Tag Archives: salads

Strawberry Cucumber Salad

Strawberry Cucumber Salad | Paleo + Life

As I write this, great sheets of rain are pouring down outside, our fireplace is going full blast, and I’m making an immense mug of tea. It seems an odd time to be thinking of light, fruit-based dishes like this one. Strawberries, in particular, seem to be the heart of summer.

However, it happened that when I went to the grocery store, I was thinking about salad. Well, about roast chicken and salad. Specifically, about how boring this salad would be, because I always do roast chicken with a big salad. I was also thinking how very, very tired I am of the same old tomato salad, and what on earth could I do instead?

While I was standing there in the produce department, I noticed a stack of strawberries. The combination of the crisp, meaty smell of roasted chicken in my basket and the sweet perfume from the berries reminded me of a lovely meal I’d had at a restaurant ages ago. The salad was fantastic, with strawberries, blackened chicken, corn, black beans — I don’t remember anything else about that evening, but that salad was perfection.

Thus inspired, I picked up the berries, some balsamic vinegar, and dashed home to try to make something like it. In the end, this salad was more like a cousin than a twin, but it added a twist to the routine, the kids happily gobbled it up, and it was lovely having a little bit of summer in the middle of my autumn.

Strawberry Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut in a chiffonade
  • 10-15 sorrel leaves, cut in a chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons mild fresh herbs, such as salad burnet or parsley
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into half rounds
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine romaine, sorrel, herbs, berries and cucumber slices. Toss gently with salad tongs.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil and vinegar, stirring vigorously. Drizzle the mixture over the salad.
  3. Grind salt and black pepper over the salad to taste. Toss salad again; serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/strawberry-cucumber-salad/

T’s Quick Pickle

Quick Pickled Veggies | Paleo + Life

 

My oldest boy loves to cook, which is fantastic, because occasionally I need him to start dinner while I’m picking up the younger girl from school. He is happy to do it — he often says he wants to be a chef like his dad. He will suggest a meal from time to time, but usually asks what I would like. This results in a flurry of texts between us. Occasionally, those texts are misunderstood, which can result in some, er, interesting meals. Even more occasionally, those meals turn out to be better than what I’d originally planned.

Last night, for example, I decided to pick up a rotisserie chicken, cheese and tomatoes so that we could make tacos. Since I knew we had it at home, I asked the boy to chop up some lettuce. Then I gave him an off-the-cuff recipe for a simple vinaigrette to put over some shredded carrots, so we would have another vegetable in the dinner. However, he misunderstood that I wanted two separate things — and mistook the cabbage for a head of iceberg. So he shredded both cabbage and carrots together, then put them in the vinaigrette. The result? Surprisingly delicious.

Quick Pickle & Chicken Wrap | Paleo + Life

Crunchy, crispy and tangy, this little pickle turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to roast chicken and lettuce wraps. It was so tasty, I had it for breakfast again this morning. It’s basically a cole slaw, but even better because it’s faster than my usual version.
I’m pretty excited to have an inventive little partner in crime. Here’s to more happy accidents in the kitchen.

T’s Quick Pickle

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cabbage, shredded
  • 2 fat carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir thoroughly. Allow flavors to meld for at least 15 minutes; serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/ts-quick-pickle/

Paleo Sardine Salad

Sard Sal V Blog

*Note to my readers: I received kitchen tools from Crisp Cooking for review. As always, my opinions are absolutely my own.

Is it weird to be squeamish about a food you love?

For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of sardines. This seems a wee bit odd, knowing the sweet-toothed creature that I was (and am), but there’s something about that feisty, briny flavor that hits all the right notes for me. Maybe it just reminds me of my childhood, and spending time at my grandma’s. In my memory, my grandma always had sardines in her pantry, and we kids ate them all the time.

It was simultaneously awesome and terrifying to eat a (nearly) whole fish, bones and all. That seemed incredibly daring — perfect for a kid who wants to do something grown-up and brave, but that won’t get them in trouble. Munching on sardines was only for the big kids, which increased the cool factor by about a million. Sardines on saltines with a glop of yellow mustard was a perfect snack.
Now, of course, knowing that sardines are terribly good for you, being full of calcium and omega-3s, I think Grandma was pretty darned smart to keep them around. These days, I eat them with no hesitation.

Sard Sal Blog

I almost feel that I can’t call this a recipe — it’s one of those “I need lunch now – let’s raid the pantry” kind of dishes. I combined my beloved sardines with capers to punch up the saltiness, a a little lemon juice to tame this fishiness, some salt and pepper, and a bit of dill for that bright herbal taste all good salads need.

I also wanted to spiff up my plate: just because it was a quick lunch didn’t mean it had to look rough, right? Half the joy of a good meal is in the presentation. So I played around with some kitchen tools I received from Crisp Cooking, and did some quick fancy cuts. Taking an extra few seconds to do that was simple, but so satisfying to do. I felt like a guest at my own table.

Paleo Sardine Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 romaine lettuce heart, washed and cut in a chiffonade
  • 1 can sardines in olive oil
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, sliced with a wavy knife
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut with a julienne peeler
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

Instructions

  1. Create a mound of lettuce on a medium plate.
  2. Arrange the sardines, pepper slices, and shredded cucumber atop the lettuce as shown in the photo (or whatever way appeals to you). Splash the entire salad with the remaining oil from the can of sardines.
  3. Sprinkle the scallions and capers over the assorted vegetables, then top with a squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. Finish with a grind of freshly ground black peppercorns, a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of dill. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/paleo-sardine-salad/

Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad

Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad | Paleo + LifeToday’s post is a little different from the usual goings on here @ Paleo + Life. I’ve contributed a recipe as a guest post over at HauteMealz.com.

I ‘met’ Chef Perry, one of the clever folks behind HauteMealz, virtually when I was trying to decide whether or not to attend IFBC (the food bloggers’ conference).  My search for conference reviews led me to the hilarious video review of the 2013 conference that Perry and his co-chef Chris made. I knew I had to meet these guys, because the combination of sarcasm, humor and food obsession made it obvious that they were my kind of people. Because IFBC was such a packed weekend, I only got to meet Perry in person, and that briefly, but I immediately knew I was right. We clicked right away and have been virtual pen pals ever since.

On to the recipe: Since we are still without a stove, I whipped up one of my staple lunches: Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad. I tend to blog the recipes I think are more interesting, but most days I eat simple food like this.  This is such a favorite, I would eat it every day if I could.

I adore salmon in whatever form I can get it, and creamy, lush avocados make my world complete. Combining the two is a natural for me. Remember, if your canned salmon is water-packed, be sure to drain it well before mixing. Any good lemon garlic seasoning will do; I’m partial to one from my local spice shop. Finally, if you wanted to dress this up a bit, drizzle on a bit of your favorite oil and add a sprinkle of finishing salt.

 

Warm Fennel Salad with Bacon

Warm Fennel Salad with Bacon | Paleo + LifeMy friend S. mentioned that she currently has a bumper crop of lettuce, which got me thinking about warm salads. I have often wondered why Americans don’t usually cook salad greens; it is an easy way to increase one’s veggie intake. It’s also a handy way to use up the greens before they go bad — I’m sure we aren’t the only family who buy lettuce with good intentions but sometimes find it shriveled in the fridge several days later.

While I was thinking about salads, I found gigantic bulbs of Florence fennel at our local farmer’s market. I had my littles with me, so was not able to get a picture, but it was an impressive site: with the fronds attached, each fennel bulb was about two feet long. It was so strikingly beautiful, I just had to buy some. I remembered that my friend with all the lettuce also happens to be very fond of fennel, and that as a college student in Santa Barbara, she used to forage for wild fennel.

