Tomato and Cucumber Salad in Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Tomato and Cucumber Salad in Creamy Balsamic Dressing

If you’ve got the thyme, I’ve got a great tomato recipe for you. Ever wonder how restaurants make that super creamy, tangy, balsamic vinaigrette? Now is your chance to learn! It’s much easier than you think.

With tomato season in full swing, you’ll love this simple tomato salad recipe that pairs so well with cream balsamic dressing. The salad is just 3 ingredients, but you could easily make this into a grain bowl with cooked quinoa, barley, farro or other hearty grain. Kalamata olives or feta cheese would also compliment this salad well.

Tomatoes are a great source of cancer-fighting vitamin C and lycopene. They’re also a source of fiber and potassium, two nutrient we could all use a bit more of in our diets. Cucumbers provide water and fiber in our diets and a small amount of vitamin C. I like the color and crunch they add to salads and salsas.

Any type of tomato will do here. Grape of cherry tomatoes are simple to cut and would save some chopping time. You’re looking for roughly 3 cups of chopped tomatoes in the recipe along with 1 cucumber and a dousing of red onions. I find raw onions of any kind to be a flavor bully, so I tend to go easy on them.

This tomato salad could also be added to traditional lettuce, spinach or kale salads to increase the number of servings as well as veggies. It goes well with any greens and will keep a few days after dressing.

A few salad tips:

  • Balsamic vinegar STAINS! If you spill it while mixing the dressing, clean it up immediately. You might need a Magic eraser if it’s been sitting a minute.
  • Plain soy-based, cashew or coconut based yogurt could be used in place of Greek yogurt if you want to make the salad vegan.
  • White vinegar could be used in place of lemon juice.
  • Dried oregano or basil can replace dill. If you’re out of balsamic vinegar, red wine or apple cider vinegar could be used.
  • Dress the salad right before serving to keep it fresher, longer.



  • 3 large beefsteak or other tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, quartered
  • 1/4 red onion, diced


  • 2 Tbsp. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp. seasoned salt


  1. Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and a bowl.
  2. In a mixing up, combine the Greek yogurt, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, dried dill and seasoned salt.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the tomato salad right before serving.

Makes 6 servings. 



Vegan Mediterranean Chick Pea Salad with Tahini Dressing

Vegan Mediterranean Chick Pea Salad with Tahini Dressing

Got a bumper crop of tomatoes? I’ve got you covered. This salad combines all the goodies of a Mediterranean diet in one bowl. The salad is vegan, but can be modified with the addition of cheese, grilled chicken, fish or shrimp if you like.

The Mediterranean diet has been ranked number one by US News & World reports for 3 years in a row. Why, you say? Maybe because it’s loaded with health benefits including reduced rates of cancer, heart disease and obesity. AND- it’s delicious and sustainable.

A Mediterranean diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins like beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, lean poultry and fish and low-fat dairy products. This type of diet is high in fiber and antioxidants to help fight disease. It’s not restrictive and can be versatile and affordable.

The key to this delicious salad is the creamy dressing made with tahini. Tahini is an oily paste made out of ground sesame seeds. It’s typically used in hummus and makes an excellent dressing. If you don’t have tahini on hand, try natural peanut butter (the type made with just nuts and salt).

Health benefits of each ingredient:

Greens– high in lutein and beta-carotene to protein your eyes. A source of potassium to help lower blood pressure. Vitamin C protects against cancer and heart disease.

Tomatoes– a source of lycopene to protect against prostate and ovarian cancer. A source of vitamin C and potassium.

Chick peas– a great source of soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol. A plant-based, inexpensive source of protein.

Olives– high in mono-unsaturated fat to help sustain HDL (healthy cholesterol) levels. A source of sodium for flavor, low in carbs.

Cucumbers- high in water for hydration.

Onions– a source of quercetin (and antioxidant to protect cells) and inulin- a pre-biotic fiber to protect your gut.

Tahini- a source of polyunsaturated fat as well as zinc and magnesium.

Lemon juice– high in vitamin C



4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped (can sub spinach leaves or arugula)

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

½ cucumber, chopped

½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1 Tbsp. diced red onion


Juice of 1 lemon or 3 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/3 cup tahini

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp. oregano

1-2 Tbsp. water (as needed)


  1. Place the lettuce, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and red onions in a large bowl.
  2. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, garlic, cumin and oregano. Add water to make a thinner dressing.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

This recipe was shown on Fox 19 in Cincinnati earlier today. Check out the video: Chickpea Salad with Lisa Andrews – clipped version (fox19.com)

Live Cooking Demo May 15 from 11-12:30

Live Cooking Demo May 15 from 11-12:30

In ‘knead’ of inspiration this spring? Join me Saturday, May 15th in the comfort of your own kitchen! Cook along or sip coffee and watch while I prepare 2 healthy, delicious salads.

This demo is in partnership with the Homepage | Cancer Support Community. I’ve been partnering with them for over 10 years to provide  cooking demos every few months. Other dietitians, chefs and health care providers also do demos. Classes are the third Saturday of each month.

The event is free to the community. You don’t have to have cancer or be a care giver to someone with cancer. Just join me for salad! Link below: Message me for recipes if you’d like to cook along!


Live Cooking Demo May 15 from 11-12:30

Romaine salad with tomatoes, avocado & cumin lime dressing

Now that spring has sprung, it’s ‘thyme’ to enjoy big salads. If you think salad is just a big bowl of lettuce with bottled dressing, let me prove you wrong.

This salad can be made with any type of lettuce, including iceberg. I see greens (of any kind) as a vehicle for more vegetables. While spinach, romaine or arugula may contain more nutrients than iceberg, other veggies like carrots, tomatoes, beans and avocado add plenty of other nutrients to your salad.

