Posts Tagged ‘summer salad recipe’

Feeling guilty over devouring a two-pound lobster last night in celebration of my 35th wedding anniversary, tonight I’m eating a healthy quinoa and black bean salad that’s tossed with a lime-cumin dressing and served on a bed of fresh pea shoots. I’ve posted other quinoa recipes before, so you already know that these grains are amazingly-nutritious. Adding the delicate pea shoots provides a rich source of Vitamins K, C, and A. What a delicious way to offset the gluttony of the evening before!

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Recipe from Epicurious

Ingredients for Salad:
1½ cups quinoa
1½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1½ cups cooked corn (cut from about two ears)
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 pickled jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

Ingredients for Dressing:
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

1. In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve.

2. In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in saucepan occasionally, adding water if necessary).

3. While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeños, and coriander. Toss well.

5. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.

6. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Fresh jalapeño can be used instead of pickled jalapeño.
2. Coriander is also called cilantro. According to Wikipedia, “Cilantro (sih-LAHN-troh) is the Spanish word for coriander leaves.”
3. Because I had fresh lemons and didn’t have fresh limes, I substituted 5 tablespoons of lemon juice for the lime juice. With that substitution, I decided to use Meyer lemon-infused olive oil in lieu of regular olive oil.
4. Another successful substitution was Italian parsley for the coriander leaves. I’m sure the recipe would have had a more southwestern flavor, if I had used lime juice and coriander leaves. My version had a bit more of an Italian flare.
5. I used less salt than the recipe called for. I did not add any salt to the bean and vinegar mixture and I only put in a pinch of salt into the dressing mixture.


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During these warm summer days, light and refreshing salads appeal to those who want to fit into their swim suits and also get out of the hot kitchen. Myself included! Recently, I had a craving for chicken salad, but with outdoor temperatures soaring into the triple digits, my stomach churned at the very thought of a mayonnaise or sour cream-based salad. Searching for a light, but flavorful chicken salad, I hit the jackpot when I saw Mark Bittman’s recipe for Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Seasonings. The fresh flavors of lime, cilantro, and mint are well-juxtaposed against the saltiness of nam pla and the kick of chili pepper. Although you can reduce the amount of cilantro and mint, you still need to be a fan of them to enjoy the salad. Grilling the chicken breasts outdoors eliminated heating up my kitchen. If you want to stay cool, drive in your air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned grocery store and buy a rotisserie chicken! This easy and flavorful salad would also be delicious in a lettuce wrap or a bread wrap.

Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Seasonings
Recipe from Mark Bittman’s cookbook The Best Recipes in the World

1 tablespoon nam pla
1 teaspoon cracked or coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small fresh chili, preferably Thai, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 medium to large shallots, chopped
2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped rau ram or 1/4 cup each mint and cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
12 or 16 leaves, Boston, red leaf, or green leaf lettuce

1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and toss with the chicken; set a bit of the herb aside for garnish, then stir the rest into the mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt if necessary.

2. Arrange the lettuce on 4 plates and top each leaf with a portion of chicken salad. Garnish with the remaining herb and serve.

Serves 4.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Nam pla is a fish sauce that is one of the basic ingredients in Thai cooking. Fish sauce, in general, is used in a lot of Southeast Asian recipes and can be purchased in Asian grocery stores, specialty markets, and some general grocery stores.
2. I added no salt. The nam pla I used was plenty salty.
3. Having no Thai chilies on hand, I used 1/2 teaspoon of finely minced red jalapeno. The heat level of this dish can be easily adjusted by adding more or less chilies.
4. Rau ram (Vietnamese coriander) is the Asian herb of choice for this recipe, but it can be hard to find. I followed Mr. Bittman’s suggestion and used cilantro and mint with success, but the minute I find some rau ram, I’m going to make this salad using it and compare the flavor!


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Summer’s heat has definitely arrived and the thought of being cooped up in a warm kitchen slaving over meals is enough to make me want to eat salads all summer long. Does the thought of juicy, sweet orange slices sprinkled with thinly sliced red onions and salty green olives sound refreshingly good? I recently had a salad in Greece with all those ingredients and came home with the desire to duplicate the sweet-saltiness of this colorful dish. Searching some of my Mediterranean food cookbooks, I came up with a good basic recipe that only needed a few slight changes. For the salad dressing I used an olive oil that had been infused with the peels of blood oranges and I added the frozen orange juice concentrate to thicken, sweeten, and flavor the dressing. Plating the oranges on a bed of fresh spring greens instead of directly onto the platter made it a more substantial and nutritious salad.

Orange, Onion, and Olive Salad
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking

Salad Ingredients:
4-5 navel oranges
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced (plus or minus depending on your liking of onions)
1/2 cup olives, cut in half and pitted (I prefer green)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Mixed salad greens, optional

Dressing Ingredients:
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 T frozen orange juice concentrate
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (infused with the essence of oranges, if possible)

Makes 1/2 cup of dressing.

1. To slice the oranges stand one on a cutting board with the stem end up and the navel end down. Using a sharp knife, slice off the “north and south polar caps” of each orange so it has a flat base. Now cut “longitudinally” downward to cut both the peel and pith (white membrane) away from the orange, making sure you are following the contour of the fruit. Cut each peeled orange crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices and save any juice that accumulates on the board.

2. Make the salad dressing by mixing the orange juice collected from the cutting board with the rest of the dressing ingredients, except for the extra virgin olive oil. Now whisk in the oil. Set aside.

3. Place mixed spring greens on a serving platter. Arrange orange slices on the bed of greens. Sprinkle the onion slivers over the oranges.

4. Scatter the olives over the oranges and drizzle with the dressing. Let sit at cool room temperature for 10-15 minutes for flavors to blend. Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.

Serves 4-6

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