Category Archives: Salads

Wild Rice Salad

 

All the kids are back in school! My elementary kids started back Monday and our 8th grade daugther started back today which means the house is super quiet! There are definitely pros and cons to that, but as it’s our first day, I’m going to be honest and say that it’s very nice :). But it’ll only be that way for a few hours each morning as our youngest is in AM kindergarten this year. This will ease me into an all-day quiet home for next year :).  I hope you all had an enjoyable summer, I know we sure did and I soaked up all the time together with all five kids. On top of camps and family vacations (WA to see my family), we did a sort of homeschool type schedule in the morning where we studied, cleaned, exercised, practiced instruments etc and were usually done around 1pm so they had several hours in the afternoons to play and swim and explore. This schedule meant that I was even more busy than most summers as I did a lot of supervising and tutoring during the day and once play time rolled around I wanted to play with them, so I did! And now we’re back!

There were a couple of recipes that I’ve made lots over the summer that I realized were not posted here on this blog, so I am going to share one of them with you today: Wild Rice Salad. I found this recipe in the cook book Run Fast. Eat Slow.  and lightly adapted it. It is packed with nutrition with it’s kale, radishes, green onions, wild rice and edamame (soy beans), and the homemade creamy dressing (creamy from the tahini) pairs perfectly with this salad. I usually serve this along side a dinner entree, like Italian or American, though I personally always end up eating this as the main entree, while the rest of my family has it as a side. And the leftovers are just as good, if not better, from marinading all night. My husband is not normally a kale fan but I think with the homemade dressing and the kale being finely chopped, he doesn’t mind it at all. In fact whenever I make it he mentions how much he likes this salad, and he takes the leftovers to work! Here are the ingredients for the apple cide vinaigrette dressing:

Sometimes I slice my radishes and then cut them in half, and sometimes I cut them in quarters or dice them even smaller. Any way you like is fine.

Typically I grate my carrots into the salad with my potato peeler because I like how thin you can get them, but you could also slice them with a knife if you like  them to be a little thicker. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Wild Rice Salad- lightly adapted from Run Fast. Eat Slow.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing:
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced onion (or 1 tsp onion powder/dried onion)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste/butter)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake vigorously for a few seconds. (Can be used immediately or keep in fridge for up to a week so it can be made in advance.)

For the salad:
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c wild rice, rinsed
Apple cider vinaigrette dressing (above)
6 radishes, diced
3 c loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
3 carrots, grated
6 green onions, sliced
1 c edamame, cooked and shelled
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring 4 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice and reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is soft and chewy, about 35 minutes. Drain the rice, tranfer to a large salad bowl and immediately toss with half the dressing. Allow the rice to cool in fridge while you cut up veggies. Add them to your rice and toss until combined. Add more dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Let the salad marinate in the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving. This is also great the next day as leftovers. If you don’t use all the dressing(I usually have some leftover), you can save it in the fridge to use on other salads during the week.

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Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad

I can eat quinoa in so many ways, I throw it in stir frys, chili’s, in place of brown rice, but my husband doesn’t love quinoa, and will always go for the brown rice instead of quinoa. But this recipe is an exception. I think all the mexican foods, kale and the lime juice, masked the flavor and texture.He told me twice during dinner that he really liked this salad, and the next morning he had it for breakfast with some scrambled eggs on the side! If you’re looking for a good way to use this superfood, that contains all 9 essential amino acids, give this one a try!

THE RECIPE

Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad
Serves 6-8

1 c dry quinoa
1 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
3 c loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include seeds if you like spice)
1/2  red onion, chopped (if you don’t love onion, try soaking in cold water for 10 min, drain then add to salad)
1/2 c chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 c cooked black beans (or a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1/3 c lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c Feta cheese, crumbled (chopped olives work too)
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 c toasted pepitas (toast on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes)

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water, quinoa and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large salad bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool. Once cool, add the kale, bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, back beans, lime juice, oil, Feta cheese and remaining 1/4 tsp sea salt to the quinoa and toss to combine. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with the avocado slices and pepitas.

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Filed under Dinner, gluten-free, Lunch, Salads, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan, vegetarian

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Salad dressings are one of those things that I always have around, because I eat salad daily, but I don’t like to buy them because 1) they’re expensive and 2) there are so many added unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients(though Newman’s Own does a pretty good job with some of their salad dressings). Making a salad dressing is simple, fast and inexpensive so homemade dressings have become a staple in our house.

