Tag Archives: salad

Pecan and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprout Salad

We love our Brussels Sprouts in this house—even my four year old will ask for seconds and thirds. Usually, I roast them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until they are soft on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. So when I saw this Cooking Light recipe for Brussels Sprout salad, I was intrigued by how they’d taste raw, since I’ve only ever had them cooked. Since Brussels are in the cabbage family, it’s no surprise that the texture of the salad reminded me of a crisp, fresh coleslaw. The flavor of the dressing, the creaminess of the cheese, and the crunch from the Brussels Sprouts and pecans … it was a perfect combination.

Brussels Sprout Salad

Pecan and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprout Salad

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ pound Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Place Brussels sprouts and pecans in a large bowl; toss to combine. Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Sprinkle with blue cheese.


Edamame Orzo Salad

My mom first made this dish for my brother and sister-in-law’s family wedding shower last summer. I promised in that post that I would share the recipe soon. Unfortunately, I never took any pictures of the dish during the shower, so I had to make it again (twist my arm) to photograph it for this post. Fast forward eight months and I have FINALLY gotten around to it. The good news is that you now have the recipe just in time to make it for your summer cookouts—enjoy!

Note: The picture below does not include the olives. The ones I had on hand were not pitted and I just don’t have that much patience.

Edamame Orzo Salad

Mediterranean Edamame Orzo Salad

¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper

1/3 box orzo pasta
2 cups cooked, shelled edamame
2/3 cup thinly sliced sundried tomatoes
¼ cup diced red onion
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
1/3 cup feta cheese

1. For vinaigrette, combine vinegar, garlic and oregano, and mix with a whisk or in the blender. Slowly add olive oil and mix well. Add salt and pepper.

2. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box and drain.

3. Add all of the remaining ingredients, including the vinaigrette, to the pasta and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving (the longer it refrigerates, the better).

Chinese Chicken Salad

My friend Jessie made this Chinese cabbage salad for girls’ night years ago, and it instantly became one of my favorites. Since then, I’ve added roast chicken to make it a full meal rather than just a side. The flavor reminds me of the Chinese Chicken Salad from California Pizza Kitchen, which I love. This salad is also great with shelled edamame tossed in.

Chinese Chicken Salad

1 pkg chicken ramen noodles
½ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup butter
½ cup slivered almonds
1 bag coleslaw mix
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/8 cup sugar
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
6 chopped green onions
2 cups pulled rotisserie chicken
1. Crush ramen noodles and brown in a skillet over medium heat with butter, sesame seeds, and almonds. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

2. Add the seasoning mix from the ramen noodles to the mixture; set aside and allow to cool.

3. To prepare dressing, whisk together vegetable oil, soy sauce, sugar, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil.

4. In a large bowl, combine noodle mixture, coleslaw mix, onions, and chicken. Toss with dressing and serve.

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Don’t you just love a dish that is just as good cold the next day as it is the night you make it? This orzo salad from Cooking Light is delicious for dinner and also perfect for your next cookout or potluck. You can really do it with or without the chicken, but the added protein makes it a complete one-dish meal.

The only negative feedback I got on this dish was from my two-year-old who didn’t appreciate that I was giving her “leaves” for dinner (there’s arugula in the salad)! To appease your picky eaters, you can always swap out the tomatoes, red peppers, and arugula for other veggies they like—zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, asparagus, or mushrooms would also be great in this dish!

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

1 ¼ cups uncooked orzo
3 cups chopped grilled chicken breast strips (use the frozen, pre-cooked kind to save time)
1 ½ cups arugula
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped red bell pepper (I roasted mine ahead of time, but raw works too)
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
6 tbsp (1 ½ ounces) crumbled goat cheese (or more if you’re like me!)


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

2. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

3. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

When I saw this recipe in the April 2013 issue of Cooking Light, it immediately went on our menu for the following week. I love making quinoa because it’s such a healthy, nutrient-packed grain and, luckily, my two year old can’t get enough of it! So I was eager to try this spicy grilled shrimp with quinoa salad because it was different than any other dish I had tried thus far. I did cut back just a little bit on the spice because neither I nor Olivia can hang with the heat, and I made a couple of other small adjustments to the original recipe—like more cilantro mixed right into the salad.

While this dish was delicious for dinner, I have to say that the leftovers were even better for lunch the next day after the flavors had really meshed together.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

¼ cup fresh lime juice, divided
10 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin, divided
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp hot pepper sauce
¼ tsp smoked paprika
4 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 lb)
¾ cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup water
½ tsp kosher salt, divided
½ tsp honey
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup diced peeled avocado
1 oz reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
Cooking spray
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Preheat grill to high heat.

2. Combine 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, chili powder, ½ tsp cumin, black pepper, hot sauce, paprika, and 2 garlic cloves in a medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss well. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

3. Rinse and drain quinoa. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 garlic cloves and quinoa; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 13 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool. Combine remaining 2 tbsp lime juice, remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, remaining ½ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp salt, and honey in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add quinoa mixture, tomatoes, chickpeas, avocado, ¼ cup cilantro and cheese; toss gently.

4. Remove shrimp from bowl; discard marinade. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining ¼ tsp salt. Thread 3 shrimp onto each of 8 (6-inch) skewers. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until done.

