Kale, Cauliflower and Pea Salad

Where do you draw your inspiration? It could be restaurant menus, online recipes or ingredients in your kitchen. Whichever it is (or maybe it’s a combination of several), there often comes a time when you discover a new ingredient and fall in I’ve with it. For me, that was peas, green peas. The first way I introduced them into my recipes was in a salad, and to come is in a soup.

Kale, Cauliflower and Peas Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 cup kale
> 1/2 cup cauliflower, bite-size pieces
> 2/3 cup green peas, steamed
> 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
> 1 tablespoon orange champagne vinegar
> salt and pepper
> 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, roasted

Instructions:

Combine kale, cauliflower and peas. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard and vinegar to make dressing.

Toss vegetables in dressing and season with salt and pepper. Top with sunflower seeds.

Makes 1 serving.

Original recipe.

 

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Skillet Beans and Greens

Making a flavorful dinner can seem like a challenge when you have limited ingredients in your fridge and cupboard, but the right seasoning can make all the difference. The recipe below requires few main ingredients and several spices. It was originally created as an appetizer to top toasted bread, but it works just as well without the bread and as a main course or side dish.

Skillet Beans and Greens

Ingredients:

> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
> 1 teaspoon chili powder
> 1 can black beans, drained
> 4 cups kale, bite-size pieces
> 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add garlic and chili powder. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to blister, about 3 minutes. Using a spoon, lightly mash the beans until about half are mashed.

Add kale and water, and cook until kale is wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 3 servings.

Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Roasted Carrot and Red Quinoa Salad

It’s summertime and that means salads are plentiful. They’re simple and quick to assemble, yet so many medleys of flavors are possible simply by combining new variations of ingredients with crunch, saltiness, sweetness and spice. While many salads contain 100 percent raw ingredients, cooking some of the vegetables or roasting nuts and beans brings any salad to a whole new level. This salad is all about the mustard and nut notes.

Roasted Carrot and Red Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 teaspoon paprika
> 1 teaspoon ground cumin
> 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
> salt and pepper
> 4 large carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise
> 1 small onion, thinly sliced
> 3 tablespoons olive oil
> 1/2 cup walnut pieces, roasted
> 1 cup red quinoa
> 2 cups water
> 2 tablespoons lemon juice
> 7 ounces arugula
> 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
> 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
> 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk the paprika, cumin, cinnamon and a dash of salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine the carrots and onion and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon of spice mix and toss to coat. Spread the vegetable on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and the water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice  and 1 teaspoon mustard, and season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and toss to coat. Spread the greens on a large platter.

Whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the lemon zest, 1 teaspoon mustard and remaining spice mix. Add quinoa, walnuts, cranberries and roasted vegetables, and toss well. Spoon the quinoa salad on top of the greens.

Makes 4 entree-sized servings.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Green Bean Heaven Salad

Following the recipes and inspiration of others is the way to go when trying a new dish or combination of flavors, but when you feel like you’ve mastered something, it’s fun to let the creativity run wild. That’s exactly what I did when I was in a salad mood but hadn’t been to the store recently — I opened the fridge and threw a bunch of complimentary flavors and textures together. The result was phenomenal! Feel free to experiment as you please.

Green Bean Heaven Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 cup French green beans, steamed
> 1 cup arugula
> 1/2 cup red quinoa, cooked
> 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
> 1/4 cup slivered almonds, roasted
> 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
> 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
> 1/2 tablespoon honey
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Combine green beans, arugula, quinoa and tomatoes in a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar and honey. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss salad ingredients in dressing, and top with slivered almonds.

Makes 1 serving.

Original recipe.

 

Zucchini Soup

When I think of soups, the classic minestrone, tomato basil and cream of asparagus come to mind, but not one with zucchini as the main ingredient. Since I’m always up for trying something new, I gave this zucchini soup recipe a go, and it turned out very flavorful due mainly to the natural flavor of the zucchini. To enjoy, I suggest adding some kind of crunch on top. That could be roasted nuts or croutons, my pick was roasted chickpeas. Enjoy!

Silky Zucchini Soup

Ingredients:

> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> 1 small onion, finely chopped
> 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
> salt and pepper
> 4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick
> 2/3 cup vegetable stock

Instructions:

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook over low heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook about 10 more minutes, or until softened.

Add the stock and 1 1/2 cups of water, and bring to a simmer. Cook until zucchini is very soft, about 10 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender until it’s silky smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Marinated Chickpeas with Quinoa and Arugula

Chickpeas and quinoa are two of my favorite sources of vegetarian protein, in addition to seeds and nuts. That’s why this salad is the perfect combination of flavor and nutritional content for anyone. It’s light yet refreshing and the red pepper gives it a hint of heat.

Marinated Chickpeas with Quinoa and Arugula

Ingredients:

> Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
> 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
> 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
> 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
> coarse salt
> 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
> 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
> 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
> 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
> 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
> 4 cups packed arugula

Instructions:

Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, oil and parsley in a medium bowl. Add chickpeas and season with salt and pepper flakes. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Combine almonds, quinoa, scallions, tomatoes and arugula in a large bowl. Add marinated chickpeas, and toss to combine. Season with salt.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.