Big Green Dinner Salad

This big green salad is hearty enough for lunch or dinner. It’s loaded with all kinds of things that you can’t really make out in the picture: olives, blanched broccoli, blanched asparagus, cabbage, arugula, and chickpeas. Blanched broccoli is a recently rediscovered favorite of mine; sometimes I make a dinner out of just that drizzled with some salad dressing. It soaks up the dressing perfectly. I have been making huge batches of this salad in the beginning of the week so that I can grab some easily for lunch or dinner without much hassle.

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I have also been making various versions of a yogurt dressing. It’s so easy: dump yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, and an add-in or two into a jar and shake, shake, shake. This past week, my add-in was a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and a 1/2 teaspoon of coriander. But you could add chopped herbs, crushed garlic (raw or roasted), crushed scallions, sesame seeds, etc. Measurements here are approximate – get creative with it.

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Big Green Dinner Salad

Romaine lettuce, finely shredded
Arugula, finely shredded
Red, green, or savoy cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup cooked (or canned) chickpeas, drained
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 head broccoli, finely chopped
1 bunch asparagus, finely chopped
1/2 cup sliced olives of your choosing (I’ve been using “fresh cured” olives lately, which are in the black olive section of the grocery store)

1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 raw garlic clove
add-ins of your choosing (for example, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you begin chopping all the veggies. Put the romaine, arugula, cabbage, chickpeas, quinoa, and olives in a large bowl. When the water starts to boil, put in the broccoli and asparagus. Let boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then immediately strain and place in an ice bath. Let the broccoli and asparagus drain completely. When drained, add to the bowl. Toss the entire salad together.

Make the dressing by combining yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, and any spices in a jar. Crush the garlic in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of flaky sea salt until it is the consistency of a paste. Add the garlic to a jar, put on the lid, and shake until combined. Dress the salad on a per serving basis. The salad itself will last a few days (really, up to a week, though it will begin to wilt a bit) in the fridge undressed.

*Other options to add to this salad: chopped hard boiled eggs, shaved brussels sprouts, finely shredded kale, other grains like farro or bulgar wheat, blanched and chopped cauliflower, fresh roasted sweet corn, mushrooms, etc, etc.

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Soba Noodle Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing

With a to-do list spanning nearly two pages, it’s getting harder and harder to update this blog when I want to. It’s getting harder and harder, in fact, to cook food that is worthy of posting about! Many nights we’re eating pasta or a boring salad, and lately I have taken to snacking on crackers and greek yogurt. Talk about a balanced diet.

This pasta was a weekend endeavor and it turned out to be more than worthy of a post. The dressing complemented the nutty, earthy flavor of soba so nicely, and who doesn’t love coconut and lime together? My advice: when zesting the lime, really try to get every last piece of lime zest – it really adds to the limey-ness of dressing and helps to balance out the richness of the coconut. I made some quick pickle cucumbers – finely sliced and soaked in rice vinegar while cooking – but I forgot to throw them on for the pictures. They’re included in the recipe below.

Soba Noodle Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing

Inspired by Use Real Butter

1/2 package soba noodles
1/4 head read cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, shredded
1 head bok choy, finely sliced
3-4 portabella mushrooms, chopped
juice and zest of one lime
1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Ponzu or soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
handful black sesame seeds, to garnish
1/2 english cucumber, julienned
Green onions, sliced

Soak the cucumbers in rice or other vinegar in a bowl while you are preparing the rest of the recipe.

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

In a large pan, saute the vegetables – cabbage, bok choy, carrots – over medium-high heat with some neutral cooking oil. Cook for just a few minutes, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. You still want a bit of a crunch to them. Set them aside and cook the mushrooms with a little more oil in the same pan. Mix them with the veggies.

Combine the lime juice, vinegar, coconut milk, ginger, Ponzu sauce, honey, and chili flakes in a blender. Blend until the ginger is finely chopped and incorporated and the dressing has emulsified.

Combined the noodles, vegetables, mushrooms, and dressing in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and sprinkle sesame seeds as a garnish. Top with picked cucumbers and green onions.

Buckwheat Groat “Taco Salad”

I’ve been cooking so much and posting so little. It’s a serious shame – look at some of the amazing things coming out of my kitchen!

Yogurt and spelt flour biscuits…

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Avocado with seeds and cumin…

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Mango with sweet sticky rice…

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Broiled rainbow trout…

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Tomato and wheat germ soup…

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Blackened salmon with black bean salad…

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Also, look at my cute husband! This mural is splashed across a building near our house, so we pass it often. We call it our favorite mural.

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And finally, the title of this post… buckwheat groat “taco salad”! Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been loving buckwheat as of late. The groats are just as good as the flour and cook up super easy.

Buckwheat is actually not related to wheat at all. It has a really unique flavor unlike other grains or rice. It’s almost sweet. The “groat” part of the equation refers to the fact that the grain is whole and that it has not been stripped of the bran, endosperm, or germ. So basically, the grain contains all the great nutrition it was “born” with.

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Buckwheat Groat “Taco Salad”

1 cup uncooked buckwheat groats
assortment of veggies – I had a red pepper, onion, broccoli, and zucchini
1 avocado
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
dash of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
feta cheese
greek yogurt

Cook the buckwheat groats like you would rice; use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of groats.

Heat the oven to 400 and coat the veggies in olive oil and salt and pepper. I chose not to roast the zucchini and left it raw, but the pepper, broccoli, and onion were all roasted. Dice the avocado and set aside.

When all the components are ready, mix together with the olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. Top with feta cheese and a glob of greek yogurt.

Spelt Berry Salad

Would you believe that I have never done yoga before? I should say, rather, I had never done yoga before – until this week when my friend Tracy dragged me to a hot yoga class. And then I went to the sculpt yoga class – hot, humid yoga with weights. If you know me, and you know my propensity for fainting, then it should not surprise you that I almost passed out. The cool breeze that blew into the studio when the doors opened smacked me in the face and pulled me out of that haze.
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Unfortunately, I did not come home to eat this salad – it was eaten up weeks ago. It would have been the perfect post-hot-yoga dinner, though, so maybe next time I’ll be more prepared. If you don’t have spelt berries, any other grain would do – wheat berries, brown rice, barley, etc etc.

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Spelt Berry Salad

1 cup spelt berries or wheat berries
1/2 English cucumber, diced
couple handfuls of arugula
parsley
mint
juice of 1 lemon
splash or more of white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 shallots, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Cook the spelt berries similar to the way you would cook rice. I just tossed mine in the rice cooker with 3 cups of water.

Prepare the dressing by combing the shallots, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and white wine vinegar. If the dressing is too oily, add more vinegar. Season it with salt and pepper and set aside.

When the spelt berries are cooked, combine with the arugula and cucumbers. Chop some parsley and mint – to taste. I probably used about 1/4 cup of each, but that can be reduced. Mix the herbs with the other components, then stir in the dressing. Serve cold or room temperature.

This would also be great with the addition of kalamata olives, avocado, or a different combination of herbs, so play with it.