Category Archives: Salad

Aloha: Artichoke Panzanella

I’m the worst. I know. My promises to be better about writing have proven empty. But I had the best of intentions! Really, I swear! Enough with the excuses though, my new goal is to get you guys at least 2 lip-smacking posts per week. Keep me honest on this one! Feel free to send nasty messages about how disappointed you are in my lack of blog presence, and about how you are starving without my guidance.

Too much?

One exciting thing to report on before we dive in is my recent trip to Hawaii! My bestie and I took a long weekend and soaked up the tropical paradise that is the Big Island. Her sister is currently going to school there, so the three of us took the island by storm. And captured all of it with the action setting on my camera. Yolo.

Here is a little photo tour of my trip:

We started out at the Hilo Farmers Market treating ourselves to fresh Hawaiian produce.
And then indulged in these. Which was some of the best food I have put in my mouth. Ever.
Next we drove from Hilo to Kona, stopping at scenic outlooks like this.
We spent the afternoon at Hapuna Beach. Which as you can see, was miserable.
On the way back to Hilo, we drank from fresh coconuts.
The next day we descended into a volcano that was filled with lush beauty.
But then walking across the crater felt like walking across Mars on a windy and rainy day.
The wonderful trip ended with a day spent on this gorgeous black sand beach.
Hawaii ❤

Last week was filled with recreating Hawaiian dishes… and then not photographing them… but as I perfect them and make them pretty (slash not making them at 8 or 9 at night), I will get them to you post haste!

In addition to traveling to exotic places, I am teaching Introduction to Human Nutrition to 800 eager undergraduates at UC Berkeley this fall, which has both kept me quite busy and been a real treat. On the first day I learned that all undergrads at Berkeley think that “ummm some chicken and brown rice” is their example of a healthy meal. Welp. Looks like I have some work to do this semester.

In between all of that excitement, I managed to whip up this utterly delicious artichoke panzanella. I have lived in California for over a year now, and I haven’t quite taken advantage of the fact that I live in the artichoke capital of the USA. I was originally thinking of an artichoke risotto, but then decided that I wasn’t that dedicated to being in the kitchen that long… and then the word panzanella popped into my head. And man oh man am I glad it did! First of all, for bread I used a super non-traditional walnut whole wheat bread that ended up adding so much awesomeness to this salad. Seriously though, I think the toasted bread pieces soaking up the deliciousness from the rest of the salad was my favorite part.

I also tossed in some black beans and a peach to cling on to the tastes of summer, along with some tomatoes straight from my garden. To cut through the other decently sweet ingredients, I used dandelion greens as my greenery. No one talks about this much, but dandelion greens are actually one of the healthiest greens out there, chock full of calcium, protein (for a vegetable), and a whole host of disease fighting compounds.

Then I thought it was getting a little too gourmet, so I smothered it in Kens Steak House Italian Dressing. This salad was both filling and packed with healthy goodness. This recipe provided me with a solid dinner and then a solid lunch the following day. It works great as a weeknight meal, but also a fancy salad to impress guests. I can’t wait to make it again!

Artichoke Panzanella

Materials (2 meal salad or 4 side salads):
  • 2 large artichokes, prepared as seen here in this great tutorial 
  • 2 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 loaf of hearty bread of choice (I used Walnut Levain from Acme Bread)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 peach, pitted and diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small bunch dandelion greens, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup your favorite italian vinaigrette
Methods:
  1. Put the artichokes in a medium stock pot with the water, bay leaf, and cloves of garlic and then juice the lemon and toss in the leftover lemon.
  2. Cover loosely, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Drain and remove bay leaf, lemon, and garlic.
  3. In the meantime, remove the crust from the bread and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  4. Heat up a few swirls of olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet (I used a cast iron) over medium-high heat and toss in the bread cubes.
  5. Toast the bread for 8-10 minutes, tossing every couple of minutes, until it is nice and crispy.
  6. Toss the artichokes and the bread with the remaining ingredients and let sit for 10-30 minutes before consuming.
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

Raw Taco Salad

Remember that raw phase I went through? Ya, i’m trying to forget it too. But sometimes I accidentally eat completely raw meals.

This was one of those nights. I had read somewhere about using walnut “taco meat,”but the post I read it in used it to be raw. I immediately closed the window and moved on with my life. Now I know I have talked about my cravings before, but the weirdest habit of mine is craving things that I have never eaten. And well, that happened. I was craving this “raw taco meat” made from walnuts. On my way home from work that day I picked up some walnuts and guacamole to adorn the rest of the salad ingredients that I already had at home.

Another element that I am going to bring into this salad is massaged kale. Every time I told someone I made a massaged kale salad, I was greeted with confused stares. But man oh man, everyone needs to hop on the massaged kale salad train. Basically, it is exactly what is sounds like: you coat it lightly with some olive oil, lemon juice (but tonight I used lime juice, since it was a taco salad), salt, and pepper and then get to massaging. You get the benefits of it being cooked almost, meaning it is much more palatable and you pre-break it down for your digestive system, but you also get the benefits of it being raw, meaning all of the precious nutrients are left untouched.

And finally, I have also been playing a lot with using peaches in savory dishes. Peach or mango or pineapple salsa? Yes, please! I also had some peaches, so onto the salad they were going.

Anyways, this raw taco salad of sorts was phenomenal and an absolute synch to throw together! Literally I was raving about the salad after every bite that I took. And then I made it for lunch each of the following days. It packs really well since you don’t have to worry about the kale wilting. The salad doesn’t need much of a dressing since the walnuts are flavor packed as well as the guacamole brings its Mexican goodness to the party. Raw food, you win this round… in the tastiest of ways.

Raw Kale Salad
Inspired by Roost Blog
Materials:
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup your favorite guacamole
  • 1/2 peach, diced
  • 1/8 cup red onion, diced
  • juice from 1 lime
Methods:
  1. Place walnuts, spices, soy sauce, and lime juice in a food processor and process until the walnuts take on the consistency of taco meat.
  2. Toss kale in lime juice and olive oil with a few shakes of salt and pepper and then massage, as if you were kneading dough, until kale has wilted and taken on a supple texture.
  3. To assemble: Place kale in salad bowl, top with scoop of guacamole, sprinkle walnut taco meat around, top with diced peaches and red onion, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  4. Enjoy!
    • Probably audibly.

More corn and more salad

Ok, the time has come. I have no flight reservations coming up, no trips, no big school events, etc. And I couldn’t be more excited! I had a few weeks of travel that all culminated with my birthday weekend this past weekend (Happy Birthday to me!). I had an amazing birthday where I felt immensely loved and taken care of, which is the best way to spend your birthday. From a new (zoom) lens from my amazing parents and a family reunion at some old stomping grounds in Michigan to a surprise birthday dinner at Chez Panisse and homemade birthday cakes in Berkeley from my amazing friends… it truly was a treat and I feel very blessed!

But alas, time to get down to business around here, especially as summer produce is flooding our farmers markets and our gardens. When vegetables are grown organically and picked fresh and ripe, they are at their most nutritious. When farmed organically (without the use of pesticides, etc), the plants must rely on their natural defenses to stay alive. This means that they produce more protective compounds, which are then passed on to you when you eat it. Also, when they are at their ripest, it is when the plant is saying, “ok, i’m ready for my seeds to be spread, in return I will give you a nutrient packed treat!” So, I encourage you to take advantage of the produce that is out right now!

Which brings me to this salad. I was in Michigan, which for anyone who has visited there, has lots of corn… and a 100 degree day on the 5th of July was a perfect day for this corn salad that my mom has been waiting to try out. It is the perfect refreshing dish for a summer barbecue. We added some chickpeas to it to make it a filling main dish and served it at a little get together and it was enjoyed by all! I jazzed it up a bit with extra basil and some mint and it was incredibly palate pleasing and a great way to cool down on a hot day. Also, a big shout out to Elaine for providing the adorable star plate and the other props for this dish :-).

Fresh Corn Salad
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
 
Materials:
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 bell pepper (I used orange), finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 cups arugula
Method:
  1. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and set aside to allow the sugar to dissolve while preparing the rest of the salad.
  2. Toss together the fresh corn kernels with the fresh of the finely diced vegetables and dressing.
  3. At serving, gently fold in the arugula.
  4. Enjoy!
    • Preferably with family and friends at a summer BBQ :-).

Not your average salad

Remember my spiel about salads? Right.

Well here is another reminder that salads don’t have to be boring! Or limp. Or soggy. This salad is about as crunchy and zippy as it gets. Lemon juice, vinegar, and jalapeños for brightness, corn and cabbage for crunch, all cooled off by some tomatoes. We have ourselves a winner!

Isn’t cabbage pretty?

Oh, do some of those ingredients look familiar? Ya, I haven’t been to the grocery store… so I am in throwing-together-what-I-have mode. Also because I have been trying my hardest to use everything from one grocery trip before going again to avoid wasting food. Well turns out 1 head of cabbage takes me forever to get rid of, so the cabbage you see popping up in all my recipes all hails from the same head of cabbage. I have begged cabbage-loving R to take it off my hands… but lately I think he has had enough of eating foods that leak red color into him (the same guy who complains that beets taste like dirt has been drinking beet/dirt juice nightly… at least when he isn’t too busy making oatmeal smoothies?? I don’t know about that one…). And the lemon juice you see in the recipe? Oh, just from a lemon that I GREW. NBD. I have a meyer lemon tree as part of my balcony oasis, and said little lemon tree currently has roughly 30 itty bitty teeny weeny little lemons on it!

Expect lot so of lemon recipes this summer…

Anyways, if it means eating this salad every night until the cabbage is done, then I am A-OK with that!

Spicy Cabbage and Corn Salad
Materials:
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
  • Fresh kernels from 1 ear of corn
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and sliced thin
  • Juice from 1 meyer lemon
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon fresh chopped mint
  • salt and pepper to taste
Methods:
  1. Toss all of the above ingredients together.
  2. Enjoy!

Spring salad

I enjoy salads as much as the next vegetarian, I suppose.

No, scratch that… I enjoy salads less than the average vegetarian (who I made up for the purpose of this argument). It isn’t so much that I dislike the idea of a salad, or raw vegetables… it’s just that salads are usually so uninspired. As in, if we are defining salad as “a bowl of raw vegetables tossed in oil and vinegar,” then count me in. But, if we are talking “bowl of limp iceberg lettuce with some hard tomatoes on top,” then count me out. Far out. As you can see, my issue is that most of the bowl is taken up by lettuce. I have nothing against lettuce… but I would rather have the space taken up by other vegetables. Everyone’s favorite parts of a salad are the dressing and the toppings, anyways, right? So why not make a salad that is ONLY toppings?

The few years post college, I started doing just that. My idea of a salad was garden fresh tomatoes (my mom is a prolific tomato grower in the summer), cucumber, fresh corn, avocado, red onion, and Ken’s steakhouse italian dressing (yes, that is my favorite dressing and can be added to my odd list of favorites under fake maple syrup and above barbecue sauce). Delicious! So whenever I see a salad that is sans lettuce, it peaks my interest… which is exactly what this salad did. I made it for dinner one night last week and it was AMAZING. My word, it is so refreshing and flavorful. It has a super light dressing, but then the salad almost dresses itself as the tangerines burst in your mouth with every bite.

Well this weekend, when I was craving an equally refreshing salad (it has been pretty hot here lately), but had none of the ingredients left, I threw the following salad together. I had bought some radishes and asparagus, and knew I wanted to do something raw with the asparagus. And a little birdie once told me that radishes are delicious (but not as delicious as soup). AND I had a grapefruit that needed to be eaten. So it looked like I was on my way to a pretty delicious salad. And I was right (said with M emphasis)! It is crispy and crunchy and tangy and smooth. The radishes do their thing, and then the asparagus does its thang for the rest of the day. Lovely, just lovely.

Asparagus and Radish Spring Salad
Materials:
  • 1/2 bunch radishes
  • a few spears of asparagus
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 grapefruit, supremed
  • 1/2 cup snap peas, halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Methods:
  1. Slice the radishes and asparagus thinly using a mandolin.
  2. I cut the asparagus crosswise into medallions, but feel free to try ribbons if that is what you prefer.
  3. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Enjoy!