Spring Rolls with Honey-Soy Dipping Sauce

I love spring rolls.

There’s just something so remarkably fresh about them that makes me happy. At one of my old jobs, I had to make spring rolls on a relatively regular basis. During that time, I could crank out hundreds of those little guys. I would be tired, with a sore back and cross-eyed when I was done. But that didn’t deter me from eating the scraps or messed-up rolls. Ah, the memories!

Here’s the deal with spring rolls, they are so delicious, but can be so annoying to make. Please, please don’t get mad if your first 2 or 10 look horrible. I promise you that they will still taste good. Just keep trying and soon you’ll be a professional “spring roller.”

Nutrition Spotlight:

Veggies abound in spring rolls and that makes them a fantastic, nutritious choice. They are the perfect vehicle for so many kinds of veggies too. You don’t have to stop at carrots and lettuce (like my version below), you can add peppers and jicama for example. Really, just be creative and have fun with them. But don’t forget the basil, mint and cilantro, they are the key to flavor and offer their own nutritive bonus too.



These are bean thread noodles.



Simple to make, just pull out of bag and plop in some water.



Watch them grow and feel them soften. Takes about 15 minutes and they’re done.



Get all of your ingredients together before rolling. Trust me on this one.



Look how yummy that is, even before you roll it!


Spring Rolls Beauty

Roll ’em up! And don’t worry what they look like, ok?


Spring Rolls with Honey-Soy Dipping Sauce

  • Author: Sara Haas


Refreshing and satisfying, these spring rolls are a perfect for an appetizer or light lunch.



  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 package bean thread noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 5 small lettuce leaves (Bibb or baby green or red leaf lettuce)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 5 each spring roll skins/wrappers


  1. Combine the lime juice, honey, soy sauce, crushed red pepper and water in a small saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Toss 1-2 teaspoons of the dipping sauce with the prepared bean thread noodles.
  3. Prepare a large bowl of warm water for softening the spring roll skins and lay out all of the filling ingredients; the lettuce, carrots, peanuts, mint, basil and cilantro.
  4. Remove 1 spring roll skin from the package and gently submerge in the bowl of warm water. Gently swish until spring roll skin becomes loose and flexible. Carefully remove it from the water and place on a clean kitchen countertop. Place one lettuce leaf on the bottom and then top with some noodles, carrots, peanuts and herbs. Take one edge and fold over to meet the other edge, then pull back on the fillings (like you’re making a burrito) until tight. Then fold in the sides and continue rolling the spring roll until sealed. (If you break the skin, just get another one and try again! If you can’t roll it, don’t worry about it. Just place everything in the middle and fold it up. I promise it will taste the same!)
  5. Slice rolls in half, if desired and serve with dipping sauce.


  • Serving Size: 5
  • Calories: 169
  • Sugar: 11
  • Sodium: 260
  • Fat: 5
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 27
  • Protein: 8
  • Cholesterol: 1

Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing

Chickpeas are your new best friend…

Why? Because they are awesome for you nutritionally (high in fiber, plenty of amazing vitamins and minerals, vegetarian protein, etc) and they taste great so many different ways.

Think I’m just pulling a crazy dietitian stunt on you?

No way! I love tasty food just as much, if not more, than you do. I would never recommend a food that I didn’t deem “tasty.” Now way!

But why chickpeas Sara?

Chickpeas are the underdog in the bean world seeming to only really be appreciated for their necessity in making hummus. Boo to that I say! Chickpeas belong front and center and here’s just the dish that does that.

Meet my Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing!

This salad is booming with flavor and it’s not only craveable, it’s addicting. Nothing beats lots of fresh parsley and lemon and when you add in creamy tahini, you’ve got a dressing that really shines.

So here you go my friends, my Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing!


And here are the pretty pictures:












Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing

  • Author: Sara Haas


A refreshing, yet hearty salad made with chickpeas, bell peppers, parsley all tossed in a tangy lemon-tahini dressing.



  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1cup)
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


  1. In the bottom of a mixing bowl whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice and honey. Add the olive oil and continue whisking until combined, then add the water. Toss in the chickpeas, bell pepper, red onion and parsley and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Serve immediately or refrigerate.


  • Makes about 3 cups


  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 198
  • Sugar: 3
  • Sodium: 237
  • Fat: 8
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 28
  • Protein: 7
  • Cholesterol: 0

Cacao Pretzel Snacks


It’s a fun word. Say it. Seriously, say it out loud. Super fun, right?

Fun and popular, cacao sure is sitting pretty these days. It’s trendy and it’s hip…even though it’s really nothing new.

