Tagged salad

Red Salad with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate Dressing

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This is such a festive and yet simple salad that’s especially fitting for the holiday season when you’re likely to look for showy but not work-intensive dishes. The jewel-like pomegranate seeds that sometimes seem to be lit from within really liven up the dining table. That the individual components are easy to put together is just icing on the cake.

Radicchio is a cold season veggie, and has a touch of bitterness that pairs well with sweet salad fixings and dressings. It can also be grilled or pan-fried briefly in a bit of olive oil to take some of the bitter edge off, if you like. Pair with some scrambled eggs and you’ve got a healthy, scrumptious breakfast. Pile on those antioxidants!

To serve 3-4, you need

1 head radicchio, trimmed and separated into leaves, the leaves torn into smaller pieces if you like, rinsed and spun-dry
The seeds from 1 pomegranate
Tahini sauce
Pomegranate-Balsamic Vinaigrette

To make the tahini sauce, you need:

2/3 cup tahini (I like this one)
1/2 cup water
the juice of 1 medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste with a large pinch of salt (this is optional — I’ve found that the garlic doesn’t clash with the pomegranate in this recipe, but you can leave it out if you don’t agree)
salt to taste

A couple of notes on the tahini sauce: People seem to either love or hate tahini, as it’s such a strong flavor, especially if made with garlic. I love the contrast it brings to this salad in terms of flavor and color, but if you don’t like tahini sauce, you can leave it out altogether and the salad will still work.

Also, the recipe above produces a little over a cup of sauce, so you’ll have extra. You can either halve or even quarter the recipe if you don’t want that much sauce, or save for another use. Tahini sauce makes an excellent dip for crudites, and as a foil for grilled/roasted meats. It’s yummy especially on nightshades — tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers.

To make the vinaigrette, you need:

Equal parts pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar
Olive oil, equivalent amount to the molasses/vinegar combination
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

So for a cup of dressing, you’ll use 1/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup of the vinegar, and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Run in a blender, or shake in a jar, or whisk in a bowl until combined well.

In a large bowl, toss the sauce and the dressing with the radicchio leaves and the pomegranate seeds, and serve.


Variations

You can also turn this into a coleslaw type dish and use red cabbage instead.
Roasted red beets would also make a great addition.

Black Bean Salad

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Another flexible recipe that will adjust to whatever you have on hand, but as always, the more colorful, the better-looking (for your eyes) and the better for your health. This one had:

1 cup dried black beans, which I brought to a boil with water to cover in a saucepan, over high heat, then turned off and left overnight, then cooked a bit more the next day to just the right tenderness, which takes 15 minutes or so — this will amount to about 2 1/2 cooked beans
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, diced, tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and roasted in 400 degree oven 12-15 minutes or just until it has a touch of color (indicating a Maillard reaction has occurred — this brings out flavor)
1 cup frozen corn, toasted in a dry skillet until slightly colored
1 orange, peeled, cut into sections and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 handful cilantro, minced
1 red pepper, roasted in 400 degree oven ~20 minutes, then cooled, peeled under running water, and diced
the juice of 1 lime
3 scallions, trimmed and sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (I do this to taste because of the kids)
1 avocado, chopped and immediately tossed with some juice from the lime
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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After you’ve got all that up there done, the rest is easy. Just toss, adjust seasonings, and enjoy.

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Note: I try to use all organic ingredients whenever I can, so if you peruse the recipes here, there are many that will specify “organic this” and “organic that”. I’ve decided to stop doing that now since many people are more aware about the benefits and implications of opting for organic foods whenever and wherever possible. However, to make it easy for the reader who isn’t used yet to this kind of intentional shopping, here’s a handy guide that may help.

organicvsconventional
This is a graphic that appeared here but it seems they’ve taken the original down and I can’t find a new link. No copyright infringement intended.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Fresh Figs

Was getting a bit tired of our usual veggie salads, and needed more vegetarian ideas, specifically those with more of a Mediterranean bent, so I got me Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook. I cannot wait to try ALL the recipes. Okay, maybe 99%. I’m not a leg-o-lamb person. But hubby is, so maybe I’ll make that one for him. For now, I’m going page by page and just having fun discovering new flavor combinations. This one with the figs and sweet potato and reduced balsamic is excellent, though I wish I would have added some feta to up the salty element. (I don’t like goat’s cheese, which is in the original recipe. But maybe next time I make this I’ll add some just for the hubs, since he can eat that.)

