Posts tagged with Salad
It's officially salad season, my friends! Sure, we've been getting greens for weeks, but we're really rolling now. And, if you've been following this space for a few years, you know I couldn't be happier.
So you've been warned: We'll have a lot of salad posts in the coming weeks.
But now to this week. At our last CSA pickup, we received: Asparagus, spinach, green onions, whole-wheat flour, mustard greens and salad mix.
As you can imagine, we had steamed asparagus and lots of salad with our box of goodies. We saved the whole-wheat flour for more pizza. Meanwhile, I’m sad to say that we still haven’t used the mustard greens. They’re still healthy-looking, I just haven’t found a home for them as of this writing.
One of the best things we did with the salad mix was combine it with a local Mediterranean treat: Lebanese beans.
A mix of garbanzos, fava beans, herbs and spices, it’s a nice salad topper and pita filler. Mixed with CSA salad mix, avocado, olives and a little something sweet, it makes for a fantastic salad.
Mediterranean Flair Salad
2 large handfuls local salad mix
Half an avocado, cubed
10 to 15 kalamata and/or garlic-filled green olives, cut in half
1/2 cup Lebanese Flower Lebanese beans or other mixed beans
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste
Divide salad mix among two salad bowls. Add 1/4 avocado to each bowl. Divide the olives, beans and cranberries. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.
This week we received: Asparagus, salad greens, spinach, eggs, radishes, green onions and head lettuce.
It's Jan. 1, peeps! (Or Jan. 2 for many of you who might not be eyeballing our site on a holiday.) If you're visiting this blog in the new year because you've decided you'd eat more whole, fresh foods, you've come to the right place. Well, at least I think so.
I really do try to keep this blog as healthy as possible. To me "healthy" means a few things:
Whole ingredients — I like to use foods in their natural state, as unprocessed as possible. This isn't always the case, or sometimes I use something out of convenience (case in point: the can of beans below, rather than beans from scratch). But, most of the time, my meals feature whole fruits and vegetables supported by a few condiments.
Good fats — I prefer to focus on fats that are good for the body: seeds and nuts with essential fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids (like the kind in avocados) and medium chain fatty acids (like the kind in virgin coconut oil). Extra virgin olive and grapeseed oils are great too, but don't provide as many anti-inflammatory benefits as the other fats I've mentioned.
No refined sugar — I like to use alternatives to white or brown sugar when possible. Most of the time, I'll tend to use dates, maple syrup and honey.
The salad I'm featuring today is a great example of a healthy dinner that meets all of my guidelines. It contains good fats, plenty of whole foods, unrefined sugar and isn't difficult to prepare.
Note: The picture above also contains mashed sweet potatoes. I'm not including a potato recipe because we were too heavy-handed on the spices and they ended up tasting like a high-end pumpkin pie candle. Not our best experiment.
Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing
1/4 cup prepared spicy, smooth mustard
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
8 cups mixed greens
1 avocado, peeled, halved, pitted and sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced into very thin half-moons
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 recipe roasted portobellos (below)
Dressing: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Done.
Salad: Throw together all the ingredients except the portobellos in a large mixing bowl. Pour on the dressing and use tongs to toss. When ready to serve, place the dressed greens on plate and add the sliced, warm portobellos. Serves 4.
1/2 cup cooking wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large portobello caps
Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a glass pie plate or small casserole. Place the mushrooms upside down in the marinade into each cap to form a small pool. Preheat the oven to 400 F and marinate for about 20 minutes.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, use tongs to flip the caps over, and cook, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Let it cool a bit and then slice the mushrooms very thinly on the diagonal and make nice meaty slices.
(Recipe from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)
As much as I love salad year round, coming home to a dark house and a cold salad isn't that fun this time of year. Yet, I don't want to miss out on the nutrition that a salad for dinner provides.
Thus, I've really been digging having "warm" salads these days.
I shared my "burger" salad a few weeks ago. It's awesome, but it's also not the only warm salad in my arsenal.
A single warm ingredient can winterize any salad, meaning, depending on the foods you like, your possibilities are endless. Plus, in my estimation, the warm ingredients usually soften the rest of the ingredients and provide texture and flavor, meaning you can probably skip the dressing all together.
