Vegan Panzanella Salad Recipe

New Recipe & Wine Pairing with the Phoenix Vegan Dietitian.  Rhyan (RDN) and I hosted a vegan cooking and nutrition class last month!  Here is the recipe and wine pairing below; a wonderful cold salad for those hot days!

  • Full of fresh veggies and beans
  • This makes extra dressing, use as much as desired and for other salads and vegetables
  • Add your own favorite veggies such as broccoli, zucchini, citrus zest and juice
  • Add your favorite beans- I recommend garbanzo, white, or kidney beans
  • Add a new carbohydrate- multigrain bread, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta
  • Go an extra step and add lean protein (such as chicken or fish) and cheese
  • Create a healthy nutritional plate with vegetables, protein, and whole grain carbohydrates

Hosted with Rhyan Geiger, RDN

Website / Instagram


Pre zest and juice citrus

It is officially summer, although in Arizona it’s always summer!  This calls for fresh citrus zest and juice.  

Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits….

Simply zest, then juice all the citrus

I like to keep these in the fridge and freezer; especially keep the zest in the freezer so it lasts longer and doesn’t get moldy 

Juice Shelf Life:

3-4 days fridge

3-4 months freezer

Zest Shelf Life:

1-2 days fridge

3 months freezer

Your kitchen is going to smell so good and fresh; beautiful aromas!

Photo Credit:

Photo by Bruna Branco on Unsplash 

Photo by Andre Taissin on Unsplash

Photo by Skyler Ewing: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ripe-lemons-with-zest-and-grater-on-table-4600746/


How to cut a bell pepper

A simple and quick way to cut a bell pepper is 

  • Cut both ends off
  • Stand the bell pepper straight cut (on the flat cut end)
  • Slice one of the sides
  • Then place the bell pepper back on its flat side and start cutting the inside “ribs” off
  • Accomplish this by rolling the bell pepper as you cut, cutting the ribs and seeds
  • Then you have a nice flat surface to work with and cut either strips or diced pepper

Cutting the bell pepper using this technique is even a great way to prep the pepper until you need to use it.  That way it’s all cleaned and ready to go in the refrigerator.

#bellpepper #vegetables #ingredient #personalchef #nutritionist #chef #nutrition #weeklymeals #mealprep #healthy

Photo Credit:
Photo by Vino Li on Unsplash

Photo by srinivas bandari on Unsplash

Photo by Irene Kredenets on Unsplash


Store mise en place in a muffin tin

Here’s a unique way to store ingredients when preparing a recipe – in a muffin tin.  True meal prep! Store your prepped and chopped items with a paper liner or none.  This is best for ingredients such as chopped veggies, fruit, nuts, eggs, spices, etc (mainly dry ingredients).  I recommend preparing liquid ingredients in a separate measuring cup or small dish.  This way you don’t have to tip and move the whole muffin tin upside to get the liquid out.

Great news – this keeps you organized, cleaner kitchen, move all the ingredients at once, save money on buying glass prep mixing bowls (such as 4 oz bowls), mostly likely already have muffin tin(s) in your kitchen

Photo Credit:

Photo by Tara Winstead: https://www.pexels.com/photo/food-love-spoon-sugar-7123131/

Photo by Tara Winstead: https://www.pexels.com/photo/food-spoon-color-clean-7123148/


Storing herbs in the refrigerator

Tip of the Week

How do you keep fresh herbs alive?!  One way, possibly the best way, is to wrap herbs in a damp paper towel and place in a zip lock bag.  Make sure it’s a damp paper towel, not wet so no mold grows.  This will absorb moisture from the herbs, preventing them from wilting too quickly.  You are also able to store fresh leafy greens this way, wrapped in paper towels!  

Another way is to store herbs in a mason jar, placed like flowers.  Fill the jar with water and keep it in the fridge uncovered.  The only downside is that the jar can take up room in the fridge. 

If you’re in a pinch, like I usually am, simply keep the herbs in the produce bag from the grocery store.

Photo Credit:

Photo by alleksana: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-assorted-herbs-4113898/

Photo by alleksana: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-different-herbs-4113889/

Photo by alleksana: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-green-leaves-on-top-of-marbled-surface-4113885/

Photo by alleksana: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-green-leaves-on-top-of-wooden-surface-4113884/


Freeze items flat – space saver

Tip of the Week

The freezer is my best friend!  I love to store items in the freezer such as healthy ingredients, leftovers, and meal prep.  The best way is to store items flat, such as in gallon bags.  Once the bags are filled, press flat and label with the name and date cooked.  Then store in the freezer flat; stacked on each other.  This will save you so much time and freezer space if laid flat.  Additionally, the bagged items will thaw quicker because the bags are stored thin.

Another option is to buy storage containers (my favorite) to freeze food in.  Then you are able to stack foods neatly in the freezer.  The main goal is to be organized so you can easily find your food instead of being buried in the freezer.  Still label the containers with the name and date cooked.

Items I normally freeze:

Various sauces

Opened cans of food (such as tomato sauce, enchilada sauce, chipotle adobo peppers)

Meal prep items

Marinated proteins

Grains- cooked brown rice, quinoa

Pasta- cooked whole grains

Citrus zest and juice

And more

Photo Credit:

Photo by Keegan Evans: https://www.pexels.com/photo/tuna-salad-on-transparent-lunch-pack-90893/

Photo by Ello on Unsplash


Partially freeze meat before cutting

Tip of the Week

Why would you freeze meat?  This is a trick to make it easier to cut and slice.  Especially helping to cut meats into thin slices, strips, cubed, etc.  Place the meat in the freezer for 15-20 minutes which gives it enough time to firm up.  Otherwise if you don’t, the meat can be hard to cut through and slippery, making it difficult to work with.  If the meat is pre-opened, place it into a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap before putting it in the freezer (just as if you would cover the meat in the refrigerator).  Overall, this will save you time in the kitchen, particularly when prepping dinner in a hurry.  Plus, when slicing the meat first the cook time is reduced.  

One of my favorite ways to cook meat when I’m in a hurry is to slice fairly thin, then cook it in a sauté pan.  I typically add Asian flavors and vegetables to create a stir fry.  The meat takes no time at all to cook (without over cooking) and gets dinner on the table fast!    

Photo Credit: 

Photo by Marina Utrabo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sliced-meat-on-wooden-tray-4661503/

Photo by Becerra Govea Photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-shot-of-slices-of-raw-meat-on-a-wooden-chopping-board-5774153/

Photo by Yash Maramangallam: https://www.pexels.com/photo/slices-of-pork-meat-over-a-brown-paper-6442608/Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash


5 Ingredients I Can’t Live Without

With there being so many ingredients out there, I love these 5 especially.  Keep a variety of each one on hand to create magical meals!  There is such fun in utilizing ingredients in many different ways and cooking methods.  I’ve excluded the simple pantry staples such as spices, flour, sugar, oils – the ones you normally think of. 

  1. Nuts
    • A very healthy snack and so many applications
    • Use as a crunchy topping, contrast of textures, add protein to a dish
    • Make a sauce with soaked nuts, perfect to make vegan sauces and cheeses (flavor with your favorite spices)
  2. Fresh herbs – my favorites are rosemary, thyme, sage
    • Herbs can brighten up any dish and take it to the next level; use in food or drinks to create unique combinations; simply having the smell in the kitchen or refrigerator is like a breath of fresh air
  3. Low sodium broth
    • This ingredient is so versatile because I can make a quick sauce, soup, to thin a dish out, add flavors; I especially like using this instead of water for grains and rice
    • Other ideas- use to reheat dishes and add moisture (instead of water), deglaze hot pans to keep things from sticking, when making white sauces or cream sauces use some broth to cut back on fat
  4. Beans
    • A great source of protein and great vegetarian/vegan meal option; so many to choose from with all different applications
    • Besides making great mexican food, other options are hummus, sandwich spread or dip, pot pies, in cold salads
    • They are so creamy and can easily be whipped into a recipe
  5. Cheeses
    • Snack attack, melty gooiness, sharp, ages, creamy, moldy – so many to choose from, there’s an abundance of different cheeses
    • Very unique flavors, shapes, colors from regions all over the world
    • Create a fabulous charcuterie board

Photo Credit:

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Photo by Lindsay Moe on Unsplash

Photo by Süheyl Burak on Unsplash

Photo by Kevin Doran on Unsplash


Use a garbage bowl while cooking

Tip of the Week

Keep a small garbage bowl near you when cooking.  Simply choose a kitchen bowl to throw scraps, peels, and trimmings away.  You could also line the bowl with a plastic bag for easy clean up.  This will save needless trips and time going to and from the garbage can.  While chopping and cooking, there is a nice easy reach for throwing garbage away.   This is a great way to clean as you go and stay organized. 

Photo Credit:

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels


Eat a small snack before going out

Before heading out to an outing, errands, a party, or even dinner, eat a small snack before.  This will help prevent overeating and “eyes bigger than your stomach.”  If you are fully hungry before going out, this can lead to snacking more than usual, eating large portions, fast food, etc.  

Healthy small snack ideas:

Cheese and crackers

Celery and peanut butter

Piece of fruit and peanut butter

Hard boiled eggs

Hummus with veggies and pita chips (or beet hummus)

Vegetables with a homemade dip

Pair protein and fat with some carbs!  The protein keeps you full, slows digestion, and keeps blood sugar level.

Photo Credit:

@wildsonoraphoto