Tag Archives: Salad

Guacamole Pasta Salad

Guacamole Pasta Salad (still waiting for the avocado)

Guacamole Pasta Salad (still waiting for the avocado)

Our posting has been much less frequent than last year but we have still been busy in the kitchen. This summer has been all about canning for me and I have been making batch after batch of jams, relishes, and pickles.  Of course I took a couple of breaks from canning to do some party cooking.  With both Thing 1 and Thing 2 having late summer birthdays there has been lots of cake and also this delicious pasta salad.

Dressing ingredients

Dressing ingredients

The nice thing about this salad is that it comes together quickly and makes enough to serve an army.  Also, it tastes really yummy.  The lime-y dressing is addictive and I find it hard to make it in advance because it ends up poured over everything from steamed vegetables to grilled chicken (which leaves nothing left for the salad).  The dressing volume may seem like a lot but I found the pasta absorbs a lot more than one would think.

Tomatoes ready for roasting

Tomatoes ready for roasting

This dish was inspired by our love of guacamole and the desire to make a pasta salad that was light and fresh tasting, not heavy with mayo.  The avocado gives it a creamy taste that is contrasted nicely by the lime dressing and the bite of the red onion.  The sweet tomatoes finish it off.  So grab a few of the last tomatoes we are likely to see for a while here in the northeast (*sniffle*) and whip this up for one last summer party.

Hello cilantro

Hello cilantro

Guacamole Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

For the dressing

juice and zest of 3 limes (about 3/4 cup of juice)

1/4 cup mild vinegar such as white wine or champagne

3 shallots, chopped

2 tbls Dijon mustard

3 cups of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

For the salad

16 oz rotini or penne pasta

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes*

3 ripe avocados

1/2 cup minced red onion

1 large bunch fresh cilantro

To Make:

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking.  Meanwhile, make the dressing.  In a blender combine the lime juice and zest, vinegar, shallots, and mustard.  Blend until smooth.  With the blender running, slowly pour in the olive oil until a smooth, emulsified dressing forms.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour 2 cups of the dressing over the still-warm pasta and toss until well combined.

Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and fold, along with the onions, into the pasta.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  This can be made a day or two in advance.

Just before serving chop the avocados and fold them into the pasta.  Top with additional dressing as desired (we found we needed quite a bit because the warm pasta absorbed a lot of the dressing) and lots of chopped cilantro.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve immediately.

To Serve:

Serve this salad cold or room temperature.  Because there is no mayonnaise it can safely sit out at a picnic or party for a while.  The avocado will start to turn brown eventually so make sure not to add it until just before serving.  This recipe serves a bunch but it can easily be halved to make a smaller amount.

* The first time I made this salad tomatoes weren’t in season and all I had was a couple of containers of bland-tasting tomatoes from the grocery store.  To up their flavor I drizzled them with olive oil and roasted them on a sheet pan for a couple of hours in a 250 degree oven until they were shriveled and concentrated.  You can do this with in-season tomatoes too.  The flavor is extra delicious.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Pasta, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Carrot Ginger Slaw

Carrot Ginger Slaw

It’s slaw season people.  The weather in New England has been hovering around the 80 degree mark for a week or so now (give or take a few dips into the 60’s and 70’s) and I am ready for strawberries, fresh vegetables,  and cold salads. 

Shaved Carrots

We definitely have an affinity for cold salads in our house.   We devour heads of lettuce in record time, broccoli salad makes a regular appearance at our dinner table, and I never turn down a cold noodle dish.  However, the nice weather is young, which means that things like lettuce and broccoli are still in short supply.  Luckily, we still have carrots.  Carrots that have been sitting around since the winter, concentrating all of that delicious sugar.  These bright orange beauties make a lovely cold salad.  Punched up with some ginger, curry powder, and raisins, carrots are great for when you don’t have any other veggies around or for when you just want something a little different.

Simple list of ingredients

Ginger Carrot Slaw

Adapted generously from Alton Brown

Ingredients:

1/2 lb carrots (about 4 medium), washed and peeled

2 tbls mayonnaise

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup raisins

pinch of celery seed (optional)

chives or finely chopped green onions for garnish

To Make:

Using a vegetable peeler, shave long strips* of the carrots into a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, curry powder, garlic, ginger, and celery seed.  Gently toss the carrot strips with the dressing until well coated.  Stir in the raisins and garnish with chives. 

To Serve:

Serve cold or room temperature.  The carrots are pretty hardy and can stand up to being dressed and refrigerated for a few hours without going soggy.  Serves 2-4 as a side dish.  Recipe is easily doubled (or more) for a larger crowd.

* Using the peeler to shave the carrot creates a lovely texture and look to the salad.  However, it is kind of a pain in the behind.  If you are pressed for time, grate the carrots using the largest holes on your box grater or food processor disk.  You could also julienne them using a mandoline if you are so inclined.

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Filed under Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Curried Ginger-Lime Chicken Salad

Curried Ginger-Lime Chicken Salad

We brined and roasted up a couple of chickens the other night… we like to do that sort of thing in big batches.  We ate part of one chicken for dinner, which left us a lot of extra chicken in the refrigerator.  Whenever we have left over chicken, I like to make this chicken salad.  It is simple and quick to put together and tastes really delicious.

