Zoodle Salad with Balsamic Tomatoes and Basil

Tomato Basil Salad on Zucchini Noodles 2014Having a garden is amazing and rewarding and to actually eat things that I planted just weeks ago gets me excited every single time. There is something truly fulfilling and gratifying and I can’t wait to experiment with other vegetables next year. This year, however, the learning piece has included zucchini plants. I had a bit of a debate with the person at the nursery where I purchased my little seedlings about how many to plant together because the little stick said to plant two. My neighbors have since smiled…and locked their doors. Apparently, they don’t want to share in my bounty! 😉

I am not intimidated, though, since I have a million ways to prepare zucchini. And a spiral slicer, which helps immensely. Zoodles rule and I really can’t imagine getting sick of them so you might see a few more recipes over the course of the summer. I hope they serve as launching pads for your own ideas and that you’ll share whatever magic you are making happen in your own kitchen!

Zoodle Salad with Balsamic Tomatoes and Basil

3-4 zucchini

1 Tbsp. salt

1 c. tomatoes, chopped

6 kalamata olives

1 tsp. pinenuts, toasted

2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

small clove of garlic

1/3 c. fresh basil chiffonade

pepper to taste

Directions

1) Spiral slice or julienne the zucchini and place in a strainer over the sink. Toss with salt and allow to sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse well and cut into shorter zoodles, if necessary.

2) In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, oil, and garlic and set aside.

3) Place zucchini in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, and basil. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well to combine.

4) Chill the salad for about 15 minutes, then add pepper and additional salt, if desired. Enjoy!

Serves 2

*Note: The proportions in this salad are totally flexible. Use what you have and what you like!

Cajun Broccoli Salad

Cajun Broccoli Salad 2014I know! I know! Another salad! I keep thinking I need to cook more main dishes for the site, and I definitely will, but you always need something on the side. Right? And as I go through my day and cook for my family, I make salads like this one that I just love and feel are worth sharing. Especially since it’s summertime so it’s nice to have something cooler alongside whatever you’ve grilled. But I’m probably not fooling anyone – I’d eat this salad all through winter too.

What got me going was that we were invited to a friend’s house for a Cajun boil and I was in charge of bringing a salad. I love broccoli salads and I started wondering if they were typically Cajun. I still don’t really know the answer to that because I couldn’t find a definitive answer. Instead I used my imagination and made my own. If you’re Cajun and reading my blog, I apologize in advance if I’ve overstepped my bounds. I hope you like the salad anyway!

Cajun Broccoli Salad

3 med-large broccoli crowns

1 large red bell pepper

5-6 mushrooms

2 large stalks of celery

3 scallions

5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Dressing

3/4 c. Paleo mayo

1/2 lemon, juiced about 2 Tbsp.

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (more or less to taste)

Directions

1) Blanch the broccoli: Bring a large pot of water to boil and throw in a handful of salt. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets. Add them to the boiling pot for 3 minutes. Remove and run under cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the bright green color. Place in a large bowl.

2) Chop the bell pepper into 1/2 in. pieces, very thinly slice the mushrooms and the celery (a mandoline can come in handy here), and thinly slice the scallions. Toss all the veggies in the bowl with the broccoli.

3) Make the dressing in a small bowl by mixing all the ingredients together well. Toss the salad with the dressing and taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt or Cajun spice as desired.

4) Serve garnished with bacon crumbles.

Serves 4-6

Beet Salad with Radishes and Dill

Beets with Radishes and DillI confess. This picture is deceiving. When you toss the salad with the dressing, the entire thing becomes a glowing pink. It’s beautiful, but if you have an aversion to pink food, you might want to steer clear of this one. If, however, you are a fan of pink – or you don’t care because you love beets – then this salad is for you. The first night I made it, my husband couldn’t even wait to let this one get to the table. I said something about it being pink and wondering if that would be a problem for my blog readers and he just said, “It’s delicious!” Twice. While taking another bite. I ended up having to recreate it almost immediately because I like to have my salads carry over to the next day so I can eat them at breakfast with my eggs. So I did! Once you have your beets cooked, the rest is a snap.

There are a lot of different ways to cook beets. I respect people who roast them and I think steaming is a great way to maintain the nutrients, but I usually end up cutting off all but an inch or so of the stem and root ends, plopping them in a pot of salted water about half-way up the beets, and simmering them with the lid on until they’re tender when poked. I’ll turn them over during the process so they cook evenly and when they’re done, I stick them in a container and peel them once they’ve cooled. I’ve found that to be the simplest way for me to cook beets. If you have a favorite method, feel free to share it – I’m always willing to try something new!

Beet Salad with Radishes and Dill

7-8 small to medium beets

4 scallions

10 radishes

Dressing

2 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

3-4 sprigs of fresh dill, about 1 Tbsp. minced

Directions

1) Cook the beets using your preferred method. See notes above for how I typically do it. When the beets are cool, peel off the skin, and chop into 3/4 in. pieces and place in a bowl.

2) Thinly slice the scallions and radishes and add both to the bowl of beets.

3) Mix the mayonnaise and lemon juice in a small bowl and then spoon over the salad. Toss well, marveling at how bright and pink it is, and sprinkle dill on top.

Note: This salad could also be plated first with the dressing drizzled over the top to keep the colors separate. Momentarily anyway.

Serves 3-4

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad 2014Eating grapefruit always reminds me of my grandma. She has a grapefruit tree in her yard and for as many years as I can remember, there has always been a half of a grapefruit for breakfast. She also is the one who introduced me to what is still one of my favorite salads and it has grapefruit too. It’s a luscious fruit, fleshy and flavorful. The pink ones are considerably sweeter than the yellow and I don’t think they need any sweetener added to them. I like the yellow ones without sugar as well, but some people find them to be a little too tart.

This salad reminds me of spring. The new radishes are sweet and the colors are bright but soft, not quite reaching the intensity of summer. This salad can easily be doubled (or more) to serve with company and it goes with so many things. It would be delicious next to grilled or baked chicken and lovely next to pan seared fish. If you have a little mint, you could sprinkle that on top. Whatever you decide to do with it, I hope you enjoy its delicate flavors and subtly sweet allure.

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad

1 grapefruit (preferably pink) + its juice

1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded

3 radishes, trimmed

1/4 avocado, chopped

1 scallion, sliced

1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard (omit for AIP-friendly)

pinch of salt

1) Over a bowl to catch the juice, cut out the grapefruit supremes by first removing and discarding the top and bottom peel of the grapefruit. Then cut along the sides removing the rest of the peel and any bitter pith. Cut into each section removing the flesh only. Place sections on a cutting board and halve or quarter them. Squeeze the remainder of the grapefruit juice into the bowl.

2) Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the cucumber into very thin half-moons. With the mandoline again, slice the radishes thinly.

3) Evenly distribute the grapefruit, cucumber, radishes, avocado, and scallion onto 1 or 2 serving plates.

4) Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and salt into the reserved grapefruit juice. Taste to adjust seasoning and drizzle over the salad.

Serves 1-2

Simple Celery Salad

Paleo Celery and Raisin SaladSometimes the simplest ingredients are all you need. A couple days before making this salad, I was slicing up some celery and decided to do the entire bunch. I put what I wasn’t using into a glass jar, added water about 1/3 of the way up, put a lid on it and stuck it in the fridge. I wasn’t expecting miracles; I just wanted a way to easily store the celery and have it ready for a salad when the feeling struck. It worked like a charm.

Lunchtime rolled around today and I needed a little something extra on the side. Out came my presliced celery while I rummaged around to find a few other things that would make my palate happy. And voila! This little salad was born. Sure it would be delicious with some apple or walnuts added, a bunch of chopped parsley would be really good too (in fact I might do that next time), but this was so fresh and each ingredient had its own special place in the mix, that I hesitate to mess that up. But don’t you be afraid! If you have something that you think would be good, add it! And then let me know how it went. Enjoy!

Simple Celery Salad

1 1/2 Tbsp. Paleo Mayo

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 c. sliced celery

3 Tbsp. raisins

1 Tbsp. chopped chives

salt and pepper to taste

1) In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

2) Add to the bowl the sliced celery, raisins, and chives. Stir everything together and taste to adjust seasonings.

Serves 2-3

 

Tuna-Apple Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Tuna Salad with Tarragon DressingMy husband always gives me a hard time when I make anything with tarragon. You see, back in 2004, we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary with a bunch of friends in a gorgeous villa in Tuscany. At the time, I loved tarragon and when I came across a tarragon pasta dish in this teeny-tiny, beautiful little restaurant, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, what was served was completely inedible. There was so much tarragon, and I think it had been allowed to grow past the slender leaves into something more bitter, that the whole thing was totally overwhelming. Reluctant to send it back, my husband came to the rescue and gave me his lunch, while he battled his way through mine. True love! Now that a decade has passed, I think I’m ready to start loving tarragon again. This salad is a tribute to that lovely, herb with a hint of licorice.

After a good workout in particular, one of my favorite things for lunch is tuna salad. I love getting some solid protein with a dose of Omega-3s for their health benefits, and tuna salad comes together fast. This salad felt particularly special because I wanted to add a little crunch and decided to caramelize some walnuts in honey for a little something extra. I try not to use sweeteners very often, and this salad was already getting some sweet with the apple, but every once in a while, you just have to go for it. The walnuts were screaming honey and the salad satisfied me all day long. Can’t beat that!

Tuna-Apple Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Salad

2 small cans of tuna (I used albacore)

1 apple, cored and chopped

1/2 an English cucumber, finely chopped

2 scallions, minced

Honeyed Walnuts (optional)

Dressing

1/4 c. Paleo mayo

1 small garlic clove

1 Tbsp. Lemon juice

2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1) Put the drained tuna in a large bowl with the chopped apple, cucumber, and scallions.

2) In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, minced tarragon, minced garlic clove, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3) Pour the dressing over the salad and mix gently. Taste to adjust the seasonings, plate, and top with a few honeyed walnuts.

Serves 2

Faux-tato Salad

Cauliflower Salad The other day I saw a salad in a deli display with peas and cheese and crunchy things. It got me thinking about deli salads and summertime and all the wonderful fresh veggies that are available. I started going through the fridge looking for a combination of textures that would be reminiscent of potato salad without using potatoes. For the most part, I am happy to use nutrient dense sweet potatoes (as in this German Potato Salad – so good!), but sometimes I really want a bunch of non-starchy vegetables that make me FEEL like I’m eating potatoes.

In comes the chameleon of vegetables that transforms itself into just about anything you’d like. If you use frozen cauliflower florets, you don’t even have to cook them. They’ve been blanched already so, once defrosted, they have a soft crunch that I really like. Perhaps even more important, frozen cauliflower doesn’t make a mess! This salad combines crunch from the cauliflower, celery, and bell pepper with tenderness from the hard-boiled egg and olives. Add a little brininess from the pickle and an indescribably addictive background note from smoked paprika, and this salad is a winner at any table! My husband gave it several mumbled “Mmm…mmms…,” so I think it’s a keeper.

Faux-tato Salad

1 12 oz. bag of frozen cauliflower florets

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

4 baby bell peppers, sliced into thin rounds

1/2 c. snap peas, sliced on the diagonal

3 small pickle spears, chopped

2 scallions, finely chopped

10 black olives, sliced

1/4 c. parsley, minced

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

3/4 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

Dressing

1/4 c. Paleo mayo

2 tsp. white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

a couple dashes of hot sauce (like Tabasco)

pinch of salt

pepper

Directions

1) Start by mixing all the ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl. Set aside.

2) Drop each vegetable (everything but the egg), chopped or sliced, into the bowl with the dressing. Mix well. Then add the chopped egg and mix gently.

3) Let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste to adjust seasoning and enjoy.

Serves 4-6

Chicken Apple Basil Salad

Chicken Apple Basil SaladSalad. Some people think of it as diet food or rabbit food or boring or sad. I am not one of those people. I happen to love all kinds of salads and if I am ever in a situation where I am not getting enough veggies or haven’t had salad in a while, like on vacation for example, I start to really crave it. My son laughs at me because I have been known to have salad for breakfast on more than one occasion. I don’t know what it is exactly. I do like the freshness of it, it feels good to get a lot of veggies going in at once, but maybe it’s more about the variety. It is one of those marvelous things that you can do just about anything with. No matter what flavor profile you’re looking for, you can probably turn it into a salad. It’s totally customizable as well – no basil? Try parsley. Don’t like nuts? Skip ’em. Leftover beef instead of chicken? Yum!

If you are already a salad lover, then I hope you enjoy this one. If you aren’t, maybe you’ll come over to the green side!

Chicken Apple Basil Salad

8 oz. cooked chicken

1 large apple, chopped (I used an Ambrosia apple, which is fairly sweet)

1/4 c. fresh basil, slivered about 2 Tbsp.

1/8 of a red onion, thinly sliced

a few crunchy lettuce leaves, slivered

1 Tbsp. toasted almond slices

2 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise (I use this recipe with the immersion blender)

1 Tbsp. lime juice

salt and pepper

Directions

1) Stir together mayo and lime juice, add a pinch of salt.

2) Place all other ingredients in a large bowl and toss with dressing. Add pepper and additional salt to taste. That’s it!!

Serves 1-2

Vibrantly Red Salad

Vibrantly Red Salad 2014Sometimes I eat something and immediately feel my body expressing gratitude. That might sound crazy, and maybe it actually is crazy, but it’s this sensation that I’m giving my cells what they need to repair, reenergize, and conquer the amazing tasks they have to do each day. This salad did exactly that. Full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, it was almost as if these veggies were running through my body and cleaning up the mess from intense workouts, environmental toxins, stress, etc. And it tastes good too!

