Grown Up Macaroni and Cheese

This month’s Recipe Redux theme is “First Cooking Recollections.” I’m excited to share a little of my cooking background with you, especially now that I’m getting geared up to teach some basic cooking skills classes to my patients at work! I believe that kids are more likely to become interested and proficient in cooking healthy, delicious meals if they get started at a young age.

I’ve been cooking since I was four or five years old. Back then, my dad would pay me $5 to make him dinner. Dinner, in this case, was a couple of slices of Wonder bread topped with ketchup, shredded cheese, and pepperoni microwaved until hot and soggy for 60 seconds! I was so proud of myself.

When I was a little older, I learned to scramble eggs and cook quesadillas in a pan. When I was 12 or so, I started writing down my grandmother’s Polish recipes and learning some more sophisticated cooking techniques. She showed me how to tenderize chicken, chop vegetables without cutting my fingers off, and knead pierogi dough.

You’d think that by high school I must have been whipping up gourmet foods. In reality, I was too busy with school and IM-ing my friends to be bothered by cooking complex meals. I usually baked boxed cake mixes and enhanced cans of Spaghetti-O’s with cheese and tuna. To be honest, some of my favorite meals these days are the ones that take the least time and effort to prepare!

As a dietitian, I don’t feel great about eating a box of mac & cheese for dinner, but I can justify it if I add some protein and greens! My favorite combos lately have been sharp cheddar mac + broccoli + cherry tomatoes + chicken breast and the recipe I’m sharing with you today.


Grown Up Mac & Cheese

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A healthier take on a childhood classic.


  • 1 box mac & cheese, such as Aunt Annie’s Aged Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
  • 3 tablespoons low fat milk
  • 1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed
  • 4 oz cooked shredded chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce


  1. Prepare boxed macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Keep the macaroni with cheese sauce in the saucepan.
  2. Stir in the spinach, chicken, and marinara sauce.
  3. Heat and stir until all ingredients are hot and well combined.


This week I’m teaching the kids some knife skills. We’re starting easy by cutting bananas, avocados, and zucchini using nylon chef’s knives. If you want to get your kids into cooking, here’s a great blog post with tips.  I love the idea of using a lettuce knife and Play Doh to start! This handbook from Cooking Matters gives some great insight for starting a hands on cooking program in your area! If you’re at a point where you’re still learning, Williams & Sonoma offers reasonably priced cooking classes for kids and adults. Recent topics covered were spiralizer recipes, Fall baking, barista basics, and Labor Day BBQ. Colby and I are taking a knife skills class these this weekend! I’ve heard is worth well over the $10 we’re paying to attend :)

The Recipe ReDux is the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians. The group is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you. 

Check out the link below to see how some of my fellow RDs and healthy foodies got their start in the kitchen!

DIY Instant Noodle Soup

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Nestlé Health Science and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. As a participant in this contest, I also received a free trial sample of ProNourishTM, a low FODMAP nutritional drink developed by Nestlé Health Science. I was not compensated for my time.

Did you grow up loving instant ramen noodles as much as I did? They’re still a treat I crave when my throat is sore or the weather is gloomy. Today, I want to show you a grown up version of this convenient and comforting soup. It’s perfect for bringing to work- just add boiling water!


This recipe is Low FODMAP. People diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, often benefit from following a low FODMAP diet. FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols, which classifies specific types of short-chain carbohydrates that can trigger digestive distress in some people. Often times, anxiety causes these individuals to avoid all foods and food categories that give them discomfort — or fear will give them discomfort — which can unintentionally minimize their nutritional intake. After serious medical issues are ruled out, a registered dietitian nutritionist can help identify individual FODMAP triggers while minimizing food elimination and maximizing nutritional value.

You can watch an excellent video explaining the way FODMAP malabsorption can cause intestinal distress on the Monash University Website.

One of the most challenging foods to eliminate without sacrificing flavor are garlic and onions. It’s hard to imagine a delicious broth based soup without these ingredients! Most bullion cubes and concentrates contain garlic and/or onion powder. If these cause you GI distress, Savory Choice brand broth concentrates are a good option. The chicken, turkey, and beef broths are garlic and onion free. The trickiest part about developing a low FODMAP recipe is knowing which ingredients are “safe” to use. Monash University created an app with a very long and comprehensive list of foods to choose and those to avoid when you suffer from IBS.

After some brainstorming and checking low FODMAP food lists, it felt like an accomplishment to create a low FODMAP recipe that’s nutritious and doesn’t sacrifice flavor! I hope you enjoy it. As an added bonus, it’s totally portable and convenient  to pack for lunch. Just add boiling water :)

If you want to make your own variation of this soup, be sure to use ingredients that don’t need to cook for long. Vermicelli rice noodles are perfect for this, but you could substitute in other par-cooked gluten free grains. If you use hard vegetables, be sure to cut them very thin so they will soften with the boiling water.


DIY Instant Noodle Soup

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy, low FODMAP lunch that's convenient and portable.

This recipe was developed using low FODMAP ingredients but the recipe itself has not been tested for its FODMAP content.


  • 2oz vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon onion & garlic free chicken broth concentrate
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemongrass paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2 oz cooked chopped chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons sliced shiitake mushroom
  • 2 tablespoons grated carrot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1 leaf of bok choy, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


  1. Combine all ingredients in a pint sized or larger jar. Seal and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  2. Add boiling water, stir, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. The soup is ready to eat once the noodles and vegetables are tender.

Check out these simple, nutritious ingredients. This soup will have you feeling fab without FODMAPs!dsc_0009

I’ll be packing it for work on the reg.


I first became familiar with the low FODMAPs diet a few years ago when I was trying to figure out which foods were making me feel bloated and gassy. I hated feeling that way all the time. The clients I’ve worked with have experienced relief from their IBS symptoms by eliminating certain foods. If you suffer from GI symptoms, the Low FODMAP Central website is a great place to get started with next steps.

Check out more low FODMAP recipes through the link-up below:

Blackened Fish Tacos with Kiwi Mojito Salsa

I received free samples of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

The first thing I thought when I saw a kiwifruit without fuzzy skin and yellow flesh was, wow, this genetically engineered fruit is so cool, but will people be put off by the GMO’s? But then I was surprised to discover that Zespri SunGold kiwifruit is non-GMO! So how does it get its tropical flavor, high amount of vitamin C, and smooth skin? This surprising and delightful new fruit is a natural cross between gold varieties of kiwifruit. Kiwifruit actually comes in other colors, too, ranging from green to yellow and even pink on the inside!

You can find juicy yellow SunGolds at your local grocery store in North America from May-October.

Want to know some more cool facts about kiwifruit? Here you go!

1. You don’t peel it!

• Kiwifruit is the perfect portable snack because it is easy to eat! Just cut in half with a knife and scoop with a spoon. That’s it – just cut, scoop, and enjoy!

2. It’s a good, natural meat tenderizer!

• Both green and SunGold kiwifruit contain an enzyme called actinidin that helps break down protein. Actinidin occurs only in kiwifruit and improves digestive comfort by increasing the breakdown of proteins and facilitating digestion and emptying of the stomach. The actinidin can serve as a meat tenderizer: just peel and mash a kiwifruit and spread over meat or make a kiwifruit marinade. Actinidin will also break down protein in dairy so recipes with dairy should be consumed right away.

3. It’s a tasty source of vitamins C & E as well as potassium!

• One serving (2 kiwifruit) of SunGold provides three times more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a medium banana. SunGold is a good source of antioxidant vitamin E.

4. You can “measure” the sweetness of kiwifruit!

• Zespri growers achieve the best-tasting kiwifruit through a measure called the brix. The higher the brix, the sweeter the fruit. The dry matter content (where all water is removed) indicates how high the brix will be once the fruit is ripe. A higher dry matter means the better quality the kiwifruit will be- it stores better and tastes better. Zespri kiwifruit is deliciously sweet, since the growers put a lot of emphasis on this measure.

