Posts Tagged ‘ Salad ’


This is the first time I’ve ever made Panzanella and I was really pleased with the results.  The combination of fresh tomato, cucumber, onion, and bread, combined with the dressing works very well together.  The quantity I made was for 2 main course servings or approximately 4 side salads.

I really wish I had some leftover grilled asparagus to toss in it.  While not a traditional ingredient I think it would have added an excellent complimentary flavor.  Another possible toss in would be some fresh mozzarella if you don’t mind dairy.  I kept to a basic recipe for my first time but will try variations in the future.

When making this I used only 1/2 a loaf of bread.  The other half I made a small bread pudding with.  I’ll post that later.  I’m trying to cook appropriate amounts of food with the hopes of having less waste.  It seems like a simple concept yet is proving to be quite difficult.  On one hand I enjoy leftovers on the other I always end guessing wrong and still making too much.  Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it soon.


  • 3+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
  • 10+ large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic sliced in half


  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste


Place oil and garlic in a pan and heat on medium heat for a few minutes, remove garlic and add bread, saute the bread until lightly browned adding more oil if needed

Toss all sliced veggies, bread and basil leaves in a bowl and season

Toss all ingredients for dressing in blender and blend until smooth and pour over salad, gently toss salad until evenly coated

Serve immediately or let sit for up to 1 hour


Tangy Vegan Salad Dressing

I’m turning over a new leaf. This one will be a green vegetable leaf.  I’m going to get myself back to super healthy eating and start working on weight loss.  My goal is to follow the basic premise of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and just eat as healthily and naturally as possible.  Other than that I have no intention of following any diet gimmick.

I’m going to start this by attempting a variety of different salad dressings.  I’ve not liked store-bought dressings for a long time but have pretty much stuck to oil and vinegar.  I love a simply dressed salad and have a large variety of different vinegar but after a while that gets old.  Then I stop eating so much salad and next whatever weight I’ve lost starts to creep back on.

I’m starting today with this Tangy Vegan Dressing which is similar to a French dressing but not quite the same.  This one the main ingredients are organic ketchup and organic dijon mustard which provide the tangy taste.  This dressing will definitely work well with a basic salad topped with some sliced veg chick patties or crumbled burger.  It will also go well with just a simple salad.  This recipe is so simple it took about 5 minutes total and is both vegan and gluten-free.


1/2 cup ketchup (organic if possible)
1/4 cup dijon mustard (again organic if possible)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large clove garlic
1/2 a small onion
1 teaspoon agave nectar (more if you prefer sweeter)
1 teaspoon dried basil and some fresh ground pepper


Toss all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until well mixed, chill and serve!

Grape Salad

Grape salad is a favorite menu item at our local Greek restaurant Acropolis.  Often my husband and I will go there and share an order of their very filling stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer and then I’ll have a grape salad as my main course.

Today my mom brought her dog Mitzi over for a swim in the pool and my rendition of grape salad seemed like the perfect lunch to serve.  Just remember, grapes are bad for dogs so this salad is not for them!  While Mitzi swam and boated, my Casey and Rocki spent most of the time sitting out of the sun or hiding under the table as they do not care for the water at all.

Rocki hiding under the table, away from the pool

Casey running from the very scary pool!

The salad is really a simple spinach salad with some toppings that all work well together.  I haven’t made this recipe before because I was spending too much time trying to figure out what is in the restaurant’s dressing.  I’m still not sure but this Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette was very complimentary to the basic recipe.  This is a very rough recipe because I’m really not good at measuring salad stuff.  Use what looks good to you.


A few handfuls of organic spinach leaves

1- 1.5 cups red grapes (green would do but won’t look as pretty)

Gorgonzola or feta cheese sprinkled on top

1 red pepper or a few baby peppers julienned

1 small red or vidalia onion sliced thin

1/2 cup chopped walnuts lightly toasted

Celery either chopped or left in strips for dipping

Salt, Pepper and some Italian seasoning to taste

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette for dressing


Either toast walnuts on a baking dish at 350 for 10 minutes, or toss in a frying pan with v very little oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes turning every minute.  Just be careful they burn quickly

Wash all produce, layer in a bowl starting with spinach, add pepper, onion, grapes, cheese, and top with walnuts, season lightly and add dressing

Have a peaceful day, Lin

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Store bought salad dressing doesn’t do it for me anymore.  Over a year ago I gave up on them and started a collection of interesting vinegars.  I usually dress a salad with olive oil and an interesting vinegar.  Some of my favorite varieties are pear, raspberry blush and a good balsamic.  I have a fig vinegar which is very good but extremely tart and I have to be in the mood for that.  I bought a strawberry basil variety which sadly did not taste like much, but I’m always glad to try a new variety.

