Kale Salad with Lentils Folded into Yogurt

With a bountiful supply of homegrown vegetables, it’s easy to simply have a lunch or dinner of veggies. The flavors may be filling and satisfying but I need a sufficient amount of protein to stay full. Lately, I’ve been eating a lot of hard-boiled eggs, spiced chickpeas and Greek yogurt.

To add variety, I whipped together a lentil-yogurt salad to mix with greens of your choice — I opted for kale. Top it with walnuts, and you have a protein-rich salad.

Kale Salad with Lentils

Ingredients:

> 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
> 1/2 cup cooked lentils
> juice from 1 lemon
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
> 2 cups kale, shredded
> salt and pepper

Instructions: 

In a small sauté pan, toast walnuts over medium heat until lightly toasted, 6 minutes. Chop into small pieces.

Mix together lentils, lemon juice and olive oil. Fold in the yogurt. Toss with kale, and season with salt and pepper.

Serve as a salad or on top of toasted bread.

Makes 2 servings.

Adapted from Food52.

Garden to Table Salad

There’s nothing more pure than picking vegetables from your garden and making a meal from them. Organic in nature, homegrown vegetables are fresher and more flavorful than anything you’ll buy at the store.

The farm-to-table movement has exploded across the U.S., and that same concept can be applied to your own cooking. If you don’t have a garden or a friend with a garden, simply join a CSA to get locally-grown produce. Feel free to improvise based on what’s in season in your locale.

Garden to Table Salad

Ingredients:

> 2 cups homegrown lettuce, torn
> 1 homegrown cucumber, diced
> 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
> 1 large heirloom carrot, cut into bite-size pieces
> 6 ounces canned chickpeas, washed and drained
> 2 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> salt and pepper

Instructions: 

In a medium bowl, mix together lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrot, chickpeas and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on plate and top with mozzarella.

Makes 1 serving.

Original recipe.

Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

A couple weeks ago, I had a delicious meal at La Bodeguita del Medio in Palo Alto and was inspired by a simple yet flavorful salad. The Palmitos salad is composed of hearts of palm, frisee, avocado, red grapefruit, sugared walnuts and a lime vinaigrette. The combination of flavors was both refreshing and filling, so I decided to try to recreate the salad. It’s slightly different and combined with a recipe from Food & Wine — plus some of my personal touches. Not only is this salad delicious, it’s easy to throw together in the office, given that the ingredients are pre-cut.

Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
> 2 persian cucumbers, cut into bite-size pieces
> 1 can hearts of palm, drained and sliced 1/4-inch thick
> 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
> 2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
> cruciferous crunch collection from Trader Joe’s (includes kale, brussels sprouts and cabbage)
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> 1 tablespoon lemon juice
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes, cucumbers, hearts of palm, avocado and sunflower seeds.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad, and gently toss.

Makes 2 servings.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Zucchini Salad

When summer decides to come in the middle of March, the last thing I want to be doing is slaving over a hot stove or oven. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor or variety just because you aren’t turning the temperature up to 350°. This raw zucchini is simple, healthy and delicious. The lemon flavor truly shines in this recipe, while the almonds provide a crunch and the feta a creaminess.

Zucchini Salad

Ingredients:

> 6 medium-sized zucchini
> juice and zest from 1 lemon
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1 package alfalfa sprouts
> 1/4 cup slivered almonds
> 4 ounces feta, crumbled

Instructions:

Thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons, slender enough to easily twist and bend. Whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the zucchini and pour the lemon dressing over it. Top with the sprouts, almonds and feta.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Lick My Spoon.

Bulgur Wheat, Beet and Chickpea Medley

As I start to train for my fourth half marathon, I’m reminded how important it is to fuel my body with the right nutrients — alongside stretching, getting plenty of sleep and of course taking care of my body when it hurts. For my normal green salads to have the right combo of nutrients, I need to be more thoughtful about getting the right mix of protein and carbs.

A grain salad full of vegetables is the perfect dish for high-intensity training. This dish, in particular, is characterized by a nutty texture from the bulgur wheat, a heartiness from the beets and chickpeas, a creamy element from the goat cheese and a sweetness from the honey dressing.

Bulgur Wheat, Beet and Chickpea Medley

Ingredients:

> 1 cup bulgur wheat
> 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
> 4 large beets, cut into bite-size pieces
> 5 cups green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> 2 tablespoons honey
> salt and pepper
> 4 tablespoons goat cheese
> 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

Instructions:

Cook the bulgur wheat in a medium saucepan, about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil and honey. Mix beets with half of the dressing. Place in a baking pan lined with foil. Roast about 20 minutes. Add chickpeas to beets after about 10 minutes.

Steam green beans in a small saucepan. Combine the bulgur, chickpeas, green beans, beets and the remaining dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Top with crumbled goat cheese and sunflower seeds.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Nourish: The Fit Woman’s Cookbook.

Toasted Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds

Trying a new recipes doesn’t always have to involve many new ingredients that you can’t even pronounce. In fact, often the flavors that you turn to most often can be combined in unique ways to create a flavorful yet simple medley.

This recipe is just that — a salad made with ingredients that I buy on almost every grocery store run, yet I’d never combined them in this arrangement. Another notable addition is the toasted quinoa. I often cook with quinoa, but rarely do I toast it. Going that extra mile adds a nutty flavor and crunchy texture. I encourage you to experiment with not only new ingredients but new cooking processes as well.

Toasted Quinoa and Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 cup quinoa
> 1 cup unsalted slivered almonds
> pomegranate seeds from 1 large pomegranate
> 4 cups wild arugula
> juice from 1 lemon
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> salt

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa in 2 cups water. Once cooked, heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and stir. Toast the quinoa for about 4 minutes. Be careful not to brown the quinoa. Cool quinoa on a large plate.

In a small pan, toast the almonds over medium heat. Keep a close eye on the almonds since they blacken quickly.

Mix together the quinoa, almonds, pomegranate seeds and arugula. Add lemon juice and olive oil. Combine and season with salt.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Eat Drink Garden.

Roasted Chickpea, Farro and Arugula Salad with Avocado

While winter often calls for heartier, more fattening dishes, salads are still my go-to meal because they are filled with vegetables and easy to whip up at the end of the day. To create the same savory factor that an eggplant parmesan or tomato bisque, I use spices that have a kick and incorporate roasted vegetables or grains. This salad combines roasted chickpeas, nutty farro, crisp arugula and plump tomatoes.

2014-12-14 14.02.29

Ingredients:

> 1 can chickpeas, drained
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1/4 tablespoon cumin
> 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
> 1/4 tablespoon paprika
> 1/4 tablespoon chili powder
> salt and pepper
> 1/2 cup farro
> 3 cups arugula
> 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
> 1 avocado, cut in bite-size pieces
> 1/4 tablespoon dijon mustard
> 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
> 1/4 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Put chickpeas in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add cumin, curry powder, paprika and chili powder to medium bowl, and mix until well combined. Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine farro with 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. In a large bowl, combine arugula, cherry tomatoes, roasted chickpeas and cooked farro.

To make dressing, whisk together mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix dressing into salad, and top with avocado.

Makes 3 servings.

Original recipe.