say go with extremes. I have found that when seriously congested, I can only taste foods that are either very spicy or very sweet- no in betweens. Similar to taste changes that occur when a patient is going through chemotherapy (ex.due to side effects of treatment) or natural taste changes as we age, we need to make slight changes in the preparation of our foods so that food will be palatable and nourishing.

My chipotle lime marinade is a great recipe that plays up spice and citrus to battle through my congested sinuses. It is spicy, smoky, zesty, and easy! It can also be used with chicken or other proteins. I’ll use it to top salads, tacos, burritos, or make enchiladas with.


Chipotle Lime Fish Tacos

Ingredients

  • 2 cod fillets (you can also substitute chicken breast or tilapia)
  • 1 can chipotle in adobo
  • 2 limes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2-3 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Remove chipotle peppers from can and dice.
  2. Place fish or chicken in a large zippered bag or covered container. Add chipotle, juice of 2 limes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, spices, herbs, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Shake bag or stir to combine. Ensure that the marinade is evenly distributed on the fish.
  3. Marinate over night!
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour in fish with marinade. Cook until the fish is opaque and browned on both sides, about 5-7 minutes per side.
  5. Serve with fresh cilantro, shredded cabbage, and salsa. Top with sautéed marinated peppers.

#karionnutrition

Uncategorized

Parchment Paper Salmon

It’s been HOT, HOT, HOT in LA lately. Like sweat pooling behind your knees and through your shirt hot. Never thought I would say it but I wish it was a a bit cooler. It’s October and I love sweatshirt weather and cuddling under blankets at night and you definitely can’t do either of those right now. Despite my complaints about the warm weather, you really can’t beat views like this:

Sunsets in Santa Monica
Sunsets in Santa Monica

And what made yesterday even better? The San Diego Chargers running train on the Jets!! I will admit that I’m a newly converted Charger fan. Since LA does not have a football team, I naturally rooted for whoever the Patriots were playing because I have a strong dislike for any Boston professional sports teams. (As a side note- this stems from my love for the Lakers and their bitter rivalry with the Celtics. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I bleed purple and gold for #24 and the LOS ANGELES LAKERS.) My boyfriend in from San Diego and by default I have become a Chargers fan. SO excited to see them doing well and even more excited that we’re going to see them play the Patriots in December at Qualcomm! #boltup

#BoltUp
#BoltUp

With the Chargers win, it was only fitting to have a winning dinner. Whole Foods was having a sale on wild caught salmon (GO SUSTAINABLE FISHING PRACTICES!) and so we had to buy some. I will admit that I don’t eat it as much as I should but maybe if I make parchment paper salmon every night for dinner, I might just get all my Omega 3’s in!

Parchment Paper Salmon with Greek Yogurt Mustard Sauce

Parchment paper salmon packets!
Parchment paper salmon packets!

Ingredients

  • 3 salmon fillets (about the size of your hand)
  • 1 small yellow zucchini, sliced
  • 1 small green zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon sliced, 1 lemon halved
  • 1/4 c nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • Whole Foods all-purpose seasoning (or similar- I also like Trader Joe’s salt free 21 Seasoning Salute)
  • 1 TBS whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Tear off 3 medium sized sheets of parchment paper. In the middle of the parchment paper, arrange the sliced zucchini as a base for the salmon.
  2. Place the salmon fillet on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Top with 1 TBS minced onion and lemon slices.
  3. Fold the parchment paper into packets. I folded the parchment paper how I had seen on a cooking show (see photo) but the folks at Cooking Light have a great method that further hammers home the heart health benefits of eating fish!
  4. Put the packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon fillets.
  5. While the fish is cooking, whisk together the Greek yogurt, mustard, garlic salt, all-purpose seasoning, fresh cracked black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 TBS).
  6. Remove fish from oven and carefully open the packets. Serve with lemon wedges and a drizzle (or more!) of the yogurt sauce!
dietetic intern, nutrition, paleo, RD2Be, recipe, salad, vegan

Kale Avocado Salad

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Kale, the superfood de jour, is a way that you can add major nutrition brownie points to any dish.  Rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and beta carotene, this superfood is low in calories, good source of fiber, and a great substitution for lettuce.  One complaint is that the leaves tend to be bitter and tough.  Tenderize by massaging the leaves and you have a dark, leafy green that can be added to just about any dish.


This salad was created in honor of National Nutrition Month.  It incorporates unsaturated fats, dark leafy greens, and a variety of colorful vegetables.  Avocado is the main base for this dish- it provides that creaminess that we desire from most salad dressing without the saturated fat associated with that Hidden Valley ranch dressing.  

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, de-ribbed and shredded
  • 1 ½ cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups fresh herb salad
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Garlic and herb salt free seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  •  2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds

Directions

1)   Take 1 whole avocado (peeled and sliced) and sprinkle with garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Mash the avocado onto the shredded kale with your hands, evenly coating the kale with avocado.  Let sit for 30 minutes to help soften the kale.

2)   To make dressing- combine the olive oil, remaining lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and 1 TBS garlic and herb salt-free seasoning.  Whisk together to combine.

3)   Chop 1 whole avocado.  Add remaining ingredients to kale and combine.

4)   Drizzle dressing and top with chopped avocado.

5)   Eat and Enjoy!