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Cucumber & Chickpea Salad with Dill

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I really need to pick up my salad game on this blog.  It's really poor, if I want to be nice to myself.

I do make salads quite a bit in real life.  By "in real life", I mean that I don't set up photo shoots to take photos for this blog.  These are usually salads which I've already made several times before, or they're something that I've thrown together without an actual recipe to give guidance.  I've really become the queen of "clean out the fridge/pantry" salads.

But summer is now here!  It really did arrive, after rudely tempting us for so many weeks.  This summer is also quite brutal when it comes to the heat.  I'm not complaining because I'm still scarred from week after week of snow, sleet, and cold fronts earlier this year, but it's really time to ditch any sort of cooking on the stove or in an oven so we can focus on a lighter and healthier meal.

Something else I'm loving is chickpeas.  It's been a mild obsession for the past several weeks.  I've been making hummus like it's my job, and I've also been putting the chickpeas into quite a few salad recipes.  This particular Cucumber and Chickpea Salad recipe caught my eye because it also included cucumber and dill, as well as a nice and light dressing to complement everything.  I just couldn't resist!  So here we go...


Cucumber & Chickpea Salad with Dill
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 3 Persian cucumbers (or baby cucumbers), sliced 1/4-inch thick and quartered
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

1) In a large bowl, fold together the cucumber, red onion, beans, and dill.

2) In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, if using.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to incorporate.

3) Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.  Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator before serving.

--recipe slightly adapted from Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen

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Autumn Glow Salad

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It's been silent over here for a minute.  So sorry folks.  But now we're back!

I'm a little late with this post, so even though it's kinda sorta winter, I'm coming through with a salad named after my favorite season, Autumn.  No worries about the timing.  I would still recommend that you make this.  Roasted vegetables are a savior for me during the cold winter months and this is no exception.

The original recipe called for a parsley dressing but I'm firmly in the parsley-tastes-like-soap camp, so that's not really an option for me.  However, we all know I love my basil, so why not switch up the herbs a bit.  I'm also constantly looking for a good excuse to add some Herbes de Provence to any dish, so here we are.

Even though this isn't the most festive of dishes before the Christmas holidays, let it be known that it's a necessary addition for me around these times.  This is a quick, easy and healthy meal that I can pull together to make sure I have the energy to make it through the next few very busy days.

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Autumn Glow Salad
makes ~6 servings as a meal

Print Recipe

For the salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa or other grain (bulgur, freekah, etc.)
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • a sprinkle of Herbes de Provence, or any other dried spices that you like such as thyme, rosemary, etc.
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup basil, julienned
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • juice of one lemon (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


1) Rinse the quinoa and cook according to the instructions.  Tip: I've found that I enjoy replacing the water with broth to give the quinoa more flavor.

2) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

3) Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.  Peel and dice the sweet potatoes.  Place the vegetables on a baking sheet (or two) and drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil.  Sprinkle the vegetables with salt, pepper, and your desired dried herbs.

4) Roast for 15 minutes.  Stir the vegetables, then roast for another 10-15 minutes.  Once the vegetables are golden brown and soft, remove from oven and set aside.

5) While the vegetables are roasting, make the dressing.  Add all the dressing ingredients in a bowl.  Use a whisk to mix everything together until incorporated. 

6) Once the grains and vegetables are done, toss everything together in a large bowl and add the raisins and cranberries.

7) Pour the dressing over the salad right before serving.  Store the salad and dressing separately.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

--recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

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Mexican Grilled Corn Zucchini Salad

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I absolutely love Mexican grilled corn, which is also called Elote.  Since we're near the end of summer, corn and zucchini are absolutely everywhere.  I can't go grocery shopping without seeing them and somehow being suckered into buying more.  For strange reasons, I tend to go to grocery stores 2-3 times a week because I need different things from different places.  Food blogger life.  What this all boils down to is that I have an overabundance of produce chez moi and it needs to be used up as soon as possible!

Here's the thing, though.  I don't always want to bite into corn on the cob and make my hands and face super messy.  So...enter this salad situation.  Yum!  There is nothing quite like satisfying your food cravings without being covered head to toe in corn juice.


Mexican Grilled Corn Zucchini Salad
makes 2 - 4 servings

Print Recipe

  • 2 ears fresh corn, cleaned
  • 1 large zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • olive oil, 1-2 teaspoons
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/3 cup finely minced fresh basil, or to taste
  • 3 ounces Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • about 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1) Wrap the ears of corn separately in pieces of foil.  Place directly on the stove over high heat.  You will hear some crackling noises as the corn grills in the foil packets.  This is normal.  Use tongs to rotate the ears every 1-2 minutes.  Allow the corn to cook for 8-10 minutes, or longer if desired.

