Crunchy Thai Salad + Peanut Dressing (GF, DF)

It's that time of year!  Salad time!  How great was it to indulge during the holiday season?  I LOVED it but it's time to get back to healthier, more sustainable ways.  Like everyone else, I'm back to the gym and eating right.  I had a satisfyingly long day of batch cooking this past Sunday, making lots of yummy and healthy things.  Like vegetables!  You remember vegetables. 

I also made an especially good peanut dressing. 

There's going to be a lot of leftover cabbage.  I shredded one red and one green head of cabbage and stuffed half into a gallon sized freezer bag, pushed all the air out of it, sealed, labeled and threw it in the freezer for another time.  Cam and I like to make a quick stir fry midweek with ground turkey, shredded cabbage and a simple sauce.  

Serves 6. 

Crunchy Thai Salad + Peanut Dressing

for the dressing

1/3 cup tamari soy sauce

3/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

juice of one lime

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

for the salad

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

4 carrots, peeled, shredded

5 scallions, green parts, thinly sliced

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

To make the dressing: heat tamari, peanut butter, water, brown sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and vinegar in a small pot and whisk until smooth and sugar has dissolved.  Cool.  

Compose salad and serve with dressing. 

Thai Noodle Salad

Crunchy romaine and veggies contrasted with soft rice noodles dressed in a thai lime dressing. Sweet, sour, tangy and a pinch spicy.  So much flavor. I think this would be great for lunch on a hot day. 

Serves 4.

Thai Noodle Salad + Lime Dressing

for the dressing

1/2 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)

2-3 teaspoons minced fresno chile

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon tamari

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated ginger

s + p, to taste

for the salad

3 oz super thin rice noodles (vermicelli)

1 cucumber, julienned

2 carrots, peeled, julienned

1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, julienned

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts

chopped fresh cilantro (or mint or thai basil)

Whisk together lime juice, chile, fish sauce, tamari, brown sugar and ginger.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.  

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Turn off heat and add rice noodles.  Let sit about 8 minutes, noodles will be softened.  Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. 

Divide noodles, cucumber, carrots and bell pepper into 4 bowls.  Spoon over lime dressing as desired and garnish with crushed peanuts and fresh herbs.  






Salad + Plums + Honey Cumin Vinaigrette

I don't eat enough salad.  I try, but I just don't.  So, I've been trying to make ones at home full of things I like to eat to entice myself to eat more greens.  

This, seasonal late summer/early fall salad, is one of them.  Fresh, sweet stone fruit and roasted carrots.  The honey cumin vinaigrette ties everything together.  

Serves 2.

Salad with Plums + Honey Cumin Vinaigrette

For the salad:

3 carrots, peeled, chopped

splash olive oil

s + p

1 plum, pitted, sliced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

3 - 4 cups baby greens mix

For the vinaigrette:

1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

squeeze lemon juice, to taste

s + p

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss chopped carrots in olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Spread out on pan and roast in oven about 20 minutes, tossing once if desired.  Set aside.

Make vinaigrette by first toasting cumin seeds.  Place in a pan over medium high heat, shaking pan frequently, until fragrant.  Grind toasted seeds in a spice or coffee grinder to a fine powder. 

In a small bowl, whisk ground cumin seeds, honey and vinegar together.  Whisk in oil.  Season with lemon juice and salt until balanced and doesn't taste overpoweringly of olive oil.  

Toss greens, carrots, plums and red onion slices with vinaigrette.  Serve immediately.  







Watermelon Salad!

What are your favorite things about summer?  For me it's going to the beach, being in the sun, fruit picking and the glorious bounty that is the green market.  I always look for watermelon.  It's such a summery fruit.  

Watermelon salad's seem to be everywhere on restaurant menus and it's no surprise to me.  They're crunchy, simple and refreshing.  Hydrating too, right?  (ha!)  I can eat a crazy amount of watermelon.  

Use whatever herbs you like.  I suggest mint, chervil, parsley, chives and thyme.  

serves 2.

Watermelon Salad + Lemon Vinaigrette

for the vinaigrette

1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon dijon mustard

s + p

for the salad

1 head bibb lettuce leaves, washed, dried, chopped

about 2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs

2 cups chopped seedless watermelon

2 oz fresh goat cheese, chopped

2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons shelled pistachios

In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil and dijon together until emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper until well balanced, adding more lemon juice if necessary. 

Toss lettuce and herbs with vinaigrette.  Pile dressed leaves onto 2 plates.  Top each with watermelon, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds and pistachios.  Serve immediately.   



Kale + Potato Salad


A new salad from Cameron.  It's delicious and makes great use of seasonal ingredients.   Also, how often do you eat potatoes and pomegranate seeds together?  Probably not enough, right?

Kale + Potato Salad

1 large sweet potato, chopped

2 white potatoes, chopped

olive oil

1 bunch kale leaves, stems discarded

juice of 1/2 lemon

s + p

seeds from 1 small pomegranate

1 cup pecans

splash basalmic vinegar

Heat oven to 425.  Toss sweet potato and white potatoes in a splash of olive oil.  Place onto a baking sheet and roast 45 minutes until done, tossing once. 

While the potatoes are roasting, saute kale in a splash of olive oil, for 5 minutes until wilted.  Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  

Toss roasted potatoes, kale, pomegranate seeds and pecans together in a large bowl and drizzle with a tiny amount of basalmic vinegar.


Tostada Salad + Carrot Ginger Dressing


Have you ever been to The Organic Grill in the east village?  It's my favorite place for a healthy bite.  I mostly order this tostada salad.  It's the perfect meatless lunch.   It's served as a composed salad but I prefer to toss everything up in a bowl with a ton of the dressing.  

Serves 4 and makes 1 pint of dressing. 

Tostada Salad + Carrot Ginger Dressing 

1 cup uncooked brown rice

3 tomatoes, seeded, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded, diced

fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

s + p

4 sprouted whole wheat tortillas

1 lb mesclun greens, washed, dried

1 tin black beans, drained, rinsed

2 carrots, peeled and grated

4 oz cheddar cheese, grated

for the dressing

3 carrots, peeled, chopped

1/4 cup fresh ginger, diced

1 shallot, chopped

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 cup neutral oil (grape seed, sunflower..)

 1/4 cup orange juice (or water)

In a small pot, bring brown rice and 2 cups water to a boil.  Cover, lower heat and simmer until water has evaporated, about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, fluff with fork, re-cover and set aside.   

Toss together tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.  Salsa should marinate 10 minutes.

Get the dressing going.  Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.   

Place each tortilla on a plate or in a bowl and top with brown rice, greens, beans, grated carrots, salsa and grated cheese.  Serve with dressing.  



Cam's Freekeh Salad


We've made big batches of this a couple weeks in a row and I'm obsessed.  If I'm not paying attention I can eat much more than I should.  It's one of those foods that I'm not sure if it's a side dish or main meal so maybe it's both.  

Freekeh is a roasted grain from green wheat, it is a natural, ancient grain high in fiber and iron.   

Serves 4.   

Freekeh Salad with Cilantro + Corn

1 cup freekeh

2 ears corn

1 red bell pepper, seeded, diced

1 poblano pepper, seeded, diced

2 shallots, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 tin black beans, drained, rinsed

olive oil

s + p

several sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

juice of 1 lime

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Cook freekeh in 2 cups water.  Boil, cover, simmer 50-60 minutes until water is gone and freekeh is cooked.   

Cut kernels from corn (discard cobs) and saute in a splash of olive oil with red bell pepper, poblano, shallots and garlic.  Cook 5 minutes, or until corn is cooked.  Add freekeh and black beans.  Toss with salt, pepper, cilantro, lime juice and cumin.   


Vegetarian Dinner Salad


I really don't know what to call this salad but it came about the other night when i was feeling vegetarian and wanted a complete full meal salad, some thing healthy and vegetal with plant based protein.   

serves 4.

