Triple Green Salad with Smoked Tuna

I have to tell you about the salad I made last night.  My original intention was just to throw together something healthy, not necessarily outstanding or blog-worthy.  As soon as I took my first bite, though, I knew that I would have to share this.


I haven’t made a salad in a while.  When it’s cold and rainy outside, a plate of raw vegetables just doesn’t appeal to me.  I’m sure many of you can relate.  I think the secrets to this salad’s beauty are the sautéed mushrooms, which add some much-needed warmth, the lick-your-fingers good savory dressing, and the hearty smoked tuna, which I discovered a while back from a small company on the Oregon coast.


Good News Tuna Company

So good.


I’m even looking forward to eating the EXACT same thing for dinner tonight.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Triple Green Salad with Smoked Tuna
serves 1

6-7 crimini mushrooms, washed with stems removed and sliced
1 cup dandelion greens, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 Tbsp butter
pinch of salt
a few handfuls baby spinach
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, washed and dried
a few tablespoons of Duma Dressing (see recipe below)

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid, and continue to sautee while you prepare the rest of the salad.  Check on it and stir it occasionally.

Place spinach and parsley in a large bowl.  Make dressing, pour a generous amount onto greens and toss to coat.  Place on a large dinner plate.

Add dandelion greens to mushrooms on stovetop.  Heat, covered, for about 2 minutes until beginning to wilt.  Place the mixture on top of the plated greens.

Flake about 4 oz tuna over everything.  Enjoy.

Duma Dressing
makes about 2 cups (you can keep in fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week)
adapted from Get It Ripe by Jae Steele

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
small handful of pumpkin seeds

Place all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender.  Blend on high for about 30 seconds until smooth.

I shared this post with this week’s Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Full Plate Thursday, and Keep It Real Thursday.

Summer Vegetable Salad with Quinoa and Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

My oh my, I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I put up my last recipe.  Between wrapping things up for graduation (I finish in 2 weeks!) and lying in pools my own sweat (ew) in my hot apartment, I’ve been seriously lacking in energy lately.  I tend to believe that there are few problems a good helping of nutrition can’t solve…does anyone have any good tips for breaking out of a low-energy slump?  If so, I’d love to hear them.

Because of the recent temperatures and my unfortunate lack of air-conditioning, I’ve been focusing on creating meals that require little, if any, cooking, baking, or boiling.  While this one does not completely fit that mold, it comes pretty close and the leftovers kept me happy for days.  I even ate a few servings for breakfast with a fried egg on top.

This recipe was inspired by a similar one from Whipped.  I changed the ingredients based on what I had in my kitchen and I omitted the mozzarella because…well, I was dealing with the discovery that I now have cellulite on my thighs.  I really recommend taking an extra few minutes to make the pickled cherry tomatoes.  They provide amazing little bursts of flavor and are easy to make.

Summer Vegetable Salad with Quinoa and Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
makes 8 servings
adapted from Whipped

– 1/2 cup quinoa
– 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
– 1 cup diced zucchini (about 1/2 large)
– 1 ear corn, kernel removed
– 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
– 2 handfuls spinach, roughly chopped
– 1 cup pickled tomatoes (see recipe below)
– 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
– salt, to taste

Start by pickling the cherry tomatoes.  They will need at least an hour for the flavors to come together.

In a large bowl, toss vegetables together.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar and toss again.  Finish with a sprinkle of salt.

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
adapted from Plate to Plate

– 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
– 3/4 cup water
– 4 tsp salt
– 2 tsp sugar
– a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
– 2 garlic cloves, gently crushed
– 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix vinegar, water, salt, and sugar together until salt and sugar are dissolved. Mix the halved tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Pack gently into a glass jar and pour vinegar mixture over until covered.  Replace the lid, give it a few good shakes, and leave it at room temperature for 1-3 hours.

Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

* I shared this link with this week’s Fat Tuesday and Traditional Tuesday.

Peanut, Cabbage, and Sesame Slaw

Usually when I’m making something that can be easily construed as “health food”, I make just one serving.  I’m usually pretty sure that my boyfriend, Jeremy, will not be interested and I’m usually right.  A funny thing happened, though, as this asian-inspired coleslaw sat on the table waiting to be photographed.  Jeremy walked over to it to see what it was.

“Can I have some?” he asked.

“No, I’m not finished taking pictures yet.”

He walked away.  A few minutes later, he’s back in the kitchen.  “Just a bite?”

“No, I’m still working with it… Now, are you messing with me, or do you really want me to make you one of your own?”

His face lit up.  “I want one!”  So I made another bowl of salad just for him and he spent the rest of the day telling me how good it was.  He even asked if I would make one for him every day.  I told him that I couldn’t make that kind of commitment.  But it felt good to be asked.  🙂

Peanut, Cabbage, and Sesame Slaw
makes 4 servings
adapted from The Kitchn

For the dressing:
– 3 Tbsp peanut butter
– 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
– 1 Tbsp soy sauce
– 1 Tbsp sesame oil
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients with a fork or a whisk until smooth.

For the salad:
– 1 head green cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
– 3 large carrots, grated
– 4 green onions, thinly sliced
– 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
– a small handful of roasted peanuts

Mix the cabbage, carrots, and green onions together in a large bowl.  Toss with peanut butter dressing until well-mixed.  Top each individual serving with sesame seeds and peanuts.

Asian Kale Salad with Tofu

It wasn’t until I started using kale in salads that I realized that leafy things could really make a satisfying lunch.  In general, I have to admit to not being in love with raw vegetables.  Sure, I’ll snack on some carrots in order to feel healthy and I’ll choke down a restaurant salad if I’ve been overindulging, but the raw things just don’t really tempt me a whole lot.  But there are a few exceptions.

I ate this almost every day last week and was actually disappointed when I ran out of my ingredients.  The combination of kale, marinated tofu, crunchy spring vegetables, and mildly spicy (is that an oxymoron?) dressing made this salad one I could look forward to.  It came together in very little time, making it perfect for a busy first week of the summer school term.  And unlike salads with more delicate leafy greens, I could make this in the morning and it wouldn’t be soggy at lunch.  Excellent.

Let’s talk just a minute about kale.  Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that belongs to the cruciferous family.  It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C (obligatory nurse-y note: too much Vitamin K can actually be harmful if you’re on an anticoagulant drug like Warfarin…talk to your prescriber before drastically changing you intake of leafy greens) as well as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.  It’s been shown to have anti-cancer properties and it can assist in lowering cholesterol.  In other words, you should eat it.

Asian Kale Salad with Tofu
serves 1
adapted from Vegetarian Times Magazine

– 1 tsp grape seed oil (olive oil would work, too)
– 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
– 2 tsp rice vinegar
– 1 tsp honey
– 1 tsp soy sauce
– 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce (I used this kind)
– 3-4 leaves of green kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
– 1/2 cup shredded carrots
– a small handful fresh shelled peas
– 1/4 cucumber, diced
– 3 oz. Thai-flavored baked tofu, sliced (Wildwood brand is fantastic)

Make the dressing.  Combine sesame oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with grape seed oil.  Using your hands, “massage” the kale for about a minute until it is softened.  Toss with dressing, carrots, peas, and cucumber.

Plate the salad and top with tofu.

* I shared this salad with Melt in Your Mouth Monday and My Meatless Mondays.

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Raisins

One of my favorite bits of kitchen wisdom is that good things can come from mistakes.  My new favorite summer salad began as a failed attempt to make an Indian carrot halwa.  For some reason, I decided that if I was already grating one carrot for the recipe, I might as well grate half a dozen more.  I ended up with about 8 cups of shredded carrots but decided that I hated my halwa (my fault…I did not even remotely follow the recipe!).  What to do with the rest?

This moroccan carrot salad was the perfect solution.  I ended up making a single serving of it every day for about a week.  The pre-shredded carrots stayed fresh in an airtight container and the salad came together in no time.  I highly recommend this for days when it feels too hot to cook.  It is best eaten on a patio in the shade!

