Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

OK, folks, I’m back! I’m going to start out slow and post the simplest recipes I can think of that I keep making each week.

Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon


  • Kale (any kind will do – you can use whatever looks best or whatever comes in your veggie box)
  • Lemon (Meyer is the nicest, but any kind will work)
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

As you are waiting for the water to boil, prepare your kale: I tear it off of the stalk as I rinse it, and then place it in a dish pan. Sometimes I rinse it again, depending on how dirty it is.

When the water has come to a rolling boil, add salt (about like you would for a pot of pasta) and then put the kale in. I just bring the water back to a boil and then drain the kale in a colander, so basically I guess that is blanching.

Place the hot kale into a large bowl, and then squeeze lemon and drizzle olive oil over the top. Serve warm or cold. The lemon will discolor the kale, which is unfortunate, but it still tastes good.

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Until recently, I thought cauliflower was kind of a nothing vegetable that you gave squeamish kids who only eat white food and are afraid of broccoli, but then I learned that it’s actually good for you and it can even be delicious!


  • Cauliflower
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground


Preheat oven to 400 and place rack on the bottom.

With stem side up, remove all of the leaves from the cauliflower – I use a paring knife and score them, then break them off. Cut about 1/4 of an inch off of the dried up end of the stem. Following the line of the stem, cut the florets off of each side, and then cut the middle part into three “steaks.”

Place cauliflower in a cast iron skillet or baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. For best results, make sure your pan is large enough to spread out all of the cauliflower along the bottom so that everyone gets equally brown.

Place skillet or pan in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes or so, turning steaks and rotating florets halfway through. Serve warm or eat cold for a healthy snack!


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I think Meliza originally found this recipe in O magazine. It’s delicious! When I made it, we had a whole bunch of smoked salmon that we had made and screwed up because we followed a recipe for a brine that made the salmon taste more like a salt lick than the delicious smoked salmon we like to make and snack on. Since this was specifically for salads involving that salty salmon, I omitted the salt. This made for some very delicious salads. Another delicious salad addition when using this dressing is fresh corn, sliced off the cob and thrown into your salad bowl.

Ranch Dressing

1 clove garlic, very finely minced

1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 scallions, finely chopped

1 Tbsp chives, finely chopped

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup sour cream

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  • Place all ingredients in a jar or sealable container that is good for pouring.
  • Shake well.
  • Pour over salad.

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This post has been on hold since July when things got hectic because that guy Dan proposed to me and then we launched straight into wedding planning. Fortunately, September is a good month for barbecues, and this potato salad is fantastic for barbecues! (Picture will be added later – I forgot my camera at someone’s house last weekend, and that’s where the pictures are.)


My grandma made the best potato salad, but I can never leave well enough alone so I added a few things. I believe I have maintained the integrity of the dish, however, with the perfectly balanced flavors and textures of big chunks of red potato and hard boiled eggs, and a nice creamy sauce. We had this with Dan’s smoked ribs and our home made barbecue sauce and, let me tell you, THAT was a match made in heaven!

Grandma’s Potato Salad, with a Twist

1. Boil the potatoes, and then dress them while they’re hot. Here’s what you’ll need:

2.5 lbs red potatoes (as fresh as possible so the skin is still tender), scrubbed, bad spots cut off, and cut in 1-inch cubes (do not peel)

Large 8 – 10 quart stock pot

Enough water to cover the potatoes, plus about 2 inches more

1/8 cup salt (for boiling the potatoes)

1/4 cup cider vinegar (to dress the potatoes after they’ve boiled, but while they’re still hot)

1/8 cup olive oil (to dress the potatoes after they’ve boiled, but while they’re still hot)

  • Pour a few cups of water into the stock pot to throw the potatoes into as you chop them. My mom told me this prevents them from getting gray. I never questioned it; I just do it and the potatoes never get gray, so do with this information what you will, as I cannot explain the chemistry behind it and have never not done it.
  • When you have cut all of the potatoes and they are in the stock pot, make sure you have covered them with water, plus about 2 more inches above that level.
  • Use a larger stock pot than you need in order to prevent a big foamy mess on your stove. You should have at least 4 inches of clearance between the top of the water, and the lid.
  • Add salt.
  • Cover pot, and place over high heat.
  • Keep a close eye on the pot, as potatoes always look sweet and innocent, and then they suddenly boil over.
  • If you’re bored, hard boil your eggs and start chopping scallions as you wait.
  • As soon as the potatoes feel a bit tender (but just before you think they’re perfectly done), pour them into a large colander. They will continue to cook after you drain them, which is why you want to drain them before they taste perfectly done.
  • Transfer potatoes back into the pot, and pour the cider vinegar and olive oil over them.
  • Place in fridge to chill and marinate overnight.

2. Hard boil the eggs. Here’s what you’ll need for that:

10 chicken eggs (preferably brown, cage free, hormone free, antibiotic free, made by happy chickens)

2 -3 qt sauce pan

Enough cold water to cover the eggs

  • Carefully place eggs in pot, and cover with tap water.
  • Place pot on stove, and heat over medium to medium-high heat to rolling boil.
  • Boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat, pour off water, and run cold water over the eggs.
  • Crack and peel eggs while warm (it seems to be easier when they’re warm, and then they’re easier to store in the fridge overnight when they’re out of their shells).
  • Store in fridge overnight.

