Category Archives: Salad

Kale Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash

After having a delicious kale and butternut squash salad last week at Audubon Circle I was inspired to make one myself. The first item on my grocery list was kale, and I actually picked up some fresh Kale at the Sowa Farmer’s Market yesterday and since I had an acorn squash from the garden to use, I decided to sub that for the butternut squash. The salad I had last week has sliced almonds, onions and Parmesan cheese. I don’t like raw onions nor am I a big fan of Parmesan but I do wish that I had had almonds in the house, I think that would have added a nice touch to the salad. Instead, to give it a little sweetness, I added craisins.

My version of Audubon’s Kale Salad

This salad is super healthy and loaded with nutrients. If you are looking for a delicious – and healthy – side dish to go with dinner tonight, or I’, thinking this would be a great alternative to green bean casserole at Thanksgiving, you’ve got to try this recipe. It’s quick and easy to prepare (if you microwave the squash)

Ingredients (serves 2)

5-6 Kale leaves, washed well
1 acorn squash (or sub butternut squash)
3 teaspoons Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
pinch of Salt
handful of craiains
3 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)

How to cook Acorn Squash:

1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise
2. Scoop out the seeds and stringing part in the middle of the squash

Bake: Place both halves cut side up in a baking dish filled with 1/2 – 1 inch water, this will keep the skin from burning to the pan and the squash from drying out. Bake at 400F for 40-60 minutes, until soft. Timing will vary depending on the size of the squash, and the oven. Let cool and the skin will easily peel off


Microwave: Lay cut side down on a piece of microwave safe plastic wrap placed directly on a plate. Cook on high in 3 minute intervals until completely softened and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Again, cooking times will vary upon size.

I added cinnamon and nutmeg to one side – wish I had added it to both sides; it gives it a little extra something!

In the meanwhile…
Cut the stems off of the kale and slice leaves into thin slices. Place slices in a bowl and add half the lemon juice, 2 teaspoons olive oil and salt. “Massage” the kale with your hands, as my friend Meg explained it to me, until it begins to soften and wilt a little, this will take about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside for another 10-15 minutes.

In a smaller bowl mix together the remaining lemon juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and pepper. This will be the dressing. You can use more olive oil if desired, I like to keep it on the lighter side.

Toss the dressing with the kale, then add in craisins and cooled chopped squash. Toss once more so the squash gets a little bit of the dressing too! To make this a meal add sliced almonds and shredded Parmesan cheese …and eat the entire bowl. Or serve this as a side with pork, chicken, steak, or tofu!


Cold Rice Noodle Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

I adopted this recipe from the one I found on Thai Kitchen’swebsite. By the way, Thai Kitchen has some great gluten free products.

This salad was a major hit at my friend Molly’s BBQ over the weekend. It was all eaten! This salad has a great kick to it, but no too spicy. The cucumber gives it a nice refreshing feel and crunchy taste. The hot sauce I used had hints of key lime mango and pomegranate give the chili sauce a nice sweet after taste. Plain hot sauce will work fine too, start with only two tablespoons and add more to suite your taste.
Spicy Lime Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice + 2 Tablespoons
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 – 3 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise, sliced thinly
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped fresh Thai basil (I used regular Basil because that is what I grow in my garden)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro  (also fresh from the garden
1. For the Vinaigrette, mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Start with only ¼ cup lime juice and rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and chili sauce. Add more as need to suite your taste. Set aside. 
2. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add rice noodles; cook 5 minutes or until noodles are tender but firm. 
3. Rinse under cold water and  drain well. Place noodles in large bowl and let cool about 5 more minutes. 
4. Add cucumber, carrots, slaw, basil and cilantro and mix well. Mix in the Vinaigrette and toss gently.   
5. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors and serve cold or at room temperature.

Quinoa and Rice Summer Salad

I offered to make a side dish for my friend Lauren’s bbq, and I did not want to make a tradition potato, pasta or egg salad. Quite frankly, I do not like egg salad nor am I a big fan of traditional potato salad (too much mayonnaise). I’m always experimenting in the kitchen, and after deciding I wanted to make a rice and quinoa salad (I made a cumin scented quinoa and black rice salad for my graduation party that turned out great) I made up this recipe. I knew I wanted something light and tasty. Using rice as the main ingredient is a nice departure from the traditional bbq salads, and much lighter too.
Summer is the perfect time for a cool salad. This one is simple to prepare and the ingredients give it a refreshing, cooling and satisfying taste. The flavors mix very nicely together to give this dish great flavor. Often times many summer salads are loaded with mayonnaise and this one is not, also making it a much healthier choice.
2 cups brown rice
2 cups quinoa
1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced
1 medium cucumber, diced
 cup walnuts
3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
½ cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons onion powder
salt (optional) and pepper to taste
1.     The quinoa and rice can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Cook, separately, according to the package directions. To give a little extra flavor use vegetable stock in place of water to cook the quinoa, or use half water and half stock.
2.     Rinse cherries and remove stems. Cut around the pit into slices.
3.     In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, walnuts, rice and quinoa. Mix well.
4.     Add in the parsley, onion powder and paper (and salt if using).
5.     Add in the lime and lemon juices, one tablespoon at a time and mix well in between each one.
6.     Add cherries in last, right before serving or else it could turn the dish red from the juices.
7.     Serve chilled or at room temperature.
I also think adding mint – or replacing the parsley with it – would also make a delicious dish. Next time I am going to try it this way! 
Before the Cherries were added

Cumin Scented Black Rice and Quinoa

This past weekend I had my graduation party. We spent some time planning out the menu – pasta salad, Ceaser Salad, Goat Cheese and Spinach Salad, Shredded Carrot with Scallions and Peas over Mixed Greens , Italian Sausage with onions and peppers, hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit salad, and a cake. We needed another starchy side dish, and neither of us being big fans of potato salad (too much mayonnaise for my taste), I remembered a dish I had at my friend Lauren’s house at a recent dinner party. It was delicious, I remember loving the side dish she made, quinoa with brown rice cumin and vegetables. I adapted her recipe a bit, as the original one calls for black rice, and I added more garlic and brown rice, in addition to the black rice.

