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Bring on Spring with These Recipes

Bring on Spring with These Recipes

By Emily Kho, Contributing Blogger

As February unfolds, bringing with it the promise of spring, it's the perfect time to rejuvenate our diets with an infusion of color, flavor, and nutrition. Moving away from the hearty comforts of winter, let's embrace the fresh, vibrant produce and ingredients that herald the coming of warmer days.

In this spirit, I'm excited to share three delicious and healthful recipes designed to brighten your meals and nourish your body: a revitalizing Spinach Quinoa Salad, a robust Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, and an energizing Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bowl. 

These recipes are not only packed with essential nutrients but are also versatile and straightforward to prepare, making them ideal for any day of the week.

Revitalizing Spinach Quinoa Salad

This salad combines the nutritional powerhouse of spinach with the complete protein of quinoa, creating a dish that's both satisfying and delicious. The Spinach Quinoa Salad recipe comes from the Healthy Gluten-Free Family blog. The recipe makes 6-8 servings, taking 15 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook for a total cook time of 35 minutes.


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa already cooked according to package (approximately 1/2 cup dry quinoa, becomes 2 cups cooked)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves chopped into slivers or thin strips
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 1/2 cup cucumber diced (approximately 1 small cucumber, skin on or peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch slices, then quartered)
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas drained and well rinsed
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds if nut-free more according to tastes - I prefer the extra crunch and add extra when serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt more or less to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper more or less to taste
  • olive oil if sauteing chickpeas
  • Dressing:
    • 1/3 cup plain yogurt I used Almond Milk Yogurt
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 clove garlic, minced


  1. In a small saucepan, place a heaping 1/2 cup quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to simmer, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Once water is absorbed, turn off heat and let cool briefly. Fluff with fork before using.
  2. Make the dressing.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
  4. Toast almonds (optional).
  5. Over medium-high heat, saute almonds in a dry saucepan until lightly toasted, stirring frequently so as to not burn any, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  6. Saute Chickpeas (optional but recommended).
  7. I recently started sauteing the chickpeas before adding to the salad and love the flavor. Heat a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil to coat pan, add chickpeas, sprinkle generously with kosher salt and saute 3-5 minutes or until warm and slightly crisp.
  8. Assemble.
  9. In a large bowl add all the ingredients -- quinoa, spinach, sauteed chickpeas, almonds, spinach, cherries, cucumber. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with dressing and toss together to combine.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Amazing Mediterranean Chickpea Salad​​

A vibrant blend of chickpeas, fresh veggies, and herbs dressed in a zesty vinaigrette, this salad is a tribute to Mediterranean flavors. ​​The recipe for the Mediterranean Chickpea Salad recipe comes from Delish. It makes a total of 6 servings. It takes 20 minutes to prep and 5 minutes to cook, for a total cook time of 25 minutes.


  • 2 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Dressing:
    • 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 c. white wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
    • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make salad: In a large bowl, toss together chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, olives, and feta. Season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Make vinaigrette: In a jar fitted with a lid, combine olive oil, vinegar,lemon juice, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Close the jar and shake until emulsified, then season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Dress salad with vinaigrette just before serving.

Energizing Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bowl

This hearty bowl features roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, and a variety of toppings for a customizable, nutrient-rich meal. The Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bowl recipe comes from Skinnytaste. It makes 4 servings. It has a 10 minute prep time and 55 minute cook time for a total cook time of 1 hour.


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt, or light sour cream
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp olive or canola oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1-1/3 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup mild or spicy salsa
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions or cilantro


  1. Poke holes in the potato with a fork, cook on your microwave’s potato setting until potatoes are soft and cooked through (about 8-10 minutes on high for 4 potatoes). If you don't have a microwave, bake about 45 minutes at 400°F.
  2. Combine yogurt and taco seasoning in a small bowl, mix well.
  3. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat.
  4. Add peppers, onions, chili powder, paprika, cumin and salt; cook until the onions have caramelized slightly, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add black beans, stir to combine and heat through (about another 5 minutes).
  6. Slice the potato lengthwise down the middle or as I did in the photo, use a fork to pierce the top in an oval shape, then remove the top of each potato.
  7. Top with 2 tbsp shredded cheese, 1/3 cup of black bean mixture, 2 tbsp Greek yogurt mixture and 2 tbsp salsa.
  8. Enjoy!