SCTK: Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Cake

By Alaina Coffey, Senior Dietetics Student, Sargent College

Students baked blueberry lemon yogurt cake and thoroughly enjoyed this tasty treat at Wednesday night’s test kitchen. After baking and taste testing, students recommended that this recipe should be called a bread rather than a cake. What makes this bread so healthy, compared to conventional pound cakes and quick breads, is the recipe’s use of whole wheat flour as a base, fat-free plain yogurt as a binding agent, and extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter. Honey, lemon zest, and blueberries contribute sweetness to the bread, so not much added sugar is necessary. This bread contains wholesome, healthy ingredients and still tastes like a decadent treat!

We made a few adjustments to our SCTK version of the recipe when preparing blueberry lemon yogurt bread. The bread took longer than the suggested 55 minutes to bake through the center, so Karen increased the oven temperature from 325 to 350 after the bread had been baking for 50 minutes. Student suggestions included that the bread was very lemony and perhaps the amount of lemon zest could be decreased, but overall, students enjoyed eating the bread and several batches quickly disappeared! This bread is a perfect springtime treat, the recipe is simple, and preparation time is quick. Try it at home and incorporate your own favorite fresh or frozen fruits such as raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries, or even dried fruits such as dates or apricots. The wholesome ingredients in this bread make it a healthier alternative to traditional pound cakes and quick breads, and further, you will be satisfied with the delicious taste!

Sargent Choice
Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Cake
Recipe modified from Cookie and Kate
Yield: Recipe makes one loaf (12 servings)

1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 medium lemons, to be zested and juiced
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 extra large eggs
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, do not defrost)
2 teaspoons honey

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease 8 ½ by 4/1/4 by 2 ½-inch loaf pan with butter and flour and set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Pour the sugar into a separate medium-sized mixing bowl. Grate all the zest from the lemons. Rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is yellow and fragrant. Add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla to the sugar mixture. Whisk well, until the ingredients are combined.
4. When the mixture is well blended, gently whisk in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Switch to a spatula and fold in the oil, making sure it’s all incorporated. The batter will be shiny. In a separate bowl, toss the blueberries with about one teaspoon flour (this will help prevent them from sinking while the cake bakes). Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sides just start to pull away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 teaspoons honey just long enough for you to whisk the honey into the juice. Using a pastry brush, brush the lemon-honey glaze on top of the warm cake. Repeat until you have no more liquid left.
7. Run a knife between the cake and sides of the pan to loosen. Unmold the cake by placing a large plate of cutting board upside down over the loaf pan and carefully turning it over. Cool. Slice and serve.

Nutrition Per serving
Calories 220
Fat 12 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Protein 4 g
Carbohydrate 27 g
Fiber 2 g

SCTK: Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing








By Alaina Coffey, Senior Dietetics Student, Sargent College

This Mexican quinoa salad recipe, which includes traditional ingredients such as corn, black beans, and avocado, was very popular among students at the test kitchen. One of the essential goals of SCTK is to create healthier alternatives of familiar favorite foods that students enjoy. This dish had the essence of a salad from Chipotle Mexican Grill – but is a far healthier alternative! Chipotle is a BU campus favorite and one of my personal favorites, but the problem with this type of fast-casual restaurant is that dishes typically contain very high sodium, and portion sizes are generally very large. SCTK provides students with a healthy alternative Mexican salad that is low in saturated fat, high in plant protein, and low in sodium (salt was set to the side). Additionally, this salad is quick and simple to make at home. I believe students in the dining halls and around campus would enjoy this salad – it is filling, satisfying, and has familiar flavors of campus favorites such as Chipotle and Qdoba Mexican grills.

