June is National Dairy Month, a time to remind ourselves that the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend:

  • 3 servings of dairy per day (adults and children 9 years and older)
  • 2 servings of dairy per day (children ages 2 to 8 years)

A serving is defined as:

  • 1 cup milk or yogurt
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup cottage or ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese
  • 1.5 ounces hard cheese
  • 1 cup pudding, frozen yogurt or ice cream (made from milk)

Our weekend recipe combines the classic flavors of sweet potato, chicken and pineapple, accented with reduced-fat Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

“This is a very easy month for me to celebrate,” says registered dietitian Regan Jones, who works with 91-year-old Cabot Creamery Cooperative in Montpelier, VT. “Cheese, yogurt and milk are three of my favorite foods and are great additions to almost any recipe. Even better, all three come in lighter varieties.

“Dairy products provide nine essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and potassium,” Jones adds.

All of the ingredients in today’s recipe should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato, Pineapple and Cheddar Salad

Makes 6 servings

6 small red or yellow onions
2 medium sweet potatoes (12 ounces)
4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
12 cups mixed greens (16 ounces)
Nonfat raspberry salad dressing
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
6 ounces cooked chicken breast, sliced
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Peel onions. Cut them lengthwise into 4 to 6 sections, leaving root intact.
  3. Cut sweet potatoes into 1” x 3” fingers.
  4. Spread onions, sweet potatoes and garlic on a baking sheet with sides. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with red pepper, tossing to combine. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.
  5. Uncover and continue roasting until vegetables are well caramelized on the outside, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes longer.
  6. Toss greens with dressing, to taste. Divide among 6 plates, and top with roasted vegetables, pineapple and chicken.
  7. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Grate cheddar into ribbons on top of each salad, and garnish with mint. 

Recipe and photo courtesy of Cabot Creamery Cooperative