elevating the status of the salad

Tag Archives: tomatoes

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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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This recipe comes from Crazy Sexy Kitchen, the creative vegetarian cookbook by Kris Carr and Chad Sarno. Not only is this chili delicious and filled with vegetables, but it can be made in under 45 minutes from start to finish. Serve with your favorite chips. We tried Lundberg’s rice chips–Fiesta Lime flavor. We crushed them up and sprinkled them on top for added crunch and flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Tbs. cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño chile, finely diced (omit seeds or use less jalapeño for a milder chili)
  • 2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups ground seitan, crumbled tempeh, or finely diced mushrooms (I used frozen Quorn crumbles)
  • 1 zucchini, diced (I used 2 small zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup diced potato
  • 1 15-oz. cans of black beans, rinsed (The recipe called for 2 black bean and one kidney, but I reversed it because that’s what I had on hand)
  • 2 15-oz. can of kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 14-oz. can of crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • Diced avocado, for garnish, optional

Directions:

1. Toast cumin seeds in dry soup pot over medium heat for 2 minutes or until aromatic.

2. Add oil, onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Stir until onion is golden and translucent. Add chili powder, seitan, zucchini, and potato, and stir well. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, 2 cups water, maple syrup, sea salt, and cilantro. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

3. Remove from heat;  stir in kale. Garnish with diced avocado and sprigs of fresh cilantro, if using.


Guest blogger day! My mom sent me this beautiful and tasty-looking recipe. One thing that I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t include a ton dried spices, so you won’t find yourself running to 12 different stores trying to find 1 teaspoon of some random spice that you will never use agin.  She said that this recipe filled a quart sized mason jar perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1  3X1/2″ strip lemon peel (NO WHITE, just yellow)
  • 12 oz little tomatoes (any kind) (I mixed!)
  • 1/4 Cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I used 4)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Directions:

  1. Pour vinegar and water into saucepan. Add salt, sugar and lemon peel. bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Remove from heat. Let cool 20 minutes.
  2. Pierce each tomato 2 times with slender wooden skewer or toothpick. (I did 2 pierces, making 4 holes, and I cut the bigger ones in half)
  3. Toss tomatoes with dill, garlic, and crushed red pepper in large bowl.
  4. Add cooled vineger mixture.
  5. Let stand at room temp at least 2 and up to 8 hours.

These can stay in fridge about 2 weeks.


My parents went out east to go for a bike ride. They came back with a bushel of corn. Apparently it was a bargain. As a result, I got a fridge full of corn! (Yes, you are supposed to refrigerate corn if you are not going to use it that day.) 

What to do with the surplus of corn? I wanted to make a corn chowder that didn’t require me to drink a cup of heavy cream. Enter coconut milk. This chowder would go really well with a side of basmati rice. This recipe comes from The Food Network’s site

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears corn
  • 2 cups diced red-skinned potatoes (about 12 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into thirds (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 red jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced ( I used green jalapeño–keep the seeds in if you want some more heat)
  • 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk (I used the light version)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime wedges for garnish
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced

Directions

  1. Cut off the corn kernels; set aside. Combine the cobs, 1 cup potatoes, 1/2 cup scallions, 1 tablespoon ginger, the garlic, peppercorns and 5 cups water in a pot. Smash the lemongrass, if using, and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. About 10 minutes before the broth is finished, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a separate pot. Add the remaining 1 cup potatoes, season with salt and cook until slightly soft, 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon ginger and the jalapeño; cook 1 minute. Add the corn kernels; cook until the vegetables are just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Strain the broth, pressing out as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Add 2 cups of the strained broth to the potatoes and corn; bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, basil and mint; season with salt. Stir until simmering. Remove from the heat and add the radishes, cilantro and lime juice. Top with diced tomato and the remaining 1/4 cup scallions and serve with lime wedges.

This salad was a huge hit last night. Perhaps it was the backdrop of a beautiful sunset that swayed people’s opinions, but I’m going to give all the credit to the dressing. I’m not typically a ranch dressing kind of gal, but this one was tangy (I was a bit liberal with the vinegar) and not too heavy. This recipe made a good amount of dressing for 4 cups of thinly sliced green cabbage, 2 chopped tomatoes, and 1 jicama peeled and cut into 1/ 2 inch cubes. However, it would be great over any vegetable with a good crunch factor that you have lying around…do I hear the kohlrabi from last week’s CSA calling to you? 

I found this gem of a recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and it originated from Gourmet magazine.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients through the sugar.

2. Once the sugar is dissolved, stir in the chives.

3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


This is a salad adapted from a delicious Mexican Pie Dip traditionally served at my family’s Thanksgiving and famous for spoiling my appetite for dinner several years in a row.

Individual servings of the salad can be made in one bowl (as shown in the picture), or you can make a giant salad in a large pie pan. 

NOTE: If you want to make the dip, it is is made without the lettuce. Instead of crumbling the chips on top, just serve chips alongside the dip.  It also is made with double the sour cream/mayo/taco seasoning mix and less tomatoes.  Really, you can adapt quantity of the different ingredients to your choosing. 

Ingredients:

  • one container of black bean dip of your choice
  • homemade gruacamole (3 avocados mashed up, 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, juice of half a lime, salt and pepper)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 packet taco seasoning mix
  • 3 cups bibb lettuce (or your favorite lettuce)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 small container sliced black olives
  • 10-15 tortilla chips, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Make guacamole by combining ingredients listed above (or buy store-bought guac)
  2. Mix taco seasoning mix with the sour cream and mayo.
  3. Layer ingredients in a large pan in the following order: bean dip, guacamole, cheddar cheese, taco seasoning mixture, lettuce, tomato, scallion, olives, chips.
  4. Dig in.

This basic dish is a great way  to take advantage of the different varieties of tomatoes available in the Northeast at the end of the summer.  While this salad may not win creativity points, it is worth posting because it is a classic combination and requires no cooking. I like to julienne the basil (so quick—see below) to spread the herb’s flavor out more evenly. The leftovers can be put into a sandwich for lunch the next day, or even used to make a fancy grilled cheese. 

Note: If you use really fresh and delicious heirloom tomatoes, vegans can enjoy this salad without the cheese: just add a bit more salt to the tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh, salted mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 inch slices. If you can find buffalo mozzarella, that would be best.
  • 2-3 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 15-20 basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Layer the mozzarella and tomato in alternating slices on a large serving plate.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Julienne the basil: Stack 5-10 basil leaves in a pile, facing the same direction. Roll the basil leaves up into a tight roll. Then, slice the basil into thin strips.  Repeat with remaining basil leaves.

I like to pack my lunch for work, but get tired of sandwiches. As an easy alternative, I will sometimes make a hearty salad to have a few bites of as part of dinner, and then take some to go for lunch the next day. Thanks to Food and Wine magazine’s August 2011 issue for this recipe. You can substitute pretty much any large grain for the Israeli couscous (such as freekah or coarse bulgur). Do you have any other creative lunch ideas? Post them below or send me a message! 

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups packed arugula (6 ounces)
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous (12 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pints small tomatoes (cherry or grape), halved
  • 4 yellow or orange tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice

Directions:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the 6 cups of arugula and blanch for 10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the arugula to a colander. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, then drain thoroughly.
  2. Add the Israeli couscous to the boiling water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the couscous and spread it out on a large baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss to prevent it from clumping. Let the couscous cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, tossing, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Squeeze the excess water from the blanched arugula and coarsely chop it. Transfer the arugula to a food processor. Add the pine nuts, garlic, cheese, and 1/2 cup olive oil and process until the pine nuts are finely chopped. Season the arugula pesto with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer the couscous to a large serving bowl and stir in the arugula pesto. Gently fold in the tomatoes.

After a week of enjoying the local cuisine of the Pacific Northwest, I’m back! It was fun to see the similarities and differences between the produce available on the west coast compared to what’s been growing here on the east coast. We loved the restaurant Local 360, located in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. My husband and I shared a greek salad, and I was dreaming of making a similar one while on the red-eye back to NY. Lucky for me, my green-thumb-of-a-mom happened to  have a surplus of all the key ingredients on hand from her garden and CSA. If you mix in the beans and serve it with toasted pita, this salad turns into a satisfying meal. For my original greek salad post, otherwise known as the salad that started it all (which is quite different from this one) click here!

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced with a mandoline
  • 3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 pounds of a variety of tomatoes–core and seed the bigger ones, slice the little guys in half
  • 2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can small white beans (such as navy), strained and rinsed-optional
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1 shallot,finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Prepare the dressing by mixing together the vinegar, shallots, garlic and oregano. Whisk the oil until combined and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix the onions in with the dressing and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.

2. Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, green pepper, and beans (if you are using them) in a large bowl.

3. Add onions and dressing mixture and combine. Adjust seasoning as necessary. If you are using beans, you probably want to add more salt.

4. Sprinkle with feta, and serve with toasted pita.

Some Highlights from Seattle’s Pike Place Market