Chopped grilled vegetable salad recipe

Photo by Sarah Elliott
Photo by Sarah Elliott

Sometimes, a little freshening up is in order.  I put this chopped grilled vegetable salad on my weekly dinner planner and when I pulled the image for it, I cringed a little.  The photo did not do it justice at all.  This salad is one of my absolute favorites and one that I posted almost 5 years ago.  In all fairness to me, I didn’t even know how to use a camera when I started this blog, and although I am still no photography expert, I think my images have improved since 2011.  So I thought I would pull this post from the archives and give it a facelift, especially on the eve of Memorial Day weekend when you might be inclined to make a fantastic, crowd-pleasing salad such as this one.

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Butternut squash salad with pomegranates and toasted pumpkin seeds

butternut squash salad with pomegranates and pumpkin seeds | pamela salzman

Although I love planning and cooking the whole Thanksgiving meal, a few years ago I decided I was just plain bored with the same old same old.  The problem was that no one else was.  My family and regular Thanksgiving guests wanted no deviation from tradition.  I hinted at the notion that maybe, perhaps I would replace the standard stuffing with a fabulous grain-based recipe I had been testing.  A rebellion!!!  Oh, come on people.  Like you need more bread?  Fine, the stuffing stays.  But that didn’t prevent me from trying to show everyone how overly starchy Thanksgiving is.  So I asked, “Can we do away with the mashed potatoes or make them more interesting with some roasted garlic or cauliflower puree?”  I’m sure you can guess how that went.

 

 

Someone asked me the other day what is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal.  I’ll give you three seconds to guess.  Okay, time’s up.  The vegetables!  Too obvious, I know.  Actually, it’s really the salad that is the highlight of the meal for me because I can change it up every year and it’s the only way I get to have any fun at all.  The beautiful colors of the vegetables do a lot to balance out all that beige, not to mention balance out all the carbs.  I also love eating something raw with all that cooked food.  But from a logistical perspective, salads can be made without the use of a stove or oven, which is a saving grace on Thanksgiving.  And, as if it couldn’t get any better, salads, for the most part, can be prepped in advance.

This butternut squash salad is something I made for Thanksgiving a few years ago and I still make it often for entertaining or for potlucks during the fall.  It’s beautiful, healthful, delicious and showcases the season’s great produce.  I have a theory that fruits and vegetables that grow during the same season usually complement each other very well.

On that note, there aren’t too many fall salads that wouldn’t be more fabulous with the addition of a handful of pomegranate seeds.  In fact, I think every Thanksgiving salad I’ve made in the last 8 years has had pomegranate seeds scattered throughout.  My kids and I are obsessed with them.  It was a happy day in our house the day I came home from the farmer’s market with the first pomegranates of the season.  I’ve even taught my kids how to seed them — Mr. Picky, who is a Virgo, is rather meticulous about getting every last seed out.  We open the pomegranates under water and gently push the seeds away from the peel.  It’s actually quite therapeutic, but more importantly, it keeps me from making a trip to the dry cleaner.  Also, people tell me that the already seeded pomegranates always seem a bit soggy.  They’re certainly much more expensive and why would you pay your grocery store a premium when you’ve got kids to do the job?

butternut squash salad with pomegranates and toasted pumpkin seeds | pamela salzman

butternut squash salad with pomegranates and toasted pumpkin seeds | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranates and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or chopped pecans
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil or unrefined melted coconut oil + 1 teaspoon olive oil for the pumpkin seeds
  • 1 3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾ -inch dice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (I accidentally left it out in this picture.)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces mixed baby greens
  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh pomegranate juice (or orange juice)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • A few twists of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or raw honey
  • 6-7 Tablespoons cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the pumpkin seeds in a skillet and toast over low heat until lightly browned. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Remove from heat and set aside. Try not to eat them all while you’re cooking everything else.
  3. Toss the squash with thyme and olive oil or coconut oil and place on 2 baking sheets. Season with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes, turning once until tender and caramelized.
  4. For the dressing: in a small bowl combine lemon juice, pomegranate juice, shallot, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified.
  5. Place salad greens on a platter and toss with enough dressing to coat lightly. Separately drizzle the butternut squash with some dressing and add to the greens. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds. Taste for salt and pepper.
Notes
Dressing can be made a few days ahead and kept refrigerated.

Pumpkin seeds can be toasted the day before.