If you’ve never eaten beets before, they can make a bit of a mess. Just don’t wear anything special while you make this salad. Most often, I steam or roast them before peeling and eating, but here they are shredded raw. I give them a really good scrub under the water and might peel any roots or hairs dangling, but I don’t worry too much. A pass through the shredder of the food processor and they’re good to go. The other possibly unusual addition is the radicchio. This bitter lettuce adds some lightness and buoyancy to the salad and is worth seeking out, but it’s a bit pricey so if you want to skip it, that’s okay. I also ended up adding some chopped parsley. I was really going for red veggies, but I like the grassy flavor parsley provides and truly, it was beautiful with the green too. Just don’t tell the title that.

If you are looking to start the year off with a fresh and vibrant outlook along with some delicious raw veggies, then this salad is a lovely way to ring in the new year! I hope you enjoy it!

Vibrantly Red Salad

1/4 head of radicchio, very thinly sliced

1/4 head of purple cabbage, very thinly sliced

1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced

2 small to medium beets, shredded (I used a food processor)

1/2 cup red grapes, cut into sixths

Dressing

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt

fresh cracked pepper

2 Tbsp. parsley, optional

Directions

1) Make sure all of your vegetables are thinly sliced or shredded. This can be done with a food processor, a knife, and/or a box grater. I used a knife for everything except the beets which are cleaner and easier to shred in the food processor.

2) Put all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to bring them together. Pour over the salad and toss well to combine.

3) Taste the salad and adjust ingredients – more salt or pepper, a little more olive oil or vinegar – depending on your taste. Add parsley if you wish and toss again. Eat and live vibrantly!

Note: I found that the grapes added just the right amount of sweetness for me, but feel free to add a drizzle of honey to the salad dressing if you want more (not Whole30 though).

Serves 4

*Thanks to my dad for referring me to a salad by Dale Pinnock in The Medicinal Chef that inspired this variation.

Cucumber Noodles with Salmon

Cucumber noodles with salmonMany of you know that one of my favorite kitchen gadgets is my Paderno spiral slicer. Almost immediately after purchasing it, I lost all desire for wheat noodles. I admit to sometimes dreaming about gnocchi or homemade ravioli, but a pile of regular noodles? Nope. All gone. It comes down to this…If I FEEL like I’m eating noodles and what I’m eating has delicious flavor, then I’m good! It’s pure comfort in a bowl, slurpy goodness, noodley satisfaction.

I also happen to love Asian flavor combinations, so when I came across the Cold Sesame (Cucumber) Noodle salad over at The Clothes Make the Girl, I was ecstatic. I have made that very recipe a number of times and even shared it with friends. But if you like to cook, which I of course do, then you often look at recipes as a template and begin making modifications until the recipe becomes your own. That’s what happened with this one.

While I love having salads on the side, sometimes I’m looking for a one-dish meal that comes together fast and makes me feel like I’m special. This one does exactly that! Canned salmon is probably my favorite of the canned fish, but it’s a bit pricey, so I don’t eat it all the time. Here, its rich flavor marries perfectly with the sesame and ginger – it really can’t be beat. I love the kick that fresh ginger gives this dressing and the lemon makes the whole dish sing.

You can add all kinds of vegetables to this too! I used bell pepper, but snap peas or even steamed green beans would be nice. If you’re making this just for one, save half the dressing to whip up another salad even faster tomorrow.

Cucumber Noodles with Salmon

Salad

2 cucumbers

salt

2 cans of salmon (I used boneless, skinless like this)

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

4 scallions

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped about 1 Tbsp.

1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil or more to garnish

Dressing

1 Tbsp. almond butter (no sugar)

1 Tbsp. sunflower butter (no sugar)

1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated or minced

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 tsp. coconut aminos

1/2 tsp. rice vinegar

Juice from 1/2 a lemon, about 2 Tbsp.

1/4 tsp. salt

Directons

1) Peel and julienne your cucumbers. Either use a spiral slicer, a peeler, or just slice very thinly with a knife. Place in a strainer over a bowl or in the sink and salt generously. Leave to sit about 10 minutes.

2) Put all your dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

3) Add the bell pepper, scallions, and cilantro to a bowl. Drain the canned salmon and add it to the veggies. Rinse the cucumber noodles thoroughly and shake off any excess water. Add them to the bowl, pour the dressing over everything, and toss thoroughly. Plate and drizzle with sesame oil. Add a pinch of salt, if necessary, and slurp away!

Serves 2