Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category


What I did on my summer vacation: Savory

September 23, 2012

I didn’t blog over the summer, but I did cook.

I cooked a lot of chickpeas – yes, I said cooked. I buy them dry and cook them in the slow cooker: rinse and pick over 2 cups of dried chickpeas. Add to 6 cups of water in the slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. You’ll get about 6 cups of cooked chickpeas. When a recipe calls for 1 can of chickpeas, I use about 1 1/2 cups. Why cook them instead of opening a can? I really think they taste better. I haven’t done the math, but I think it’s got to be cheaper to buy them dried instead of canned. Here’s what they look like before cooking.

I believe that you can freeze cooked chickpeas, but I always end up eating all of them! They’re delicious tossed into a green salad, and of course you can make hummus. If you want to branch out, here are a couple of awesome recipes to try. You don’t need to cook them yourself to make these recipes; if you’d prefer to use canned, go for it.

Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin and Garlic made more than one appearance on the table this summer. It’s best when made the night before to give the flavors a chance to develop. Also, despite the title, I served it room temperature instead of warm. Warm cucumbers don’t do it for me, but this salad does. I’ve got tons of parsley in the garden, and need to make this at least one more time before gardening season ends. It’s great plain or on top of greens for lunch, and I served it as a side dish with spanakopita (spinach pie).

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner is the well-deserved name of this recipe, which I saw on the tv show Mad Hungry. I used boneless chicken and a 50-50 mix of smoked and sweet paprika. The second time I made it, I cut the amount of salt in half, because I thought that the next-day leftovers tasted really salty. This is one of those things I’ll make over and over; the smoked paprika gives it sort of a barbecue flavor, and the dish reheats well (which is good because it makes a ton).

Moving on from chickpeas, I came across the recipe for Chicken Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream in a Splendid Table newsletter. Mexican is always popular at our house, and this mixture of shredded chicken, onions, red bell pepper, and spices is delicious! Note that their estimate of 5 minutes prep time is overly optimistic, at least when I’m the one doing the prepping. I poached the chicken in the slow cooker and then shredded it, but to save time, you could shred some rotisserie chicken. Click the recipe link if you’re not familiar with the Splendid Table; I thoroughly enjoy listening to podcasts of the show.



Quinoa, Black Bean, and Corn Salad

September 10, 2012

This is a really tasty salad, and a great recipe to use some summer vegetables while they’re still available. And it’s so colorful!

It has a nice Mexican taste to it, and the quinoa adds a nice chew, but not too quinoa-y, if you know what I mean.

Recipe notes:

  • I cooked the quinoa, chilled, it, and then mixed everything the night before serving. It definitely had more flavor after spending the night in the fridge.
  • I used corn that had been cooked on the grill. This is the first year I’ve tried cutting corn off the cob. I always thought it would be too much of a pain, but seriously, it is no big deal.
  • I’m not a cilantro lover, so I went the parsley route.

The recipe is here on Manhattan Craft Room. I usually turn to that blog for craft tips, but she cooks too!


Greek Barley Salad

August 4, 2010

Just the other day, I realized that it’s August and I should be making some summer salads. In fact, for dinner tonight we’re having salmon and Whole Grain Salad, which is one of my favorites. As much as I like that salad, how about some variety? Enter Greek Barley Salad!

Barley, veggies, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and a touch of lemon. Opa!


  • I found this recipe in Cooking Light magazine. You can find it here, under the name Greek Chicken and Barley Salad.
  • I made one major change, which was omitting the chicken. I opted to make grilled chicken and have this salad on the side. (Subtract the chicken-related ingredients if you’re making my version.)
  • In the interest of clearing out my freezer, I cooked the barley in chicken broth, but it would be easy to make a vegetarian version with vegetable broth.
  • I used quick-cooking barley instead of pearl barley.

Peanut Slaw – David Lebovitz

June 7, 2010

I always think of David Lebovitz as the guy to go to for dessert ideas, but when I read his book, The Sweet Life in Paris, one of the recipes that really appealed to me was Peanut Slaw. I’ve made this two or three times now, and it’s awesome! With chopped peanuts and a peanut butter-based sauce, it’s a great twist on the usual slaw.


  • The first time I made this, I took a shortcut and bought a bag of slaw mix. That worked just fine, but this time I bought a small head of green cabbage and chopped it with a knife. It wasn’t a big deal to chop it and it tasted better than the bagged slaw.
  • I used flat-leaf parsley and chives where the recipe calls for parsley, cilantro, or chives.
  • David Lebovitz says”Resist the temptation to use delicate Napa or leafy Savoy cabbage, both of which get soggy from the peanut dressing.” He suggests using a mix of red and green cabbage, sliced as thin as possible.
  • You can mix the sauce ahead of time, but toss with the cabbage and the rest of the ingredients at the last minute. (Shhh…don’t tell David, but I think it’s still pretty tasty the next day).

Peanut Slaw

from David Lebovitz, The Sweet Life in Paris

1/4 cup (65 g) smooth peanut butter
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, or more to taste

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup (65 g) roasted, unsalted peanuts

1 small bunch radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded

1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, or chives, chopped
6 cups (500 g) shredded green or red cabbage
Coarse salt

In a large bowl, mix the peanut butter, garlic, peanut oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, and water until smooth.

Toss in the peanuts, radishes, carrot, parsley, and cabbage, mixing until everything’s coated. Taste, then add a bit of salt and another squeeze of lemon juice, if necessary.

Variations: Substitute toasted almonds or cashews for the peanuts or swap 1 tablespoon of dark sesame oil for 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, adding a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds to the salad.


Whole Grain Salad

September 18, 2009

I would pick this salad over pasta salad any day. I got the recipe several years ago when I subscribed to a newsletter from the American Institute for Cancer Research. The newsletter stopped coming, but this recipe was a keeper! It’s colorful, tasty, and healthy.

Whole Grain Salad


  • For the mozzarella, I’ve used shredded and diced. I highly recommend diced; it’s much more satisfying to get a little cube of cheese in a bite than it is to get a couple of shreds.
  • You can, of course, switch the veggies to what you like and what you have on hand. The ones listed in the recipe make a really good combination though.
  • This is the first time I used quinoa in this salad; in the past I always used couscous. It’s delicious either way, and I’m sure the other grains are delicious too. (8/6/10 correction: I just found out that what I thought was quinoa is not! I think it’s actually Israeli couscous; I have yet to try it with quinoa, but I think it will be good.)
  • Instead of mint, cilantro, or chervil, I used chives and basil because that’s what I have growing in my herb garden.
  • The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup finely chopped dried fruit, like  apricots, raisins, dates, figs or currants. I omitted that because as much as I love dried fruit, I don’t always love it in savory dishes.

Whole Grain Salad

1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 tomato, seeded, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup chopped radish
2 scallions, green and white parts, or  1/4 cup chopped red or Bermuda onion
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts, sesame seeds,  or sunflower seeds, or chopped  almonds, walnuts, or pecans
3-4 oz. diced low fat mozzarella cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to  taste, if desired
3 cups cooked (and cooled) brown rice, or whole-grain pasta, or couscous,  bulgur, or quinoa
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh (or 2 tsp. dried) chives or flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp. finely chopped (or 2 tsp. dried) fresh mint, cilantro, or chervil

In a large bowl place the bell pepper, tomato, radish, scallions or onion,  nuts or seeds and cheese.  Mix lightly.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fluff the cooled grain with a fork and season it to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the grain to the bowl of salad ingredients and mix it in lightly with a fork.

In another bowl whisk together the lime juice, oil and herbs.  Drizzle over the salad and mix in lightly.  Serve or refrigerate, covered, up to 2 days.

Makes 6 cups.

%d bloggers like this: