Salads for Every Meal

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Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or an omnivore, there is a salad here for you. Every Shabbat I make at least four salads and dips, several of which we will enjoy throughout the week. It’s a delicious habit that I adopted after spending time in Israel where salads are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Aside from being delicious, they add so much color to any meal. And don’t we eat with all of our senses?

There are fresh salads, roasted vegetable salads and salads with a profusion of herbs and grains. Some of the salads are made with beans which add protein and heartiness. Almost any veg and many fruits, legumes and grains can be made into cold or warm salads. And when I want to make a light meal of salads I simply add some feta cheese or a piquant provolone and delicious bread, like the flaky flatbread or focaccia. The more I make these flatbreads the better I get at it. My last batch were nice and poufy and round! I simply refrigerate leftover breads and warm them in the toaster. They also freeze well. Yummmmmmmmmm!

Over the years, I have posted a number of salads and will link to some of them below. But here are three new ones (for me) that hopefully you will enjoy as well. They are guaranteed to brighten up just about any meal. The inspiration for this post comes from Sonya’s Prep. She is lovely young Orthodox Jewish vlogger that I have recently begun following. Her energy, charm and creativity make watching her a delight. And if anyone is looking to be more organized, she is someone to watch.

The three new salads are: Roasted Eggplant Peppers and Red Onion Salad; Shredded Carrot and Red Cabbage Salad; and Wheatberry and Barberry Salad

When you are feeding a crowd these salads can be doubled or tripled. And most people will enjoy these salads so much that you can go easy on the meat, if serving. Better for us and better for the planet.

I will give suggested measurements, but please don’t get too bogged down with being exact. When preparing these, I almost never truly measure, especially when it comes to adding fresh herbs. Taste as you go along, especially with the salt and dried spices. You can always add more but it is difficult to impossible to remove them once added.

For those interested in other delicious salad ideas here are just some of the ones available through my blog:

Twice-Cooked Eggplant Salad

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Green Fattoush Salad with Mint Vinaigrette

Farro Salad

Lentils du Puy and Potato Salad with Tarragon

Spiced Butternut Squash and Farro Salad

Red Cabbage, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad

Armenian Lentil Salad

Moroccan Beet Salad (Barba)

Sunshine Kale Salad

Roasted Tomato and Olive Pearl Couscous Salad

Lentil Salad with Raisins, Tomatoes and Tarragon

Get your Freekeh on – with this lemony, herbed salad

Apple, Goat Cheese and Pecan Salad

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Moroccan Beet and Orange Salad with Pistachios

Horta Salata: Fancy Salad

Beet and Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Easy Feta and Roasted Tomato Salad

Herbed Farro Salad

Orange and Radish Salad

Recipes

Roasted Eggplant Peppers and Red Onion Salad

1 medium eggplant – about 1.25 pounds

2 smallish bell peppers in different colors

1 medium red onion

kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

About 1/4 cup EVOO

About 1/4 cup of white wine or apple cider vinegar

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or grated

1/4 cup chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

3 to 4 scallions, thinly sliced including dark green stems

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Directions

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

Chop the eggplant, onions and peppers into a large dice of approximately equal size. Place on a baking sheet and toss together with the EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the veggies across the baking sheet in a single layer. (If you want to use foil for easier clean-up, go ahead. But it does end up in a landfill….)

Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes, turning the pan once. They should be golden and tender but not mushy. Ovens vary so check after 25 minutes or it could go as along as 35.

When cool enough to handle, transfer everything to a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Taste to see if you need to add any additional salt or pepper.

Shredded Carrot and Red Cabbage Salad

Shredded Carrot and Red Cabbage Salad

Ingredients

About 6 ounces pre-packaged shredded carrots OR about 4 cups carrots that are trimmed and julienned

About 1 cup of shredded red cabbage

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced into pieces about the size of the carrot shreds

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or grated

1.5 teaspoons granulated or Demerara sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper or Aleppo pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 Tablespoons EVOO

1 to 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

Juice from 1 lemon

3 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1.5 Tablespoons dried dill

3 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

Directions

Place everything in bowl large enough to comfortably hold the ingredients. Mix everything well, preferably with your hands. You want to massage the carrots to soften them a bit. Taste to adjust seasonings. Yup, that’s it!

Wheatberry and Barberry Salad

Wheatberry and Barberry Salad

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked hard winter wheatberries (You could use farro or barley if wheatberry isn’t available; however, they will not have that unique chewy nuttiness that a properly cooked wheatberry has.)

1/2 of a small red onion, peeled and chopped

4 to 5 thinly sliced red radishes

2 Persian cucumbers cut in to quarters and diced

1/2 cup dried barberries (You could use currants instead but they won’t be as flavorful.)

2 generous cups, finely chopped fresh herbs (I used dill, cilantro and parsley, but mint would also be good)

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed or grated

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon or more to taste

1 teaspoon of kosher salt or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 to 3 Tablespoons flavorful EVOO

Directions

Soak the wheatberries for at least 8 hours or overnight. Bring 3 cups of water or broth with a glug of olive oil to a boil in a medium pot with a tight-fitting lid. If using water or unsalted broth, add 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Drained the wheatberries and add to the boiling liquid. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. This can be done a few days ahead. Just refrigerate the cooked wheatberries in their liquid.

You want the wheatberries to be cold or no warmer than room temperature. Place them, drained of any accumulated liquid, in a bowl and add all of the other ingredients. Gently but thoroughly toss well. Now enjoy!

Radish Slaw with Remoulade and Pistachios

Looking for a light, refreshing summer salad? This the answer to any steak or other rich, red meat dish that needs a zesty sidekick (though this also went very nicely with salmon).screen-shot-2017-06-03-at-8-57-20-pm-e1496538875297.pngWe made this originally to pair with our steak with corn salsa, and then quickly realized it went well with an assortment main meats.

Ingredients

Remoulade

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp coarse grain mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of EVOO
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp minced chives
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp cornichons
  • 1/2 tsp liquid from canned chipotles in adobo sauce (optional but if you have the chipotles from the steak recipe then why not?)

—–

  • 1 large daikon radish, about 8 oz, peeled and dice
  • 1 bunch red radishes, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • (optional but good if you’re repurposing leftovers) handful of mixed greens

Directions

  1. Place the egg in boiling water for 90 seconds using a slotted spoon.
  2. Take the egg out of the water, let it cool slightly. Tap the top of the egg to peel of the top of the shell and using a small tsp, carve out the egg from the shell (think of it as a flash soft boiled egg). Add to a food processor.
  3. Add the lemon juice, mustard, salt and the pepper and pulse or blend. With the motor running, add the olive oil until it is emulsified.
  4. Add the tomato paste, parsley, chives, capers, cornichons and the chili liquid and keep processing until well mixed.
  5. Separately, combine the radishes and celery in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of the remoulade to coat completely and mix. (Save the remaining remoulade for seafood dishes or sandwich condiment. We still haven’t figure out what to do with our leftovers quite yet. Mainly because we forgot about it.)
  6. After mixing thoroughly, refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  7. Prior to serving, add the pistachios and mix.

Adapted from the Wine Lover’s Cookbook.

Easy Feta and Roasted Tomato Salad

Light salads often feature as a first course in our more elaborate dinners on the weekends.  Oftentimes I know I want to make a green salad but am never sure what to throw into them.  The best salads, though, are often when you discover leftover bits and pieces in  your fridge, that when assembled look picture perfect.  This was one of those.

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I happened to have a bunch of roasted tomatoes leftover from a previous brunch, and so decided to throw them into this light salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 block of feta cheese
  • 5 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 lb arugula
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your tomatoes in half and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with foil with the flesh sides up.   Season with salt and pepper and oregano.  Bake for about 35 minutes or until the tomatoes look slightly browned.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Cut the block of feta cheese into 2″ squares and set aside.
  4. Once the tomatoes are done, let them cool for about 15 minutes.
  5. Assemble the salad by placing the arugula in a shallow bowl, followed by an arrangement of feta and tomatoes to your taste.
  6. Serve immediately!

Moroccan Beet Salad (Barba)

Moroccan beetsFor those of you who read my post on Moroccan Chicken, you would have seen that it was served with several salads, as is traditional in the Middle East. One of my favorites is Moroccan Beet Salad. I have made it totally from scratch by cooking my own beets and I have made it using canned beets as well as the pre-roasted and peeled beets that you can now buy in most produce sections of the bigger markets. Unless you REALLY love to roast and peel beets or want the beet greens to make another Moroccan salad, I frankly don’t taste any significant difference in the more convenient beets I have used. And let’s face it, with most of us also working, I’d rather spend my time creating great meals with totally acceptable short-cuts than proving how authentic I can be. This salad can be made doubled or tripled or cut in half. Once you learn what goes into it, you just adjust the seasonings. It will last up to a week if refrigerated, although we generally eat it up long before that.

