Arugula Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese

Arugula Salad with Peaches

Does anyone else literally drool over the peaches every single time they walk by the market? These days, I sure do! The peaches this year are absolutely beautiful and I must say, I have definitely made a couple ‘peach stops’ in the past few weeks and they taste as good as they look. Given that my eye has been on the peaches, I made this recipe last week for my book club and it was not only beautiful but also tasted yummy. Enjoy!

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese
 
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Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 4 peaches on the firm side of ripe
  • 6-8 cups arugula
  • 1 bunch basil, chopped
  • Approximately 4 oz crumbled goat cheese – more or less to your liking
  • Additional freshly ground black pepper, optional
  • Apple cider or a simple lemon vinaigrette
Instructions
  1. Slice the peach in half and remove pit. Cut each half into 3-4 slices.
  2. Place arugula in salad bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette to coat all the leaves. Divide onto plates.
  3. Divide peaches onto plates. Sprinkle each with basil and goat cheese.
  4. Grind a little extra pepper over each, if you like.

Photo Credit: Blue Kitchen

Your Guide to Any Vinaigrette

VinaigretteI always make my own salad dressings and the reason for that is that it is super easy and it allows you to avoid any hidden ingredients. I’d say my most common is a flax oil apple cider vinaigrette.  I prefer flax oil for mixing dressings because it has 50 to 60 percent omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and are helpful in preventing chronic diseases like arthritis and heart disease. Whereas olive oil contains mostly omega-6 fatty acids, which are important, but can actually promote inflammation. I prefer apple cider vinegar over other types because it does have alkalizing properties whereas most vinegars are acidic. But that being said, below is your guide to making any vinaigrette.

Your Guide to Any Vinaigrette
 
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Serves: 1.5 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (or ½ cup olive oil and ½ cup flax oil)
  • ½ cup vinegar of choice (apple cider, balsamic, red wine, etc.) or lemon, lime, orange juice , etc.
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper (and/or other herbs: basil, cumin, rosemary, ginger, paprika, etc.) to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Whisk until thickened or place in food processor and mixed until smooth.

Serving Suggestion: Add a Tbsp of tahini for a creamy texture, or honey for sweetness

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Black Quinoa is a fun alternative to normal quinoa as it gives your dish a fun look. I made this the other night for my book club and the first compliment I got was on how good it smelled (thanks Alli) followed by several compliments on the taste. It is super easy to make for a big group and most importantly can be made ahead of time which is great when you are entertaining! You can find my homemade pesto recipe here.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry black quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ – 2 cups pesto (more if needed)
  • 2 cups fresh basil, chopped
  • ¾ cup feta cheese (omit of looking for a vegan version)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Olive oil (drizzle as needed)
Instructions
  1. Combine the water and quinoa in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Fluff with a fork and add stir in spinach while quinoa is still warm. Stir in pesto once spinach is mixed in.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Add quinoa and basil and mix well. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on top and add feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss everything together. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until serving.
  4. Serving suggestion: Can use any combo of veggies bell pepper, olives, zucchini, etc.

Recipe modified from Eat, Live, Run.

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

 I do have another Brussels Sprout Salad up but this salad actually tastes quite different due to the dressing and the addition of Kale. One of my all time favorite salads is the Dino Kale Salad at The Plant so I chose to add cherry tomatoes to this dish. It is quick, healthy and delicious!

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
 
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Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1½ lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced – this cannot be a hard crunchy kale, it needs to be a softer kale in order for the texture to turn out right. TJ’s precut kale won’t work…
  • 12 oz brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ⅓ cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino (can omit if looking for a vegan version)
Instructions
  1. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, ½ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
  2. Measure ½ cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 Tbsp. oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.
  3. Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

Serving Suggestion: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing

Caesar Dressing

Every year my Supper Club and I get together and have a tradition that includes a Caesar salad, paired with a buttery Chardonnay :). That being said, we have tried a few different recipes and this one is absolutely delicious and is much healthier than many of the recipes you’ll find out there. Whip it up, serve with some romaine and homemade croutons (don’t forget the Chard) and and you are good to go!

Be sure to check out my Kale Caesar Salad (using this dressing) that was featured on Mind Body Green!

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing
 
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Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Worchester sauce (vegetarian versions are available at health food stores)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups good mild olive oil – add more if consistency is not as desired
  • ½ – 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Place the mustard, garlic, Worchester sauce, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube until thick.
  3. Add the grated Parmesan cheese, starting with a half of a cup and mix well. Add more cheese until you have your desired consistency.

Serving Suggestion: This can be made in advance but be sure it’s at room temperature when you assemble the salad.

Photo Credit: Whole Foods

The Best of 2011

It’s hard to believe FLB has been going strong for a year. Below is a year in review of the best recipes of 2011! It’s been a great year and here’s looking forward to an even better and healthier 2012! Happy New Year to you all.

January: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

February: Cilantro and Lemon Flax Vinaigrette

March: Warm Garbanzo and Quinoa Salad

April: Vegetable and White Bean Stew

May: Sesame Crusted Tofu Stir Fry

June: The Cookie-less Cookie

July: Raw Zucchini Pasta

August: The Ultimate Veggie Burger

September: Pea and Mint Dip

October: Baked Kale Chips

November: Harvest Bread

December: Brussels Sprout Salad

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts and Manchego Cheese

Brussels Sprout Salad

My dear friend made this for our Supper Club and I couldn’t believe how good and how simple it it was. Combining the lemon juice with the raw brussels takes all of the bitterness away. I have made it several times since and it is a hit. The manchego is a compliment to this yummy salad but you can always omit if you are looking for a vegan version!

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts and Manchego Cheese
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 10 -12 oz (approx 3 cups) Brussels Sprouts, trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher Salt
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup (3 oz) coarsely grated Manchego cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 min. or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a place to cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
  2. In a food processor, shred the brussels sprouts (I pulsed them). Transfer to a medium serving bowl. Toss the brussels sprouts with the lemon juice and 1 tsp kosher salt and let stand for 5 min.
  3. Add the toasted walnuts, olive oil and Manchego and toss. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Photo Credit: Juxtapost