Apple cider vinegar has some pretty amazing health benefits, but I am not one of those people that can just drink a tablespoon or a watered down glass, straight up. This is a fabulous way to get some apple cider vinegar into your body! I love this dressing on any of the green salads I make. The one pictured below has romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and sunflower seeds. And you can totally do this recipe with or without the maple syrup; I would try it first without and then if you feel like it’s too bitter, add the syrup.  I like it both ways though my kids prefer it with syrup.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette
*makes 1/2 c

1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp white or yellow onion, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid and shake vigorously until emulsified. Pairs beautifully with any green salad. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

*if oil solidifies, microwave for a few seconds until melted

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Pasta Salad and Dressing Recipe

We eat a lot of different salads for dinner during the summer; it’s nice to have something cool to eat on a hot day. I’ll typically add whatever veggies I have on hand in my fridge at the moment, so it changes from week to week, and in the pasta salad pictured below we have tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, cubed cheese, white beans and onion. Sometimes we’ll add nuts or serve some chicken or pepperoni on the side for the meat lovers in our house.

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I will sometimes use an Italian salad dressing or something similar for convenience, but I actually love homemade dressing so much more; it really makes the salad. So if I have 5 minutes, I’ll whip this up.

Here are your ingredients for the dressing:

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Whisk it all together in a glass measuring dish and stick it in the fridge while you cook your pasta.

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We use various shapes but one of our favorites is the bowtie, and it’s fun when we get a pasta with a little color. We cooked up a bag of costco pasta which is just over a pound, drained it, rinsed it with cold water as I swish the pasta around with my hand (to help quickly cool it down…we don’t want our cheese cubes melting onto our pasta), then transfer it to a large mixing bowl, add the dressing, stir it to combine and then you can serve it from there or transfer it to a pretty bowl. If you’re not going to eat it right away, you can store it in the fridge for at least a day.

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Pasta Salad:
*serves 6-8

1 lb uncooked pasta (we love to use bowtie)
Topping Ideas:
bell pepper, chopped
grape tomatoes, halved
celery, chopped
red onion, chopped
1 c cooked and drained white beans
1 c cubed cheddar cheese
1 c cubed chicken, or pepperoni quartered

Pasta Salad Dressing:
*makes enough to cover 1 lb pasta

1/2 c mayo
1/3 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c  olive oil
1/4 c plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2 cloves minced garlic (1 tsp)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sea salt

Combine all your pasta salad dressing ingredients into a glass measuring dish and whisk to combine. Set aside, in fridge. Follow package directions for uncooked pasta, bringing water to a boil and cooking until done. While it’s cooking, chop up any combination of veggies/cheese/beans/meat you like and place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Dump pasta into a strainer over your kitchen sink, then rinse with cold water as you move pasta around with your hand (be careful, it’s hot). Once pasta is cool, add it to your veggies in the large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over top. Stir it all together to combine. Serve right away or cover and store in fridge.

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Roasted Beets

I eat a lot of salads in the summer but they can get boring after awhile if you don’t mix things up. Roasted, sliced beets make for a nice addition. Roasting the beets is super simple: just cover in tinfoil and bake in a hot oven for about an hour. Once that’s done, slip the skins off and slice the beets into quarters and then slice those quarters thin and throw them on any green salad. I like to pair my beet salad with a vinaigrette, poppy seed  or sweet/fruit dressing along with some sunflower seeds and sliced onion. By the way, beets will make your hands dark pink, along with everything you’re using to prepare them with (cutting board, knife etc), so handle them with care and try not to get it on your clothes.

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Roasted Beets

2 medium beets
tin foil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wrap the beets in foil and roast for 40-60 minutes or until you can pierce them easily with a fork. Allow the beets to cool a little and then slip off the skins and slice the beets into quarters and then into thinner slices if you like.

I love to add these to all different salads. One of my favorites is romaine lettuce and spinach, sunflower seeds, sliced red onion with these beet slices and a fruity or vinagrette dressing to top it off.

