Warm Kale, Portobello, and Quinoa Salad with Basil and Shallot Vinaigrette – topped with toasted almonds
Let’s skip the small talk and get right to this salad-as-a-meal.
1 cup quinoa
1 package of baby kale, or a bunch of any kale will do
2 portabello mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 basil leaves
about 1/3 cup olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar (or another sweetener of choice)
salt and pepper
- You’ll need to get your quinoa going first. Follow the package directions, or do it this way. I tend to use much less water than is recommended because let’s face it – soggy quinoa is gross: Boil 1.5 cups of water. Once it boils, add the quinoa, bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes.
- While that is happening, prepare your mushrooms. You can choose to scrape out the gills with a spoon (that’s what I like to do). Then, chop your portobello mushrooms into bite sized pieces. Toss it with a small amount of olive oil, the minced garlic, and some salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until they are very soft.
- Now that you have your hot food going, it’s time prep the kale. Your kale should be washed and drained. If not, do that. Then, roll it up into a tube and cut it into slivers. Put the kale in your big serving bowl.
- For the dressing, it helps to have a mini food prep. Chop up the shallot and toss it in there with 1/4 cup of olive oil, basil leaves, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, sugar or honey, salt, and pepper. If you do not have a small food processor, you can just mince your pieces up really tiny and give it all a good whisk.
- By now, your mushrooms are probably ready and that is great because you don’t want to use a million pans. You can rinse the same pan you used for the mushrooms and toast up some sliced almonds on low in it for about 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Just watch them or they will burn! Remove from heat.
- Time to put it all together! Make sure your quinoa is dry enough. If not, drain it. Then, add the cooked quinoa and mushrooms on top of the kale. Stir it all together while it is still warm, and the kale will wilt a little. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with toasted almonds.
Are you tired of sautéing or steaming your green beans? Well, the temperature finally dropped below 80 degrees, so now is a great time to make some soup.
This is a protein-packed vegan soup with a mild flavor and very few ingredients.
Thank you to Chocolate & Zucchini for this wonderful recipe, which I adapted only a little bit based on what I had in my fridge this morning!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onions, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
12 baby carrots, sliced
About a pound of green beans, rinsed and trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup vegetable broth
3 cups water
1.5 cups sliced almonds
- Heat the oil in a medium heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onions and carrots, and cook over medium heat, stirring every now and then, until softened and very lightly golden. Add the garlic and stir for minute. Add the green beans to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Pour in the broth and water, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. In the meantime, pour the sliced almonds in a dry skillet. Set over medium-high heat and toast for about two minutes, stirring constantly and watching closely, until golden and fragrant. Set aside in a bowl to prevent overtoasting.
- When the vegetables are soft, add the almonds to the pot and stir well. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Use a high powered or immersion blender to mix all ingredients until velvety smooth. Taste, adjust the seasoning, reheat over gentle heat if necessary, and serve.
Thanks to Food and Wine for this refreshing chilled soup recipe. Here’s the link to the original. I pretty much followed it exactly, except I substituted 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar for the sherry vinegar, as there was no sherry vinegar at the store. Also, I had a hard time straining out the solids, so I didn’t do much more than get a few colanders dirty before giving up on straining altogether.
This is not the kind of soup to make into a meal. Instead, it would be perfect at the very start of dinner or between courses as a sort of palate cleanser (thanks to my husband for that idea). The recipe says it makes 6 servings, but I think this would make more like 8-10 smaller cups. In fact, this would be the perfect thing to use the 12 (!) espresso cups that I registered for 6 years ago, since I’m not usually making 12 cups of espresso at a time.
- 1 cup stale, crustless 1/2-inch white country bread cubes
- 1 cup white grape juice
- 1 1/4 cups blanched sliced almonds (I used slivered)
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber (This was one large cucumber for me)
- 1 Granny Smith apple—peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup seedless green grapes
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used a small amount of red wine vinegar instead)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Freshly ground pepper
- Shredded mint leaves, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, soak the bread in the grape juice for 5 minutes, pressing to soften.
- Spread the almonds in a pie plate and toast in the oven for 6 minutes, until lightly golden; let cool. Transfer 1 cup of the almonds to a blender. Add the bread, cucumber, apple, grapes, garlic, vinegar and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Puree until smooth. Strain the soup through into a bowl, pressing on the solids.(or make a mess with colanders in your kitchen). Whisk in the buttermilk and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
- Pour the gazpacho into cups and garnish with the mint and remaining 1/4 cup of almonds. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
You can lighten this salad by omitting the goat cheese. However, this particular version was made with Bucherondin, a goat cheese log from Stinky Brooklyn. It is also tasty if you substitute sunflower seeds for the almonds.
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 6-8 strawberries, sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 4 basil leaves, julienned
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- To reduce the vinegar, pour it into a small saucepan along with the brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Stir frequently, and be careful not to burn the vinegar. When it reduces by about half, remove from heat. When cooled to room temperature, whisk in olive oil. I added a little bit of salt and pepper, put it in a sealed container and gave it a few shakes.
- To assemble the salad, layer spinach, strawberries, goat cheese, almonds, and basil.
- Drizzle the salad with dressing just before serving. You will have extra dressing, which you can refrigerate and use at another time.
“Fresh from Spain” might be a more appropriate title for this post, which highlights my favorite winter fruit…the clementine. I know that eating clementines in such large quantities does not win me locavore points with Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. However, I find that a clementine a day (at minimum) shields me from the germ factory* in which I work.
We used Murray’s chicken breasts for this recipe, which I sliced in half so they would cook more easily. Murray’s chicken comes from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. What I like about this chicken is that each package comes with a Farm Verification number. You can type this in, and find out exactly which farm. My number 2631 gave me 2 potential farms. Feel free to check it out at Murray’s Chicken website.
This healthy recipe comes from Lifetime Moms, and I only adapted the quantities. This amount made 4 salads, and was perfect for lunch the next day (just make sure not to dress it until right before you eat it)
- 3-4 cups mesclun mix (We used Satur Farms)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 4 fresh clementines,peeled and sectioned
- 1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange or clementine juice, divided
- 4 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced, divided
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (can substitute white wine vinegar)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Mix together 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup orange juice or clementine juice, garlic cloves and ginger and pour over chicken breasts in a shallow dish. Refrigerate and let marinate at least 30 minutes. Heat griddle over medium heat and grill chicken for 6 minutes each side until juices run clear.
- While the chicken is grilling, mix together remaining soy sauce, orange juice, honey, ginger and rice wine vinegar for the dressing. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking until oil is incorporated.
- Slice the chicken into thin strips. Layer greens, clementine sections, almonds and chicken, topping with desired amount of dressing.