Bean Tostada: Start by placing a corn or whole-wheat tortilla on a baking sheet. On the tortilla, spread vegetarian refried beans and a little salsa or drizzle of Sriracha sauce. Top with chopped onion and bell peppers, sliced black olives and scallions. Sprinkle with cumin or fresh chopped cilantro. Bake at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until hot.
– Melissa Altman-Traub, MS, RDN, LDN
Ingredient Improv: To cut down on time, buy premade crunchy tostadas. Rather than refried beans, mash up canned black or pinto beans for a chunky spread. Before baking, sprinkle with shredded cheese; after baking, pile on shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.
Simple Snack: My favorite non-recipe snack is fresh fruit and a tablespoon of nut butter. Simple, satisfying and delicious! Bananas and apples are my go-to fruit because they are convenient grab-and-go options that don’t require much prep work.
– Samina Qureshi, RDN, LD, IFNCP
Ingredient Improv: Go as simple or creative as you want: Slather nut butter on a banana and eat, or slice into coins and place a dollop of nut butter between two pieces. Use other fruits such as strawberries and pears, or go nut-free with tahini or sunflower seed butter.
A deconstructed hummus salad: Drain and rinse 1 can of chickpeas. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with a couple spoonfuls of tahini, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with a pinch of ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add some diced vegetables such as bell pepper, if desired. Spoon over a bed of mixed greens or stuff into a pita pocket.
– Mallory Ubbelohde, MPH, RDN
Ingredient Improv: Don’t have chickpeas? Substitute any canned bean. In place of tahini, use Greek yogurt. Roll the salad in a wholegrain tortilla for a fiber-filled wrap.
Veggie pesto pasta: Boil 2 pots of water at the same time. Use one pot to cook noodles and the other to steam vegetables using a steamer basket. Once pasta and vegetables are cooked, strain both and mix them together with a dollop of pesto.
– April Diederich, RD, CSR
Ingredient Improv: Add drained and rinsed canned chickpeas or chopped cooked chicken for protein. Not a fan of pesto? Swap it for your favorite red sauce or use olive oil with a pinch each of dried thyme, oregano and basil.
Slow-cooked cranberry meatballs are a favorite appetizer for parties and barbecues. Place 1-pound turkey meatballs in a slow cooker with 12 ounces chili sauce, 2 cups cranberry sauce and a splash of water. Cook on high for 1 to 2 hours or until meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Garnish with diced green onions.
– Tawnie Kroll, RDN
Ingredient Improv: In place of chili sauce, use ketchup or your favorite barbecue sauce. Swap cranberry sauce for fruit preserves or jelly, such as grape or apricot. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for thicker sauce. Other garnish ideas: freshly chopped chives or parsley.