Category Archives: Salad

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

So, this is my recreation of a salad I’ve never eaten, from a restaurant I have never been to, but have talked about going to a lot. Blue Barn is a deli in San Francisco that has a creative menu with a local and organic focus. I think every time I have gone to visit my friends in San Francisco we have discussed going there and even attempted to go twice, but every single time something thwarts our plans. Since so many attempts have been made to get to this restaurant I have looked over their menu many times and every time this salad stood out to me.

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

After my last trip to San Francisco and another failed visit to the restaurant, I decided to attempt my own version. I have absolutely no idea how close or accurate an interpretation this is of the Blue Barn original, but damned if I can, it was absolutely delicious!

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

I did make a couple minor changes. Instead of sun-dried tomatoes, I used oven roasted roma tomatoes and instead of grilled balsamic onions, I again used oven roasted balsamic onions (I used this recipe, minus the sugar). For the crispy chickpeas, I made garlic and paprika roasted chickpeas (using this recipe). They were delicious and the leftovers made for a great snack later in the week.

Now, I will admit, there are a lot of parts to this salad and most of them have to be prepared individually ahead of time, which is kind of a major pain, but since I knew I would like all the ingredients in the salad, I didn’t mind taking the extra time and effort to prepare everything. Plus, you’ll have a lot of leftovers of the individual ingredients, so they are perfect for other salads during the week, adding to other meals (the roasted tomatoes and balsamic onions were heavenly with a turkey burger), or as snacks.

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
  • 1 large handful mixed greens
  • 1 large handfuls arugula
  • 1 ounce grated manchego
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 Tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 whole roasted roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup roasted balsamic onions
  • 1/3 cup roasted chickpeas

Instructions

For the Vinaigrette:
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
For the Salad:
  1. Prepare all the ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Add freshly ground pepper to taste and serve.

 

Pineapple Jicama Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Pineapple Jicama Salad

This salad is sweet, tangy and delicious. I originally read a similar recipe in a magazine while sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office. I was intrigued because I love love pineapple, but it had cucumber in it, which I absolutely abhor! Cumber is one of the four foods in the world that turn me into a picky eater toddler throwing a tantrum at the dinner table. I will not eat them. I do not like them touching my food and I will sit and pout if they are near my plate (bananas, celery and eggplant would be the others). I have been using a lot of jicama this summer and thought that it would make a great substitute for cucumber. It has the same kind of crunchy texture.

I served this salad with a side of chips for a super chunky chips and salsa kind of thing. You could also serve it over a bed of mixed greens or it would also go great with some grilled shrimp or tequila lime chicken as well.

Pineapple Jicama Salad

Pineapple Jicama Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil (I used 3)

For the salad:

  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and diced into cubes
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced

Instructions

For the Vinaigrette:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until well blended. Set aside. (Vinaigrette can be made ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for about 1 week.)
For the salad:
  1. Combine all ingredients, except the avocado, in a bowl and mix together. Add desired amount of vinaigrette and toss to coat. Salad can now be kept in fridge for up to 4 hours or served immediately.
  2. Right before serving add avocado and gently toss to to coat avocado with dressing, but be sure not to mush it too much.

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

This salad has it all; sweet, salty, cheesy, and all delicious. Mango, blue cheese and broccoli are some of my favorite foods, but never in a million years would I think of combining them. Ever. But somehow, it totally works. The flavor combinations definitely make for a very unique meal.

I definitely plan on making this salad again, but next time I think I might add a couple of other things to make it even better. Adding some toasted cashews or almonds would add a great crunch to the salad. I could also imagine substituting the chicken for shrimp (maybe even coconut shrimp for more of a tropical twist).

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
Inspired by Better Homes & Gardens.

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Salad:

  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 mango, pitted, peeled, and cut up
  • 12 ounces chicken breast
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets

For the Vinaigrette:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Season to taste and set aside.

