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.