There are many creative ways to use kiwifruit in cooking. You can marinate meat in it, put it in a cocktail, or make a refreshing summer ceviche. Here it is in a sweet and spicy take on fish tacos.


Blackened Fish Tacos with Kiwi Mojito Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

A sweet and spicy take on fish tacos for hot summer nights.


  • 2 SunGold kiwifruit, halved, scooped out of skin, and diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons diced red cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning OR:
  • – 1 teaspoon paprika – 1 teaspoon brown sugar – 1 teaspoon dried oregano – 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder – 1/2 teaspoon chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon salt – 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin – 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds tilapia filets
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Sriracha sauce, lime wedges, and/or sour cream for garnish


  1. In a medium bowl, toss together kiwifruit, jalapeño, cabbage, mint, cilantro, and lime juice. Set aside.
  2. If not using premade taco seasoning, combine the paprika, brown sugar, oregano, garlic, chili powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne in a small bowl to make your own. Sprinkle seasoning over the tilapia filets.
  3. Heat the canola oil in a large cast iron pan over high heat. Once very hot, cook the tilapia filets in it for about 3 minutes per side, or until blackened and cooked through. The fish should flake easily with a fork.
  4. Carefully heat the corn tortillas directly over the flame of a gas range to char them, or simply warm in an un-greased pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Divide the fish and salsa evenly among the tortillas. Garnish as desired and serve immediately.


There’s nothing quite like summer eating, right? Let me know what you think of these tacos and be sure to check out culinary creations submitted by other Recipe ReDux members below:

Roasted Veggie Cutouts

I pulled out my cookie cutters for this fun project! I often work with families whose kids are picky eaters. When they are reluctant to try vegetables, a few tricks work wonders.

Color, shape, and texture make a huge difference! We eat with our eyes first, so bright colors with contrast work well. I superimposed two brightly colored vegetables by using a single cookie cutter. Simply slice two different firm vegetables or fruits of choice into 1/4″ thick medallions and use a small cookie cutter to punch out the same shape from both types of produce medallions. Next, swap their middles. The fun cutout shapes make the vegetables cuter and more fun to play with. Roasting the veggie medallions caramelizes their natural sugars and brings out a sweeter flavor. The texture becomes softer, but not mushy as it would from boiling.

Top it and dip it! Want to convince your picky eater to try a new vegetable? Try putting cheese on it! These medallions are topped with a broiled Italian cheese blend! Still not quite right? Make these taste like pizza by letting your kiddos dip them in pizza or pasta sauce! You could even get sneaky and puree some steamed veggies into the sauce.


Roasted Veggie Cutouts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fun way to serve vegetables to picky eaters.


1 sweet potato
1 thick zucchini squash
cooking spray
salt & pepper
1/3 cup shredded cheese
1/3 cup pizza or spaghetti sauce (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, slice the sweet potato and zucchini into 1/4″ thick medallions.
  2. Use a small (approx. 1.5″ diameter) cookie cutter to punch a shape out of every vegetable medallion.
  3. Spray an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the medallions on the cookie sheet, leaving about 1/2″ of space between medallions. Swap the centers of the vegetable cutouts to create contrast.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F. Flip each medallion combo over using a spatula and bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until golden and tender.
  5. Top each medallion with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Broil briefly, just until melted and bubbly. Allow to cool slightly and serve with pizza sauce, if desired.


Check out these other fun fruit and vegetable shapes in this month’s Recipe ReDux!


Dressing an Athletic Body Shape

I received a credit to try Stitch Fix as a result of this promotion. By posting this review I am entering a contest sponsored by Stitch Fix and am eligible to win a prize. I was not compensated for my time. This post contains affiliate links.

Typically the Recipe ReDux has us share meal ideas, but this month we had the opportunity to team up with StitchFix to try their personal stylist service! I had been itching to go shopping for some new summer and office clothes, so this was the perfect opportunity to get inspired.

If you’ve been considering StitchFix, you can use this link to fill out a style quiz and pick a day to receive your first five custom selected pieces:


Shopping is always a long and exhausting process for me. I like to find good deals and I want my clothes to fit me really well. Dressing my body shape, which is a combination of short, curvy, and athletic is a challenge. I usually turn to Pinterest or fashion blogs for advice.

While I’ve found plenty of workout clothing suggestions for “athletic figures” this way, my closet is already full with a disproportionate number of activewear pieces. It’s been tough to find good articles on what clothes look best on athletically curvy women, so here’s what I have to say about it!


(Piece #1 is this sleeveless shirt) Show off toned arms with sleeveless styles. This gorgeous coral tank top is made of lightweight fabric that flows in the breeze. The color makes skin tone look golden and sun kissed. The v-neck notch is also a plus because it elongates the look of your neck and torso!


This bright color looks wonderful with white jeans! The only thing I would change is its length- it would look better if it were about 2 inches longer and hit right at the fullest part of round hips.


(Piece #2 is this yellow blouse) I typically don’t like cap sleeves on muscular shoulders. They seem to make shoulders look even broader, but this unique cap sleeve cut on delicate fabric is actually quite flattering and slimming. The canary-yellow color is irresistible, too.


You can see from the side that this is a very unique and pretty style!


I liked pairing this top with a navy blue pencil skirt. The loose fitting top looks nice with a darker colored, form fitted skirt or pants. Tucking it in accentuates a narrow waist.


(Piece #4 is this grey blazer) I love the look of slim fitted cardigans and blazers over a tank top or sleeveless blouse. This stretchy grey and black blazer is incredibly soft, clings to your arms to make them look shapely, and hugs your back and shoulders to flatter your figure.



You may have noticed in the photos above that I’m partial to form fitted, dark colors for an athletically curvy bottom half. Denim that has at least 1% lycra or some stretch to it is best. Choose bootcut or flared pants to balance wider hips and thicker thighs, but don’t be afraid to rock a skinny jean as long as it’s made from a heavier fabric that won’t bunch up in weird places!

(Piece #4 are these distressed denim capris) These distressed capris were promising, but they were a little too tight on my thighs and didn’t fit well in the back. #bootyproblems. What I liked about them is that they were a low rise that looks great with a floral crop top. The dark wash is nice, too, but a capri length can be challenging to pull off successfully with muscular calves and solid ankles. Nude or gold colored wedges help to elongate the legs for this look.


Here’s a close up of the fun distressed patches and the indigo wash of these jeans!


(Piece #5 are these stretchy blue work pants) Trousers are one of the biggest challenges I have in my wardrobe. Stiff trouser fabrics don’t flow right with curvy hips and thin pants with no stretch completely hide the attractive curve of shapely legs, making them look like two stumps. These trousers were simply awesome! The bootcut style is slimming and the fabric is both stretchy AND thick, which looks fantastic on an athletic body.


These are as comfortable as yoga pants! There’s no need for a belt, which means the top of these trousers lay flush with your skin even under slim fit tops. No zipper is also a plus– there’s no bunching up in the crotch! Here’s the same pair of pants with that pretty coral top from the first photo.


Photographing clothes instead of food has been a fun, new challenge! The self timer and basic tripod helped me accomplish most of these photos, but having someone to assist has been invaluable. Colby took the close up shots to show more details in fit and design. Would you be interested in hearing more tips I come across for dressing an athletic body shape? Let me know in the comments!

If you have a friend who would love to try StitchFix, you can purchase a gift card here:


Be sure to check out the other ReDux members’ StitchFix finds in the linkup below!

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

To celebrate The Recipe ReDux‘s 5th birthday, this month’s theme is to highlight another ReDuxer’s recipe. This was a great opportunity for me to check out the Recipe ReDux blogroll. Through it, I discovered The Foodie Physician, a board certified Emergency Medicine physician, mom, culinary school graduate, recipe developer and cookbook author. I’m so glad I came across her blog. I’m so inspired by Sonali because she’s living many of the aspirations I’ve had for a long time! I’m truly impressed that as a mother and physician, she still finds the time to share creative and family-friendly healthy recipes on her lovely blog. You should definitely check her out!

Somali’s recipe for strawberry stuffed french toast caught my eye because breakfast is my favorite meal. In fact, Colby and I enjoyed this seemingly decadent strawberry french toast for dinner tonight! It tasted like we were eating dessert for dinner, and I’m not mad about it. Added bonus? It took only about 20 minutes to make from start to finish!

Check out my version of Sonali’s delicious strawberry stuffed french toast below.


Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A decadent tasting yet lower calorie french toast stuffed with a sweet ricotta and fresh strawberry filling.

Adapted from:


  • ½ cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, at room temperature (1/3 less fat than cream cheese)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons honey, divided
  • 8 slices of whole grain white bread, or traditional whole grain bread
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup milk, any type
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Nonstick cooking spray or butter, for the griddle
  • Optional: maple syrup or whipped cream for serving


    1. Mix the ricotta cheese, Neufchâtel cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons honey together in a bowl.  Spread equal amounts of the filling on each slice of bread.  Arrange strawberry slices on the surface of 4 slices of bread and top them with the other 4 slices of bread, forming 4 sandwiches.
  1. Whisk the egg and egg whites, milk, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon honey together in a bowl or shallow dish.
  2. Heat a griddle or large skillet over
 medium heat and spray with a bit of cooking spray or brush with a small amount
 of butter. Dip each sandwich into the
 egg mixture for a few seconds on each side
 and place them on the griddle. Cook
 3–4 minutes until golden brown, then flip and cook another 3–4 minutes on the second side.
  3. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and let them cool slightly. Cut into triangles. Serve with fresh strawberries, a little maple syrup, and/or whipped cream.


This dish is seriously delicious! Make it a point to try it out and visit Sonali’s website for more great recipes. Scroll down to check out this month’s Recipe ReDux posts in the linkup!

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

Ukrainian Beet Soup (Borscht)

My grandmother is an excellent cook. She lives in Poland, but whenever I talk to her on the phone or Skype, she tells me about her latest recipe creations. She would be an excellent healthy food blogger because she has a knack for transforming typically high calorie dishes into light yet flavorful meals. I only lived in Poland for about 7 years of my life, but my sister and I traveled back to visit almost every summer through middle school and high school. She made us countless delicious meals, including Polish classics like pierogi, hunter’s stew, leniwe kopytka (potato and cheese dumplings), surowki (vinaigrette dressed coleslaws), kotlety schabowe (thinly pounded and breaded pork tenderloin), and kotlety mielone (a cross between hamburger and meatloaf), tomato soup, and Ukranian borscht. One summer, when I was 12, I decided to write down her recipes for my favorite classics. It was very challenging since she never measures anything! I’d ask how much flour she was using, for example, and she would say “a glassful.” Whenever she seasoned something it was with “a good amount” or a “heaping spoonful.” Back then I was all about precision, so it was frustrating to guesstimate how much of everything she was using. Now that I’m older and cook more often, I can relate to her way of doing things. It’s actually pretty tricky to blog recipes for me because my inclination is to eyeball measurements rather than busting out the measuring cups and spoons.

In spite of this tendency, here is a precisely measured recipe for one of my childhood favorites, Ukrainian Beet Soup! It’s packed full of veggies and so incredibly flavorful. The rye-bread taste of caraway seeds really stands out in this soup.

Ukranian Borsht

Ukrainian Beet Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

A hearty vegetarian soup bursting with delicious caraway seed flavor

Adapted from my grandmother’s recipe


  • 1 large potato, thinly sliced
  • 1 large beet, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (can sub beef or chicken stock)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill weed, chopped
  • black pepper, to taste
  • sour cream and fresh dill for topping


    1. Cook sliced potatoes and beets in stock in a 2 gallon stockpot until vegetables are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the stock into a large bowl by pouring everything through a strainer. Set the potatoes and beets aside and keep the stock.
  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in the stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, celery, carrots, caraway seeds, and salt. Cook down for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the cabbage and pour in the reserved stock. Covered, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 10 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the potatoes and beets back into the stockpot. Stir in vinegar, tomato sauce, and dill. Season with black pepper to adjust the taste to your liking. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream and fresh dill.

This is seriously one of my favorite soups of all time! Even if you don’t love beets, give it a try. It’s a wonderful way to use the sweet root vegetable in a seriously savory dish.

Beet Soup

Brown Butter Baklava Spread

I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

This is easy and delicious recipe is inspired by the flavors in baklava, a traditional rich dessert made of filo layered with chopped nuts and syrup. The original dessert originates from the Ottoman Empire; you can typically find it served at Greek restaurants. As a spread, baklava can be stirred into oatmeal or layered onto fruits and vegetables. If this recipe gets you to eat more fruits, veggies, or whole grains, I call that a win! As indulgent as it tastes, the walnuts in this recipe make it a nutritious snack choice. Walnuts provide important components of a healthy diet – an ounce of walnuts has 2.5 grams of the essential plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber to keep you feeling full. Read more about walnut nutrition here.

If you have any qualms about enjoying this delicious brown butter baklava spread, think back to this chart and indulge happily:

California Walnuts ALA Chart


Baklava Butter

Baklava Spread

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An indulgent and flavorful dessert spread to enjoy with fresh fruit, toast, or even celery sticks!


  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant but not dark. Allow to cool completely.
  2. While the walnuts cool, heat the butter in a small saucepan until bubbling and beginning to turn golden brown. Do not burn; remove from heat once the butter is fragrant.
  3. Place the walnuts, browned butter, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a food processor. Process until the mixture becomes a thick, chunky nut butter. Serve with toasted bread, apple slices, or celery. Alternatively, stir it into oatmeal or leftover quinoa heated with milk.

Here it is on toast:

Baklava Sread on Toast

And here it is stirred into quinoa porridge! It’s easier to make than you think- just heat 1 cup of leftover cooked quinoa with 1/2 cup milk of choice and stir in a heaping spoonful of baklava butter.

Quinoa Walnut Porridge

Are you loving these walnut recipes? Check out more ideas below!

Blueberry Walnut Coffee Cake

I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

One of my favorite cakes is clafoutis because it’s simple to make and healthy enough to eat for breakfast if you use nutritious ingredients! Clafoutis is a cake made with fruit and pancake-like batter dusted with powdered sugar. Traditional French clafoutis features black cherries lined in a buttered dish topped with batter. Similar cakes that use different types pf fruit are technically called flaugnarde. In this blueberry walnut flaugnarde cake recipe, walnut meal elevates the flavor and nutrition profile of the recipe. Did you know that just an ounce of walnuts provides 2.5 grams of the essential plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber to keep you feeling full? I was surprised, too! I was even more surprised to discover that walnuts are the ONLY nut that’s a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Each serving of this cake packs antioxidants from the blueberries and a full serving of walnuts. Enjoy!

Blueberry Walnut Cake

Blueberry Walnut Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

A hearty, nutty variation of the traditional French clafoutis cake


  • 1 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, set aside 1 tablespoon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour, set aside 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces fresh blueberries
  • Cooking spray
  • Powdered sugar, whipped cream, additional blueberries, and/or chopped walnuts for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant but not dark. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
  2. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with 1 tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of flour and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
  3. Pulse the cooled walnuts in a food processor to make walnut meal. It should resemble sand. Whisk together the walnut meal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly blend in the flour mixture. Do not overmix.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold all but 1/2 cup of the blueberries into the batter.  Transfer the batter to the pie plate. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before topping with powdered sugar, etc. before serving.

Blueberry Walnut Cake Slice

I like this cake served lukewarm with a bit of powdered sugar and whipped cream on top! To store it, allow to cool completely at room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap. It will keep in the fridge for a few days. If you wrap each individual piece in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, it will keep in the freezer for a couple of months.

Blueberry Walnut Coffee Cake

If you like this recipe, you’ll love the other walnut recipes in the linkup at the bottom of this page!