The one I'm going to share today has a bunch of texture, flavor and tons of nutrition. This salad is a great source of vitamin A from the sweet potato and spinach, omega-3 fatty acids from the hemp seeds, vitamin B-12 from the nutritional yeast (which also adds a nice, cheesey flavor), while the avocado provides good monounsaturated fats and loads of vitamin E. And the cranberries bring a necessary sweetness plus a bit of fiber, iron and vitamin C.
Yeah, basically, it's a nutritional powerhouse in one bowl. And it's super tasty.
Savory Sweet Potato and Cranberry Salad
Handful baby spinach
1 small sweet potato, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and steamed
1/2 avocado, chopped
Handful dried cranberries
1-2 tablespoons hemp seeds (or ground flax, if you prefer)
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Pinch black pepper
Line a salad bowl with a bed of spinach, top with hot sweet potato, avocado, cranberries, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast and pepper. Mash the sweet potato and avocado into the greens for a creamy, filling salad. Serves 1.
Ever since the cold snap a few weeks ago, I’ve been drawn to dinner bowls that are basically half salad, half fresh-from-the-stove goodness.
And my most favorite version of this hybrid dinner bowl gets its inspiration from my favorite meal at the now-shuttered Local Burger: The burger salad.
Even though Local Burger shut down at summer’s close, Hilary Brown’s fabulous “World’s Greatest Veggie Burger” have been on sale for quite some time under the brand name “Hilary’s Eat Well.” I used to buy them in bulk back in the day at Local Burger, but now you can pick up two-packs of the yummy burgers at pretty much any Lawrence grocery store (plus nationally at Whole Foods, if you happen to be reading this anywhere but Lawrence).
Anyhow, when Local Burger was open, you could get any burger on top of a salad. It was a great idea that not only upped the satiation factor but also the nutritional value of each salad. Maybe it was nostalgia, or the cooler weather, or both, but for some reason, I wanted to make my own burger salad at home.
After many attempts and combinations, I think I’ve found my absolute favorite. It’s a sweet/salty/hearty mix that’s just perfect for a weeknight fall or winter dinner.
Of course, this recipe works with my own homemade veggie burgers, but I thought when I shared this recipe, I’d share it with the burger that was the inspiration for it.
Fall Burger Salad
1 frozen/uncooked veggie burger
1 small sweet potato
5-6 Brussels sprouts
1 handful baby spinach
¼ cup sauerkraut or kimchi
Dijon mustard (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. De-stem (cut off the little bottom “nub”) the Brussels sprouts and half them, and peel the sweet potato and chop it into ¼-inch rounds, halving the largest of the rounds.
Rub the tops of the Brussels with a bit of coconut oil and place them, cut side up, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure to line them up on one half of the sheet, as you’re going to use the other half for the burger in a few minutes. Put the sprouts in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the sweet potato pieces in a steamer pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and steam the sweet potato on the stove.
When your 10-minute timer goes off, take the sprouts out and flip them with tongs. Then, before putting them back in the oven, add the frozen burger patty to the open side of the parchment. Set your timer for 5 minutes.
When the 5 minutes are up, flip your burger and put the baking sheet back in the oven. Next, check on your potato. If you can cut through the rounds easily with a spatula, they’re done. Take them off the heat to cool a bit while your sprouts and burger finish.
Check on the burger and sprouts and either pull them out when the timer goes off, or a bit earlier.
In a bowl, put your spinach on the bottom. Next, layer with sweet potatoes and sprouts. Top with your burger, cut into eighths. Add your kraut or kimchi and top with a dollop of Dijon and a bit of black pepper. Mash it all together and eat. Serves 1.
Thanks to strong evidence from the peanut gallery, it seems as though I might be the only member of my immediate family who truly likes pretty much any root vegetable.
Of course we love carrots and sweet potatoes (though that’s a tuber, I suppose), but if we’re talking beets, turnips, parsnips, my darling hubby/head chef WILL NOT TOUCH THEM. Sure, he might shovel a few in his mouth if they’re hidden in with those he prefers in our favorite life-saving roasted vegetables. But, on the whole, he will not eat them. Same thing for the kiddo, who, at age three, just cannot get over that special root vegetable smell.
Alas, when it comes our CSA and root vegetables, two things normally happen. One: If the husband is picking up the vegetables, he won’t get root vegetables unless there’s no other choice. Two: I’ll pick up the vegetables, embrace the lovely roots, and then eat them all by my lonesome.
This past week at our CSA, I was the one picking the veggies. And you can totally tell because I chose salad turnips over radishes. We also received a butternut squash, greens, salad mix, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
I knew the family wouldn’t touch a raw turnip, despite the fact that salad turnips are mild enough to eat without preparation, so I decided to give them a nice, good roast and then use them as a salad topper.
The result? I nice, hearty addition to your typical green salad.
We served the roasted turnips (Don’t they look like marinated mushrooms?) on top of a salad made from our CSA salad mix, carrots, cherry tomatoes from our garden (the CSA ones weren’t ripe yet), avocado, lemon and garlic. We served them with our favorite butternut squash-apple soup and homemade hummus with sliced veggies and WheatFields’ bread.
I thought they were delicious (of course) and even got both the hubby and the kiddo to try some. Of course, I ate the bulk, but, hey, when it comes to root vegetables, there’s victory to be found in getting your family to do a taste test.
So, if you want to try it (or just happen to have gotten turnips in your CSA and have no idea what to do), you’re in luck, because the recipe is super simple and won’t leave you with ingredients you can only use on the occasional turnip.
Easy Roasted Turnips
1 bunch salad turnips or 2-3 large turnips
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus more for splashing
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Peel your turnips and then chop them into ½-inch by 1-inch rectangles. Put the turnips in a mixing bowl, cover with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and toss to coat. Spread your coated turnips out on your prepared baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. When serving, top with extra balsamic plus salt and pepper if needed. Serves 2-4.
What’d we get this week? Swiss chard, peppers (hot and sweet), tomatoes, salad mix, radishes and butternut squash.
I'm like everyone else in that I love to splurge when I'm on vacation. I think there must be an switch somewhere deep in our human brains that says: Holy cow, you're not at home, EAT ALL THE THINGS.
That mentality was on full display last week, when we took a family vacation.
That said, because we were staying at our family's cabin, I had access to a kitchen. Thus, I tried get the splurge section of my brain to meet the practical side of my brain halfway. This pretty much translated to cooking lunch and then eating out at dinner.
Really, I don't think that's half bad. I got to enjoy my favorite vacation-spot Indian food (NAAN!) plus two different pizza joints AND got to introduce my parents to the awesomeness that is our favorite homemade fajitas.
Though we didn't have any CSA goodness to work with (having given our pickup coordinator notice the week before), I was able to harvest produce from my own garden and hit up the Lawrence Farmers' Market before we left. Because of that, I could enjoy a little taste of home each day at lunch.
For probably half of my lunches, I made the salad below, which was super tasty, healthy and included homegrown tomatoes along with store-bought ingredients I picked up when we reached our destination.
The salads went a long way to balance out edible vacation-style splurges (chocolate, a giant cookie, the aforementioned naan) and they were beyond easy.
Simple Vacation Salad
2 handfuls baby spinach
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado (it's there, just buried in the photo)
Sliced almonds (to taste)
Store-bought honey mustard dressing (to taste)
Toss all in a bowl. Serves 1. Yum!
What'd we get this week?
Melon, grapes, Swiss chard, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.
Chances are, that if you started coming to this blog because you were looking for ideas for what to do with your initial CSA hauls. You know, the ones with ingredients you tend to never buy (turnips, kohlrabi, etc.) or ones that seem so similar you’re not sure how to use them without eating the same variation of a meal over and over (head lettuce, spring mix and kale, anyone?).
But now, on the cusp of August, you should be completely comfortable with what you’re bringing home or finding at the farmers’ market. Tomatoes, cucumber, onions, peppers and melon have probably been summer staples in your house well before you knew what the heck a CSA was (it stands for Community Supported Agriculture, by the way).
My haul last week? Tomatoes, cucumber (1), onions, multiplier onions, watermelon, bell peppers and kale.
If your CSA pickup was like mine, I doubt I really need to give you ideas on how to use those things. You know what to do. You already have your favorite recipes. And I have mine. And this week, we did nothing spectacular with our haul, we just made food we already know we love.
And we made the above cheeseless vegetable lasagna, which I haven’t shared before, but have made previously. Honestly, I haven’t shared it because the recipe is super long and has multiple steps. BUT, if you want to know how to make it, and are interested in something with homemade tomato sauce, marinated mushrooms and yet another use for zucchini, let me know by emailing the Lcom folks and I’ll send out a mass email.
Thus, the recipe I’m sharing this week is a super simple one. It takes items you’re getting in spades, mixes it with other goodies and creates a fabulous chopped salad. Feel free to play around with the ingredients -- use what you have on hand and don’t go out and buy stuff if you don’t have it. The dressing and the salty-sweet combo of raisins and olives will keep things flavorful, no matter the base.
Midsummer Night(s) Chopped Salad
2 large red peppers (or orange or yellow), seeded and chopped
1 to 2 cucumbers, seeded and chopped
1 to 2 handfuls kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 to 2 handfuls raisins
1 avocado, chopped
Squirt lemon juice
Pinch each: salt, pepper, nutmeg
Mix the peppers, cucumbers, olives, raisins and avocado in a large bowl. Top with lemon juice and seasonings. Stir gently to mix and enjoy. Serves 1 to 2.
How’s it going, folks? Here’s hoping you’re up to your ears in the bounty that is local produce these days, whether it’s coming from your CSA or one of the farmers’ markets, the grocery store or all of the above.
My counters are swimming in produce right now and both crispers are completely packed. We have two fruit bowls and they’re both brimming with the good stuff: local peaches, Asian pears (one of my favorite fruits to buy locally), melons and non-local tropical fruits (a girl’s gotta have her bananas and lemons). Right there next to the fruit bowls are our tomatoes, coming daily from our garden and then every few days from the market or our CSA, Rolling Prairie. In the fridge, we’ve got corn, greens, beets, carrots, cucumbers, summer squash, basil … so many good things, all coming from within a small radius of our house. Totally delicious.
The goodies our CSA supplied to us last week were carrots, blackberries, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and yellow squash.
It’s funny, because when I first started my CSA subscription years ago, I had a really hard time balancing what we’d get in our weekly CSA share and what I wanted to buy at the market and the store. But this summer my mantra seems to be: the more the better. So, honestly, we used up our CSA haul really fast this week (within 24 hours) and had to replace if fairly quickly with the same stuff, procured elsewhere.
Basically, a blackberry snack, some green juice featuring the squash, cucumber and carrots (below) and two salads took care of things this week.
One of the salads featuring local produce was this super easy one: Sweet and Spicy Corn and Tomato Salad. I made it last Monday (pick-up day) while the hubby was running and I was kind of surprised when I didn’t have any left over to give him (whoops). But don’t worry, it’s really easy to double or triple the recipe.
Sweet and Spicy Corn and Tomato Salad
Kernels from 2 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1 large heirloom tomato, chopped
½ avocado, chopped
Peach or mango salsa
Squirt lime juice
Hot sauce (optional)
Nutritional yeast (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Enjoy! Serves 1 as a main course or two as a side salad.
What’d we get this week? Tomatoes, cucumber (1), onions, multiplier onions, watermelon, bell peppers and kale.
It's no shock that I'm really high on bringing salad for lunch. I've blogged about salad countless times in this space. (We should probably just start calling it "Salad Corner" or something, right, Mr. Editor?) [Ed. note: How about Kale Korner?]
Therefore, I'd say that at least four days out of the week I'm having salad al desko. And more, often then not, my eyes are way bigger than my stomach when preparing one at home or creating one at a salad bar. This is a common occurrence, right? I'm not the only one who goes, "I WANT EVERYTHING" when standing in front of a trough of veggies of varying weights. I mean, this IS why they sell it (not-so-cheaply) by the pound, no?
Well, even if it's just me who's paying $10 or more for per pound salad (yes, it would be cheaper if I didn't buy the heavy stuff), chances are that if you're the type to bring your lunch to work, you've been unfortunate enough to have dressed a salad, not eaten it all for one reason or another, left it overnight and come in the next day to find your leftover lunch all soggy in the bottom of the container. I love my salad, but even I really, really hate diving into soggy, next-day greens. I mean, limp and cold just sounds so ... appealing, right? Especially in an over-air-conditioned office environment. Brrr.
Thus, I must admit, that many a day-old salad has been pitched and sandwich ordered because of this slight problem.
That said, I've found two very easy ways to remedy this particular problem.
The first: Keep a bowl and fork at work. That way, you can put half your salad in a bowl, dress it and then see where you are after you finish. I found a nice HUGE one (I've found the bigger the bowl, the less chance at dressing splatters on my desk) at World Market for $6. It works like a charm and is great to keep on hand for other random office delights.
Meanwhile, the second is a brainstorm that's happened most recently: Keep a package of nori sheets right there in your desk next to your snacks.
Nori sheets are just sheets of seaweed used to make sushi rolls. They're pretty inexpensive and very good for you (lots of iron and about five to 10 calories per sheet). But here's where they come in when discussing soggy salad: they're your knights in black-green armor.
Have leftover dressed salad that's gone all wilty? Just spoon it in and wrap it up:
I've found it works, no matter the dressing type. The nori is pretty neutral, considering it's a sea veggie. Plus, it seems to stay good forever in a cabinet (though you might want to place an open package within a plastic bag) and it won't add loads of calories or artificial crapola to your meal like some wraps.
And, thus, another salad is saved from the trash.
P.S.: If you try it, let me know what you think.
P.P.S: Note the nori is pretty chewy, and for best results, you should eat it immediately after filling it with salad. If you let it sit, it will be hard to tear with your teeth.
P.P.P.S: Nori is also really good slathered with hummus and filled with pieces of avocado.
Monday nights usually are not my most shining moments in the kitchen. They tend to involve dishing out whatever we made Sunday night, or if one of us ate the remainder of Sunday's dinner for lunch on Monday ... rushing around trying to throw something suitable together.
Yes, I'm horrible at meal planning. When I shop, I know exactly what I want to eat that week, but it always seems that I misjudge how much each dish will make, and how long that dish will really stick around. Sometimes, I make things and realize that we ate the whole thing, leftovers be darned. Other times, we make something and it lurks in the fridge for days, uneaten in favor of something more exciting than leftovers ... until it dies a moldy death in the trashcan.
So, I'm trying to improve on this. And, thus, this Monday, I was determined to make something healthy and tasty from scratch — and have enough left over for lunch and dinner today. Complicating the fact, was that the kiddo and I went to play with a school friend after work while the hubby went running. We finally got home around 7, with the kiddo famished and the hubby on his way back, STARVING.
My solution? Doing two things at once. As soon as I got the kiddo settled with his requested dinner (baby carrots, provolone and a leftover smoothie), I decided make a double batch of my favorite kale salad recipe plus a roasted dumpling squash recipe I learned during my cooking class with Isa.
It ended up timing out perfectly so that the squash and the salad were done within seconds of each other. I started the squash first, then set to washing and chopping all my salad ingredients. By the time the squash needed to come out of the oven to be seasoned, the salad was combined, the kiddo was ready for bed and the hubby was home and ready to eat. I pulled the squash out to cool, put the kiddo to bed and then we chowed down.
Simple. On a Monday. Who knew?
You already have the salad recipe, so here's how to make the squash. Feel free to sub in acorn squash, though know you can't eat the skin on acorn like you can on dumpling squash.
Simple Roasted Dumpling Squash
4 sweet dumpling squash (similar in size)
Olive oil (in a mister, if you have one)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut squash in half, along the equator (don't try to cut through the stem!). Scoop out and discard the seeds.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray or rub a tiny bit of olive oil on the parchment paper. Place the squash, cut side down, on the oiled parchment. Bake 40 to 45 minutes.
When done, pull it out of the oven and use a hot pad or spatula to flip over the squash, so that they cool with the flesh "up." Once you have them facing upward, sprinkle with salt and dust with cinnamon. Let cool and enjoy.
P.S.: I had enough salad left over for a honkin' lunch today and saved the leftover squash for dinner tonight. Yay for planning (sort of).