Category Archives: salads

Chipotle Beef & Corn Salad

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Salads make a great summer dinner but for me, they must be satisfying to eat and keep me full (so I don’t get the post-dinner munchies). We grill a lot in our household and most grilling nights I will throw an extra steak (or other protein) on the grill so I can turn it into a dinner salad for the next night. That makes the next night’s dinner even easier.

So here’s a spicy and satisfying dinner salad that I adapted from Williams Sonoma that fits the bill to a tee. The steak is mildly seasoned yet completely satisfying; you can serve it either hot off of the grill or cold. The lime juice makes the corn salsa tangy and the avocados temper the entire dish. Be forewarned: the chipolte dressing is smoky and spicy with quite a bit of heat so a little goes a long way. Of course, I love to pile the dressing on since in my mind there is rarely such a thing as too much heat.

CHIPOLTE BEEF & CORN SALAD

1 flank steak, about 1 1/4 pounds

1 teaspoon adobo seasoning

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup canned chipolte chiles in adobo sauce

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon water

2 ears of corn, kernels removed

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

6 radishes, diced

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

2 heads romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces

  • Place the steak on a plate and sprinkle the adobo seasoning, salt and pepper on both sides of the meat. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat a grill to medium-high heat.
  • Place the meat on the grill and cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until the meat is cooked to your desired level of doneness.
  • Remove the steak from the grill and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Slice the meat into 1/2 inch slices against the grain.
  • To make the dressing, combine the chipolte chiles, the olive oil, juice of 1 lime, vinegar, garlic and water into a small bowl. Using a stick blender, puree until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the corn, orange and green peppers, radishes and tomatoes.
  • Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime over the corn mixture, add the cilantro and stir well.
  • Divide the lettuce amongst four plates. Place 3 slices of steak on top of each pile of lettuce. Add a scoop of the salsa.
  • Divide the avocado amongst the plates then drizzle the salad with the chipolte dressing.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Cucumber-Celery Slaw

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Sometimes the simplest things are the best. Case in point this cool yet spicy salad from Food 52. The ingredients are minimal: cucumbers, celery, pepperoncini and parsley. The celery provides crunch while the cucumbers and parsley add a coolness that tames the fieriness of the peppers. That’s it. Do taste your pepperoncini before adding them to the salad though since not all peppers have the same level of heat.

The salad can be used to top burgers or as an easy side dish for grilled meat. It really is so easy.

CUCUMBER-CELERY SLAW

3/4 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced into half coins

3/4 cup celery, both leaves and stalks, chopped

1/4 cup pepperoncini, sliced

1/4 Italian parsley, chopped

Pinch of sugar

Salt & pepper to taste

 

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  • Allow to sit for at least 1/2 an hour before serving.

Serves 4

Glazed Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Strawberries & Feta

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Spring has arrived in Belgium and while some days still call for warm and comforting food, others inspire lighter meals. And when that is the case salads are the perfect dinner option. This salad is inspired by  Cooking Light and is filled with juicy seasonal fruit, crisp greens and sweet and tangy chicken breasts.

For me, the secret to building a satisfying salad that can serve as a satisfying entree is a variety of flavors and textures. The chicken is glazed with a simple mixture of preserves before being grilled; if your dinner hour is rushed, you can cook up the chicken ahead of time. Alternatively you can use any leftover chicken you have on hand or even buy a rotisserie chicken to slice up as a topping. I am a fan of sweet and savory combinations  so this salad uses a combination of strawberries and fresh pineapple tossed with onions and peppers. Use whatever fruits and vegetables sound good to you. And because you build the salads individually you can add or omit toppings depending upon your family’s individual preferences.

GLAZED GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD w/ STRAWBERRIES & FETA

1/3 cup black current, cherry or seedless raspberry preserves

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

4 6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

4 cups mixed salad greens

1 cup thinly sliced orange bell peppers

1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

4 tablespoons sunflower seeds

  • Combine the preserves, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper and the garlic powder in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until combined. Set aside.
  • Preheat a lightly oiled grill to medium-high.
  • Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with the preserve mixture. Place the chicken on the grill and cook, turning every 4 to 5 minutes and brushing with more preserves until cooked through, about 24 to 28 minutes depending upon the thickness of the breasts. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and set aside.
  • Combine the oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Place the strawberries and onions in a medium sized bowl and then add the oil and vinegar mixture. Toss gently to coat.
  • Divide the salad greens amongst four plates or shallow bowls.
  • Evenly divide the strawberry mixture and dressing over the top of the greens.
  • Add the peppers and pineapple to the tops of the salad.
  • Slice each chicken breast on the diagonal and place one breast on top of each salad.
  • Sprinkle with the feta cheese and sunflower seeds over the top of the salads and serve immediately.

Serves 4

 

Buttermilk Coleslaw

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Too many times the crisp cabbage and carrots of coleslaw are drowned in a too sweet dressing that makes this classic salad difficult to enjoy. If this is how you feel, you must try this recipe for coleslaw adapted from Williams Sonoma. The dressing is a wonderful combination of sour cream, mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip) and tangy buttermilk that makes for a flavorful and surprisingly light dressing. For good measure I add the dressing in gradually mixing well as I go along. You can always add additional dressing if you find it to be too dry but once you add too much, there really isn’t any going back. The raisins are optional but I think they add a nice touch. You can also add in chopped tart apples or toasted walnuts for additional flavor and crunch.

BUTTERMILK COLESLAW

3/4 cup mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup sour cream

1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/3 cup fresh chives, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 head green cabbage

2 cups finely shredded carrots

1/2 red onion, finely minced

1/2 cup golden raisins

  • For the dressing, stir together the mayonnaise, buttermilk and sour cream in a small bowl. Stir in the parsley and chives. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Place the raisins in a bowl of warm water and allow to plump for 1/2 an hour. Drain and set aside.
  • Core and thinly shred the cabbage. Place the cabbage in a large bowl along with the carrots and red onion. Toss well to combine.
  • Add the raisins to the cabbage mixture and stir well.
  • Gradually add in the dressing mixing well to coat. Depending upon your personal preferences you may not need to use all of the dressing.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  • Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Serves 4

 

Chipolte Beef & Corn Salad

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Salads make a great summer dinner but for me, they must be satisfying to eat and keep me full (so I don’t get the post-dinner munchies). We grill a lot in our household and most grilling nights I will throw an extra steak (or other protein) on the grill so I can turn it into a dinner salad for the next night. That makes the next night’s dinner even easier.

So here’s a spicy and satisfying dinner salad that I adapted from Williams Sonoma that fits the bill to a tee. The steak is mildly seasoned yet completely satisfying; you can serve it either hot off of the grill or cold. The lime juice makes the corn salsa tangy and the avocados temper the entire dish. Be forewarned: the chipolte dressing is smoky and spicy with quite a bit of heat so a little goes a long way. Of course, I love to pile the dressing on since in my mind there is rarely such a thing as too much heat.

CHIPOLTE BEEF & CORN SALAD

1 flank steak, about 1 1/4 pounds

1 teaspoon adobo seasoning

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup canned chipolte chiles in adobo sauce

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon water

2 ears of corn, kernels removed

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

6 radishes, diced

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

2 heads romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces

  • Place the steak on a plate and sprinkle the adobo seasoning, salt and pepper on both sides of the meat. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat a grill to medium-high heat.
  • Place the meat on the grill and cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until the meat is cooked to your desired level of doneness.
  • Remove the steak from the grill and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Slice the meat into 1/2 inch slices against the grain.
  • To make the dressing, combine the chipolte chiles, the olive oil, juice of 1 lime, vinegar, garlic and water into a small bowl. Using a stick blender, puree until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the corn, orange and green peppers, radishes and tomatoes.
  • Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime over the corn mixture, add the cilantro and stir well.
  • Divide the lettuce amongst four plates. Place 3 slices of steak on top of each pile of lettuce. Add a scoop of the salsa.
  • Divide the avocado amongst the plates then drizzle the salad with the chipolte dressing.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Roasted Radish & Potato Salad

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Here’s a twist on your traditional potato salad adapted from The Noble Pig. You simply substitute radishes for half of your potatoes. Radishes? Yes, radishes. When they are cooked, in this case roasted alongside the potatoes, they loose their sharpness and become mellow and sweet. Served alongside the starching potatoes they add both color and interest to your salad. And because the salad dressing is a vinaigrette rather than mayonnaise based, it travels well and you don’t have to worry about keeping it cold. In fact, I prefer to eat it at room temperature.

ROASTED RADISH & POTATO SALAD

1 pound radishes, trimmed and quartered, greens reserved

1 pound baby potatoes, quartered

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh dill, minced

  • Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
  • Place the radishes, potatoes, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper in a large bowl. Toss well to combine all of the ingredients.
  • Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and roast until soft, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting.
  • Meanwhile, wash the radish greens in running cold water to remove all of the grit. Spin dry and set aside.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar, remaining olive oil, mustard, parsley and dil. Season with the remaining salt and pepper.
  • When the radishes and potatoes are tender, remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • Place the radishes and potatoes in a large bowl and add the vinaigrette, using a rubber spatula to gently fold the mixture together.
  • Roughly chop the reserved radish greens and add to the radishes and potatoes.

Serves 6-8

 

Greek Village Salad

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Last summer I was lucky to take not one but two trips to Greece. The first trip was to the Ionian Islands of Cofru, Paxos and Antipaxos. The second trip included the town of Meteora and the city of Thessaloniki and several villages in between. The geography was varied but the one thing that held true regardless of our locations was the food. Whether eating at fancier restaurants or simple mom and pop operations, all of the food was simple, fresh and delicious. Fish was a mainstay when we were near the sea while inland grilled lamb reigned supreme. But the one item that was guaranteed to be on every menu was a village salad.

The actual ingredients in a village salad may vary depending upon location but cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese were mainstays. Oregano, whether fresh or dried was often included. Some salads may include peppers or onions. Because we were there during the steamy days of July all of the ingredients were local, super fresh and tasted so wonderful. I actually ate a salad as an entree at more than one meal.

