five ingredient end of summer dinner

It's September, and Labor Day is about to end. Although summer is "technically" over the warm weather most certainly is not. Today I wanted to share with you all this awesome recipe I worked on with my dad over the summer. It's super easy, light, versatile, and healthy. For those of you who have specific dietary needs or preferences, don't fear, this recipe is low carb, full of healthy fats, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and approved by everyone from teenagers to boyfriends to total strangers. 

My dad and I worked as a team making this. My dad took care of the grill, and I took care of the sauce and veggie prep. Things in the kitchen are more fun and go faster when you're working as a team! This recipe is barely even a recipe, it's that easy. It is really just good, fresh foods, plated together for a delicious combination of texture and flavor. I am all about keeping things simple and I love how this recipe didn't require me to buy random ingredients that would lie around, unused, afterwards. Everything in this recipe will either be in your house already, or used up within the week. Summer may be ending, but that doesn't mean you can't still fire up the grill - give this recipe a whirl!

[ps. there's a reason I am a dietitian and not a photographer]

realfoodcourt's five ingredient, (healthy) fat filled, end of summer dish


  • 5 oz per person (raw) of a protein of your choice; salmon, flank steak, or thinly sliced chicken breast work best)
  • 2-3 bunches of watercress , stems removed (feel free to use ~ 8oz bag of arugula instead)
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c walnuts, halved or chopped
  • 1 batch of lemon aioli*
  • salt and pepper to taste

*for the lemon aioli

  • 1/2 c mayo
  • 2 cloves garlic (we like a lot of garlic in our house)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (we really like the lemony flavor so we are generous)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • salt & pepper


1. Season your protein of choice with salt and pepper (keeping it simple!) and set aside on a plate.

2. Set a small pot of water to boil (omit if you prefer the crunch of raw cabbage).

3. While the water boils prepare your garlic lemon aioli by mixing all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. (PS we got the recipe here).

4. Preheat grill. Feel free to use a grill pan on your stove. (Note: we have a gas grill, but how you heat your grill may vary, follow whatever heating instructions are appropriate)  

5. Your water should be boiling now. While your grill is getting hot place your cabbage strips into the boiling water and using tongs turn the strips gently so they are submerged in the water. Leave in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes, just enough time to gently soften them. Then drain them from the water and set aside. 

6. Put your watercress (or arugula) in a large bowl. Pour ~1/4 of the aioli onto the greens and toss. You can add more if needed. It will depend on how many greens you have. You want each leaf just lightly coated. There shouldn't be any extra dressing settled on the bottom of the bowl and the leaves shouldn't be wilting or bogged down. TIP: Leave some of your greens out when you start, and slowly pour in the dressing. If you get heavy handed you can add the rest of the greens to soak up the extra dressing. Less is definitely more here. Once tossed set the bowl aside.

7. Adjust the temperature on your now preheated grill/ pan to whatever is appropriate for your protein and grill. (We put our heat to medium for cooking the salmon). Cook until reaching desired temperature. This chart gives a breakdown of internal temperatures for various protein sources. Remember, a meat thermometer is the only way to know if your food is really done. (Check out the USDA website for more on proper cooking temps)

8. Now - you plate! You should have your lemon aioli, cabbage, tossed greens, walnuts, and protein set in front of you. Put a spoonful of the aioli on each plate and spread out to create a thin, circular layer on the bottom of each plate. Lay a serving of meat (~4 oz of your now cooked protein) on top of the sauce. Using your tongs put a generous amount of greens on top of your protein. Finally, top with cabbage and add a sprinkle of walnuts.

Dig in!


Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think! 

And look out for another blog post coming this week all about the cooking challenge I am having with myself. I hope to get you all involved and excited about being in the kitchen.

Happy Fall! :P