Browsing Tag

salad

Uncategorized

Barley and Bean Pesto Salad

May 30, 2013

Barley_Bean_Pesto_Salad_1

Summer seems to be taking its sweet time arriving in Minnesota this year. And to say that the weather has been crazy this month would be an understatement. We had snow, rain, hail, 100 degree temps and 30 degree temps. And right now? Well it’s as muggy as Florida with treats of severe weather and tornados. Crazy, I tell you!

And while summer may not be here in full force, Joe and I have certainly been eating meals that feel like summer. So take that, Minnesota. Grain salads packed with veggies are one of my summer favorites. They are fresh and hearty and store well for a couple days in the refrigerator, meaning I can take leftovers to work the next day. Major bonus.

I ate more than my fair share of this salad last night. Probably a little more than I should have, since I was absolutely stuffed after dinner. Considering that this salad is packed with good-for-you ingredients like barley, black beans and green beans, I guess there are worse things to overdose on.

If you’re looking for a dish to take to a picnic or barbecue, I would highly recommend taking along this salad. It’s incredibly versatile and easy to customize. If you leave off the feta cheese this dish can also be made vegan, just be sure the purchased pesto you use is vegan, too. Or make your own if you’re feeling like an overachiever! 

Barley and Bean Pesto Salad
Makes 2 to 3 dinner-sized servings or 4 to 6 smaller side dish servings
Ingredients
Dressing
3/4 cup baby spinach
2 tablespoons purchased pesto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salad
1 1/2 cups cooked barley (I love the quick cooking barley from Trader Joe’s)
8 oz steamed and chopped green beans
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 to 2 oz crumbled feta cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions
1. In a food processor, combine all the dressing ingredients. Process until blended and well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
2. Combine the barley, green beans and black beans in a large bowl. Toss with dressing until well combined. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Top with crumbled feta cheese. This salad can be served warm, at room temp or chilled. I prefer it chilled.

Happy Cooking!
Madison

Uncategorized

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

April 3, 2013

Roasted_Sweet_Potato_Salad_2

Lately, I’ve been trying to do a little bit more “organic” blogging and a little less blogging for the sake of blogging. Can we make the phrase “organic blogging” a thing? What I mean is this: Joe and I keep a pretty busy schedule. I don’t mean to say we are too busy to enjoy life. In fact, a lot of the things that keep us occupied and busy are actually related to enjoying life and packing a lot of different things into a short amount of time.

A typical day consists of waking up and eating breakfast together, taking Nutmeg out and packing lunches to take to work. After work we both head straight to the gym and meet up there. I work closer to our gym so typically I get done before Joe gets done, giving me time to head home, shower and prep dinner. When Joe gets home he lets Nutmeg out and showers while I finish dinner. If we have dinner leftovers, I pack them up for our lunches the next day and Joe loads the dishes in the dishwasher. Then, we crash on the couch for a bit for some cuddle time with Nutmeg and a little bit of TV time before we head to bed. Some nights we have friends over for dinner, maybe once a week,

As you can see, our days are full of great stuff. And while I love blogging more than a lot of other things, it doesn’t take precedence over my job, my hubby or getting in a good sweat session. So in the name of juggling it all I’ve been trying to find ways to integrate blogging into daily life. This salad is a great example of just that.

Roasted_Sweet_Potatoes_1

Last night when I got home from the gym, I pulled together this salad for dinner. It was incredibly easy and truly made sense for a weeknight meal. Since the days are getting longer and the temps are slowly rising, I’ve started to crave foods that are more summer-like in nature: salads, smoothies and chilled grain and pasta dishes. But since it’s still not exactly balmy outside, my hankering for foods like roasted sweet potatoes hasn’t completely disappeared.

The minute I walked in the door, I preheated the oven to 375F. I chopped the lettuce and tossed it in a bowl with avocado, sliced grape tomatoes, and edamame. Then, I chopped the sweet potatoes and shallots and put them in an oven with a little olive oil and salt. While they roasted, I jumped in the shower and unpacked my gym bag. Multi-tasking while making dinner? Major win in my book.

Joe and I fell in love with this dish from the first bite. Something about the crispy bits of onion and the charred ends of the sweet potato paired with the crisp lettuce, tomatoes and other toppings just hit the spot and made it hearty enough to serve as a main meal for dinner on a Tuesday night.

Almost_Spring_Salad_1

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Makes 2 to 3 large servings
Ingredients
*2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
*2 medium shallots, sliced
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
*1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
*1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
*1/2 cup shelled edamame
*1/4 cup sesame seeds
*Your favorite dressing to toss (we prefer Trader Joe’s Spicy Asian Peanut Vinaigrette in this salad)

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly toss sweet potatoes and shallots with onion and sprinkle with the salt and ground black pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until sweet potatoes and crisp on the outside and tender inside.
*Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Once sweet potatoes are finished cooking, add them to the salad mixture and toss with dressing before serving.

Happy cooking!
Madison

Uncategorized

Everyday Lunch: Avocado, Tomato and Feta Salad

September 5, 2012

Since we’re enjoying that time in the season where the last of summer produce co-exists with the beginning of fall favorites, I’ve been trying to enjoy both while I can! We still have a container filled with fresh tomatoes from my mother in law’s garden (so much more flavorful than anything you could buy at the store) and I’ve been stocking up on the ripe, creamy avocados that don’t cost a fortune right now.

My favorite part about the days I work from home is that I can take a little time to prepare a lunch for myself. Instead of cramming whatever I can find in the fridge into my lunch container and running out the door in a rush, I have a fridge full of options at my disposal. Usually, I take the opportunity to prepare myself a giant salad packed full of whatever is on hand in our fridge.

This salad is ultra-simple and doesn’t really deserve a recipe. But it’s also incredibly delicious and is worth mentioning in case you’re looking for a little lunchtime (or dinnertime) inspiration.

Avocado, Tomato and Feta Salad
Ingredients (serves 1)
*1 heart of Romaine lettuce, chopped
*1/2 medium avocado, peeled and chopped
*3 to 4 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
*1 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
*1 tablespoon poppy seed dressing
*1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette or balsamic vinegar
*2 tablespoons hummus (served on the side, optional)

Instructions
*Toss the ingredients for the salad together. Serve with hummus and toast, if desired.

Happy Cooking!
Madison

Spring Green Salad

April 5, 2012
Lunches are difficult for me. Are they difficult for you? The whole process of packing a lunch, trying to find something in the fridge that will transport well and keep me filled throughout the afternoon. Something that’s not going to stink up the office fridge (which is already its own kind of disgusting). It’s really a drag, isn’t it? But since I’m trying to eat out less during the week and save us a little extra money, brown-bagging it is the way to go. 
A couple weeks back, I made an effort to specifically buy ingredients that would make for a killer salad. Avocados, feta cheese, hummus. And then I proceeded to eat this salad four days in a row. Sometimes when something is that good, you don’t get sick of it. 

From a vegetarian’s perspective, this salad also meets my need for protein thanks to the hummus and cheese, and healthy fat from the avocado. Though you certainly don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy it, since my husband found it equally delicious.

Now it’s your turn: What are your favorite ‘sack lunches’ to take to work? I’m always looking for new ideas to add to the mix. 
Spring Green Salad
Makes 1 serving 
Ingredients
*1 1/2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
*1 oz. crumbled feta cheese
*1/4 of a medium avocado, peeled and cut into pieces
*2 tablespoons hummus
*2 tablespoons Ken’s Steak House Light Caesar Dressing (my favorite, but any light Caesar works)
*2 slices French baguette (optional)
Instructions
*Place Romaine in a sealable plastic lunch container. Top with the feta cheese, avocado and hummus. Place the dressing in a small container and toss right before serving. Serve with baguette, if desired. 
Happy Cooking!
Madison

Sweet and Sour Tempeh Salad

December 12, 2011

I got an e-mail from a reader last week asking about how I eat vegetarian even though my hubby doesn’t. When we first got married, I was wondering the same thing! Since I do most of the cooking, figuring out how we could still eat healthfully at home within our dietary constraints was up to me.

This salad is a perfect example of how we eat together. My protein source for this dinner salad was tempeh glazed in a super simple sweet and sour sauce. While Joey’s protein source was chopped cooked chicken breast cooked in the same method I cooked my tempeh. It’s quick swaps like these that make dinnertime in our house easier than it may initially seem.

If you are unfamiliar with tempeh, you can find out more about this vegetarian protein source HERE. It’s packed with health benefits, and from a cook’s perspective, it’s extremely versatile. Crumbled up, it can easily pass for the texture of browned and crumbled ground beef, and it works well as a chicken replacement, as in this recipe.

This salad is a slightly different adaptation of my Autumn Chopped Salad. I know a lot of people have made this recipe after finding it on Pinterest, but mentioned that they wanted it to have a bit more protein. Problem solved!

Sweet and Sour Tempeh Salad
Ingredients
*1/3 cup cubed, raw tempeh
*1 tablespoon low-sodium sweet and sour stir-fry sauce
*1 teaspoon olive oil
*2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
*1/2 medium pear (firm), chopped into bite-sized pieces
*1 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, cubed
*1 tablespoon poppyseed dressing
*2 tablespoons light balsamic vinaigrette

Instructions
*Combine the tempeh, sweet and sour sauce, and olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and hot and tempeh is heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
*In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, pear, and cheese. Top with the tempeh.
*In a small cup, combine the poppyseed dressing and balsamic vinaigrette. Pour over the prepared salad. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving

Happy Cooking!

Madison

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...