Costa Rican Inspired Cabbage Cups

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I was so excited to head to the farmer’s market last Sunday! With the holidays and our trip to Costa Rica, it has been a long time since I was there and I couldn’t wait to see what was fresh and new. I always go to the farmer’s market looking to get my veggies to roast for the week but I generally also go knowing that lunch is on the horizon so I look for inspiration from what is available to create a new meal. I’ve made recipes like my Pea Salad and Green Panzanella this way.

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Mango & Avocado Salad

Mango & Avocado Salad

This salad brings me right back to a warm sandy Hawaiian beach – and who doesn’t love a trip (whether a real one or a mental one) to those lovely islands?! That kind of trip is especially needed right now as SF ‘summer’ has been in full effect the past few weeks… I’ll continue dreaming of warm summer nights but if you need some tips on cutting a mango, take a moment to learn about it here. Enjoy this refreshing summer treat! Note: It is great to sub in Fuyu persimmons when mangos are not in season!… 

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Top 7 Summer Salads

As we move from Spring towards Summer, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Summer salads. These are a perfect starter or a side dish for those hot summer nights. Click on the link below the photo to take you to the recipe.

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Tabbouleh (cracked wheat salad)

Arugula Salad with Peaches

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese

Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Caesar Dressing

Homemade Caesar

Sugar Snap and Garden Pea Salad

Sugar Snap and Garden Pea Salad

I hope you cannot overdose on peas because I have literally been making this non stop! I went to the farmer’s market the other weekend and there were fresh snap peas, fresh peas, fresh kale and fresh arugula…so obviously, I went to town :). My friend Alli had made a rendition of this at our Supper Club but I modified it to make it my own. It is a light, crisp goodness of greens. Be sure to check out my new site The Simple Kitchen. Oh and don’t forget you can find the guide to making lemon vinaigrette here

Sugar Snap and Garden Pea Salad
 
Cook time
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups snap peas
  • 2 cups garden peas
  • 5 cups arugula
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed
  • ½ cup mint leaves, chopped – can do more depending on your taste
  • 1½ -2 avocados, cubed
  • ¼ cup lemon vinagrette
  • Pepitas and coarse sea salt for garnish
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath.
  2. Wash the sugar snap peas and de-string them if necessary, snapping the tip and removing the fibrous strand running lengthwise. If the snap peas are young, you won’t have to do this. Drop the sugar snap peas into the pot of boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes, then strain out and drop them into an ice bath. Once cooled, strain.
  3. Combine arugula, kale and mint to a serving bowl.
  4. Add peas, avocado and dressing and mix well.
  5. Top with pepitas, salt and any additional toppings (chopped cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, etc.)

Valentine’s Day Beet Salad

Valentine's Day Beet Salad

You cannot ‘beet’ giving your loved one the gift of health this Valentine’s day, so here is a fun little idea to help you out :). Beets contain fiber and potassium and are an excellent source of folate, which is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells. Researchers believe the red pigment (called betacyanin) in beets could protect against the development of cancerous cells and may play a role in reducing the inflammation associated with heart disease. And on top of all of that, one of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac… soooooo, Happy Valentines Day to you and yours <3!

Valentine’s Day Beet Salad
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 lb beets (red, golden or a combination of both), roasted and sliced – check out a great tutorial here
  • 3 cups arugula or mixed salad greens
  • ¼ cup fennel, sliced
  • Prepared Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, cubed or crumbled – goat cheese is great too!
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off ends and green of beets and roast (wrapped in foil) for 45 minutes. Roast longer if needed. You should be able to easily pierce a knife through the center of the beet.
  2. Remove beets to let them cool. Lay walnuts on a baking sheet (you can line it with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up). Roast walnuts until they start to brown and smell toasted, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, once beets are cooled enough to handle, rinse under cool water to peel off skin and then thinly slice. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter create heart shaped beets and set aside.
  4. Combine arugula (or mixed greens), fennel and walnuts. Mix with dressing.
  5. Place the mixed ingredients onto the serving dish & set the heart shaped beets around the dish. Top with cheese of choice.
  6. Serve with lots of LOVE!

Notes:

Dressing recipe can be found here.
More detailed instructions on how to roast beets can be found here.

Here is another fun little idea of how to serve your beets, courtesy of NoBiggie.