We made a few adjustments to the SCTK version of this recipe at the test kitchen. Salt and Sriracha hot sauce were set to the side to allow students to add these items to taste; I found the salad was plenty flavorful without added salt. Additionally, the dressing was diluted with water because originally it was very thick. Karen suggested omitting garlic from the recipe as garlic throws off the flavor profile, and perhaps using fewer red onions. For serving, the quinoa salad was placed over a bed of mixed greens and topped with dressing. Students enjoyed the salad served this way, and also suggested the salad could be made into lettuce wraps or a whole-wheat wrap sandwich. Overall, I believe students in the dining halls and around campus would be very pleased with the taste of this recipe – further, health-conscious students would be pleased to know they can enjoy their favorite comfort foods without the added fats and sodium. Give this recipe a try at home!

Sargent Choice
Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing
(Recipe modified from the Minimalist Baker)
Yield: 3 servings

5-6 cups mixed greens
1 cup cooked quinoa (red or white)
½ cup corn (frozen or canned)
1 cup cooked black beans (seasoned with ¼ teaspoon each salt, cumin, chili & garlic powder)
¼ cup red onion
1 orange, segmented
½ ripe avocado, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

½ ripe avocado
1 lime, juiced (~4 tablespoons, *note that some reviewers thought this was too much)
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon sweetener of choice (maple syrup or sugar)
1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as tabasco)
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
⅛ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
3 tablespoon olive oil

1. Begin by preparing quinoa, first by thoroughly rinsing ½ cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then bringing to a bowl with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare salad ingredients by chopping vegetables, segmenting orange, and warming black beans with the salt, cumin, chili and garlic powder.
3. Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blending until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
4. Salad can either be plated and served with dressing on the side or tossed with dressing before serving. ENJOY!

Nutrition w/dressing per serving
Calories 460
Saturated Fat 4 g
Protein 10 g
Carbohydrate 47 g
Fiber 12 g
Sodium 590 mg

SCTK: Cauliflower Curry

By Alaina Coffey, Senior Dietetics Student, Sargent College
This vegan curry recipe was a comforting meal for a chilly evening, and pleased vegans and meat-eaters alike. The recipe was more similar to a stew; it could be served over brown rice, but students at the test kitchen ate it as a soup. It could be served with naan bread as the recipe recommends, or with whole wheat bread for dipping. Numerous spices contribute flavors to this recipe, such as garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, cardamom, and cilantro. Cooking with spices in stews and soups is a great way to reduce the need for much added salt for flavor. One ingredient I did not recognize is garam masala, which is a spice blend used in Indian and South Asian cuisines. Students enjoyed the flavor combination of the various spices used in this recipe.

This was the second time during the semester that cauliflower starred in a Sargent Choice recipe! Cauliflower is increasing in popularity and trendiness due to its ability to add volume to recipes and absorb the flavors of spices. It is low in calories, high in fiber and water to fill you up, and high in vitamins C and K. Additionally, each serving contains 9 grams of plant protein contributed mainly from chickpeas. Complete the meal with brown rice, whole wheat bread, or a whole grain of your choice to receive complete protein. This recipe is simple and quick, so try it out at home for a nutrition-packed and comforting meal.

Sargent Choice
Vegan Cauliflower, Potato, and Chickpea Curry (recipe modified from A Beautiful Plate)
Yield: 6 servings

1 large head (2 lbs) head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into medium-sized florets
¾ lb Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into ¾-inch chunks
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, unsalted
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon garam masala
¾ cup light coconut milk
Bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Brown Rice for serving


1. Place cauliflower and potatoes in a large soup pot and fill with cold water. Season with ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat immediately, and drain gently into a colander. Place colander over the pot while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
2. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger, and sauté, stirring every few minutes for about 8-10 minutes or until the onions are very soft and translucent.
3. Add the ground coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes or until very fragrant. Add the tomatoes with their juices and drained chickpeas, and stir mixture together. Add the cauliflower and potatoes. Add the vegetable broth – the broth should almost reach the top of the vegetable mixture – and bring to a low simmer. Simmer mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the cauliflower and potatoes are fork-tender.
4. Stir in the garam masala and coconut milk, simmer for an additional 10- minutes.
5. Finish the soup by sprinkling and stirring in ½ cup chopped cilantro. Serve with brown rice and/or naan.

Nutrition information Per serving(not including rice)
Calories 270
Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Protein 9 g
Carbohydrate 40 g
Fiber 11 g
Sodium 660 mg

SCTK: Lentil Soup

By Alaina Coffey, Senior Dietetics Student – Sargent College
Students cried tears of joy while dicing onions to make lentil soup! The soup recipe, adapted from Sabrina Pashtan’s, accompanied by graduate student Jasper Zhao’s green tea from China created a comforting hot meal on a fall evening as our weather gets colder. Lentils do not require lengthy soaking time like other dry beans, yet they provide numerous nutrients; they are especially rich in lean protein, dietary fiber, folate, and iron. Additionally, lentils are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin, and vitamin K.

We made a few creative adjustments to the original recipe at the test kitchen. First, we added diced large carrots for sweetness; if you have a favorite vegetable that is not included in the recipe, you can experiment on your own by adding in different vegetables. The soup turned out very thick because the lentils absorbed all of the water in the additional recipe, so next we added extra water and tomato puree.

While the soup tasted hearty and wholesome, the flavor was a little bland (we suspect the lack of salt from the no-added salt tomato puree), so we opened up the spice cabinet and students tried adding in their own combinations of spices. Students enjoyed the soup with cumin, oregano, crushed red pepper, and chili powder. Further suggestions from students included lemon and curry.

Lentils are power-packed with important nutrients and provide a great source of protein, I would recommend adding in a whole grain such as brown rice, barley, or whole wheat bread for dipping to make this meal complete. Try out this lentil soup recipe at home and customize it with your own favorite vegetables and spices. You can’t go wrong – lentil soup is quick, comforting, and nutrient dense. Enjoy its benefits!

Sargent Choice
Lentil Soup
(Recipe adapted from
Yield: 6 servings

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow or white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 cups dried French green lentils, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 cup tomato puree, no-salt added
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1. Sautee onion and garlic in a medium to large pot over medium heat until translucent.
2. Add lentils, bay leaves, tomato puree, and water. Stir.
3. Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft, adding more water if necessary to keep from sticking.
4. Once the lentils are softened, season with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.
5. Adjust with more water to thin consistency if desired. Enjoy!

Nutrition information Per serving
Calories 230
Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Protein 14 g
Carbohydrate 34 g
Fiber 13 g
Sodium 420 mg

SCTK: White Bean Blondies

By Alaina Coffey, Senior Dietetics Student – Sargent College

Despite their many health benefits, beans get a bad reputation – but what if you could receive the health benefits of beans at the same time as enjoying a delicious dessert? With Meal Makeover Mom’s Fudgy Black Bean Brownie and White Bean Blondie recipes, you can do just that. The recipes use black beans and garbanzo beans as base ingredients to create desserts with increased fiber and protein, low in fat and calories (120-130 calories per 2×2” brownie).

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies are a student favorite at the SCTK, while White Bean Blondies were a new addition to this special Test Kitchen. We experimented with using regular natural unsweetened 100% cacao versus Hershey’s “Special Dark” 100% cacao in the brownies, and students enjoyed the extra richness of the dark chocolate type. Important notes to take when making this recipe are to wash the beans thoroughly, and to allow the food processor to blend the beans completely. So long as these are accomplished, no bean flavor will be evident in the brownies.

We experimented with two texture varieties of White Bean Blondies, both types containing exactly the same ingredients. For the first type, the oats and chocolate chips were just slightly pulsed in the food processor, creating a chunky and chewy texture. For the second type, the ingredients (excluding the chocolate chips) were completely blended until smooth, creating an even texture and overall more palatable treat. While students ate both textures of blondies, they preferred the smooth variety, as blending the ingredients completely concealed the dessert’s healthy ingredients. Students could not taste the garbanzo beans in either variety, but the chewy oats in the unblended version caused lasting oat flavor.

Suggestions for the White Bean Blondies included the addition of coconut, raisins, and / or nuts, and perhaps leaving out the cinnamon, as this flavor was quite strong. While many stood by the Black Bean Brownies as their favorite, the White Bean Blondies were well liked. Overall, the recipes have simple ingredients and short preparation time, so try out a batch of Brownies or Blondies for a healthier spin on your favorite treats!