I brought these two ideas together to create a simple, paleo-friendly dish that is inexpensive enough for a college student budget, and substantial enough for a meal. I used spinach because that was what I had on hand, but another salad green like a red leaf or buttercrunch lettuce would be just as tasty and would take even less time.
The mild, licorice-like taste of fennel gets even milder here, with gentle cooking; the deeper flavors of garlic and bacon dominate. Dress this salad with a dash of oil and vinegar; add tomatoes and slices of avocado if you like, but it is quite tasty as is.

Fennel & Onion Salad with Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz. package bacon
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 medium bulb fennel
  • 1 purple onion
  • 1 lb. spinach
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare bacon in the oven, following the package directions. Once the bacon is fully cooked, remove from the oven and set it aside, reserving the rendered fat.
  2. Meanwhile, mince garlic. Thinly slice fennel and onion. Wash the spinach; spin the leaves dry in a salad spinner. (If you do not own a salad spinner, just squeeze the moisture from the leaves as best you can and pat them dry with a paper towel.)
  3. Warm a large saute pan over medium heat for approximately two minutes. Pour the rendered bacon grease into the saute pan.
  4. Add minced garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic browns. Add onions and fennel to pan; saute them until they soften (6-8 minutes).
  5. Add spinach to the saute pan. Stirring continuously, cook until spinach is warmed through (4-5 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Crumble in the reserved bacon. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/fennel-salad-bacon/

Mama Dear’s Cucumber Salad

Mama Dear's Cucumber Salad | Paleo + Life

While I grew up in Chicago, my people are from the South. Dad’s parents were from Arkansas, while my mother’s folks hail from Mississippi and Tennessee. Despite moving way north of the Mason-Dixon line, our families never stopped eating Southern soul food. This was especially true on holidays: Thanksgiving would not have been Thanksgiving without Mama Dear’s cornbread dressing. Her collard greens and peach cobbler were so delicious they could make grown men weep. Banana cake (even for big family dinners, my Grandma would make this one just because she knew I adored it). Butter rolls. Oh, and sweet potato pie! That creamy, nutmeg and cinnamon concoction was a revelation. I deeply pitied my poor friends whose unfeeling parents forced them to eat the obviously inferior pumpkin pie.

As an adult, I have developed a different cooking style — and having gone paleo, even more so — but one of the dishes that I love and try to eat all summer long is this simple cucumber salad. Though I’ve varied it here with fancily spiralized onions, miniature cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes, its essential simplicity never fails to comfort me. My grandma made it, my mother still makes it, and when I need a taste of home, I make it too.

Mama Dear’s Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 miniature cucumbers
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Using a spiral slicer or mandoline, thinly slice the onions and cucumbers.
  2. With a serrated knife, slice the tomatoes into wedges.
  3. Combine the tomatoes, onions and cucumbers in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle in the parsley. Using salad tongs or your hands, toss thoroughly.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and olive oil with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss again.
  6. It may be served immediately, though I prefer to refrigerate at least 30 minutes for best flavor.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/mamas-cucumber-salad/

Peach, Cherry & Chicken Salad

There is no love in my heart for summer’s heat. My ideal temperature hovers between “comfortable in a sleeveless t-shirt” and “hmmm, might want a sweater.” Being hot annoys me. It feels like a personal insult from the universe, and my attitude responds accordingly.

But.

Peach, Cherry & Chicken Salad | Paleo + LifeThe reason I don’t just pack myself off to the Outer Hebrides is the incredible bounty of luscious fruit and plump veggies summer brings our way. Stone fruit, in particular, is a weakness of mine. Peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries … any and all of them take my breath away. The kids and the husband love them, too: dessert at this time of year is often an exquisitely ripe peach or a fistful of dark cherries.

Sometimes, my cooking is inspired by a trip to the farmer’s market, desire to try a new technique, or a great sale on something special. This one? Well, it was my summer kitchen math.

