Summer cuisine is all about celebrating the season’s bounty of fresh produce. It’s also laid-back: whirring up some pesto to spread on everything throughout the week, nibbling on cherries and berries, throwing stuff on the grill (outdoors or otherwise), feasting on sandwiches riverside, standing at the counter eating cold left-overs straight from the fridge. This colorful salad was created with that spirit in mind. Cooled, savory quinoa is combined with plump, juicy blueberries, crunchy pecans and radishes, fresh herbs, and an orange vinaigrette. We ate it for dinner recently with some baked tofu, and reveled in summer’s glory while the AC blasted.
*I used roasted hazelnut oil because I happened to have some, and while it’s very tasty here, you could certainly substitute another oil.
*If using unsalted bouillon, be sure to add some salt to the quinoa.
1 cup quinoa
little olive oil
1½ cups water + ½ a vegetable bouillon square (or 1½ c veg broth)
½ tsp mild curry powder
1 cup blueberries
2-3 radishes, cut in thin half moons
heaped ¼ cup roughly chopped pecans
1 scallion, thinly sliced (white and pale green part only)
1 tsp orange zest
4 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp roasted hazelnut oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
handful of fresh basil, chopped
handful of fresh mint, chopped
salt and black pepper
- In a fine mesh sieve, rinse quinoa until water runs clear. Drain. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in a small saucepan and add quinoa. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa smells toasty and water has evaporated. Pour in water and bouillon (or broth) and stir in curry powder, turn up heat to high. Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat but keep lid on for another 15 minutes, then remove lid, fluff with a fork, and let cool.
- Add blueberries, pecans, scallion, and orange zest to cooled quinoa, and stir gently to combine, taking care not to smush the berries.
- Whisk together the orange juice, hazelnut oil, white vinegar, and some salt and black pepper, and drizzle over the quinoa mixture. Stir gently, then garnish with fresh basil and mint. Taste for seasonings.
Yield: About 4-6 servings
My first post for 2015 is a salad recipe, which is only fitting since I’m starting the year off like a total cliche… I spent January 1st feeling hungover and horrible and useless– and annoyed with myself for wasting one of my few remaining vacation days. On January 2nd I dusted off my juicer and threw in carrots, clementines, beets, an apple, and good chunk of ginger. Over the weekend I organized and purged, dusted, vacuumed, did laundry. We took out the Christmas tree. And I made this salad.
*I’m a big fan of clementines because they’re the perfect snacking size and are way easier to deal with than other oranges, but you can certainly use any kind of orange here.
For each salad serving:
1½ cups butterhead lettuce, torn
About 2 tbsp or so clementine vinaigrette (recipe follows)
¼ cup chopped roasted beets
1/3 avocado, peeled and sliced
½ clementine, peeled, trimmed of excess pith, and roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp hemp seeds
Toss lettuce with a bit of clementine vinaigrette. Add the beets, avocado, chopped clementine, and drizzle on a bit more dressing. Top with hemp seeds.
4 Tb freshly squeezed clementine juice
2 Tb grapeseed oil
1 Tb apple cider vinegar
salt and black pepper, to taste
Whisk all ingredients together, or shake in a tightly closed jar.
Yield: ½ cup
Kale salad is usually not my thing. If you read my blog regularly then you know that I’m more of a braised greens kind of girl. And, yeah, I roll my eyes too when I see “massage” next to anything intended for consumption. Still, getting your hands in there and really working those leaves gives you tender kale that’s ready to absorb all sorts of tastiness (instead of just being a workout for your jaw). Early autumn red grapes add flavor and juiciness; adjust the amount of agave depending on how sweet or tart they are.
1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut chiffonade style
¾ cup red grapes, halved and seeded if necessary
1½ tbsp pickled red onion
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
¼ to ½ tsp agave, or to taste
2 tbsp hemp seeds
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper
- In a large bowl, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle some salt on the kale. Using your hands, massage kale for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in grapes, pickled onion, white wine vinegar, agave, and hemp seeds. Season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Let sit for awhile for best flavor.
Yield: About 4 servings
Here, a summery cold noodle salad, with crunchy radish, creamy avocado, fragrant cilantro, and simple green peas. If you’re not keen on cilantro then just leave it out– it will still taste delicious.
*To toast the sesame seeds, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat for about a minute, watching closely, just until lightly browned and fragrant.
1 (8.8 oz) package of noodles (I used black rice)
1 heaping cup of frozen peas
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
a few small radishes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, diced
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
sriracha for serving (optional)
For the dressing, whisk together:
3½ tbsp tamari
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- Cook noodles according to package directions. At the last minute of cooking time, add the peas, cook for remaining minute, then drain and rinse with cold water.
- Add dressing and toasted sesame seeds to the noodles and peas, mix to combine. Top with radish slices, avocado, and cilantro. Serve with sriracha.
Yield: About 3 servings
A yummy fall salad, perfect for a packed lunch or as part of a bigger spread. The combination of dill and roasted almonds is inspired by the Whole Earth Salad from the Hungry Hollow Co-Op in Chestnut Ridge, NY. It’s a delicious creation featuring baked tofu and cabbage, simultaneously light and satisfying. This lentil salad, too, is herbaceous and earthy and full of crunch, with plenty of tanginess via fresh lemon juice and sherry vinegar. It tastes best after a good sit in the fridge, ideally over night. Add a bit of red onion if you like; I didn’t find it necessary, but then again I’m not that crazy about raw onion in general. Some quinoa would also be awesome here.
1 cup French lentils, rinsed and sorted
Juice from 1-2 lemons
1/4+ tsp salt
1 smallish beet, grated
1/2 carrot, grated or cut in thin strips (I used a vegetable peeler)
1/3 cup roasted almonds, chopped
5 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2-1 tsp agave
2 heaping tbsp fresh dill, chopped
bit of red onion, chopped (optional)
- Cook lentils in 2 cups of water over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes until cooked but still firm, stirring occasionally and adding more water to cover as necessary. Drain.
- While lentils are still warm, stir in 1/4 tsp salt, juice from half a lemon, and a couple grinds of black pepper. Let cool.
- Mix the oil, vinegar, dijon, agave, juice from the other lemon half, and a little salt and pepper by shaking in a closed jar or using one of those nifty salad dressing mixers. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.
- Stir dressing, veggies, almonds, and dill into the lentils. Taste for seasonings. Let sit for at least half an hour before serving.
Yield: 3.5 cups