For the Salad:

  1. On a serving platter place romaine lettuce. Top with blueberries and mango; set aside.
  2. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken in 1 tablespoon of the butter with minced garlic over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Transfer to a cutting board; slice. Allow to cool slight and arrange atop salad.
  3. In the same skillet cook broccoli in the remaining tablespoon garlic butter over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes until tender. Place atop salad.
  4. Drizzle salad with blue cheese vinaigrette. If desired, sprinkle with blue cheese.

Halloumi, Snap Pea & Tomato Quinoa Salad

Halloumi, Snap Pea, Tomato & Quinoa Salad

I’ve been on a bit of a halloumi kick lately. Normally I would feel bad about sharing recipes with ‘exotic’ ingredients in them, like halloumi, but now that Trader Joe’s now sells this amazing cheese, I would hardly count it as exotic anymore.

This salad is not only quick and easy to make, it is delicious too. The snap peas and tomatoes around here are absolutely delicious at the moment. Their sweetness combined with the salty halloumi help makes every bite delicious. The dressing is light and flavorful. It really adds to the salad and helps all the delicious flavors come together.

Halloumi, Snap Pea, Tomato & Quinoa Salad

 

Halloumi, Snap Pea & Tomato Quinoa Salad

For the Dressing:
  • 4 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh basil, minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh chives, minced
For the Salad:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pack Halloumi, cut into slices
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 4 ounces snap peas, cut into pieces
  • 12 ounces mixed spring greens
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  1. Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
  2. In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add halloumi and cooked until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Place cooked halloumi on paper towels to drain excess oil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine greens, snap peas and tomatoes and about half the dressing. Toss to mix all the ingredients.
  4. Divide between 4 serving bowls. Top with about 1/2 cup of the cooked quinoa and 2-3 slices of the halloumi and serve.

 

Delica’s Wasabi Potato Salad

Delica's Wasabi Potato Salad

So, I briefly mentioned yesterday, I am moving to the other side of the country in 27 oh, so short days. I’ve been hell bent on getting in as many of my favorite summer things, California things, and summery California as possible. I have lists of food, shops, cities, friends, beaches, parks, drinks and many more random things.

A couple of weekends ago I got to cross a whole bunch of things off my list with a trip up to San Francisco. There were friends and food and shopping and pugs and crafts and it was glorious. Apart from the fact that many of my best friends live in San Francisco now, it’s always been one of my favorite cities. There is so much to do and see and, most importantly, eat! This salad is inspired by one I had at Delica many, many trips ago. Delica is a great Japanese deli and sushi bar in the Ferry Building. And while a Japanese deli might seem like the last place you would find an amazing potato salad, trust me they definitely know what they are doing.

I will admit, I have met very few potatoes I haven’t liked (I am 100% Irish, it’s pure genetics), but potato salads wade into a tricky gray area. A great potato salad is a thing of delicious beauty, but it is so, so easy for a potato salad to go horribly wrong very easily. Delica’s potato salad is so different than any other potato salad. First, the wasabi! I love wasabi and even though I have added I have used horseradish in potato salads before, I never thought of using wasabi. It’s a great flavorful addition. I might be strange in the fact that I always mix my summer barbecue side salads together. That potato salad and green salad will soon become one on my plate, so I absolutely love that Delica’s potato salad already has romaine lettuce and snap peas and other traditional green salad staples in the potato salad itself. If you are looking for a totally different and delicious potato salad recipe, I suggest you start here!

 

Delica’s Wasabi Potato Salad

  • 1 pound Yukon gold or yellow potatoes
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (you can use mayo or sour cream as well or a combo)
  • 2+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste (or more if you like it with a kick!)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup edamame beans, fresh or thawed
  • 1 handful snap peas, trimmed and halved
  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped

 

  1. Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into 1″ cubes.
  2. Put potatoes into a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until you can insert a fork and easily remove it (about 10-15 minutes). Don’t overcook! Drain potatoes and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, wasabi paste, and salt.
  4. Toss with edamame, snap peas, and romaine hearts with the yogurt. Fold in the potatoes and gently stir until combined.
  5. Cover and chill before serving.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese & Gluten Free Focaccia

Oven Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese & Gluten Free Focaccia

Summer seems to be flying by and I feel like the end of it, is unfortunately in sight. This week I want to share recipes that feature some of my favorite summer produce so everyone can get as much tasty enjoyment out of the month or so we have left.

