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Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes-15a


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Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes

We all know that it is strongly recommended to eat breakfast, especially with protein to help keep us satiated and to get our metabolism revved up for the day. For these reasons, having a protein-rich breakfast helps with natural weight loss. But knowing it and actually doing it are two very different things. I am a person who needs variety in their food :) So it’s very boring for me to have the same old breakfast day after day. Usually in our house we used to reserve pancakes for our big Sunday breakfasts where I would make sausages and eggs for protein to complement the pancakes. But after creating my recipe for protein chocolate chip brownies, I began to wonder if I could make pancakes and waffles using the same concept. Pancakes would definitely add some variety to the breakfast menu!

I began my experimentation soon afterwards, and here are the results! These protein chocolate chip pancakes are a complete breakfast by themselves. They are not carb and sugar heavy. Again, like most of my recipes, they are very flexible regarding the ingredients. If you are vegetarian, you can omit the eggs and add ground flax to compensate for the omega 3’s. If you don’t have the coconut flour or don’t like its flavor (I know some people don’t!), you can omit that and instead add extra oat flour. Regarding the protein powder, I use a vegetarian protein powder but it doesn’t make any difference as to which one you use.

These pancakes are very fluffy, unlike most things with protein powder! They also aren’t extremely sweet, just the way I like them. If you have more of a sweet tooth (like my husband and kids), you can increase the amount of chocolate chips. Another tip for busy people who always find themselves on-the-go is that that these can be made in advance for the entire week and you can just warm them up in a pinch. They even freeze really well so feel free to make them in bulk! One thing to keep in mind is that when you’re freezing them, keep a small square of parchment paper in between each pancake so that they don’t stick.

Enjoy them with maple syrup or fresh fruit!

Ingredients: 

Organic Oat flour – 1/3 cup

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Coconut flour – 2 T

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Organic Egg white –2

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1% organic Milk or Almond milk – ½ cup + 1/8 cup

Baking powder – ½ t

Chocolate Protein powder – 1 scoop

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Mini chocolate chips – 2 T

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Extra virgin olive oil/Canola oil – For cooking

Directions: 

  • Warm a cast iron skillet or any non-stick pan.
  • In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients, then add the beaten eggs and milk and whisk well. Batter should be of a pourable consistency.

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  • Drizzle a bit of oil on the pan and pour a ladle full of batter. Keep heat at medium or low.

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  • When that side is bubbling, flip it.

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  • After 30 seconds or so flip it again to check if other side is done.

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  • Enjoy with some maple syrup!

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 Nutritional Contents:

 Total Servings: 7

 Per Serving: 71 cal, Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0.9 mg, Sodium 51 mg, Potassium 30 mg, Carbs 8 g, Fiber 2 g, Sugar 3.8 g, Protein 5 g

 

Lettuce Wraps-14a


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Chinese Style Lettuce Wraps

One of the best parts of eating out is that you can leisurely order a few appetizers, enjoy them and then order dinner. But a lettuce wrap (vegetarian or non-vegetarian) is one of those few appetizers that I could just eat as the main course :) They are light and very healthy. I know if I order this in a restaurant, I will not stop at one serving unless others at the table finish it before I do :(

Who says you can’t have an appetizer as the main course? So, whenever I make this at home, I make enough to satisfy all my cravings! I eat it just as the main course. It is a very simple dish to make, very versatile. Even if you don’t have all the ingredients, you can swap with something else and it will still taste good! Today I have made these wraps with ground turkey which is a lot healthier than beef, but I have made them with tofu also, depending upon what I have at home. Sometimes if I have Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage) I finely shred it and add to the mix. Rest of the essential ingredients – onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, Sriracha/chili sauce I almost always have at home. If you don’t have water chestnuts, no problem, either make the wraps without them or add if you have mushrooms or a can of bamboo shoots then add finely diced mushrooms or minced bamboo shoots.

As far as the dumpling sauce is concerned I have already given the alternates below. It takes maybe 10-15 minutes to prep up all the ingredients and another 10 minutes to make the dish. So either you can have an awesome appetizer for your next party in 20 minutes or if you are like me, a fantastic dinner in 20 minutes!