It was a hit at the party and it tasted even better the day after! I’m not sure why but my guess is that the spices and flavors had more time to infuse into the rice and quinoa.

The recipe below serves 8 but I personally think it is enough for at least 10 or 12 people as a side dish. It can be served either cold or warm. I think it would taste great with tomatoes, avocados or cucumbers added to it, or maybe even sweet potato or butternut squash in the winter time, served warm.

Recipe Adapted from Bon Apetit


  • 1/2 cup short-grain black rice
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 cups water or vegetable/chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (or chives)
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook brown rice and black rice separately. Black rice turns the water purple, and if cooked with the brown rice will also turn it purple.
1. Bring brown rice and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 25-30 minutes.  Do the same with the black rice.
2. Meanwhile, combine quinoa, bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups chicken broth (gives it more flavor) in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return quinoa to hot saucepan. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. 
3.Discard bay leaf, fluff quinoa with a fork, and transfer to a large bowl.
4. While the quinoa and rice are  cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
5. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. 
6. Add garlic and cumin and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. 
7. Add to quinoa. 
8. Then add rice and mix well. 
9. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons oil (optional, I started with one and didn’t add the second tablespoon), fresh lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, and basil. 
10. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut avocado into wedges. 
11. Serve salad cold or warm. Serve with lemon on the side, optional.

Roasted Beet Salad

So as many of you know, one of my new favorite foods is beets. I never used to be a huge fan, but lately I’m loving them. Twice, in the past month, I ordered Beet Salads while dining out, once at Marco and once at Petit Robert Bistro, and both times I absolutely loved it!
Tonight I made a Roasted Beet Salad. Roasting beets intensifies their flavors, something I learned tonight after cooking beets for the first time. Beets are earthy and sweet at the same time. Something else I learned tonight is that beets come in a variety of colors – deep crimson, golden yellow and even candy-striped red and white roots – and all have a slightly different taste. I will have to try the golden yellow ones sometime.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ orange juice
I teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 (15 ounce) can of Sliced Beets, no salt added OR fresh beets if you have them available
4 cups baby spinach
½ cup goat cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, orange juice, zest and brown sugar. 
3. Toss beets with half the dressing and save the other half to toss again after cooking.
4. Place the beets on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until tops begin to brown.
5. When the beets are done cooking you have two options: 1. toss the beets in the remaining dressing then add to salad OR 2. use the remaining dressing as salad dressing for the entire salad. (I chose option 2)
6. Top salad with beets and goat cheese, add remaining dress and enjoy 🙂

Black Rice with Sweet Potatoes

At the store last week I noticed, for the first time, black rice. I can honestly say I’ve never seen this before and it struck me as such an unusual thing. But, after doing a little research I learned so much about this versatile and HEALTHY rice. I was so intrigued by what I learned about black rice…

Black Rice, also known as forbidden rice is considered to be both food and medicine in China. It is black in color and turns deep purple when cooked because it is rich in antioxidants. It contains 18 different amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and many other important vitamins. In China, black rice is claimed to be good for the kidney, stomach and liver (these claims have not been verified), as well as provide many health benefits – prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and heart attacks. I am sure this grain will become very popular soon in the US; it’ll be the next ”big thing” in the near future. We went from white rice to brown rice and now to black rice? It could happen.

I was so fascinated by all I had just read and I started searching for recipes, and found so many that looked interesting! Next weekend for my graduation party I plan on making Cumin-Scented Quinoa and Black Rice or Black Rice Salad with Ginger Dressing. Tonight I decided on Black Rice with Sweet Potatoes.

Black rice has a mild but distinct flavor. I found it to be somewhat nutty and sweet at the same time, and slightly chewier than brown rice, but very tasty.
Basic rule for cooking black rice, 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • 3/4 cups Chinese Black Rice
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt (optional)
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup Scallions, (1 bunch)
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Ginger, Peeled & Minced (or ginger powder if you realize you forgot to buy fresh ginger)
  • 1 Sweet Potato, Large (12-14 oz), diced


  1. Rinse rice under cold water before cooking.
  2. In a sauce pan, bring rice, water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook rice, covered  until tender and most of the water is absorbed (about 35 minutes).
  3. Let rice stand, covered, off the heat for 10 minutes. 
  4. While the rice is cooking, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Saute scallions, ginger, and sweet potato, stirring until well coated (about 2 minutes). Reduce heat to medium/medium-low and add the rest of the salt (if using, I omit salt, always) and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the potato is tender, about 12 minutes.
  6. Add the rice and toss gently to combine

Puffed Rice Tabouli

I haven’t had tabouli in years! I was so excited when I came across this recipe from Nature’s Path.

This salad is perfect for summer (or winter or spring or fall :), it’s so refreshing. It combines classic tabbouleh ingredients but substitutes puffed brown rice for traditional bulgur or couscous. Red cabbage isn’t a traditional ingredient in tabouli its adds a little crunch and color to the salad.


  • 3 cups Red Cabbage, finely chopped
  • 3 cups unsweetened Rice Puffs*
  • 1 1/2 cups Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup Parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons Lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
*be sure to use the unsweetened variety. 


  1. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, puffed rice cereal, mint, and parsley.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and lemon zest.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. 
  4. Add more lemon juice if needed. 

*be sure to use the unsweetened variety of puffed rice cereal.