SALADS

Some of you will think this is annoying, but this salad is hard to mess up. You can add, take away, and exchange ingredients. The key is fresh summer veggies, a bean or cheese, herbs, and lemon or vinegar dressing. You can follow this recipe closely or deviate. Whatever makes you comfortable! This recipe is similar to Santorini Salad.

Marinated Mediterranean Salad
adapted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

Ingredients:
1 pint sun sugar cherry tomatoes, halved
3 small cucumbers, halved, seeded, and diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup mint, chopped
1/3 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
optional- 8 ounces feta cheese, ½ inch diced

Preparation:

In a large salad bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Place vegetables, chickpeas, and herbs in the bowl and toss to combine.

Here is a PDF copy of the recipe for your convenience-Marinated Mediterranean Salad

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Do you have bad feelings about lentils? Well, it’s time to get over them! If cooked properly and dressed up with yummy additions, these small green beans will win your heart. Lentils are full of fiber, iron, vitamins, and protein. I love to incorporate lentils on meatless mondays, and I LOVE this recipe because it is healthy and unique. The vinaigrette is amazing and would be nice drizzled on any salad or meat.

LENTIL, SPINACH, AND FETA SALAD with
SOUR CHERRY VINAIGRETTE

adapted from The Foster’s Market Cookbook

Salad Ingredients:
1 ½ cups dried green lentils, picked through and rinsed
(preferably dark green Du Puy French lentils)
4 cups lightly packed baby spinach, washed and drained
½ red onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces feta cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
¾ cup of sour cherry dressing (recipe included)
salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
1 shallot
½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
juice of 2 limes
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup canola oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preparation:
1. Place the lentils in a saucepan, and add enough water to cover by three inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. If you are using regular lentils (not French Du Puy) it might take 20 minutes. Do not overcook! Also, do not add salt to the water. They should be tender but still hold their shape. Drain, rinse and set aside to cool.

2. Prepare the dressing by combining the shallot and dried cherries in a food processor. Pulse until the shallot and cherries are minced. Add the vinegars and lime juice, and process for a few more seconds. With the machine running, slowly add the oils to create an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 6 days before use.
Note: this makes 1 ½ cups but you only need about ¾ cup for the salad. It is awesome on greens or grilled chicken.

3. Combine lentils, onion, feta, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Gently toss in the spinach. Do not overmix or the spinach will bruise and feta will crumble. It might be best to add spinach just before serving.

Here is a printable copy of the recipe: Lentil, Spinach, and Feta Salad

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Health Freak Week

February 23, 2012

Ever have those weeks when you crave really healthy eating? After feasting on fried chicken, a cheeseburger, mexican and pizza last week, I needed a carrot or something! I use to be a vegetarian and sometimes wish I still ate only meatless meals. I ate SO many more veggies when my meals were not focused on meat. A mostly veggie diet will have to do for now.

The Moosewood Cookbook is a classic vegetarian cookbook from the 1970’s. I really enjoy some of the recipes- especially the “Lentil-Bulgar Salad”. This perfectly balanced protein dish is a bit like Tabouli. I have adapted the recipe slightly, and I encourage you to make your own changes based on your vegetable preferences. With a base of bulgar wheat and lentils, the mix-ins are really up to you!

KITCHEN SINK SALAD
adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook

You Will Need:
1 cup dry lentils (+ 2 cups water)
1 cup bulgar wheat (+ 1 cup boiling water)

1/4 cup olive oil (may add a little more)
1/4 cup lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs white wine vinegar (optional)

handful fresh mint, chopped
handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1/2 cup- 1 cup feta cheese
1 hothouse cucumber, peeled,seeded, and diced

Other mix-ins from original recipe:
Nicoise olives
tomatoes
toasted walnuts
fresh dill

1. Place the lentils in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring just to the boiling point. Turn the heat way down, partially cover, and allow to simmer without agitation for 20-25 minutes. Lentils should be tender but not mushy. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

2. While the lentils are cooking, place bulgar in a small bowl. Add boiling water, cover with a plate, and let stand 10-15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, start chopping those veggies! Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and vinegar. Add everything to the lentils and toss gently. *If you choose to add tomato and walnuts, do so just before serving.

This healthy salad will last for days in your fridge and it is the perfect lunch or snack.

