Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Thank you to Pinch of Yum for the inspiration for this salad.  When I saw her recipe for "Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles" several years ago, I knew I had to make a vegetarian version ASAP.  The sweet-salty-spicy-tangy dressing called to me, and I have an almost unholy love of rice noodles.  I gathered and prepared my ingredients, swapping in browned tofu for the chicken, and I also decided to pack my salads "upside down," in a few quart-sized mason jars I had lying around, in imitation of my coworker who had been bringing salads to work for lunch in just such a fashion.  This recipe was, indeed, my first-ever attempt at a mason jar salad lunch!  I have fond memories of enjoying this salad while hanging out in the car in-between home visits on a cold, grey, January afternoon.  This salad brightened up my day then, and I hope it does to yours this week!



YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp lime juice
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 serrano peppers, sliced
  • 6 oz rice noodles, prepared, rinsed under cool water, and drained well
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, grilled or roasted and shredded
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, halved, and sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 package fresh mint leaves, julienned
  • 1 small head napa cabbage, shredded


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the serrano-lime dressing: combine the garlic, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, and oil in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients using a blender or mini food processor.)  Stir in the sliced serranos.
  2. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the noodles, chicken, carrot, bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, mint, and cabbage in the jars.  Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use rotisserie chicken in place of the grilled or roasted chicken thighs.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian/vegan salad, substitute grilled or broiled tofu for the chicken..  For gluten-free diners, use gluten-free tamari.  This salad is nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Asparagus and Egg Salad with Fresh Dill

We all have our favorite sources for rock-star recipes: battered-splattered-dog-eared cookbooks, traditional family favorites, and, in the last 10 years or so, the Internet.  Those of us who cook frequently from the Internet can all agree ... not all online recipes are created equal!  I'm sure we all have our go-to sites for recipes that rarely disappoint - my bookmarks skew generally in the direction of Real Simple, Smitten Kitchen, New York Times Cooking, King Arthur Flour, Pinch of Yum, and The Kitchn.  This week's salad is inspired by this sandwich recipe, courtesy of The Kitchn.  While the linked sandwich is pretty much my favorite spring lunch ever, (and packs especially well for squelchy early-spring hikes,) sometimes I want a lunch that is more greens-forward.  Salad to the rescue!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 4-6 oz baguette or other crusty bread, cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or grated
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 1 bunch asparagus, steamed 2 minutes, cooled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 c fresh dill fronds
  • 8 oz baby arugula


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the pickled onions: toss the sliced red onion with the red wine vinegar and pinch kosher salt.  Allow to marinade at room temperature for 20+ minutes.  Drain, reserving the onions.
  2. Make the croutons: preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss the bread cubes with the 2 tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and large garlic clove.  Bake the croutons for 10 - 15 minutes, or until evenly dried and golden brown.  Cool.
  3. Make the lemon vinaigrette: combine the lemon zest and juice, garlic clove, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/4 c olive oil, and 1/2 tsp dijon mustard.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  
  4. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the pickled onion, egg, asparagus, dill, and arugula in the jars.  Divide the croutons evenly between 4 snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  5. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with croutons.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use prepared croutons, pre-cooked/peeled hard-boiled eggs, and frozen asparagus (thawed and drained,) in place of the homemade croutons, home-cooked egg, and steamed asparagus.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: This salad is vegetarian and nut-free as-is.  For a vegan salad, double the dressing, marinade a 14-oz package of extra-firm tofu in half the dressing, then grill or broil the tofu and substitute for the hard-boiled egg.  For gluten-free diners, substitute your favorite gluten-free bread for the baguette.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Spring Salad with Radish and Peas

Hellooooooooo spring!  We have been enjoying warmer temperatures and loads of sunshine here in Minnesota the past couple weeks, and I'm thrilled to see chives and garlic beginning to poke up in my garden.  While it's still a bit too early to expect any substantial produce from my garden yet, I can rely on grocery store staples for this ultra-springy salad - green peas, radishes, shallots, and tender lettuce combine with hard-boiled egg (anybody have a surplus of those this week??) a creamy-herby dressing, and garlicky homemade croutons for a fresh, bright, super-flavorful salad to welcome in this new season!  Enjoy!



YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4-6 oz baguette or other crusty bread, cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or grated
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed and drained
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 1 bunch radishes, stemmed and sliced
  • 1-2 heads butter or bibb lettuce, coarsely torn into bite-sized pieces


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the croutons: preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss the bread cubes with the oil, salt, pepper, and large garlic clove.  Bake the croutons for 10 - 15 minutes, or until evenly dried and golden brown.  Cool.
  2. Make the buttermilk-herb dressing: combine the buttermilk, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and garlic clove in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients using a blender or mini food processor.)  Fold in the parsley and chives.
  3. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the shallots, green peas, egg, radishes, and lettuce in the jars.  Divide the croutons evenly among 4 snack-sized zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with croutons.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use prepared croutons in place of the homemade croutons.  Use your favorite prepared creamy ranch or buttermilk dressing for the homemade dressing.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: This salad is vegetarian and nut-free as-is.  For a vegan option, use your favorite creamy vegan salad dressing, and substitute grilled or broiled tofu steaks for the hard-boiled egg.  Substitute your favorite gluten-free bread for the baguette for a gluten-free option.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Roasted Sweet Potato, Wild Rice, and Arugula Salad

This salad doesn't look like much at first glance, but appearances can be deceiving.  I love everything about this salad: the slightly caramelized sweet potato, chewy and bitter wild rice, tangy and lemony dressing, salty feta, rich and crunchy cashews, and peppery bite from the arugula.  This is one of my favorites, and makes its way into regular rotation at our house for healthy, convenient, grab-n-go lunches.  If you enjoy this salad half as much as I do, you won't be sorry you made it!  Enjoy!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 c freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp olive or canola oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 c wild rice, boiled until tender, rinsed, and drained
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • 5-8 oz arugula
  • 1/2 c roughly-chopped cashews


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the dressing: combine the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, honey, and garlic in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)
  2. Roast the sweet potatoes: preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss the sweet potatoes with the canola oil and chili powder.  Roast until the potatoes begin to brown around the edges.  Cool.
  3. Pack the salads: combine the dressing, cooked wild rice, and roasted sweet potato and divide evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the feta and arugula in the jars.  Divide the cashews evenly among 4 2-ounce jars or snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with cashews.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use 2 cups pre-cooked wild rice for the boiled wild rice. 

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: This salad is vegetarian and gluten-free as-is.  For a vegan salad, omit the feta, and substitute agave for the honey in the dressing.  Substitute unsalted sunflower seeds for the cashews to accommodate tree nut allergies.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cobb Salad

I love the mnemonic device invented to help us remember the ingredients in a Cobb salad - EAT COBB.  (Egg, Avocado, Tomato, Chicken, Olives, Bacon, Bleu Cheese.)  Eat Cobb?  Don't mind if I do!  Pile all of those delicious toppings on a bed of romaine, drizzle over some chive vinaigrette, and you've got yourself a filling, healthy, and delicious lunch.  Yum!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c flax oil (or more extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 1 small avocado, quartered, peeled, and sliced
  • 2-4 oz cooked chicken
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 2-4 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 c sliced black olives
  • 1 c cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 hearts of romaine, shredded
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked, crumbled, and cooled

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the chive vinaigrette: combine the mustard, garlic, shallot, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegars, and oils in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)  Stir in the chives.
  2. Pack the salads: add 2 tbsp dressing to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers.  (Reserve remaining dressing for another use.)  Layer the avocado, chicken, egg, bleu cheese, black olives, tomato, and romaine in the jars.  Divide the bacon evenly among 4 snack-size zip-top bags or 2-oz jars for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with bacon.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute your favorite prepared herb vinaigrette for the homemade chive vinaigrette.  Substitute pre-cooked bacon and hard-boiled eggs for the cooked, crumbled bacon and home-cooked egg.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, substitute your favorite vegetarian chicken substitute for the chicken, and smoked almonds, commercial vegetarian bacon crumbles, or coconut bacon for the cooked, crumbled bacon.  This salad is gluten-free and nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

BBQ Chicken Salad

When I hear the word "barbecue," I think, "indulgence!"  Barbecue usually includes piles of grilled or smoked meats, biscuits, corn bread, mac and cheese, deep-fried veggies, and mayo-drenched coleslaw.  This salad, however?  Light, crunchy, sweet, salty, spicy, tangy, satisfying, protein-packed, and one of the most delicious things I've eaten in a long time.  Lighten up your lunches this week with this incredible BBQ chicken salad!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 c prepared BBQ sauce, divided
  • 1/4 c ranch dressing
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 ears corn, grilled, cooled, and kernels cut off cobs
  • 2-4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 hearts romaine, shredded
  • 1-2 cups tortilla chips, lightly crushed

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the BBQ chicken: marinade the chicken thighs in 1/4 cup BBQ sauce for 2-12 hours.  Grill or roast the chicken.  Cool, then dice or shred the chicken.
  2. Pack the salads: add 1 tbsp ranch dressing and 1 tbsp BBQ sauce to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the chicken, black beans, red onion, corn, cheese, tomato, and lettuce in the jars.  Divide the tortilla chips evenly among 4 snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with tortilla chips.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute prepared rotisserie chicken for the marinated, grilled chicken thighs.  Substitute canned black beans for the cooked black beans.  Cook 1 cup frozen corn kernels in 2 tsp olive oil until lightly browned, and substitute for the grilled corn.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, substitute extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed, for the chicken.  For a vegan salad, substitute tofu for the chicken, vegan cheddar for the dairy cheese, and also your favorite prepared creamy vegan salad dressing for the ranch dressing.  For a gluten-free salad, choose ranch and BBQ sauce labeled gluten-free, and choose 100% corn tortilla chips.  This salad is nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Luck O' the Irish Salad

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  My family heritage includes a substantial link back to Ireland, so my family typically celebrated Saint Patrick's Day when I was a kid.  While many traditionally Irish foods do not, at first, appear to transition well to a salad, (colcannon, shepherd's pie, boiled dinner, soda bread, etc.) I thought it might be fun to give it a try - to devise a mason jar salad celebrating some of the traditional foods of Ireland.  Start with a chive-loaded vinaigrette, layer in some corned beef, steamed potatoes, green peas, onion, carrot, cabbage, and kale, and finish with mini soda breads on the side!  A nutritious, veggie-packed, surprisingly delicious way to offset some of those extra calories you may or may not consume this week in the form of green beer (or Guinness!)  Slainte mhath!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c raisins or dried currants
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 c + 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c flax oil (or more extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 2-4 oz corned beef, diced or shredded
  • 1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cubed and steamed until tender
  • 1 c frozen green peas, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, grated or julienned
  • 1/2 small head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small bunch kale, stemmed and shredded

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the mini soda breads: preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Whisk together the flour sugar, salt, baking soda, and caraway seeds.  Cut in the butter using a fork or pastry blender, then stir in the raisins/currants.  Stir in the egg and buttermilk just until blended.  Place 1/4-cup sized scoops of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the mini breads begin to brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  2. Make the herb vinaigrette: combine the mustard, garlic, shallot, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegars, and oils in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)  Stir in the minced fresh herbs.
  3. Pack the salads: add 2 tbsp vinaigrette to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers.  (Reserve the remaining dressing for another use.)  Layer the corned beef, potatoes, peas, onion, carrot, cabbage, and kale in the jars.  Pack 1 mini soda bread for each salad.  (Enjoy the remaining soda breads for breakfast or share with others!)  Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Break the soda bread into small chunks and add to your salad, or enjoy your soda bread on the side.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute store-bought soda bread for the homemade soda bread, or omit.  Substitute your favorite prepared red-wine vinaigrette for the homemade herb vinaigrette.  Substitute bagged cabbage/carrot coleslaw mix for the shredded cabbage and carrot.  Substitute 5 oz baby kale for the stemmed, shredded kale.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, substitute smoked almonds or diced smoked tofu for the corned beef.  For vegan soda bread, substitute your favorite non-hydrogenated margarine for the butter, plant milk + 1 tsp vinegar for the buttermilk, and commercial egg replacer for the egg white.  For a gluten-free salad, omit the soda bread, or use your favorite gluten-free flour blend.  This salad is nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.