Ok, so I love a good salad. In fact I like salad so much, I have it every day! Sometimes twice a day. That said, the same ole’ salad can become quite boring and honestly unless you’re a dog, you probably cannot eat the same meal everyday.
My girls have grown to love veggies and greens as much as I do…makes it easy not to prepare two meals! As for my husband, he says he loves my cooking, but this comes from a man who frequents some of the top restaurants in the country. So, I can take that two ways: 1. He is really good at pretending or 2. My cooking is of par with 4 and 5 star restaurants. I don’t know about you, but wouldn’t you choose 2? Yeah, I thought so!
I do enjoy cooking. I come from a rich Romanian background where cooking was part of growing up. My love of salad began with my grandma, who had her own vegetable farm and would make the most deliciously fresh and simple salads. She also made a killer dressing which usually had a little garlic in it to ward off the vampires…lol!
One last thing…I have a pretty bad intolerance to the fat protein in the cow’s milk. So these recipes do not contain any cow dairy, but there’s plenty of goat!
Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do.
I love trying new things, especially if they are unusual. This Mexican(ish) Kale and Quinoa Salad is not only delicious, but super filling. You can substitute feta cheese for goat Chevre, which is what I did. I ‘borrowed’ the recipe from Cookie and Kate – a blogger I like to frequent for amazing recipes. Her content is fresh and delish and she has recently launched her cookbook which I am so excited to buy. Click here, if you are interested.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander
2 cups water
1/2 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1 small bunch of curly green or Tuscan kale, tough ribs removed and chopped into small pieces (or about 3 cups roughly chopped baby spinach)
Fine sea salt
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions or finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1 to 2 medium jalapeños, seeds and membranes removed, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 medium limes)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
To cook the quinoa: Combine the rinsed quinoa and the water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes, reducing heat as time goes on to maintain a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, which gives it time to fluff up.
Meanwhile, toast the pepitas in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and making little popping noises, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the chopped kale in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle it lightly with salt and massage it with your hands by scrunching up large handfuls at a time until it’s darker and more fragrant (this makes the kale more tasty and easier to eat). Add the cooked quinoa, toasted pepitas, drained beans, onions, cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes, feta (if using), and jalapeño(s). Set aside.
To prepare the dressing, combine the olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lime juice, the cumin and salt in a cup or jar. Whisk until blended. Pour all of the dressing over the salad and stir until the salad is evenly coated. Taste, and add another tablespoon of lime juice (I like this salad to be pretty zippy) and/or more salt, if necessary. For best flavor, let the salad rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
This salad keeps well, covered and chilled, for about 3 days. You might want to wake up leftovers with an extra squeeze of lime juice and a dash of salt.
I have been making this salad for ever. It’s sort of like a free-for-all with whatever is in your fridge and pantry. My grandmother used to make something similar and it has since stuck with me. It has a lot in common with a Nicoise. You can add any protein and alter the recipe as you wish. I always use the anchovies, but the original Spanish marinated type (see here). It has this antipasto feel to it and I hope you’re hungry because this is a feast and usually I serve it family style as dinner. But you can of course make it for lunch. This would go so well with a crisp rosé.
Bibb or butter lettuce
½ pound, about 6, cooked potatoes, red, yellow, or purple (purple ones look amazing)
1 bell pepper, sliced, I found those cool little guys, red, yellow and orange in a big bag and used 2 of each color, yellow, red and orange.
½ pound green beans, cooked.
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
A handful of black olives, like Kalamata, Nicoise, Greek
2 cans of marinated anchovies, drained
1 can oil-packed bonito tuna, such as Ortiz, drained
Layer the lettuce around a platter.
Add layers of veggies.
Fill in with capers and olives
Serve dressing on the side
Use the dressing recipe below, but add garlic not shallot for this salad…you’ll love it!
Arugula and Pomegranate Salad
So this is an adaptation of one of my favorite salads from Green and Tonic. If you haven’t been to them, you must at least try their acai bowls. This is a super easy salad, but it packs a lot of taste from the pomegranate. I like to use a little extra protein and add candied walnuts, chia seeds, or slivered almonds. I love a little crunch in my salad. But you can always opt for a grilled piece of chicken or salmon.
6 oz. of fresh arugula
⅓ cup of pomegranate seeds
½ cups of crumbled goat cheese
1 peach or bosc pear, diced (depending on season)
White Balsamic Dressing:
1 tablespoon of ground mustard
3 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of honey
½ teaspoon of dry oregano
salt & pepper
SPRUCED + STYLED DRESSING
I can’t fully take credit for this dressing, but like most of my cooking, it’s been altered and adapted to my tasting. I make it all the time and my family (kids included) love it. When I make it, I usually use this dressing bottle, it’s super easy for mix the ingredients together. If you want more of a presentation bottle, try this version.
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (buy here)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon agave
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove pressed or 1/2 small shallot minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh parsley or herbs de Provence
Note that while the Sherry vinegar is expensive, it has such a unique taste and a little goes a long way.
Shake it all together in your new dressing bottle and voila!
HOPE YOU ENJOYED BROWSING MY RECIPES!
So what’s you favorite salad? Please share it below in the comments section.
A few years ago, as we vacationed in our favorite little coastal town of Kennebunkport, I came upon a little jewelry shop called Minka. It was off the beaten path, in a very cool barn-like building. The logo attracted me almost immediately: simple, modern, yet bold. As I walked in, I fell in love with […]
I recently visited a friend whose house is very tastefully decorated. White seems to dominate, but what struck me where the accent pillows. They were exposed like art, inviting you to sit in their lush comfort. I immediately thought this would be a good blog post. Accent pillows will not only spruce up a room, […]
I’m working with Ella and Henry on a collaboration for kids holiday looks. Christine, the owner, offers a refreshing selection of European brands giving New Canaan a much needed twist to kids clothing. From casual and chic holiday styling to the traditional party attire, Ella and Henry meets all my needs. Use code: CHIC-KIDS when shopping and enter […]
I'm Ana-Maria. A New Canaan mom devoted to beauty and family: a passionate stylist, a lover of home decor, a lifestyle blogger. Welcome to my space!
I hope this blog inspires you to explore a new you. Feel free to leave a comment or follow me on social media.