Friday recipe: build a meal around veggies and fruits

I’ve posted recently about the weight management program offered by DMU’s Wellness Program. It’s based on nutritionist Dr. Barbara Rolls’ volumetrics plan, which focuses on eating lots of vegetables, fruits and other foods with high water content, lower calorie density and still great taste. As DMU Wellness Director Joy Schiller and her colleagues advise, people who eat the most vegetables and fruits tend to have the healthiest body weight and gain less weight through their adult years.

To improve health and manage your weight, build your diet around foods like these.
To improve health and manage your weight, build your diet around foods like these.

In addition, Joy says, “Study after study shows that people whose diets include a lot of vegetables and fruits are less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers and obesity.”

Sounds like a winning plan to me, especially when it includes today’s dishes – a delectable pizza from Dr. Rolls’ The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet Book and Joy’s to-die-for fruit dessert.

Pesto pizza with chicken and vegetables
Makes 6 1-slice servings

  • One 15-ounce package refrigerated whole-wheat pizza dough
  • 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets and stems
  • One 5-ounce container baby arugula
  • ½ cup roasted red peppers in brine, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • ¼ cup pesto sauce
  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken breast (omit to make the pizza vegetarian)
  • ¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat out the pizza dough into a 12-inch round or square on a baking sheet.

Place the broccoli in a large microwaveable bowl with 2 tablespoons water. Cover and microwave until soft, about 2 minutes. Fold in the arugula, red peppers, pesto sauce and, if using, the chicken. Top the crust with the vegetable-chicken mixture. Sprinkle with the cheese. 

Bake for 10 minutes. Lightly cover with a piece of foil to keep the topping moist.  Continue baking for about 5 minutes, until the crust is crisp and lightly browned. Cut into 6 wedges.

Nutritional information per serving: calories, 300; carbohydrate, 34g; fat, 11g; protein, 19g; fiber, 7g.

Fruit crumble/crisp

  • 1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup whole-wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil


  • 1–1½  pounds of fruit, e.g., ripe Anjou pears, prune plums or Granny Smith apples. Apples and pears should be peeled, cored and cut into thin slices; add the grated zest of a lemon or 6-8 whole cloves to the fruit before the topping is added for give extra flavor. Plums should be halved with pits removed.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To prepare topping: Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly and then add canola oil and stir until evenly moist.

To prepare filling: Place fruit in a quart dish or casserole. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar or 1 tablespoon Splenda over the fruit. Spread the topping evenly over the fruit in the baking dish.   

Bake until the fruit feels soft when a knife is inserted, 45 to 60 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Prepare the topping and filling separately; cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before assembling and baking.

Nutritional information per serving: calories, 300; fat, 10g; cholesterol, 0mg; carbohydrate, 54g; protein, 3g; fiber, 6g; sodium, 8mg; potassium, 325mg.

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