Cupid Beets

Tofu, Peanut Butter and Roasted Tomato Panzanella

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is not always easy but usually it leads to a lesson learned, both in life and in the kitchen… either you get a nice surprise because something works or it doesn’t and you simply know not to do it again! When I saw this recipe, I was very unsure how all these different flavors would work together, but thankfully I gave it a shot and now I am thrilled to share it with all of you. A big thanks to Heidi Swanson for this one 🙂

Tofu, Peanut Butter and Roasted Tomato Panzanella
 
Prep time
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • Sea salt
  • 2 thick slices of multigrain or whole wheat bread (about 6 oz)
  • 12 oz block of firm tofu, sliced into 4 slabs
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ cup – ½ cup hot water
  • 1½ cup packed sunflower sprouts
  • 2 cups arugula
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice each tomato in half and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Toss until coated and arrange tomatoes cut side up. Roast for 45-60 minutes until the tomatoes shrink and start to carmelize. (This step can be done beforehand and kept refrigerated).
  2. Meanwhile, brush bread with both sides with the olive oil and toast in oven or grill on pan until each side is golden and crunchy. Tear the bread into bite size chunks.
  3. Brush tofu with olive oil, and cook in a pan until tofu is golden and crispy on each side (about 5 minutes). Cut into ½ inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
  4. Combine peanut butter, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and ¼ tsp salt in a medium bowl. Thin with hot water (varies depending on the consistency you want your dressing).
  5. Once tomatoes are roasted or just before serving, pour a generous amount of the dressing over the tofu and toss it gently – it will look overdressed at this point. Add the bread and toss again.
  6. Dish arugula onto a plate or bowl, top with tofu mixture, tomatoes and sprouts.

 

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Years ago I tried spaghetti squash and was not a fan, so I have not touched it since. But the other day at work a few friends and I were talking about cooking (yes we work at a fitness studio and talk all day long about eating – you build up an appetite with all that thigh work, right?!) and they both mentioned delicious spaghetti squash recipes. So I was inspired to give it another shot – thank you Colin and Susannah! I figured I’d ease in since I was a little skeptical and go with pesto because in my opinion, pretty much anything would taste good with pesto on it… I am happy to say that I am now a spaghetti squash convert and you are likely to see more recipes to follow. Welcome to your gluten free “pasta” heaven!

For new and improved recipes, please visit The Simple Kitchen!

Pesto Spaghetti Squash
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 small spaghetti squash (or half of a large spaghetti squash)
  • 1 cup Homemade Basil Pesto, or store bought
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups arugula
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375. Pierce the squash several times with a sharp knife. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile make pesto according to directions found here.
  3. Once spaghetti squash is done remove from oven and let sit until it is cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands.
  4. Mix squash with pesto and arugula. Arrange on plates and top with tomatoes and any other garnish of choice (basil leaves, pine nuts, etc.).

Homemade basil pesto recipe can be found here.

Apple, Walnut, and Endive Salad

Apple, Endive and Walnut Salad

I hosted my Supper Club last week and decided to do an Autumn Apple theme. With the shorter days, changing leaves and cool weather, it definitely feels like a transition away from summer. This salad was super simple, tasty and the presentation makes it look very impressive. Here’s looking forward to what this upcoming season has to offer!

Apple, Walnut, and Endive Salad
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 red apples, quartered, cored, and each quarter cut into 8 wedges
  • 6 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 Belgian endives, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast walnuts, stirring frequently until crisp and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, shallot, and vinegar until well combined. Whisk in the oil until thick; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add apple and arugula; toss to coat. Arrange endive leaves on four serving plates, top with apple mixture and scatter mint, cheese, and walnuts over the top.

Photo Credit: Whole Living

Five 20 Minute Meals

Most people’s biggest excuse is that they don’t have time to cook… Well, you can throw that belief right into your compost bin. This is your go-to list for those late nights at the office or weekends where you are running around until it is time for a meal. These are some of my favorite recipes that will take you no more than 20 minutes to prepare! They all involve simple ingredients that you can grab on your way home so you will have a healthy meal in no time! Happy (quick) cooking 🙂

Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini Pasta

Lentils with Sweet Potato, Mushrooms and Kale

Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms and Kale

White Beans and Cabbage

White Beans and Cabbage

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

Ravioli with Arugula and Pecorino

Ravioli with Arugula and Pecorino