Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash

Autumn is prime time squash season. Why not turn the beautiful vegetable into a crave-worthy pad thai? This recipe is the perfect dish to cuddle up to on a crisp fall evening. It’s a much healthier version of your favorite takeout order, and is nut free for those with allergies! With some simple substitutions it can even be vegetarian or vegan. Give it a try!




  • 1 Heaping Tbsp Sunflower Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)

Pad Thai

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Medium Sized Chicken Breasts (substitute with Tofu to make it vegan!)
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup bell pepper
  • 1 cup radishes
  • 1, 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Olive Oil


  • 3 Scallions
  • ¼ cup Edamame


Preparing the sauce and cutting all of the vegetables prior to cooking will create better ease in the cooking process.

  1. In a small bowl, add the sunflower butter, honey, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Stir until well combined.
  2. Julienne or cut the carrots, bell pepper, and radishes into 1 ½ inch long matchstick slices
  3. Chop the scallions
  4. Finely chop the edamame
  5. Mince the garlic
  6. Cube the chicken breast into 1 inch portions


  1.  Pierce several holes into the surface of the spaghetti squash with a fork or knife. Place the squash, whole, onto a plate and into the microwave. Microwave the squash until tender, approximately 10-15 minutes. When the squash feels tender to the touch it is done. Slice it down the middle making two halves. Scrape the seeds out of the center and discard the seeds.
  2. While the squash cooks, place 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large saute pan. Cook the cubed chicken on medium to high heat until done, approximately 7-9 minutes depending on how large the cubes are. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small saucepan, add the sauce created in step 1. Heat on medium until the sauce begins to bubble and take off the heat.
  4. When the chicken is done, place it in a separate bowl to rest.
  5. Into the same pan, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Add the carrots, bell pepper, and radishes and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables are al dente or slightly soft.
  7. To the pan add the chicken, water chestnuts, and the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce just begins to bubble.
  8. Scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash with a fork to create long threads resembling noodles. Place the spaghetti squash noodles into the pan and stir until it appears well incorporated and take off the heat.
  9. Top with edamame and scallions and enjoy!


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton


Whole-Wheat Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Kale

October means fall and fall means everything pumpkin. Add it to pasta in this recipe and enjoy the splendid autumnal combination that is pumpkin, rosemary, andthyme. It is a feel good dish that will leave your belly full and your family happy!



1 lb whole wheat chiocciole pasta

1 lb pork sausage without the casing (I used a blend containing rosemary and thyme to mimic other flavors of the dish, but use whatever you prefer!)

1 (15 oz) can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 ½ tsp minced garlic

1 minced shallot

4 cups lacinato kale (or a variety of your preference)

½ cup chicken broth

½ cup pasta water reserved

3 tbsp non-fat Greek yogurt

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 ½ tsp fresh thyme

1 tsp fresh rosemary

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt, Pepper


  1. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Sauté the minced garlic and shallot for 1-2 minutes until slightly soft.
  3. Add the sausage to the skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the sausage is close to done, breaking it apart with a fork or spatula.
  4. Add the kale to the skillet. Cook the kale until just wilted about 2-3 minutes.
  5. To the skillet add the can of pumpkin, chicken broth, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let simmer on low heat until the pasta has finished cooking.
  6. Collect ½ cup of cooking water from the pasta pot and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet.
  7. Add the pasta water, yogurt, and parmesan cheese to the skillet.
  8. Stir thoroughly to coat.
  9. Top with extra cheese if desired, plate, eat, and enjoy!


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton


Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

Craving pizza, but also want to get in your serving of veggies? Well then, this pizza is for you! This pizza is so fun because it has a sweet potato crust and can be personalized by choosing to top it with your favorite sauce and veggies.


1 medium sweet potato
1 egg or flax egg
½ cup oats or ¼ cup oats and 1 ½ tbsp. coconut flour
½ tbsp. oregano
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of onion powder
Dash of basil

1 tbsp. hummus of choice
Dairy free mozzarella cheese
Handful of spinach
Chopped peppers
Cherry tomatoes


  1.      Preheat oven to 350.
  2.      Microwave sweet potato and peel off skin.
  3.      Add all of the sweet potato crust ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  4.      Line an 8-inch cake tin with parchment paper and pour the crust mixture into the tin, spreading it evenly across the bottom approximately ¼ inch thick.
  5.      Cook the crust for 25 minutes.
  6.      Remove the pizza, make sure the top is no longer squishy, and add toppings. I chose to add beet hummus, dairy free mozzarella cheese, spinach, peppers, asparagus, tomatoes,         and broccoli, but feel free to add whatever veggies and sauce that you please!
  7.      Stick the pizza back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
  8.      Remove from the oven, let cool, and enjoy!


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Andrea George, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton

Chickpea Salad

Need a new fresh side dish that the whole family would like? Look no further, this simple chickpea salad recipe is sure to be your new go to! All you need is a few ingredients and a bowl to make this quick and light dish.



15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
⅓ cup (packed) freshly grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt to taste


  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas.
  2. Combine rinsed/drained chickpeas, chopped basil, chopped parsley, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and parmesan in a medium bowl.
  3. Slowly and gently toss to blend all ingredients thoroughly.
  4. Season the chickpea salad to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics
Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Andrea George, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton


Stuffed Peppers

Looking for a way to fit in some more vegetables into your meals? This stuffed pepper recipe is an easy way to get in multiple servings of colorful veggies and is great because it’s so versatile. If you would prefer ground beef, it’s an easy swap, and you can also easily add more veggies to personalize it to your own taste!



