Archive of ‘Salads’ category

Meyer Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing

It’s snowed here in Virginia on the first day of Spring and I’m not having it. I’m going to my happy place, imagining temperatures north of 70 degrees, sun dresses, and “we’re having salad because it’s too pretty outside to spend time cooking” weather. It’s so dreary I had to pick up some pretty yellow tulips and pull out some spring decor to make inside our home as cheery as it should be outside today. But we will not focus on the negative, because we are in a happy place right now, and I brought salad for us to share.

The perfect compliment to healthy dark leafy green salads! Meyer Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette Recipe (more…)

Cilantro Lime Egg Salad

I’m starting another week of super clean eating today. I know a week won’t necessarily be as life changing as say, a month, but everyone has their own way of keeping themselves from going too off track during the holidays and this is mine. Can you believe the end of the year is already upon us? What happened?

Clean eating egg salad for one

I get bored easily in the kitchen, so my biggest challenge is finding easy and quick mini-meal items I can get excited about even with convenience treats readily available (and cheese, I love cheese). After making the cilantro lime aioli I posted a few weeks back, I decided to make an egg salad to serve with some avocado for a light lunch. It was delicious, so it needed blogging. Writing up this post is also a good way to start another short bout of whole 30-style eating for me.

Cilantro Lime Egg Salad Clean Eating

For starters, the Godfather is not doing this with me, so I’m alone on this and will likely have at least one item that isn’t permitted on the program at each meal. In fact, I may even be preparing it. Second, last week the baking bug bit and I was making all sorts of fall treats, so we had sugar everywhere! It was delicious, and I was able to share with neighbors, the Godfather’s office, friends, so it wasn’t like we even tried to eat it all, but did have quite a bit of dessert. Finally, I also have quite a few ideas and plans for holiday blogs and baking coming up, but I can’t test that this week. Instead I’ll focus on developing some more clean recipes for you. Balance, remember?

Egg salad has always been considered a treat food for me, and using homemade aioli instead of mayo makes a world of difference. It almost makes me forget how much I’ll miss sugar in my coffee and cheese (kidding!). Seriously though, I haven’t made traditional egg salad in months because this is so so good.

Food safety note: homemade aioli does use raw eggs so you must keep this refrigerated!

Cilantro Lime Egg Salad for One Whole 30 Compliant

Cilantro Lime Egg Salad for One
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A clean eating egg salad made with homemade cilantro lime aioli
Serves: 1
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 tbsp cilantro lime aioli
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp fresh lime juice
  • pinch white pepper
  • pinch salt
  1. Chop the eggs and put into a small bowl.
  2. Add the other ingredients and stir to combine
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste
  4. Enjoy! Serve with sliced avocado if desired.


Everyday Arugula Salad

Do you remember that moment at the elementary school lunch table when you felt someone else’s lunch was cooler than yours? I’m sure we all still have these moments from time to time – at least I do – and arugula caused one of those moments.

Arugula and avocado

I was first introduced to the arugula salad when I saw a friend at work eating one almost every day for lunch. She kept a bag of arugula, an assortment of other vegetables, nuts, cheese, etc, at the office, and would fix her salad daily and it looked amazing! I needed that salad immediately even though I’d never actually had that much arugula in one sitting.

Everyday Arugula Salad

Arugula, is an Italian green that is usually tucked away in “spring mix” salads or used to garnish savory dishes thanks to it’s deliciously peppery flavor. I think this can make it a bit scary for some to use as the sole green in a salad, but it’s not as strong as you’d imagine and the flavor is incredible. I think I raved about my awesome salads to the Godfather for a solid three months until he came home from his last deployment. He gave me fantastic incredulous looks when I raved about the greatness of arugula until he tried it. Now he always picks up arugula at the store and farmer’s markets when it’s available for salads, and he isn’t what one would consider a “salad” person.

Arugula Salad

When I need a quick and easy side for a meal, or a healthy lunch, this is my “go to” salad. The exact contents vary depending on what I have at hand, but the below components are included almost year-round with little variation. A little sour from the lemon, a little crunch with the nuts, some creaminess from the cheese, occasionally some dried cranberries… it’s perfect for layering flavors and textures to your liking without measuring (because I don’t measure this usually). So read the directions once, adjust to suit your tastes, and then never measure again!

