Loaded Mashed Potatoes for One: Dice 1 large or 2 small potatoes and place in a microwave-safe container with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave 8 minutes. Mash with 2 tablespoons milk or nonfat plain Greek yogurt and top with your favorites: diced ham, shredded cheese, steamed broccoli, leftover chili or whatever you have in the refrigerator. Cook for an additional minute in the microwave.
— Jen Haugen, RDN, LD
Ingredient Improv: Instead of white potatoes, use sweet potatoes, yuca, yams or any other tuber. Make it into breakfast mashed potatoes by topping with scrambled eggs, or satisfy your sweet tooth using sweet potatoes with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, fresh fruit and cinnamon.
Black Bean Lettuce Wraps: Drain and rinse a can of black beans. In a skillet on the stove, mix beans with 1 cup salsa and add a sprinkle of chili powder and cumin. Once hot, wrap bean filling in romaine lettuce leaves and add toppings such as diced avocado, cilantro, black olives, shredded cheese, cooked quinoa or cauliflower rice.
— Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD
Ingredient Improv: No lettuce? Use the bean mixture as a filling for quesadillas, tacos or burritos. In place of salsa, use diced fresh tomatoes. Pinto beans can be used in place of black beans. To add extra flavor and heat, use spices such as chili flakes, cayenne pepper, garlic powder or onion powder.
Buffalo Chickpea Avocado Toast: Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas. Sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add buffalo sauce and stir to evenly coat. Turn off heat and add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Mash or slice ¼ avocado and spread on toast, then spoon buffalo chickpea mixture on top for a protein and flavor boost.
— Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN
Ingredient Improv: Substitute black beans or lentils for chickpeas. For those without vegan dietary preferences, use a different sauce such as ranch, cheese sauce or Caesar dressing and opt for Parmesan cheese in place of nutritional yeast.
Mediterranean Tuna Salad: In a bowl, mix 2 pouches albacore tuna, 1 can rinsed and drained chickpeas, a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, torn fresh spinach leaves and a few pitted kalamata olives. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of dried oregano.
— Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD
Ingredient Improv: If you don’t have fresh spinach, use chopped romaine, kale or butter lettuce. Don’t like olives? Artichoke hearts, capers or sundried tomatoes will add a burst of flavor.
Edamame Stir-Fry: In a medium pan, heat ½ teaspoon sesame oil with 1 teaspoon canola or peanut oil. Add ½ cup frozen shelled edamame and 1 cup frozen mixed stir-fry vegetables. Add the juice of half a lime and 1 teaspoon light soy sauce. Top with a few cashews. Serve over cooked brown rice, udon or whole-wheat capellini.
— Melissa Altman-Traub, MS, RDN, LDN
Ingredient Improv: Boost the protein in this dish by serving with quick-cook quinoa or adding firm tofu or precooked chicken. Instead of frozen vegetables, use fresh onion, carrots, broccoli and peas.