Portland Porch Salad

Last weekend was beautiful here.  This weekend looks to be cool and chilly with a good chance of rain.  I’m grateful for the sun we did get, but I’m ready for more!  On the warmest, most beautiful day last week, I decided it was time to move away from the carb-y comfort I’d been instinctively reaching for in favor of something lighter.  Hence the Portland Porch Salad.  Which I did eat on my porch.

Check out my cool countertops.

Close-up.

It was inspired by lettuce wraps of the same name from the Post Punk Kitchen but mine quickly turned into a salad when I realized that I never have and never will be able to gracefully eat a lettuce wrap.  Maybe I’m using the wrong king of lettuce or maybe I just get greedy and overload the poor leaves with filling.  Whatever the reason, I’m much happier heaping everything onto a plate, grabbing a fork, and calling it a day.  I’ll probably be making this again next weekend when the forecast promises us another wave of springtime weather!

Portland Porch Salad
makes 2 huge salads

For the edamame pesto:
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 cup fresh basil leaves
– 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
– 10 oz package edamame beans, thawed
– juice from 1 lemon
– 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
– 1 tsp salt
– water as needed for consistency (I needed about 3/4 cup)

Place all ingredients except water into a food processor or high-powered blender.  Add water a bit at a time until you have a thick but pourable consistency.

For the salad:
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 2 shallots, thinly sliced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 lb asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces on the diagonal
– a handful of cooked chickpeas (or use more, I just had a handful leftover from something else)
– 1 large peach or nectarine
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1-2 cups lettuce per person

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute or two.

Add the asparagus and chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add the peach or nectarine and cook until liquid has been released and the whole mixture is bubbly.  Season with salt and remove from heat.

Wash and dry the lettuce, tearing it into bite-sized pieces.  Toss with several tablespoons of edamame pesto (3 or so per serving should work), plate, and top with warm asparagus and peach mixture.

* I added this post to this week’s Wellness Weekend, My Meatless Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, and Mix It Up Monday.

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Winter break has been good to me.  I’ve been getting to try new classes at the gym, have almost finished my Christmas shopping, and I finally knocked another book off my reading list yesterday (Absalom! Absalom! by William Faulkner…been working on it for months.  It was worth it.)  And, of course, I’ve been spending more time in my kitchen.  Right now, I’m holding my breath to see if the cake I have in the oven is going to turn out the way I want it to but this post is going to be about salad.

Yup, salad.  It may be winter but there are still ways to make salad an attractive option next to the visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.  I was amazed at how filling at satisfying this Roasted Vegetable Salad from Tartelette was when I had it for lunch yesterday.  I urge you all to make it immediately and to follow David Lebovitz’s instructions for making the French Vinaigrette to the letter.  Because if David Lebovitz doesn’t know how to make a French Vinaigrette, then I don’t know who does.  As for the remainder of the salad, feel free to play with the ingredients.  I used butter lettuce because it felt fancy.  I’m sure that other types of nuts and/or seeds would work well in place of the pumpkin, and you can try subbing other roasted vegetables (I did really like the inclusion of fennel, though).  Enjoy and let me know if you come up with any great, new combinations!

Roasted Vegetable Salad
adapted from Tartelette 
serves 2

– 3 golden beets, washed, peeled and quartered
– 1 small fennel bulb, washed and quartered
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– salt and pepper
– 8 large butter lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry
– a small handful of blue cheese, crumbles
– a handful of pumpkin seeds
– 1/2 cup edamame
– Shallot vinaigrette (recipe here)

1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Place beets and fennel in a large baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine.  Sprinkle with salt and roast about 20-30 minutes until tender and beginning to char a little.

2. Place lettuce leaves on 2 large plates and divide warm vegetables between them.  Top with desired amounts of blue cheese, pumpkin seeds, and edamame.

3. Top with vinaigrette.  I found that I liked these with about 1 1/2 Tbs of vinaigrette per salad.

Oh, remember that cake I mentioned earlier?  The one I was holding my breath about?  A bona fide failure.  This girl just got demoted to cupcakes for the time being.

* I added this post to this week’s Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks, Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet.