Category: Salads

Roast Veggie and Freekeh Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette

Roast Veggies and Freekeh Salad

Let’s get Freekeh!

When I originally came up with the concept for a roast veggie salad, I imagined a roasted vegetable mix with farro or wheat berries. But then I realized that we had a whole box of freekeh that would pair perfectly with roast veggies and Pomegranate molasses vinaigrette.

What is freekeh (فريكة‎‎)? It’s a grain, more specifically a green wheat, that’s most popular in Middle Eastern foods. Generally, you can make freekeh on it’s own, with a side of roast chicken, or you can boil it in a soup. Freekeh has a smoky flavor, that—according to my research— is made naturally by burning the straw part (not the seeds) of the grain. The whole process of preparing freekeh is actually a lot more work than I imagined. But all worth it. You’ll only fully understand the intense flavor of freekeh when you’ve tried it.

I’m aware that it’s well past squash and root vegetable season, but I just couldn’t go without sharing this recipe. If you’d like, you can substitute the acorn and butternut squash for yellow and green zucchini, and some eggplant too. Don’t forget to use different colored carrots. They add lots of color and taste divine. 

Roast Veggies and Freekeh Salad

Roast Veggies and Freekeh Salad

Roast Veggie and Freekeh Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

    For the Salad
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cubed
  • 1/2 acorn squash, cut into slices
  • 1 Russet Potato, cubed
  • 1 Sweet Potato, cubed
  • 1 parsnip, cubed
  • 1 cup multi-colored carrots, cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into large wedges
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Freekeh
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • !For the Vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon Pomegranate Molasses
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Apple cider vinegar

Instructions

    For the Salad
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the vegetables with 1/4 cup olive oil and salt until coated
  3. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on a rimmed baking tray
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, until the veggies are charred then set aside
  5. Meanwhile, wash the freekeh very well until the water is clear
  6. Soak the freekeh for 5-10 minutes in lukewarm water, then drain
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan
  8. Add the freekeh and sauté for 1-2 minutes
  9. Cover the freekeh with chicken stock and bring to a boil
  10. Once the water is boiling, turn down the heat the medium-low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the freekeh has absorbed all the stock
  11. In a large bowl, mix together the roasted veggies and cooked freekeh until combined
  12. Serve over a bed of spring mix lettuce and Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette
  13. For the Vinaigrette
  14. In a small bowl whisk together the Pomegranate Molasses, olive oil, salt, and apple cider vinegar. Pour over the salad.
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Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

Just last weekend, the family and I took a short road trip to James Madison University (JMU) for my brother’s graduation. The graduation ceremony was boring, except the part when my brother made his way across the stage. It was a proud moment for all of us. Me included, since he wouldn’t have made it without my editing his papers. Did I mention that he usually sent them to me 2 hours before the assignments were due with a frantic text asking for my help? Of course Murphy’s Law would have it that I always had meetings on those days. Once, I was given 12 hours. I had to read that email a few times just to make sure I really had extra time.

Once we cheered him across the stage, and took our graduation photos until they basically kicked us out of the commencement hall, we all headed to lunch. My brother insisted that it was the best pizza place in town, but what he didn’t tell us was that they had a delicious potato and arugula salad. After we each ordered individual pizzas (read as: we all ordered the same pizza with small topping variations), we dug into a shared plate of potato and arugula salad. My dad fell in love with it, so I mentally took note. I would be trying to recreate something similar in the coming weeks.

Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

 

Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

 

Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Yokon Gold or Russet Potatoes
  • 3-4 cups Arugula
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Juice from 1 Lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F
  2. Keeping the skin on, slice the potatoes in to thin rounds (about 1/6 inch)
  3. Toss the sliced potatoes with vegetable oil, salt, and garlic, until coated. I usually put everything into a gallon-sized ziplock and shake until coated
  4. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on an aluminum-lined baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes until crispy
  5. For the dressing, in a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, mustard and lemon juice
  6. Toss together the arugula, potatoes and dressing. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve while the potatoes are warm
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Grilled Salmon Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Grilled Salmon Salad

Summer is almost over. I spend all winter waiting for summer and it just flies by in the blink of an eye. This year, I didn’t even get a chance at proper beach time. The one weekend I dedicated to working on my tan and being lazy on a beach chair was ruined by summer rain. So bad, that we left early making it a less than enjoyable weekend, to say the least. I have other things to say about that particular weekend, but I’ll keep that to myself.

So with summer slipping away, I want to take advantage of the week or so I have left before Labor Day weekend [the weekend that officially marks the end of summer, with pools closing despite the temperatures probably hitting the 90s]. I’m determined to make it back out to the beach — and it’s going to be a great time. I’m also going to grill up as much as I can, and eat as many fresh summer fruits and salads that I can get my hands on.

 

 
Grilled Salmon Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Romaine Lettuce, chopped
  • 1 large Tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 large Green pepper, chopped
  • 2 Yellow Potatoes
  • 2 Salmon Filets
  • 1/4 cup Croutons
  • 1/2 small Red onion, sliced
  • 1 Avocado, sliced
  • Goat Cheese
  • Lemon Pepper, to taste [ or mix fresh lemon juice with fresh cracked pepper and salt]
  • For the dressing: Light Ranch dressing + Boar's Head Chipotle Spread

Instructions

  1. Begin by grilling the salmon. Heat your favorite indoor grill [ I have a cruisinart]
  2. Rub the salmon filets with lemon pepper and place on the grill, cook for about 15 minutes until flaky
  3. In the meantime, boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Remove and cut into cubes, set aside
  4. Make the dressing by mixing together 2:1 light ranch to chipotle spread
  5. In a large bowl mix together the spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, green pepper and croutons
  6. Add in the dressing and toss until coated
  7. Spoon the salad into individual dishes
  8. Top with sliced avocado, goat cheese and salmon
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Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad

It’s the first day of spring! Finally. It certainly feels like spring today with the sun shining and temperatures inching up to 60 F.  With warmer weather we’re reminded that we’ll be peeling off our layers and trying to fit into our short shorts in a couple months. I, for one, realize how pale this extra long winter has made me and how badly I need to get back to the gym to work off the nice layer of fat I’ve accumulated to keep me warm (or so I rationalize).

So I’ve started spring off right – with 3 slices of pizza for lunch – balancing it all out with a hearty salad for dinner (I’m not going to even mention the two Lindt chocolate truffles I snacked on). I really do love salads in the spring a summer. They’re light and filling, as long as you add some protein.

I was sitting in the Doctor’s office waiting room a couple weeks ago and I came across a Food and Wine magazine with a really appetizing recipe for Cauliflower salad. Naturally, I took a photo of the recipe with my phone and recreated my version of it tonight.

 

Adapted from Food and Wine

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Raw Almonds
  • ¼ cup Raw Pine Nuts
  • 1 cup Green Lentils
  • 1 head of Cauliflower, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch florets
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • Pinch of Cayenne
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ Small Red Onion, sliced into long pieces
  • 4 cups Baby Spinach

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Spread the almonds and pine nuts in a baking pan and toas for 10 minutes
  3. Let the nuts cool and then coarsely chop the almonds
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 425F
  5. Rinse the lentils, drain and place in a saucepan
  6. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes
  7. Drain well and allow to cool
  8. In a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with the 1/4 cup of olive oil and the cumin, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne; season with salt
  9. Roast for 20 minutes, turning, until the cauliflower after 10 minutes
  10. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the tahini with the lemon juice, the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth
  11. Add the lentils and salt to taste, then toss to coat
  12. Add the roasted cauliflower, stir carefully
  13. Add the nuts, onion and spinach
  14. Toss the salad and serve
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Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad  

The Italians know what they’re doing when it comes to food. For them, it isn’t about throwing together tons of ingredients. It’s about simplicity and flavor. That’s why I love Caprese Salad. It has the simplest ingredients and yet is packed with so much flavor. Be sure to choose only the freshest ingredients – I go for organic or veggies from Whole Foods. For Italians it’s also all about presentation. I’m all about presentation of food. It makes it so much more appetizing.

 

Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 4oz Fresh Mozzarella
  • 2 Whole Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into ½ inch thick slices.
  2. On a large serving plate, arrange horizontally by layering one basil leaf, one mozzarella slice and one tomato slice.
  3. Continue until you have arranged all the ingredients across the plate.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature.
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Mom’s Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

 

My mom makes an amazing fruit salad, and that’s because of her secret ingredients (namely the sauce). I’ve only made her fruit salad on two occasions. It’s not complicated but it packs in a lot more calories than you’d suspect. So don’t be fooled by the word “fruit.” Although I’ve measured out the amount of condensed milk and orange juice, you may have to adjust to your taste. I will warn you, however that you don’t need to add more than 1/2 tsp of orange blossom water. Too much will be flavor overload on your senses.

 

Mom’s Fruit Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Apple, diced
  • 1 Orange, peeled and diced
  • 1 Pear, diced
  • ½ cup Grapes, halved
  • ½ cup Strawberries, sliced
  • ½ medium Banana, diced
  • ¼ cup Shredded Coconut
  • ¼ cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • ¼ cup Orange Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix all the fruit (except coconut) together.
  2. Add condensed milk, orange juice and orange blossom water.
  3. Serve chilled.
  4. Garnish with shredded coconut.
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