Tag Archives: summer salad

Berry Beety Salad

Nothing says summer to me as much as blackberries.When I was a kid I would stuff my face with as much as I could find, and wore the scratches and stains with pride. Here in Oregon, it seems they are always growing everywhere, along sides of roads, in fields, in random bunches here and there, in most people’s yards. We are going to have a bumper crop in our backyard this year. I don’t know anyone who actually planted their blackberries, but everyone seems to have some. Although whatever variety of berries in my yard isn’t quite ripe yet (we counted 5 black ones today, but the rest are still green or red), farmer’s market was bursting with them. I picked up some Marion berries (a local variety of blackberry) that tasted just like sunshine.

In my farm box this week there were greens, greens and more greens. I still have some lettuce from last week too, so I’ve committed to eating some sort of lettuce based meal every day this week in hopes of using it all up. Last night I roasted beets (also in my box this week, yay!), made a simple but lovely blackberry vinaigrette and ended up with this beautiful and delicious salad. When salads taste like this it is far from a hardship to eat them every day.

Beets, berries, goat cheese, oh my!

Beets, berries, goat cheese, oh my!

Berry Beety Salad

2-3 cups leaf lettuce
1/2 cup blackberries plus a few for dressing
3-4 beets
1-2 oz. goat cheese
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
Salt & pepper

Heat oven to 400˚. Place beets on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a fork goes in easily when you stab them. Let cool. Peel if desired and cut into bite size pieces.

In a small bowl crush a few blackberries with a fork. Add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon and salt & pepper. Whisk together to make dressing.

Pile lettuce on a plate. Top with beets and blackberries. Drizzle with dressing and top with goat cheese. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper. Serves 1-2. I ate all this myself, so multiply recipe accordingly.

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CSA Week 8: Spiralized Cucumber and Beet Salad

Week eight brought many goodies, including corn, zucchini, summer squash, green beans (including a weird flat variety that was a little fuzzy), tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, potatoes, eggplant, and lemon cucumbers.

In addition to this I still have a ton of cucumbers and beets from the previous week. In a stroke of serendipity, as I was pondering this dilemma, I came across this recipe from Skinny Taste. I used it more for inspiration than anything else, but it was a great idea, with a little Greek flair, and it gave me a reason to pull out my seldom-used spiralizer.

My spiralizer. A strange little contraption that is pretty simple. Stick the veggie on the little peg, crank the handle and end up with curly veggie ribbons.

My spiralizer. A strange little contraption that is pretty simple. Stick the veggie on the little peg, crank the handle and end up with curly veggie ribbons.

A spiralizer is a fun little machine that turns veggies into curly little ribbons. If you don’t have one, this recipe works just fine if you just dice the veggies or cut into julienne strips instead. I enjoy using this thing, although looking at Gina’s photos made me think perhaps I should have bought the kind she has instead. Mine is not bad, but it works much better on firmer veggies. My beets made perfect little ribbons, but since my cucumbers were a week old, they were a little soft, so I struggled a bit getting good spirals, but in the end it worked fine.

Spiralized salad, before mixing.

Spiralized salad, before mixing.

Spiralized Cucumber and Beet Salad

2-3 cucumbers
2-3 beets
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup kalamata olives, halved
Juice of half a big lemon or a whole small one
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pinch of dry or fresh oregano
1/2 cup feta cheese

Trip ends from cucumbers and beets and spiralize, dice or julienne. I peeled the beets but not the cucumbers. Add to salad bowl. Keep in mind that once you mix this all together it will all turn pink because of the beets so for a pretty presentation, you can keep the elements separate in the bowl and then mix right before serving.

Add tomatoes and olives. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over the veggies. Add seasonings and give it all a quick toss. Top with feta if desired.

And now it's all pink! But delicious!

And now it’s all pink! But delicious!

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Farro Salad with Summer Veggies

In an age where it seems that everyone I know is going gluten-free or full-on Paleo, I’ve embraced my whole grains, and have been exploring some new ones.  I think in moderation, just about anything can be part of a healthy diet and whole grains offer many benefits.  They are full of nutrients and fiber, and are very filling, especially when they are the base of a salad.

I’ve never tried farro before but this one dish made me a fan.  It has a great chewy texture, with a mild, nutty flavor.  While not gluten-free, it is considerably lower in gluten than most other grains, and at least according to the sources I checked, can often be eaten by people who don’t tolerate gluten well.