Ingredients:

Ground Turkey/ Ground Chicken/ Tofu – 1 lb.

Onion – 1 small, diced finely

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Ginger – 2” piece, minced

Garlic — 1 clove, minced

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Water chestnuts – 1 can or 1/2 cup drained and rinsed, diced finely (also called Singhaare in India)

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Canola oil – 1 T

Sauce:

Soy sauce – 2 ½ T

Sriracha sauce — 1 T or lesser depends upon your taste (can use any chili paste)

Any Dumpling dipping sauce – 1 ½ T OR use Hoisin sauce OR just increase the soy sauce by 1T and add 1 t sugar)

Rice vinegar — 1 t (or plain vinegar)

Water — ¼ cup

Iceberg Lettuce or any lettuce you might have

Directions:

  • Heat the pan/wok. Add the oil and then onion. Sauté till slightly brown.

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  • Then add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Then add the water chestnuts. Sauté for a minute or so.
  • Finally add the ground turkey or chicken. I use a potato masher to break the pieces down but even a spoon is fine.Cook till all the liquid has been absorbed and meat is well cooked and brownish in color. In case you want to make with tofu then finely dice it and then add to onion mixture. Sauté tofu gently for only 2-3 minutes otherwise it will become mush. For tofu add some more oil in case it starts sticking to the pan.

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  • While the meat/tofu is cooking, add all the sauce ingredients to small bowl and mix well.
  • Add the sauce mix to the cooked meat/tofu and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes till majority of liquid has dried.

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  • Serve in lettuce cups and Enjoy!

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Nutritional Content: 

Total Servings: 10 

Per Serving:  87 cal, Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 34 mg, Sodium 90 mg, Carbs 1 g, Protein 8.7 g

 

 

No bake pumpkin pie mousse cups-12a


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No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Mousse Cups

I have a family of sweet-tooths, so it’s not surprising that their favorite part of Thanksgiving isn’t the turkey, but rather the desserts that follow! As a family of foodies, we love this time of year, but I don’t love the idea of being stuck in the kitchen the whole time. And as much as I love indulging myself, I hate the inevitable sluggishness that follows a heavy meal! So this year, I decided to take one of our favorite desserts – pumpkin pie – and create a new recipe that still tasted like the original but took only 10 minutes to make, with barely any sugar, no eggs, no cream cheese and no butter! Be sure to try it out and use the extra time you save to spend with your family :)

 Ingredients:

Pumpkin puree (with no added sugar or spices) – 1 cup

Plain Greek yogurt – ¼ cup

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Graham Crackers – 2 ½ cracker sheets (you can use ginger snaps also)

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Dark brown sugar – 3 ½ T

Heavy cream OR half & half – ¼ cup

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Pumpkin pie spice (OR equal parts cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder & clove powder) – ½ t

No flavored Gelatin – ½ packet (3.5 gms)

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Water – 2 T boiling

Whipped cream – For garnishing (optional)

Directions:

  • Put the graham crackers in a Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin.

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  • You can use them as it is or toast the crushed crackers in an oven for 5 minutes if you like the toasted crunchy effect. Then cool them.
  • Take a bowl and put the pumpkin puree, heavy cream, Greek yogurt. Sugar and pumpkin pie spice in that and mix with a whisk.

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  • In a separate small bowl add gelatin and add about 2T boiling water. Whisk right away so it dissolves immediately.
  • Add the dissolved gelatin to the pumpkin mix. Mix well.
  • Now to make the layers, take the serving cups and add 1 t crushed graham crackers to the bottom of the cups.
  • Then add 1 T of the pumpkin mix, then another 1 t of the crackers. After that another 1 T of the pumpkin mix.

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  • Keep in the refrigerator to set for an hour or two. Garnish with whipped cream when ready to eat. Sprinkle some pumpkin pie powder to finish off!

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  • Enjoy!

