I’m a cookbook junkie. I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to cookbooks plus a few shelves on a secondary bookshelf and a new shelf in the pantry, but I don’t think anyone’s noticed that one yet… ;) I was in my early 20s living in France when I first started reading cookbooks as if they were best-selling novels. I had a 90 minute commute on the metro and a regional train to the suburbs of Paris for work. When you spend that much time on public transportation, you go through a lot of books. I was also on a tight budget, so when I discovered a series of spiral-bound paperback cookbooks that covered individual topics, I was elated. They were about $2 a piece, and nearly every week I would buy a couple. I still have my collection today, but honestly, I don’t cook from them anymore. I just can’t imagine parting with them either. Over the years, I’ve collected many more cookbooks and periodically I do go through them and donate some. Each time it makes me smile to see how my tastes and cooking style have evolved over the years.
Lately, as I’m sure you can imagine, Paleo cookbooks have placed front and center and I recently got one called 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender. One of the things that I look for in a cookbook these days is that little something different, something unusual. I’m not afraid to combine exotic flavors or seemingly random ingredients to create a flavor or texture that awakens the palate and Dana does just that! I find myself wanting to try so many of the recipes and when I do, I want to make them again.
That’s what happened with this recipe. It is inspired by Dana’s own Confetti Salad but when I made it, I modified a few things along the way. It was so delicious that I immediately wanted to make it again and decided to record what I was doing so that I could share it with you. There’s something magical that happens with the soft, slightly briny artichoke hearts and the rich, toasted pine nuts with the gentle tang of white balsamic. It’s really special, I think. Just so you know, nobody out there is going to mind if you make a few of your own modifications (the original didn’t call for salmon so you could always skip it, for example) and make this your very own.
Confetti “Rice” Salad with Salmon – inspired by 500 Paleo Recipes
4 tsp. Paleo mayonnaise
4 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. dry thyme
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/3 c. artichoke hearts (I used about 1/2 a can)
1/3 c. thinly sliced bell pepper, preferably red/orange/yellow
1/2 c. thinly sliced celery
1 1/2 c. steamed cauliflower rice*
3-4 oz. cooked salmon (canned okay)
2 tsp. pine nuts, toasted
1 scallion, sliced
pepper to taste
1) In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme, curry powder and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
2) If the artichoke hearts are large or need trimming, quarter or cut off any tough parts and place in a medium salad bowl. Add the bell pepper slices, celery, and cauliflower rice. Add the salmon and dressing and mix gently so the salmon stays in nice-sized pieces.
3) Taste and adjust seasioning with any additional salt, pepper, or curry powder. Top with pine nuts and scallions and serve.
Serves 1-2 (If serving 2, some hard-boiled eggs and tomato slices on the side would be nice.)
*Note: To make cauliflower rice, place florets in a food processor fitted with an s-blade and pulse 10-12 times until it looks like grains of rice. It might take a few batches so it doesn’t turn to mush. Put the rice into a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for about 6 minutes. Let cool and then either use immediately or refrigerate to use later in the week for salads like this!