Nope, cacao has been around for awhile. Never heard of it? Sure you have, it’s also known as cocoa, the more modern-ish term we typically use here in America. Cacao (and cocoa) refers to the dried beans from the cocoa tree. Generally, cacao is synonymous with the unroasted or raw version of the cocao bean, with cocoa being the roasted and sometimes more processed cacao bean. Cacao can be turned into everything from “nibs”( essentially broken pieces of cacao beans) to powder.  

If cacao isn’t new, then why this surge in popularity? Well my guess it’s because people are looking for all kinds of ways to add a nutritious boost to their smoothie bowls, oatmeal, shakes and everything in between. Cacao is a good choice then as it’s got a pretty nice nutrition profile, containing several antioxidants and minerals like magnesium and iron. But like anything, enjoy in moderation.

Looking to try cacao beans? Then try my recipe below for Cacao Pretzel Snacks. They are super easy to make and provide a nice introduction to cacao. 

And a big thank you to the Recipe Redux!  This recipe was inspired by this month’s theme of building a recipe using an ingredient I’ve never used before. 

And the Pretty Pictures of Cacao Pretzels Snacks:






Cacao Pretzel Snacks

  • Author: Sara Haas


A simple snack made with whole grain pretzels, Greek yogurt and cacao nibs.



  • 1 teaspoon Turbinado sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons cacao nibs
  • 20 whole grain pretzels twists


  1. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place the yogurt and cacao nibs in separate small bowls.
  2. Dip half of each pretzel in the yogurt, then the cinnamon sugar mixture and finally in the cacao nibs. Place coated pretzels on a clean sheet pan and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the freezer and enjoy.


  • Mix it up! Add a dash of cayenne pepper to the sugar mixture or add crushed nuts to the cacao nibs. Have fun by coming up with your own, unique flavors!


  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 124
  • Sugar: 2
  • Sodium: 520
  • Fat: 1
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 25
  • Protein: 3
  • Cholesterol: 0


In Case You Missed It! I “Break it Down” on Fox 32 News Chicago!

It was a great day to be me! I woke up with a raging head cold with about 3 hours of total sleep under my belt and a looming tv interview in front of me. I wanted to stay in bed, but I put my “big girl pants on” and blew my nose, put some make-up on and got myself (and my toddler) out the door and into the frozen tundra. It was worth it. We had a great time filming the live segment for Fox 32 Noon News and I only messed up once! Woo hoo! Now, sit back, relax and learn a thing or two about the Dietary Guidelines. Bonus points if you can find my mess up. Ugh!

Here’s an awesome screen shot of Corey showing me a bottle of “sports drink.” Thanks Corey for a fun interview!

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 8.19.41 PM

Click here to see the whole thing go down! 

Attention! Snack Ideas Are Here!

I realize this is a new spot here on my website, so hopefully some of you have noticed. I’ve decided to separate my recipe posts from my blog posts as a way to organize things. Since it’s a new year, I figured I should start cleaning up my site a little bit, so hopefully this will be a nice way to ease into it. 

My first blog-only post is this handy link to an article I wrote for Parents.com. As a parent, I know that finding snack foods for kids can be hard. You want something nutritious, but you also want it to taste good so they’ll eat it. These snack ideas keep things simple and your kids can even help you make them. They’re perfect for travel, but make a fine snack for home too.



See the article here: Easy Homemade Travel Snacks

PB&J Granola Parfait

Surprise! It’s Recipe Redux time. 

This month’s theme was to find a cookbook and “Redux” the recipe on page 54 or page 154. “Alrighty then…let’s see how this goes”, I thought to myself as I eagerly reached for Jackie Newgent’s new cookbook, The All Natural Diabetes Cookbook (the night before my “Redux” was due)! “Please Jackie, please let page 54 hold a recipe that I have most of the ingredients for…and let it be a breakfast dish!” I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I turned to page 54, because there, on that beautiful page was not only a good recipe, but a GREAT recipe! Her Homemade Granola-Raspberry Parfaits! If she would’ve been here, I would’ve given her a huge hug. Success!

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You’ll wonder why you’ve never made tomatillo salsa before…

I know, you’re doubting me when I say that, right? Why make it when you can buy a perfectly decent canned version? Hear me out! Besides being fun to play with (I mean, how awesome are those papery skins they come in?), tomatillos are a breeze to work with. And I have to say, fresh tomatillo salsa is darn good! I mean, really good. So good you’ll want to add it to everything you make. From scrambled eggs to chicken salad, it’ll be your new favorite condiment!

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When life hands you lemons…

There was this time a few weeks ago when I really thought I had it together and then, poof, it all collapsed.

I felt great, I had this fantastic veggie burger recipe all queued up and then, life hit me. Not a literal punch in the face, more of like a “hey, stop biting off more than you can chew!” kind of way. Hence, the delayed post and hence why I have yet to update and face-lift my little blog here. But you’re here and I’m here now, so let’s celebrate that little victory, shall we?

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