Presto Pesto Rice Salad


The other night I grabbed a pre-made rice salad from Trader Joe’s for an already done dinner. It was pesto brown rice salad with tomato and tofu bits, and it was delicious. The container had three servings, and the ingredient list was short and simple (brown rice, pesto, tomato, tofu) but the flavor combined was bursting-in-my-mouth-good. It is a perfect 1-dish meal, with whole grains, protein, and a veg. While I enjoyed a night of having dinner already made, I realized I could have made this salad so simply at home, and at a much lower price.

So off I went, back to Trader Joe’s, but this time to pick up the individual ingredients. Trader Joe’s has a jarred pesto I purchased and the nutrition label was a bit shocking: 3 servings per container; 250 calories per serving; 26g of fat (granted only 4g of those were saturated). I decided I’d make this meal light on the pesto, and would add more tomatoes to boost the flavor.

I cooked a very large batch (about 6 cups) of brown rice last night so it was cold today. I mixed in 2/3 of the pesto, which means that for each cup of brown rice, there was only about 85 calories of pesto – much better than the original serving’s 250 calories! I diced about 12 baby roma vine ripe tomatoes and a block of firm tofu and added that to the rice mix and presto pesto! I now have that same pesto salad I enjoyed from Trader Joe’s. There are also enough leftovers to last the next few days, so it’ll feel like I bought the pre-made salad all over again!

leave a comment

Sweet Miso Pasta Salad

Sweet Miso Pasta Salad

After all the Memorial Day BBQs and get togethers you may have attended this past weekend, did you see your share of pasta salads on the table? I typically pass on pasta salad unless it is one I make (or my mom makes!). I’m just not a fan of cold pasta that is usually coatedshow me more

2 Minutes to Make Pizza + a Video!

2 Minutes to Make Pizza + a Video!

After a ridiculously long day, followed by an appointment and then a dinner-time conference call, I was ravenous for food and was starting to get whiny I was so hungry (sorry, Funk). The easy thing to do may have been to run up the street and grab a few slices of pizza for us toshow me more

Fresh Mangos in a Mug of Green Tea

Fresh Mangos in a Mug of Green Tea

Despite knowing all about the health benefits of drinking green tea, I’ve never been developed an affinity for it. Green tea has always tasted like grass to me, that no amount of milk, sugar or honey could help. I was hoping my new sample of Mango Green Tea from Mighty Leaf Tea would help changeshow me more

Vote for Mom and Me!

Vote for Mom and Me!

I know this isn’t a food related post, but it’s my blog, so I’m going to use it for a shameless plug! My mom and I entered a look alike contest with Finale Restaurant. (ok, I guess it is a food related post since Finale desserts are fab!)Between now and May 29th, please click onshow me more

Bagged Greens at the Grocery Store and Honey Mustard Collards

Bagged Greens at the Grocery Store and Honey Mustard Collards

A few weeks ago my mom graciously took me grocery shopping. Normally I shop at Trader Joe’s since it is a stone’s throw away from my home. I’m also never far from a farmers’ market, and subscribing to Boston Organics meant I had fresh produce dropped off at my door. So it has been ashow me more

Say NO to Nitrites in Processed Meats

Say NO to Nitrites in Processed Meats

Now that you’re firing up the grill more as summer nears, are you grilling hot dogs and sausage? If so, you’re likely consuming nitrites, which are used as preservatives. They are also the source of many health concerns, as nitrite consumption has been linked to migraines, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), and certain cancers. Ishow me more

Quinoa, Arugula, Grape Tomato Salad

Quinoa, Arugula, Grape Tomato Salad

I was craving a big bowl of quinoa the other day. I think my body was craving ANY combo of carbs and protein since I had just completed a long run the day before. Fortunately quinoa fits the bill since it is a protein packed grain, that isn’t even technically a grain. At that pointshow me more

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

This Mother’s Day I baked a sweet treat for my mom. I very infrequently bake, or even want to bake, so this was a rarity for me. What was even more unusual is that I didn’t try to change the recipes, “healthify” them, or swap out any ingredients like ground flax for eggs. Nope –show me more

Mark Bittman – Food Matters

Mark Bittman – Food Matters

I am reading foodie Mark Bittman’s book, Food Matters right now. It is a simple, straight-forward guide to conscious eating that is good for your health and the health of the planet. It reminds me a lot of Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food – another favorite of mine, but it’s a topic thatshow me more