Salad greens can be washed and dried a few days in advance and rolled up in a damp kitchen towel or plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator.

Butternut squash can be cut up the day before and kept refrigerated.

Pomegranate can be seeded several days in advance and kept refrigerated.

 

 

Mixed Greens with Grapes, Gorgonzola (or Roquefort) and Almonds

Did you know that grapes have a season just like every other fruit?  Right now is peak grape season in California and they’re scrumptious.  In a few months, the season is over and the grapes in the supermarkets will have been flown in from all sorts of exotic locales that I would love to visit one day.  But for now, we are enjoying organic, locally-grown grapes while they last.  When the season’s over in a month or two, we’re moving on to pears and persimmons.  I always buy organic since grapes are one of the foods on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list, which means they’re pretty heavily contaminated when grown conventionally.

My mother-in-law has a favorite salad that she eats regularly at a restaurant in Park City, Utah and she asked me to copy it at home.  The Grape and Gorgonzola Salad she likes is presented kind of fancy, like a tower with the mixed greens on top, definitely not how I arrange salads at home.  Salads are a dish that are usually the easiest to replicate because you know exactly what’s in there and dressings are generally a ratio of 1 part acid to 3-4 parts oil, plus salt and pepper.  Last year I served this for Rosh Hashana lunch instead of the salad with sauteed apples that I always do,  and we loved it so much it was a repeat this year.

I’m not normally a big cheese eater, but this salad is an example of how I do like to eat cheese.  I usually stick to goat or sheep dairy, which is way more digestible than pasteurized cow dairy for most people.  I will take raw cow dairy over pasteurized for the same reason.  And I like to use a cheese with a bold flavor so that you don’t need very much at all to make a statement.  A little goes a long way.  Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese, more mild than most blues.  The only Gorgonzola I could find at Whole Foods was pasteurized cow, so I selected a piece of genuine Roquefort, a similar blue cheese made from sheep’s milk, which is also rich in lauric acid, a powerful immune boosting fatty acid.  It was a good thing I was in the kitchen this morning when my husband almost threw out the brand new wedge of Roquefort, thinking it was a science experiment gone bad.  All those blue veins kind of threw him off a bit.  He looked at me in disbelief when I told him the mold in the cheese was put there on purpose and it’s actually good for you.  The blue or blue-green mold running through it is called Penicillium roqueforti which is related to the antibiotic Penicillin and helps fight harmful bacteria in the body.  Not something I would recommend to someone who is allergic to mold or is pregnant however, but since I am neither (hooray!), the Roquefort stays.

You may look at this salad and think it seems so simple and boring, but I wouldn’t post it if it were.  You know what it tastes like?  Like all the flavors on a good cheese plate in a salad, which makes me think that you can substitute figs for the grapes and that would be very delicious.  Figs are in season right now, too, I might add.  The grapes are juicy and sweet and pair perfectly with the salty, strong Roquefort and you know how I feel about a little crunch in my salad — thank you, almonds!  But you know where I’m going here — pecans or walnuts for the almonds, any kind of mixed green especially arugula if you’re just cooking for grown ups.  I couldn’t resist a beautiful red-leaf lettuce from JR Organics at the farmer’s market, which I mixed with radicchio for extra color.  Mr. Picky and his younger cousins had their salads with grapes and almonds and got to try the moldy cheese if they wanted to, which they didn’t.  No problem.  I am an experienced mother, who by this point has learned that mold is an acquired taste, after all.

Mixed Greens with Grapes, Gorgonzola (or Roquefort) and Almonds
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Dressing: (really similar to Everyday Salad Dressing #2)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 2 Tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
  • 6 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces of mixed greens
  • 1 cup red grapes, halved
  • ¼ cup (or less) crumbled gorgonzola or other blue cheese
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, salt, pepper to taste, honey and vinegar. Pour olive oil into the bowl in a steady stream, whisking until emulsified.
  2. Mound greens onto a serving platter. Lightly dress the greens with some of the vinaigrette.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly coat the grapes with some of the dressing and scatter on top of the greens (that way the grapes won't get buried.) Top the salad with the crumbled cheese and sliced almonds. Drizzle with any remaining dressing, if needed.

mixed greens with grapes, gorgonzola (or roquefort) and almonds

serves 4

Dressing: (really similar to Everyday Salad Dressing #2)

1 small shallot, minced

½ teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons raw honey

2 Tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

6 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

 

8 ounces of mixed greens

1 cup red grapes, halved

¼ cup (or less) crumbled gorgonzola or other blue cheese

¼ cup sliced almonds

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, salt, pepper to taste, honey and vinegar.  Pour olive oil into the bowl in a steady stream, whisking until emulsified.
  2. Mound greens onto a serving platter.  Lightly dress the greens with some of the vinaigrette.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly coat the grapes with some of the dressing and scatter on top of the greens (that way the grapes won’t get buried.)   Top the salad with the crumbled cheese and sliced almonds.  Drizzle with any remaining dressing, if needed.

Green Goddess Salad

I just spent a lovely four days in Park City, Utah enjoying the clean air and the peace and quiet (outdoors, of course; indoors I have my three kids and two of their friends, so no peace and quiet in the house from noon ’til midnight.)  There are no televisions and I insist that the kids leave the phones in their bedrooms so we can hike and dine without the ping of 6 iPhones.  Heaven.

Of course, with travel comes a deviation from eating the way I like to eat.  I consumed a little too much guacamole and chips a little too late at night, and then someone tried to torture me by buying a container of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.  I had mentioned it was like a more healthful Nutella, not that it was actually healthful.  By the end, I missed my juicer and my garden and all I wanted to eat were salads and vegetables.  In fact, I was craving this Green Goddess Salad while I was on the plane home.

No, I didn’t name this dressing after you.  The original Green Goddess dressing was created at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in the 1920’s, for the English actor George Arliss.  Arliss was staying at the hotel and dined there every evening before he performed in a play called “The Green Goddess.”  There are so many variations on this dressing, the base of which is usually mayonnaise, sour cream and tarragon — the only herb I don’t like.  Can we still be friends?  So considering I am using none of the above, I don’t know if I can actually call it a Green Goddess dressing.  One day last summer, I tried to clean out some little bits of herbs that were lingering and blended them into my own version of the dressing and we all loved it.  So feel free to adjust the recipe according to whatever herbs you have on hand, even if it’s tarragon.  The kids think it tastes a little like ranch dressing.  So I made more the next day and used it as a dip for raw vegetables.

Green Goddess is a creamy dressing that’s a nice break from traditional vinaigrettes, and one that works well with crisp and sturdy lettuces.  There are dozens of ways to enjoy this salad, even as a main course, since so many things work well with the dressing.  Here I used tomatoes and radishes, which are both perfectly obvious, but you can add hard boiled eggs, shrimp, poached chicken, cucumber, avocado, and/or corn.  One day I took a few beefy tomatoes from the garden, sliced them up and drizzled this over.  Whatever you do, don’t leave out the anchovy paste — it really adds a little salty something and doesn’t taste at all fishy.  Your kids and your picky spouse don’t need to know it’s in there.  In fact, they don’t need to know anything other than you made up your own Ranch dressing.

Green Goddess Salad
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, leave washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
  • Any of the following:
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Chopped or sliced cucumber
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Cubed avocado
  • Raw or cooked corn kernels
  • Quartered hard-boiled eggs
  • Dressing:
  • ½ cup whole plain yogurt (regular or Greek)
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 Tablespoons basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped dill (if you have it)
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or two anchovy fillets
  • ½ - ¾ cup unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil (depending on how thick or thin you like it)
  • ¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all dressing ingredients except oil, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. With the motor running, slowly pour in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Toss lettuce in a serving bowl with enough dressing to coat lightly. Either toss remaining salad components separately with dressing or arrange on top of lettuce and drizzle with dressing.
Notes
The original Green Goddess dressing contains lots of tarragon. Feel free to experiment with other different fresh green herbs such as tarragon, cilantro, chervil or mint.

For a dairy-free version, use ½ cup silken tofu in place of the yogurt and increase lemon juice to 3 Tablespoons. I’m sure you could also substitute ½ of ripe avocado, but I haven’t tried that.

Grilled chicken paillard with arugula and lemon vinaigrette

chicken paillard with arugula

By now you have figured out that I promote one meal for the whole family.  I think there is a beautiful connectedness that comes from everyone sharing the same meal and sharing the same energy from that food.  In addition, I believe that we help our children develop better eating habits when we expose them to a wide variety of foods during their lives and we encourage them to try new things.  By giving in to the picky eater in the family and making him chicken tenders or buttered pasta every night because he won’t eat grown-up food, we are basically ensuring that he will grow up with only a taste for “kid cuisine” and the flavors associated with it.  Not only that, who in the world has time to make more than one meal every night?

Mr. Picky is my 7-year-old and he is a challenge at mealtime even though I have done everything right.  I am a great eater and I have set a good example for him (the most important thing.)  I have exposed him to every vegetable and whole grain countless times.  He has helped me prepare dozens of meals.  We have gone shopping together at the supermarket and farmer’s markets.  We have planted seeds and grown our own food.  And he is still a total pain in the ass neck and still quite picky, although he is slowly coming around.  But I am not stressed out about it because Daughter #1 was the exact same way, even worse!  Until one day something clicked and now she eats everything I eat from beet greens and bok choy to millet and muesli.

What does this have to do with chicken paillard and arugula salad when 99% of kids hate arugula?  Of course they hate it.  It is peppery and bitter and their tastebuds haven’t developed to the point that it tastes good to them.  I didn’t like arugula when I was 7, but I am a maniac for it now.  I even grow tons of it in my garden.  So should I cater to the lowest common denominator in my family and prepare arugula-less meals?  Heck no!  I want arugula salads every now and then with a lemon vinaigrette and thinly pounded chicken breast.  It’s one of my favorite quick-fix meals.  But this is where I think flexibility should play a role.   I will cut the chicken into strips and lay them on top of the arugula so that  it is more appealing to my son and I allow him to eat just the chicken.  He can look around the vegetable crisper and see if there’s something else that he would like, such as a raw carrot.  In this way, I am not making him a whole different meal for him and the rest of us get to eat what we want.

No one likes everything, not even me.  I very much dislike papaya, tarragon and poached or runny eggs.  If you dislike arugula, feel free to substitute spinach or a crisp romaine.  If you dislike chicken, you can add steak or chickpeas and shaved parmesan cheese.  This is a great recipe to make for a crowd or for just one.  The photo below shows a big platter I made when my cousin Joanna and her husband Anthony stopped by for dinner.  I literally came home after they arrived at my house and whipped this together in front of them.  The other finished photo at the top is my lunch yesterday when I was working at home testing recipes.  As luck would have it, Mr. Picky came home for lunch and asked if I would share my chicken with him.  My pleasure, as long as I get all the arugula for myself!  One day he’ll be asking for that, too.

 

chicken paillard with arugula

5.0 from 1 reviews
Grilled Chicken Paillard with Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Juice of 1 lemon + 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces arugula
  • 1 tomato, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken breasts one at a time in between to pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound to a ¼-inch thickness. You can use a meat mallet or a rolling pin. The idea is to get the chicken to an even thickness all around. Remove from the paper and place in a glass baking dish and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon on top. Drizzle with an equal amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Heat the grill to medium. In the meantime, prepare the salad dressing. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the inside of a medium bowl with the cut side of the garlic. Add the garlic to the bowl. To the bowl, add 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk to combine. Pour ½ cup olive oil into the bowl, whisking constantly to emulsify. Taste for seasoning and tartness. Add more oil if necessary.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade and grill a few minutes on both sides until golden brown. Place on a cutting board. Arrange the arugula on a platter and drizzle with enough of the dressing to coat lightly. Cut the chicken into strips and arrange on top of the arugula. Scatter tomatoes on top and drizzle a little more dressing. Or arrange the chicken on a platter and top with dressed arugula leaves and tomato.
Notes
I also love this salad with chickpeas, olives, shaved parmesan cheese, or thinly sliced fennel.

Do ahead: you can make the dressing several days in advance and wash and dry your greens in advance, too. Just wrap them in a damp kitchen towel and store in the refrigerator.

 

White bean salad with celery and mint (and sometimes tuna)

Happy summer!  I really can’t believe it’s here, but I am just thrilled to bits.  Even though I still teach during the summer, I find that my schedule with the kids is a little easier and frees me up to spend a bit more time cooking.  The ironic thing is that during the summer, we don’t need to “cook” as much.  The weather is warmer and our bodies can tolerate more raw or lightly cooked foods.  But this has to be my favorite season for just the sheer bounty of vegetables and fruits available.  You can find me literally bouncing around the farmer’s markets in the summer overbuying berries and stone fruits, corn, eggplant, greens and tomatoes.  This past Saturday I bought a bushel of mint that was so gorgeous and fragrant, I couldn’t resist.  But I should have since already I GROW mint on my patio.

I also love summer since we entertain much more frequently and it’s a wonderful chance to catch up with friends.  I enjoyed a little quiet time this morning planning some weekend meals with guests in mind.  I have several new recipes I’ll be trying out, like chicken and vegetable kabobs with chimichurri sauce, black bean burgers with a smoky red pepper spread, and cantaloupe and cucumber salad.  I’m hoping they get the thumbs-up and I’ll post them before the end of the season.  Also, the kids and I have been having fun dipping big chunks of peeled ripe bananas into melted dark chocolate and freezing them.  But in as much as I get excited about experimenting, I also love my favorite stand-bys.

One of my regular dishes in the summer is this white bean, celery and mint salad.  By now you know I have a thing for creamy and crunchy together and I clearly have no self-control when a healthy bunch of mint seduces me.  On a beach day, I like to put the fixings out for a make-your-own sandwich bar.   Whether we choose to eat a quick bite at home or pack the sandwiches to go, this bean salad is always the perfect side to chicken salad, grilled vegetables or a humble turkey on wheat.  It is a great salad to bring on a picnic since the beans and celery don’t suffer after sitting in dressing for hours.  But the recipe is so easy that you might find yourself at home for lunch one day and decide that you can pull a beautiful healthful salad together with that can of white beans in your pantry and a simple vinaigrette.

Beans are a great source of inexpensive, low-fat protein and contain a ton of soluble fiber — so great for helping balance the LDL and HDL levels.  I am pretty good about planning meals in advance, so I will usually soak dried beans and make them from scratch, but opening up a can of Eden Organic beans is just fine, although a tad more expensive.  Sometimes I add canned tuna to this salad and you really need nothing more, although my girls love to take crusty bread and scoop up the salad and eat it that way.  Now would be a good time to mention that I dread BPA, which is a plastic and resin ingredient found in the linings of most cans, as well as water bottles and is associated with several health problems including breast cancer and infertility.  Thankfully, Eden Organics and Vital Choice Seafood do not use BPA in their can liners.

Please stop in again for more fresh, healthful and seasonal recipes to share with family and friends.  I’m looking forward to a great summer!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
White Bean Salad with Celery and Mint (and Sometimes Tuna)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried Great Northern or cannellini beans*
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 stalk celery, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 2-inch piece kombu (if you have it)**
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • Dressing:
  • ¾ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar, preferably unpasteurized
  • ½ teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ cups chopped celery
  • 1 shallot, cut into thin half-moon slices ar ½ red onion, small dice
  • 1 ½ cups loosely packed mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 7-ounces can albacore tuna packed in oil or water (optional), flaked
Instructions
  1. Rinse the beans and pick over for small stones or debris. Soak the beans in cold water overnight with a 2-inch piece of kombu.
  2. Discard the soaking liquid, and place the beans and the other ingredients for cooking them in a 6-quart pot. Add enough cold water to fill the pot half full. Bring to a boil. Simmer 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the beans are tender. Turn off the heat, add the tablespoon of kosher salt and allow to cool in the cooking liquid. Drain and discard the cooking liquid, onion, celery and kombu.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified.
  4. To make the salad, transfer the cooked beans to a serving bowl. Add the celery, sliced shallot, fresh mint and (optional tuna.) Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to blend. Serve at room temperature.
Notes
*Or you can use 6 cups drained and rinsed canned beans, approximately 3 or 4 cans.

** Kombu is a seaweed which helps tenderize the beans and make them more digestible. If you also cook the beans with the kombu, it adds alkalinity. I buy Eden kombu at Whole Foods or from amazon.com

 

white bean salad with celery and mint (and sometimes tuna)

serves 8

 

1 pound dried Great Northern or cannellini beans*

1 medium onion, quartered

1 stalk celery, quartered

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 2-inch piece kombu (if you have it)**

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

 

Dressing:

¾ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar, preferably unpasteurized

½ teaspoon raw honey

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

1 ½ cups chopped celery

1 shallot, cut into thin half-moon slices ar ½ red onion, small dice

1 ½ cups loosely packed mint leaves, chopped

1 7-ounces can albacore tuna packed in oil or water (optional), flaked

  1. Rinse the beans and pick over for small stones or debris.  Soak the beans in cold water overnight with a 2-inch piece of kombu.
  2. Discard the soaking liquid, and place the beans and the other ingredients for cooking them in a 6-quart pot.  Add enough cold water to fill the pot half full.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the beans are tender.  Turn off the heat, add the tablespoon of kosher salt and allow to cool in the cooking liquid.  Drain and discard the cooking liquid, onion, celery and kombu.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified.
  4. To make the salad, transfer the cooked beans to a serving bowl.  Add the celery, sliced shallot, fresh mint and (optional tuna.)  Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to blend.  Serve at room temperature.

 

*Or you can use 6 cups drained and rinsed canned beans, approximately 3 or 4 cans.

** Kombu is a seaweed which helps tenderize the beans and make them more digestible.  If you also cook the beans with the kombu, it adds alkalinity.  I buy Eden kombu at Whole Foods or from amazon.com

 

Avocado, jicama and mango salad recipe

Mexico is close to Southern California, right?  They share a border for goodness sake.  Dare I say Mexico is almost local?  Well, this is convincing I do with myself during April and May.  Why? Because it’s mango season in Mexico and I am MAD for mangos.  Yes, we grow mangos in Southern California, but the season is waaaaaay too short for me and the kids. So I’m basically a hypocrite for a few months to satisfy my addiction to a luscious, fleshy, sweet fruit while the other 10 months of the year I turn my nose at melons in the winter or produce from South America.  I’m downright indignant when I see Chilean plums in February.  Can’t you people wait a few measly months until they’re in season here??

Listen, I’m no Barbara Kingsolver and in as much as I admire her quest to go truly local for a year, except for coffee, I buy plenty of goods that are outside of the 100 mile-radius from where I live.  Those foods include flours, grains and fish from Alaska.  But there are many reasons I believe in buying local produce.  In general:

  • local is fresher, which very often means better taste and higher nutritional value.
  • I like supporting local farms and local businesses.
  • local usually equates to eating seasonally which is a more healthful and more balanced way to stay in harmony with nature.  We are given exactly what we need to eat at just the right time of the year.  For example, melons and cucumbers are cooling foods and are very appropriate to eat during the summer months.  In contrast, pumpkin and butternut squash have a warming thermal nature and help us out in the winter.
  • buying local can have a lighter environmental impact versus importing produce.

But at the moment, I am buying 10 mangos every week for snacks, mixing them with yogurt, blending them in smoothies and using them in this scrumptious salad.  You know how I feel about a good dressing and this one is a favorite.  I actually like it just as much as a dip for crudite.  There is a bit of cilantro in the dressing, but I have had many cilantro-haters come over to the other side after trying this dressing.  Choose a crisp lettuce such as a romaine or butter lettuce and feel free to come up with your own creation.  Other possibilities include tomatoes, cucumbers, cooked pinto beans, grilled shrimp or chicken, toasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds).

While I’m coming clean about the mangos, did I mention the jicama is from Mexico, too?

Avocado, Jicama and Mango Salad
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ cup cilantro leaves and tender stems (lightly packed)
  • ½ cup unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced, about 8 cups
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ medium jicama, julienned or cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Crispy tortilla strips (optional) see below
Instructions
  1. In a blender combine lime and lemon juices, honey, salt, pepper and cumin. Add the cilantro and blend. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and blend until emulsified.
  2. Arrange the lettuce on a large platter and drizzle enough dressing to coat lightly. Place avocado in a bowl and gently toss with enough dressing to coat lightly. Arrange avocado on top of lettuce. Repeat with the jicama and mango. Sprinkle with crispy tortilla strips.

CRISPY TORTILLA STRIPS

 

1 Tablespoon unrefined olive oil

3 6-inch corn tortillas

Fine grain sea salt or additive-free kosher salt

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush the oil over both sides of the tortillas.  Stack the tortillas on top of each other and cut the stack in half.  Then cut the halves crosswise into 1/8-inch thick strips.

Spread the tortillas on a heavy, rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment if desired) and arrange them evenly.  Sprinkle with salt and bake, tossing occasionally for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and cool.

 

Seared wild salmon with beet, blood orange and spinach salad recipe

Seared Wild Salmon Salad with Beets, Blood Oranges and Spinach | Pamela Salzman

Don’t let the fancy name fool you.  This recipe is as easy as it is beautiful and it’s absolutely delicious.  All of this is in season right now — from the wild salmon and spinach to the blood oranges and beets — and it comes just in time for the last Friday of Lent.

This dish reminds me of a nutrition lesson I taught to some elementary school students one year about “eating the colors of the rainbow.”  Nature provides us with a beautiful spectrum of colors from which to choose and those colors represent different phytonutrients — compounds found in plant foods which help protect the plants from viruses and bacteria, but also support our health, as well.

There are thousands of phytonutrients which are classified by family.  But teaching the classification of phytonutrients to fifth graders (or adults) is overwhelming and confusing. All we really need to know is that each color (including white) represents an important set of different health benefits.  In order to maximize our exposure to all these health benefits, we need to eat  a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday in as many colors as possible…..like the colors of the rainbow.

This salad may not cover every color, but it sure gives you a solid start.  One colorful addition to the salad which does not contain phytonutrients, but is loaded with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids is wild salmon.  If you don’t eat fish, the salad is fantastic without it, but if you do eat fish I strongly encourage you to find a good source for wild salmon which is one of the richest sources of Omega-3s that you can find.  Unfortunately the typical American is both lacking in Omega-3s and out of balance in the Omega 3 – Omega 6 ratio, resulting in a highly inflammatory diet.  I bought this lovely piece of sockeye from Vital Choice because I need a consistent source of high quality fish for my classes, but occasionally I can find what I’m looking for in my local markets, including the farmer’s market.

Although I don’t get too worked up about the presentation of my food (I’m much more concerned with how it tastes and its nutritional benefits), it is always nice to eat something that looks as beautiful as it tastes.

To all my students and readers who celebrate Easter, have a lovely holiday!

 

Seared Wild Salmon with Beet, Blood Orange and Spinach Salad
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch medium beets
  • 5 medium blood oranges (or regular oranges)
  • 2 Tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby spinach leaves or arugula, washed and dried
  • 6 filets wild Alaskan salmon, 5 to 6 ounces each
  • zest of one blood orange (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season the fish
  • 4 Tablespoons cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the greens off the beets, leaving about ½ inch of the stems still attached. Save the greens for another time. Wash the beets well and place them in a roasting pan with a ½-inch layer of water on the bottom. Cover tightly with foil (if the foil touches the beets, cover first with parchment, then with foil.) Roast about 50 minutes (or longer for larger beets). When the beets are done, carefully remove the foil. Allow them to cool, and then peel them by slipping off the skins with your fingers. Cut them into ½-inch wedges.
  3. Slice the stem and bottom ends from the blood oranges. Stand the oranges on one end and, following the contour of the fruit with a very sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith. Work from top to bottom, rotating the fruit as you go. Then hold each orange over a bowl and carefully slice between the membranes and the fruit to release the segments in between. Squeeze any juice left in the remaining membrane into a measuring cup. Add any juice from the bowl of blood orange segments to the measuring cup. (Or if you're pressed for time, just slice the oranges into rounds.)
  4. Combine the diced shallot, lemon juice, ¼ cup blood orange juice (if you didn’t reserve enough, you can add regular freshly squeezed orange juice), honey and ¾ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil slowly. Add black pepper and additional sea salt to taste.
  5. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Season the salmon with the zest, sea salt, and ground pepper.
  6. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the oil to the pan and allow to heat up for 1 minute, until very warm, but not smoking. Lay the fish in the pan, seasoned side down, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until it is lightly browned. Turn the fish over, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook a few minutes more, until it is almost cooked through. Do your best not to overcook the salmon. When it is done, the fish will begin to flake and separate a little, and the center will be slightly rare. The salmon will continue to cook a bit more while it sits.
  7. Place the spinach in a bowl and toss lightly with some dressing. Transfer to a serving platter. Place the salmon on top of the spinach.
  8. Place the beets and blood oranges in the bowl and toss lightly with some dressing. Arrange the beets and blood oranges around the perimeter of the platter. Drizzle the salmon with additional dressing, if desired.
Notes
Blood oranges are little more tart than regular oranges, so if you are not using blood orange juice in the dressing, you can balance the acidity with a little extra lemon juice or some rice vinegar.

Do-ahead suggestions: You can prepare your beets, oranges, greens and dressing up to 2 days before.