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3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into wedges (I cut each in half lengthwise, then each half into quarters, then each quarter into 3 pieces, lengthwise)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
~ 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toss the above in a large mixing bowl, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast about 20 minutes until tender and browned in places.

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While sweet potatoes are roasting, reduce

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (doesn’t have to be fancy)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (superfine if you have it, but regular will do, what’s important is it gets dissolved well before you heat it up)

in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer a few minutes until thickened, but not too thick as to be unpourable or undrizzleable.

Also, prepare

2 tablespoons olive oil
large bunch green onions, trimmed, cut into 2-inch thickish shreds
1 red hottish pepper, sliced thin
6 ripe figs, wiped or rinsed clean, quartered (if large) or halved (if small)
Maldon sea salt (or other coarse salt) and additional black pepper for seasoning

Heat olive oil in a saucepan or skillet. Add green onions and red pepper and cook over medium heat, for a few minutes or just until wilted and fragrant.

When sweet potatoes are done, arrange in a platter, along with the figs. Scatter the green onion-red pepper mixture all around, including the oil, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Sprinkle Maldon sea salt and black pepper on top to finish and you’re done! Enjoy!

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Can be prepared for St. Albert of Jerusalem‘s Feast on September 25, though fresh figs may be tricky to find at that time. I wouldn’t hesitate to sub dried Calimyrna figs, which is available year-round, either stewed in a bit of wine, or soaked in the balsamic vinegar prior to use in the recipe, or used as is but chopped.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Honey-Roasted Onion Salad with Orange-Cumin Dressing

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For the sweet potatoes:

3 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs fresh thyme or about 1 teaspoon dried
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel, quarter and cut sweet potatoes crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices. Toss with oil, thyme and salt. Spread evenly on rimmed baking sheet and roast 30 minutes. Turn pieces with spatula and roast another 30 minutes.

The Onion:

1 extra large onion, Walla-Walla or Vidalia or other sweet onion recommended, but regular yellow onions will do as well
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey (molasses, maple syrup, date syrup, or a combo of any of these will do as well)
salt to taste

Peel and cut onion into 1/2-inch slices. Whisk oil, vinegar, honey and salt in a small bowl, and transfer to oven-proof (cast iron if you have it) skillet. Add onion slices evenly and either bake along with the sweet potatoes, or cook slowly stovetop, turning once, until caramelized on both sides. The onions will become pleasantly chewy-crisp as it cools.

The Dressing:

2 small oranges or 1 large
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, sliced thinly
salt to taste

Juice orange(s) and set aside. In dry skillet toast cumin seeds and pepper flakes for a few minutes or until fragrant. Grind in spice mill/coffee grinder or in a mortar and pestle. In the same skillet heat olive oil and cook garlic slices for a few minutes over medium heat, just until golden. Add orange juice, the ground spices, whisk/cook for 3-5 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in salt to taste.

To serve:

Salad greens (I used romaine because that’s what I had, but baby kale, baby spinach, mesclun, arugula, or whatever mixed greens you have will do as well)

Combine everything — sweet potato slices, onion slices, dressing, and greens — in a large bowl and toss.

Serves 4.

My (Current) Favorite Salad: Celery!!