Sargent Choice
White Bean Blondies
Recipe from The Meal Makeover Moms
Yield: 16 2-inch brownies

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup old fashioned oats
¾ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat a 9 x 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
2. Place the garbanzo beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and process until smooth. Add the oats and blend again until smooth (important step to achieve even texture). Then and chips and pulse just until combined.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand at least 20 minutes before slicing Cool in the pan before slicing into 16 squares.

1 Blondie
Calories 130
Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Protein 3 g
Carbohydrates 20 g
Fiber 2 g

SCTK: Lentils with Roasted Carrots and Beets

By Alaina Coffey, Senior Dietetics Student – Sargent College

At this week’s test kitchen we served up a nutritious, flavor-packed meal of lentils with roasted carrots and beets. Lentils have numerous health benefits: they are high in protein and fiber, low in fat, and full of minerals such as iron, copper, phosphorus, folate, and manganese. This recipe requires a little extra time and care for peeling beets and chopping vegetables. And we even make use of the greens of beets, which are similar in flavor to collard greens.

We produced one large batch of the mixture of lentils, roasted beets, carrots, and beet greens, and two separate dressings on the side to top the dish. The first dressing was comprised of olive oil, honey, ginger, garlic and salt, following the original recipe; this dressing was slightly dense, and strong in garlic flavor. For the second dressing, we achieved Mediterranean flavor with a mixture of lemon juice and zest, mint leaves, olive oil and salt; this dressing was light, tangy, crisp and refreshing. Suggestions for additions to the Mediterranean dressing included cumin and parsley. The dish was topped with either of the dressings and optional feta cheese.

Overall this recipe was a success! Everyone enjoyed multiple helpings and leftovers were taken home. This crowd-pleaser surprised many as it was something they would not have ordered if given the choice but upon trying immediately liked the flavors and wanted seconds. It was also determined that while both dressing options were delicious, a little can go a long way. Try out this recipe for a great addition to lunch, dinner, or a family meal to share!


Sargent Choice
Lentils with Roasted Carrots and Beets
Recipe from Community Servings

Yield: 4 servings


1 bunch of beets and beet greens1 bunch of carrots
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons honey
1-inch ginger root, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
¾ teaspoon kosher or sea salt, divided
1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
1 cup dried green, brown, or French lentils
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
½ cup chopped fresh herbs
¼ cup feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Remove leafy tops and stems from beets and carrots and set aside. Rinse beets and carrots well and use a vegetable peeler to remove skins. Chop vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Rinse and thinly slice beet greens and set aside. Do not dry; allow water to cling to leaves.
3. In a small bowl, combine 3 tbsp. olive oil, honey, grated ginger, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir with a fork or small whisk to combine.
4. Add 1-2 tbsp. of oil mixture to a medium sized bowl with beets and stir to coat. Vegetables should be lightly but completely coated, not dripping, with oil mixture.
5. Place beets in single layer on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat this process with the carrots.
6. Roast vegetables in oven for 30-40 minutes, until tender and starting to brown on edges.
7. Meanwhile, measure the lentils into a strainer or colander, removing any rocks or debris. Rinse.
8. Transfer lentils to a saucepan and pour in 2 cups water. Add bay leaf. Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, adding water as needed to make sure the lentils are just covered. Lentils are cooked as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy. Strain the lentils and remove bay leaf.
9. Add beet greens to the pan the lentils were in and cover pan. Allow beet greens to steam and wilt for several minutes in covered pan until tender.
10. Stir beet greens into lentils and add 1 tbsp. lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and 1/4 tsp salt to lentils and greens.
11. Place lentils in the bottom of a bowl or platter. Top with roasted vegetables and sprinkle with feta. Sprinkle fresh herbs on top. Serve warm or cold.

Nutrition information Per serving
Calories 330
Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Protein 15 g
Carbohydrate 51 g
Fiber 13 g
Sodium 700 mg

SCTK: Carrot Bread

By Alaina Coffey, Senior Dietetics Student, Sargent College

Baby carrots may be one of your staple grab-and-go snacks but for this fall recipe we put carrots to use in a new, creative way. We shredded bunches of large carrots in a food processor, producing several loaves of delicious carrot bread. The reviews were positive and carrot bread was a success! A perfect treat for the fall that may be enjoyed for breakfast, snack, or dessert.

This recipe was provided for us by, Sabrina Pashtan (BU Dining’s very own Sustainability Coordinator). While Sabrina isn’t busy helping BU Dining to be as ‘green’ as possible she loves to create and test recipes in her own kitchen. Her blog, Sabor-ina (, is actually the inspiration for many SCTK recipes this fall!

Our SCTK version differs slightly as the original recipe called for whole-wheat pastry flour, which was unavailable at the local grocery store. Luckily we were able to sub in regular 100% whole-white wheat flour. Due to the substitution our bread took about 55 minutes to bake, slightly longer than proposed.

A few alterations make carrot bread a healthier alternative to other quick breads. Carrots, known for their high vitamin A content, replace much of the flour to begin with providing a low-calorie base. Next, whole-wheat flour replaces white flour, increasing the bread’s fiber and nutrient content. Then, unsweetened applesauce replaces much of the butter, lowering the bread’s saturated fat and overall fat content while acting as a binding agent. At only 160 calories per ¾” thick slice, the bread tasted rich in flavor, indulgent, and satisfying. It is likely carrot bread had filling power that other quick breads miss out on due to fiber from the carrots, whole-wheat flour, and raisins. Just one slice is considered a good source of fiber with 3g.

Students enjoyed the bread’s moist texture and mentioned they could not taste the carrots at all; the pronounced flavors were sweet cinnamon and raisin. Some thought the bread was too sweet, while others thought it was not sweet enough. Perhaps a less sweet version would make a good breakfast or snack, while a sweeter version could be served for dessert. Although making carrot muffins was a last-minute idea to use up leftover carrots, some students even preferred the recipe in muffin form (and they take less time to bake)! Suggestions for additions to the recipe were semi-sweet chocolate chips, walnuts, and nutmeg. Karen noted that the bread’s deep orange color was visually appealing, and the group agreed the bread would be a suitable addition to a holiday meal. For an even more decadent (but also higher calorie) treat, students proposed pairing carrot bread with a cream-cheese frosting or vanilla ice cream.

Overall the recipe was simple, preparation was easy, and the ingredients were economical to purchase. The recipe works best with very finely shredded carrots, so a food processor may be necessary to shred the carrots to their desired size. Try whipping up your own batch of carrot bread to have ready for breakfast and snacking throughout the week, or as a dessert to share!

carrot bread
Sargent Choice Carrot Bread
Recipe from
Yield: 1 loaf/12 slices (3/4” thick slice)

1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cups shredded carrots
½ cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil 9”x5” loaf pan with butter or oil and set aside.
  2. Using a whisk, cream together softened butter, applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and eggs.
  3. Add the shredded carrot and all the remaining dry ingredients and stir together until combined. Mix in raisins.
  4. Transfer to loaf pan and cook for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts per serving:

Calories 160
Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Protein 3 g
Carbohydrate 27 g
Fiber 3 g
Sodium 170 mg


SCTK: Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

By Caroline Patrick, Graduate Nutrition Student

Good ol’ fashioned oats are always on a shelf in my pantry—right next to thepeanut butter. Oats and peanut butter are a classic combination that I never tire of, throw in a banana and I’m done for. At Wednesday’s Test Kitchen, we mixed things up and made breakfast as a late night snack.  If you want to taste just how wonderful these were, whip up a batch yourself! They were a breeze to prepare.

With midterms and assignments on our minds we’re often in a tizzy to get to class on time in the mornings (at least I am) and sometimes we skip out on breakfast. But these breakfast bars are the perfect solution. You can make a batch and wrap individual bars to take with you—grab and go style.

