Tag Archives: Salad

Israeli Couscous Salad

18 Sep

So I’ve been in Maine for the past few days with my mom eating TONS and tons of lobster……..13 to be exact 🙂 More on that later. Here – look at this:

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My mom’s been making this summery side dish for years and years. I have always liked it, but didn’t pay much attention to it until last year.

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And then I started making it myself this year. It is not only a cinch to throw together, but it’s soooooooo delicious. I don’t even know what it’s officially called – we just call it “Israeli Couscous” which is so generic.

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The main ingredient is Israeli couscous. Israeli couscous is a toasted pasta shaped like little balls. It is made from wheat flour and then roasted in the oven. It was meant to be a rice substitute for a select population in Israel back in the 1940’s and 1950’s. It cooks a little longer than couscous, but a little less than pasta.

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When you add everything together, it tastes so fresh and has a bit of a crunch from the pepper. It is addictive.

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Oh, and I always toss in more ingredients than the recipe calls for – I usually put in 3 chopped peppers, double the cilantro and green onion, and definitely add more fruits and almonds! And you cant double the ingredients without increasing the amount of dressing. You get the point….more is better with this recipe.

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This stuff is so darned good. As Robbb says when I make this salad –  “I could eat this everyday”!

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Israeli Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked Israeli couscous
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup snipped dried apricots, craisins, or raisins
  • 2 Tblsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup poppy seed dressing
  • ½ tsp shredded lime peel
  • Dash hot pepper
  • ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for the salad.

Then combine the dressing – lime peel, hot pepper, and poppy seed dressing.

Pour dressing mixture on top of salad and mix. Sprinkle almonds on top.

(See how simple that was??)

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Grilled Romaine Hearts with Avocado Lime Dressing

4 Sep

I love grilled lettuce. I absolutely love it. It is such a wacky idea, but yet tastes so amazing!

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There isn’t much to it either…..you put a lil olive oil on your lettuce, grill it on low heat, and then fix however you like! It can be casual or very refined, depending on how you dress it up and top it.

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And this dressing is amazing. Like, amazing. It is bright and fresh and enhances the grilled romaine.

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Never mind the shrimp there 🙂 That was for another part of the meal. But thinking it through more, you could easily put grilled shrimp on top of this grilled lettuce with the dressing and it would taste amazing. Hmmmmm, another meal idea!!

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There is the grilled romaine to the right in the pic. I had an accidental drunk-pour of the dressing and put a bit too much on there……ooops! It tasted delicious – and I saved the extra dressing to put on some garden-grown tomatoes later in the week. Yum!

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Avocado Lime Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 romaine hearts, washed, trimmed, and sliced in half
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped up all small
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

Avocado Lime Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped all small
  • ½ teaspoon agave or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt to taste

Directions:

For the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and combine until creamy. Add the pinch of sea salt and mix it in. If it looks way too thick, add more water until it looks like salad dressing. Pour it all into a small container and refrigerate until the lettuce is ready. Can be made a day ahead.

To grill the romaine hearts, heat the grill to a medium-low heat. As long as the grill isn’t crazy hot, you are good.

While the grill heats up, mix the garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper in a little cup. Brush or spoon the oil mixture to the cut side of the lettuce. This isn’t the real dressing so go easy.

Place the lettuce face down on the grill for 60 seconds or until there are clear grill marks and the leaves are beginning to wilt. Flip the hearts over and grill the other side for another 60 seconds. You want the leaves to look charred but not all limp so pay attention.

When they look good, put them on a plate and put some dressing over the hearts. Top with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and plenty of black pepper.

Makes enough for 4 people with some extra dressing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wheatberry Salad

11 Aug

Again, tasked with the “can you bring a side dish?” request early in July, I decided to try a wheatberry dish. I am always on the hunt for delicious, fresh, and HEALTHY side dishes for the summertime when the veggies are so plentiful!

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What is a wheatberry? A wheatberry is almost the whole kernel of wheat and are added to salads or served as a side dish along with corn in some countries.

