Archive for salad

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Barley and Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

barley spinach salad w:o auto small

This is the second time that I have posted this recipe since I lost it the first time. I love this sooo much, I had to write it again for you all. My friend found this recipe, a long time ago, and gave it to me. The original is here. It is not vegan, so I worked on it a little bit and now I am a little addicted to this stuff. The barley could be exchanged with another hearty grain, like brown rice, but I love the chewy texture of barley, so I never mess with that part. The dressing has tofu that I squish with my hand into the tomato mixture and after stirring it into the salad, it looks like feta cheese. This combination is very satisfying and filling, so you don’t have to rely on another dish to supplement your meal. It is delicious!

Barley and Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

1 c. pearl barley

3 c. vegetable broth

6-8 thyme sprigs

4 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. olive oil

5 c. baby portabella mushrooms, quartered  (the original recipe calls for cremini mushrooms, but baby bellas are my favorite)

4 shallots, thinly sliced

8-10 c. fresh spinach, chopped coarsely

1/3 c. basil leaves, chopped

1/4 c. mint leaves, chopped

1/4 c. sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 c. grape tomatoes, sliced in half

8 oz. firm tofu, drained and crumbled

In a medium saucepan, combine the barley, stock, thyme and half of the garlic. Add about a 1/4 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low and cover and cook about 25 minutes, or until the barley is tender. I let it sit in the remaining broth, if there is any, covered, while preparing the next part.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of the oil and add the mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste and cook over high heat until lightly browned. I had a lot of juice in the pan, so I drained it just a little, leaving about half. Add the shallots and cook until softened. This all only takes about 5-7 minutes. Now combine the barley and the mushroom shallot combination in a large bowl. Add the spinach, basil and mint, but don’t stir it together yet.

I use the same skillet and add the remaining olive oil, heating up to medium high. Add the leftover garlic and cook until just softened. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Cook until it is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are cooked through. Add the crumbled tofu and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until heated through. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve warm or chill in the refrigerator for a cold salad. Yummy either way!

tomato tofu dressing small


Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Cauliflower Barley Red Pepper Salad

cauliflower barley salad small

Its another summer salad recipe! I had never thought of putting cauliflower in my food processor until I saw it done for this recipe. When you put cauliflower in your food processor in small amounts, it turns into something that looks like a mix between feta cheese and couscous. The reason for processing small amounts at a time is to limit the liquid released from the cauliflower. I changed the original recipe a lot, but the cauliflower idea got me thinking of all these great possibilities. The barley in the recipe really hides, but the great nutty flavor and chewy texture are a great match to the rest of the ingredients. That same original recipe also has a great dressing that I only changed slightly by adding a little more pure maple syrup.

Cauliflower Barley Red Pepper Salad

1/2 large cauliflower

2 1/2 c. cooked and cooled pearl barley

3/4 c. celery, chopped

3/4 c. red pepper, chopped

3/4 c. cilantro, chopped

1/2 c. toasted sunflower seeds for garnish


1/3 c. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. flax seed oil, or olive oil

1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Start by grating the cauliflower by using a cheese grater attachment on a food processor, or grating it by hand. Put this in a large bowl and add the cooked and cooled barley, celery, red pepper, and cilantro. Mix this well. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing. Pour this over the cauliflower mixture and stir until well combined. I put this in the refrigerator for about one hour to chill everything before serving.  Scoop a spoonful onto your plate and top with the toasted sunflower seeds. Enjoy!


Monday, July 8th, 2013

Mexican Pasta Salad

Here is another summer salad that I have been making for years. It was originally inspired by a Moosewood recipe. My kids eat the first bowl alone and then they start using corn chips to eat along the side. They LOVE it! It is quite easy to put together and can be made gluten free by using the pasta of your choice.

Mexican Pasta Salad

1/2 pd. chunky pasta of choice, cooked al dente

1 c. fresh of frozen corn

1 c. bell pepper, chopped ( I like red peppers best)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. tomatoes, I love garden fresh tomatoes if possible, but any sweet cherry tomato works well too

1 c. black olives, chopped coarsely

2 tsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. chipotle pepper from adobo sauce, chopped ( these come in a can, found in most grocery stores)

2 tsp. fresh ground cumin

1 tsp. fresh ground coriander

1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Combine the pasta, corn, peppers, beans, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the olive, oil, lemon juice, chipotle pepper, cumin, and coriander and mix well for the dressing. Pour this over the pasta and vegetables and keep stirring until well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the chopped cilantro. You can put this in the refrigerator to chill everything or just eat it right away!

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Vegetable Pad Thai Salad

There probably isn’t a Thai dish that I don’t like. When I order Thai food at a restaurant, I always order extra veggies, because it seems like there just isn’t enough. One of the greatest things about this recipe is that it is not made from a base of noodles, but of veggies. The original recipe is here. I used the sauce recipe almost exactly and it is fabulous! The veggie part of the recipe, I changed just to simplify it because I did not have all the ingredients listed, and it turned out great. The veggies are turned into “noodles”, by spiralizing them. Okay, I don’t have a spiralizer either, so I just used my julienne peeler. It is awesome and I love it. So because everything is raw, this makes for a great salad on a hot day. No cooking required!

Vegetable Pad Thai Salad

2 medium zucchini, julienned

2 medium carrots, julienned

1/2 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced


2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

1/4 c. almond butter

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. water

3 tbsp. pure maple syrup

2 tsp. grated ginger

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl. In a food processor, add the garlic and process til it is minced. Then add all the rest of the ingredients for the dressing except for the sesame seeds. Save them for later. Process until smooth. Pour the dressing over the veggies and top with the sesame seeds.


Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Strawberry Sweet Potato Basil Barley Salad

strawberry sweet potato basil barley

The temperatures here in Utah have been above 100 degrees for about five days now. It feels like a furnace outside because the air is so dry. Our poor air conditioner is trying its best to keep up, but the kitchen is not a really cool place in the late afternoon when I usually feel like creating something delicious for dinner. It has really changed my attitude about cooking lately. Of course I still have the desire to make something yummy, but just not cooking anything. So at this time of year I start making salads for dinner almost every night. I love salads so it is fun to see what I can come up with. I made this salad last night and it felt a little like dessert because of the sweet strawberries and sweet potatoes. The barley was delicious and chewy and fresh basil is good in anything. The dressing was so simple that if you make the barley ahead of time, this whole salad was super easy and fast to make.

Strawberry Sweet Potato Basil Barley Salad

4 c. cooked pearl barley

2 sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled,  and cut into cubes ( I microwaved them)

2 c. cut strawberries

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. olive oil

10 leaves basil, chopped

In a large bowl combine the barley, sweet potatoes, and strawberries. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice and olive oil and then pour over the salad ingredients. Add the chopped basil and stir to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and enjoy. This salad is best eaten on the day that it is made.


Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Cilantro Pesto Veggie Bowl

cilantro veggie bowl small

Cilantro Pesto goes well with so many different foods. It is obviously great on a bowl of pasta and it is great as a sandwich condiment (just think of a roasted veggie cilantro pesto sandwich, YUM!). A spoonful of it on a veggie burrito or enchilada is divine. And it is super good as a dressing for a noodle bowl, or on a bowl of veggies and millet. One cup of millet has 6 grams of protein and 6% of your daily iron needs, as well as a little calcium. It has a lightly chewy texture without a heavy flavor when cooked. I love this stuff. This recipe has lots of steps to cook the veggies, but it does not take long and is not hard so don’t be discouraged. I posted the recipe for Cilantro Pesto here. It makes this recipe complete. The pesto recipe makes enough to have some left over after using it for this combination.

1 c. millet

2 c. water

1 tsp. grapeseed oil

2 large carrots, cut into sticks about 2 inches long

1/4 c. water

4 c. kale, baby leaves or big leaves chopped

1 pd. tofu, sliced into 3 slabs

1 recipe cilantro pesto

handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Add the millet and water together in a 2 qt. pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and keep at a low simmer until the water is absorbed into the millet and turn off the heat. This takes about 25-30 minutes. While the millet is cooking, start cooking the veggies. Add the oil to a heavy bottom pan, preferably cast iron, and heat to medium high. Add the carrots, stir and saute til lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 c. water, cover with a lid, and turn down the heat a little. This obviously steams the carrots. It does not take long to cook til they are tender, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, put the carrots in a bowl, and set aside. Use the same pan and add the 1 tsp. grapeseed oil to saute the kale. Use medium heat and stir frequently because the kale cooks very quickly, about 3 minutes. Put kale into a bowl and set aside. Now just use pan spray on the same pan and heat to medium high again and add the tofu slabs. Remember to be patient while cooking tofu and wait for the edges to turn brown before turning it over so it won’t stick to the pan. Cook both sides until it is lightly browned. Remove from heat and cut the cherry tomatoes in half if you didn’t do it already. Cut the tofu slabs into 1 inch cubes. Now, finally, assemble the veggie bowls! Put 1 c. of millet into a bowl, add a spoonful of carrots, kale, tofu, and cherry tomatoes. Top with about 1 tsp. of cilantro pesto. Stir and eat warm or cold. It is a delicious mix!

cilantro pesto veggie bowl ingredients

cilantro pesto veggie bowl ingredients

pressing tofu

pressing tofu

browned tofu

browned tofu

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Vegan Frog Eye Salad

We have been having a lot of celebrations at our house lately. This is what we call our birthday season, because we celebrate six birthdays in five months. So I spend more time in the kitchen creating more desserts than normal. Plus, at our house, if its your birthday, you get to choose what to have for dinner. So yesterday was my sons birthday and as part of his birthday dinner, I made one of his favorite salads. The Frog Eye Salad gets its name from the main ingredient, acini de pepe pasta, that is shaped like little round balls, or frog eyes! It is really more of a dessert, because it is so sweet, but we call it a salad so we can still have dessert afterwards. This is a dish that is traditionally made with eggs and so for years I rarely made it. Still, this is not a healthy dish by any means, but for a special occasion, this vegan version is a fun treat. This idea is from Sharlene W. at I only changed it a little bit. And it is not hard to make. I never use pudding mixes, so I was not sure how long to mix it to make sure it would set up in the refrigerator, but it did not take long, and it turned out great. My family loved it and could not tell that the recipe had even changed.

Vegan Frog Eye Salad

1 box acini de pepe pasta, 12 oz.

1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained, but save 1/4 cup of the juice

1 3/4 c. milk (I used almond/coconut, but I think any kind of milk would work)

1/4 c. sucanat

1  3.5 oz. box instant vanilla pudding mix

1  8 oz. can crushed pineapple,  drained (I used 20 oz.)

2  12 oz. cans mandarin oranges

mini marshmellows ( I did not add these)

I added:

1 c. coconut

2 c. cool whip

Cook pasta in boiling water til al dente, about 8-10 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.In a large bowl, add 1/4 c. pineapple juice, milk, sucanat, pudding mix. Beat for about 2-3 minutes. It will be very runny, but don’t worry it will set up in the refrigerator. Add in the pasta, crushed pineapple and the tidbits, mandarin oranges. Stir to blend the ingredients. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for five hours. ( I only did this for just over 2 1/2 hours) Stir in the coconut and the cool whip. Serve!


Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Spinach Salad with Red Onion Dressing

My extended family gets together for a potluck dinner every month. We have a tradition of great cooking that goes way back, so there are always lots of super yummy dishes. My nephews wife always makes something delicious including this salad that has come to be a family favorite. I have modified the dressing a little bit, and lately I have been on a binge, eating this salad, or just the dressing and spinach every day for lunch. Sometimes I just make this dressing and keep it in the refrigerator instead of tossing it with the spinach. This is super easy to make!

Red Onion Dressing

1/4 of a red onion

1 tsp. dijon mustard

3 tbsp. canola oil

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. sucanat

1/2 c. raw almonds

1/2 c. dried cranberries

Put onion in a food processor and puree. Add the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the almonds and cranberries, and puree . Put into a container, but don’t scrape the bowl clear leaving a little dressing in the bowl.ow  Now add the almonds and dried cranberries and pulse a few times. I dump the nuts and cranberries into a small cast iron skillet on low heat and stir to carmelize them. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let them cool. Now you can prepare the rest of the salad.

Spinach Salad

8-10 c. spinach, washed and dried

Choose two or more of the following fruits (at least one cup each) to chop and add to the spinach:

strawberries, mangoes, pears, apples ( you could get creative here and add whatever fruit sounds good)

my favorites are strawberries and mangoes

Toss together the spinach, fruit, cooled nuts and cranberries, and dressing. Server right away!



Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Cabbage Salad

March always brings great buys on green cabbage at the grocery store. I love cabbage and look forward to this opportunity to have cabbage a lot! One of the ways my family likes cabbage the best is in this yummy salad. This is so easy and fast. You can make it in a pinch for a side dish.

Cabbage Salad

1/2 head of green cabbage, washed and chopped into bite size pieces

1/4 c. chopped red onion

1 can mandarin oranges, drained and loosely chopped

1/2 c. raw almonds, toasted* and chopped

1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds, toasted*


1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

2 tsp. pure maple syrup

After chopping the cabbage, onion, and oranges, combine them in a bowl and stir. In a separate small bowl mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the cabbage mixture. Mix together well and top with the almonds and seeds. If you don’t eat this right away, the dressing starts to soften the cabbage, which is okay and makes for great leftovers.

*A super easy way to toast raw nuts and seeds is to put them in a nonstick pan or small cast iron pan and turn the heat to medium.  Shake the pan every once in a while until you see them start to turn light brown. It won’t take long(maybe 5 min.) so don’t leave them. Wait for them to cool before trying to chop them up.