 

Nutritional Content:

 Total Servings: 9

Per Serving: 56 cal, Fat 1.5 g, Saturated fat 0.7 g, Carbs 9.6 g, Sugar 5.7 g, Vitamin A 63%

 

Minestrone Soup-12a


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Minestrone Soup

This weekend, we happened to go to an Italian chain restaurant for a quick lunch while out for shopping. Since I had been craving minestrone soup, I ordered a bowl, but it was so rich that I wasn’t even able to finish it. I felt this awful heaviness afterwards. This is a soup that is usually very simple to make, filling, and not heavy. I knew that the next day, to fulfill my craving, I would have to make it at home. This soup is “very nourishing to the soul,” as my daughters phrase it :) My younger one likes to have a hot bowl of minestrone soup when she comes back home from school. It seems to relax her!

This is a very simple, rustic soup yet, very healthy and nutritious. Don’t worry if you are missing any ingredients; you can either skip or replace them with substitutes from whatever you might have at home. So definitely try this recipe, and I hope you can enjoy it with your loved ones!

Ingredients:

Carrots – 1 large, diced

Onion – 1 medium, diced

Green Bell Pepper – ½ diced

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Fresh Spinach – 1 cup chopped

Fresh Kale – 1 cup chopped

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Zucchini – 1 large, diced

Celery – 2 stalks, diced

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Potato – 1 small, diced

Garlic – 3 cloves, minced

Orzo (rice shaped) pasta – 4 oz. or about ½ cup (can be any other small sized pasta also)

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Organic Vegetable Broth (low sodium) – 1 box 32 fl. Oz.

Organic Fire roasted tomatoes (no salt added) – 1 can 14.5 oz. (even regular chopped up tomatoes will work in a pinch)

Red kidney beans – 1 ½ cup (cooked) or 1 can drained and rinsed

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Salt –  1 ½ t

Black Pepper – ½ t

Dried Basil – ½  t

Dried Oregano – ½ t

Extra virgin olive oil – 2T

Finely grated Parmesan – Optional for garnish

Fresh Basil – Optional for garnish (chopped)

Directions:

  • Warm a large pot. Add the extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for 1 minute or so till onions are translucent.
  • Then add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add the rest of the diced vegetables except potato.

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  • Sauté them for 2-3 minutes till they soften a bit. Then add the potatoes.
  • Stir all the veggies for a bit then add the vegetable broth.
  • Then add the can of fire roasted tomatoes and 1½ cans of water.
  • Stir well and add the dry seasonings.
  • Cover and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then add the beans and pasta. Stir really well.

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  • Cover and let it simmer for about 40-45 minutes, making sure to stir every 10 minutes so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  • Do a taste test now for any additional salt etc.

  • Enjoy with a warm Panini sandwich or some crusty bread!

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Nutritional Content:

Total Servings: 10

Per Serving: Calories 145 cal, Potassium 310 mg, Carbs 23.9 g, Fiber 4.6 g, Protein 5.3 g, Vit A 59.4%, Vit C 24.3%, Calcium 5.3%, Iron 10%

Homemade Salad Dressings PartI-4a


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Homemade Salad Dressings/Dips Part I

Usually when somebody decides to eat healthier or wants to lose weight, salads are the main go-to food item. With all the best intentions we load up our plates with colorful, fresh, crunchy vegetables, but then we ruin it by drowning it in preservative-laden dressings! If you ever try to read the ingredient list on these bottles, it’s mind boggling! I can’t even pronounce some of the words. Sometimes the calorific content of the dressings is more than the salad we just ate!

There is no doubt that bottled dressings are extremely convenient and I used to be just as guilty of keeping an assortment in my refrigerator :) But once I made them myself a few times, I realized they barely take 5-7 minutes to prepare! Using whatever seasonings I have on hand, it’s a no-brainer. These recipes use Greek yogurt instead of the heavy fat mayonnaise and have no added sugar, additives, or preservatives. Please try these 3 recipes that are most frequently used at our house and you will ditch the chemical bottles soon!