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Ranch Dressing

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My kiddos and I are doing a health challenge for six weeks. A friend told me about one that was online and I joined that, and got put on a team, and then the three oldest decided they wanted to do one too. So I edited the spreadsheet so that the goals were a better fit for children (ie “drink half your body weight in ounces of water” instead of ‘drink 100 oz”;  and ‘sleep 9-11 hours’ instead of, ‘sleep 7+ hours’) and they passed them out to a couple of close friends and started on their challenge!  There are two ‘free choice’ spots where they fill in their own healthy habit they want to work on, plus they can choose their own meal plan (but no soda or alcohol is allowed ever, even on your free day). My 11  and 8 year old daughters chose to not have sugar  as part of their meal plan. They are at an advantage living in our home where we have very few things in the home that have sugar in them, but I have not been able to find a ranch dressing without sugar(Newman’s Own is better than most, but the ranch still has some sugar) and they love ranch with carrots and on salads, so I’ve kept it around. I came across a vegan, sugar-free ranch dressing in Kimberly Snyders book and we gave it a try and it’s a winner.

Pictured below, I have plain greek yogurt which is not vegan, but the recipe actually calls for a coconut or almond yogurt, so if you are vegan you’d make that change.

Here are the ingredients: sea salt, nutritional yeast, pine nuts, plain yogurt, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, onion, parsley and dill.

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In case you’ve never heard of nutritional yeast before, here is some info about it: Whole Foods sells nutritional yeast in their bulk section, and also in a can like the one pictured below. You should be able to find it in most health food stores. Our local health food store sells it in a canister near the protein powders and vitamin supplement area. Nutritional yeast is grown in vats of molasses, nutrients, and water. Once the yeast is mature, it gets poured out onto a conveyor belt and goes through a drying process that breaks it down into little flakes. Nutritional yeast contains a full spectrum of essential amino acids and is a good source of protein. It has a cheesy, nutty flavor and is vegan so it’s often used as a substitute for vegans, with recipes containing cheese;  I like to sprinkle it on pasta, popcorn, salads, roasted veggies etc.

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Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

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Serve immediately.

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 You can refrigerate  it for about 3-5 days. Just give it a stir before serving. We love to eat this over salad and as a veggie dip. 2016-02-02 12.25.18

THE RECIPE:

Ranch Dressing– adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s cook book
*Makes about 1 cup

2/3 c plain yogurt (can use coconut or almond yogurt if vegan)
1/3 c pine nuts
1/4 c nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp white or yellow onion, sliced
2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 Tbsp fresh parsley (or 1/2 tsp dried)

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve immediately. Can refrigerate up to 3-5 days.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

I love salads and eat them year round, but in the winter, I like to add some warmer, more filling foods like black beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes etc. This salad recipe has them all (you can use brown rice or quinoa; I use whatever I have on hand in the fridge). The amounts in this salad depend on how many people you are serving. It’s usually just me eating a salad at lunch, so I just pull out all the ingredients from the fridge and throw whatever I feel like on top of my bed of lettuce. I’ve included a couple of recipes below 1) roasted sweet potato cubes and 2)creamy avocado dressing, both of which I love to have on my salad, but feel free to use another dressing you have on hand and leave out anything you don’t like.

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Creamy Avocado Dressing

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This salad is so filling and satisfying and packed full of amazing nutrients from all the various plant foods and grains.

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THE RECIPE:

Roasted Sweet Potato Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Fresh lettuce, spinach or kale (or a combination)
cooked and cooled brown rice or quinoa
thinly sliced red onion
roasted sweet potato cubes (recipe below)
chopped cilantro
black beans
avocado cubes
creamy avocado dressing (recipe below)

If you are having this for dinner with family or friends, serve it like you would Hawaiin Haystacks with all the ingredients, in individual bowls, out in the center of the table. I would use larger bowls for serving the lettuce, rice and beans and the other ingredients are in smaller dishes. I usually serve this by starting with salad and then adding as much as I want of all ingredients listed (feel free to add some of your own that might go with this Mexican-styled theme).

Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes: (from Our Best Bites)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground paprika
1/4 tsp cumin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking dish with tin foil. Place sweet potato chunks on foil, drizzle with oil and spices and then toss together with a large spoon. Spread out over the foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.

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Creamy Avocado Dressing: (adapted from The Beauty Detox Solution)
*makes about 1 cup

1 avocado, pitted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c water
1/4 tsp dried dill
3 drops liquid stevia (or 1 Tbsp honey)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the flesh and put in a blender or food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until creamy and smooth (may have to scrape down sides with a rubber spatula and go again). This dressing can be used as a dip for vegetable sticks or tossed with greens for a salad.