Easy Arugula Salad

A “real life” note… there is no cheese in this salad, but it is listed in the recipe. I didn’t add cheese because we didn’t have any left in our temporary housing, and since we were about to embark on the second leg of our journey, I was not going to purchase more. This salad, it’s about improvisation. Enjoy! 😉

Everyday Arugula Salad
Fresh lemon dressing and arugula are the perfect combination for a healthy salad base.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2
  • 3 cups arugula
  • ½ hass avocado
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts (or other nut of choice)
  • ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (or other cheese of choice)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Place arugula in a medium mixing bowl
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and a tiny pinch of salt
  3. Toss the dressing and arugula together, then add the nuts, avocado, cheese, and any other vegetables you'd like. Mix briefly to combine. Serve immediately
  4. **Optional: Top salad with chicken, beef, tofu, seitan, or shrimp to make it a main dish.


Basil Pine Nut Barley Salad

I went to a farmer’s market in Colorado Springs last week with a friend and her daughter. It was very different from my California markets with booth after booth overflowing with fresh local produce. In fact, there was only one fresh produce vendor and I was a little sad until I spied a crate filled with fragrant fresh basil.

Basil Pine Nut Barley Salad

Basil is magical! By far one of my favorite flavors to use in stir fries, salads, drinks, even baked goods. To make this salad I paired the farmer’s market basil with barley, pine nuts, and a hint of lemon to create “summer comfort food”. The flavors are simple, fresh, healthy, and even approved by two tasters under age two. 😉

The recipe makes enough to serve 8, so if you are a smaller household, there are plenty of leftovers with which to be creative! Some ideas:

Basil Barley Salad with Short Ribs

We initially enjoyed the barley salad with some grass-fed short ribs we made in the crock pot. We used the Godfather’s cafe con chile rub (which he won’t let me share the recipe for) and then added a few other things (honey, etc) inspired by this recipe on PaleOMG.

hakke barley cakes

The next morning, I took about 1 1/2 cups of the barley salad, added an egg, a bit of cheese, and cooked it into barley cakes. I topped those with an easy-over egg and added a bit of avocado – amazing brunch! The Godfather even requested it again for breakfast the next day.

Barley Salad with Pine Nuts and Basil

Of course, it’s perfect on its own. It’s best served warm, but can be served at room temperature as well.

Basil Pine Nut Barley Salad
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Summer comfort food at it's best - simple, fresh flavors come together to make a filling and healthy barley salad.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 8
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups pearl barley, rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Melt the butter in a pot large enough to cook the barley over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast, stirring constantly, so they don't burn. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Add the barley and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the broth, bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 25 minutes until the barley is soft and the broth has been absorbed. Stir occasionally and check the liquid levels to be sure the barley doesn't dry out and stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Once the barley is cooked, remove from the heat.
  4. Add the pine nuts, barley, olive oil, fresh lemon, and salt. Stir to combine.
  5. Adjust any seasonings as desired. Serve warm.


Thai Peanut Slaw

Updated 4/9/15 as part of the #ThrowbackThursday photo makeover series. 

This delicious Thai Peanut Salad makes a quick and easy light lunch or side dish! #vegan #healthy

Time for another kitchen confession! I’m an incredibly lazy cook when I’m not cooking for someone else. This manifests itself once or twice a week when the Godfather and I do not meet for lunch. As a side note, with the exception of about two years in our relationship where we worked about an hour apart, we always meet for lunch. It’s one of “our things”. We actually celebrate our 10 year dating anniversary next week and I need to come up with something fabulous!

Back to my lunch (which I am eating as I type this). At Tuesday’s market, I felt compelled to buy a cabbage. Beautiful and green, they were staring at me for exactly 2.5 hours until I dashed across the aisle and triumphantly returned with a lovely cabbage and no clear idea of what I would make. Thai peanut slaw ingredients

I thought about a traditional coleslaw, but then I’d have to have BBQ to go with it (Georgia-style pulled pork to be exact), and we don’t have that right now. Nor am I going to make this for just me. I’m sure it will appear on the menu sometime in the next few days. Taking inventory of the kitchen, I found my cabbage, a ripe avocado in the fridge, peanut butter, and the opportunity to create a one-dish meal while dirtying very few dishes. Serendipity. thai peanut slaw veggies

For my special diet darlings, this dish also happens to be vegan and dairy free! I’m enjoying it as a main dish, but it would make a great side. Or you could also add chicken or beef if you’d like to make it a bit heartier.


Thai Peanut Slaw – Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side

  • 1 medium avocado, cubed
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1-2 shredded carrots
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • salt, to taste
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • crushed peanuts (optional)
  1. Place the vegetables in a bowl, reserving some of the scallions for garnish if you’d like.
  2. Mix in the peanut butter, lime juice, sriracha, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, and soy sauce. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add the sauce mixture to the vegetables and mix until well coated. Add salt and adjust other seasonings if needed.
  4. Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator up to one day.


The old photo (yikes!):

Thai Peanut Slaw

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