Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Colorado weather is schizophrenic in the spring.  We swing from 71 degrees (like Sunday) to freezing temps (like today) where there is snow in the forecast!

When the weather gets warm, it starts making me think about SPRING and SUMMER and warm weather food.  It’s that weather that we experienced on Sunday that inspired me to try this dish…

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

Yes, I know that it isn’t watermelon season.  I was reminded of this as I was shopping for ingredients.  It is not easy to find a good watermelon right now.  I found some cut watermelon that worked for this dish and made it wonderful, and I know that it will be EVEN BETTER with a fresh farmer’s market watermelon in a few months!  Can’t wait to make it again!

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

From A Sweet Spot: Home

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

2 cups watermelon, diced
1 seedless cucumber, seeded and diced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. honey
salt and pepper
chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Chop your watermelon and cucumber and place in serving dish.  Note:  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds of your watermelon.

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, and honey and pour over salad.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

3.  As you’re preparing to serve, salt and pepper the salad and sprinkle on the cilantro.

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Serve and enjoy!  

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1/2 cup serving:

CAL 102; CARB 17g; FAT 5g; PROT 1g; FIB 0g; WW Points Plus: 3

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FitSocial Recipe: Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

It’s really hard to pinpoint my favorite moment of FitSocial, but if you asked me to pick RIGHT NOW, I’d probably say the healthy cooking demo.

On the very last day of the conference, we all met at the Anschutz Wellness Center to kick off the last day which was nutrition-focused.  We got to listen to a presentation on nutrition from the fabulous Ashley Koff, RD.

Ashley Koff RD Fitsocial | No Thanks to Cake

Ashley really challenged our group to consider dietary intake along with physical activity to create balanced wellness.  Here are a few of the key nuggets that I took away:

  • During every eating occasion, we should be getting in some vegetables.
  • When people are looking to lose weight, the idea of quantity can take people to a negative place.  In reality, quantity can be your best friend, as it give you permission to enjoy every food you want to consume.  Just don’t overwhelm the body with too much of any one thing!
  • Counting calories is out; nutrient balance is in.  If at every eating occasion you seek balance, that balance is going to help you give the body what it needs in that moment. (A calorie counter myself, I’m going to have to research this one a little more.)

After Ashley’s talk, we went downstairs to watch a healthy cooking demonstration.  Chef Paolo from Bistro Elaia walked us through the creation of a GORGEOUS quinoa salad that I’m going to have to re-create VERY soon.

Bistro Elaia | No Thanks to Cake

To me, there is nothing like watching beautiful, colorful vegetables being chopped and created to become a fabulously satisfying meal.  And, because I love to cook, I also like to watch people cook… and love to pick up new tips, skills associated with their style of cooking.  I was watching Chef Paolo closely… and gosh, I envy his knife skills!

Chef Paolo Bistro Elaia | No Thanks to Cake

So, let’s talk about what he was cooking up in the kitchen: QUINOA (pronounced KEEN-wa).

Quinoa is a beautiful grain, packed with nutrients.  Many people use quinoa as a replacement for rice, and it’s become highly popular amongst vegetarians as it’s a fantastic source of protein.  Example:  1 cup of quinoa contains 8g of protein, with only 220 calories per cup.

Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve eaten a lot of quinoa, but I seriously think that this quinoa is one of the best I’ve had.  It combines all of my favorite brightly-colored veggies an amazing asian vinaigrette.  DELISH!

Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

From Chef Paolo Neville at Bistro Elaia

Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

IMG_0808

For the Salad

2 cups quinoa, uncooked

2 carrots, shredded

1 broccoli head, shredded

1 cup chopped/shredded red cabbage

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cucumber, diced

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 1/2 cup edamame beans, thawed

For the Dressing

1-2 Tbsp. lite soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp rice wine vinegar or lime juice

2 Tbsp. green onion, chopped

1/4 tsp. ginger

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Cover quinoa with cold water and soak for 1 hour.  Drain and rinse thoroughly.  Place quinoa and 2 1/2 cups cold water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

2.  Grate the carrots and broccoli head and place in a large bowl.  Chop the red cabbage, red peppers, cucumber, and cilantro.  Add to the large bowl.

Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Dice the avocado, and place in a separate small bowl.  Note:  Chef advised to keep the avocado separate and to add it to the salad right before you serve it.  Avocado will otherwise break down.  

4.  To prepare the dressing, whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

5.  Combine the cooled quinoa, edamame, and dressing in the large bowl of vegetables and mix well.  Once all is well incorporated place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Top with avocado before sharing with your guests.

Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1/8 recipe serving:

CAL 286; CARB 48.5g; FAT 6.4g; PROT 12; FIB 11.2g; WW Points Plus: 7

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Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

It’s officially TOMATO SEASON!

Some would argue it’s been tomato season for a while, but for me… it’s just getting started!  I went to Whole Foods this weekend and they had all their beautiful tomatoes lined up.  The heirlooms, the romas, the ones on the vine.

All so pretty and so many different varieties coming home with me, including their AMAZING heirloom tomato salsa, which you can only find a few months of the year.

If you get a chance, go get some.  It’s life changing.

I picked up a bunch of heirloom grape tomatoes and a variety of colors with intent to re-create that amazing Panzanella salad that I ate in San Francisco at Zero Zero.

Thankfully, I have enough ingredients leftover to make another batch.  The vinaigrette is mustardy and flavorful, complementing the tomatoes and cucumbers so incredibly well.  What makes a Panzanella different than a traditional cucumber-tomato salad?  It’s the bread… the ciabatta croutons in this salad are insanely delish.  As a bread lover, the croutons MAKE the salad.

This salad was my dinner on Saturday night paired with two slices of fresh mozzarella; however, I’ve written the recipe below as a side dish, so you can share with your friends and family.

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Inspired by Zero Zero, San Francisco

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups heirloom grape tomatoes, halved

1 medium cucumber, quartered

1/4 red onion, diced

3 basil leaves, chiffonade

1 ciabatta roll

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

For the Vinaigrette

salt

pepper

1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

1 1/2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Combine dijon mustard, garlic, white balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a small bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Note:  I used an amazing Sun Valley Sweet Garlic Mustard I sampled at Whole Foods on Saturday, but you can really use any kind of mustard that you like.

2.  Separately, heat 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil in a small skillet.  Add your ciabatta cubes, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss in the olive oil and cook until lightly toasted and the olive oil absorbs.  Remove from heat.

3.  Dice your cucumber, half you tomatoes, and mince your onion.

4.  Chiffonade your basil.  Rolling the leaves and then cutting them into thin slices.

5.  Add all the veggies and basil to a large bowl.

6.  Add croutons.

7.  Toss with the vinaigrette.

8.  Move to a serving dish, and enjoy!

Per 1/4 recipe serving:

CAL 153; CARB 26g; FAT 4g; PROT 5g; FIB 2g; WW Points Plus: 4

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4th of July Recipe Roundup

Can you believe it’s 4th of July week already??  Now, I am super excited to have Thursday off… but I’ve been so wrapped up with Fitbloggin that I haven’t even had a nanosecond to think about what I’m doing for the holiday.

The one thing I do know is that I want to enjoy some good eats.  I thought this might be a great time to round up a few NTTC recipes that are perfect for the holiday and ones that you can enjoy guilt-free on the 4th!

Click on any of the images below to see the full recipe!

Appetizer Options

Sizzling Side Dishes

Grill-Worthy Main Dishes

Desserts to Die For

These are just a few of the MANY recipes that I’ve shared over time.  Of course, if you’re looking for one of your favorites, you can find it here on my recipe page!

Happy Party Planning, Y’all!

What healthy dishes are you planning to prepare for 4th of July?

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