I made this salad recently for a cooking demo for the Homepage | Cancer Support Community. When it comes to chronic disease prevention, vegetables are where it’s at. Vegetables are loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals as well as fiber and add color, texture and taste to your salads.

Most Americans don’t eat the recommended number of servings per day, which at least 2 cups daily. Salads are an easy way to get more veggies in your day, but you can also add veggies to eggs, soup, pasta, rice and other dishes.

Instead of bottled dressing, why not whisk up your own? Homemade dressing is sodium free and makes your salad taste so much fresher. You can add Dijon or other mustard to dressing to make a thicker texture of just use an acid (vinegar or citrus juice) and your favorite oil (canola, olive, corn, etc.).

This salad can be made into a meal by adding black beans, grilled chicken or fish or strips of steak. It can be dressed and served right away, or stored in the fridge for 3 days and dressed right before serving.


1 heart of romaine, cleaned and chopped

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half

2 green onions, chopped

1 avocado, diced

1 carrot, shredded

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Juice from 2 limes, zest of 1

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Place the romaine, grape tomatoes, green onions, avocado and carrots in a large salad bowl.
  2. Combine the lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, cumin, cilantro and garlic in a measuring cup and whisk into a dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad, then top with cheese and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. 



Everything Bagel Egglife Wrap with Salmon, Spinach and Cream cheese

Everything Bagel Egglife Wrap with Salmon, Spinach and Cream cheese

In search of a low-carb wrap with lots of flavor? Egglife Wraps are eggsactly what you’re looking for! I received free samples to trial in a recipe contest.

You’ll be glad to know they’re available at Aldi or Fresh Thyme if you’re in Cincinnati. Nationally, you can find them here: Sprouts, HyVee, Mariano’s, Fresh Thyme, Cub Foods, Coborn’s, Festival Foods, Pick n’ Save, Smith’s, Fry’s, Shaw’s, Star Market, Safeway Mid-Atlantic, Safeway Portland, Schnuck’s, Smart & Final, and Amazon Fresh

Nutritional Notes

Egglife wraps are made from egg whites plus a few other ingredients. They’re grain-free and have a light, fluffy texture. From a nutritional standpoint, Egglife wraps are rock stars: 35 calories, 6 grams of protein, 0 saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 0 carbs and a mere 140 mg of sodium. This is no yolk!


Egglife wraps come in 5 delicious flavors including original, Italian style, everything bagel, Southwest style and rye style. Use them any way you’d use a regular tortilla- as a wrap, for a quesadilla, pinwheel sandwiches and more.

I made this tasty wrap with just 5 ingredients. It made for an eggcellent lunch!

Everything Bagel Egglife Wrap with Salmon, Spinach and Cream Cheese


1 Everything bagel Egglife wrap

2 Tbsp. whipped cream cheese

1/2 cup (or 1 handful) baby spinach leaves

1 Tbsp. canola or olive oil

Pinch of salt and pepper

3 ounces fresh or frozen salmon (thawed)


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp. canola oil to medium high heat in large oven-safe skillet.
  3. Season the salmon with salt and pepper then sear it in the oil for 1 minute.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the salmon for 8 to 10 minutes until desired doneness achieved.
  5. While the salmon cooks, place the Egglife wrap on a plate and spread 2 Tbsp. of cream cheese on it.
  6. Place the baby spinach leaves over the cream cheese.
  7. Once salmon is done cooking, allow it to rest for 3 minutes before cutting into strips.
  8. Place salmon strips over the spinach.
  9. Fold and enjoy!

Makes 1 wrap.

Notes: Pouched salmon may be substituted for cooked salmon to reduce cooking ‘thyme’. Check out Egglife’s web site for coupons and more recipe ideas. egglife – Wraps made with cage free eggs, not flour. (egglifefoods.com)


Super Bowl Sunday Turkey and Vegetable Soup!

Super Bowl Sunday Turkey and Vegetable Soup!

Truth be told, we don’t watch much sports here. My husband was never one of those guys that knew when the “big game” was on or could carry a conversation about football to save his life. I grew up with 3 sisters and a brother that ran track, but beyond catching a little bit of the Brown’s game on Sundays with my dad, we just didn’t watch much football. Sad but true.

But alas- here we are. The big game is on today! It’s Super Bowl Sunday! In a house where food trumps sports, I’ll have a souper bowl Sunday instead. This seems appropriate as it’s about 20 degrees in the Queen city today. Soup just feels right.

As you may have read my other posts, you know I despise food waste. I try to limit how much I cook, but we inevitably end up with leftovers. Recently, a friend passed on a 20 lb turkey she had frozen for Thanksgiving and didn’t use. Twenty pounds of turkey is A LOT for a family of four. We cooked it, ate what we could and froze the rest.

I made some potatoes along with it, but my girls must not have been in a potato mood. You never know with teenagers. I opted for boiled, seasoned potatoes over mashed and they weren’t buying them. More leftovers to use!

If you’ve got an Instant pot, this soup is a snap. You can use leftover chicken if you don’t have turkey on hand. Any vegetables will do, but I almost always start with mirepoix- onions, celery and carrots. Recipe below:

1 Tbsp. olive or canola oil

1/2 white or yellow onion, diced

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

1 cup leftover turkey or chicken, cut into 1″ chunks

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Salt/pepper to taste


  1. Set your Instant pot setting to sautee and cook the onions, carrots and celery for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the Italian seasoning to coat the vegetables.
  2. Change the setting to soup and add the turkey, potatoes, mixed vegetables, and chicken stock.
  3. Close the lid, set the pot to airtight and let the soup cook. Release the steam when done and serve.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Soup should be eaten within 3 days or frozen.

Makes 6 servings. 

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