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip/Dressing

Ingredients:

Plain Greek yogurt – ½ cup

Dried dill — 1 t

Dried Parsley — 1 t

Rice vinegar — ¼ t

Salt — 1/16 t

Garlic powder — 1/16 t

Black Pepper — 1/16 t

Grated parmesan cheese — 1 t

Honey — ¼ t

Directions:

  •         Put all the above ingredients in a bowl and whisk till everything is well incorporated.
  •         The consistency at this stage is for the dip, if you want to use it as a dressing then dilute it by adding some water or buttermilk.
  •         This will last for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Homemade Salad Dressings PartI-2

Zesty Italian Dressing

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil or Canola oil or Grape seed oil – ¾ cup

Rice Vinegar – ¼ cup

Salt – ½ t

Black pepper – ½ t

Red chili flakes – 1 t

Dried Oregano – ½ t

Dried Thyme – ½ t

Dried Basil – ½ t

Garlic powder – ¼ t

Directions:

  •        Put all the above ingredients in a jar/bottle/container with lid. Close the lid and shake really well.
  •        Refrigerate. Shake well before using. Should last a month or more.
  •        In case you don’t have any of the above seasonings, it’s okay to skip or reduce their quantities even.
  •        Keep in mind when you use extra virgin olive oil, it has a tendency to overpower. So if you want the dressing to be mild, use grape seed/canola oil.

Homemade Salad Dressings PartI-3

Cilantro Greek Yogurt Dressing/Dip

Ingredients: 

Fresh cilantro — ½ bunch

Plain Greek Yogurt – ½ cup

Grape seed oil – ¼ cup

Garlic cloves – 2

Roasted ground cumin — ¼ t

Red chili powder – 1/8 t

Black pepper – 1/8 t

Salt – 1 t

Directions: 

  • Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into the food processor and blend until smooth.
  • While the food processor is going, pour the grape seed oil slowly through the top opening of the food processor.
  • This will last for up to a week in the refrigerator. Mix well before using. This was inspired by the Trader Joe’s cilantro dressing. Works great as a salad dressing or as a dip with veggies or grilled chicken or grilled fish!

Homemade Salad Dressings PartI-4

Enjoy!

Amaranth Protein Bars-8a


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Amaranth Protein Bars

Growing up in India, I remember eating a local sweet from street vendors called “Rajgira ladoos”. They were perfect little balls of sweetness and crispness; an Indian slightly less-sweeter version of the American Rice Krispies. Amaranth is known as Rajgira in India and its greens are called Chulai(which are also eaten). It has been used to make sweets for everyday use and religious ceremonies also. It is eaten in various forms. It can be boiled, popped or ground into flour for various recipes.

Now, when I read about the various benefits of Amaranth, it seems amazing how things are coming back full circle. The wholesome simple foods of the past are all making a comeback, and I love it! It brings back a lot of good memories and helps pack a great nutritious punch to boot J In this recipe I have tried to combine the goodness of the amaranth with oats, nuts and seeds to make an excellent portable protein snack bar. I hope you all will like it the way everyone does in my house!

 Ingredients: 

Amaranth – ½ cup + 1/8 cup raw OR 1 cup popped

Organic Old Fashioned Toasted Rolled Oats – 1/3 cup

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Ground Flax – ¼ cup

Organic Oat Flour/All purpose flour – 1/3 cup

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Sesame seeds – ¼ cup

Peanuts – 1/3 cup chopped up

Pitted dates – 1/3 cup chopped up

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Organic Creamy Peanut Butter(with no added salt or sugar) – ¼ cup

Honey – 1/3 cup

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Directions:

  • Heat a pan with some height. It should be hot but not smoking. Add half of 1/8 cup amaranth and immediately cover with lid and let the grains pop like popcorn. Keep moving the pan so that it doesn’t burn. Once it slows, remove from heat and pour the popped amaranth into a bowl. Keep adding rest in small quantities and pop like that till you have 1 cup popped. It should take approximately ½ + 1/8 cups raw to get 1 cup popped. There will be few that won’t pop, but that is okay. Keep them, don’t throw them.

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  • Chop the peanuts with a sharp knife.
  • Also chop the dates.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients really well.

