elevating the status of the salad

Category Archives: green salad


Here’s a great way to get creative with your bumper crop of cucumbers, and it takes only 10 minutes from garden to plate. I used a mandolin for maximum beauty and because I like to live on the edge. Thanks to Karen Solomon and her book Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It for this and so many other fun kitchen ideas. 

Ingredients:

1 large cucumber – sliced thin 

1 small red onion-sliced thin

2 teaspoons brown rice syrup (or sugar or your sweetener of preference)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar 

Mix all ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes. It can be refrigerated for 2 days. 


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This post features a bunch of recipes. Not only is there the salad and dressing, but I also want to share  this simple way to make baked chips. I served it with leftover vegan cashew avocado “cream” from these incredible tofu tacos I discovered on Love and Lemons. 

To make the salad (I measured nothing):

Put some chopped romaine lettuce in a bowl.

Top with the following: I chose to do it cobb-salad style, but you can toss it all together, too. Go loco.

  • radishes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • grilled corn (Soak it first for about a half an hour. Grill on medium-high for about 10 minutes, rotating a few times. Then, let it cool and cut it off the cob)
  • shredded carrots
  • chopped red bell peppers
  • thinly sliced red onions
  • drained black beans
  • optional: shredded cheddar cheese
  • You can also do: avocado, jicama, etc.

Basic cilantro-lime dressing:

Blend the following until smooth:

  • 2 handfuls of cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • a little bit of honey (or agave or sweetener of your choice)
  • salt/pepper
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • water to thin out as needed

For the chips:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare oil: Mix together a few tablespoons of olive oil with spices of your choice. I did a few shakes of cumin and paprika, and then a few pinches of salt.
  3. Put a stack of corn tortillas on a cutting board and cut them into sixths (first cut in half and then cut each half into thirds)
  4. Arrange tortilla triangles in a single layer on a cookie sheet (no overlapping) and brush both sides with the oil mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly brown and crispy.
  5. Serve with salad and dip of choice.

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My challenge this morning was to create “salads” that could be eaten on a boat, picnic style. Whether you’re heading to a barbeque, movie night in the park, or any other occasion where utensils are a hassle, here are a few easy ideas:

The first is  caprese salad…on a stick. You need:

  • small mozzarella balls, cut in half
  • a bunch of grape tomatoes
  • basil leaves
  • salt
  • your favorite balsamic vinegar dressing (you can make your own by whisking/shaking equal parts vinegar and olive oil)
  • toothpicks

Assemble toothpicks with the mozzarella on the bottom, flat side down so it can stand. Then, fold one basil leaf in half and put it on the toothpick. The grape tomato tops it off. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Just before serving, drizzle with balsamic dressing.

The other option is chopped up vegetables and some great dressing as dip. I went with Sang Lee’s sweet ginger dressing. The farmer’s market had quite a selection for dippable vegetables today. I went with: wax beans, red and green bell peppers, burpless cucumbers and carrots. I also used some home-grown roma beans.

OK, it may not be rocket science… but it’s August and sometimes we just want to cut vegetables and use them as a vehicle for good dip.

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With the recent abrupt onset of summer, our grill has been getting some good use lately. Although I love grilling vegetables (asparagus, potatoes, eggplant, and portabellas are among my favorites), I kept my greens off the flames until today. I’m happy to report a new vegetable will now be part of the regular rotation. The parmesan basil crisps on top of the lettuce add the necessary crunch. Also, parmesan cheese might be one of the best foods out there and making these crisps  seemed like a  fun experiment to try on this quiet Sunday. 

The crisps can be made a day ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container. Hopefully you make a few extra because you’ll want to taste a few right away, just in case. 

Thanks to Grillin’ Fools for the lettuce method, and to Giada for the crisp method.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 T julienned basil
  • 2 large heads of romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed, cleaned and patted dry, and sliced lengthwise down the middle
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

 

For the crisps…

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine cheese and basil.
  3. Put a heaping tablespoon on  a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten gently.
  4. Continue to add more tablespoons of the cheese mixture, leaving a bit of space between each one.
  5. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until golden and crisp.
  6. Allow to cool, and then remove with a flat spatula.

For the lettuce…

  1. Once your lettuce is dry, you’re good to go.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high
  3. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and set aside for a few minutes so that the oil gets garlicky.
  4. Brush both sides of the lettuce with the oil mixture, starting with the rounded side and then doing the flat side of the lettuce.
  5. Place the romaine heads flat side down on the grill.
  6. After 2-3 minutes (check for a nice browning), flip the lettuce 1/3 way. Repeat again after 2-3 minutes more. Do it again until the lettuce is nicely browned all over.
  7. Serve with crisps.

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It’s that time of year again, when it is hard to be inspired by the root vegetables at the farmer’s market. However, you can add a little goat cheese to anything and it solves most problems in the world, including “the winter that refused to end.” I hope you enjoy this recipe, as we (im)patiently wait for more exciting vegetables. This comes from Cooking Light’s April 2013 issue. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups radishes, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wedges, with root and 1/2-inch stem left on
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (I used about 1 teaspoon dried instead)
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Add radishes and oregano; toss to coat. Place 1 cup spinach on each of 4 plates. Using a slotted spoon, top each plate with 1/2 cup radishes. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle remaining dressing evenly over salads.

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I have a funny feeling that you want more kale recipes. Here you go! I used curly kale for this one. Also, disclaimer that I didn’t measure anything, so please adjust amounts to make it the way you like it. Have a good variation of this recipe? Let me know!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups kale
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large parsnip, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place parsnips on a sheet pan and toss well with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes, or until soft.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook the onions for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned. You can add a bit of water if the pan starts to dry out.

