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.
Here’s another version of the classic Caprese salad. This one takes a little bit more prep work than the original post, and it’s a welcome variation because you can eat this one without a knife. Sometimes, the fewer utensils the better, especially when having to carry everything up and down a spiral staircase. This is a delicious side dish for a summer BBQ. To make it a hearty main dish, you can add couscous or quinoa and some toasted pine nuts.
The cherry tomatoes and basil came from my garden in the sky. I was pretty excited that I grew enough tomatoes to make a salad that fed 5 people!
Thanks to The Curvy Carrot for this fantastic recipe.
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 medium shallot, minced (about three tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 and 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
- 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped into bite-size pieces
- Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
1. Toss the tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the sugar in a medium bowl. Set it aside and let stand on its own for 30 minutes.
2. Transfer the tomatoes to a salad spinner and spin them for a few seconds to remove the seeds and extra juice. Make sure you conserve the juice.
3. Put the spun tomato juice/seeds through a fine strainer to reserve the juice and discard the seeds.
4. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat on the stove.
5. Add 1/2 cup of the tomato liquid, the shallot, and vinegar to a simmer. Let simmer until the mixture is reduced to about 3 tablespoons. (I didn;t have that much tomato liquid so I just let it simmer for a while and then decided it was done when I felt like it)
6. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and cool to room temperature.
7. Whisk in the oil and salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add the basil and the mozzarella to the tomatoes. Toss gently to combine.
When making this salad, I thought it was going to be really weird. Then, I couldn’t stop eating it. The combination of spicy and sweet is definitely addicting, so watch out. Sweet Corn Charlie had arava, which looks like a cantaloupe from the outside and a honeydew from the inside. It is as sweet as candy, with none of the HFCS. I also used cantaloupe. However, you can use any melon you want. The original recipe called for blackberries, but those were not an option at the farmstand , so I used raspberries. The original recipe is from Food and Wine magazine.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 green melon (about 1 1/4 pounds)—halved, cut into wedges, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 orange or yellow melon (about 1 1/4 pounds)—halved, cut into wedges, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup raspberries
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons snipped chives
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, and crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the melon and raspberries on a platter. Drizzle the dressing over the fruit. Garnish the salad with the feta and snipped chives and serve.
This simple salad was inspired by dinners at Frankie’s 457, including two of their salads: One has arugula and pecorino, and the other has a cipollini onion vinaigrette. My version uses balsamic vinegar and vegetables that can be found at the winter farmer’s markets including arugula, shallots, radishes, and carrots. Although I don’t crave fresh, crisp greens quite as much during the chilly winter months, this pretty salad balances out a heavy meal. You can definitely substitute your favorite greens in place of arugula.
4 cups arugula
1/4 cup thinly sliced Pecorino Romano
2 carrots, shaved (just continue to peel the carrot in long strips)
3 radishes, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. To make the dressing, peel and roughly chop the shallot. Pulse the shallot in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and pulse again. Add the olive oil and blend until smooth.
2. Layer the arugula, carrots, radishes, and romano on 4 plates. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.