September 4, 2020

Four Side Dishes for your Labor Day Celebration

Healthy Living, Nutrition, Weight Loss

Hamburgers and hot dogs are great, but it’s the side dishes that take center stage at Labor Day celebrations. We’ve rounded up four delicious and nutritious dishes to complete your holiday feast, including pasta salad, grilled coleslaw and a shrimp cobb. These healthy sides will squeeze every last ounce of summertime onto the porch table or picnic blanket.

Pepperoni Pasta Salad


For the pasta salad:

8 ounces uncooked whole wheat rotini

1 1/2 cups small-cut broccoli florets

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small orange bell pepper, cored and diced

1/3 cup sliced turkey pepperoni, quartered

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 small can sliced black olives, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup reduced fat crumbled feta cheese

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

For the Italian dressing:

1 small, ripe tomato, halved

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool, then transfer to a large serving bowl.
  2. Add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl with the pasta: broccoli, tomatoes, bell pepper, pepperoni, red onion, black olives, feta cheese and parsley
  3. Prepare the Italian dressing. Slice the tomato in half. Rub the inside edges (non-peel side) against a coarse grater over a small bowl. Grate all of the tomato’s interior (juices and flesh) into the bowl, then discard the peel. Whisk in the remaining dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour dressing over the pasta bowl.
  4. Toss the pepperoni pasta salad gently to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Watermelon Salad with Crispy Prosciutto, Feta & Mint


1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon, divided

2 slices prosciutto, chopped

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

6 cups cubed watermelon

2 tablespoon crumbled feta

2 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios

1 tablespoon chopped mint


  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add watermelon and toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta, pistachios, the crispy prosciutto and mint.

Grilled Coleslaw with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette


1/4 small green cabbage (about 12 ounces)

1/4 small red cabbage (about 12 ounces)

1 large carrot

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 large lemon, halved

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley and/or basil


  1. Preheat grill to medium.
  2. Cut each cabbage quarter into 3 wedges, trying to keep an equal portion of the core attached to each wedge to hold it together on the grill. Brush the cabbage wedges and carrot with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  3. Grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and starting to soften, 10 to 15 minutes. Grill lemon, cut-side down, until grill marks form, about 4 minutes.
  4. Juice the lemon halves into a large bowl. Whisk the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil, shallot, honey, salt and pepper. Stir in herbs.
  5. Chop the vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to the bowl and toss with the dressing.

Shrimp Cobb Salad with Dijon Dressing


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 cups mixed greens

12 cooked extra-large shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and halved lengthwise

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 cup Persian cucumber chunks

2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved

1 avocado, diced

2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese


  1. Place oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, pepper and salt in a lidded jar. Shake until combined.
  2. Mound salad greens on a platter. Drizzle with half the dressing and toss to coat. Decoratively arrange shrimp, tomatoes, cucumber, egg halves, avocado, bacon and blue cheese on top. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

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