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Raisins
makes 2 servings

–  2 cups shredded carrots
–  1 Tbsp olive oil
– juice from 1 lemon
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1/2 tsp paprika
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– pinch of salt
– 2 Tbsp raisins

Mix everything together and serve.

* I shared this post with this week’s Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back FridayPennywise Platter and Wellness Weekend.

Kale Salad with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

You guys, this could be one of the most beautiful plates of food I have ever made.  Dark green kale littered with juicy roasted tomatoes, crunchy radishes, and salty-sour capers.

With such a picturesque plate, I had no choice to but to enjoy my meal out on the patio.  Some things just aren’t meant to be eaten on your living room couch with your laptop open in front of you.

The recipe is adapted from a gorgeous cookbook I recently picked up from the library, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty.  Flipping through each beautiful page makes me want to run to the grocery store for any fresh produce I can get my hands on.  My only complaint is that some of the recipes have ingredients that I consider to be quite obscure (verjus, anyone?). This is the exception rather than the rule, though, and I think this would be a great book to check out if you’re looking for some new and creative ways to eat those vegetables.


To me, the real star of the show here are the slow-roasted tomatoes.  The balsamic vinegar makes them wonderfully sweet, a nice balance to the astringency of radicchio.  Yes, they take one-and-a-half hours to roast.  And they are entirely worth the wait.  Trust me.

Things have been a little slow around here lately.  Jeremy is about halfway done with his 3-week tour and the novelty of having the apartment alllllll to myself has worn off.  I’ve been doing a good job of increasing my socializing accordingly, but I’ve become painfully aware of just how many hours there are in a day.  I mean that even after my work is done and my social obligations fulfilled, I find myself with a few too many empty hours at the end of the day.  It doesn’t help that I don’t like watching TV or movies by myself.

What’s your favorite way to use “alone time”?

Kale Salad with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
adapted from Plenty

For the dressing:
makes enough for 3 large salads
– 1 garlic clove, minced
– juice from half a lemon
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
– generous pinch of salt

Mix ingredients in a small bowl.  Each entree-sized salad should get about a tablespoon of the dressing.  It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

For the salad:
Ingredients here are enough for 1 large salad.  Adjust amounts accordingly depending on how many you plan to serve and whether the salad is an entree or side dish.
– 2 medium or large leaves of curly green kale
– 1 Tbsp dressing
– 1/2 cup radicchio, thinly sliced
– 5 radishes, sliced
– 5-6 slow roasted tomatoes (recipe below)
– 1 tsp capers

Remove stems from kale leaves and roughly chop into bite-sized pieces.  In a large bowl, combine kale leaves and dressing.  With your hands, massage the kale for about a minute, until the leaves are a vibrant dark green and soft.

Add radicchio, radishes, and tomatoes.  Toss together.  Top with capers and serve.

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

– 1 pint grape tomatoes
– 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
– salt

Preheat the oven to 275F.  Cut tomatoes in half and place in a baking dish.  Top with thyme sprigs and drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the whole thing.  Sprinkle with salt and roast for 1.5 hours.  Remove thyme sprigs and allow to cool.

* I shared this post on Summer Salad SundayMy Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, and Monday Mania.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend.  I apparently caught a case of spring fever, which left me completely unable to do any schoolwork.  I did, however, get a good hike in and hosted a last-minute Memorial Day barbecue at my apartment.  I’m generally intimidated by the idea of “hostessing”.  I feel that my apartment isn’t big enough, clean enough, etc., etc.  And for all the cooking that I like to do, I still get extremely nervous about inviting others to eat at my table.  Maybe that’s because I don’t actually have a real table for people to eat at (I told you my apartment was small).  But this weekend I forced myself to overcome my fears and I invited a few friends over to grill with me and hang out on my patio.  And to accompany the bratwursts and corn on the cob, I made a big quinoa and black bean salad.

Somehow, I knew this was just the thing for a Memorial Day get-together.  It was easy, healthy, and, most importantly, delicious.  I was happy to see that it was almost completely gone by the time my guests left.