6 large bell peppers, any color
2 cups of cooked brown rice
1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 16 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your rice and set aside.
  2. Cut off the tops of the peppers, remove the seeds, trim the bottoms to help them sit flat in the skillet and rinse thoroughly. In a large pan boil the peppers for 5 minutes, remove from water and turn upside down onto a paper towel to dry.
  3. In a large skillet add the olive oil, garlic and onion, sauté until tender. Add the turkey and brown until thoroughly cooked.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, rice, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and stir until blended.
  5. Fill the peppers evenly with the mixture, place in a lightly greased 10 inch cast iron skillet, or baking dish of your choice. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and add the remaining cheese to the top of peppers and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.


*You can lighten this recipe up even more by cutting back on the cheese or using a reduced fat cheese.


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics
Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Andrea George, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton

Vegan Veggie Burgers

Summer is the season of barbecues and these veggie burgers are the perfect way to enjoy the summer festivities and maintain a plant based diet. They’re an adequate source of protein while also being anti-inflammatory. Get creative with your veggie burger by adding it to the top of your salad, or sandwich it between a bun or lettuce wrap!



¼  medium red onion
1 medium zucchini
15.5 ounce can of chickpeas
Flour or breadcrumbs
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp turmeric



  1. Mash chickpeas
  2. Grate zucchini and drain the water out of the zucchini
  3. Chop onion and sauté with salt and pepper until brown
  4. Combine the grated zucchini, mashed chickpeas, sautéed onions, paprika, salt, pepper and turmeric in large bowl
  5. Cover a cutting board with flour or breadcrumbs and work to combine the ingredients into patties
  6. Cook in a cast iron skillet until crispy


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Andrea George, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton

Avocado Pasta

This simple pasta recipe can be made in less than 15 minutes! Aside from being easy, it’s a healthy alternative to pasta made from wheat. It’s made with chickpea noodles and a delicious avocado tahini sauce.


1 box of Banza pasta
1 large avocado
⅓ cup tahini
1 ½ tsp honey
Splash of almond milk
Dash of pepper


  1. Cook Banza pasta following the directions on the box.
  2. While the pasta is cooking add avocado, tahini, honey, almond milk and pepper to blender. Blend ingredients together, this will form your sauce.
  3. Once the pasta is done cooking drain the water and pour the pasta back into the pot. Add the sauce to the pasta pot and stir thoroughly.


*Feel free to also sauté veggies such as spinach, tomatoes, pepper, etc to add into the pasta! I chose to add a little spinach to mine.


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Andrea George, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton

Spring Rolls with Sweet and Spicy Sauce

A light lunch or the perfect addition to any dinner, these spring rolls are oh so light and fun to make!

Spring Roll Ingredients:

1 pack of brown rice paper
1 cup of shredded cabbage
½ cup of shredded carrots
¼ cup of chopped red onion
1 medium avocado, thinly sliced


Sauce Ingredients:

2 T. soy sauce
1 T. maple syrup
½ to 1 tsp. sriracha
1 T. peanut butter



  1. Mix sauce ingredients together.
  2. Dip the rice paper in warm water to soften, then lay flat on your work surface.
  3. Lay toppings in the middle of the wrap and roll it up like a burrito– folding in the sides and rolling up from the bottom.
  4. Serve alongside sauce


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Andrea George, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton

Nice Cream

Looking for a way to cool down this summer or maybe just a fun festive treat? These July 4th inspired nice cream recipes are sure to do the trick! Refreshing, fun and made with simple ingredients they are sure to be a fan favorite.

Vanilla Nice Cream Ingredients:

2 large frozen bananas
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
Splash of almond or coconut milk

Strawberry Nice Cream Ingredients:

1 large frozen banana
1 cup frozen strawberries
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Splash of almond or coconut milk

Blueberry Nice Cream Ingredients

1 large frozen banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
½ tsp vanilla extract
Splash of almond or coconut milk

Directions (for each individual flavor):

  1.     Throw all of the ingredients into a food processors and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2.     Feel free to serve immediately with a soft serve consistency or pour into a container and place in the freezer for later.


*Each of these individual recipes yields approximately 2 servings.
*Feel free to add mix ins such as chocolate chunks or nuts after the nice cream is done in the food processor.


Guest Bloggers: James Madison Dietetics

Alexandra Balbontin, Taylor Coleman, Julia Danisewicz, Andrea George, Emily Salvaggio, and Taylor Singleton


Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes such as curry and stir-fry. Roasting cauliflower is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it because roasting brings out the cauliflower’s natural sweetness. Now that spring vegetables are in season, I like to roast cauliflower and pair it with a fresh and flavorful romesco sauce made with red bell pepper, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, and olive oil.


Cauliflower Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste


Romesco Ingredients:

1 large red bell pepper, diced
2/3 cup grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ cup blanched almonds
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Add bell pepper, tomatoes, and garlic to a large baking sheet. Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to combine. Roast for 10-15 minutes until tender.
  2. Add cauliflower florets to a separate baking sheet and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Roast cauliflower for 25 minutes until tender.
  3. Once the bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic are finished roasting, transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add remaining two tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, almonds, salt, and pepper. Pulse for 20-30 seconds until a fairly smooth sauce forms. Serve romesco sauce with cauliflower and enjoy!



By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.