3. Combine basil, garlic, mustard, lemon, vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth, adding small amounts of water as needed until the desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

4. Now the fun part: Place the kale in a large bowl and gently stir in onions and parsnips. Use your hands to coat the kale evenly with the dressing.


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This Epicurious recipe is a great way to use the vegetables you can find at the Farmer’s Market even after a week of below freezing temps. Thanks to LF for bringing this over for brunch and then leaving the leftovers so I could have it for dinner, too. It went well with a vegetable frittata and sourdough bread. Although this recipe calls for Tuscan, you can use any kale that is available.

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino

I can’t get enough Brussels sprouts. Although my go-to recipe is Brooklyn Brussels Sprouts (which I posted almost exactly one year ago), I was looking for a variation. I like this one because it requires no cooking. This recipe came from Food and Wine magazine. If you use the shredding attachment on your food processor, it can be made very quickly. What’s also nice is that you can make this a day in advance. The recipe in Food and Wine called for salted roasted sunflower seeds. I only had raw unsalted seeds, so I just toasted them on a skillet for a few minutes and added a bit of salt before folding the seeds into the slaw. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup 2 percent plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds raw brussels sprouts, finely shredded in a food processor (12 cups)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons salted roasted sunflower seeds

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, chives and dill and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the brussels sprouts and toss to coat evenly.
  3. Fold in the sunflower seeds and serve.

Hooray for the CSA!

This sweet and spicy combination is also a combination of two CSAs.  (For my original post about the CSA, click here).For the past few years, I’ve been a member of Dumbo/Vinegar Hill’s CSA. I loved so many things about it: Sang Lee’s incredible organic vegetables, the serene location in Phoenix House’s courtyard, and the neighborhood friends I made while volunteering at weekly pick-ups. I also loved the convenience factor; the pick-up location was just a short and cobblestony walk along the river from my apartment. 

Within the last year, I moved a few neighborhoods away, so I knew I would have to switch. I did a little research to find CSAs near my new place (ok fine, so I just read a sign posted outside Stinky). I was intrigued by Local Roots’ slightly different model for CSAs: For example, instead of joining for June-November, the season is broken up into Summer and Fall. There are other differences as well. I also liked the idea of picking up at 61 Local, the locavore-friendly (where I once spotted a dog sipping her weekly Guinness, and was assured that she prefers stouts and only has one per week) bar/restaurant just off Smith Street. Their vegetables come from Rogowski Farm, located in Orange County, NY. We also signed up for a meat share, which will come from Arcadian Pastures. Some friends in the neighborhood also got their fruit share, and I hope to get a sampling of that as well 🙂

And so, although I felt a little bit like I was cheating on Sang Lee, I went ahead to pick up my first share of the season. The vegetables have been delicious so far. The spicy greens are, in fact, very spicy. This strawberry dressing is an interesting contrast. The dressing recipe is from Sang Lee’s recipe blog, so I think of this salad/dressing as a CSA merger. 

I used the spicy greens mix from the CSA share, and topped it with some goat cheese. I actually halved this dressing recipe and it was plenty for the week. Since I went a little overboard on strawberries from the farmer’s market a few weeks back, I had fun with canning and freezing a few quarts.

By the way…Do you know that to freeze strawberries you just chop off the tops, lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer with none touching overnight? Then, put in a freezer bag and they will stay good for up to 6 months)

I just let a cup of the frozen guys thaw for an hour or so before starting the recipe. 

Strawberry Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey (I used honey)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons or more good vinegar — wine, sherry, rice, balsamic–preferred for this recipe (I used balsamic)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 6 pieces of mint, finely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Dice your strawberries and add the sugar and lemon juice to a small bowl. Muddle them together until somewhat liquid. In a blender, add all other ingredients(imersion blender/food processor work too).
  2. Then add the strawberry mixture and blend for a few minutes to immulsify everything and make the strawberries smooth.

This recipe separates the dark leaves from the lighter heads of the bok choy. The heads are grilled, but the leaves are sautéed. The result is a great combination of textures and flavors. 

For an Asian-flavored variation, use soy sauce instead of balsamic vinegar, orange juice instead of lemon juice, and sesame seeds instead of pine nuts. 

Thanks to Eat Drink Better for this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 3 heads of baby bok choy
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (not minced)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • Handful of pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • Romano cheese, grated

 Directions:

  1. Slice heads of baby bok choy in half length-wise (leaves to stem). Soak in cool water for 10 minutes to perk them up and remove any grit hidden inside. While heads soak, heat olive oil in small frying pan. Add thinly sliced garlic and stir until just golden brown (about 1 minute). With a slotted spoon, remove garlic to a paper towel and take pan off heat.
  2. Take baby bok choy out of water and gently shake/pat dry. Slice off upper dark green parts of the leaves from the lighter heads. Coarsely chop leaves and set to the side. Brush both sides of heads with garlic-infused oil. Place with cut side up and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Place seasoned heads on grill heated to medium with cut side down. Cover grill for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove cover and turn heads over. There should be a nice golden color starting to appear. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over cut sides of heads. Cover again for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and turn heads one last time back to the cut side. Remove from grill when fork-tender.
  5. After flipping the heads the first time, heat up the remaining oil in the small fry pan. When hot, add pine nuts or walnuts and toast slightly for a minute or two. Add chopped baby bok choy leaves and salt and pepper. Stir constantly until wilted, but still very green (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat.
  6. To assemble the dish, put heads on plate and top with leaves, nuts and a sprinkle of cheese. Add more balsamic vinegar if desired.