Southwestern Quinoa Bowl With Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

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This lunch was kind of an impulse recipe. I had been thinking of making our beloved roasted vegetable and hummus mix it up salads, but I just wasn’t in the mood for hummus. I saw a few recipes for a creamy cilantro dressing that I thought might be the perfect way to brighten things up, and it all just kind of progressed from there.

Result? Total win.

Southwestern Quinoa Bowl With Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

This definitely is another choose your own adventure salad. Whatever spices and vegetables sound good or you already have, use them.

  • 1 c. quinoa, cooked in our rice cooker according to this method. I added 1/2 tsp taco seasoning, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to the cooking water. When the quinoa was done cooking but still warm, I added the zest and juice of 1 lime, a splash of olive oil, and salt to taste.
  • We used zucchini, squash, and carrots, chopped, tossed in olive oil, with salt, pepper, taco seasoning, and smoked paprika. Roast at 450 for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway.
  • On top, we added black beans and diced avocado, plus a generous amount of cilantro dressing.

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing (based on this recipe)

  • 1 c. chopped cilantro, loosely packed
  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt (we used goat’s milk yogurt, but you could use coconut milk yogurt and omit the sweetener)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime, more if you like it tart
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp.. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sweetener of choice (we used succinct, but sugar, honey, agave… all good)
  • Dash of cayenne

Add all of the ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. The garlic flavor will intensify over the next few days.

 

Let’s Pretend It’s Warm and Sunny Salad

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I know, I know. Everyone and their mom is posting salads and other healthy recipes. New year! Diet! Christmas makes you fat! Blah, blah, blah…

This salad is actually my attempt at pretending like it isn’t 21 degrees and snowing outside right now. The snow is very pretty, but COLD.

So cold.

Today is supposed to be one of the warmest days this week too. WHAT?!

So in my attempt to fight the (winter) powers that be, what could be better than a bright salad full of citrus fruit and avocados, which are pretty much the epitome of sunshine?!

A vacation to somewhere warm, but that’s not going to happen any time soon, so… salad it is!

Note: Since Josh isn’t really working from the office this week, I didn’t have to worry about assembling this salad ahead of time. The only prep I did was peeling and slicing all of the fruit and putting them in separate containers in the fridge. Makes assembly even easier.

Let’s Pretend It’s Warm and Sunny Salad (adapted from this recipe)

  • Citrus fruit of your choice, peeled and sliced (I used pomelo and blood oranges)
  • Mixed greens
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • Small handful of sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Toss together the salad greens and cilantro in a mixing bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Place the dressed greens onto a plate and top with your citrus and sliced avocado. Sprinkle on your sunflower seeds and pomegranate, and add an extra dash of salt and pepper.

Eat and laugh at the snow outside.

You win.

Chicken and Cabbage Salad With Lime and Mint

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A good salad should have a ton of textures and flavors, and this one fits the bill. We’ve been making this salad for years, and it might have been the one to convince Josh that a salad could indeed be a satisfying meal. That was a big deal.

Huge.

Basically, this is the salad that started our meal plans on the journey to what they’ve become now.

Thank you, salad.

Chicken and Cabbage Salad With Lime and Mint- Serves 4

  • 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 head of leafy green lettuce, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced into batons
  • 1 small jicama, sliced into batons
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced into batons
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped

Dressing

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Salt to taste

Assemble the salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate container, mix together the dressing.

Dress the salad right before serving, and toss well.

 

 
 

Summer Succotash Salad

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After consuming a primarily carb and sodium laden diet while in Hawaii, I was determined that we we would a mostly vegetable based diet for a while after returning home. Withdrawals will (and have) inevitably followed, but this salad, full of some of my favorite summer vegetables, definitely helped me power through those SPAM cravings. Those are intense.

I couldn’t find any fresh lime/fava beans, so I wound up using frozen baby lima beans, and it was delicious. I’ve used frozen edamame in the past to equally positive results, so feel free to switch things around to your liking. I used crumbled goat cheese in place of the feta, and went heavy handed on the lemon juice to brighten the flavors, but the beauty of this recipe really lies in just how simple and fresh it is.

