Posts tagged ‘Salad’

Fiesta Macaroni Bean Salad

IMG_8341We had friends over for dinner last night, and we decided to mark the closing of summer with all of our favourite summer foods. Baked beans were there, along with corn on the cob, and rosemary roasted potatoes shared the oven (and our plates) with fabulously simple roasted asparagus – but this pasta salad was the star of the show.

I love it because it has the creaminess of a mayonnaise-based pasta salad, without either the flavour or the texture of the mayo taking over the dish. The whole wheat pasta, along with generous portions of beans and veggies, add texture and flavour that is sometimes lacking in pasta salads.

I should be up front with you, though: this recipe is not mine. It comes to you (only very slightly modified) from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer (who also co-wrote How it All Vegan and The Garden of Vegan, the books that taught me how to cook and how to be vegan. I still use a lot of those lessons, even as I’ve added some dairy and the occasional egg back into my diet). All three cookbooks are favourites of mine; worth checking out both for their basic recipes and for their more elaborate dishes (like this one). My only complaint is the portion estimation. Every recipe in La Dolce Vegan claims to make “2 large or 4 small servings.” While the recipes vary, I find that most make 6 – 8 servings, but maybe that’s just me.

Fiesta Macaroni Bean Salad

3 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta (macaroni or fusilli work well)
6 cups water
½ teaspoon olive oil
1 large carrot, grated or diced (about ½ cup)
1 small bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cups kidney beans or pinto beans (or 1 – 19oz. can, drained)
1 cup corn kernels
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup mayonnaise (I really like vegan Vegenaise)
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce, or to taste
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

  1. In a large pot, bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, 6 – 8 minutes. Drain pasta and toss with olive oil to avoid sticking. Set aside to cool.
  2. When the pasta is completely cool, toss it together with all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for a few hours first. Keeps well for a few days in the fridge.

September 12, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

No-Fail Fruit Salad

No-Fail Fruit SaladThere’s nothing like fruit salad on a hot summer’s day. It’s refreshing yet filling, and it’s a great way to take advantage of all of the great fruits that come available at this time of year.

This recipe can be used with any fruits you like. The dressing is versatile enough to tackle anything from berries to apples to tropical fruits. Unfortunately, even with the touch of balsamic vinegar in the recipe, the fruits start to brown within about 30 minutes – so make this salad just before you intend to eat it. I find that a half batch a nice meal for two people, and a full batch is great for dinner parties and potlucks.

For potlucks, you can assemble the dressing at home and then bring the fruits with you and toss it all up just before eating time. If you want to eat the salad all week at home, you can mix up the dressing and then toss a bit of it with freshly chopped fruits just before eating. The dressing will keep for about a week in the fridge.

No Fail Fruit Salad
Makes 4 – 6 large servings, or 8 – 10 small ones

6 – 10 cups fruit (depending on how saucy you want your salad to be)
(I used: 2 cups banana, 2 cups pineapple, 2 cups strawberries)

¾ cup vanilla yogurt (or ¾ cup plain yogurt and ⅛ teaspoon vanilla)
1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
¼ tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tablespoons poppyseeds

  1. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, vanilla (if using), syrup, vinegar, cinnamon, and poppyseeds.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chopped fruit.
  3. Toss fruit with dressing and serve.

June 27, 2009 at 11:29 am 2 comments

Welcome-to-Spring Spinach Salad

img_6904Sometimes a salad is just a salad, but sometimes the ingredients come together and it just works. This is one such salad. The avocado mellows the red onion, and the crunch of the apples nicely balances the different crunch of the pecans. Yum!

If you want to make this salad for less than four people at once, it’s no problem. Cut out as much of the apple and avocado as you want, leaving the rest whole. Leave the pit in the avocado. Rub the surface of both with lemon juice and wrap tightly in tin foil or plastic wrap. They should keep for a day or two. Even if they brown a little bit, you should be able to cut off a small layer to find perfectly good fruit.

Welcome-to-Spring Spinach Salad
Serves 4

6 cups spinach
1 apple, diced
1 avocado, diced
½ cup red onion, finely sliced
1 cup pecans

2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Whisk vinaigrette together in a small bowl.
  2. Chop veggies and divide them (and pecans) among four bowls.
  3. Pour dressing over salads and toss.

(Alternately, you can toss the veggies and dressing in one large bowl and serve family style).

April 16, 2009 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Lentil-Tahini Salad with Radicchio

img_6509If your holidays were anything like mine, then you’re probably looking for a fresh, healthy and hearty antidote to all of the season’s delicious but 0h-so-rich treats. This salad is just the thing. Crisp, fresh vegetables mingle with peppery lentils and sharp feta, all tossed together in a creamy, mellow tahini-balsamic dressing. And – it was all very easy (and pretty cheap) to make!

For those of you unfamiliar with it, tahini is a paste made out of sesame seeds, not unlike peanut butter but creamier and with a strong sesame flavor. It’s one of the main ingredients in hummus and this hummus recipe may be a good way to use up the rest of the jar, if you buy it just to make this salad.

If you can’t find radicchio, simple purple cabbage would work just as well.

Lentil Tahini Salad with Radicchio
Serves 4 – 6 as a main course, 8 – 10 as a side dish

1 cup brown lentils (about 2 cups when cooked)
3 cups water
2½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1½ cup cucumber, cut into ½” dice
¾ cup red onion, finely sliced
1 bunch (2 cups) parsley, finely chopped (will reduce to about 1 cup when chopped)
1 small head radicchio, sliced (about 4 cups)
½ – 1 cup feta cheese (preferably sheep’s or goat’s milk), crumbled
1½ tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. tahini
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper, or to taste

  1. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil and add lentils. Boil 20 minutes or until cooked but not mushy. Drain. Do not add salt to the water, or the lentils will not cook through. Salt (and salty foods, like canned tomatoes, toughen lentils and beans and prevent them from cooking).
  2. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables and crumble the feta. Combine with lentils in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, combine mustard, vinegar, oil, tahini and pepper and mix well.
  4. Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Serve. (If you are going to take this to work all week, reserve the dressing and add it in the morning to each serving. The salad will hold its own for a few hours, but may get soggy if it sits in the fridge all week with the dressing on it.)

January 2, 2009 at 3:02 pm Leave a comment

Salad Bars

The American salad bar is a wonderful thing, that Canadians don’t know about and Americans don’t know to appreciate. Unlike the Canadian (or Albertan perhaps) salad bar, which tends to bear a limited selection of pre-made salads (potato, macaroni, green, caesar, and even tuna or egg), the American salad bar is an invitation to innovation with fresh vegetables, beans, cheeses, croutons, dressings and other toppings. A proper salad bar, in my estimation, is one that lets you make your own salad from various ingredients, and although potato and pasta salads are not unwelcome, they shouldn’t be the centerpieces of the buffet.

We haven’t been eating at particularly interesting restaurants so far (hence the lack of posting), but we have had some good salad bars. One was actually at an old-style Bonanza in Regina (the Bonanza in Edmonton has gone faux upscale and replaced its American-style salad bar with Canadian-style prepared salads, so maybe this is just an Alberta thing), and the other was at Ruby Tuesdays in the Mall of America last night.

The Bonanza salad bar was classic: iceberg lettuce, raw vegetables (cut into huge chunks by lazy prep cooks), cottage cheese, yellow cheddar, chopped hard boiled egg, white croutons, fake bacon bits, and the regular Kraft Dressing catalogue. There were also things like potato and pasta salads, perogies, soups and various breaded fried meats, which is what seemed to interest the rest of the clientele. This came in at $9.49 CAD.

The Ruby Tuesdays salad bar was amazing! There were lettuce choices including iceberg, spring mix and romaine. In addition to regular toppings (fresh and cut small enough for salads), there were shelled edamame beans, marinated green beans, bleu and feta cheeses, pumpernickel croutons and homemade dressings! It was only $8.49 USD and it was fabulous, but it was also one of only two vegetarian items on the menu (the other was a veggie burger).

So, in the absence of a kitchen, here are two “recipes” based on my favorite salad bar combinations. (There are no measurements, because I really have no idea). You can make these at home and if you want to eat salad all week (which you just might in this heat), prep a variety of your favorite veggies and keep them in separate containers in your fridge to keep them fresh. Put salads together when you’re ready to eat, and voilá! Homemade salad bar.

The Classic Salad Bar Creation

Iceberg Lettuce (or bagged iceberg lettuce with cabbage)
Chopped Onions
Chopped Broccoli and/or Cauliflower
Quartered Radishes
Sliced Cucumber
Green Peas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Italian Dressing

Fancier Salad Bar Creation

Spring Mix
Sliced Red Onions
Sliced Mushrooms
Julienned Carrots
Broccoli and/or Cauliflower
Cherry Tomatoes
Shelled Edamame Beans
Steamed Green Beans
Bleu or Feta Cheese
Pumpernickel or Regular Croutons
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil

August 7, 2008 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

Hearty Couscous Summer Salad

Tabbouleh (or Tabouli) is one of our favourite main course salads, and over the years we have modified the recipe out of recognition. This latest rendition is more of a couscous salad, with lots of veggies and parsley, and chickpeas for protein. This recipe makes plenty for two people to eat for dinner and then take for lunch for a couple of days. This is a perfect dish for hot summer days when it is too hot to cook, but you want something to fill you up.

This recipe calls for quick-cooking couscous. Most of the couscous sold in North America is quick cooking, but it’s often not labeled as such. So if you have couscous, it will probably do. You can make this dish gluten free by using quinoa instead.

Hearty Couscous Summer Salad
Makes 6 large servings

1¼ cups quick-cooking couscous
1½ cups boiling water
2 cups cucumber, diced (about ½ cucumber)
1½ cups red onion, finely diced (about ½ red onion)
2 cups bell peppers, diced (about 1½ bell peppers)
1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 2 cups)
6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cups chickpeas
½ cup goat feta, crumbled (optional)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried dill
¼ tsp. Sriracha, or other hot sauce
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

  1. Place couscous in a large Pyrex bowl or pot (something that is safe for boiling water). Pour boiling water over the couscous, and cover with an inverted plate to keep in the steam. Let sit for 10 minutes (or until water is absorbed) and then fluff with a fork. OR: Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add couscous and cover, cooking about 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Transfer couscous to a large mixing bowl. Add other ingredients and mix until well combined. Enjoy!

August 4, 2008 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Taco Salad


I went through a long period in my childhood wherein the only thing that I would order at restaurants was taco salad. If there was no taco salad on the menu, there was trouble. So, having tried many a taco salad, I think that my recipe is not too shabby. Try it and see what you think. This is the last installment in my series of “Things to Do with Salsa.” If you missed out, check out the posts over the last week.

Taco Salad
Serves 4

4 cups lettuce, torn
½ tsp. lime juice
½ tsp. olive oil
¼ cup corn
½ cup black beans
2 tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
1 bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
2 green onions, sliced (about ½ cup)
½ cup red onion, finely diced
1 avocado, diced (about 1 cup)
1 cup salsa
½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
½ cup goat feta cheese, crumbled

  1. In a large bowl, toss lettuce with lime juice and oil. Divide between 4 bowls or plates.
  2. Top each salad with ¼ of the remaining ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

P.S. I made this recipe to serve four so that you wouldn’t have leftover avocado, but feel free to cut it down if you want to make it for 2 or even just you. To preserve the remaining avocado, keep it in its shell with the pit and rub the exposed green flesh with lemon or lime juice. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and it should keep for a day or two.

July 31, 2008 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

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*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.