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Pasta Salad

 

We love having salads for dinner in Summer. This is a great one, very flavorful and fresh, that you can do with or without meat. Since I don’t eat meat sometimes I’ll have some on the side in a bowl for individuals that would like to add it to their plate. 2015-07-26 09.48.02

 

 

I like to prep my vegetables while my pasta is cooking, and then once the pasta is rinsed and drained, it’s just a matter of dumping everything together in a large bowl and giving it a stir to mix it all together. Easy Peasy.
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THE RECIPE:

Pasta Salad
serves 10-12

1 16oz bag pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed with cool water
1/4 c red onion, diced
1/3 c olives, chopped
1 1/2 c or 2/3 of a cucumber, sliced
2 c grape tomatoes, cut in half (not quite all of a 10.5 oz container)
1/2 c Italian Dressing (we like Newman’s Own)
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
optional: 1/2 c shredded chicken or pepperoni cut in half

Combine your cooked pasta (rinsed with cool water; fusili, butterfly, shells are all great shapes for this dish) with your slice onion, olives, cucumbers and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add 1/4 c of the Italian dressing and mix to combine. Add the meat (optional) and cheese and toss gently to combine. Refrigerate at least one hour and add the other 1/4 c of Italian dressing just before serving.

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Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad

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If you have an excess of tomatoes or cucumbers, this is a tasty way to use them up! This Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad is fresh and wonderful to eat in the summer, as a side to any Italian dish or sandwich. I combine all the ingredients to the dressing in my blender blend until smooth. When I’m making dressings from scratch, I like to sweeten them with a touch of honey.

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Set that aside and in a large bowl, combine your chopped up salad ingredients, pour the dressing over top and refrigerate for at least an hour (or make ahead and serve the next day). Enjoy!

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Dressing:

1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Salad:

1 pound tomatoes (cherry or grape, cut in half, or 3 large Romas chopped)
6 mini cucumbers or 3 large, diced
1/4 c kalamata olives, drained, pitted and chopped fine
1/2 c Feta cheese, crumbled

In a blender, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and blend until combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. Toss with the dressing until evenly coated. Cover salad and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, draining any excess dressing.

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Chicken and Cabbage Salad

I don’t like meat so I rarely eat it. Scott and most of the kids like meat so I still cook it about once a week, and it’s usually shredded or cubed chicken that is a part of something else like in enchiladas or burritos or salad. My aversion to meat started during one of my pregnancies, because I couldn’t stand the smell.  With each consecutive pregnancy, it got worse and I finally realized I just really don’t like meat.  The only time I’ll have some chicken is 1.) I’m at a friends and that’s what they’re serving so I’ll have a little with more of whatever else is being served and 2.) if it’s shredded and served in a chicken salad where the dressing will mask the flavor of the chicken, and even then, I’ll still pull a lot of the chicken out. This chicken salad recipe has a very yummy, homemade dressing and it has more plants in it than meat which I like.

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I’ve made this salad several different ways with mango and without, with jalapeno and without and they were all good. My favorite was with the mango and with just a little bit of jalapeno. If you don’t like spicy foods, you can leave the jalapeno out all together. Or, if you like just a little bit of spice, you could add 1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes to your dressing.

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For the dressing, I like to use plain yogurt rather than your typically used mayo. I also used an all fruit mango and pineapple jam, but any mango jam would work.

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You’ll want to chop, dice and shred all your salad ingredients and add them to a medium sized mixing bow. In a separate small bowl or in a liquid measuring dish, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad mixture and toss gently to combine. It’s best when it’s been refrigerated for at least 30 minutes. It’s also great as leftovers for several days.

 

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2015-05-09 13.15.57THE RECIPE:

Chicken and Cabbage Salad

1 c shredded cooked chicken
1 stalk diced celery
1/4 c sliced green onions
2 c thinly sliced cabbage
1  peeled and diced mango
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c slivered almonds
optional: 1 Tbsp diced jalapeno (if you like these spicy)
optional: 1/4 c craisins

Dressing:
1/4 c mango jam (I use an all natural, no refined sugar added, mango and pineapple jam)
1/4 c plain yogurt (I like the fage brand)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to taste, (I do 1-2 twists)

Combine chicken, celery, onions, cabbage, mango cilantro, almonds and craisins in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together the dressing in a small bowl or liquid glass measuring  dish. Add the dressing to the chicken mixture and gently combine. For best results, chill at least 30 minutes before serving. Can eat as is or serve on a croissant or roll.

 

 

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