Dole Summit, Day 2: Recipe Makeover Tricks

Dole Test Kitchen

After a light breakfast at Dole headquarters (across the street from the hotel) on the second day of the Dole Healthy Living Blogger Summit we met up in the Dole Test kitchen.

The first item on our agenda for the day was Recipe Makeover Tricks.

The chefs and dietitians in the Dole Test Kitchen had taken typically calorie laden food (i.e. yummy) and made them healthier without sacrificing any of the taste and in some cases made them even tastier.

I’ll share all of their tricks at the end of this post and where you can find these recipes.

Light Spinach Artichoke Dip

We were first given two spinach artichoke dips labeled A and B and were told to taste each and guess which was the “healthy” version.

I guessed B because it was less creamy, but actually was more flavorful.  I actually liked it better than A.  And I was correct!

They had swapped in yogurt, cut some of the more caloric ingredients like mayo, but kept some of the more flavorful ingredients, like garlic, which made the flavor of the dip more intense.  It was delicious!

Healthy Turkey and Glaze

We also tried some turkey and a glaze that was similar to what we had eaten at the night before at our Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner.

(No, that’s not vodka in my Dole shot glass — it’s water.  Or, at least that’s what I want you to think.)

Dole Juice

We learned that this particular glaze was made with Dole juices. (Thank you Josie for serving as my juice model :))

Test Kitchen at Dole Summit

As you can see, the whole experience was a very intimate setting involving about 12-15 people gathered around a large square counter.

Recipe Makeovers in the Dole Test Kitchen

This allowed for a lot of chatter and opportunity to get to know the other bloggers and product reps.  It also allowed for a lot of questions.  Even though this whole trip was sponsored by Dole (i.e. they paid my way and for my hotel and all my meals), I was happy to see that my bloggy counterparts didn’t go easy on the Dole folks.  We asked a lot of pointed questions about ingredients and healthiness of the products, myself included.

Natural Source of Vitamin D

I also learned about a product that Dole makes which is a natural source of vitamin D.  It was one of the most interesting things I learned about while I was there.

I’ll share more about this product later.

Heathy Recipe Swaps and Additions

We continued to learn about healthy swaps and additions while sampling healthy banana bread and low-fat pineapple upside down cake.

Here’s what we learned from the session (all tips courtesy of Dole).

Tips to cut back on fat, sugar, and salt:

You often can reduce the amount of fat, sugar, and salt in your recipes, without sacrificing flavor.

  • Fat: For baked goods, use half the butter, shortening or oil and replace the other half with canned pumpkin, unsweetened applesauce, or mashed banana (the brown ones are the best!).
  • Sugar: Reduce the amount of sugar by one-third to one-half, and instead, try adding other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg; adding flavorings such as vanilla or almond extract; or substituting 100% fruit juice by using 3⁄4 cup of juice for every cup of white sugar, and decreasing the amount of liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons.
  • Salt: Reduce salt by one-half in baked goods that don’t require yeast (foods that require yeast need salt for leavening, so don’t reduce salt in those foods). For most main dishes, salads, soups, and other foods, you can reduce the salt by one-half or eliminate it completely, and make up flavor by adding in more herbs and spices.

Tips to make healthy food swaps:

Healthy food swaps not only reduce the amount of fat, calories, and salt in your recipes, but can also boost the overall nutrition content.

  • Grains: Swap your traditional pasta for whole-wheat pasta; you’ll triple the fiber and reduce the number of calories. Also try swapping your all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour when possible.
  • Dairy: Prepare desserts with fat-free milk instead of whole milk to save 66 calories and almost 8 grams of fat per cup, and try swapping full-fat cheese for its lower-fat counterpart elsewhere for further calorie savings.
  • Meat: When making casseroles, scale back on meat, poultry, or fish, and increase the amount and variety of vegetables you add. There are a number of vegetables with meat-like qualities, like mushrooms and eggplant that make great additions. You’ll save on calories and fat while boosting the vitamins, minerals, and fiber.


To get all of the recipes shown here and all of the recipes I sampled while at the Dole Summit, follow Foodie Fresh on Facebook and follow the steps below to make sure you receive all of my page updates.

Step 1: Go to my Facebook page and place hover over the “Liked” button.

Step 2: When the window pops up, select “Show in Newsfeed”. A check mark should appear.

In fact, you should do this for all pages for which you want to be notified when the page is updated. Otherwise, Facebook only shows you a very small percentage of updates for the pages (and people) you follow.

And if you do not use Facebook but would like the recipes, shoot me an email at and I’ll email them to you.  There are a lot of fabulous healthy holiday recipes, which I know you’ll want this holiday season.

**Dole picked up the tab for my involvement in the Dole Summit and all travel costs.  However, I was not compensated for my time there and am not being compensated for any related posts. All opinions (as always) are my own.**