In the Bender Kitchen: Healthy Side Dishes for Memorial Day Weekend

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Foodie and blogger Dina Deleasa-Gonsar shares great healthy recipes for your Memorial Day celebrations. is a food blog Dina started about 5 years ago. Dina shares great tips and recipes.


Wilted Aurgula, Cherry, Goat Cheese, and Whole Grain Brown Rice Salad

  • 1 9-ounce package of VeeTee Whole Grain Brown Rice
  • 1 ½ cups of Arugula packed
  • 1 cup cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp of granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled


Serves 2


  1. Combine cherries, and the tarragon in a large bowl.
  2. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  3. Add the rice to the bowl with the cherries. Then add in your Arugula gently folding in. The heat from the rice will wilt the Arugula as you fold it in.
  4. Whisk together the vinegars, sugar, salt and pepper and olive oil and pour over the bowl. Mix to incorporate.
  5. Place the contents of the bowl onto a platter if so desired or serving bowl. Sprinkle the goat cheese over top and serve!


Prosciutto and Melon Bruschetta

  • 1 French Baugette, sliced
  • 1 melon, such as cantaloupe, peeled, sliced then diced
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup shallots, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil, divided
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 12 slices of prosciutto
  • Balsamic Glaze


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the slices of bread on a baking sheet and brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside
  2. In a bowl combine the melon, shallots, basil, salt, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pepper. Toss to combine.
  3. Wrap each piece of bread with a piece of prosciutto. You may find that you only need half of a piece of prosciutto for each piece of bread.
  4. Spoon the melon mixture on top of each piece of bread. Then drizzle with Balsamic Glaze.

Summer Ribbon Salad

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 carrot
  • 8 oz of baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 garlic glove, pressed in a garlic press
  • 1 lemon, Juiced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey


  1. Using a vegetable peeler, cut thin strips lengthwise of the zucchini, squash, and the carrot.
  2. In a small saute an over medium heat, toast the pine nuts for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. In a large saute or grill pan over medium heat warm ½ Tablespoon of olive oil. Then add your strips of zucchini and squash in batches if necessary in order not to crowd the pan. After about 5 minutes you should see the zucchini and squash start to get grill marks or have golden brown spots. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. In a bowl whisk together salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, dijon, and honey.
  5. In a large bowl add the spinach and pine nuts. Pour the dressing over the top making sure to reserve about ¼ cup for drizzling. Toss together to coat
  6. Add the spinach to serving platter of choice. Arrange the ribbons of squash, zucchini, and carrots over the top. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top as well as the feta cheese and serve!


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