Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

This dressing is a great slightly sweet, kind of zingy, creamy vinaigrette.  The mustard and vinegar are tart and the honey balances it out.  This was great for the Salmon Cake Salad Nicoise, but is also just a great versatile salad dressing to add to your repertoire.

Honey Mustard VinaigretteHoney Mustard Vinaigrette (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp honey mustard (I used a kind that wasn’t very sweet)
  • 2-3 Tbsp honey, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

In a blender, mix all ingredients until smooth.  Store in a air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.

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Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

So now that you know how to cut an avocado, let’s put it to good use!  This dressing is creamy and fabulous.  It’s a bit reminiscent of a Green Goddess dressing.  The creamy avocado pairs nicely with the buttermilk, and a bit of basil makes it fresh and summery.  There’s a little kick to it from the pepper and raw garlic to give it some sparkle.  I used this on my favorite meal, taco salad, but this would also be great as just a standard creamy dressing and would go well with grilled vegetables or chicken as well.

Avocado Buttermilk DressingAvocado Buttermilk Dressing (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 1 cup

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens (June 2013)

  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 5-6 basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Champagne Vinaigrette

This is a great simple vinaigrette.  It’s tart and zingy and goes well with other flavors.  I thought it was the perfect accompaniment to this Steak and Blue Cheese Salad, but this would go great with pretty much any salad; it’s a great go-to salad dressing.

Champagne VinaigretteChampagne Vinaigrette (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 1/2 cup

Adapted from Love and Lemons

  • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together.

Strawberry Avocado Kale Salad

This recipe is a little bit of a different take on Strawberry Spinach Salad.  The kale makes this a bit heartier, the avocado adds some great healthy fats and creaminess; strawberries for sweetness, and pecans for crunch.  The best thing about raw kale salads is that they’re hearty.  You could easily make this at the beginning of the week, and have easy lunches all week long.  Kale is also full of good for you vitamins, and is high in calcium!  While kale might be a bit intimidating, it’s quite easy to turn into a delicious meal.  Since kale is rather tough, if you plan to eat it raw you have to massage it.  I know it sounds weird, and I too have felt the “if anything’s getting a massage it should be me” thoughts, but alas, your raw kale wants a massage too.  All you have to do is rub the salad dressing into the leaves.  You’ll know you’re doing it right when the leaves turn a brighter green, look glossy, and have already softened up a bit.  It doesn’t take long to do a whole bowl of kale, so don’t let this deter your raw kale eating ways!

Strawberry Avocado Kale SaladStrawberry Avocado Kale Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 4

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lemons, juiced (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp poppyseeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • About 8 cups raw kale, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces (or enough to fill a large bowl, it reduces to about half the amount after it’s massaged)
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 oz feta, crumbled (optional)
  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

In a measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Place raw kale in a large bowl, pour about 1/2 of the dressing onto the kale, and then massage the kale (rub the leaves between your hands), until kale is bright green and glossy.  Add remaining salad ingredients and serve.  Store in the fridge for about 3 days (although best to leave off the pecans until ready to serve).

Cabbage Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing

We’re getting temps up in the 90s already in the DC area. So I’m already focusing on meals that don’t require cooking. Salads are also great for taking advantage of spring produce. The star of this is really the dressing, the salad can be made with whatever you have in the fridge (although I am partial to Napa cabbage). This would also be great with chicken or tofu, although I kept it simple by using thawed edamame. And while I’m not usually a huge fan of peanuts, they add a great crunch and extra peanut-y taste to this salad. As with all nuts, make sure you roast them briefly before using them. It really brings out their flavor, and if you’re like me and store nuts in the freezer, it also helps thaw them out. All you need to do is spread the nuts on a dry pan and place them in the oven. Set your oven to 350 or 400 and by the time it beeps to let you know that it’s preheated the nuts will be perfectly toasted.

Cabbage Salad with Thai Peanut DressingCabbage Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Canadian Gift Guide

  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1 cup peanuts, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Dressing:

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 limes, juiced
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sambal oelek (chili paste)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp peeled and minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

 

Raw Kale and Tofu Salad with Citrus Dressing

This salad was super delicious.  There’s lots of delicious stuff going on in this salad.  Tofu and edamame add protein, the vegetables add a variety of color, texture and nutrients, and the dressing adds a punch of delicious citrusy flavor with salty-sweet flavors from the soy sauce and honey.  The ground flaxseed adds a really interesting texture and adds healthy omega-3s to this vitamin rich meal.  This is definitely not a boring salad.  It’s great all on its own or would be awesome paired with some fish (salmon would be my preference) or grilled shrimp.

If you have the time/forethought, I’d recommend pressing the tofu and making the dressing the day before serving, and then letting the tofu marinate overnight before you make the rest of the salad.  Or if you’d like to make it all ahead of time just keep the rest of the veggies separate from the dressed kale so they don’t get soggy.

Raw Kale and Tofu Salad with Citrusy DressingRaw Kale and Tofu Salad with Citrus Dressing

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Clean Eating

  • 2 (14oz) packages firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 2 bunches kale, deveined and chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup shelled frozen edamame, thawed

Preheat oven to 500°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan with cooking spray and add pressed and cut tofu in a single layer.Tofu and Kale Salad with Citrusy Dressing

In a blender or food processor, blend garlic, vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, and sesame oil until smooth.  Pour half of the mixture over the tofu and toss until coated.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, toss several times to ensure even browning.

Meanwhile, add flaxseeds to the remaining dressing and blend.  In a large bowl, add chopped kale.  Pour 1/3 of the dressing over the kale and then use your clean hands to massage the dressing into the kale.  You want each leaf to turn dark green, glossy and tender.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  When the tofu is ready, top the salad with tofu and additional dressing as needed.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Salads get a bad rap.  They’re frequently thought of as diet or rabbit food.  So I’m trying to make more of an effort to make salads exciting.  And add things to add interest, color, texture and taste to what might otherwise be boring greens.  Last Tuesday for SCL I made this grilled vegetable salad.  You could also roast vegetables if you don’t have a grill pan, or want to keep the stove top for something else.  Just by simply adding a little grilled flavor to your veggies, this salad becomes something a little special that makes you just a bit happier to eat your greens (especially in winter when cold salads are less enticing).

You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  I went with colorful bell peppers and red onions.  While I’m not normally a fan of red onions, grilling them (or roasting them) gives them a lovely sweet flavor that’s just delicious.

Grilled Vegetable SaladGrilled Vegetable Salad

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Love and Lemons

  • 3 romaine hearts, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 (15oz) cans chickpeas
  • 4 bell peppers, deseeded and cut into quarters
  • 4 red onions, cut into eighths
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

dressing:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 9 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine romaine, spinach, and chickpeas.

Preheat a large grill pan over medium-high heat.  Toss the bell peppers and red onion in olive oil and salt.  When pan is ready, place peppers and onion in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd.  Let grill for 1-2 minutes on each side until tender and grill marks are visible.  Remove cooked vegetables to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly before cutting into bite-size pieces.

Top salad with grilled vegetables and toss lightly with a third or half of the dressing, to taste.  Serve immediately.

Asian Sesame Salad Dressing

This is a great recipe to keep in your back pocket.  It’s really simple to throw together and makes for a great, fuss-free salad dressing.  I love the salty-sweet-sesame flavor.  Definitely a keeper!

Asian Sesame Salad Dressing

Makes about 1 cup (serves 15)

Adapted from MyRecipes.com

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 6 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until sugar has dissolved.

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!

Salmon with Salad and Carrot-Ginger Vinaigrette

This is the perfect dish to serve when a regular salad sounds boring, but you still crave something light, fresh and nutritious.  If you’re like me fish sometimes feels fussy and hard, but in reality fish cooks up really quickly and can be prepared very simply to let the flavor really shine on its own.

Pan-Fried Salmon

  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz salmon filet per person
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the salmon well with salt and pepper.  When the skillet is really hot, place the salmon skin-side down in the skillet (you want it to sizzle as soon as it hits the pan).  Cook for 6 minutes on the first side, flip and cook for an additional 1 1/2 minutes.  Cooking time may very slightly due to the thickness of your filet.

Carrot-Ginger Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 – 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 tangerine, juiced (or orange)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Top a salad with the salmon and dressing.  Enjoy!