2) Allow the corn to cool slightly, then place on a cutting board with the tip down.  Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cob.  Set aside in a large bowl.

3) Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the zucchini pieces and allow to grill on one side.  Once browned, 1- 2 minutes, flip the zucchini to the other side and allow to cook as well.  Remove the zucchini from the pan and set aside.  You may need to grill the zucchini in two batches so you don't crowd the pan.

4) Place the grilled zucchini rounds on the cutting board and slice into quarters.  Place these in the large bowl with the corn kernels.

5) Add the green onions and basil to the bowl as well.  Set aside.

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6) In a medium bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, lime juice, agave or honey, salt and pepper.  Whisk the ingredients until smooth. Taste and add more or the lime juice, honey, salt, or pepper as desired.

7) Stir the Greek yogurt sauce over the corn and zucchini mixture.  Stir to evenly incorporate everything.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.

8) Add the crumbled goat cheese to the mixture.  Gently fold the cheese into the salad.  Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled.

-- recipe slightly adapted from Averie Cooks

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Turkey Taco Salad

It's Taco Time!

Can we talk about how I forgot to add the CHEESE to the salad pictured above?  If you know me, you know that cheese is my one true love.  So how did I forget to add it to my salad?  Ugh.  Fail.  Anyhow, the salad still tasted amazing and I'm including the cheese in the recipe below.  Don't forget about it like I did!

Also, happy belated Cinco de Mayo?  I didn't eat this salad on May 5th, but I never really need an excuse to eat Mexican food anyway.  This salad was the perfect combination of eating a tasty thing, but also eating something relatively healthy.  I'm being real when I say I still have leftover jellybeans from Easter that I am munching on daily.  Soooo a salad?  Yup, I need that in my life.

 

Turkey Taco Salad

Print Recipe

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, finely diced
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • dash crushed red pepper
  • dash smoked salt - optional
  • 6 cups shredded lettuce
  • shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • for the rest of the salad - shredded lettuce, diced avocado, green onions, sour cream

1) In a large saucepan, drizzle in the olive oil.  Add in the onions and saute for a minute or two, until the onions begin to soften.

2) Then add the turkey to the pan.  Sautee until cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Drain any excess liquid.

3) Pour in the tomatoes and add the seasonings, from the chili powder down to the smoked salt (if using).

4) Allow the mixture to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

5) Place the lettuce in the plates or bowls to be used.  Add the turkey mixture on top.

6) Dress the salad with the desired toppings (I chose diced avocados, cheese, green onions, and sour cream.  Serve immediately.

--recipe slightly adapted from Real House Moms

Balsamic Tomato Chicken Salad

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2017 has been a busy one already!  I could use a small break.  At the very least, let's slow it down.  Ironically, slowing things down also means that I want to get certain things done faster (so I can have my downtime!).  I found a quick recipe for a balsamic chicken salad the other day and was immediately ready to get down with it. 

 

Fun fact - I used to carry a bottle of balsamic vinegar with me when I traveled to Pennsylvania 4 days a week for work.  Yeah, I'm that obsessed with it.  In my defense, what if I wanted a salad and no one in all of PA had balsamic vinegar? Hmmmmm.....

Now that I've shown you my crazy, you might be able to understand why I had to make this salad.  (Even if you don't understand it, just play along...)  I also used a rotisserie chicken in this, which just might be my new favorite thing ever.  I don't have to roast a whole chicken OR chicken breasts.  There are no words to describe that feeling.  In addition, the creamy dressing is balanced out with crisp fresh vegetables such as tomato and sweet peppers.  So, like I said, SOLD!

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Kale Salad with Lemon & Pecorino

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I have a new recipe for you guys and it's shockingly healthy!  I have replaced my Trader Joe's Movie Popcorn habit with a kale salad habit.

Recently my friend Courtney and I had a fall-inspired dinner where we made dishes that were...fall-inspired.  Courtney brought over a side dish of kale salad with lemon and pecorino.  I have a love/hate relationship with kale.  It can be super tasty, or it can just be "eh".  In this case, the salad was delicious!

I've gone through 3 bags of kale in the past 2 weeks.  I prefer to use heartier, more mature kale since I think it stands up better to the dressing, BUT you can also use baby kale, which is what you see in the photos here.  Baby kale is closer in taste and texture to spinach or arugula and it's quite tasty in this salad.  Don't tell me I didn't give you options!

When I looked up a few kale salad recipes online, I realized they're all really similar to each other.  Thus, I sort of smooshed (that's a technical term) all the recipes and measurements together to come up with my own.  I really like the simplicity of this dish.  I am not embarrassed to admit that I tend to eat it right out of the huge bowl I prepare it in.  I think I'm addicted.  I tried to make this salad at 1am on Friday morning last week, because I was craving it.  It turned out that the kale I had bought smelled questionable and so I ended up throwing out the whole bag.  I had a few pretty packed days coming up and the last thing I wanted was food poisoning.  I finally got the chance to make this again and most of the salad may or may not be gone right now.  Just saying.

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Cous Cous Salad with Feta & Mint

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Alright.  I'm going to state the obvious now.  It's hot.  Yup, it's hot and humid and I think my eyeballs are even sweating.  Nothing can escape it!  I am trying to just roll with it.  I'm thinking back to the days when I was bundled in my winter coat and scarf and hat.  I'm recalling when I could see my breath on the air and when the air hurt my face.  I need to appreciate the humid sweltering mess that we're living in right now.  The only recipe I could think to create during this time was a nice cool salad.  (I mean, I COULD have made ice cream, but I haven't decided the flavor that I want to go with yet.  Hopefully I'll have a new ice cream recipe posted on this blog for you soon!)


So....salad!  I wanted to go with a meatless salad option since I'm impatient when I'm hot, which means that I don't want to wait for any meat to cook through.  Don't get me wrong.  I realize that I'm impatient all the time, but it's magnified even more when I'm hot and uncomfortable. #hotandhangryI decided throwing cous cous and vegetables and cheese into one bowl, along with a lemon-flavored dressing would be a marvelous idea.  It would allow me to eat something healthy but filling and tasty.  And guess what!  I was right!

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Easy Chickpea Salad

Easy Chickpea Salad

 

I am gearing up for the summer.  I mean, I know it's not here yet, but really, can a girl dream?

In other news, I'm bouncing back from all the junk food I ate at Disneyworld last weekend.  Would it kill them to serve a decent salad at a place where I don't have to wait 3 hours to order it?  Come on Walt.  Let's pull it together.

I saw this recipe and knew it would be the perfect rebound food.  This also satisfies my constant cravings for chickpeas and fresh corn.  My summer body is in need of something like this.  It's telling me that we need to make it happen, and I'm listening.

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Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Cucumber, and Cranberries

Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Cucumber, and Cranberries

 

My desire to eat healthy food is constantly being challenged by all the M&M's out there in the world.  Ahhhhh...

I'm trying to even out the scales though.  Can you tell?  I'm getting my protein in with some quinoa and some other goodies.  Let me just put it out there that this recipe is pretty much a dump of the items in my refrigerator and my pantry.  No shame in this game.  I'm just keeping it honest.

Can I also state that this salad would be PERFECT for a summer picnic?  Not that I'm thinking about summer already, because I am just loving these single digit temperatures.  Aren't you?  ... Now before you tell me that it's winter and it's supposed to be cold...yes, I know that, but seriously, Mama Nature is just being rude at this point.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed this salad and I may have eaten all 4 - 6 servings by myself.  #nojudgement

What?  A girl can't be hungry? I really like avocado, ok.  And cucumbers and cranberries.  #owningit

I swear this hashtag thing isn't going to be a thing.  For real.

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Corn & Zucchini Quinoa Salad

There's nothing quite like noshing on corn and zucchini in the summer.  I'm pretty sure it's because they're in season and both so refreshing.  Every year I live for these vegetables during these months!

Let's also point out how excited I am to NOT bake anything in the kitchen once again.  I actually did bake something for you guys the other day, but I just finished up my vacation in the Bahamas and it was so scorching hot that I have a hard time even LOOKING at anything that was baked right now.

Instead, I have  a cool and tasty salad for you. This is something you can take to a picnic or just eat by yourself while lounging on your couch watching reruns of Law & Order:SVU.  (That show's still a thing, right? It's not just me?)  I played on the idea of mixing together quinoa and elotes (Mexican street corn).  We jazzed things up with some zucchini, feta cheese, and just a touch of jalapeno, mostly because we can.  Let's get at it!

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