Succotash Salad (recipe from the Kitchn)

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen beans (lima, edamame, fava, etc), cooked al dente
  • Kernels from 4 ears of corn
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1-2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 c feta (or goat) cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 c basil, sliced in chiffonade
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and a small pinch of salt and cook, stirring, over medium heat until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat, add the beans and corn and stir over medium-low heat for about 1 minute, until tender but still crisp.

Transfer cooked ingredients to a large bowl and toss with the tomatoes and lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice/salt if necessary. Serve immediately with the feta, basil and black pepper sprinkled on top, or let the mixture cool, then top with the feta, basil and black pepper.

Awesome Beet and Green Bean Salad

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In the favorite salad hierarchy, this one is definitely near the top of the list. Sometimes we forget about it for a few months, and then have a “duh” moment when we remember just how good it is. Salad greens, radicchio, roasted beets, crunchy green beans, creamy chickpeas, a little ricotta salata (for me), all tossed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette just makes for extreme lunch happiness.

Awesome Salad (original recipe here)

  • 5 ounces of mixed greens (6-8 loosely packed cups)
  • 1 small head radicchio, roughly chopped
  • 20 green beans
  • 2 medium beets (we’ve used both golden and red. It’s delicious either way)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup ricotta salata, crumbled/shaved

Balsamic Vinaigrette 

  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 375. Wash the beets, drizzle with a little olive oil, wrap individually in aluminum foil, and place directly on the oven rack. Roast for 40 minutes to an hour, until tender. Let cool, peel, and chop into small pieces.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute. Immediately drain and place in the ice water until cool. Drain. Chop into small pieces.

Add all of the vinaigrette ingredients to  a jar and shake well to combine. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Combine all of the salad ingredients, minus the cheese, in a large bowl mix well. Pour vinaigrette over and toss well. Top with crumbled ricotta and serve.

 

Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Mix It Up Salad

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I kind of think of this salad as the “choose your own adventure” salad. The basic formula can be altered to suit our mood or the season easily, but it’s always delicious. We got the inspiration from this post, and it has quickly become a favorite. I love that each bite can be so different, depending on which of the elements I combine on my fork. Plus, I love how bright and fresh it looks! No sad desk lunch here.

Here’s our basic formula, with our choices this week:

  • One batch of hummus, typically roasted red pepper and paprika hummus
  • 1 batch of roasted chopped vegetables (squash, zucchini, and carrots this round), tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever spices you choose (smoked paprika!), roasted at 375 for 20-30 minutes
  • 1 batch of quinoa, cooked using this method, with salt, lemon zest, and dried herbs added before cooking, then tossed well in lemon juice and olive oil after cooking
  • 1 handful of arugula, dressed lightly with lemon juice
  • 1 handful of marinated olives and roasted tomatoes from the Whole Foods olive bar

Feel free to switch things out as much as you’d like! There really is no going wrong here.

 

 

Italian Sub Chopped Salad

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While some weeks I love a nice and light salad, some weeks I want something that can fill me up until I feel like I’m gonna pop.

This is a hearty salad. Nothing dainty here. I’m not going to claim that it’s the healthiest salad, but it is delicious. Delicious is good because we’ve both been battling summer colds this week and haven’t had much in the way of appetites, but I’ve still looked forward to this lunch every day.

Summer colds are the worst.

I first saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and tweaked it to suit our tastes. Feel free to do the same!

Italian Chopped Salad (mildly adapted from here)

Oregano dressing

  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Splash of pepperoncini juice

Salad

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded into thin ribbons
  • 1 head radicchio, quartered, cored and shredded into thin ribbons
  • 1 and 1/2 cups canned or cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 pound white cheese, cut into small cubes (provolone is recommended, but I used monterey jack because it was cheaper)
  • 1/2 pound salami, cut into small pieces
  • 8 pickled pepperoncini, sliced into rings
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Small handful of chopped kalamata olives

Mix together your dressing and set aside. Assemble your salad and dress to taste.