3. Make the Dressing

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I like the Trader Joe’s organic kind)

1 – 2 Tbsp crumbled Roquefort (optional)

Fresh dill to taste, coarsely chopped (optional)

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

  • Place mayo, sour cream, and Roquefort in a small bowl and mix until smooth.
  • Add dill and pepper in bowl and mix.

4. Assemble the Best Potato Salad Ever:

Chilled potatoes (from step 1)

Chilled eggs (from step 2)

1 bunch of scallions, chopped

Dressing (from step 3)

  • Place chilled potatoes and eggs in a large bowl.
  • Chop scallions and add to potato/egg bowl.
  • Pour dressing over potatoes, eggs, and scallions.
  • Stir with a large spoon to distribute dressing.
  • Snack on some while you’re nice and hungry.

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100_1256I went apricot picking over the weekend, so I decided to use a bunch of them in a black rice salad. I’d had a delicious black rice salad at a cooking group dinner, but could not get a hold of the recipe or the chef, so I figured it out myself.

Black Rice Apricot Salad

1 cup black rice

1 3/4 cups water

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 Tbsp olive oil (or butter)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 cup fresh apricots, pitted and sliced

2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp pine nuts

2 Tbsp sunflower seeds

5 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced

5 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced

1 T fresh parsley, chopped

1 T fresh chives, chopped

  • Place rice in colander and rinse until water runs clear.
  • Transfer rice to pot, and add water, pepper, salt, cumin, and cayenne.
  • Bring contents of pot to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer about 35 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.
  • Add vinegar and oil (or butter) while rice is hot.
  • Cover, and allow to cool (maybe about an hour or so).
  • When rice is cool, transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and then stir.
  • Refrigerate.
  • This dish is best served cold, and it gets better as it sits, so if you can make it a day ahead, that’s the way to go.

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This salad is obviously very dramatic, as you can tell from the dramatic lighting.

This salad is obviously very dramatic, as you can tell from the dramatic lighting.

This refreshing salad is yummy. That is all.


Lettuce (ideally, a small head of butter lettuce, or 1/2 bag of pre-washed arugula)

2 navel oranges, peeled, sectioned, and sections halved

1/2 large avocado or one whole small avocado

handful of pistachio meats (maybe 1/4 cup)


1/2 tsp salt

1/2 to 1 tsp pepper, to taste

1/2 tsp dill (fresh is best, but dehydrated will do)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp grapeseed oil

  1. Wash and dry lettuce, then tear into bite sized pieces and place in large bowl.
  2. Cut oranges and avocado into bite sized pieces and place in bowl with lettuce.
  3. Sprinkle pistachio meats on salad.
  4. If you don’t like to measure your dressing ingredients, just sprinkle/pour/drizzle them directly onto the salad in the bowl. If you do like to measure them, mix them in a separate bowl or jar, and then pour all over the top of the salad.
  5. Toss the salad.
  6. Eat the salad.

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Dan loves cucumber salad, like the kind you would get at a Japanese restaurant. Whenever we make it, he has to scurry away to a computer to get the ratios of dressing ingredients to cucumbers. I thought I’d take this opportunity to write down exactly what we do so that we don’t have to scour the internets next time we make it.

Cucumber Salad

The recipe below is in units of cucumber, i.e. this is for one English cucumber. We triple this each time because a) it gets more delicious as it marinates in its own juices, and b) three cucumbers’ worth of salad fits perfectly in one large (8 cup) Gladware container.

1 English cucumber (about 1 lb), sliced very thin

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tsp sesame seeds (we like to use a mix of black and white sesames)

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (if you like a little spice)

  1. Wash cucumbers and cut off tops and bottoms.
  2. Optional – Decorate the sides of the cucumbers either by peeling off a few strips of skin, or by scraping with the tines of a fork.
  3. Thinly slice cucumbers and place in large bowl. We got a Kyocera mandolin from Amazon for about $25 and it makes this salad REALLY easy and fun to make.
  4. Sprinkle sesame seeds and red pepper flakes onto cucumbers.
  5. In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, oil, and vinegar; stir until sugar and salt dissolve.
  6. Pour dressing on cucumbers and then stir to coat all cucumbers with dressing.
  7. Allow to marinate. Overnight in the fridge is best, but a few hours will do. We usually transfer the salad to an airtight container for easier storage in the fridge.

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salad2The original version of this recipe came from my friend Marsha, who is a raw foodie. So, for any other raw foodie friends, omit all of the cooked stuff and viola! 🙂

This recipe kills two birds with one stone. It’s a great way to make use of a whole bunch of basil AND to disguise the horrid flavor of flax seed oil, which is really really good for you but really really hard to choke down. It’s actually delicious.

Healthy Pesto Dressing/Dip

2 cups basil leaves, packed

1 cup flax oil

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Juice of 3 lemons (Meyer lemons are the best)

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 cloves garlic

  1. Place all ingredients except Flax oil in food processor.
  2. Turn on food processor and slowly add the flax oil.
  3. Serve as a dip, or as a salad dressing.

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