Tag Archives: salad

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Nothing screams summer to me like watermelon. But I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to watermelon. I see recipes for grilling it or combining it in salads all the time, and I’m skeptical. How could that even taste good?

Well, I finally broke down and tried one. And…it was delicious! I was shocked, I’m not going to lie. I really only tried it to prove a point that these recipes are gross. So, believe me when I say this is worth trying, even if you are skeptical. Hope you give it a try!

Watermelon and Tomato Salad (Serves 4-6)

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup arugula
2 green onions, chopped
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cups seedless watermelon, sliced thin
1 ounce feta cheese

1. Combine first four ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 86
Protein: 2 gm
Fat: 5 gm
Saturated Fat: 2 gm
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Carbohydrates: 9 gm
Fiber: 1 gm
Sodium: 217 mg

Recipe notes: Everything about this salad saves well except the arugula. So, if you anticipate leftovers, maybe put in less arugula and add in more as you eat it.

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Caprese Pasta

I’m back! Sorry for the two month hiatus. Between computer troubles and life being life, I haven’t been on here in awhile. I’ve got a bunch of great recipes and ideas I’m excited to share with you. And please be patient if things are different. Some recipes may not have nutrition information, since they aren’t exact formulations.

Today, I’m sharing an incredibly easy and delicious pasta dish that is great as a side or vegetarian main. It tastes like the end of summer, which is perfect. I created it when I looked at my garden and saw a bunch of tomatoes and basil that needed using. Whether you have your own produce or are getting it from the store, this is completely seasonal and delicious. Enjoy!

Caprese Pasta (Serves 6 as a side, 3 as a main)

Caprese Pasta<

1 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup honey
1 pound whole wheat pasta
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
2-4 tablespoons pesto (recipe here or from a jar is fine)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

1. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar and honey to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until reduced to ⅓ cup. Set aside to cool.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, leaving out oil or salt. Drain.

3. Into hot pasta, toss mozzarella, tomatoes, pesto, and fresh basil.

4. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of the balsamic sauce over the top. Toss to coat. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Recipe Notes: Sorry for no nutrition information today. The balsamic sauce and pesto are kind of oddball ingredients that will vary based on cooking time of the vinegar, how much you use, what kind of pesto you make/buy. I highly recommend fresh mozzarella for this. If you have to use the regular kind, I’d still cube it up, but very small, so you have more of a chance of it melting.

Source: Balsamic reduction from allrecipes.com; rest is original recipe

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Sweet Potato Salad

I can’t believe it is almost Labor Day. Summer is really ending. I hope you have one last cookout or picnic planned for the weekend. If you do, liven up your meal with this sweet potato salad. While it is great anytime, it is the perfect transition from summer to fall. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Salad (Serves 6-8)

Sweet Potato Salad

2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 cup light olive oil mayonnaise
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup green onions
¼ teaspoon sriracha (or to taste)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Boil sliced sweet potatoes until just fork tender. Rinse with cool water.

2. Combine remaining ingredients. Lightly toss dressing over sweet potatoes until combined.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 206
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 295 mg

Source: adapted from Food Network Magazine

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Carrot Salad with Chickpeas

One of my favorite parts of summer is all of the yummy salads that are served at cookouts. I love being able to taste all of the different kinds. Vegetable salads, pasta salads, makes no difference to me. However, I don’t know that I’ve ever tried carrot salad before. I think because every version I’ve seen before has raisins in it. While I like raisins, carrots and raisins seem like an odd combo to me.

This salad was amazing. Great Mediterranean flavors that come together very quickly. My toddler even ate some, which is always a miracle. Take it to your next summer event. You’ll definitely have a unique offering that will be a big hit. Enjoy!

Carrot Salad with Chickpeas (Serves 8 or more)

Carrot Salad with Chickpeas

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup lime juice
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Heat oven to 425.

2. Toss chickpeas, one tablespoon olive oil, and cumin together. Spread evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in oven until crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Toss occasionally during cooking. Revue from oven and set aside.

3. Place carrots in a large bowl. Toss with cilantro, walnuts, and chickpeas.

4. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined. Toss with the carrot mixture. Can serve immediately or chill.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 172
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 11 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 15 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 109 mg

Recipe Notes: I used a food processor on the carrots, which made the process go much faster. If using a regular grater, use the larger holes. The chickpeas can get a little bit soggy as it sits, but not horribly.

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Better Green Bean Salad

Every summer, my dad’s work would have a company picnic. For years, it was a mostly potluck affair at a big park. And my dad ALWAYS made three bean salad to take. It was the only time my family ever made that salad. And I ALWAYS refused to eat any of it. Even since then, I usually see recipes for bean salad and run away.

However, I needed a veggie salad for a cookout recently and stumbled on this recipe. If you are still on the hunt for something different to round out your Fourth of July celebration, this is it. Easy to prepare whether you are hosting or just bringing a side. Simple, delicious flavors that surprise you. Enjoy!

Better Green Bean Salad (Makes 6-8 servings)

Better Green Bean Salad

½ lb green beans, trimmed and chopped into bite size pieces
1-2 yellow crookneck squash, sliced lengthwise
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
½ tablespoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dried herbs – savory blend or italian seasoning
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

1. Place green beans on a piece of foil. Lightly coat green beans and squash with ½ tablespoon olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place foil with green beans and squash on the grill. Cook, covered, until green beans are beginning to soften and squash has lightly charred on both sides (flip the squash after about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat. Let cool. Chop squash into bite size pieces.

3. In a large bowl, mix together vinegar, remaining olive oil, honey, mustard, and dried herbs. Add green beans, squash, tomatoes, and fresh basil to the bowl. Gently toss. Can serve immediately or chilled.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 67
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 8 g
Fiber: 2g
Sodium: 117 mg

Recipe Notes: I only used one squash and it was on the smaller side. It could have used more, so I’d go for 1 big squash or 2 small ones. If you aren’t already grilling, you could either sauté the green beans and squash in a skillet or blanche them until just cooked in some boiling water. The goal is tender but not mushy vegetables. I like the “grilled” taste, though. This can be made a few hours in advance. However, the tomatoes especially get mushy the longer it sits. You could mix everything together except the tomatoes and basil well ahead of time, then add in the tomatoes and basil just before serving.

Source: adapted from Cuisine at Home

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Cherry Tomato and Roasted Beet Salad

This salad is an homage to my dear mother. Raw tomatoes and roasted beets were two foods she loved. Interestingly enough, I hated both of these as a kid. Thankfully my tastes have matured with me.

Have you tried sun gold cherry tomatoes? If not, try them. They will change your entire perception of tomatoes. I have never been a huge fan of raw tomatoes, but I will eat sun gold tomatoes like they are candy. I nearly cried when sprouts to grow my own died last spring. I will be trying again next spring.

Cherry Tomato and Roasted Beet Salad (Serves 4 as a side dish)

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3 medium beets
1 (10.5 ounce) package sun gold cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
4 green onions, chopped white and green parts
¼ cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon or other spicy mustard
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Scrub beets and trim any greens.  Pierce several times with fork and individually wrap each beet in foil.  Roast in oven for about 1 hour, until tender.  Check beets after 45 minutes for doneness and to make sure they aren’t too dry.  If drying out, sprinkle with some water and rewrap.

2.  Unwrap beets, and set out to cool. Once beets are cool, peel and slice.

3. Combine beets, tomatoes, green onions, and walnuts in a shallow bowl.

4. Whisk together remaining ingredients to make dressing. Pour over salad. Lightly toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 202
Protein: 3.7 g
Fat: 15 g
Saturated Fat: 1.9 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 15 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 213 mg

Recipe Notes: If you have enough and they look good, you can save the beet greens. Use them like you would kale, mustard greens, spinach, etc. The beets should peel just with your fingers if they are cooked enough. You could use any variety of tomatoes, but I like the sweetness of cherry tomatoes with the acidic dressing and hearty beets. A few crumbles of feta, goat cheese, or cubed avocado would also be nice additions to this salad. The beets will stain EVERYTHING red/purple – hands, clothes, etc. The tomatoes will take on a slight purple tinge, too. But it still tastes delicious. If you don’t want the color to bleed like that, don’t mix until just about to serve and mix as little as possible. Also, I know the fat seems high. But look how low it is in saturated fat. It is all the monounsaturated fats from the olive oil. Read here about those are good.

Source: slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Low Iodine adjustment:  Leave out the salt and mustard from dressing.  Season with fresh or dried herbs.

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Fiesta Pasta Salad

Fall is my favorite season.  I love the colors, the cooler weather, the flavors, the football and bands, and my birthday.  But this year, I find myself wishing summer would linger a little longer.  We had a very full summer of fun activities.  But I want just one more grilled hamburger, one more picnic, one more swim party.

If you feel the same way, this pasta salad screams summer.  It is light but still filling and delicious.  It works great as a side dish, but could also be eaten as a main dish.  It is great for taking to a  pot luck, because it makes a ton of food.  Enjoy!

Fiesta Pasta Salad (Serves 20-25 as a side dish)

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Dressing:
1 package Fiesta Ranch dip mix
2 cups fat free buttermilk
2 cups plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice, optional

Salad:
1 (13.25 ounce) package whole wheat spiral pasta, cooked
½ small red onion, diced
1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 bell peppers, diced (a mix of colors is best)
½ cup grated colby jack cheese
¼ cup chopped cilantro

1. Combine dressing ingredients. Set aside.

2. Combine salad ingredients except cheese and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir in dressing until salad is well coated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, overnight is best.

3. Stir in cheese and cilantro right before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 155
Protein: 9.6 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 1.4 g
Cholesterol: 7 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 110 mg

Recipe Notes: I never buy buttermilk. I just make my own with vinegar or lemon juice. If you have lime juice, that would work well for making the buttermilk, and you wouldn’t need to add the extra tablespoon. You could really change up or add the ingredients. I think I would prefer black beans over kidney beans in the future. Fresh tomatoes or avocados would be delicious. If serving as a main dish, some shredded chicken would be a nice mix-in. This salad gets better as it sits, so really plan ahead when making it.

Source: slightly adapted from a family recipe

Low-iodine adjustment: Use beans you prepared yourself rather than canned. Omit the cheese. Make a vinaigrette dressing, like this or this.

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