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They are a great source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. I love putting them in my salad because they give a nice lil crunch.

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This recipe couldn’t be simpler: Cook your wheatberries, chop your veggies, and put together the dressing at the end and pour over top. I also threw in some more veggies than the recipe called for – I couldn’t resist putting in some red and orange pepper to give it some more color and crunch.

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This salad packs a light taste with a lot of crunch and TONS of healthiness!!! Everyone loved it! It was the perfect accompaniment to our summer dinner and would go great with burgers or any type of grilled meat.

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Wheatberry Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups hard wheat berries
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large pot combine the wheat berries and enough water to come 2 inches over the wheat berries. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain and let cool.

Toast the walnuts in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Chop all veggies and parsley.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, walnuts, celery, dried cherries, scallions, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(Calories 360; Total Fat 17 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 6 g, Poly Fat 8 g) ; Protein 9 g; Carb 46 g; Fiber 8 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 15 mg. Excellent source of: Fiber, Vitamin K, Manganese. Good source of: Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Copper, Iron)

Red Quinoa and Summer Squash Salad

4 Aug

In the summer, I am almost always tasked with the dreaded “Can you bring the side dish” question when planning Family Sunday dinners. I tend to spaz out – there are so many options and directions to go. And I want to try new things – but I want to ensure it is fresh and healthy.

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I love quinoa….actually, I love MOST healthy grains – farro, quinoa, barley, wheatberry….That reminds me, I have a great wheatberry recipe to post. Stay tuned on that one.

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What is quinoa? Quinoa is not really a grain – it’s more of a seed. It is also a superfood – it has a crazy amount of protein, fiber, and it is gluten-free. And it’s pretty darn delicious and versatile. I have a favorite quinoa recipe that I posted last year that I love to make for quinoa-newbies.

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This recipe is a bit more refined than my favorite punchy southwestern recipe. And the real stars of this recipe are the squash and the parmesan.IMG_1488

The dressing is so delicate and bright. I love lemon-based dressings and marinades so I gravitated towards it.

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The real recipe says to use fresh, raw summer squash. However, I knew we would be grilling meat and I decided immediately that I would also grill the squash a smidge to get it softened and boost the flavor. I am thrilled that I did that – the taste levels soared!

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Other than grilling the squash, this recipe was a cinch to put together! I grated my own fresh parm and shaved some slices as well to put on top. It looked beautiful and tasted even better. I believe my family adored it – this recipe will be making an appearance again before the end of the summer!

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Now you know what you can bring to a get-together when you get stuck with the dreaded side dish 🙂

Red Quinoa and Summer Squash Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red (or other) quinoa, rinsed in a sieve and drained
  • 2 tsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1-1.5 lb assorted summer squash
  • 4 Tblsp finely grated Parmesan, plus ¼ cup shaved with a peeler
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tblsp Sherry vinegar
  • 8-10 Tblsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

 Directions:

Bring quinoa and 8 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season with salt, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, but not mushy – 12-15 minutes. Drain. Return quinoa to hot saucepan. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and let cool.

Cut squash into 1/8” thick slices – some lengthwise and some crosswise. Transfer to a large bowl, season with 2 tsp salt, and toss to coat. Let sit until slightly wilted – about 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Pat dry and set aside. (Here is where I differed – I cut them lengthwise, basted with olive oil/salt/pepper, and grilled them for just a couple minutes).

Whisk grated parmesan, zest, juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Combine squash, quinoa, parsley, walnuts, and basil in a large bowl. Pour dressing over, toss to coat. Garnish with shaved parmesan.

Cherry Tomato Salad with Buttermilk-Basil Dressing

21 Aug

Are your cherry and grape tomatoes coming in like gangbustersright now?

Ingredients

I am picking at least 7-10 a day and they add up so fast. Sometimes I give them out to friends and co-workers, and other times I am able to consume them on a daily basis.