Summer kitchen math goes something like:
93 degrees = too hot too cook = fast + single bowl + no stove.

I was also feeling indulgent and could not stop thinking about having dessert for dinner. So I came up with an excuse to do just that.
My beloved stone fruit takes center stage, along with crisp romaine lettuce, leftover roast chicken, and a touch of lemon thyme. I finished it with a drizzle of maple lemon dressing so delectable it made me want to lick the bowl.

Variations: If you enjoy dairy, crumble in a touch of bleu cheese. A handful of slivered almonds is also an excellent addition.

Peach, Cherry & Chicken Salad

Ingredients

    Salad:
  • One head of romaine lettuce, washed
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion such as Walla Walla
  • Leftover chicken breast from roast chicken
  • Four small peaches
  • 1 cup dark cherries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme
  • Bleu cheese (optional)
  • Slivered almonds (optional)
  • Maple Lemon Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Instructions

    Salad
  1. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the lettuce into strips. Place in a large salad bowl.
  2. Roughly dice the onion; add to the salad bowl.
  3. Remove the chicken breast from the carcass.Slice in thin strips and add to the bowl.
  4. Cut the peaches in half, removing the pits. Slice each half into eighths (in other words, sixteen slices from each peach).
  5. Slice the cherries in half, removing the pits. Add the fruit to the salad bowl.
  6. Sprinkle the lemon thyme into the salad. Using your hands, gently toss the salad together. Set aside.
  7. Dressing
  8. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously together.
  9. Drizzle over the salad. If using optional blue cheese and/or almonds, add them now. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/peach-cherry-chicken-salad/

 

 

Kohlrabi Coleslaw

 

Kohlrabi Coleslaw | Paleo + LifeSummer weather has hit with a vengeance. The air is hot like molten rock, the coffee shops are running out of lemonade and I am wilting away like the delicate flower I am known to be. (Snort.)** So much for that mercurial June weather I spoke of last week! July is in the house and it is not kidding around.

So what’s a wilting flower to do? Why, send her spouse outside to work the grill while she stays indoors to make a refreshingly cool side dish, of course. Coleslaw to the rescue!

This ‘slaw is awesome for three reasons: it requires exactly no use of the stove, it is incredibly quick to make, and is dead easy. It takes less than 15 minutes of work, even if you are a slow cook, or are constantly interrupted like me. Best of all, coleslaw is a great way to use one of my favorite veggies: kohlrabi.

Kohlrabi | Paleo + Life
I will write a more extensive post later but in brief: kohlrabi looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss story — especially the purple variety — and tastes a bit like the love child of cabbage and broccoli. You can eat it raw or cooked, and you don’t have to peel it. I hear it freezes well, though I’ve never had the chance to try that: it is always gobbled up lickety-split around here. It is nice and firm, so it stays crunchy in a slaw, even after being held in the fridge overnight.

Kohlrabi Coleslaw

Ingredients

  • Two knobs of kohlrabi
  • Four carrots
  • One large shallot
  • 1 tablespoon dill weed
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut milk (or milk of your choice)

Instructions

  1. Wash kohlrabi and carrots. Slice off any dry, rough bits; cut the kohlrabi into about six rough chunks. Using a food processor with a shredding blade, shred the kohlrabi. Place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Using the food processor again, shred the carrots and add them to the mixing bowl.
  3. Peel the shallot. With a chef's knife, slice into thin rounds, and add to the vegetable mixture.
  4. Add the dill weed, chopped walnuts and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. In a separate small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of milk; the mixture should be about the consistency of skim milk. (If your mayo is especially thick, you may need to add another tablespoon.) Pour over the veggie mixture; stir thoroughly.
  6. Refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld, then serve. If desired, garnish with more chopped walnuts and a dusting of dill.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/kohl-slaw/

** And when I say wilting like a delicate flower, I mean cursing like a sailor about being too bleeping sweaty to live.

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