Tropical Cucumber Salad with Shrimp

Tropical Cucumber Salad with Shrimp.JPG

Have you tried these shrimp yet? They’re so easy to make and they taste great, so what are you waiting for? Pairing these heavily spiced shrimp with simple, clean flavors is a match made in heaven. This cucumber salad is refreshing and combines crunch and tenderness, sweetness and spice. It’s totally delightful on a summer day!

Tropical Cucumber Salad with Shrimp

5-6 large Heavenly Spiced Shrimp

1/2 a cucumber

1/2 a mango

1/4 avocado

A few slivers of sweet onion

1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp. white balsamic vinegar

4-5 basil leaves, slivered

6-7 mint leaves, slivered

chives, minced

salt to taste

Directions

  1. Peel the cucumber and slice into thin semi-circles. Place in a bowl.
  2. Peel and cut the mango into small chunks. Add the mango and thin slices of onion to the bowl along with the avocado pieces.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the herbs over the salad with a pinch or two of salt and toss to coat.
  4. Add the shrimp to the salad and indulge!

Serves 1

 

 

 

Smoky Carrots

IMG_1789-001

First of all, I’m so sorry about the picture. My camera died and now I’m operating with my cell phone and I’m having a few issues. Please don’t let that stop you from making this super simple dish! You can call it a carrot salad or you can call it a side dish, it doesn’t really matter, just make it right away!

I got the concept from Melissa Joulwan, whose cooking style and recipes remain among my very favorites. Adding warm veggies to a highly seasoned dressing and then allowing everything to hang out together is utter brilliance. It comes together with very little hands-on work and then only gets better as it sits.

I made a version of these carrots when we had friends visiting and just got a request for them. Unfortunately, I don’t remember exactly what I did the last time. The thing is, there are many ways to season and spice these carrots so if something sounds like it might be appealing, then go for it! I think the lemon juice is really the kicker because the citrus brightens the whole dish and helps bring it together. In one version today I used allspice and regular paprika and in the other I used smoked paprika. That’s the one that I’m including here because it’s totally addictive.

I hope you enjoy it!

Smoky Carrots

1 lb. of carrots

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

3/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 clove of garlic, minced

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. minced parsley

Directions

  1. Peel and cut the carrots into 1″ chunks.
  2. Place carrots in a pot and cover with water, adding a large pinch of salt.
  3. Bring water to boil, then cover and simmer the carrots for about 7 minutes, just until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, place oil, garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and salt in a serving bowl.
  5. Once carrots are tender, drain them, shaking off any excess water, and add them warm to the dressing.
  6. Toss to coat.
  7. Add parsley, toss again, and adjust seasoning to your taste.
  8. Serve with love!

Serves 4

 

 

 

 

Spring Fling Chicken & Nectarine Salad

Spring Fling Nectarine Salad 2017

You can tell I’m feeling a little goofy when I choose a title like Spring Fling Chicken & Nectarine Salad, but it’s a gorgeous spring day and I don’t feel like taking life too seriously all the time. Sometimes we just need to be a little silly.

A friend of mine recently mentioned that they’d found some super ripe and delicious nectarines at my local store. It seemed kind of early in the season but they smelled amazing so I immediately bought a whole bunch of them. I made this salad three days in a row. It is so good! Well, as long as you like “fruit in your food” as I say. Not everybody likes fruit in their savory dishes, but I happen to love the savory-sweet combination and lunchtime salads are always an opportunity to satisfy that particular flavor craving.

Although it’s quite simple, this salad does not disappoint! The flavors balance and support each other in a fairly sophisticated way. The arugula provides a backdrop of bitterness for the mild chicken which is bolstered by pops of juicy sweetness from the nectarine. The toasted almonds bring warmth and depth while the basil and mint provide the freshness. Delicately dressing the salad allows each of the flavors to shine through on their own. I have a feeling this salad will be in my rotation all summer long. In fact, I planted some basil and mint in pots by my door so I could make sure that it does!

I hope you are all celebrating the arrival (finally! for a lot of us) of spring sunshine, warmer days and lovely, long evenings. Let me know if you try this salad and love it too!

Spring Fling Chicken & Nectarine Salad

5 oz. cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)

1 ripe nectarine

2 handfuls of arugula

a little red onion sliced very thinly

1/2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted

7-8 basil leaves, thinly sliced (about 2 Tbsp.)

12 mint leaves, thinly sliced (about 2 Tbsp.)

1 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

salt

lots of cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix together mayonnaise and vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper in the bottom of a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add arugula to the bowl.
  3. Chop chicken and nectarine into 1/2″ sized bites and add to the bowl with the arugula.
  4. Add onion and almond slivers along with the sliced herbs.
  5. Toss everything together, add a little salt and pepper, and taste. Add more pepper if it needs it and enjoy!

 

Spicy Cauliflower Salad

Spicy Cauliflower Salad 2016

Salads of all sorts get me feeling light and fresh and nourished so I make them all the time. They are also capable of dazzling my taste buds. I definitely love meat and potatoes and other things, but salads…you can do anything with a salad! I suppose it helps to love vegetables, but part of what makes them special is what you do to them. If you haven’t found a way to prepare cauliflower that you like yet, maybe just keep going! Or zucchini or broccoli or green beans. Keep trying different preparations and maybe you’ll discover that they’re pretty delicious after all.

If you’re already a veggie-lover, then here’s another little something to throw together and serve with something grilled. Crunch from the cauliflower, tender roasted peppers, a little kick from the sport peppers – yum!

Spicy Cauliflower Salad

Salad:

1 bag frozen cauliflower florets

1 roasted red bell pepper

1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 c. black olives, sliced

8 sport peppers, minced about 3 Tbsp. (or pepperoncini)

3 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing:

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 small clove of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

A pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Steam the frozen cauliflower lightly (the instructions called for 6 1/2 minutes, I cooked it for 4 minutes). Drain and place in a large bowl.
  2. Slice the roasted bell pepper into strips and add to the cauliflower along with the halved cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, minced peppers, and chives. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the salad.
  4. Mix well, tossing until everything is coated.
  5. Allow the salad to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes or more so the flavors can meld.
  6. Adjust the seasonings with a little more salt and pepper if desired and enjoy!

Chicken Faux-tato Salad

Chicken Faux-tato Salad 2 2016

I can hardly call this a recipe. It’s really something that comes together with a few ingredients that I tend to have on hand, and then I’m quite flexible with the quantities. My chicken thighs were cooked on the bone and they were giant, so I only used two. But if you have frozen ones, they tend to be smaller so I’d add more. It can be different every time, too. Don’t be afraid to experiment – it’s very forgiving. If I have more celery or more pickles or fewer eggs or less chicken, it really doesn’t matter. And if I had some parsley or dill on hand, I’d have been tempted to add it. Capers could have gone in or shredded carrots – in fact all kinds of variations exist. But on this day, for this blog post, this was the combination that came together.

I have been mentoring an 11 year old girl for the past few weeks and I bring my lunch while she gets hers from the school. I noticed that she likes vegetables in general and that she’s been a little curious about what I bring. I asked if she’d like me to bring her some to try and she said yes the last time, so I brought this today. She doesn’t like cauliflower, but she loves pickles so she thought it was worth it. She skipped the cauliflower, but devoured the rest. I think the cauliflower is totally innocuous and almost like potatoes, but not everyone agrees. I think it tastes a lot like a traditional potato salad, only it’s not.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Because I use frozen cauliflower, it’s super easy to pull together. No mess, nothing to worry about, and the cauliflower is already blanched so it’s tender. I hope you like it!

Chicken Faux-tato Salad

2-3 cooked chicken thighs, chopped

12 oz. frozen cauliflower, thawed and roughly chopped

1-2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

5-6 small pickles, finely chopped

2 large celery stalks, finely chopped

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

4 tsp. mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Take all of your chopped ingredients and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the mustard and mayonnaise and mix well, ensuring everything is evenly coated.
  3. Taste and add salt and pepper. It needs salt, but the pickles are salty and so is the mustard, so be sure to taste first.
  4. Once it’s the way you like it, enjoy!

