Greek Tabbouleh Salad

Greek Tabbouleh Salad TasteFoodWhen it’s super hot outside (like now), who wants to cook? (Not me!) In the heat of summer, dinner prep should be low maintenance with oodles of fresh ingredients. I like to make all kinds of salads brimming with crispy garden vegetables, often including a grain or legume and not-so-much heavy meat protein. These salads can stand in for a light dinner, or accompany anything fresh off the grill. Tabbouleh salad is a favorite of mine, a Middle Eastern mixture of bulgur wheat, handfuls of fresh herbs, peppers and spice. It’s light yet substantial with a kick of heat to wake up any lazy tastebuds enjoying a siesta.

Greek Tabbouleh Salad
Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 cups bulgur
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, diced
1 poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup crumbled feta

Combine the bulgur, water, and lemon juice in a bowl. Cover the bowl and let stand until the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender, about 20 minutes. Add the oil, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne and stir to blend. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. If the bulgur is too dry, add additional olive oil to achieve your desired consistency. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop. Serve as is, or add to pita pockets with spoonfuls of tsatsiki and harissa.

 

Holiday Sides: Kale, Quinoa, Pomegranate Salad

kale quinoa salad tastefood

~ Kale, Red Cabbage, Quinoa, Carrots, Pomegranate, Raisins, Almonds ~

Just because there’s a chill in the air doesn’t mean we should skip fresh salads. In fact, at this time of year it’s more important than ever that we boost our immune system with healthy greens and grains – and not just for keeping the doctor away. Hardy cold weather salads are a welcome addition to any holiday table. Deeply flavorful and unabashedly colorful, wintery salads are hefty enough to absorb copious handfuls of nuts, fruit and grains while providing a beautiful addition to a special meal. Even the non-meaters will gobble them up, while the vegetarians will be very pleased with this substantial option.

This is one of my favorite cold weather salads. Brimming with curly kale, red cabbage, and quinoa, it could be a meal in a bowl. The addition of dried raisins, toasted almonds and glistening pomegranate seeds adds all the extra bling necessary to invite this salad to your Thanksgiving dinner. The key to this recipe is to massage the kale. Yes, that’s right. By gently rubbing the leaves in oil, lemon and salt before assembling, the leaves will be coaxed into a softer and milder version of themselves, making for a delicious raw salad.

Kale, Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad

Unlike most salads, this may be entirely prepared up to 1 hour in advance, which is ideal for entertaining. Serves 6 to 8.

Kale:
1 large bunch curly green kale, ribs removed, torn in bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Dressing:
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:
1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage (or radicchio)
1 to 2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup cooked quinoa (I used red)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

For the kale: Place the kale in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Using your hands, gently rub the leaves to coat for about 1 minute. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (or refrigerate for up to 2 hours).

For the dressing: Whisk the garlic, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly to emulsify.

Assemble the salad: Add the cabbage, carrots, shallot and quinoa to the kale. Add half of the dressing and toss to combine. Scatter the raisins, almonds and pomegranate seeds over. Gently toss with more dressing to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

Peppery Potato Salad

pepper potatoes tastefoodNo-Mayo Potato Salad with Sweet and Spicy Peppers  

This no-mayo potato salad is packed with peppers. Early fall yields a rainbow of pepper fruit at the farmers market – sweet bells, cherries, hungarian, fresnos, jalapanos and poblanos – it’s impossible not to scoop up a bag’s worth of these beauties simply for their colors and impossible shapes. The trick is to find all sorts of ways to put them to use. Here is one – this peppery potato salad.

The key ingredient in this salad (aside from the peppers and potatoes!) is white balsamic vinegar which lends a gentle fruity acidity. Do not substitute traditional balsamic vinegar as its dark color and syrupy consistency will overwhelm the salad. Use, instead, a high quality white wine vinegar and add 1 teaspoon of sugar to the salad.

Peppery Potato Salad

A little spice is nice! Mix up the peppers to your taste, adding a combination of sweet and hot peppers. Serves 6 to 8.

2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
Sea salt
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons dried mustard, such as Colmans
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, optional
1 poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 to 2 Jimmy Nardello or sweet Italian red peppers, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1/2 bunch green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves

Quarter the potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and add 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add the vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil, the mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and chili flakes. Stir to combine, breaking up any large chunks of potatoes, and let stand at room temperature until lukewarm, about 30 minutes.
Add the 1/4 cup olive oil and the remaining ingredients. Stir to thoroughly combine, and taste for seasoning. You may want to add a little more salt or a pinch of sugar, depending on the sweetness of the peppers.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Kale Tabbouleh Salad

kale tabbouleh tastefood

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern bulgur salad redolent with lemon and garlic and chockablock full of fresh herbs. It’s a great summertime meal, when it’s too hot to cook. I like to serve it as a part of a mezze or small plates, accompanied by feta, olives, and hummus. This recipe adds kale to the mix, reducing the amounts of the traditional parsley and mint, and resulting in a healthy hearty and very addictive salad. 

Kale Tabbouleh
Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 cups bulgur
1 1/4 cups hot water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 bunch curly green kale, tough ribs removed, torn small pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 red jalapeno or fresno chile pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the bulgur, water and lemon juice in a large bowl. Let stand until the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender, about 20 minutes. Add the kale and olive oil and stir for about 1 minute to coat the kale with the oil and soften the leaves. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to let the flavors develop.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Asparagus Mimosa with Quinoa
Farro Pilaf
Greek Couscous Salad

Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Lime Sauce

Shrimp Salad TasteFood~ Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Lime Sauce 

Consider this a deconstructed spring roll. If you like fresh rice paper spring rolls, then  you’ll love this salad. All the goodness stuffed in a Thai or Vietnamese roll – rice noodles, shrimp, veggies, fresh herbs and chiles – is jumbled together in a big bowl of salad. The result? Great flavor, minus the labor, and a perfect meal for a warm evening. The sauce is the magic touch that pulls this colorful dish together. It has all of the right ingredients in my opinion: ginger, garlic, sriracha, lime and peanut butter. The trick – which I discovered on this blog and slightly adapted – is blitzing everything together in a food processor (including the lime sections!) to form a thick potent paste. Brilliant. I’ll be coming back to this recipe over and again during the hot summer months ahead.

Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

Dressing:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 lime, peel and pith removed, quartered
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons coarsely grated peeled ginger with juices
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 teaspoons runny honey

Salad:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound large (18/20) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt
4 ounces rice noodles, cooked per manufacturer’s instructions, room temperature
3 scallions, ends trimmed, white and green parts sliced on the diagonal
1 large carrot, cut in matchsticks
1/2 English cucumber, seeded, cut in matchsticks
2 cups coarsely chopped Napa cabbage
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 red jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup fresh coriander sprigs, coarsely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts for garnish

1. Place all of the dressing ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp in one layer, sprinkle with the red pepper flakes, and lightly season with salt. Cook until the shrimp are pink on both sides and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a plate.
3. Place the rice noodles, scallions, carrot, cucumber, cabbage, bean sprouts, snap peas, jalapeño, mint, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and half of the dressing and toss to combine.
4. Divide the salad among plates. Scatter the peanuts over the salads and garnish with additional mint and cilantro. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Marinated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

Beets Bunch TasteFood

I am a converted beet lover. It took a good long time for me to reconcile with their earthy taste. I gazed at beets from the sidelines, attracted to their vibrant magenta and ochre hues, aware of their nutrient-rich flesh, yet I shuddered at their earthy flavor. As a cook, I wanted to love them. As a parent, I wanted to serve them. So, I willed myself to eat beets until I learned to appreciate them.

At first, I took baby steps. I nibbled small bites. I  dressed them with citrus which tamed their earthiness. I grew bolder and roasted beets in olive oil, discovering that fire and char nicely balanced their robust flavor. My go-to beet became the golden variety, which is pleasantly mild and nuttier than its assertive red cousin. And, eventually, I succeeded. Now, I am a card carrying beet lover, frequently offering them at our dinner table. I serve them roasted with meats, sauteed and tumbled with farro, gratineed or in salads.

Beet Goat Cheese Salad TasteFood

This recipe is one of my family’s favorites. The beets marinate in their roasting oil with lemon juice, which is also used to dress the salad.

Marinated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios
Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 pounds red or yellow beets
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
6 cups arugula or mixed baby greens, washed and dried
1/2 cup fresh crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, cut in chiffonade
1/4 cup chopped chives

Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C.) Place beets in a baking dish. Pour oil over the beets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover dish tightly with foil. Roast the beets until tender, about 1 hour. Remove beets from baking dish and transfer to a plate to cool. Pour cooking oil into a small bowl and reserve.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin. Cut the beets in 1-inch chunks and place in a large bowl. Add lemon juice and vinegar to the reserved oil. Whisk to combine and taste for seasoning. Pour dressing over the beets and gently toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate beets for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To serve, place the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle some of the marinade over the arugula and toss to combine. Divide among serving plates. Spoon beets into center of the greens. Sprinkle with goat cheese, pistachios, mint and chives. Drizzle with additional dressing to taste.

Autumn Salads: Spinach with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, Walnuts and Crispy Prosciutto

Spinach, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, Walnuts, Cranberries, Orange Vinaigrette

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we can’t have a salad. In fact, when the temperature drops, it’s even more important to eat vitamin and nutrient-rich vegetables. We might be craving stews and braises in the warmth of the kitchen, yet there is still a place for a salad on the menu. Fall salads are more robust than their summer counterparts. What they might lack for in heat, they make up in substance. Sturdy earthy greens, such as spinach, chicories, kale or radicchio, move into the salad bowl. Nuts and seeds add nutrients and heft. Dried fruit or seasonal pears, apples, persimmons and pomegranates add sweetness and color. Dressings become more rich and intense, with mustard, aged balsamic vinegar and garlic. Cheese and salume crown the salad, bringing a satisfying umami quality, as well as salt and extra protein. The variations are numerous, but you can be sure the results will be delicious and perfectly in season.

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries, Walnuts and Crispy Prosciutto

Serves 2 to 4.

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 small garlic clove,  minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:
2 ounces prosciutto
8 ounces baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Make the vinaigrette:
Whisk all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl. Add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Taste for seasoning.

Prepare the salad:
Heat oven to 350 F. Arrange the prosciutto in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake in oven until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Break in to shards.
Place the spinach, walnuts and cranberries in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing. Toss to combine. Add more dressing to desired taste and toss again. Arrange on serving plates. Crumble the goat cheese over the spinach, then scatter the prosciutto shards over the salad. Sprinkle with orange zest.

If you like this, you might enjoy these hearty salads:
Roasted Beets with Feta, Mint and Pistachios
Kale and Quinoa Salad
Mixed Greens with Roasted Beets, Wheat Berries and Goat Cheese