Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kale Caesar Salad

I consider a traditional caesar salad a treat, rather than a healthy accompaniment to a meal.  What's not to like?  Copious amounts of creamy dressing, rich cheese, croutons, and just enough lettuce to call it a "salad."  However, since we like caesar salads so much, I decided to move this salad out of "treat zone" and into "every day delicious" by bringing a few more nutritious players to the table: a reasonable portion of homemade dressing, vitamin-rich kale, colorful red onion, and filling protein. (And don't forget the croutons!)


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c finely-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, grilled or roasted
  • 2 bunches kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • edible flowers (optional)
  • 1 cup croutons

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the caesar dressing: combine the mayonnaise, parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)
  2. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the onion, egg, chicken, kale, and edible flowers (if using) in the jars.  Divide the croutons evenly among 4 snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with croutons.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute your favorite prepared caesar-style dressing for the homemade dressing  Substitute 10 oz pre-washed baby kale for the regular kale.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, omit the chicken, increase the hard-boiled eggs to 4, and use vegan worcestershire sauce in the dressing.  For a vegan salad, make all of the vegetarian swaps, plus substitute your favorite vegan mayo and vegan parmesan crumbles in the dressing, and grilled or broiled tofu for the hard-boiled egg.  For a gluten-free salad, omit the croutons or make homemade croutons from your favorite gluten-free bread, and use dressing ingredients labeled gluten-free.  This salad is nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

French Lentil Salad with Bleu Cheese

Confession time (2nd week in a row!) ...  I don't really like lentils.  I am generally a very adventurous eater, and love almost everything, including basically all vegetables, spicy food, ethnic food, and some more uncommon stuff like hemp seeds and nutritional yeast.  But lentils?  Man, they just kinda taste like dirt ... MOST of the time.  However, this salad makes me wanna holler, "gimme the lentils!"  What's the secret?  Fruity extra-virgin olive oil, fragrant parsley, a zippy double-take from red wine vinegar and fresh lemon, and c'mon y'all ... BLEU CHEESE.  Pick your most favorite, high-quality bleu cheese for this one, and you won't be sorry.  :)  I hope you enjoy this salad that will please even the lentil-adverse. Bon appetit!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 1/3 c red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 4 oz really good bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 2-4 oz steak, grilled or broiled and sliced
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded or julienned
  • 8-10 oz baby arugula
  • 1/2 small lemon, sliced into 4 wedges

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the marinated lentils: add the French lentils to a small saucepan and cover with an inch of water.  Bring the lentils to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Drain, rinse, and cool the lentils.  Add the vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley to the lentils, and stir gently.
  2. Pack the salads: divide the marinated lentils evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the bleu cheese, steak, red onion, carrot, and arugula in the jars.  Add 1 lemon wedge to each jar. Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Squeeze the lemon wedge over the salad.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute 1 15-ounce can of lentils, drained and rinsed, for the cooked lentils.  

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, omit the steak.  For a vegan salad, omit the steak and substitute your favorite homemade or store-bought vegan bleu cheese or cultured tofu. This salad is gluten-free and nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cupid's Salad

I have to confess ... I don't really love Valentine's Day.  I think it's fun for kids to exchange cards and treats with their teachers and classmates, but as an adult, I've never really cared one way or the other for the holiday - I don't care much for chocolate (gasp!) or cut flowers; I guess I'd rather go for a hike or snowshoe and make a nice dinner at home with my partner than fight crowds of couples all attempting to get the same tables at the same nice restaurants!  However, I can totally get behind the holiday-themed red and pink veggies and fruits, triple-dose of protein, and sweet-tangy homemade raspberry vinaigrette in this salad.  However you decide to focus on love and friendship this week, I hope you include this salad in your celebration!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or thawed from frozen
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
1 small shallot
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c flax oil (or more extra-virgin olive oil)
1 large or 2 medium red apples, diced
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2-4 oz steak, grilled or broiled and sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1 large red beet, peeled and julienned or shredded
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 small head red cabbage, shredded
1 head red lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the raspberry vinaigrette: combine the raspberries, dijon, garlic, shallot, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegars, and oils in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)
  2. Pack the salads: add 2 tbsp dressing to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers.  (Reserve the remaining dressing for another use.)  Layer the apple, feta, steak, bell pepper, beet, tomato, cabbage, and lettuce in the jars.  Divide the almonds evenly among 4 2-oz containers or snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with almonds.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute your favorite prepared raspberry vinaigrette or poppyseed dressing for the homemade vinaigrette.  

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, omit the steak.  For a vegan salad, omit the steak and substitute your favorite homemade or store-bought vegan feta.  For gluten-free diners, choose dressing ingredients labeled "gluten-free."  Substitute unsalted sunflower seeds for the almonds to accommodate tree nut allergies.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Falafel Salad

I.  Love.  Falafel.  Not just because I'm a "good vegetarian," but because it's freakin' delicious.  The kiddos at my work even love it - our cook makes little patties from scratch and serves them with sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, pita, and plenty of tzatziki and hummus for dipping.  (Kids like anything they can dip, right?)  My one and only complaint about falafel sandwiches has always been how difficult and messy they are to eat - no matter how careful I am, my pita always seems to tear in too many places, and my beautifully-constructed sandwich tumbles onto my plate into a messy (albeit delicious) pile.  If I end up eating my falafel with a fork anyway, why not up the veggie quota and serve it salad-style?  Enjoy!  


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4-6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • canola oil for frying
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 6 tbsp tahini
  • 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 large English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 2-3 hearts of romaine, shredded

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the falafel: drain the chickpeas.  Combine the chickpeas, yellow onion, parsley, cilantro, salt, cayenne, 4 cloves garlic, cumin, and baking powder in a food processor and process until blended but not pureed.  Sprinkle in the flour 1 tbsp at a time and pulse, until the dough forms a ball and is no longer sticky.  Heat the canola oil in a frying pan to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Form the falafel mixture into 20 small balls and fry, 5 at a time, until golden brown.  Drain and cool on paper towels.
  2. Make the tahini sauce: combine water, tahini, lemon juice, honey, and remaining 2 cloves garlic in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  Season with salt.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)
  3. Pack the salads: divide the tahini sauce evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the red onion, cucumber, tomato, and romaine in the jars.  Divide the falafel evenly among 4 snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with falafel.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute your favorite prepared falafel mix for the homemade falafel.  Substitute your favorite hummus, thinned with a little water, for the tahini sauce.  

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: This salad is vegan and nut-free as-is (be sure to choose agave nectar for vegan diners.)  For gluten-free diners, choose products labeled "gluten-free," and substitute your favorite gluten-free all-purpose baking mix for the all-purpose flour.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Fennel, Pea, and Bean Salad with Bacon

Late January in Minnesota can be underwhelming - the fun and busy-ness of the holiday season is long past, the weather is dark, cold, and grey, and fresh, local produce is but a hazy memory.  However ... the days are getting longer (I actually donned my sunglasses on my way home from work one evening this week!), it's time to start planning for this spring's garden (and time to order seed potatoes and onion slips!), and thanks to local greenhouses and frozen produce, entirely possible to enjoy a crisp, fresh, abundantly GREEN salad loaded with the promise of spring.


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 c pine nuts
  • 1/4 c minced shallots
  • 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c minced fresh chives
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen edamame, thawed and drained
  • 1 large bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 c shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 bunch watercress, stemmed
  • 1 head bibb lettuce, cored and torn into small pieces
  • 4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Toast the pine nuts: heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.  Add the pine nuts and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft and the pine nuts are golden brown.  Strain the pine nuts and shallots, reserving the oil.  Cool.
  2. Make the lemon-chive vinaigrette: combine the reserved oil, lemon juice, Dijon, chives, and salt and pepper in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the vinaigrette using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)
  3. Pack the salads: divide the vinaigrette evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the pine nuts, edamame, fennel, green peas, parmesan, mint, parsley, watercress, and bibb lettuce in the jars.  Divide the bacon evenly among 4 2-ounce jars or snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with bacon.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use your favorite citrus-flavored vinaigrette in place of the lemon-chive vinaigrette. Toast the pine nuts in the microwave and omit the shallots. Use pre-cooked bacon.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, substitute roughly-chopped smoked almonds, store-bought mock bacon crumbles, or coconut bacon for the cooked, crumbled bacon.  For a vegan salad, choose a suggested bacon substitute and also substitute store bought or homemade vegan parmesan crumbles for the shredded parmesan.  For gluten-free diners, choose mustard labeled "gluten-free."  Substitute unsalted sunflower seeds for the pine nuts to accommodate tree nut allergies.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Shredded Collard Salad with Sweet Potato and Cashews

This is one of those salads that is way, way more than the sum of its parts.  It doesn't look like much, but the roasted sweet potatoes, tangy dressing, bright collards, creamy cheese, and crunchy cashews combine to make something altogether magical.  (Rob and I texted each other at lunch time about this one - it was that delicious!)  I hope you like it as much as we did!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large bunch collard greens, stemmed and shredded
  • 4 1-oz individually-wrapped goat cheese rounds
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews, roughly chopped

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Roast the sweet potatoes: preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine the sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, cumin seeds, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.  Roast until the sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, 20-30 minutes.  Cool.
  2. Make the ginger-lime vinaigrette: combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lime juice, fresh ginger, and salt and pepper in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)
  3. Pack the salads: divide the vinaigrette evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the sweet potato and collard greens in the jars.  Add 1 round goat cheese to each jar.  Divide the cashews evenly among 4 2-ounce jars or snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with goat cheese and cashews.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute bottled lime juice for the fresh lime juice.  Substitute pre-washed, bagged collards or baby kale for the shredded collards.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: This salad is vegetarian and gluten-free as-is.  For a vegan option, omit the goat cheese, or substitute a homemade or store-bought vegan goat cheese for the dairy cheese.  Substitute unsalted sunflower seeds for the cashews to accommodate tree nut allergies.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Asian Slaw with Ginger Sesame Dressing

This salad was inspired by a prepared salad Rob would occasionally pick up from one of our local high-end grocery chains ... a delicious combination of flavors and textures, but expensive at nearly $9 apiece, and wasteful, due to the many disposable plastic containers the store used to keep the individual salad components fresh.  I decided to re-vamp the salad as a homemade, portable version, adding a few of my own tweaks and adaptations.  Enjoy!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 5 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted, divided
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp packed brown sugar, agave, or honey
  • 5 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded or julienned
  • 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, lightly steamed and cooled
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 medium green cabbage or Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the ginger-sesame dressing: combine 1 tbsp sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and oils in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)  Reserve 1/2 cup dressing.
  2. Cook the chicken: Add 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder to the remaining dressing. Marinade the chicken thighs in the 5-spice dressing for 20 minutes (or longer if you have the time.)  Roast the chicken thighs at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, or until fully cooked.  (Alternately, grill the chicken thighs until fully cooked.)  Cool, then dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Pack the salads: add 2 tbsp remaining dressing to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the chicken, carrots, green beans, red bell pepper, and cabbage in the jars.  Add 1 tbsp almonds and 1 tbsp sesame seeds to each of 4 2-ounce jars or snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with sesame seeds and almonds.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute your favorite bottled Asian-style salad dressing for the ginger-sesame dressing.  Use store-bought rotisserie chicken in place of the marinaded chicken thighs.  Substitute 1 package pre-shredded coleslaw mix for the cabbage and carrot.  

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian/vegan salad, substitute 1 14-oz package water-packed extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed, for the chicken.  For gluten-free diners, choose oils and vinegar labeled "gluten-free," and substitute gluten-free tamari for the soy sauce.  

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.