Dressing and Tomatoes

I was able to make this delicious and healthy salad out of my cherry and grape tomatoes with only 5+ ingredients. It is creamy, without any cream. In a weird way, it could be a nice substitute for a potato salad, too!

Freshly Dressed

This salad is incredibly easy to put together and takes hardly any time. It would be an awesome addition to any summer picnic or BBQ.

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I ate these so fast I couldnt get a pic

Cherry Tomato Salad with Buttermilk-Basil Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups different-colored cherry/grape tomatoes, halved if large
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tblsp thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Put the cherry tomatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss.

In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, basil, shallot, and garlic. Season with pepper.

Drizzle the dresing over the tomatoes and toss.

Tomato Bounty – – – Corn and Tomato Salad

15 Jul

Look at all these tomatoes!!!!!

On Saturday morning after returning home from the Farmers Market, I saw an email from my favorite farmers down the road from me – Skippack Creek Farm. I get all of my tomatoes from them – and all of my herbs and vegetable plants from them in the beginning of the season. They are super nice and friendly and they run an organic farm. I love their produce – but I also love chatting with them and seeing them either at local farmers markets or their own farm stand!

Look at these 2 mutants

Mutant tomato show-down

As I was saying, I got an email from my friends saying that since I was one of their fave customers and they liked me so much, they wanted to give me a free bag of tomatoes!!! Um, YES PLEASE! Their tomatoes taste like bites of juicy heaven. I jumped on it. When I saw how much they were giving me, my mind started to wander thinking “what can i make? what can i make?”

Fresh, simple ingredients

I settled on meaty tomato sauce (which I’ve never made before, and I totally “wung” it without a recipe!) and a fresh Tomato Corn Salad. This corn salad is my mom’s recipe. She made it a couple times earlier in the season and we INHALED it at dinner!

Want to stick my face in there

This salad is so fresh and delicious and SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE! It’s just a couple ingredients – and it’s completely customizable! You want to add beans? Add beans. You want to omit the jalapeno? Go for it. (In fact, my mom’s recipe does not include jalapeno – I added that)

Up Close and Vegetable

The best is if you used sweet corn, you will think there is sugar in this recipe. But there’s not! The sweet corn and the acids together give off a sweet taste that makes you want more!

Cant wait to eat this!

Corn and Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

  •                     3-4 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  •                     4 ears corn, cooked
  •                     1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  •                     1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  •                     2 cloves garlic, minced
  •                     1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  •                     2 tblsp Red Wine Vinegar
  •                     1/4 cup olive oil
  •                     salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Dice tomatoes, jalapeno, and onion. Cut kernels from cooled corn cobs. Add garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Ad the red wine vinegar and olive oil and stir together! Serve cool or room temperature.

Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad

6 Apr

Looking for a fresh-tasting and healthy salad that will wow your guests this weekend?

I saw this recipe in Food & Wine magazine in October or November 2011. It looked good and simple, but time-consuming so I passed it by. Lo and behold, Robbb and I spent our Thanksgiving with my brother and sisterinlaw, Pat and Julie. And Julie busts this salad out! I was psyched to try it since I had seen the recipe and was familiar with it.

Ingredients

This salad is so easy, hearty, and tasty. It tastes so fresh and makes your mouth sing. The dressing is so bright and tangy from the shallots. You can also add some crumbled bacon to the top if you like!

Doesnt it look awesome?

And you can make EVERYTHING in advance and just quickly assemble it. So it carries well if you need to bring a salad to someone’s house as part of potluck dinner. I made this salad for my Girls Night Dinner and then took leftovers to my brother, Jerry’s, house for dinner the next night.

Part of my Girls Night Dinner

Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad 

Ingredients for Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Almonds:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped (I usually do 3/4 cup)
  • salt

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife (I buy pre-shredded at Wegmans)
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino (I use 1.5 – 2 cups)

Directions:

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl.  Stir to blend.  Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

DO AHEAD:  Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Serves 8-10

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