Category Archives: Salads

Autumn Harvest Salad w/ Brussels & Delicata

DSC_0187‘Tis the season! Fall has drifted upon us! Hooray for pumpkin (everything), sweaters, and boots! 

The prior sentences were said entirely in jest and utter sarcasm, because it has been so brutally hot here in Southern California with no hope for any type weather change and, frankly, I am incredibly bitter about it. It has honestly been 90 degrees since February.  We are currently experiencing one of the worst droughts of California history and it has forced the state into a pretty dire situation. The dryness accompanied with the never-ending sweltering heatwave has been almost unbearable. Once October rolled around I was so ready for the adjustment in seasons I honestly couldn’t stand it. I thought to myself “I better get home and bust out my flannels, oversized sweaters, and maybe a couple beanies! It’s going to be cold!” I was so very disappointed when instead the weather man came on the news and announced that yet another heatwave was in the forecast. Can’t a hormonal pregnant girl catch a break?! Sheesh! Anywho…enough complaining already. Soon enough I will layer up and all will be well in the world again (at least in our little SoCal world). 

I decided that the first recipe of the season needed to be something light yet still encompassing a few of our autumn produce selections. It would be a California style harvest meal. This salad is super easy to make and full of some of the season’s best bounty. It comes together in no-time and with little effort making it one of my favorite last minute meals. It is fabulously healthy (especially for any other preggos out there!) because it is packed with nutritous and vitamin-rich veggies. Enjoy it my friends! 

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Autumn Harvest Salad w/ Brussels & Delicata

Serves 4


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Cook Time
25 min

Total Time
25 min

Cook Time
25 min

Total Time
25 min

For the Salad
  1. 1 Delicata squash
  2. 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  3. 2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1 TBSP white balsamic vinegar
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  8. 1 5oz bag of mixed greens
  9. 1 avocado, diced
  10. 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (toasted pistachios would be delicious too!)
  11. 1/4-1/2 cup pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries
  12. salt & pepper to taste
For the Maple Vinaigrette
  1. 2 TBSPs extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 TBSP maple syrup
  4. 1 TBSP spicy brown mustard
  5. juice of one small lemon
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/2 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare the squash by slicing in half lengthwise and then scooping out the seeds in the middle. Slice in 1/4″ pieces and arrange on a large rimmed baking sheet. Prepare the brussels sprouts by slicing them in half and then arranging them on the baking sheet with the squash. Pour the olive oil and white balsamic vinegar over the squash and brussels sprouts. Sprinkle them with 1/2 tsp salt & pepper, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Toss to coat. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  2. While the squash and brussels roast, prepare the maple vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients together and set aside. In a large bowl, add the mixed greens. Pour a bit of the vinaigrette all over the greens and, using tongs, toss to coat. Top the salad with the roasted squash and brussels, avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds, and pomegranate seeds. I added a bit more dressing over the top with a little sprinkle of salt and pepper to finish. Divide among individual bowls and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. I made this salad for just Kris and I so I had dressing and salad leftover. The dressing will last up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container or jar. Store leftover brussels and squash in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat the veggies and add to greens and top with leftover dressing!
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Cauliflower Couscous w/ Quick Pickled Red Onions

DSC_0329Cauliflower is the new black. I swear this vegetable has made the biggest comeback (in the most delightful way) in the past couple of years. Currently you can find cauliflower as a gluten free option for just about anything, including (but not limited to); pizza doughs, pasta dishes, and several baked goods. It is such a versatile little veggie that is pretty subtle in flavor and will take on pretty much whatever you wish of it. I wanted to make a cauliflower couscous after I saw this recipe. What an incredible way to eat a ton of veggies in one big bowl! It really feels like you are eating “real” couscous (you know the kind that is made with all the glutens and flours?)! Except, in this recipe you are consuming a vegan, gluten-free, and insanely delicious salad without any of the, so-called naughty, carbohydrates. The best part about the entire bowl, is that you can eat the whole thing and never once feel guilty. You could even hit up some seconds! Sounds like a winner on the neat and clean eating front. Oh, I shouldn’t forget to note that I have been wanting to share my recipe for quick pickled red onions for some time now. Pickled onions are one of the easiest ways to add so much flavor to any meal. I like to keep a jar on hand for quick weeknight salads or lunchtime sandwiches. It takes but thirty minutes for the pickled onions to deliver a zesty tang, a faint spiciness, with just a hint of garlic. Quick, easy, and flavorful is like the trifecta of awesomeness. These were the perfect addition for the cauliflower couscous. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Excuse me while I head back for another helping… DSC_0285

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Cauliflower Couscous w/ Quick Pickled Red Onions

Serves 4


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Prep Time
30 min

Total Time
45 min

Prep Time
30 min

Total Time
45 min

For the Quick Pickled Red Onions
  1. 1 small-medium red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
  2. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  3. 1 cup rice vinegar (you could use any light vinegar; white wine vinegar or even apple cider vinegar)
  4. 1 tsp sugar
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 2 tsp peppercorns (I used multicolored peppercorns)
  7. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  8. 1 tsp red pepper flakes
For the Cauliflower Couscous
  1. 1 head of cauliflower
  2. 1/2 cup pine nuts
  3. 1 english cucumber
  4. 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  5. 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  6. 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
  7. 1 large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  8. 1 large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  9. 1 lemon, zest and juice
  10. 1 TBSP honey (or agave if vegan)
  11. 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  12. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  13. 1/2 tsp salt
  14. 1/2 tsp pepper
  15. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  16. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Quick Pickled Red Onions
  1. In a large stockpot, bring about a quart of water to a boil. Thinly slice the red onion and add to a large glass bowl. Once you have finished crying, pull the slices apart from each other and separate them with your fingers. Pour the boiling water into the glass bowl and let the onions sit for about 30-45 seconds in the water. Drain the par-blanched onions into a strainer. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt and sugar and mix until dissolved. Add the garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Add the onions into a clean glass jar or container you wish to store them in (I had to pack the onions down in the jar to fit all the slices). Pour the seasoned vinegar over the onion slices (I added just a tad bit more vinegar to the top of the onions so that they were all covered in the liquid). Place the onions in the fridge and let them sit for at least 30 minutes before using. They will store in the air-tight container for up to two weeks in the fridge.
For the Cauliflower Couscous
  1. Bring a large saucepan with water to a boil (add 1/2 tsp salt to the water). Meanwhile, cut off the cauliflower stem and chop the cauliflower into florets and add them to the bowl of your food processor (if your food processor is small you should work in batches). Pulse a few times until you reach a couscous texture (careful not to pulse too much or it will turn into cauliflower paste, ew!). Pour the cauliflower bits into the boiling water and let cook for about three minutes (we aren’t trying to cook the cauliflower here, just taking the raw edge off). Drain the cauliflower couscous into a fine mesh sieve (try and get a much water off as you can). Add the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
  2. In a dry skillet, add the pine nuts. Toast them over med-heat, stirring occasionally until slightly toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set them aside. In a small bowl, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients; lemon zest and juice, honey, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk well to combine. Add the dressing to the couscous and continue to fluff with a fork. Add the toasted pine nuts, the dried cranberries and the edamame to the couscous. Cut the english cucumber in half, and using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds of the cucumber (this is an important step because the seeds add too much water to the salad if you leave them in). Chop the cucumber and add it to the salad. Add all the chopped herbs and give one last stir to mix. Top each bowl with some of the pickled red onion slices and serve immediately. Store the salad in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the fridge.
Notes
  1. This couscous salad makes enough for four people as a side and is plenty for two people as a main.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Homemade Pita w/ Fattoush Salad

