Stage 4 (Regular) Diet Recipes

Spicy Black Bean Burger with Avocado

Provided by: Dana Petersen, RD, LDN

1 Morningstar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger (found in the frozen section of the grocery store)
¼ avocado, sliced
1-2 Tbs. of salsa

Microwave Morningstar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger for 1 minute.  Transfer to hot non-stick skillet or grill pan and continue to flip burger until hot and crispy (usually takes about 5 minutes).  While burger is cooking, cut ¼ of avocado into small slices.  When burger is cooked, place avocado slices and 1-2 Tbs. salsa on top.  Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts, per 1 burger: 200 calories, 11.4g fat, 17g carbs, 7.4g dietary fiber, 12g protein, 354 mg sodium

Spaghetti Squash ...Great alternative to pasta! 
Recipe provided by: Dana Petersen, RD, LDN

1 spaghetti squash (sometimes called winter squash)
16 oz extra lean ground turkey or ground sirloin
2 (25 oz) jars of light spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise (careful, this is the hardest part!).   Scrape out the seeds and pulp as you would with any squash or pumpkin. Poke fork holes in both sides of squash to cut down on baking time.  Place both squash halves face down on a baking sheet and bake @ 375°F for about 30-40 minutes (cooking time may vary by oven).  While squash is baking, cook ground turkey or sirloin on skillet until meat is completely cooked through.  Add 2 cans of spaghetti sauce. 

Squash is done when it is tender and still yellow, do not overcook until squash becomes an "orangey" color because it will be too mushy.   Use a fork to separate strands and remove them from the squash into a bowl. 

For post-bariatric patients: Place ¼ cup spaghetti squash on plate, add ¼ cup meat sauce on top.  Enjoy! 

Nutrition Information: Per ½ cup serving (1/4 cup spaghetti squash and ¼ cup meat sauce):  80 calories, 1 g fat, 5g carbs, 1g dietary fiber, 190 mg sodium, 10g protein

Thai Shrimp and Papaya Salad
The Healthy Kitchen: Recipes for a Better Body, Life and Spirit
by: Dr. Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley

14 servings
Serving size: 1/2 cup

12 large raw, cleaned and deveined shrimp
1 Tbs. toasted-sesame oil
¼ tsp. prepared chili paste (optional)

6 cups washed and dried baby mixed field greens
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-4 Tbs. olive oil

Papaya Salsa
½ cup or 1 bunch cilantro
1 cup cubed papaya
1 cup cubed red bell pepper
¼ cup diced red onion
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice

Preheat the broiler for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, put the shrimp in a medium bowl and add the sesame oil and chili paste. Toss with a spoon to coat the shrimp completely and evenly. Lay the seasoned shrimp on a baking tray and broil for 1 minute on the middle rack.  Turn them over and broil for 1 more minute or until they are cooked through.  Shrimp should be pink when they are done.  Toss the mixed greens with the salt, lemon juice and olive oil until the leaves are thoroughly coated. Pinch the leaves off the cilantro stems.  Put them in a small bowl with the remaining salsa ingredients and mix thoroughly with a spoon. Toss the shrimp into the salsa and stir until they are coated.  Put the mixed greens on a platter and the shrimp on top. 

Nutrition Information: 12 servings (1 shrimp): 60 calories, 5g fat, 4g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 2g protein, 64mg sodium

The Tasty Ribbon Salad

½ cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons of sugar (you may substitute with Splenda® if you’d like)
½ teaspoon salt, divided
3 zucchini (about 1 ½ pounds)
2 yellow squash (about ¾ pounds)
1 garlic clove
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes

Combine vinegar, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt until sugar dissolves.  Trim ends of zucchini and squash; cut into thin ribbons with harp-shaped peeler.  Add to vinegar mixture.  Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.

Bring a small pan of water to a boil; add garlic.  Remove with a slotted spoon after 1 minute.  Rinse under cold water; set aside.  Add basil to boiling water; immediately remove and rinse under cold water.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid.  Transfer garlic and basil to a food processor, and add lemon juice, olive oil, reserved water and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.  Process until smooth. 

Drain squash, divide among plates.  This recipe makes 8 (~1/2 cup) servings, each with ½ Tablespoon of basil oil.  Top each serving with cubed mozzarella and drizzle with basil oil. 

Serving size ½ cup.  Recipe makes about 8 servings.  Per 1 serving: Calories: 105, Total Fat: 5, Carbohydrate: 9g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 6.5g

Veggie Tray and Tangy Greek Yogurt Dip
Recipe provided by: Dana Petersen, RD, LDN

16 oz container of Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt (i.e., Oikos, Fage)
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix (dry)

Stir together, serve with your favorite veggies! My personal favorites: broccoli, cauliflower, red and green peppers, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, jicama, and baby carrots.

Nutrition Information: Per 2 Tbs. 20 Calories, 0g fat, 2g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 3g protein, 141mg sodium


The following recipes make great additions to protein-rich main entrees.

Quinoa and Cranberry Salad
Recipe adapted from

1 cup quinoa
1 cup dried cranberries (unsweetened)
1 cup frozen green beans, defrosted
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and continue cooking until all water is absorbed.

In a medium bowl, combine cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, green beans, walnuts, and green onions until well mixed. In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic until well blended. Pour over the quinoa mixture. Toss until well blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill in the refrigerator for atleast 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information per ½ cup: 150 Calories, 6g fat, 34g carbohydrates, 7g dietary fiber, 5g protein, 120mg sodium

Side note...Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is an ancient grain that is high in dietary fiber and high in protein.  It's made like rice, but is usually better tolerated in individuals who have had weight loss surgery because it's not as sticky (see the picture above).  You can find it in many chain grocery stores around the Chicagoland area and definitely at Whole Foods.  Look for it in the bulk section at Whole Foods for the cheapest price. 

Healthier Green Bean Casserole
Recipe courtesy of: American Diabetes Association

Onion topping:
2 lb. green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 medium red pepper, diced
2/3 cup low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 medium yellow onions, halved, peeled, and sliced thin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. To prepare the onions, toss the onions with the flour, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and salt. Spread the onions on a baking sheet (sprinkle with any excess flour mixture that does not initially adhere to the onions), and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until onions are browned, tossing them around every 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
3. To a large pot of boiling water, add the green beans, turn off the heat, and let the green beans stand in the hot water for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge the green beans into a bowl of ice water. Drain again. Set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and red pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes until mushrooms are browned.
5. Add the broth and green beans, cover, and cook until the broth is absorbed, about 7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the stove and fold in the sour cream.
6. Pour the green bean mixture into a casserole dish and cover and bake for about 15 minutes. Uncover, and top with the onions, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more.

Nutrition Information (per ½ cup): Calories 80, Total Fat 2.5 g, Sodium 75 mg, Total Carbohydrate 11 g, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Sugars 4 g, Protein 3g

Splenda® Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish

2 (12 ounce) packages fresh cranberries
2 large oranges, unpeeled
2 cups Splenda® granular (sugar substitute)
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Wash the cranberries and set aside. Wash the oranges and do not peel them.  Slice each orange into eight sections. Using a food processor, process cranberries and oranges. Stir in Splenda®.  (If using the pecans, add those as well.) This can be made the day before, just keep it chilled until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information per 1 serving:
With pecans: 90 calories, 7g fat, 13g carb, 3g fiber, 1.5g protein, .5mg sodium
No pecans: 30 calories, 0g fat, 11g carb, 2g fiber, 0.5g protein, .5mg sodium

Taffy Apple Salad

1-6oz. package of sugar free butterscotch pudding mix
1-granny smith apple, finely chopped
1-6oz. can crushed pineapple with light juice
3 cups light Cool Whip
¾ cups of blanched almonds

Directions: Combine chopped apple, pineapple with juice, and pudding mix. Fold in Cool Whip then add almonds. Serve chilled

Nutrition Information: Number of servings: 10-12, 1/2c servings: Calories: 124, Protein: 2.9g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 5.6g