Sunday, June 25, 2017

Strawberry Balsamic Salad

One of my favorite parts of my garden is the strawberry patch - when we built three new beds last year, we dedicated an entire one to strawberries, and we're not sorry!  The strawberries have started to ripen the past few weeks here in Minnesota, and they are so delicious - we have enjoyed several batches of shortcake so far, and of course, this salad!  Strawberries and spinach just seem to be made for each other, and the tangy-sweet balsamic vinaigrette, salty cheese, sharp onions, and crunchy almonds take this salad over the top, if you ask me!  I hope you are able to find some locally-grown strawberries in your neck of the woods so you can make this salad with a quickness.  Enjoy! 



YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c flax oil (or more olive oil)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, grilled or broiled
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 quarts strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 4-8 oz baby spinach
  • 1/2 c sliced almonds, toasted

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the balsamic vinaigrette: combine the mustard, garlic, shallot, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegars, and oils in a pint-sized mason jar or other tall container.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  
  2. Pack the salads: add 2 tbsp dressing to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers; reserve the remaining dressing for another use.  Layer the chicken, feta, red onion, strawberries, and spinach in the jars.  Divide the almonds evenly between 4 2-oz jars or 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 almonds.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use your favorite store-bought balsamic vinaigrette in place of the homemade dressing.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, omit the chicken.  For a vegan salad, substitute your favorite vegan feta for the dairy feta.  For a nut-free salad, substitute roasted sunflower seeds for the sliced almonds.  This salad is gluten-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Salade Niçoise

Before social media took over how we humans connect and interact on the internet, blogs used to be an avenue for like-minded individuals to "meet," support each other, and share ideas.  I found so many cool vegetarian and locavore food blogs to follow "back then," and ended up making friends in "real life" with some of those bloggers as well!  Crystal was one of those cool internet people I actually met in real life - and although we haven't seen each other in years, we still follow each other on social media, and I still make her recipe for "Tempeh Niçoise" on the regular.  Her recipe is practically perfect as-is, (and I love love love her vinaigrette recipe, which is basically my standard vinaigrette recipe I vary salad by salad for this here blog project, and pretty much every salad we eat,) but I decided to adjust the recipe slightly for the mason jar, and also to include tuna (which is traditional in a Niçoise) for Rob, as he loves fish.  I hope you enjoy this flavorful, nutritious Salade Niçoise!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher 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 olive oil)
  • 1/4 c capers in brine, drained
  • 16-20 pitted Niçoise or other French olives
  • 2 cans chunk albacore tuna, drained well
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cubed and steamed until tender
  • 1 cup 1-inch pieces green beans, lightly steamed
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 hearts of romaine, shredded


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the 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 using a blender or mini food processor.)
  2. Pack the salads: add 2 tbsp dressing to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers; reserve the remaining dressing for another use.  Layer the capers, olives, tuna, egg, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and romaine in the jars.  Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute your favorite store-bought vinaigrette for the homemade vinaigrette.  Substitute frozen green beans, thawed, for the steamed green beans.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, substitute grilled or broiled tempeh for the tuna.  For a vegan salad, also substitute 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed, for the hard-boiled egg.  This salad is gluten- and nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Black Bean, Quinoa, and Mango Salad

Early into my forays of vegetarian and vegan cooking, I discovered Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks, and both Vegan with a Vengeance and Veganomicon remain favorites at my house.  Isa has the ability to make vegan food both punk rock and entirely accessible at the same time, and I appreciate her recipes for both everyday staples (pancakes, lentil soup, a million tofu and tempeh marinades, black bean burgers) and recipes that push the limits and challenge even the more seasoned cooks (seitan and veggies in mole, jambalaya, apple peanut butter caramel bars.)  Her recipe for "Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango" seems to straddle the boundary between an everyday staple and a limit-pusher - a crowd-pleaser (one of my go-to potluck recipes,) that is simple, nutritious, colorful, deliciously sweet-savory, and just a little bit unusual in its combination of ingredients.  I like this salad so much, it deserves a place in the mason jar salad rotation!



YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 c quinoa, bi- or tri-color (if available in your area)
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
  • 5-10 oz baby spinach


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the quinoa: combine the quinoa with 1 c water in a small saucepan; season with salt.  Bring the quinoa to a boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer 15 minutes.  Remove the quinoa from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork, and cool.
  2. Pack the salads: add 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 tbsp olive oil to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers or mason jars; season with salt and pepper.  Layer the black beans, quinoa, red bell pepper, mango, green onion, cilantro, and spinach in the jars.  Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well, for the 2 cups home-cooked black beans.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: This salad is vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Sushi Salad

We were just talking about sushi the other day - about how there is so much mediocre, overpriced sushi in the world, and about how I find it pretty easy to make sushi at home.  One of the things I most like about making my own sushi is that I can use brown rice, and can control how much salt and sugar goes into that rice.  And, sushi salads!  Sushi salads do away with the fussiness of making my own sushi rolls, and I can load up on the veggies in this Japanese-inspired rice bowl.  Enjoy!



YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp powdered wasabi
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 c short-grain brown rice, rinsed well
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 c shelled edamame (thawed if from frozen)
  • 2-4 oz sushi grade tuna, grilled or broiled medium-rare
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated or julienned
  • 1 large cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 sheets toasted nori, cut into small strips


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the Ginger-Wasabi Vinaigrette: combine the canola oil, sesame oil, 2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar, soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger 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.)
  2. Make the rice: combine the rice, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan.  Bring the rice to a boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked.  Fluff the rice with a fork, uncover, and cool.
  3. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the edamame, tuna, avocado, carrot, cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions, and rice in the jars.  Divide the sesame seeds and nori evenly among four snack-sized zip-top bags or 2-oz jars, one for each salad. Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with sesame seeds and nori strips.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce and prepared wasabi to taste for the Ginger-Wasabi vinaigrette.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian/vegan salad, omit the tuna and increase the shelled edamame to 2 cups.  For a gluten-free salad, substitute gluten-free tamari for the low-sodium soy sauce.  This salad is nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Monday, May 29, 2017

My Favorite Things Salad

As my birthday approaches this week, I chose to feature my two favorite vegetables - artichokes and asparagus - in a fresh, green, flavorful springtime salad.  I included a lemony vinaigrette for plenty of bright flavor, hard-boiled egg for staying power, peppery arugula as the base, and a generous helping of homemade croutons, because, well, it's my birthday, and dang-nabbit, I love homemade croutons.  :)  I hope you choose to celebrate with me by making this salad!


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
  • 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
  • 1 14 oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 1 bunch asparagus, steamed 2 minutes, cooled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 oz baby arugula

DIRECTIONS:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.  
  3. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the artichokes, egg, asparagus, and arugula in the jars.  Divide the croutons evenly between 4 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 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, May 21, 2017

Curried Pineapple Salad

I found inspiration for this salad at one of our local hipster supper clubs.  After enjoying their version of this salad, which contained curried yogurt, dried pineapple, and roasted red peppers, I decided to tweak the ingredients by freshening them up a bit, increasing the portions of veggies, fruits, and greens, and make the whole thing mason jar-ready.  I have also been obsessed with marinading chicken (and tofu) in a pineapple-sriracha marinade lately, which seemed like a natural addition to the original salad ingredients for a more satisfying lunch.  This salad is as delicious as it is gorgeous - and it's super healthy, to boot!  Enjoy.



YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp water (optional - depends on how thick you like your dressing)
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 c pineapple juice concentrate
  • 2 - 4 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 heaping cup fresh pineapple, finely diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 - 2 heads butter or bibb lettuce, roughly torn
  • 1/2 c cashews, roughly chopped and toasted


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the creamy curry dressing: combine the yogurt, buttermilk, mayo, lemon juice, water, honey, curry powder, 1/8 tsp salt, and pepper 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.)
  2. Marinade the chicken: combine the pineapple juice concentrate, sriracha, garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt  in a shallow baking dish.  Add the chicken, turning to coat.  Marinade the chicken thighs in the remaining dressing for 2 hours and up to overnight.  Grill, broil, or roast the chicken.  Cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the chicken, pineapple, red bell pepper, chives, and lettuce in the jars.  Divide the cashews evenly among four snack-sized zip-top bags or 2-oz jars, one 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: Stir 1/2 tsp curry powder into your favorite creamy dressing, such as ranch, to substitute for the homemade dressing.  Use rotisserie chicken in place of the marinated, grilled chicken thighs.  Substitute canned pineapple "tidbits" for the diced fresh pineapple.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, substitute 14 oz extra-firm tofu for the chicken.  For a vegan salad, add 1/2 tsp curry powder to your favorite creamy vegan salad dressing.  For a nut-free salad, substitute sunflower seeds for the cashews.  This salad is gluten-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chinese Chicken Salad

I apologize for the delayed post this week.  We've got a great excuse - we adopted a second dog!  Head over to Team 52 Weeks if you'd like to meet her (and the rest of the crew!)

On to the salad!  We can thank Saveur for this killer recipe, which I slightly modified for the mason jar.  I hope you enjoy the peanutty, Asian-inspired dressing, loads of fresh, crunchy veggies, double-hit of protein, and crunchy, fried wonton strips to finish.  Although this salad is far from traditional Chinese food, it is nothing if not delicious.  Enjoy!



YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 1/4 c rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • additional canola oil, for frying
  • 5 wonton wrappers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • few pinches kosher salt
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, halved if large
  • 1 large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 2 hearts of romaine, shredded
  • 1/2 c roasted peanuts


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the peanut dressing: combine the canola oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, peanut butter, sesame oil, lime juice, dry mustard, honey, toasted sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, and pepper 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.)
  2. Marinade the chicken: reserve 1/2 c of dressing, and marinade the chicken thighs in the remaining dressing for 2 hours and up to overnight.  Grill, broil, or roast the chicken.  Cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces or shred.
  3. Make the fried wonton strips: head 1/2 inch of canola oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Fry the wonton strips, several at a time, until golden brown and crisp.  Use tongs to transfer the strips to paper towels to drain and cool, and season lightly with kosher salt.
  4. Pack the salads: divide the remaining dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the chicken, carrot, sugar snap peas, bell pepper, cucumber, sprouts, green onion, cilantro, cabbage, and romaine in the jars.  Divide the peanuts and fried wonton strips evenly among four snack-sized zip-top bags. Refrigerate until serving.
  5. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with wonton strips and peanuts.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use your favorite prepared peanut sauce for the homemade dressing.  Use rotisserie chicken in place of the marinated, grilled chicken thighs.  Substitute coleslaw mix with carrots for the carrot and Napa cabbage.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, substitute 14 oz extra-firm tofu for the chicken.  For a vegan salad, also substitute agave nectar for the honey in the dressing.  For a gluten-free salad, substitute tamari for the soy sauce and corn tortilla strips for the wonton strips.  For a nut-free salad, substitute sunflower seed butter or soy nut butter for the peanut butter in the dressing, and 1/4 c toasted sesame seeds for the roasted peanuts.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Chef Salad

I accidentally deleted this post that I wrote so carefully.  Ooops!  Here's a delicious Chef Salad.  Enjoy!



YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz diced, cooked ham
  • 2 oz diced, cooked turkey
  • 2 oz diced sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz diced swiss cheese
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, halved, and sliced
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 hearts of romaine, shredded


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the honey-cider vinaigrette: combine the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, pepper, 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.)
  2. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the ham, turkey, cheddar, swiss, egg, carrot, radish, tomato, and lettuce in the jars.  Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use your favorite prepared honey mustard dressing for the homemade dressing.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, substitute your favorite vegetarian deli slices, cubed, for the ham and turkey.  For a vegan salad, also substitute non-dairy cheeses for the cheddar and swiss, and 1 cup rinsed and drained chickpeas for the hard-boiled egg.  This salad is gluten- and nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Stephanie's Wheatberry Salad

My dear friend Stephanie is celebrating a milestone birthday this week!  In honor of her, I'm featuring one of her "signature recipes," adapted for the mason jar.  It's a sweet-savory salad featuring a unique combination of ingredients, hearty whole grains, a triple-dose of protein, and copious amounts of her daughter's favorite leafy green, baby spinach.  Happy Birthday, Steph!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 c wheatberries
  • 1/2 c pearl barley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled or roasted, cooled, and diced
  • 1/2 c sweetened, dried cranberries
  • 4 oz smoked mozzarella, diced
  • 1 large cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 c chopped chives
  • 8 oz baby spinach
  • 1/2 c roasted slivered almonds

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the marinaded wheatberries: bring a small pan of water to a boil.  Add the wheatberries and boil gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the pearl barley and continue boiling for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain the grains, rinse well under cool water, and drain again.  Combine the garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar, and olive 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.)  Combine the cooked grains, dressing, and minced red onion.
  2. Pack the salads: divide the marinaded wheat berries evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the chicken, dried cranberries, mozzarella, cucumber, green onions, chives, and spinach in the jars.  Divide the almonds evenly among 4 2-ounce jars or 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, and top with almonds.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use rotisserie chicken in place of the grilled or roasted chicken breasts.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, omit the chicken.  For a vegan salad, omit the chicken and substitute smoked tofu for the smoked mozzarella.  For a gluten-free salad, substitute 2 cups prepared quinoa for the wheatberry/barley mixture.  For a nut-free salad, substitute roasted sunflower seeds for the almonds.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

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.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Taco Salad

Taco salad is a delicious indulgence you can find on the menu at almost any neighborhood Mexican restaurant.  Fill a gloriously puffy, golden-deep-fried flour tortilla bowl with copious amounts of lard-laced refried beans, shredded cheese, and seasoned ground beef, then garnish with a sprinkle of (often iceberg) lettuce, anemic diced tomato, sour cream, salsa, sometimes guacamole, and a few sliced black olives.  Sounds delicious!  But also ... I feel like I'd need a nap afterwards.  Oof!  Since I feel like a salad should typically be a healthy, frequently-enjoyed meal and not an occasional indulgence, I decided it would be best to keep the spirit and flavor of the original taco salad, but adjust the portions - significantly increase the lettuce and fresh veggies, chill out on the animal fats, and top with a few crushed tortilla chips.  The end result is a taco salad we can enjoy every day, but still tastes as delicious as our favorite Mexican restaurant staple.  (Added bonus?  You won't fall asleep at your desk after this lunch!)


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 c sour cream or light sour cream
  • 1/4 c prepared salsa
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 4-8 oz chorizo, cooked, crumbled, and cooled
  • 4 oz Monterey Jack or pepper-jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large or 2-3 small tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 2-3 hearts of romaine, shredded
  • 1-2 cups corn tortilla chips, lightly crushed

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the salsa dressing: stir together the salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.
  2. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the black beans, chorizo, cheese, red onion, bell pepper, tomato, green onion, and romaine 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 1 cup canned black beans for the cooked black beans.  Use pre-shredded cheese and pre-washed/bagged lettuce.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, omit the chorizo and increase the black beans to 2 cups.  For a vegan salad, make all of the vegetarian swaps, plus omit the cheese and use your favorite vegan sour cream in the dressing.  For a gluten-free salad, choose tortilla chips that are made from 100% corn, and use dressing ingredients labeled gluten-free.  This salad is nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kale Caesar Salad

I consider a traditional caesar salad a treat, rather than a healthy accompaniment to a meal.  What's not to like?  Copious amounts of creamy dressing, rich cheese, croutons, and just enough lettuce to call it a "salad."  However, since we like caesar salads so much, I decided to move this salad out of "treat zone" and into "every day delicious" by bringing a few more nutritious players to the table: a reasonable portion of homemade dressing, vitamin-rich kale, colorful red onion, and filling protein. (And don't forget the croutons!)


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c finely-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, grilled or roasted
  • 2 bunches kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • edible flowers (optional)
  • 1 cup croutons

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the caesar dressing: combine the mayonnaise, parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper 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. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the onion, egg, chicken, kale, and edible flowers (if using) in the jars.  Divide the croutons 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 croutons.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute your favorite prepared caesar-style dressing for the homemade dressing  Substitute 10 oz pre-washed baby kale for the regular kale.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, omit the chicken, increase the hard-boiled eggs to 4, and use vegan worcestershire sauce in the dressing.  For a vegan salad, make all of the vegetarian swaps, plus substitute your favorite vegan mayo and vegan parmesan crumbles in the dressing, and grilled or broiled tofu for the hard-boiled egg.  For a gluten-free salad, omit the croutons or make homemade croutons from your favorite gluten-free bread, and use dressing ingredients labeled gluten-free.  This salad is nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

French Lentil Salad with Bleu Cheese

Confession time (2nd week in a row!) ...  I don't really like lentils.  I am generally a very adventurous eater, and love almost everything, including basically all vegetables, spicy food, ethnic food, and some more uncommon stuff like hemp seeds and nutritional yeast.  But lentils?  Man, they just kinda taste like dirt ... MOST of the time.  However, this salad makes me wanna holler, "gimme the lentils!"  What's the secret?  Fruity extra-virgin olive oil, fragrant parsley, a zippy double-take from red wine vinegar and fresh lemon, and c'mon y'all ... BLEU CHEESE.  Pick your most favorite, high-quality bleu cheese for this one, and you won't be sorry.  :)  I hope you enjoy this salad that will please even the lentil-adverse. Bon appetit!


YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 1/3 c red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 4 oz really good bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 2-4 oz steak, grilled or broiled and sliced
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded or julienned
  • 8-10 oz baby arugula
  • 1/2 small lemon, sliced into 4 wedges

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Make the marinated lentils: add the French lentils to a small saucepan and cover with an inch of water.  Bring the lentils to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Drain, rinse, and cool the lentils.  Add the vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley to the lentils, and stir gently.
  2. Pack the salads: divide the marinated lentils evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the bleu cheese, steak, red onion, carrot, and arugula in the jars.  Add 1 lemon wedge to each jar. Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Squeeze the lemon wedge over the salad.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute 1 15-ounce can of lentils, drained and rinsed, for the cooked lentils.  

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, omit the steak.  For a vegan salad, omit the steak and substitute your favorite homemade or store-bought vegan bleu cheese or cultured tofu. This salad is gluten-free and nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.