5. Divide quinoa mixture evenly among 4 plates. Top each serving with 2 skewers. Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Cedar Plank Salmon Salad

Ryan has been on this Omega-3 kick lately, so we’ve been eating more salmon, beans, winter squash, etc. When he suggested a salmon salad for dinner the other night, I decided to try to recreate my favorite salad from Coastal Flats, the Short Smoked Grilled Salmon Salad. Olivia’s not a great salad eater yet, but since this salad has red potatoes and green beans in it, she had a complete meal with the salmon without us having to make a separate dish.

The key to this salad is in the grilling. At Coastal, the salmon has a delicious smoky flavor and is crispy on the outside while buttery and pink on the inside. We tried to replicate some of that smoked flavor by grilling the salmon on cedar planks. It worked like a charm! Just be sure to buy cedar planks specifically for grilling (available at most big box hardware stores, Target, etc.), and soak them in water for at least an hour before grilling.

Cedar Plank Salmon Salad

2 salmon fillets
1 medium onion
5 medium red potatoes
2 cups petite whole green beans
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 (7 oz) bag of sweet butter lettuce or tender salad greens
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
pinch granulated sugar
balsamic vinaigrette (optional)

Cut your potatoes into quarters and boil until they pierce easily with a fork. Drain the potatoes and toss in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings or herbs you might want to add. Set aside.

Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.  Roughly chop your onion and add it to the pan. Cook the onions until they are translucent. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and continue cooking until the onions are browned and soft. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare your salmon for grilling by rubbing with remaining olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper. Once your planks are ready, heat them on the grill according to the directions on the plank packaging. Add your salmon to the hot side of the plank and grill for about 12 minutes (no need to flip).

While the salmon is grilling, cook your green beans. I use frozen steam-in-the-bag petite green beans, so it just takes 5 minutes in the microwave. If you use fresh green beans, just steam them until tender or boil for a few minutes and then blanch in cold water.

Split salad greens between two plates and top each with tomatoes, caramelized onions, potatoes, goat cheese, and green beans. Place a salmon fillet on top of each salad and serve with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette if you desire.

Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

I’ve only ever made quinoa once before (the Near East brand out of the box, which was good), and I decided we needed to incorporate this super grain into more of our meals. The July issue of Cooking Light had a bunch of suggestions for different mix-ins you could use with quinoa. I decided to take one of those ideas and expound upon it, and I ended up with this healthy quinoa salad. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
10 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 avocado, diced
1 cup corn
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic

In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Sauté the shrimp over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil until they curl and turn orange.  {You could also grill the shrimp on a skewer for some great charred flavor, which would be delicious.}

I used frozen corn for this dish, but fresh grilled corn cut off the cob would be amazing! Whichever type you decide to use, cook it (or warm it up) before adding it to the salad.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. This salad can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Guest Post: Tabouli Salad

My friend Dori, who writes the blog (703) Mommy and Me, recently made this delicious Tabouli Salad when we were over her house for dinner. Not only did my husband and I love it, but Olivia ate three helpings of this healthy side dish! Since I have mint and parsley coming out of my ears and am dying to make this, I asked Dori if she’d be willing to share her recipe with my readers. Luckily, she loves me and was happy to share, so enjoy!

 My mom used to make us tabouli (or tabbouleh) salad all the time in the summer. The fresh vegetables and herbs make it completely mouthwatering while providing a high protein and low calorie meal. Tabouli is super easy and quick, so it is a perfect side dish (or main meal) for a busy bee. I made this as an accompaniment to a leftover roast chicken Greek pita sandwich.

Pitas: Pita , chicken, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, hummus and a Greek yogurt sauce

1 C Bulgar (I purchase mine in the bulk food section at Whole Foods)
1 container of grape tomatoes, quartered
½ English cucumber, chopped
1 C Scallions, chopped
1 C Parsley, chopped
2 tbs Mint, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
3 tbs EVOO
* 1 C Feta, crumbled (optional)
* shredded romaine lettuce (optional)

Mix Bulgar with 2 C boiling water, cover tightly and let it sit for 30 minutes. While the Bulgar cooks you can cut your veggies and herbs. Strain the Bulgar using a mesh sieve making sure to get most of the moisture out of the grain. Mix the Bulgar, veggies, herbs in a bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together the lemon, EVOO, S&P. Incorporate it into the grain mixture and serve. You can also add the crumbled feta and lettuce to the mix or you can top a bed of lettuce with the grain and then cheese.

My Favorite Summer Side

This bean salad is a huge hit with my family, and it’s just not summertime without it. This dish is packed with fiber, iron, and protein, so you can feel good about your kids asking for seconds—because they will!

Summer Bean Salad

1 can fat free reduced sodium black beans

1 can chickpeas

1 can fat free reduced sodium kidney beans

2 cups shelled edamame (I use the frozen variety)

1 small tomato (you can also use roasted red peppers if you have any), chopped

1 avocado, diced

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime

Salt and pepper

Drain and rinse the three canned beans and place them, along with the edamame, in a large bowl. Add the tomato, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, and avocado. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the avocado to help keep it from browning. Mix everything thoroughly, and salt and pepper to taste.