DSC_0254I honestly do not know a whole lot about Middle Eastern cooking, but I can tell you that I am always fascinated by it. I seriously can’t get enough of the entire Persian-style spread because it is always deliciously healthy and super flavorful. Normally, the cuisine consists of dishes that are prepared with herbs, vegetables, and rice along with meat, lamb, chicken or fish. Fresh herbs and vegetables are the main ingredients and make almost every meal especially wholesome. The traditional spreads, also called Meze, typically include one of my favorite salads I have ever tasted, Fattoush. Fattoush is a simple veggie salad (think tomato, cucumber and romaine) w/ a classic zesty spice and toasted pita bread crisps. The spice that I am referring to is called “Za’atar”, which isn’t very accessible in local grocery stores but can be made effortlessly right in your own home. My dear friend, whom happens to be Persian, told me her secret to homemade Za’atar and I have forever kept it on the forefront of my spice rack since she divulged her classified blend (which I will share with you shortly, you’re welcome). Za’atar is a classic blend of sumac, dried thyme and toasted sesame seeds. Sumac, though, is the ingredient that is most difficult to get a hold of. I couldn’t find it at Ralphs but had good luck at Whole Foods. (Trader Joe’s just came out with a exotic spice pack that includes one with Sumac! Yay for TJ’s!) Whole Foods sells the organic sumac and they also sell the already-made Za’atar blend, if you would like to go that route. Just wait until you try this magical spice concoction. It lends this tangy and herby flavor that you can not get from anything else (trust me I tried to find sumac substitutes all over the inter-web). I now have officially become obsessed with Za’atar and put it on almost everything; my avocado toasts, egg scrambles, hummus dips, and in lots of salads and vinaigrettes. You should also know, the following homemade pita bread recipe is not at all difficult to prepare and can be made in just 40 minutes flat! Not only can you taste the difference between homemade pita bread and store-bought pita, but you can actually see it! It puffs up perfectly and serves as an impeccable vessel for this salad or anything else you can imagine to be wrapped in it’s amazingness. I hope that this dish finds you in good company because it makes a lot and can serve up to eight people. Enjoy my friends! 

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Homemade Pita w/ Fattoush Salad

Serves 8


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Total Time
1 hr

Total Time
1 hr

For the Homemade Za’atar
  1. 1/4 cup sumac
  2. 1/4 cup toasted white sesame seeds
  3. 2 TBSP dried thyme
  4. 1 TBSP dried oregano
For the Homemade Pita
  1. 2 tsp active dry yeast
  2. 1 cup luke-warm water (not too hot)
  3. 2.5 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  4. 2 tsp sea salt
  5. 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
Fattoush Vinaigrette
  1. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  3. 1 tsp honey
  4. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp pepper
For the Fattoush Salad
  1. 1 cucumber, chopped
  2. 3 tomatoes on the vine, chopped in small quarters
  3. 1 red bell pepper, chopped, stem and rib removed
  4. 1 green bell pepper, chopped, stem and rib removed
  5. 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  6. 3 green onions, green and white parts, sliced thin
  7. 1 bunch mint, finely chopped
  8. 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  9. 2 cups romaine (1 bunch), shredded
For the Homemade Za’atar
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an empty and clean spice canister or glass jar. Set aside.
For the Homemade Pita
  1. In a large glass bowl, combine the yeast with water. Let sit for 5 minutes to dissolve. Add the flour, salt, and olive oil and stir until a scrappy dough is formed. Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth (add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the surface or to your hands, careful not to work with too much flour, the less the better). Form the dough into a round disc.
  2. In another large glass bowl (or clean the one you just used), spread about 1 tsp of olive oil around the sides of the bowl with your fingers, making sure to go all the way up the sides. Add the dough ball to the bowl and toss the dough so that it is lightly coated with oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let it rise anywhere from 30 minutes-1 hour or overnight in the fridge (it should double in size)* (see note).
  3. After it has risen, deflate the dough and turn it out to a lightly floured work surface again. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and flatten each piece into a round disk. Using a rolling pin, roll each of the 8 discs into thin circles (about 8″ wide and 1/4 inch thick). They won’t roll out to perfect circles and this ok, it looks more rustic anyways. Sprinkle with more flour if the pieces start to stick. Heat a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Lay a rolled-out pita piece onto skillet and cook for 30 seconds or until small bubbles start to form. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes on the other side. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes. The pita will start to puff up and visible char marks will show. Remove the pita from the heat and keep covered with a dishtowel until all the remaining pitas are cooked.
For the Fattoush Vinaigrette
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
For the Fattoush Salad
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and mix well. Lastly, sprinkle the homemade Za’atar over the top of the salad (about 2 TBSP). Serve the salad in the homemade pitas immediately. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. I let my pita dough sit in the fridge overnight because I think the flavors develop so much better, but if you are short on time, allowing the dough to rise after 30 minutes to an hour should do the trick.
  2. This salad can be made up to a day ahead of time and stores nicely in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few days.
  3. Store the pita breads in a ziplock bag for up to 4 days in the fridge. Reheat in conventional or toaster oven.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Orzo Pasta Salad w/ Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

DSC_0237For My Sara:

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for.” 

As the summer is fast approaching, I know you probably have a ton of get-togethers, parties, showers, and birthdays to attend because, well, I do too. Summer is the time for celebrations and festivities and the warm sunny weather acts as a tiny bonus canopy for us to play under. One of the things I am most looking forward to is my best friend Sara’s baby shower. She is due in July to welcome her tiny baby girl, Rylee James. I could not be more excited, thrilled, overjoyed, elated and all the other synonyms for “so freaking happy” that exist. Sara is one of the most kind and compassionate women I know and her patience amazes me everyday. This little girl will grow up to be and incredible woman because of her kind mother. I feel nervous and anxious for the day she is born as I hope to be an important role model and guide in her life. I hope I get to see her as often as possible and that she will know she can always come to me for advice. I can promise that I will always be someone she can confide in I will always listen without judgement. She can tell me her secrets and I’ll swear to not to tell her mother (but I totally will Sara, don’t worry). I honestly can not wait to meet her. Rylee has a world full of love to come out to and she will be one blessed baby! 

So, because of these momentous occasions, I figured we all needed a good pasta salad recipe for the large crowd affairs. Who doesn’t love a perfect one-bowl dish that can serve up to ten people?? I know I do, but I am always looking for something different to bring to the table. After all, how many times can a girl eat that same old boring potato salad or those mayo-filled deviled eggs? It is time for a new side and it comes in the form of a delicious pasta salad with fresh herbs, sweet peas, crunchy kale, and crispy chickpeas all dressed in a sun-dried tomato pesto. This pasta salad is where it is at, people! It has incredible flavors that hit all over your mouth and will keep your friends asking you for the recipe. I am most definitely bringing this salad to my BFF’s shower and I can’t wait to share it. The sun-dried tomato pesto makes a lot so feel free to save a bit as a spread on sandwiches or for an accoutrement for cheese and crackers. You won’t want to lose any to the sink, that is for sure. I hope that the summer greets you all with love and friendship and that you spend your days counting your blessings, as I know I will. 

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Orzo Pasta Salad w/ Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Serves 10


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Cook Time
40 min

Total Time
1 hr

Cook Time
40 min

Total Time
1 hr

For the Crispy Chickpeas
  1. 1 15oz can Organic Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
  2. 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1/2 tsp curry powder
  4. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  5. 1/2 tsp cumin
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 tsp pepper
For the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
  1. 1 7oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil (use entire jar and oil)
  2. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  3. 2 super packed TBSPs fresh basil, roughly chopped
  4. 1/4 + 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp pepper
For the Pasta Salad
  1. 1lb Orzo
  2. 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves sliced thin (chiffonade style)
  3. 1 cup fresh English peas
  4. 4 green onions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
  5. .75oz fresh mint, finely chopped (see note)*
  6. .75oz fresh cilantro, finely chopped (see note)*
  7. 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  8. 1 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp pepper
For the Crispy Chickpeas
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Drain and rinse the chickpeas a few times under cold water. Lay the chickpeas out on a paper towel and dry them. Add the chickpeas to a small bowl and drizzle the olive oil and add the spices. Stir to combine and then lay them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating them every 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
  1. Combine all the ingredients into the blender and blend for a few minutes, scraping the sides as needed, until fully combined. The pesto will be thick. Set aside.
Salad Assembly
  1. Cook the orzo per package directions. Drain and rinse and add to a large bowl. Add all of the tomato pesto to the warm orzo (about 1.5 cups). Toss well to coat. Add the English peas, kale, herbs and crispy chickpeas, toss to combine. To finish the salad, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Toss one more time and then place in an air-tight container in the fridge. Serve cold or at room-temp. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This dish serves up to ten people as a side.
  2. Trader Joe’s sells their organic herbs in little plastic packages that weigh .75oz. Use the entire pack for the mint and cilantro.
  3. This salad can be made a day ahead before serving. I recommend drizzling a bit more olive and adding a little more salt and pepper (to taste) to liven the pasta up, if serving the next day. I like mine drizzled with a bit of Sriracha for some heat but that is totally optional.
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Bonita Barley Bowl

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With Cinco de Mayo fast approaching, I figured we all needed to gear up for the impending celebrations and fiestas. I have been waiting for the perfect time to deliver this recipe, and I believe this is it. There are so many things I love about this bowl of wholesome goodness. It is protein and fiber packed and has so much flavor that I could seriously eat it every day for the rest of my life and never once be mad about it. I call it the “Bonita” bowl because of it’s South-of-the-Border Mexican flare and, well, because it truly is beautiful just like it’s name suggests. This is the perfect lunch when paired with a few corn tortillas or a semi-hard-boiled egg and will most definitely keep you full for hours. It can also be shared at a party or gathering as a delicious side dish. The cilantro-lime dressing keeps this bowl together with a bright and zesty tang and the diced jalapeños and red onion pack a spicy punch. Barley is one of my favorite whole-grains to use in salads and soups because it has a toothsome bite and never looses its hardiness. Not to mention, barley is full of dietary fiber which only betters our digestive health, and who doesn’t love that? I cannot express how much you will savor this dish, as it has become a staple in my home that I will forever adore. You know I frequently talk about how much I love a good single-bowl lunch or dinner and here is just another one to add to the repertoire. Enjoy amigos! 

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Bonita Barley Bowl

Serves 4


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Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
35 min

Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
35 min

For the Barley Bowl
  1. 8.8oz of (dried partially-cooked) Barley (I buy the “10-minute Barley” from Trader Joe’s)
  2. 1 cup (about 8oz) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I pick the smallest tomatoes from the container)
  3. 1/2 small red onion, diced
  4. 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  5. 1 15oz can black beans, drained
  6. 1 cup frozen roasted corn kernels (see note*)
  7. micro greens as garnish or any salad greens for serving
  8. 2 avocados, sliced and divided among the bowls (see note*)
For the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
  1. 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (to help out the blender a bit)
  2. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  3. juice of 3 small limes
  4. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/4 tsp pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your spice level)
Optional Accompaniments
  1. semi-hard-boiled egg
  2. corn tortillas
Instructions
  1. Prepare the barley per package directions. Barley can often take a long time to cook, so that is why I choose the partially-cooked kind from Trader Joe’s that comes in a perfect little package (but feel free to use any kind you like). While the barley is cooking, prepare the Cilantro-Lime dressing. Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to the blender and blend until mixed well. Set aside the dressing. Once the barley is cooked, drain and set aside in a large glass bowl.
  2. Heat the drained black beans in a sauce pan until just warmed through and add to the barley. Also, heat the frozen roasted corn in a small skillet until hot and add to the barley. Add the sliced cherry tomatoes, the diced jalapeño and red onion. Pour the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette over the top and using a large spoon mix until everything is coated in the dressing. Top each bowl with a few slices of avocado, or a hard-boiled egg, and some micro-greens. Serve immediately with or without warm corn tortillas.
Notes
  1. I like to buy the frozen roasted corn kernels from Trader Joe’s. If you have fresh corn, char a single ear of corn on the stove top or grill and then slice off the kernels and reserve in a bowl and set aside.
  2. If you are serving this dish as an entree, top each bowl with three slices of avocado and a few micro greens. If you are serving the dish as a side salad for a gathering, feel free to add chopped avocado and mix into the entire salad just before serving.
  3. I made this dish for lunch for Kris and I and had plenty leftover. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
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