Serves about 2

Tropical Tuna Salad with Lemon-Ginger Dressing

Tropical Tuna Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing 2015The time of year is coming when I begin making salad after salad after salad. It’s one of my favorite things to eat and, truth be told, I actually eat salad year round. My son has cringed on more than one occasion when I’ve made salad for breakfast. It’s really not complicated. I just love salads.

We like to make a giant tuna or chicken salad to serve as lunches throughout the week. It’s also something that I can quickly take for post-workout. I load my salads with so many vegetables that it really satisfies my desire to have a big plate of something delicious, too. Since I’m a fan of savory-sweet combinations, I often throw in some kind of fruit when I’m making one.

On this occasion, I added pineapple which also made an appearance in the dressing. If I’d had some coconut flakes on hand, those would have been nice toasted with a touch of salt and maybe a little allspice. I added red pepper flakes to mine when I served it and really appreciated how they kicked up the flavor. So go ahead and experiment – whatever helps get more vegetables on the plate seems like a great idea to me!

Tropical Tuna Salad with Lemon-Ginger Dressing

Salad

20 oz. of tuna, drained

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 scallions, chopped

16 oz. slaw (I used bagged slaw because it was fast)

20 oz. can of pineapple tidbits in juice, drained, reserving juice

1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted

Dressing

1/4 c. of reserved pineapple juice

1/4 oz. fresh ginger, grated about 2 tsp.

zest of 1/2 lemon

juice from a whole lemon

2 tsp. rice vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 c. Paleo Mayo

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp. salt

pepper or red pepper flakes, optional

Directions

1) In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.

2) Add all of the salad ingredients, except the toasted almonds, to the bowl with the dressing.

3) Toss the salad thoroughly, making sure all of the dressing is integrated.

4) Allow the salad to sit for about 10 minutes in the fridge so the flavors can meld.

5) Toss again, taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes as desired.

Serves 4-6

Curried Cucumber Salad

Curried Cucumber Salad 2014We have had some absolutely stunning weather in Colorado these past few days. I know that we will have snow and cold again, and I even know that it won’t be long before that happens, but the gorgeous sunshine and warmer temperatures have me believing that summer is just around the corner.

Last summer had a few transformative moments for me, some things I did a little differently than I have in the past or than I normally would. Some special people moved further away, while other special friends found a spot in my heart. I spent many evenings walking in the sunshine, and many, many more days cooking vegetables that I had grown in my very first garden. Honestly, I love that memory – I even love that I spent most of those summer months with scratches on my arms and legs from wandering through my garden and weeding and harvesting. The thought of summer coming and my next garden has me thinking about what it might look like this year, how it might be different, what other transformations are on the horizon.

I guess that’s what spring is for, actually, isn’t it? New growth, small changes, an opportunity for renewal. Much like the new year has me exploring resolutions, I’ve noticed that this time of year has a similar feel to it, only it’s far gentler. There seems to be a subtle shift in the air that allows for the heart to open and be ready for the sunshine to come in. That thought makes me think that there is also a purpose in the inevitable last few cold weeks and even a few snow storms. I think that for me, at least, those colder days will provide an opportunity to sit quietly with a blanket and cup of tea or glass of wine and let the possibilities of spring settle in and take shape. I wish sometimes we all had simpler lives so that we could follow the natural rhythm of the seasons more closely.

On to this recipe – there actually is a reason that it came about! The thoughts of a summer garden reminded me of all the cucumbers that I had last year. They were so sweet and delicious and I ate them constantly. For a few weeks, there were so many that I was eating them three times a day. This salad became a favorite of mine because I happen to love Indian food and while it’s a lot simpler than the amazing dishes you can find in Indian cuisine, it does bring those warm flavors to the table incredibly fast. Sometimes that’s really all I’m looking for.

I hope you enjoy it!

Curried Cucumber Salad

3 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise

2 tsp. fresh lime juice, about 1/2 a lime

3/4 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped

1 scallion, sliced

Directions

1) In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, lime juice, curry powder and salt.

2) In a serving bowl, place the cucumber slices, parsley, and scallions. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy!

Serves 2-3