This salad uses the best of the late summer veggies that are still available, but you could easily modify it to include whatever happens to be in season.  I found some very cool tomatoes – blueberry tomatoes – at the market that I had never tried before.  They were delicious, but feel free to use the cherry tomato or diced fresh tomato of your choice.

Blueberry Tomatoes!  Very yummy.

Blueberry Tomatoes! Very yummy.

This is definitely filling enough for a meat-free meal, but feel free to add some grilled chicken or fish along with it if you’re up for something a bit more hearty.

Farro Salad with Summer Veggies

Farro Salad with Summer Veggies

Farro Salad with Summer Veggies

1 pkg. farro
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 cucumber, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt & pepper
1/4-1/2 c. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
Grilled chicken (optional)
Balsamic glaze (optional)

Cook farro according to package directions and set aside.  While that is cooking, heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet and add onion, jalapeno and garlic to pan.  Sauté a few minutes until onion is tender.  Add corn and cook and stir another minute or two.

In a large bowl, add farro, onion mixture, tomatoes, cucumber, 1/4 cup rice vinegar and olive oil.  Add a big pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper.  Stir well and taste.  Add a bit more vinegar if it needs some extra oomph.  Adjust seasonings as needed and serve.  Top with grilled chicken and/or balsamic glaze if desired.

We served ours with a little sliced grilled chicken and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.  Mmmm.

We served ours with a little sliced grilled chicken and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Mmmm.

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Festive Black Bean Salad

Easy, pretty and delicious.  This salad is hearty enough to eat as a main dish – I usually throw it over the top of a pile of greens in that case – or great as a side with pretty much anything.  I especially like it for BBQs and potlucks because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated and tastes great at room temperature.  This will also keep in the fridge for several days so I usually double the recipe so I have yummy leftovers.  If you like it spicy, toss in a little finely diced jalapeno for an extra kick.

Festive Black Bean Salad

Festive Black Bean Salad

Festive Black Bean Salad

1-2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 orange (or red or yellow) bell pepper, diced
1-2 diced tomato
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Eat!

Festive Black Bean Salad

Festive Black Bean Salad

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Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

I have been absolutely loving farmer’s market this year!  This week I bought red and golden beets, blueberries, pears and goat cheese.  Since I couldn’t decide what to eat first, I decided to throw it all together into a yummy salad, perfect for a warm summer evening.

My first big bunch of basil was ready to harvest so I whipped up a batch of pesto this week.  It made the perfect vinaigrette to complement a summery salad. Along with the goat cheese and walnuts, it balances the flavors and keeps it all from being too sweet.

Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

*Note: adjust the quantities of the ingredients for your own tastes.  I used one pear and 2-3 beets for each salad.

Beets – red or golden or a mixture of both
Pears, peeled and sliced
Blueberries
Walnuts
Goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Scrub beets and place on a roasting pan.  Roast for 30 minutes or until fork tender (this will depend on the size of your beets, check them after 20).  Peel and slice beets.  Layer beets and pears.  Sprinkle blueberries, walnuts and goat cheese over the top of the salad.  Serve with pesto vinaigrette (see below).

Pesto Vinaigrette:

1 tbsp. basil pesto
2 tbsp. minced red onion
2-3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper

Whisk together all ingredients.

Pesto Vinaigrette.  Drizzle over the top of the salad (or on anything!) or serve on the side.

Pesto Vinaigrette. Drizzle over the top of the salad (or on anything!) or serve on the side.

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Zingy Purple Potato Salad

One of the things I love best about farmer’s markets are finding things you don’t ever see in the grocery store.  This week I found bright purple potatoes!

Aren't they pretty?  I'm told they are called Purple Vikings

Aren’t they pretty? I’m told they are called Purple Vikings.

Now, I thought these were just too pretty to waste on something normal.  Some time ago I came across an idea for a lighter potato salad that used greek yogurt and lemon so I decided to incorporate those flavors with my lovely potatoes.  Roasting the potatoes added another dimension with a firmer texture and deeper flavor.  You can make this more or less lemony depending on how much zing you want.  As much as we love traditional potato salad, this fresh and summery take on an old favorite was a real winner at my house!

Zingy Purple Potato Salad.  Perfect for summer!

Zingy Purple Potato Salad. Perfect for summer!

Zingy Purple Potato Salad
(adapted from bevcooks.com)

2 pounds purple potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 tbsp. olive oil for roasting
Salt & pepper
2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. greek yogurt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. fresh mint, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Toss potatoes with 1 tbsp. olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring halfway through.

Zingy Dressing

Normally I would just eat them like this.

In a large bowl whisk together 2 tbsp. olive oil, greek yogurt, lemon juice, zest, and dill.

Zingy dressing!

Zingy dressing!

Add potatoes and celery to bowl.  Toss to combine with dressing.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Sprinkle fresh mint over the top.

Mmmmm!  You need some of this.

Mmmmm! You need some of this.

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Thai Steak Salad

I love Thai food with its complex flavors and fresh ingredients.  A little sweet, a little tangy, a bit of salty, and a zip of heat.  But sometimes I only think about curries and noodles and forget about Thai salads.  This salad is as tasty as it is pretty and comes together in a snap.

Thai Steak Salad

Thai Steak Salad
(from Cooking Light)

1 flank steak (or substitute sirloin or flatiron steak if not available)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 1/4 cups fresh bean sprouts
3/4 cup julienne-cut carrots
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

Heat large grill pan over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle steak with salt & pepper.  Add steak to pan and cook 6 minutes on each side or to desired doneness.  Remove steak from pan and let stand 5 minutes.  Cut across grain into thin slices.

Combine lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic and Sriracha in a small bowl.  Stir well with whisk.  In a large bowl combine cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots and herbs.  Add two tablespoons sauce to beef and toss.  Add remaining sauce to the cabbage mixture and toss well.  Toss steak and cabbage and eat!  Serves 4.

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Awesome Salad Meets So-So Casserole. Is It Love?

While I like to pretend I’m a creative genius when it comes to making up recipes, more often than not, they are happy accidents from playing with whatever happens to be in my fridge.  If it turns out good, I write it down.  If it’s just so-so, I forget it ever happened.  My goals for this recipe were to come up with something crunchy and colorful to brighten up a somewhat boring casserole.  For this dinner, the casserole was fine and dandy, but the real star of the plate was the side dish.  I wrote this one down.

Orange & Carrot Salad

Orange & Carrot Salad

1 1/2 cups baby carrots, quartered length-wise into matchsticks
1 large can (or two small ones) mandarin oranges, drained
2 tbsp. pomegranate infused red wine vinegar (or raspberry)
2 tsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt and oil until well blended.  Add carrots, orange and parsley and toss to coat.

Green & White Bean Gratin with Orange & Carrot Salad

Oh, and what was the underwhelming casserole, you ask?  Green & White Bean Gratin.  I found it in my Moosewood Cookbook and was intrigued.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It tasted good.  I actually liked it quite a lot. But.  You heard that “but” coming, didn’t you?  This casserole had a definite “side dish” vibe.  Sometimes when I make vegetarian meals, I look at my plate and think, “where are the pork chops?”  I think part of the problem is adjusting my thinking a bit, and what I think of as a complete meal sometimes still includes meat.  But part of the problem is that this main dish needs help!

So it tasted good, and was filling.  But it’s still kind of lacking as a main dish.  I just couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.  And I’m not sure what.  Maybe it needed more crunch?  Maybe more veggie variety or color?  Spice?  Meat?  I’m not sure.  Any suggestions?  Or should this just be relegated to my “tasty side dish” recipe box?

Green & White Bean Gratin

Green & White Bean Gratin
(from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers)

2 cups frozen (thawed) or fresh green beans
2 – 15 oz. cans white beans
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp. dried rosemary, sage or thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of black pepper
1 cup grated Cheddar, Fontina, or Gruyere cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375˚.  Butter an 8 inch square baking dish.  Spread green beans to cover the bottom of the baking dish.  In a blender, whirl one can of white beans, undrained, with the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper until smooth.  Pour over the green beans in the baking dish and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.  Drain the second can of white beans and spread the beans on top.

In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and melted butter.  Sprinkle over the top of the gratin.  Bake covered for 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake until golden and bubbling, about 10 minutes more.

This made a good pairing with Orange & Carrot Salad.  But I still missed that pork chop.

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