I have a favorite salad at a Greek restaurant we frequent.  It’s called a grape salad and tomorrow I’m going to try and recreate it.  I can’t quite figure out what their dressing is made from but it seems to be sweet and tangy.  I’ve decided that I’ll try it with a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette which I believe will be very complimentary to the salad itself.  The dressing I just made this morning, but the salad will have to wait until tomorrow since it’s a work day and I don’t have all the ingredients.  As for the dressing, the ingredients were all 0n hand and it was completed in under 10 minutes time.


3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey (agave nectar for vegans)
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt, red pepper flakes, parsley, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the preserves, honey and vinegar in a saucepan on medium low heat until blended, add oil and seasoning and stir

Let cool before serving

Have a great day!  Lin

One of my favorite things

I know, I know, it’s just a container.  But it’s the most perfect personal sized salad container I’ve ever seen.  My friend Caz brought to work a salad in it a year ago and within a week all my friends had one.  Mine is getting a little worn and after 11 months my fork finally broke so I was thrilled to find it in stock at Target once again. You can find it in the seasonal aisle with summer stuff.  It’s cost, a mere $2.99!  They also have a really cute “meal” version with the separated sections.  I did not purchase that one simply because I don’t heat food in plastic and assume I’d only use it for hot food.

As you can see this is a complete salad kit.  The best part is that it does not leak at all!  It is a perfect size for a meal sized salad, the fork doesn’t fall out and the cup for dressing actually holds the dressing.  I only dress my salads with oil and vinegar so that’s pretty amazing.  It’s not too large so it fits perfectly in my lunch bag.  So I have 1 item that is food friendly, functional and environmentally friendly since it’s reusable.

The salad you see here is using the leftover grilled veggies from the other night.  It consists of spring mix, grilled zucchini, sweet potato, and baby peppers.  On top of that is some onion, tomato, and feta.  I sprinkled some Italian seasoning on it and dressed it with pear vinegar mixed with olive oil.  It’s a perfect dinner for work or home.

Completely unrelated, I just got a text from my son who is in Prague.  He’s 2 weeks into his 9 week European adventure and is finally completely over his food poisoning and is feeling well.  Apparently he is able to cook in the hostel where he’s staying.   His text stated that he was in a store and needed a recipe asap.  He’s with a girl who speaks enough English and can help him shop.  I sent him my original Fettucini Alfredo recipe which I posted 12/22/09. It has very few ingredients and is easy to make anywhere.  I can’t wait to hear his results!

Summer Quinoa Salad

Today we have been invited to an impromptu barbeque and as always it is up to me to bring my own main course.  This is fine, actually preferred.  However, today I am not in the mood for a veggie burger or hot dog.  In reality  I could go for a hot dog but I only like Morningstar Farms brand and I can’t seem to find them lately.  I will have to find out if they’ve been discontinued or not.  Does anyone know?

Back to tonights dinner.  I decided to throw (literally) together a quinoa salad for my main course but made enough to share. This way others can try it as a side dish and see that eating veg isn’t some kind of self punishment.  The only time requirement for this recipe is the 20 or so minutes it takes to cook the quinoa and corn on the cobb.


1 Cup uncooked Quinoa

2 Ears of corn boiled or grilled (or similar amount frozen and thawed)

3 Plum tomato’s chopped

1 Small onion diced

1 Can black beans rinsed and drained

1 Lemon zested and juiced

Approximately 1/4 cup olive oil

Salt, pepper, cumin to taste

A few sprigs of thyme, fresh basil and 2 lemon balm leaves if available


Place quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes

Cut corn from husks and add to cooked quinoa

Add diced tomato and onion as well and black beans

Add olive oil, lemon juice and zest

Chop fresh herbs and add, then salt and pepper to taste

Chill in fridge for a couple of hours prior to serving

Black Bean Corn Salad

I hope someone is still reading this.  I apologize for the time span between posts.  My family life has been kind of hectic and I’ve either been eating take out or cooking the same old recipes over and over again.  I need to plan more time in the kitchen as it really helps me recharge myself.  Yesterday being Mother’s Day meant I had my family over and did some simple cooking.  Chipolte veggie burgers for my son and I, burgers and hot dogs for the rest.  I am very upset at not being able to find Morningstar Hotdogs lately.  They are the only veggie dogs I like, however I am open to recommendations for another brand if you have a favorite.  I’m digressing as usual.  Here is an easy recipe for a favorite side dish of mine.  I can easily eat it as a main dish over a little brown rice or quinoa.

Salad ingredients

1 can black beans rinsed and drained

1 pint cherry tomato’s quartered

4 ears of corn cooked (I prefer on the grill)

Dressing Ingredients

zest of 1 large or 2 small limes

1/3 cup lime juice

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup olive oil

salt pepper

1-2 teaspoons chopped cilantro or coriander (I use Vietnamese Coriander, it’s easier to grow)

In a bowl combine all 3 salad ingredients

In a separate bowl combine the dressing ingredients whisking well and seasoning to taste

Combine salad and dressing and refrigerate for a couple of hours