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This recipe is said to “eliminate the bad reputation beets have inherited”. So in an effort to cook a new food and give beets a chance, I took a huge risk and made this salad today. As it turns out, beets aren’t so bad after all. The sweet dressing, creamy goat cheese and crisp cucumber complement the otherwise earthy beets. So if you celebrate Meatless Mondays like us then give this salad a chance.


*I forgot the cucumber in this photo

WINTER BEET, CUCUMBER AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD
adapted from A Season To Savor

You Will Need for the Dressing:
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 Tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 small bunch chives
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons veggie oil
salt and pepper
For the salad:
1 large red beet (I used several small)
1 large golden beet (I used several small)
2 european cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 small bunch of arugula
4 ounces goat cheese

For the dressing, combine together in a mason jar the vinegar, OJ, honey, dry mustard and chives. Shake to combine. Add the oil and shake vigorously. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad, prepare a pot of boiling salted water. Cut steams off beets and add to the water. Boil on medium-high heat for 30 minutes or until the beets are fork tender. Drain and cool. Peel the beets and either dice or slice. Beware that beet juice will stain! Combine the beets with some dressing. I let the beets marinate for a couple hours in the fridge. Add cucumber and arugula. Stir gently. Sprinkle with goat cheese and toast to Meatless Mondays!

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POPEYE’S FAVORITE SALAD

August 21, 2011

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. This spinach salad was my attempt to recreate Figo Pasta’s Insalata di Spinaci e Caprino. Baby spinach with goat cheese and golden raisins topped with a honey balsamic walnut vinaigrette. This version of balsamic vinaigrette doesn’t involve honey and walnuts (yet), but it’s great in a dijon garlicky way.

Spinach Salad a la Figo
You Will Need:
bag of baby spinach
4-8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons golden raisins

Balsamic Dressing (makes 1.5 cups)
from Bride and Groom Cookbook
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, maybe a little more
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
ground pepper
1 1/4 cup best-quality olive oil

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to incorporate.
OR
Combine all ingredients in a jar.
Cover tightly.
Shake until throughly blended.
Adjust seasonings to taste. I added a bit more balsamic.
This vinaigrette will keep coved in the fridge for a week!
Toss spinach with dressing.
Top with goat cheese and golden raisins.

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Of course cookbooks provide tempting recipes and plenty of inspiration, but the best recipes come directly from friends. Thank you Clary for sharing this recipe with me. I am obsessed! Tart apples, crunchy celery and tender chicken tossed in a creamy basil lemon dressing- it’s green, it’s good and it is perfect for summer.

CLARY’S BASIL CHICKEN SALAD WITH APPLES

You Will Need:
Handful of basil
1 cup of mayo*
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Juice of 1 lemon and a little zest
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 Granny Smith apples, cubed*
4 celery stalks, sliced
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and white meat cubed or shredded
Favorite greens- arugula, spinach, butter lettuce etc.

Grate cheese in the Cuisinart if needed (I forgot this step- see photos)
Process basil, mayo, garlic, lemon, salt, and cheese until green and smooth.
Combine apples, celery, and chicken in a large bowl.
Dress with green goodness.
Toss until the apples, celery, and chicken are coated.
Serve over your favorite greens.
Eat outside in the sunshine.
Store in the fridge.*

Helpful hints:
* If you are watching your figure, substitute 1/2 cup mayo for 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt.
* I only used 1.5 apples but your call.
* The salad will keep well in the fridge, but don’t toss in the greens until you are ready to eat.

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A WELL BALANCED MEAL

May 15, 2011

It all started with a bag of farm fresh arugula. So credit for this salad goes to W.A. Hennessy Farms (wahfarm.com) for providing me with the most peppery arugula in Georgia. If you live in Atlanta, visit them every Saturday morning at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.

Bread, veggies, chicken and nuts make this dish a satisfying one bowl meal. Please make this salad soon, but I encourage you to make it on a weekend. It involves cooking chicken, roasting a dressing and toasting bread. All not hard tasks but they can be time consuming on a weeknight. You could always buy a rotisserie chicken instead of grilling your own. Omitting the chicken cooking step would allow you to make this a weeknight meal.