Better yet, they’ll keep you full until lunchtime. The oatmeal’s fiber in combination with the peanut butter’s protein and healthy fats will make sure of it. This recipe called for just 3 tablespoons of honey, making this a low sugar breakfast item—perfect for the new proposed dietary guidelines that recommend a maximum of 10% of our daily calories come from added sugars. Applesauce also lends some sweetness, but its real role was to act as a binder of the ingredients. That’s why we only needed one egg for the whole dish.

Just half a banana was put into the batter, but I know I would’ve liked to have a little more. In fact, if you have the option, I would consider mixing in the entire banana or adding some fresh slices on top because when the bars had no banana they tasted a bit bland.



Happy baking, stay energized, and remember your brain needs nutritious foods to ace those mid-terms!

Sargent Choice
Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Recipe from Well Plated by Erin

Yield: 8 bars

2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ cups non-fat milk (or unsweetened almond milk)
3 tablespoons honey or agave
2 tablespoons peanut butter
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ large banana quartered and diced (taste testers recommend a whole banana)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, combine the milk, honey, peanut butter, applesauce, egg and vanilla.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir to combine. The batter will be very wet. Fold in the diced banana, then pour into the prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until thickened and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan, cut into bars, and serve.

Storage: Once cooled, bars can be wrapped individually in plastic and kept in the refrigerator for 5 days or frozen in a zip-top bag for up to 4 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours before serving. For a larger yield, increase the ingredient quantities by 1.5 and bakes in a 9×13 inch pan for 25-30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts per serving:

Calories 220
Fat 4 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Protein 9 g
Carbohydrate 38 g
Fiber 4 g
Sodium 170 g

SCTK: Indian Chickpea and Sweet Potato Kaftas

By Caroline Patrick, Graduate Nutrition Student

We heralded in the Chinese New Year last week with a cross-cultural inspired feast. Indian koftas, sugar cookies, spicy rice noodles, and dumplings were all in abundance. We settled in, drinking tea and munching on Karen’s adorable and delicious whale-shaped sugar cookies, and learned about the traditions of the Chinese New Year from a native Chinese student, Jasper Zhao. In China, this is the mecca of all holidays. Businesses and restaurants shut down while millions of people travel to their hometowns to celebrate with their families. It’s a 3-day event filled with family, food, and fireworks. Different areas of China celebrate with different foods, and Jasper said his family goes all out on the dumplings (so we did too!).

Along with the dumplings, our kaftas recipe was an absolute hit with everybody. Typically koftas are prepared somewhat like meatballs with lamb, beef, pork, or chicken with some added spices. However, in India, they are generally vegetarian given that many people abstain from meat for religious reasons. In place of meat, we used chickpeas and subsequently, they resembled falafels, but were more moist and robust in flavor. Once rolled into balls or patties, they are often fried and put into a rich and creamy sauce. To lighten ours up, we took our koftas on a Mediterranean vacation and whipped up some spruced up Tzatiki sauce that was to die for. Fresh herbs mixed in with dried fruits and nuts made a luscious combination. Our kaftas just couldn’t resist this nutritious dip.

We all groaned when 11 o’clock rolled around and saw it was snowing again. Although, Karen’s apartment located on the 23rd floor of StuVi2 has floor to ceiling windows that overlook the city and Charles River, making the site quite stunning. Before we left, Jasper had one more treat left for us—White Rabbit candies. They are a traditional Chinese milk-candy often eaten during the Chinese New Year. It was just great, almost like a vanilla flavored tootsie roll. According to the Chinese zodiac it is the year of the sheep, goat, or ram (I guess it depends on who you ask), and I wish you all good fortune, health, and longevity.