Moroccan Beet Salad

Yield: About 12 portions as a salad with other salads

Ingredients

12 beets, cooked and peeled and cut into strips (I slice the beets and then cut the slices into strips)

1 rounded teaspoon minced garlic

About 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or to taste

Kosher salt to taste

About 2-3 Tablespoons EVOO

Juice of one lemon

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, minced

Directions

Gently toss all of the ingredients together and adjust seasonings to suit your taste. No one ingredient should overwhelm. Make this several hours ahead to improve flavor. Just before serving, scatter some additional chopped fresh parsley on top.

Simple Goat Cheese and Orange Salad

At some point when I first started cooking, I loved using Mark Bittman’s books.  He was all about only using a few ingredients and trying to distill complex recipes into simple ones.  I bought a book that focused on easy meals and nearly forgot about it until I was digging around for something else and found it.

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This is an easy salad that again just proves that a few ingredients can make for a delicious and impressive starter.

Ingredients

  • Bunch or box of arugula or spinach
  • 3-4 oz goat cheese (I like getting the herbed goat cheese logs)
  • whole pecans or crushed pecans
  • 1 orange, and its zest
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Set the oven to broil.  Slice goat cheese into slices and press the crushed or whole pecans into the slices.  Put the goat cheese and pecan slices on a pan and into the oven and broil until the tops of the pecans look charred, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the arugula (or whichever greens you choose) with the zest of an orange, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Peel and slices the oranges and toss in the salad.
  4. Serve the tossed greens and place the goat cheese slices on top.  Serve immediately!

From Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.

Light Salmon Salad

Sometimes all this cooking means that I end up feeling like I just need something very light and healthy, and at those times this very simple salmon salad hits the spot.  We had one of those weekends where we met up with friends and ate delicious Korean BBQ, but of course this meant that we felt stuffed even the next day and needed something to cleanse the palate.

salmonsalad

While I love making salad, it always feels like a “boring” dish to make, so I started avoiding making it as a main when Matt and I got married.  I assumed that Matt would need to have hearty, large meals, but had forgotten that this was healthy Matt we were talking about.  After he asked me the other day about why we weren’t making salads anymore, I decided to put this back into the rotation.  Is it very exciting and amazing and new? Not really, but sometimes the simple dish is all you need for a workday dinner.

Ingredients

1 lb salmon
1/2 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (optional)
parmesan cheese for grating
slivered almonds (even better if toasted)
EVOO
1 tsp bread crumbs
salt, pepper
1 bunch of arugula
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Put salmon flesh side up on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle about 1 tsp of bread crumbs, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. While salmon is baking, take a medium sized bowl and toss the arugula with fennel, shaved parmesan, lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Serve on a dish and top with salmon, and serve.

Serves 2

Horta Salata: Fancy Salad

While I love eating kale prepared by someone else, the thought of prepping kale always made me sigh and then shrug and then pass in favor of arugula, spinach, or another green leafy plant to base my salads on.  Also because whenever I would discuss prepping kale with friends, it sounded so laborious: “you have to massage the kale and then let it rest.”  After a few of these conversations, I decided that any leaves that needed this much TLC was not worth working with in my kitchen.

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This weekend however, I was at a restaurant with Lisa that advertised “Tuscan Kale Salad” and I had to order it, and it was gobbled up very quickly by everyone at the table.  I also ranted about how hard it was to prepare kale given all the steps I described above, and Lisa reassured me that I really didn’t need to do all that.

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Re-inspired, and thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t let kale get the better of me, I decided to try a kale salad recipe that I had come across some time ago in a lifestyle magazine.

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While there were a lot of steps to making it, the end result was a very filling salad thanks to the pureed split peas, and I fell back in love with kale.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried yellow split peas
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp saffron
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • salt
  • 7 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and rinsed
  • 3 dill sprigs, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp roasted walnuts
  • 6 Kalamata olives, tossed with paprika

Directions

  1. Add split peas to a small bowl and cover with cold water and soak for 5 minutes.  Drain and add to a small pot with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer, skimming froth from the top.  Add onion, garlic, saffron, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary.  Drain and reserve cooking liquid.
  2. To a food processor, add cooked peas and blend, drizzling in 3 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and cooking liquid as needed until smooth and thick.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, remaining 4 tbsp lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper.  Continue whisking while drizzling in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread the split pea puree on the bottom of a bowl.  Toss the kale, dill and onion together with the dressing and place on top of the puree.  Garnish with walnuts, olives, and lemon zest.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Shape magazine’s “Horta Salata from Zaytinya in Washington, D.C.”

Greek Eggplant Dip: Melitzanosalata

While traveling through the Peloponnese, we were always surprised by how delicious the food was.  Which… after the first three places we ate really should not have been a surprise.  However, we discovered early on that there was a tasty eggplant dip that seemed so simple in nature that we decided we had to try making it when we came home.

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I avoided eggplants for years.  Growing up in a Korean-American household, we often would fry the eggplants with some batter (which actually was delicious) but we more often would just steam the eggplant.  The minute I walked down to dinner and saw the steamed eggplant, the ungrateful teenager that I was, I would grumble and denigrate the unassuming eggplant.

Then Lisa introduced me to the world (a better world) where eggplants were steamed and diced and chopped with red peppers and the like, and a newfound stage in my eggplant relationship began.

In Greece we frequently came across the English menu that said “Aubergine salad.”  Being ignorant of what that could be, I could only think… well… I’ve bought some “Aubergine” colored clothing, so by similar process of elimination that must be… Eggplant?   And sure enough it was.

This is all to say, if you were an anti-Eggplanter as I once was, give it another chance.  It might just surprise you!

Ingredients

  • 4 large purple eggplants
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 125 ml olive oil (1/2 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (I used a ton of parsley, but this is really up to you)

Directions

  1. To prepare this super easy melitzanosalata recipe (Greek eggplant dip), start by baking the eggplants. You could either bake them whole or sliced, depending on the time you have available. If you choose to bake them whole, use a fork to make some wholes on the aubergines, place on a tray and bake for about 1 hour. Alternatively for a quicker version of this melitzanosalata recipe, cut the eggplants in slices and place them on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Coat with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper and add 1-2 cloves of garlic. Cover with parchment paper and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until tender.
  2. For this melitzanosalata recipe you need to use only the flesh of the eggplants. Peel the eggplants and dice the pulp.
  3. Place the pulp and the other ingredients in a large bowl and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon. (If you prefer your melitzanosalata to have a creamier texture, then add the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse, adding the olive oil gradually on a steady stream. Alternatively mash the eggplants using a fork). Let the melitzanosalata (Greek eggplant dip) cool down and put in the fridge to allow the flavours to mingle.
  4. Serve the melitzanosalata in a small bowl garnished with a whole black olive. Enjoy!

Adapted from “My Greek Dish.

Peach, Tomato and Mint Salad

When I first started cooking, I was enchanted by the idea of “Oh! It’s rhubarb season” or “Oh! It’s butternut squash season!”  Having grown up in California, also known as the land of plenty, it was so strange to start cooking on the East Coast where there was one time of year that butternut squash “made sense” to cook.  A few years snowy winters and melting summers, the whole food and season connection finally makes sense to me.

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For example, I spent the last couple of months waiting for rhubarb season, only to go on vacation for much of June and coming back to find that the rhubarbs had moved on (without me!).  So when I started reading that “it’s the last of peach season” I hurriedly ran out to the store and stocked up on peaches.  I’m already dreaming up peach cobblers and peach cakes but for today, I thought a simple peach and tomato salad with some fresh mint leaves would be a nice starter for a steak dinner.

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It’s so easy to throw together, and the blue cheese and mint add some nice flavor.

Ingredients

3 tomatoes
2 peaches
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tbsp sliced mint leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
pepper to taste

Slice tomatoes and peaches into wedges.  Add the blue cheese, mint leaves and toss with olive oil.  Add pepper to taste.

Serves 2 for starters

Moroccan Carrot Salad

I think one of the first big family meals with Lisa and family involved this delicious carrot salad that she had made.  It was so flavorful and pretty and this was one of the recipes that kickstarted my love of cooking and recipe swapping with Lisa.  (Plus she promised it was easy to make and so I was sold!)  This is one of those refreshing salads that is much more exciting than a salad of greens (though those can be delicious as well) and pairs extremely nicely with hearty meat dishes, such as the Siniyeh that I’ve posted about.

MoroccanCarrots

Ingredients

    • 2.5-3 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal slices about ½” thick (for speed, you can purchase carrot chips)
    • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • ½ cup Balsamic Red Wine Vinegar
    • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
    • 4-5 large cloves garlic crushed or finely chopped
    • 2T ground cumin
    • 2T sweet paprika or Spanish paprika which has a smoky flavor
    • ½ T Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
1. Cook carrots until tender but still firm
2. Whisk together all other ingredients and toss gently but thoroughly with warm carrots.

From Lisa!