Tag Archives: salad

Spinach, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

To get back on track after the craziness that was January/February – I’ve been eating a lot of salads lately. It’s partly in an attempt to detox and get back on a healthy track – but also because I’m absolutely fallen in love with this salad. I think I’ve eaten this exact salad for lunch on the weekdays for the past 3 weeks or so. It’s getting a little out of control, but in a totally great way.

I saw a few different salads in the food magazines I subscribe to that included goat cheese, spinach and beets and took what I liked best from the salads and made one of my own! I forget the exact magazines, because I get too many, but what resulted was a deliciously balanced and healthy salad – and it’s so easy to put together! I always keep nuts, particularly walnuts, in the house and I always have canned sliced beets on hand because I can’t stand the mess of roasting and peeling beets – but I love the flavor. Using these ingredients, I’m already halfway to a yummy salad lunch!

I don’t measure out the ingredients for this salad exactly, I just sort of throw it together (and I usually put 5 together in storage containers for the week during Sunday food prep). I also make a big batch of a simple lemon salad dressing at the beginning of the week and then portion it out as I need it for weekday lunches.

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Spinach, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Makes one salad. Measurements are approximate – have fun with it!

    – A couple handfuls of fresh spinach, about 2-3 cups, depending on how big you want your salad to be
    – 1/4 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
    – 2-3 tablespoons walnuts
    – 1/4 cup cooked and cooled sliced beets (I use canned – so quick and easy!)
    – 3-4 tablespoons crumbled or sliced goat cheese
    – Juice of a lemon
    – 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a salad bowl or container. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil to serve. Alternatively, whisk lemon juice and olive oil in a container until emulsified and store until ready to use as dressing.

I can’t get enough of this salad. The tang of the goat cheese pairs so great with the sweet beets and the earthy spinach and walnuts. Plus, it’s so quick to throw together! I hope you enjoy 🙂

“Greek-Style” Tabbouleh Salad

This weekend I had some cucumbers and other veggie odds and ends to use up in my fridge so I decided to make a tabbouleh salad. Based on some of the items I needed to use up, I decided to make a Greek version. Plus, making tabbouleh salad means I have a great excuse to buy naan bread (yum!) and make my favorite – tandoori chicken! I also whipped up a batch of my classic hummus because I feel like all these foods go together in my mind. I love spreading a little hummus on some warm naan bread, adding some tabbouleh and chicken and eating it all together.

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This version was 100% based on the items I had available to use up in my fridge – but it turned out great!

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”Greek-style” Tabbouleh Salad
Serves six to eight.

    – 1 cup bulgur wheat
    – 2 cucumbers, chopped
    – 1 lemon
    – 1 tablespoon grated shallot or onion (or you can substitute a tablespoon of granulated onion)
    – 1 clove garlic, minced or pasted
    – 2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used about 5 Roma tomatoes)
    – 3 green onions, chopped
    – ½ red bell pepper, chopped
    – 1, 6 ounce container feta cheese
    – ½ cup olive oil (or less, just enough to coat the salad)

First, start by preparing your bulgur wheat. Combine a cup of bulgur wheat with one cup boiling water in a heat-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until the bulgur wheat has absorbed the water.

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While the wheat is working, chop the ingredients for the salad. Peel and seed the cucumbers. The way I do this is to peel the cucumbers, then slice them in half and scoop the seeds out with a spoon. They will look like this:

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Then chop them into bite-sized pieces and mix into the wheat.

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Next, add the grated garlic, grated shallot or onion, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

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Core, seed, and chop the tomatoes and add to the bowl. Do the same with the red bell pepper. Finally slice the green onion (greens and whites) and add to the bowl. Add the feta cheese and olive oil and stir to combine. At this point I was almost overflowing the bowl so I had to stir carefully! 🙂

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Delicious! I love the addition of the salty feta! Cheese isn’t usually an ingredient in tabbouleh but I had some in my fridge that I wanted to use up, and I’m glad I did. 🙂

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As I mentioned at the beginning on this post, this salad is great as an accompaniment to tandoori chicken – but it’s also great served on top of some lettuce leaves as a salad (that was my Meatless Monday lunch this week! :-)) I’m sure it would also be delicious stuffed into a pita with some hummus and chickpeas. Yum 🙂 I might have to make that next!

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If you like this recipe, you might also like my recipes for:
~ Classic Hummus
~ Tabbouleh Salad
~ Tabbouleh Salad, Remix

Tomato Bruschetta Recipe

I am officially back in DC after my Florida vacation which was wonderful! We spent four days being very busy tourists – visiting the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, and spending our evenings at Downtown Disney and Universal City Walk. My friends and I had so much fun – and I can’t wait to share all the details and photos with you guys! Unfortunately, coming back from vacation in the middle of the workweek is a little hectic so I’ve been 1) exhausted and 2) still in the process of unpacking, getting groceries (thankfully Washington’s Green Grocer brought me a box of lovely produce yesterday!), and trying to clean my apartment (boy the mess two cats can make while I’m gone!). But this weekend I look forward to being able to download the pictures, and write a proper post about our adventures. So keep a look out! 🙂

So I got home from work last night and I had basically done nothing around the house. I had half-unpacked my suitcase (which meant I had pulled out the essentials and thrown some things in the clothes hamper), there were dishes in the sink from the dinner I cooked late Tuesday night and couldn’t muster the energy to clean up after (gasp! I am usually not this sloppy but as I mentioned, I was exhausted), and my cats had managed to throw a combination of their food, various papers, and toys all over the house. Basically, my apartment was in need of a deep clean – and I had a fresh box of produce from Washington’s Green Grocer to unpack, a small trip to the grocery store to make, and a full-to-the-bursting DVR to deal with. Not to mention Washington DC has decided to skip straight from winter into summer as it was a whopping 80-something degrees outside. All of this combined meant I needed a quick and easy dinner – stat! And preferably a cold dinner as I couldn’t imagine eating something hot in all the heat – and with all the running around I was doing. Luckily, I got a pint of organic grape tomatoes in my produce box and one of my absolutely favorite summer dishes is bruschetta. Here’s how to make it my version. There are literally hundreds of bruschetta recipes, some raw, some cooked, but I like this raw version to highlight the fresh tomatoes and it makes for an “almost-no-cook” dinner!

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Tomato Bruschetta


    -1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes (or whatever tomatoes you prefer – these are my favorite)
    -4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    -10 leaves of fresh basil, chopped (or 2-3 teaspoons of dried basil)
    -1 clove of garlic, pasted or grated (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
    -Grated or shaved Italian cheese (I prefer a mix of parmesan and pecorino, but one or the other is equally delicious)
    -Salt and pepper to taste
    -Freshly toasted bread

Makes approximately two dinner-sized servings or four appetizer-sized servings

First, toast your bread. I put mine in a small cake pan rather than using a baking sheet because I’m only toasting two pieces but doing it on a baking sheet would make sense for larger batches. I usually allow about 2 slices of bread per person – so that’s what I did for me! Drizzle both sides of the bread with olive oil and toast in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes per side. Keep a close eye on the bread – some ovens will toast faster than others, or the thickness of the bread can affect the timing. I’m always forgetting about bread in the oven! You want to flip it/pull it out of the oven when it’s a light golden brown on both sides.

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Bread: pre-toasting!

While the bread is toasting, halve or quarter your tomatoes and place into a bowl. Personally, I halve my tomatoes and if you were using a larger variety of tomato you would want to dice them into bite-sized pieces. Nothing too particular – whatever looks good to you! 🙂 Mix the tomatoes with the remaining ingredients and let set at room temperature until ready to serve. When the bread is toasted, top each slice with a heaping pile of tomato topping and enjoy! I served myself two large pieces for dinner, with a substantial side salad of greens and cucumber. Delicious, if I do say so myself!

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Random fun fact – did you know that bruschetta actually just refers to toasted/charred bread, and that once you top it – it’s actually called a crostini? Who knew! I learned that from Rachael Ray who is always teaching me fun facts. But to me, bread topped with tomatoes will always be bruschetta. ❤

What is your favorite bruschetta recipe? Are tomatoes your favorite topping?

“Using Up What’s in the Fridge” : Leftovers Salad Recipe

Happy Meatless Monday everyone!

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Due to a busy weekend, I didn’t really plan ahead for my meatless Monday like I usually do. So on Sunday when I went to pack myself a lunch for Monday at work, I was stuck staring in the fridge/pantry/freezer looking for answers. Then it came to me – I could make a good, old-fashioned leftovers salad! In the past, I didn’t eat a lot of salads and I never thought of a salad as much more than lettuce with a few other cold veggies – like cucumbers and tomatoes – with some dressing. But a salad can be so much more than that! I’ve started throwing roasted veggies (last week roasted broccoli and sweet potato), hummus, salsa, leftover tabbouleh and much more on top of a salad and it really turns it into a meal. Here’s the basic formula I use:

Start with a green base (i.e. spinach, lettuce, mixed greens, etc). For today’s salad I used leftover romaine.

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Usually for the second step you could add some kind of grain, i.e. leftover rice, quinoa, pasta, or whatever you have on hand. But I wanted to pack this all in one container as a cold salad so I skipped this step.

Then add some veggies – and don’t stick to traditional ‘salad veggies’ – that was the rut I was stuck in. Today I went with cucumber because I had some to use up in the fridge (and it’s one of my favorite foods) as well as some leftover roasted sweet potato chunks.

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Next add some form of protein – there is a wide variety to choose from here, you could go with beans, canned meat (tuna, salmon, chicken), leftover meat (chicken, steak, you get the idea), or anything else you like. Today, for meatless Monday I went with black beans (yum!) – and they’re so convenient because I always have about 5 different types of canned beans on hand.

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Then add a dressing/topping. I was planning on doing a vinaigrette but once I got to this step adding salsa just seemed appropriate. Feel free to do both if the mood strikes you. For this step you can add any dressing you like (preferably homemade, see my post for homemade dressings here) or salsa, hummus, baba ghanoush, or any other dip you have on hand.

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Looks delicious! I’m looking forward to lunch today to see how it turned out  And using up leftovers in the fridge is always a priority of mine. Especially since I live alone I always want to try to use up fresh foods in unique ways (so I don’t get bored) before they go bad. Also, I fly out to Orlando this Friday for a Disney vacation with some girlfriends 🙂 and don’t want to leave perfectly good food behind to go bad. So one of my priorities this week is going to be eating up all the available food in my fridge.

Sidebar: I went to X Sport Fitness in Alexandria this past Saturday and tried out a group fitness class called ‘Body Pump’ – wow! It was a weight-lifting class to music, and it was so much fun and an incredible workout. I’m still sore two days later – but that just means I got a good workout in. 🙂 And if it was easy – everyone would do it, right? I let myself have a rest day yesterday but today it’s back to the gym for another 3.1 miles! I did a total of 12.4 last week (over four workouts) so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. And I signed up for another 5k in June – so I’m doing two that month!

Once again, Happy Monday everyone! Let’s all try to make one new healthy choice this week – because it starts with one small step! 

Tandoori Chicken & Tabbouleh Salad

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Tandoori chicken, if you haven’t had it is absolutely yummy and SO easy to make at home! I have the privilege to live in the DC area, so there are literally hundreds of different cuisines to try – but not everyone has that luxury. So here is my recipe for Tandoori Chicken (well, almost – I didn’t have one of those huge clay tandoori ovens handy so it’s not exactly authentic :-)). I made this dish for my parents when I visited them this past weekend, and served it with Tabbouleh salad and Naan bread. So delicious! And surprisingly easy and can be made with ingredients found in your local grocery store. Unfortunately, I’m still eating the leftovers of the tabbouleh salad from this past weekend so I don’t have any pictures to post other than the finished product – but I will post the recipe!

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Tandoori Chicken (Almost..)

    1 cup greek yogurt, plain
    3 tablespoons curry powder
    1 lemon, juiced
    2 lbs chicken tenders

Mix the first three ingredients together in a large bowl. Salt and pepper the chicken tenders and cut into bite-sized pieces. Mix the chicken pieces and greek yogurt mixture together and let marinade (10-15 minutes).

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Cook on a cookie sheet in a 500 degree over for 15 minutes.

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I personally use chicken tenders because they are already long and thin, so it’s easy to cut across the pieces and end up with bite-sized pieces, but you could easily cut up any other piece of chicken into bite sized pieces and use that instead :-). Seriously easy recipe, right? Now for the sides…

First, if you haven’t tried Naan bread – try it! I am so addicted. To be honest, I’m addicted to all breads but the tangy, chewy nature of Naan makes it particularly delicious. For now, I’ve been buying it pre-made at the grocery store – but I have found some recipes to make it at home and I’m going to give it a shot soon!

Tabbouleh Salad

    1 cup water
    3/4 cup bulgur
    2 handfuls slivered almonds
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    2 lemons, zested and juiced
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup freshly chopped mint leaves
    1/2 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
    4 scallions, whites and greens, chopped
    2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
    Salt

Start by making the bulgur wheat. Boil a cup of water (I heated mine in the microwave – quick and effective). Place the bulgur in a large heat-safe bowl, and add the boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes. At the same time, toast the nuts over low heat – be careful, they can burn quick! Alternatively, you could buy toasted almonds.

To the bowl with the bulgur (after the 15 minutes are up), add the cumin, zest and juice of the lemons, olive oil, chopped herbs, scallions, tomatoes, and cucumber. Toss everything together and salt to taste.

Serve the salad and chicken together with the naan bread – you can eat them individually or wrap up the food in the bread and eat it. Sometimes, I serve it with some hummus as well. You can also toss leftover tabbouleh on top of salads, as I did in my post yesterday here.