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  • Add the honey and peanut butter. Mix with a silicon spatula.
  • Then slightly wet your hands and mix everything the good old fashioned way really way to break down the large clumps.
  • I have used a 8”x8”x2” Pyrex glass container.
  • Line the pan with aluminum foil. Spray/grease with canola oil.
  • Put the mix in the lined greased pan. Put a cling film on top and press with a potato masher to get the mixture tightly, evenly pressed in the pan.

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  • Bake the mix in the oven at 3500 F for 15-20 min. Bake till the edges turn slightly brown.

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  • Just lift the entire baked mixture using the aluminum foil overhang and place on chopping board.
  • Cut into rectangular bars and then let them cool for an hour outside and later in the refrigerator in a closed box for another 30 min.

 

  • If you want them soft then keep them at room temperature with pieces of parchment in between to prevent them from sticking. If you prefer slightly firmer, refrigerate them. Enjoy!

Nutritional Content: 

Total Servings: 8

Per serving : 218 cal, Fat 9.8 g, Carbs 31g, Fiber 6g, Sugar 12 g, Protein 7 g, Iron 12%

Rainbow Salad-6a


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Barley Veggie Rainbow Salad

You can ask any doctor and you will get the same advice, it’s always better to get your vitamins and minerals through fresh wholesome food rather than pills. One should eat veggies and fruits from all color food groups to get a multitude of benefits. Not only are fresh fruits and vegetables a fantastic source of different vitamins and minerals but also a great source of anti-oxidants and fiber. So keeping this in mind I have created this Barley Veggie Rainbow Salad. Another Meatless Monday dish!

This salad includes Barley; a great cereal grain (also called “Jau” in India) which is an excellent vegetarian source of protein, fiber and lots of trace elements. Also included in this salad are Black Eye Peas another great vegetarian source of protein; and plenty of vegetables from a rainbow of colors! Add the lettuce, tomato and dressing only if you are planning to eat at that time or within next few hours otherwise it will leave water and become soggy. Feel free to have it as a complete meal or as a side salad :)

Ingredients:

 Organic Hulled Barley – 1 cup raw

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Black eye Peas – 1 can or 1 ¾ cups cooked

Carrots – 2 medium

Cucumber – 1 medium

Beetroot – 1 medium

Red radish – 1 medium

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Cabbage – 1/8 of a cabbage

Cilantro – handful

Tomato – ½ tomato per serving

Romaine Lettuce – 2 or 3 leaves per serving

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Dressing (per serving):

Extra virgin olive oil – ¾ T

Lemon juice – ½ T

Salt – ½ t

Black pepper – ½ t

Oregano – ½ t

Garlic Powder – 1/8 t

Directions:

  • Wash and rinse the barley a couple of times. Take 3 times water in a deep pan, add the barley. Once the water boils, put a lid and simmer for 35-45 minutes till the grain is completely cooked. Drain away the remaining water if any left.
  • Side by side you can cook the black-eye peas or; drain and rinse a can.
  • Grate the carrots, beetroot, cucumber and red cabbage.

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  • Chop up the cilantro, tomato and lettuce.
  • Once the barley and black-eye peas are cooked and cooled; put them in a large bowl.
  • Add the grated carrots, cucumber, beetroot, and cabbage to them. Mix well.

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  • For the dressing add all ingredients to a separate small bowl and mix using a whisk. That’s it!

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  • I usually take out the portion I am planning to eat and add the tomato, lettuce and dressing to that and save rest of the salad in a covered box in the refrigerator to prevent it from getting soggy. It keeps well for 2-3 days.

  • Enjoy!

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Tip: In case you want to skip the dressing, you can just add lemon juice and some chaat masala ( available at Indian grocery stores).

Nutritional Content: 

Total Servings: 5

Per serving : 232 cal, Fat 3 g, Potassium 221 mg, Carbs 43.3 g, Fiber 9.7 g, Protein 9.5 g, Vit A 98%, Iron 14%

 

This recipe was entered in the Simple and Season!

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