Strips of celery

The mayonnaise-yogurt base is creamy and tangy and is spiked with grated fresh ginger, lime juice, and a hint of curry powder.  Throw in some minced garlic and shallot and then toss your previously roasted chicken.  Pile the whole thing on a tangle of thinly sliced strips of celery for crunch and you have a lovely light meal that would be perfect for lunch with friends, or for yourself.

Making the dressing

Curry Ginger-Lime Chicken Salad

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Two

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

2 tbls mayonnaise

2 tbls plain yogurt (whole milk is best, low fat is okay)

1 tbls freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 tsp curry powder

1 small clove of garlic, minced

1 small shallot, minced (substitute 1 tbls minced red onion if desired)

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

4 small stalks of celery

Salt and pepper to taste

Lime zest (optional)

To Make:

Using a vegetable peeler, shave thin strips of the celery stalks.  Place 2 shaved celery stalks on each plate and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, lime juice, curry powder, minced garlic and shallot, and grated ginger until well combined.  Add the cold shredded chicken and mix until the chicken is coated with the dressing.  Refrigerate for 1 hour to meld the flavors (if desired).  Taste and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.

To Serve:

Place half the chicken on top of the celery strips and garnish with lime zest.  Serves two for lunch but is easily doubled or tripled if you want to make a larger batch.  This also keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a few days.

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Filed under Dinner, Meat, Recipes

Asian-Inspired Kale Salad

Asian-Inspired Kale Salad

 As I mentioned here, one of the best things about our deep winter CSA is that we get locally grown greens in the middle of winter.  When you try to eat seasonally in New England, it can feel like a long winter of root vegetables when the only the greens you have are those you froze the previous summer.  With our last distribution, we got some very fresh and tender kale.  We almost always eat our kale cooked, frequently sauteed in some olive oil with onions and garlic.  Last week at a business meeting, I had a cold kale salad and suddenly, a new world of possibilities opened up.

Fresh kale in the steamer basket

Normally, when I see cold kale it is on the side of a diner plate as garnish.  I never really thought to serve kale as the base of a salad.  However, this salad was really delicious and I thought maybe it would be worth it to try to make my own kale salad.  Last night, this dish was the result of that effort.  Steaming the kale briefly locks in the bright green color and cooks it just enough to take the toughness out.  Toss it with some paper thin red onion slices and a very simple dressing right before serving and you have a quick, easy, healthy, and really tasty salad in minutes.

Asian-Inspired Kale Salad

Ingredients:

2 medium bunches of kale (any variety will do)

1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 tbls Tamari soy sauce (low sodium)

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1/4 tsp fish sauce

1/4 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

To Make:

Wash kale, cut the leaves off the stems, and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.  Fill a large pot outfitted with a steamer basket with about an inch of water.  Bring the water to a boil and add the kale to the steamer basket.  Steam, with the cover on, until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes.  Place the steamed kale in a bowl and chill. 

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl (or place all ingredients in a container with a lid and shake until combined).  Just before serving, top the kale with very thinly sliced onion and toss with the dressing.

To Serves:

Serves 4.  Kale can be made ahead of time and chilled, undressed, until ready to serve.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier?  If so, then this is the recipe for you.  This beet salad has it all.  It is light and healthy.  It brings a hefty dose of color to the otherwise gray winter landscape (can you tell we haven’t seen the sun in days?).  Most importantly, this salad is delicious.  Even my 3 year old eats it with gusto.

Delicious dressing

Don’t like beets you say?  I am willing to bet that’s because you have only eaten those nasty canned ones.  You know the ones I mean, they are smushy and smelly and taste vaguely of tin.  Of course you don’t like those… you have better taste than that. 

Salad ingredients

Fresh beets, however, are a revelation, especially when they are roasted.  They get soft and sweet and stain everything they touch that beautiful  rich purple color.  So, pick up some beets from a local farm and try this recipe.  Then, if you tell me that you still don’t like beets, I guess I can respect that.

Roasted beets

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Adapted from the Produce Bible

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

5 small to medium sized beets (1 lb 2.25 oz/516g), feel free to use classic purple beets or any of the cool heirloom varieties that are often available these days.  This salad is especially pretty when you mix purple and gold beets.

~2.5 oz/68 grams crumbled goat cheese

To Make:

Make the dressing first so the flavors can marry.  In a container with a tight fitting lid (good Tupperware or canning jars work well), combine the red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, capers, and smashed garlic clove.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Shake until all the ingredients are integrated.  Set aside at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Scrub the beets well, trimming off the tops and the long tap root.  Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.  Roast beets in the oven until they are tender when pierced with a knife, about an hour.

Remove the beets from oven and unwrap.  Cut each beet in half and let sit until cool enough to handle.  Using a clean tea towel or a paper towel, rub the skins off of the beets.  Chop the beets into 1/2 inch pieces and place in your serving bowl. 

Remove and discard the crushed garlic from the dressing.  Toss the warm beets with the dressing.  Refrigerate the beets until chilled, at least 30 minutes.  Once cool, fold in the crumbled goat cheese. 

To Serve:

Serve either chilled or at room temperature.  If you are in a hurry or don’t have time to chill the beets, you can eat the salad warm.  The goat cheese will melt into the beets, turning the whole thing a light pink color.  It doesn’t look as pretty but it still tastes darn good.  Serves 4 as a side dish.

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Filed under Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian