side dish

Tabbouleh Salad

Note: 

I was hooked on this refreshing Mediterranean  delight at first taste, courtesy of Boyfriend's Aunt Tia.  I don't think there's anything as fresh and delicious as this tabbouleh salad recipe on a hot day.  It's a snap to make, especially if you're feeding a crowd, which Aunt Tia often is!

Tools needed: 
Big salad bowl
Time: 
45 minutes
Tabbouleh Plate with Hummus, Pita, and Pea Shoots
Ingredients: 
1 cup burghul (cracked wheat), cooked according to package instructions, drain and allow to cool to room temperature
2 large tomatoes, diced (or you can 1/4 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, too)
1 bunch green onions
1 big bunch of parsley (or two, the more green, the better!)
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
1 large cucumber, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of three lemons
1 tbs salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic (more if you love garlic!)
Directions: 
  1.  Place burghul in a large bowl.  Add all chopped vegetables and mix well.
  2. Add oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix again.
  3. Allow burghul to soak and absorb the juice for about an hour.
  4. Serve chilled over lettuce, or with hummus and pita, as shown.  Top with feta cheese if desired.

 

Serves: 
4

Persimmon & Pomegranate Fruit Salad

Note: 

Keeping my theme of making your holiday meals healthy and unique, this recipe is delightful new take on fruit salad.  The colors are magnificent and the flavor is fantastic!  The sweetness of the persimmons are well balanced with the oil in the pecans and the tart pomegranate seeds making this dish a tempting treat for your tastebuds!

Bonus: Nuts contain good-for-you fats, and the pomegranate seeds are packed with more antioxidants and anti-inflamatory agents than most fruit!  Read more about the health benefits of pomegranates.

Time: 
10 minutes
Persimmon & Pomegranate Salad
Ingredients: 
3 ripe Fuyu persimmons, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
8 - 10 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
1 Granny Smith, Fuji or Gala apple, peeled, cored, chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1/4 cup chopped pecans, (or other favorite nut like walnuts or pine nuts)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tbs grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Directions: 

Gently toss all ingredients together.

Serves: 
4

Sauteed Red Cabbage

Note: 

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, I've come up with a few side dishes to accompany your Thanksgiving turkey or Tofurkey, whatever your preference. 

I'm starting you out with this delicious red cabbage recipe that is as tasty as it is beautiful!  The red cabbage turns a gorgeous shade of purple and boasts a richer more robust flavor than green or white cabbage, so it's my pick for adding some festive color to your holiday table.

It also turns out that cabbage have health benefits to spare, because they're packed with antioxidants and tons of anti-inflammatory compounds. They're also rich in glucosinolates, therefore putting on a list with other cruciferous vegetables that get a thumbs up for cancer prevention.

Tools needed: 
large saute pan
Time: 
20 minutes
Sauteed Purpleness!
Ingredients: 
1 small head cabbage, 2 1/2 lbs.
2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs caraway seeds
Directions: 
  1. Cut the cabbage in half and with the cut-side down, slice ias thinly as possible around the core.  Discard the core.
  2. Heat a small skillet and toast caraway seeds until they start to pop, about three minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and heat until fragrant.
  4. Add cabbage and saute for about 10-15 minutes, stirring uccasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown.  Don't overcook to ensure health benefits. Season to taste, top with caraway seeds, and serve warm.
Serves: 
6

Beet Greens with Mustard

Note: 

This is such a light, simple and delicious dish; just perfect for spring and summer.  But don't wait long - the mustard is in bloom here in California (all the little yellow flowers covering the hills in Santa Barbara are mustard!), so go for a hike and pick a little straight away!

Tools needed: 
large saucepan, salad spinner (or at least, a colander)
Time: 
15 minutes
Beet Greens with Mustard Flowers
Ingredients: 
1-2 tablespoons of mustard blooms, rinsed and patted dry
8 cups fresh beet greens (the tops of 6 or 8 beets) rinsed and chopped (not too small, they'll cook down a lot)
1/2 to 1 tbs olive oil
sea salt to taste
Directions: 
  1. Fill the saucepan 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Put beet greens in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, carefully remove with a slotted spoon into salad spinner basket to drain a bit before spinning. 
  3. Spin greens until most of water comes off.  (If you don't have a salad spinner, put in a colander and gently toss, then pat dry.)
  4. Toss into a bowl with olive oil, salt to taste, and top with mustard flowers.
  5. Enjoy the simple beauty before devouring!
Serves: 
2

Chewy's Salsa

Note: 

Boyfriend has a new hobby: salsa making!  He has been fine-tuning this recipe for a couple of months now, so we've been eating a lot of salsa! 

He's ready for me to share the following version with you, along with the disclaimer that there's no way that you can make it exactly the same way twice, considering the variation of heat and flavor in pasilla and habanero peppers.  So consider this a starting point from which to do your own tweaking!

Tools needed: 
food processor, non-stick frying pan (preferably cast iron)
Time: 
30-45 minutes
Chewy's Salsa
Ingredients: 
2-4 tomatoes, depending on size (we used two rather large tomatoes), roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped (yellow or red, depending on your taste)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (leaves and stems)
1 tbs lime juice
2 jalapenos, seeds and stem removed, roughly chopped
1/2 pasilla pepper, seeds and stem removed, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
sesame oil, for sauteeing
Directions: 
  1. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan to until medium-hot.  Add 1/2 onion, 1/2 garlic, and chopped peppers.  Lightly saute until soft, but not browned.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
  2. Put all other ingredients in food processor, pulse until consistency you like.
  3. Add cooked ingredients and pulse thoroughly mixed, and consistency you like.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.  Tweak cayenne pepper if needed.  Make sure to taste test - if too spicy, you may need to add more tomatoes.
Serves: 
4-6
Contributed by: 
Boyfriend

Basil Potato Salad

Note: 

I can't get enough of the basil in my garden, and this is one of the yummiest ways to use it!