Oven roasted tomatoes became one of my favorite things this summer and if I can keep some around long enough (most are consumed via fork straight from pan), this is one of my favorite ways to eat them. I know turning on the oven in the middle of summer is something only crazy person would do, but just trust me, it’s worth it. Plus, you are turning on the oven so low, you won’t be able to notice any big temperature change. I promise!

I cannot even begin to describe how incredibly delicious these tomatoes are. I used cherry tomatoes in this particular instance, but I’ve used just about every tomato imaginable and they are all just as amazing. I served these with softened goat cheese and gluten-free focaccia, but the possibilities are endless. I’ve used them on salads, in a caprese salad, the top of soups, crackers and, as I already mentioned, my favorite method with a fork straight from the pan.

One minor note, if you are using larger tomatoes: cut the tomatoes in half first, remove the stem (if desired) and place them cut side down on the pan when you go to roast them.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese & Gluten Free Focaccia

  • around 1-1.5 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4-8 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  1. Heat oven to 225F.
  2. Pour the olive oil into a shallow baking dish or pan and add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the tomatoes with the oil and seasonings in the dish.
  4. Bake for two hours, or until the tomatoes are completely softened and wilted, and start to wrinkle. Depending on the tomatoes, they may take longer to cook.

 

 

Fiesta Bean Salad

Fiesta Bean Salad

It’s that time of year again… Fiesta! I haven’t blogged for a couple months, but I’m now in my final stretch living in California (for a while at least), so I figure I might as well enjoy and share as much of the Golden State as I can! Fiesta is a truly unique Santa Barbara tradition. Officially 90 years strong as of this Wednesday. It’s a unique blend of culture, history, food, music, dance and booze. Basically the world’s best combination in my opinion. This week I’m going to share some of my favorite, both new and old, Mexican inspired recipes.

Fiesta Bean Salad

I love this salad! It’s fast and easy. Light and fresh. And it makes a perfect alternative side dish to a Mexican meal instead of traditional black or pinto bean dishes. I had originally planned on serving this as a side dish with tequila lime chicken, but I was so hungry for lunch that I decided to skip the rest of the meal and just dig in. Excellent decision. If you wanted to add some more bulk to the salad, some chopped romaine would be great. If I had some cilantro on hand (my plants have refused to last longer than 5 days this summer!) or corn kernels (I can’t eat whole corn, but if you can), I know both would have made the best addition.

Fiesta Bean Salad
Adapted from Skinnytaste.

  • 2+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounce canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1/2 jicama, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 ounces queso fresco (or feta), crumbled
  1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, lime juice, oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt.
  2. Add the black beans, chickpeas, tomato, onion and jicama. When ready to eat, gently mix in avocado, sprinkle with queso fresco and serve right away.

 

 

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Gluten Free Asian Vinaigrette

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

I have a tendency to buy things in bulk. It’s next to impossible to say no to three pounds of baby spinach at Costco for under 4 bucks. The only downside is three pounds of baby spinach is a lot of baby spinach. So in another effort to clean out the fridge, I have attempted to add spinach to everything. This isn’t a recipe so much as it is an idea of flavor combinations and the possibilities are really endless.

I really love this dressing, especially when paired with the sweet mandarins. It was a great combination. I also found this salad to be surprisingly filling. It made for a great lunch. I think the addition of grilled chicken or shrimp would easily make it into a wonderful dinner. If I was to make this salad again, I think adding crumbled feta and dried cranberries would be delicious. Strawberries, granny smith apples, or pecans would also be good substitutes (or additions too).

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Gluten Free Asian Vinaigrette

Ingredients

For the Salad:
  • 2 large handfuls spinach, washed
  • 1 mandarin orange (or clementine), peeled and broken into segments
  • 1 small red onion, thinly cut into circles
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
For the Asian Vinaigrette:
  • 3-5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium gluten free Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

For the Salad:
  1. Place spinach on plate. Top with orange segments, as many onions as desired and almonds. Top with vinaigrette.
  2. Serve and enjoy!
For the Asian Vinaigrette:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until throughly mixed. Use immediately. Will keep for 1 week in fridge.