I’ve attempted to recreate the salad on numerous occasions but some how the salads never taste quite as good as they do in Greece. But by using the freshest of ingredients; vegetables bought at the farmer’s market rather than the grocery store, feta cheese and olives from a Greek importer rather than mass produced products that come to Belgium from Greece via the United States, the results are pretty darn good.

GREEK VILLAGE SALAD

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup baby cucumbers, cut into coins

1 cup mixed Mediterranean olives

3/4 cup feta cheese, cubed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers and olives in a large bowl.
  • Gently fold in the feta cheese taking care not to crumble the cubes
  • Drizzle the oil over the top of the salad, sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper. Toss well to combine.

Serves 4

Garlicky Flat Bread Panzanella Salad

 

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I love panzanella, the classic Italian bread salad. With ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil and crusty bread it is hard not to love it and I’ve been known to eat a bowlful or two as dinner on a hot summer evening. But sometimes even the most classic of recipes needs to be kicked up a notch. And with that you have a garlicky flat bread panzanella that was inspired by the Yankee Kitchen Ninja.

Flat bread is easy enough to make from scratch but my local grocery store carries a fabulous garlic and olive oil drenched one that is just too good to resist. When warm, the bread is perfect for absorbing the juices of the salad. For added color I like to use multi-colored grape tomatoes but feel free to use whatever flavorful variety you prefer. And because the beans add an added burst of protein, with a glass of Chianti, this salad is substantial enough for a light dinner on a hot summer night. Enjoy.

GARLICKY FLAT BREAD PANZANELLA SALAD

2 small garlic flat breads, heated in the oven and cut into bite-sized pieces

Scant 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup pickling cucumbers, cut into coins

2 pints grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup orecchiette shaped fresh mozzarella or other small balls, drained

1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed

1/4 cup sliced green onion

  • Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the flat breads on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into bite sized pieces.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, beans, green onion and stir to combine.
  • Add the flat bread, toss well and serve immediately.

Serves 3-4

Barbecue Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups

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Are you grilling this weekend? Perhaps you are grilling up some chicken slathered in your favorite barbecue sauce. That is what we are doing to celebrate America’s birthday and introduce some of our European friends to the wonders of an American cookout. We’ll be serving hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, and of course barbecue chicken topped with an old family recipe for a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. Naturally there will be the traditional side dishes, salads and desserts as well. What would a barbecue be without lots of food?

But as I have a tendency to do no matter how many times I host an event, I over anticipate and cook too much food, resulting in a refrigerator of leftovers that need to be eaten. So what do I do with those leftovers? My favorite way to use up my barbecue chicken is to make a chicken salad. While you can use any leftover chicken you have on hand, or even buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken if you want to skip the cooking, my favorite chicken salad uses barbecue chicken. The sauce adds a nice tang to the salad and ensures that the entire dish is flavorful. Celery is added for crunch and the grapes add a surprise sweetness. You can eat the salad as is or pile it on a roll to make a sandwich. However, I love to roll up a scoop of the salad inside of a lettuce leaf. It is cool, crispy, and makes for a perfect summer lunch.

BARBECUE CHICKEN SALAD LETTUCE CUPS

4 large lettuce leaves

4 cups cold, cubed barbecue chicken

1 cup seedless green grapes, halved

2 stalks celery, diced

1 shallot, minced

1/3 cup mayonnaise, or more to taste (I like Miracle Whip)

Salt & pepper

  • Combine the chicken, grapes, celery and shallot in a large bowl.
  • Add the mayonnaise and stir well to combine. Depending upon how moist you like your salad, you may want to add additional mayonnaise.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Scoop approximately 1 1/4 cups of salad onto each of the four lettuce leaves. Roll the leaves to encase the salad and enjoy.

Serves 4

 

Grape & Watercress Grain Salad

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Grain salads are a great alternative to your traditional pasta or potato salad. I may be a bit late to the game but recently I’ve been experimenting with both bulgar and quinoa, two quick cooking grains that are nutty and bring an interesting twist to the table. Since I love them both I decided to combine them for this salad that is adapted from Cuisine At Home magazine. The grapes add a bit of sweetness to the salad while the watercress contributes a touch of bitterness. This salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It can be served either cold or at room temperature but I prefer eating it at room temperature, making it the perfect addition to a summer picnic table.

GRAPE & WATERCRESS GRAIN SALAD

1 1/3 cups apple juice, divided

1 cup water

1/2 cup bulgar

1/2 cup quinoa

Pinch of salt

1 cup watercress

1 cup green grapes, halved

2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1/8 teaspoon salt

  • Combine1 cup of the apple juice, water, bulgar, quinoa and salt in a medium saucepan.
  • Set over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender, about 14-16 minutes.
  • Move the grain mixture to a large bowl and add the watercress and grapes. Mix well to combine.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup of apple juice, vinegar, mustard, honey, and salt.
  • Pour over the grain mixture and gently stir until well combined.
  • The salad can be served either cold or at room temperature.

Serves 4

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