ARUGULA AND SOURDOUGH BREAD SALAD WITH CHICKEN
adapted from Sarah Foster’s Casual Cooking

You Will Need:
*For the chicken-
2 chicken breasts with bone and skin
2-4 lemons
coarse salt
pepper
olive oil

*For the bread-
Sourdough bread, 4 cups of 1-inch chunks
olive oil
sea salt

*For the dressing-
2 lemons
4 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and pepper

*For the salad-
4 cups arugula
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
3 Tablespoons golden raisins
3 Tablespoons pine nuts
2 scallions (optional)

To make the chicken:
Rinse the chicken, pat dry and sprinkle with sea salt.
Place in a large plastic baggie.
Throw in some lemon zest.
Squeeze in lemon juice.
Drizzle olive oil into the bag.
Marinade in the fridge for a couple hours.
Grill the chicken at 400 degrees for 15 minutes on each side. (Bone side down first)
Rest the chicken so all the juices can absorb into the meat.
Shred or chop the breast meat for the salad.

To make the bread:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Toss the bread cubes with olive oil and salt.
Scatter the cubes onto a baking sheet
Toast for 12 minutes or until they are golden brown

To make the dressing:
Reduce oven heat to 450 degrees.
Place lemons (cut side down) and garlic (whole cloves in skin) in a baking dish.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast for 30 minutes or until they are soft and golden brown.
(leave the oven on!)
Cool lemons and garlic enough to handle them.
Juice lemons in a small bowl.
Peel roasted garlic.
Smash garlic into the roasted lemon juice.
Add the vinegar.
Whisk in 1/4 cup of olive oil.
Sprinke with parsley.
Adjust flavor with salt and pepper.

To make the salad:
Combine chicken (shredded or chopped) with bread cubes, minced garlic, raisins and pine nuts.
Drizzle with half the dressing and salt/pepper.
Spread on a baking sheet.
Warm for 5 minutes in the oven.
Place warm chicken/bread mixture back to the bowl.
Add arugula and scallions.
Toss with remaining dressing.
Serve warm or room temperature.

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If you have a hankering for the Mediterranean flavors but don’t have a trip to Greece in your near future, try this yummy salad!

SANTORINI SALAD
adapted from Come to the Table

You Will Need:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed (or minced)
1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
pepper to tatse
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
pint of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 hothouse cucumber, seeded and sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
5 ounces good feta, cut into chunks

For the dressing-
Combine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and oil in a mason jar.
Shake until the ingredients have come together.
Set dressing aside in the fridge.

For the salad-
Combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion and feta.
Toss with dressing.
Refrigerate for several hours to let the flavors meld.
Dream of Santorini and enjoy!

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OH MEXICO

February 10, 2011

In less than three weeks, I will be basking in the warm sun of Cabo San Lucas. It is all I think about these days.  I can’t concentrate on anything but sunshine, water and avocados.  And Margaritas.  This Mexican salad gave me a taste of Mexico without sabotaging my bikini bod.

CABO SALAD WITH JALAPENO DRESSING
from Dallas Dish

You Will Need:
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups-ish iceberg lettuce or butter lettuce
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 green bell pepper
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

Dressing:
3 pickled jalapenos
1/2 cup packed cilantro*
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1+ Tbsp honey
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the black beans, oil, vinegar and salt in a bowl.
Cover and marinate in the fridge for up to 1 day, stir occasionally.
Layer the lettuce, marinated beans, onion, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, avocado, cheese and bacon on a platter.


Note: this photo does not include the cheese but it’s a must!

For the dressing, process all ingredients in a Cuisinart. Store in a mason jar and use for about a week. I drizzle it on hummus and avocados.

Drizzle the salad with Jalapeno Dressing, grab a fork and dream of Cabo.

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Asian Three Bean Salad

May 19, 2010

I have whipped up this side salad 100 times in the past few years. The gingery apricot asian flavors are awesome and the beans make it a healthy snack, meal or side.
Asian Three Bean Salad

You Will Need:
1 pound of string beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen shelled edamame
3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup 100 percent fruit apricot preserves
2 scallions, sliced
salt

Boil water in a pan.
Add frozen edamame and green beans.
Blanch for a few minutes.
Drain immediately and rinse with cold water.
Refrigerate with black beans while you prepare the dressing.
Whisk oil, vinegar, apricot preserves, sugar and ginger in a small bowl.
Add scallions.
Drizzle on beans and toss to coat.
Season with coarse salt.

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