Eat Empowered, Healthy Recipes

The 2-Minute Secret to Healthy Italian Meals


If you can master healthy Italian meals, you’re basically set as far as being able to cook nutritious meals that everyone will love. Italian food is just an overall crowd-pleaser.

And here’s a little-known secret: a lot of the flavor has to do with…tomatoes, yes…but also the specific blend of spices used from dish to dish.

“I grew up in an Italian-American household, and using Italian seasoning was a huge part of our meal prep,” says Nutritious Life’s spice mix guru Chef Charla Contreras. “My mom would put the seasoning in her meatballs and use it to season roasted chicken. She would put it on veggies or potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then roast them. She would even make dressing that featured a dash of the seasoning with balsamic, mustard, honey, garlic, and olive oil.”

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healthy italian meals

Contreras is a Nutritious Life Certified chef and health coach with a stacked resume—she’s been a private chef for prominent families, ran a meal delivery company, and even competed on Cook Your Ass Off (where she met our founder Keri, who was a judge!) and season 12 of Chopped.

And she’s recreated her mom’s Italian seasoning using just three spices you might even already have at home. Follow her recipe to have a blend on hand that will make any dish taste “Italian.”

“With only these three ingredients, you too can make a fresh, homemade seasoning to use in everything from a salad dressing to a sheet pan meal with crispy roasted chicken, veggies, and potatoes,” she says.

healthy italian meals

The best thing about using a perfectly balance seasoning is that you’ll get so much flavor out of it, you can cut back on heavier ingredients like oil and cheese.

Get the full recipe, here.

More ways to spice up your cooking like chef Carla:

How to Make Your Own Delicious Taco Spice Mix
How to Make Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning at Home


(Featured Photo: Shutterstock, Additional Photos: Carla Contreras)

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