The recipe is an amalgamation of a few similar dishes I found around the web (especially this one and this one).  I modified based on what sounded good and what I thought my guests would like.  This would be wonderful to take for picnics and potlucks all summer long.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
makes 6 servings

– 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
– 2 cups water
– 1 can black beans, rinsed
– 1 avocado, diced
– 2 tomatoes, diced
– 1 10 oz. bag frozen corn, thawed
– 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
–  3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– juice from 1 lime
– 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1 tsp cumin

Start by cooking your quinoa.  Place rinsed quinoa and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover the pot for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for another 5 minutes.  If you have time, allow quinoa time to cool before adding other ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, black beans, avocado, tomato, and corn.  You may add the cilantro now as well, if you would like.  Some people dislike the taste of cilantro and so another option is to leave it on the side so that those who want it can sprinkle it on their salad.

Make the dressing.  Mix together the olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic powder, and cumin.  Pour over the salad and stir until well-incorporated.  Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

 * I added this post to this week’s Gluten-Free Wednesday, Wellness Weekend, and Full Plate Thursday.

Shrimp, Avocado, and Lime Salad

Monday was perhaps the hottest day we’ve had so far this year.  While I spend the majority of the winter yearning for summer to come again, I forget what it feels like to be wilting on the couch in one’s little box of the apartment (no A/C, of course), wondering just how anyone could be expected to get any work done in this heat.  That was Monday, a preview of what’s to come.

The last thing I wanted to do was fire up the stove or turn on the oven.  Luckily, I had some pre-cooked Oregon Bay Shrimp I had bought on sale from the grocery store.  According to Seafood Watch, wild-caught Oregon shrimp are the best choice for sustainability.  And since this salad required absolutely no additional heat in my apartment, I’d say it was the perfect meal for the day.  I served it on cucumber slices but it would also be lovely on tortilla chips or a green salad.

I’m so sorry for the grainy photo! I left my camera in Fort Worth and am waiting for my mom to mail it to me. Thanks, Mom!

Shrimp, Avocado, and Lime Salad
makes about 3 cups

– 3/4 lb pre-cooked Oregon Bay Shrimp, picked through for stray shells
– 2 small avocados, diced
– 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
– juice of 2 limes
– scant teaspoon salt (add more to taste, if needed)
–  1 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp cumin

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine well.  Serve immediately or chilled with cucumber slices or other crudités.

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.


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.

Simple Arugula Salad with Olives and Avocado

Scrolling back through the last few weeks of my posts here, I notice a definite trend: veggies.  One reason for this is that we’ve entered the new year.  It feels like a good time to lighten things up after the holidays and work on habits that will (hopefully) stay put as resolution-making time gets farther behind us.  The other reason is not nearly as virtuous.  We have a cupboard full of treats that were mailed to us by Jeremy’s mom and grandmother.  There are brownies with a layer of toffee in the middle (I know!  Genius!), rice krispy treats, candied pecans, and truffles.  In the freezer, I have a stash of poundcake and molasses-espresso cake we have yet to get to.  I won’t be needing to whip up treats for a little while yet.

When I do, you’ll be the first to know.  For now, I’ve got an amazingly simple and satisfying salad to share with you.  Peppery arugula, salty olives, and creamy avocado come together with an easy lemon vinaigrette.  I had this for lunch today and even ended up throwing some smoked salmon on the top…definitely not necessary but I think the protein gave the whole thing a bit more staying power.  I have enough ingredients left over to have it again tomorrow and I can’t wait!

Simple Arugula Salad with Olives and Avocado
serves 2
Adapted from The Food Lover’s Primal Palate


For the salad

– 3-4 cups arugula
– 1 avocado, cubed
– 20 kalamata olives, halved

For the dressing
juice from half a lemon
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– pinch of salt
– pinch of dried rosemary

1. With a fork, mix dressing ingredients until well combined.

2. On a large plate (or in your take-to-work tupperware!), layer arugula, avocado, and olives.  Drizzle with dressing.

* I added this link to this week’s Full Plate Thursday Simple Lives Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, and Pennywise Platter.