I have never been a celery fan. Especially NOT of those celery sticks served with ranch dip that appear at almost every party table. What makes it worse is it’s often obviously store-bought, with wilted edges. There it is keeping company with the pretend baby carrots that look dry as a bone, AND the half-yellowing broccoli florets that don’t even look washed. Ranch doesn’t really do anything for celery — and I suspect people eat the raw veggies just for the sake of being able to say “I ate something ‘healthy'” while actually indulging in the ranch dip, which is just about the only tasty thing in that sectioned black plastic tray. Ugh. Someone should ban those from the party foods section at the supermarket already.

I *do* love celery cooked. Of course, as one of the required aromatics in a stew or soup. I’ve also, on occasion, enjoyed Julia Child’s butter-braised celery, but it seems I’m the only person in the family that does, so nix that. Celery also HAS to be in Filipino pancit and chop suey, but it is fantastic in this Szechwan celery-chicken stir fry.

Enter this crunchy, buttery salad — based on one from Melissa Clark. Her version has dates, but I’m picky about dates as well, and don’t like them in a salad, so I just left them out. I confess to buying celery now just so I can make this salad as often as I can. Heh, it helps that I have an excuse to hog it too — as most of my family either dislike walnuts or are allergic to it.

The freshest stalks from a whole celery (I save the outer ones for soup), rinsed and sliced thinly on the diagonal — use the leaves too if you like
A handful of walnuts toasted in a 350-degree F oven (or toaster — but be careful not to burn them!) for 7-10 minutes, or until fragrant and JUST beginning to turn color, chopped
juice of half a lemon
tablespoon or so extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
shavings of Pecorino, Grana Padano or Parmigiano

That’s it! Toss in a bowl and eat! You’ll be thankful you tried it.

Crunchy Green Salad

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1 medium head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces, rinsed and spun dry
1/2 English cucumber or any waxless cucumber, deseeded if necessary
4 ribs celery hearts, leaves discarded if you like, sliced thinly (leave unpeeled)

the dressing, whisk all in a bowl:

~1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper if you like (I didn’t use any)

Toss together and enjoy!

All Mine: Insalata Caprese with Pesto

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It’s not picture perfect, and I wish I could say I grew the basil that went into the pesto, and the tomatoes… but no. It was still perfectly yummy, and what’s important, it’s all mine 🙂 — well, except for a couple of bites Paco took. My little ones don’t like this particular salad, dad’s allergic to cheese, and Aisa’s sensitive to cheese and didn’t want to try.

The fresh buffalo mozzarella is from EuroPomella Italy, imported by Mozzarella Fresca in California, and locally available at Jungle Jim’s.

I made a batch of pesto, so I’ll be having the rest of that maybe with some penne, chopped up tomato and chopped up rest-of-the-mozzarella tonight. Yum. The baby should like it 🙂

Spinach, Shrimp and Mango Salad

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I’m not too fond of most Asian-style salads, because I find some things are usually “off” or the combination of tastes just screams WRONG! This is one exception to the rule.

1 package baby spinach, washed and spun dry
2 cups large shrimp, steamed, peeled and deveined
1 large ripe mango (Champagne mango if you can find it is best), peeled, de-seeded and cut into 1/3-inch slices
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated zest and 3 tablespoons juice from 1 orage
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup canola oil, expeller-pressed preferred
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Place spinach, shrimp, and mango slices in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a small non-reactive bowl, macerate onion slices in 1 tablesoon rice wine vinegar for 5 minutes.
Whisk orange zest, orange juice, ginger and remaining vinegar, as well as salt and pepper to taste, in a small bowl. Whisk oils in until emulsified.
Add onion slices to salad bowl. Pour dressing over salad; toss and serve immediately.

a repost of a recipe I wrote for aboutweblogs.com/asianfood, aka noodlesandrice.com

Salad of Celery Root and Carrots

1/2 cup julienned celery root
1/2 cup julienned carrots
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of sugar

Toss everything in a bowl. Fast, easy, and healthy, you can serve this as a salad or a light craving-food-in-between-meals snack. You can also just run the celery root and carrots using the shredder attachment of your food processor. What could be simpler?