Category Archives: salads

05 September 2018: Refreshing Quinoa Salad

2018-Sep-05_fournightsaweek_2642Even though we are beyond Labor Day, we are experiencing one of those New England heat waves where the temperatures and humidity almost make one long for winter. Well, maybe not. 

I discovered this quinoa-based salad from Leah Matthews in Vegetarian Times. It really is delicious and, as Chef Matthews intended, reminds me of a tabbouleh. The substitution of quinoa for the more traditional bulgur, makes this one gluten-free for those with sensitivities.

Refreshing Quinoa Salad by Leah Matthews

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and finely diced (2 1/2 cups)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced (3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • Original recipe instructions reference toasted pine nuts – I used about 1/2 cup blanch almonds in place)

Method:

  1. Bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 12 to 14 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and small “tails” bloom from the grain.
  2. Preheat over to 400 degrees F. Spread pine nuts on baking sheet and toast 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool, then transfer to larger serving bowl (see last ingredient above).
  3. Drain quinoa, and rinse under cold running water. Drain again. Add quinoa to pine nuts and stir in cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and parsley. Fold in oil lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
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21 August 2018: Sweet Corn Polenta with Bell Pepper & Tomato Salad

2018-Aug-16_Fournightsaweek_2602The July/August 2018 issue of Eating Well has, as you might expect, some terrific recipes taking advantage of summer harvests. This recipe from Julia Clancy, a recipe developer from EatingWell,  is a perfect example. Is there anything better than a hot-off-the-vine tomato? I don’t think so.  

I’ve been intimidated by making my own polenta for a while. This week, finally, I gave this recipe a try, and I have to admit the difference is amazing! I’ll be hard-pressed to buy the ready-made products from now on. 

The only “downside” to this recipe is that it takes quite a while to complete – the polenta cooking and cooling period is about 3 hours total.  I made the polenta ahead of time, marinated the salad together in the refrigerator and, since we were having one of those unpredictable dinner times, assembled everything in about 20 minutes. This is definitely a great meal to prep ahead of time and put together later.

Served with a crisp, dry rose, this was a terrific mid-summer vegetarian meal.

Sweet Corn Polenta with Bell Pepper & Tomato Salad by Julia Clancy

Ingredients

For the Polenta:

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (please, not the canned dust!)
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Salad

  • 2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, halved & seeded
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 TBSP red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP chopped FRESH herbs (basil, mint and/or tarragon)

Method:

  1. To prepare polenta: Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and gradually add cornmeal, whisking constantly to prevent clumping. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is creamy and reduce to about 4 cups (50 or 60 minutes). If the mixture is too stiff, loosen with 2 TBSP water.
  2. Add corn, Parmesan, butter, pepper and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cheese is melted and the corn is tender – about 5 minutes. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in the polenta and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm – about 2 hours or up to 1 day.
  3. To prepare the salad: Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high. Place peppers cut-side down on a baking sheet (I lined with foil). Broil, rotating the pan once, until softened and charred – 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes. Rub off blistered skin and coarsely chop the peppers. Combine with tomatoes, 2 TBSP oil, vinegar and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high. Cut the polenta into 12 squares and place on baking sheet. Brush both sides of the polenta with the remaining 1 TBSP oil. Broil, turning once until golden brown – 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. To serve: Arrange the polenta and tomato salad on a large serving platter and top with herbs.

To make ahead: Prepare up to Step 4; refrigerate polenta and salad separately for up to 1 day. Serve salad at room temperature.


14 August 2018: Feta-Herb Edamame Succotash

2018-Aug-11_Fournightsaweek_2593With the recent string of hot and humid days, neither of us has felt inclined to heat up our condo by turning on the oven. We love salads made with fresh greens, but after a bit, that gets a little worn out as a dinner option. Cooking Light published this tasty variation on Succotash by Callie Nash in their May 2017 issue and it is terrific. A quick sauté  of chopped onions with the addition of Edamame and corn is about all the kitchen heat that is generated, making this a great salad for hot and humid days.

Feta-Herb Edamame Succotash by Callie Nash

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernals, thawed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 TBSP fresh dill (USE FRESH)
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (USE FRESH)
  • 2 TBSP sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until tender (about 4 mins).
  2. Add edamame; cook stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add corn; cook. stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl; cool 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, feta, dill, parsley, vinegar, salt and pepper.

07 August 2018: Summer Farro Salad

2018-Aug-07_fournightsaweek_2587We are in the middle of a New England heat wave, so I’m making an attempt not to heat up our living space beyond tolerable. So with that goal in mind, I went on an Internet search for summer vegetarian salads and came up with this gem from Food & Wine’s September 2009 issue. Summer Farro Salad originated with Marco Canora and the link to his original article is here.

Previously when I’ve cooked with the Italian grain, farro, If you are unfamiliar with this ancient grain, this article from Spruce Eats has a great overview. I’ve found the preparation (soaking, cooking, cooling) to be a bit off-putting. In reading F&W’s recipe, the Farro is simmered with aromatics for about 20 minutes total – way more approachable for those of us for whom cooking is more spontaneous.

Summer Farro Salad – Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cups + 2 TBSP extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 small carrot, halved
  • 1 celery rib, halved
  • 12 oz. farro (1 3/4 cups)
  • 5 cups water
  • kosher salt
  • 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • Fresh pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 small seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise & thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 pint grape comatoes halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of the oil. Add the yellow onion, carrot and celery, cover and cook over moderately low heat until barely softened, about 5 minutes. Add the farro and stir to coat with oil. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the farro is barely tender (about 10 minutes). Season with salt. Cover and simmer until the farro is al dente (about 10 more minutes). Drain the farro and discard the onion, carrot, and celery. Let cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the cooked farro, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

8 Nov 2017: Purple Cabbage Salad

2017-Nov-08_FourNightsAWeek_1498Not sure how it happened, but I recently began receiving a food mag “All Recipes.com”. In the September/October 2017 print issue was a recipe for Purple Cabbage Salad, so in an effort to “eat the rainbow”, I put it on this week’s menu. 

It comes together very quickly with a food processor for shredding and the ingredients were mostly items I would have in my pantry any way – just needed a purple cabbage. At 165 calories per 2/3 cup serving, it’ll make a break from lettuce salads and a nice side for tonight’s dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive)
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and lightly browned (about 2 minutes). Transfer immediately to a bowl and let cool.
  2. Lightly toss together cabbage, oranges, green onions and cranberries in a bowl. Whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, and salt in a bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.
  3. Stir toasted pine nuts into salad and top with dressing. Toss again to coat before serving. (This salad can be made up to 1 day ahead and chilled, tightly covered.)

 


02 March 2017: Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Apples and Walnuts

2017-mar-02_fournightsaweek_0462Adapted from Wholefully.

We love eating Brussel sprouts and usually steam them as a vegetable side dish.  Recently I started seeing shaved Brussel sprout salads, and when, to my great delight, I spotted a bag of sprouts already shredded…. well, I couldn’t resist. Here’s a vegan nod to this dish created by Cassie Johnston at Wholefully, a great resource for healthy eating.

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 pound Brussel sprouts (if you can score pre-shaved ones, you will save yourself the scariness in Step 1 below)
  • 1 medium tart apple (Granny Smith)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

For the Vinaigrette  2017-mar-02_fournightsaweek_0476

  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Trim the ends off the Brussel sprouts. Using a sharp knife or the thinest blade on a mandoline slicer (and a no-cut glove), slice eat sprout thinly. (you can skip this if you find already shaved Brussel sprouts as I did in our local Whole Foods Market).
  2. Slice the apple and red onion in the same manner. Combine in a large bowl.
  3. Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about two minutes. Add to the Brussel sprout mixture. Toss to combine.
  4. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cassie recommends doing this in a jar with a tight fitting lid, I used a measuring cup and small whisk. Pour over the Brussel sprout mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 6


14 August 2016: Tuscan Kale Salad

Here in the Northeast, local farmers have had a lot of difficulty bringing greens to market 2016-Aug-14_kalesalad_1194throughout this prolonged drought. So when I scored some kale at this week’s market, I wasn’t too particular whether or not it was Tuscan, Lacinto, or any other tasty variety; I was just happy to be able to purchase some locally grown greens! 

This tasty salad comes from Melissa Clark, a contributor to the New York Times Cooking Column. The original recipe can be found here and downloaded from the Times on the web. The only change I would make is a personal one: both of us found the lemon juice a bit overpowering. Our adjustment would be to use the juice of half a lemon, but keep all the other proportions the same.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (or any other variety you enjoy)
  • 1 slice country bread OR 1/4 cup homemade bread crumbs (coarse)
  • 1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, more for garnish
  • 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil (more for garnish if desired)
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (see above suggestion to halve this amount)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Trim bottom 2 inches off kale stems and discard. Slice kale, including ribs, into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place kale in a large bowl.
  2. If using bread, toast it until golden on both sides. Tear it into small pieces and grind in a food processor until mixture forms coarse crumbs.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle OR with the back of a knife, pound garlic into a paste. Transfer garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 TBSP oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper flacks and black pepper, and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kale and toss very well to thoroughly combine (dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat leaves).
  4. Let salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with bread crumbs, additional cheese and a drizzle of oil.

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