Sargent Choice Chickpea and Sweet Potato Koftas

Adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven

Yield: About 16 2 ½-inch patties


1 medium-sized sweet potato or yam (3/4 lb)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large clove garlic
2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoon lightly toasted cumin seeds
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil for sautéing

Mediterranean Yogurt:
1 medium clove garlic
1/3 cup parsley
1/3 cup cilantro
1/3 cup fresh dill
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
3 or 4 dried apricots (a soft, tart variety)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups non-fat yogurt (regular or Greek)
½ teaspoon salt
Directions for Sweet Potato Koftas:

  1. Peel and dice the sweet potato or yam, and cook it in boiling water until soft (about 10 minutes). Drain well. You should have about 1 ½ cups of cooked sweet potato. Transfer to a food processor.
  2. Add all the other ingredients, except the flour, peas, and oil. Puree until fairly smooth. The mixture will be very thick. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Stir in the flour until thoroughly incorporated, then gently stir in the peas. Form into patties. To make them really uniform and professional looking, use a ¼-cup-capacity ice cream scoop or a ¼-cup measure to scoop up portions of the mixture, then pat each one down until is about ½-inch think and 2 ½-inches in diameter.
  4. Place a skillet over medium heat and add a little bit of oil. When the oil is hot, add the patties, and saute for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned and heated through.

Directions for Mediterranean Yogurt:

  1. Place the garlic, all the herbs, the dried fruit, and the walnuts in a food processor, and pulse until it forms a paste.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the lemon juice and yogurt.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Koftas (each)

Calories 60
Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Protein 2 g
Carbohydrate 9 g
Fiber 2 g
Sodium 160 mg

Mediterranean Yogurt (2 tablespoons)

Calories 45
Fat 1.5 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Protein 3 g
Carbohydrate 5 g
Fiber 1 g
Sodium 85 g


SCTK: Brown Rice Bowl with Lemongrass, Tofu, and Cashews

By Caroline Patrick, Graduate Nutrition Student

Another cold night and another warm meal with excellent company. At this week’s Test Kitchen, we made a delicious rice bowl filled with the cutest baby bok choy. The finished dish was so green and vibrant in stark contrast to the white and 50 shades of grey color scheme we’ve seen so much lately. Why couldn’t Phil have seen his shadow on the 2nd?! I was ready for spring weeks ago.

Bok choy, or Chinese cabbage, is part of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables. Can you imagine what fun family reunions the Brassicaceae’s must have? Everyone would be there—broccoli, radishes, cauliflower—I mean come on, pass the dip! Bok choy is a hearty cabbage that prefers cooler temperatures, making them the perfect mid-winter veggie to turn to (lucky for us with this unyielding cold).

Tackling the tofu is the first step to this one-bowl-meal. Be sure to squeeze as much liquid out of it as possible so that it can soak up more soy-sauce and cook faster. It will be ready for the bok choy mix when the edges are browned. Instead of mixing the rice in with everything else, we just piled the veggie-tofu mixture on top of some rice. The bok choy paired beautifully with the ginger, lemongrass, and lime juice, and the toasted cashews added the perfect crunch. It was delecta-bowl.

Sargent Choice
Brown Rice Bowl with Lemongrass, Tofu, and Cashews

Recipe modified from the kitchn

Yield: 4 servings


8 ounces extra firm tofu
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons grated lemongrass (white part only)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 cups Bok Choy, chopped, approximately 2-inch pieces
3 cups cooked brown rice (Basmati preferred)
¼ cup cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves


  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse and drain tofu. Place between paper towels (or clean kitchen towels) and press out liquid.
  3. Cut tofu into ½-inch cubes and toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce.
  4. Lightly oil a baking sheet and spread the tofu cubes evenly on the sheet. Bake tofu for 15 minutes and flip over. Continue baking for about 10-15 minutes more until tofu is toasted and chewy. Remove from the oven.
  5. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are beginning to soften and turn translucent. Add Bok Choy and cook until stalks are tender-crisp and leaves are wilted (~3 minutes).
  6. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce and lime juice and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add rice and tofu and stir to combine and heat through. Remove from heat, stir in cashews and cilantro, and serve.

Nutrition Facts per serving

Calories 350
Fat 15g
Saturated Fat 2.5g
Protein 11g
Carbohydrate 43g
Fiber 4g
Sodium 480mg