A friend gave me a version of this recipe a long time ago, and I've tweaked it to my taste.  I hadn't made it in a long time, but pulled it out of my recipe vault recently and made it for Boyfriend and I for dinner.  He loved it, but has now tweaked it to his liking, and I must say, it's now better than ever.  Enjoy the result!

Tools needed: 
large pot
Time: 
20 minutes
Basil Potato Salad
Ingredients: 
2 lbs. potatoes, cut into 1-in. pieces, boiled until you can easily insert a fork in them
1/2 - 3/4 cup freshly chopped basil leaves
1/2 medium sweet yellow onion, diced (or 3-4 green onions, chopped, white and green parts)
For the dressing:
1/2 cup mayo or veganaise
3 tbs dijon or horseradish mustard
3 tbs capers, drained
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 
  1. Toss the potatoes and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Mix dressing ingredients with a fork in a smaller bowl.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Check for your taste before pouring over other ingredients.
  3. Drizzle dressing over potatoes/onions and toss, coating with the dressing.
  4. Mix in chopped basil leaves right before serving.

You can make the whole salad a day ahead, adding the basil right before serving keeps it fresh, green and pretty!   And you can keep leftovers for a few days after making, the basil just gets a little brown - it's still yummy! 

Serves: 
8-10

Black Bean and Corn Southwestern Salad

Note: 

I like a little bit of everything in my salad, and now that corn is officially in season, I needed a salad recipe to make use of its sweet summer deliciousness.  So I just started adding stuff that fit a southwestern theme and added the black beans and quinoa for substance.  The avocado or guacamole add to the richness as well.  Behold, a hearty summer salad with enough substance to call a meal!

Time: 
30 minutes
Black Bean and Corn Southwestern Salad
Ingredients: 
8-10 cups of your favorite lettuce or salad greens, crunchy romaine seems to hold up to all the other ingredients well
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (skip if you hate cilantro, add more if you love it!)
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh corn, cut off the cob (yes, raw!; and use a serrated knife)
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup quinoa or rice, cooked
1/4 cup chopped red or green onion
1-2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
avocado or guacamole
Directions: 
  1. Place lettuce, bell pepper pieces, and cilantro in a large salad bowl.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar; toss until thorougly coated.
  2. Mix beans, rice/quinoa, and onion in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat, covered, for a minute or two in microwave, just until warm.
  3. Toss all in ingredients, but avocado, in large salad bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.  Top with diced avocado, guacamole or your favorite salsa/dressing.

Girbert's guacamole recipe.Girlbert's Raw Tomatillo Salsa recipe.

Serves: 
2-4

Best Hummus Ever

Note: 

I've made (and eaten!) a lot of hummus, but this is the best recipe I've tried so far.  I recently came across this version on another favorite blogger's website.  Rebecca Woolf, of Girls Gone Child just started adding her mother's (WWW, or Wendy) vegetarian recipes, in a new section on her website, aptly titled "Eat Well".

I tweaked it a little for my taste by adding the parsley, but it's true to Wendy's version otherwise.

Rebecca's mother also wrote this very interesting and informative article on the hows and whys of cooking/eating vegetarian.  Thought I'd share with my fellow hummus-eaters!

Tools needed: 
food processor
Raw Hummus
Ingredients: 
2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
juice of 2 or 3 lemons
2 cloves garlic (more if you LOVE raw garlic!)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
Good quality olive oil
2 tsp freshly chopped (or dried) parsley
warm water
Other variations: Add basil, roasted peppers, red onion (my fave!), or cilantro! Experiement until you make your favorite!
Directions: 
  1. Put all ingredients in the food processor except the olive oil and the water.  Turn on processor and add about 1/4 cup water and a few tablespoons of oil or until you get the consistency you like.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Taste and correct seasoning if needed.
  4. I like to serve garnished with a little paprika (a little color never hurt anybody!) and parsley.
  5. Serve with veggies or pita bread or chips.  Or use in your favorite wrap or sandwich instead of cheese and condiments!
Serves: 
4-6

Tropical Bean Salad

Note: 

It's salsa season, and this is the yummiest, not to mention most beautiful, fruit salsas I've ever tried.  Not too sweet, with just the right amount of juice to substance and fruit to zing ratio - it can be served on it's own as a salad, as part of a taco bar or with chips as a salsa.  This colorful salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next summer potluck or BBQ!

Thanks to Boyfriend's cousins Gary and Margo in Albuquerque for this fantastic recipe!

Tools needed: 
A good knife!
Time: 
20 minutes
Tropical Bean Salad
Ingredients: 
1-2 mangoes, skin removed, chopped
1/2 sweet or red onion (depending on your taste) or 4 green onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can yellow corn or 1 1/2 cups raw fresh corn, cut off cob
1 can black beans
1 tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbs cilantro, minced
Directions: 
  1. Combine, onion, mango, red bell pepper, corn, beans and lime juice in a bowl until mixed well.
  2. Add salt, pepper and cilantro and mix again.
Serves: 
4

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Note: 

This is my own version of a Trader Joe's "sample" recipe.  The original called for couscous, but I like the protein packed-punch of the quinoa instead.  I've been cooking with quinoa a TON these days, great for making ahead of time and keeping in the fridge to throw in with whatever.

Quinoa-Feta Deliciousness!
Ingredients: 
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can garbanzo beans
2 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup kalmata olives, diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup sesame/tahini/Goddess dressing (pick your favorite brand)
Directions: 
  1. Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth, according to package directions.
  2. Fluff with a fork, then add beans, onions, cheese and olives.  
  3. Dress and toss lightly.
Serves: 
2-4
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