Spring Wedge Salad with Carrots, Radishes & Bacon

Spring Wedge Salad with Carrots, Radishes & Bacon

I have said it before, and I will say it again, brunch is my favorite meal. It’s really just great. When it comes to breakfast foods, I kind of have an aversion to sweet and bready things and egg dishes can get a bit boring*, but if I’m at brunch, it means I can totally order a salad at 9 in the morning and it’s not weird. This salad is perfect for brunch or lunch or dinner. I would eat it for any meal really.

Wedge salads are one of my favorite salads and this is such a delicious spring twist on a traditional wedge salad. I was able to get all the ingredients at my farmers market, which made it feel even more seasonally appropriate. The flavors in this salad also worked really well together. I really like the vinaigrette dressing instead of a traditional  blue cheese or ranch, which would have been way too heavy for this salad. The blue cheese crumbles gave the salad a bit of creaminess and tanginess, so you really don’t miss the traditional dressing at all. This was my first time trying radishes and I was hoping that they would be a bit more peppery, they were still a good addition to the meal.

Next time, there is only one thing I would do differently. I would make sure to cut the radishes and carrots as thinly as possible. Even though I used a mandoline to cut them this time, they were still quite thick (my fingers and I don’t have the best track record with the mandoline, so I try not to mess around with it too much) and it made them a bit difficult to chew compared to the rest of the ingredients. I think the carrots would probably be best done thinly with a vegetable peeler and maybe the radishes too.

* – there is one brunch dish and only one brunch dish that combines sweet, bready and eggy that I absolutely love and I’ll be posting it later in the week. Trust me, it is definitely worth the wait!

Spring Wedge Salad with Carrots, Radishes & Bacon
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.

Ingredients

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and halved
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 6 radishes, sliced and/or chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Trim stem from lettuce while leaving the core intact. Cut lettuce in quarters then place the wedges on individual serving plates. Arrange bacon, carrots, green onions, and radishes on and around each wedge. Sprinkle each wedge with blue cheese.
  2. In a screw-top jar combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover tightly and shake until combined. Immediately drizzle over salad.

Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Oh, haloumi, how I love you! Let me count the ways!  I really, really love haloumi. I also really, really love caramelized onions and tomatoes and arugula. I basically just really, really love this salad. There is something about the salty (and squeaky) haloumi and the kind of sweet, kind of not caramelized onion dressing that just makes for the most amazing flavor combination. The peppery arugula was also a flavorful addition that worked really well with the rest of the ingredients.

I’m not going to lie, making the dressing is going to take you a bit of time. To get really delicious, rich, sweet caramelized onions, you are going to need about an hour. Don’t believe anyone that says it will only 10 to 20 minutes, that’s a lie. And don’t believe anyone that says you can add sugar to caramelize them, that’s just gross. (I am very passionate when it comes to caramelized onions and these two points, if you couldn’t tell….) The onions will get naturally sweet and it is definitely worth the effort, you just need to give them time. You can definitely blend the onion dressing in a food processor if you prefer a more vinaigrette-like dressing. I left the onions un-blended (more like a chutney almost) because I felt it would make for a heartier salad.

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

 

Ingredients

For the Salad:
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 block of halloumi, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 bag of salad greens (I used arugula)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

For the Dressing:
  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions when oil begins to shimmer. Let onions sit for 10 minutes and sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat low and continue to stir onions every 10 minutes until they are a rich, caramelized brown. It’s going to take about 1 hour, give or take 10-20 minutes either side.
  2. When onions are caramelized place in bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust flavors and spice to your taste. If you prefer a smoother dressing this can be done in a food processor.
For the Salad:
  1. Wash and prepare lettuce and tomatoes. Divide between two plates
  2. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat (you can reuse the same pan you caramelized your onions in). Once oil is hot add haloumi slices and cook until starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the haloumi and repeat on the other side.
  3. Top tomatoes with halloumi, then add the onion dressing and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Serve and enjoy!