Basil Chicken Salad

Time for another chicken salad variation!  This is a refreshing summery version.  By adding Greek yogurt instead of just mayonnaise, you have lighter version full of good for your protein and calcium.  The basil adds a great fresh taste that feels totally refreshing.  This comes together quickly and stores well in the fridge for at least a week.  Use this to top a salad, to stuff a tomato, serve it on crackers, or on top of bread, just make sure you try it.  It’s definitely a keeper!

Basil Chicken SaladBasil Chicken Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 4-6

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned  (a small handful of leaves)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a large sheet pan with cooking spray.  Spread chicken in a single layer and season with kosher salt and pepper.  Cook for about 30 minutes, until cooked through.  Allow chicken to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and serve.

Springtime Quinoa Salad

Spring this year in DC was a little weird.  We got some crazy hot 90° days and then had some rain and dropped back down to the 50’s…so with our little heat spell, spring seemed to pop all of a sudden.  And despite the fact that the warm weather keeps coming and going, I can’t help but get excited about some new, fun, cold salads.  Does that sound lame?  But really! Salads are great and feel so refreshingly spring!  All of the bright green vegetables in this salad are mixed with quinoa (an awesome “grain” that’s technically a seed and is protein packed!), and then it’s taken to a whole new level of freshness with the addition of a lemon basil dressing.  Yum!  This is great for a crowd and can be served cold or at room temperature.  If you don’t think you’ll eat it all at one time, I’d suggest only adding avocado to the portion you’ll eat.  Avocado has a tendency to turn brown when exposed to oxygen, which will make it less appetizing, although the acid from the lemon should help, as does keeping it in an airtight container, so it should be fine for at least 1 day before it starts looking a little sad.

Springtime Quinoa SaladSpringtime Quinoa Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-15

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod


  • 2 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bunches asparagus, cut in 3/4″ pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 bag (16oz) frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 avocados, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Lemon Basil Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tsp agave (more to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp salt)

Pour the quinoa into a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Allow the quinoa to toast for a few minutes, until fragrant, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning.  Add water and salt and allow quinoa to come to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and then add to a large bowl to cool.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped asparagus and allow to cook for a few minutes until tender.  Add the lemon juice and remove from heat.  (If your peas aren’t thawed you can add them to the skillet for a minute or two to thaw them).  Add the asparagus and peas to the bowl with the quinoa.

In a bowl or jar, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Pour dressing over the salad, toss to combine.  Just before serving, fold in the avocado.  Serve room temperature or cold.


Amazing Bruschetta

This is AMAZING.  My new favorite summer dish.  I plan to eat this all summer long.  It’s fresh and easy and absolutely delicious!  Bruschetta is a fun, classy appetizer that’s perfect for your next get together.  I’ve always thought of bruschetta as something reserved for ordering at restaurants, but it’s actually very easy to make and keeps well for several days.  French bread is sliced and drizzled with olive oil and broiled for about 60-90 seconds.  You can’t get much faster than that.



Bruschetta (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 30

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman


  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 5 lbs grape tomatoes (red and yellow mix)
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup chiffonade basil
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 baguettes, thinly sliced

In a small skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté garlic for a few minutes, keeping a close eye on it, until fragrant and just beginning to turn golden.

Quarter the tomatoes and toss in a large bowl with oil and garlic, balsamic, basil and salt (being careful not to oversalt).  Toss to combine.  Cover and refrigerate for about an hour (more or less as time permits).

Line baguette slices on a large baking sheet in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil.  Broil on high for about a minute or two.  Keep a careful eye on the bread and remove it from the oven once edges have begun to brown (or to desired toastedness).  Top with bruschetta and enjoy!

Zucchini and Basil Lasagna

This lasagna was amazing!  The recipe comes from a family from my church who sends a favorite recipe in their Christmas letter each year.  While this recipe is from their 2007 letter, better late than never!  I don’t recommend waiting 5 years before you try it though!  It’s perfect for this time of year where the zucchini and basil are still easy to find, yet the call of comforting warm dishes sounds better and better.

Zucchini and Basil Lasagna

Serves 8-10

  • 2 cups fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 large egg
  • cooking spray
  • 4 cups chopped zucchini (about 2 large zucchini)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cups tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 9-12 oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups (8oz) shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add zucchini and onion; sauté until tender and just beginning to brown.  Stir in sauce and remove from heat.

Spread one third of the zucchini mixture in the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish.  Arrange 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce, top with one third of the cottage cheese mixture, one third zucchini mixture, and one third cheese.  Repeat until the pan is full.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Basil Vinaigrette

A few weeks ago when Sister (I really do refer to her as “sister” in real life) and Chris were visiting we went to the beach and visited Dogfish Head Distillery and Pub.  I got a salad topped with a crab cake (which was delicious!), but the star of the meal was the basil vinaigrette.  It was so summery, fresh, fragrant and pretty!  I loved it!

While this dressing isn’t quite like the one from Dogfish Head, it’s still wonderfully fresh and delicious, and most importantly, easy.  This is also great drizzled on fresh tomatoes

Basil Vinaigrette

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1/2 lemon juiced (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp water

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until well mixed.

I served this on a salad with chicken.  My tip for super moist chicken breasts is to drizzle a little olive oil on top, sprinkle with salt, pepper and any herbs you desire (rosemary is delicious).  Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes until cooked through.  Enjoy!

Green Bean, Corn and Potato Salad

Fresh from the farm produce is amazing.  On yet another fruit picking outing, Mom and I picked Honey Crisp apples, blackberries, and peaches.  We also picked up a whole bunch of vegetables while were on the farm.  This salad is a great way of showcasing your farm (or farmer’s market) fresh produce.  The dressing is flavorful but not overpowering.

Green Bean, Corn and Potato Salad

Serves 6

Adapted from Love and Lemons

  • 4-5 fist sized potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 cups green beans, blanched, chopped in 1 inch pieces
  • 1-2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 ears of corn, grilled and kernels cut off
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp capers, drained (optional)


  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp agave or honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Drizzle chopped potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden.

Whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine roasted potatoes, blanched green beans, grilled corn kernels, basil and capers.  Pour half of the dressing on the salad, taste and adjust seasoning and/or add more dressing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Basil Pesto

There are certain foods that just say “Summer” to me:  ice cream, corn on the cob, watermelon, and pesto (to name a few).  So despite not having a plan for what to do with some pesto, I knew I wanted to make some  before summer comes to an end.  So far I’ve added it to scrambled eggs and quiche and a sandwich.  If I can’t think of anything else, I can freeze it and use it later in the year when I need a reminder of what summer tastes like.

Basil Pesto

Makes about 1 cup

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup parmesan
  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.


Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Pasta Salad

After the success of Sandra’s Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella salad during our catering event, I decided to do a similar salad for the Seekers luncheon.  I wanted to have a pasta salad, so to bulk up the traditional TBM I added whole wheat rotini and pesto.  These flavors are just great for the summer, it’s a super refreshing combination.

Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Serves 45-50

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

  • 2 (13oz) boxes whole wheat rotini (or other small pasta)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 lbs mozzarella, diced
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch of basil, leaves torn

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add about 1 Tbsp of salt and add the pasta.  Cook the pasta until al dente, about 9-10 minutes.  Drain and then toss with the pesto.  Allow pasta to cool and just before serving toss with the mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.