One of my all-time favourite things to eat is Buffalo Chicken Salad. I find it so satisfying, and of course invokes the memory of ‘wing night at the local pub’ from days gone by. Make your favourite salad and throw in some blue cheese (if you’re into it). I’ve linked my salad dressing recipe below. Super easy and delicious.
I’ve been cooking quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) quite a lot lately and we really love it. It’s easy to prepare and similar to rice in it’s cooking method. I look at it as a high-protein carbohydrate that is ready to be flavoured however you like. This salad is a good example. It can be made ahead a day, is a great traveller for a picnic/bbq — I always make this to take up to the cottage as it’s good for a few days in the fridge. . So why not try it as a way to start using quinoa? Make sure you rinse the quinoa well before cooking and buy organic if you can.
Lemon Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Feta and Carmelized Onion
adapted from Dish Entertains
serves about 8
1 cup of quinoa (uncooked)
1/4 cup of butter or ghee
2 red onions (white onions are fine if you don’t have red, but red looks better in the salad), sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced feta cheese (1/2 inch (1 cm) cubes)
6 cups baby spinach, washed and chopped coarsely (or 3 cups finely chopped kale or swiss chard)
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and cook quinoa according to package directions. When done, remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cool.
Heat a large pan over medium heat, and melt butter or ghee. Add onions, sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and cook slowly, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Put in more butter if it gets dry. Add minced garlic and continue to cook until onions are golden brown – about 15 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, feta, lemon zest and spinach or kale. Add 1/2 a cup of Simple Vinaigrette (recipe below) and season with salt and pepper. Serve cool or at room temperature.
*I used preserved lemons in the recipe which work well also
makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar (your choice – I used balsamic)
juice of 2 lemons (that you already zested for salad)
2 tsp maple syrup or honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp dijon mustard
Mix all ingredients.
This is a fun and delicious summer salad. The presentation is great and the flavour even better. I made this to accompany our bbq tonight, and it was delicious. It would be perfect to bring to a summer bbq — your friends will think you are so creative, and one 6 or 7 pound watermelon makes enough for about 6 people. The ‘mojito’ dressing is reminiscent of your last Caribbean adventure and the watermelon reminds you of when you were a kid on a hot day and watermelon was the absolute best thing you could be offered. The ingredients are simple and work together so well. Pick up your ingredients and make it on the weekend — I’ll bet this becomes a summer family favourite.
adapted from Pastry Queen Parties
1 seedless watermelon (about 6-8 pounds)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2/3 cup diced feta cheese
2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 tbsp rum (I used amber)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp rice vinegar
Set the watermelon on its side and slice off a piece, just cutting into the rind, to make a flat surface so the watermelon is flat and sits securely on that flat surface. So, flip it to sit on the cut side and with a sharp knife (I used serrated), cut off the top quarter of the melon. Using a large metal spoon, carefully scoop out the flesh in large chunks. Cut all the flesh into 1 to 2 inch chunks. Place in a large bowl. Carve and scrape out your watermelon ‘bowl’ (eating or saving any watermelon that you scrape out). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Mix the watermelon chunks gently with the chopped mint and red onion slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve your salad, add the dressing and the feta to the watermelon mixture. Mix gently then spoon into watermelon ‘bowl’. Place on a platter and enjoy. So good!
Okay, I know it sounds so boring that I am putting in a recipe for Caesar Salad. Who doesn’t just buy Renee’s dressing? I was left without any salad greens today, and the only lettuce I could buy at our local store was a head of romaine. I thought this dressing sounded pretty good, and it did turn out to be easy and flavourful, so what the hell. It can be used as dip for veggies too. A 6.5 oz serving is 150 calories, that’s almost a cup! A cup of delicious dip when you are starving, hello.
Caesar Salad – Low Fat
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favourites
Dressing: (makes about 1 cup)
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
2 kalamata olives, pitted and minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp worchestershire sauce (*to make this GF, use GF tamari sauce instead)
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
In food processor or blender, combine dressing ingredients, except salt and pepper — puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate. (will keep for several days in fridge).
Wash and dry lettuce, tear into bite-size pieces. Toss with about 1/3 cup of dressing to coat. Sprinkle with grated cheese, add sliced hard-boiled egg. Serve immediately. (serves 4)
Notice how I titled it, “Healthy” salad? I did so because there are so many salads have ingredients that make them less than healthy–but this one really is very healthy with steamed veggies, sauteed peppers, feta, and toasted almonds. You can add whatever you like — bean sprouts and some red onion would be nice – some roasted red peppers would add great flavour and perk up the colour as well. I put this together with what I had on hand, and so should you. The creamy Japanese dressing ties this salad in nicely with the previous post, “Ginger Soya Glazed Salmon Skewers”.
Healthy Vegetable Salad
1 head boston lettuce
2 cups baby spinach
2 cups broccoli, cooked until tendercrisp
2 cups cauliflower, cooked until tendercrisp
1/2 yellow or red pepper, sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese, diced
2 Tbsp toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup Creamy Japanese Dressing (see recipe below)
Cook broccoli and cauliflower in boiling water until tendercrisp, about 5 minutes. Immerse in a bowl of ice water. Cool, drain. Saute pepper strips for 2-3 minutes in a tsp of butter or oil. Remove from heat. Toss lettuce in a bowl with dressing. Place on platter. Surround lettuce with cauliflower, broccoli and sauteed peppers. Sprinkle feta and toasted almonds on top. Drizzle a little more dressing on vegetables.
Creamy Japanese Dressing
adapted from Chatelaine magazine
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp mayonaisse
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
Place all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Serve over salad greens. Refrigerate remainder. Makes 1 1/2 cups.