Vegetable Barley Lentil Salad

1 cup pearl barley

1 cup french lentils

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, halved lengthwise

5 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise

olive oil

s + p

1/4 lb peashoots, rinsed and dried (salad spinner is great for this)

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon squash seed oil  

1 tablespoon olive oil

pinch of cayenne pepper

about 12 cilantro leaves, chopped

4 teaspoons pepitas

4 teaspoons roasted sunflower seeds (salted or not is up to you)  

Cook barley in a small pot with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 45 minutes.   Fluff with fork and set aside.

Cook lentils in another small pot by covering lentils with water, no salt, and simmering for 30 minutes.  Drain lentils and set aside. 

Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss carrots with a splash olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Add asparagus to the sheet, toss with a splash of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast, carrots and asparagus for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Make vinaigrette by whisking together champagne vinegar, lemon juice, squash seed oil and olive oil.  Add cilantro leaves, pinches of cayenne and s + p to taste. 

Toss carrots, asparagus and peashoots in vinaigrette.  

To serve, portion barley into 4 dishes, top with portion of lentils, then veggies.  Top each dish with one teaspoon pepitas and sunflower seeds.   


Chickpea Salad


My husband, Cameron, is very good at making smart, healthy things to eat and I wanted to share this tasty chickpea salad he made. 

I wouldn't tell anyone else to do this but after the chickpeas were cooked I went through and removed what I call the 'pants' off almost each individual chickpea.  The 'pants' are the soft, clear skins.  I hate them so I remove them (do you do this?)  but feel free to leave them with their pants on.  

Chickpea Salad

12 oz dried chickpeas

several sprigs fresh thyme

zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon caraway seed

1 bay leaf

2 shallots - one, peeled, ends trimmed and one diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled, lightly crushed

1 carrot, peeled, halved

small bunch fresh mint, chopped

small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

juice of 1 lime

drizzle olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 carrot, blanched, peeled, diced

s + p

Soak dried chickpeas over night in plenty of water.  Drain and transfer to a large pot.  Create a bouquet garni by tying thyme, orange zest, mustard, caraway and bay up into a cheese cloth pouch.  Place in pot along with peeled shallot with ends trimmed, garlic cloves, and carrot halves.  Cover with lots of water (chickpeas will soak up a lot of water while cooking.  Bring to a boil and simmer mostly cover with lid slightly ajar for about 1 hour until cooked through and soft but still with some firmness.  Drain and discard everything but chickpeas.

Toss chickpeas with mint, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, shallot, bell pepper and carrot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

A Very Fruity Salad + Pomegranate Vinaigrette


This past Christmas we served this salad with pasta and a hearty bolognese meat sauce.  So for me, it will always be called the 'Christmas Salad' but for everyone else this can be an anytime salad.  Or maybe a fruity salad to eat in winter?  

There's a good thing happening in this salad between the fruit and the bitter raddichio and the crunch from the pomegranate seeds and jicama.  

Jicama is an odd little root vegetable.  Super crunchy and similar to a very starchy apple or pear but only a hint of sweetness.  Peel of its thick skin with a knife and chop it up.  It's also a great snack drizzled with lime, sprinkled with salt and chili powder or a vehicle for dips and salsa.  

Christmas Salad

2 baby romaines or 1 head of romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped

1 raddichio, halved, cored and sliced

1 blood orange, peeled and cored and sliced into half moons

1 navel orange, peeled and cored and sliced into half moons

Seeds of 1/2 of a pomegranate

1 small jicama, peeled and sliced into sticks

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

s + p

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard

For Salad:  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Right before serving toss or drizzle with vinaigrette.  

For Vinaigrette:  Pomegranate juice can be freshly made by squeezing pomegranate seeds through a citrus press.  It will take about 1/4 of a fruit or slightly less.  (Or if out of season, bottled juice may be used but look for ones without added sugar.)  Set aside.  

In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and vinegar, add salt pinch by pinch until well balanced.  It shouldn't taste too salty or too sharp.  Add a couple turns or black pepper, olive oil and pomegranate juice.  Whisk vigorously.  If it doesn't come together add a bit of brown mustard.  Whisk more and make any final adjustments.  (more salt, more lemon, more pepper...)