Sweet Potato, Kale and Cranberry Citrus Salad

Guys, it’s cold outside. I mean really, really cold.  Hello January!

But just because it’s cold outside does NOT mean salad isn’t worth your time. This salad is very much worth your time. It’s adapted from Gimmie Some Oven because I didn’t have all the ingredients (and I’m taking it easy on grains) to make their Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale and Cranberry Couscous Salad.  With just a few tweaks for what I did have on hand and the omission of the couscous, this was a perfect addition to our main course tonight.

……And I can’t wait to have it for lunch tomorrow!

kale salad pic

Sweet Potato, Kale and Cranberry Citrus Salad

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, boiled whole until tender, cooled, cubed
  • 4 cups chopped kale leaves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, rehydrated
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 ounces plain goat cheese, crumbled
  • easy orange vinaigrette (recipe below)

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • pinch of salt and black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

TO MAKE THE SALAD:

  1. Prepare the sweet potatoes. I chose to boil mine whole because it’s just easy to do while I prep everything else. The skin comes off very easy this way too. Once they are fully cooked, set them aside to cool. Peel and cube the flesh. (I could not wait for this step. So I went ahead and prepared them while still warm. Therefore, they fell apart. STILL GOOD!)
  2. In a small bowl, combine cranberries with just enough water to cover the tops. This plumps them up a bit.
  3. Place chopped kale, cranberries (drain the water off them and spoon into the bowl), cooled sweet potatoes, almonds, goat cheese, vinaigrette, and toss to combine.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

TO MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together until combined.  Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

 

 

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Healthy Broccoli Salad

You know that summer staple at many St. Louis barbecues? The broccoli salad with sunflower seeds, grapes, red onion, bacon and mayo? It’s good yeah, but what if I told you I found one even better and better for you?

Last summer I actually winged my own version of that salad by making a vinaigrette for the dressing. I’m trying to cut calories and that mayo based stuff just isn’t flying.  Enter in this salad from Six Sisters Stuff. Oh my lanta! It’s so good! It’s got this tremendous bite to it thanks to the key ingredient; raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

Bragg                               Apple Cider Vinegar                , 16.0 Ounces , Liquid If you have never purchased this stuff, it will revolutionize your recipes. It has amazing flavor!

I tweaked the recipe a bit for what I had on hand and what sounded good to me. So here it is! Try it at your next summer gathering and tell me people don’t beg for the recipe.

healthy broccoli salad

 

Healthy Broccoli Salad

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of honey (my change!)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

6 tablespoons raw,unfiltered apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon EVOO

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 dash salt

2 heads of fresh broccoli, coarsley chopped

3 apples, chopped

1/4 cup pecans
Directions:

In large bowl, whisk together sugar through salt. Add broccoli, toss well. Add apples and onion, toss again.

Cover, chill at least 2 hours (It is my favorite when it sits overnight)

P.S. I have been eating this for lunch lately! I put the recipe into my fitness pal figuring 8 servings per recipe. It is 92 calories!

Honey Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tonight I made a super yummy salad dressing just by tossing a few ingredients I had on hand together. It was so creamy and delicious! I have mentioned recently that I am not keeping store-bought/pre-made dressings in the house these days. I’m trying to make them all from scratch! Here are the ingredients:

Honey Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/4 Cup EVOO  

2 T balsamic vinegar 

1 T honey

1 T dijon mustard

dash of sea salt

I shook it up in a container with a tight fitting lid, then gave it a stir (to make sure the honey was off the bottom for sure) and then shook it a second time. It was delightful!

My Salad Dressing Renaissance

I used to be a salad dressing junkie. In my refrigerator at any given time, you could find at least 7 different varieties. In the beginning, everything was a creamy (read calorie, dye and preservative loaded) sort.  As I’ve gotten older, discovered my love for cooking and drastically changed my diet -not to mention by shopping habits- I’ve discovered how much I do still love salad dressing. However with one big change-I like it light, I like it home made, if present at all. GASP! Yes, if at all.

Probably the biggest game changer in my dressing renaissance was this recipe by Emeril Lagasse, Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Oi. It seriously changed my life…concerning salads. Then, I recently read Shauna Niequist’s book, Bread and Wine (PSST!!! Amazon has it for $4.99 on your Kindle right NOW-go and buy it!), and how she always makes her own dressing. After playing with a few of her recipes and then understanding the basics, I started to have a lot of fun. Here in town, we have a shop that specializes in flavored Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars. I love to play with the flavors, to mix and create all sorts of bright and vibrant concoctions!

Thanks to Pinterest, a host of DIY dressing recipes are at all of our fingertips in any given moment. I am now down to 2 bottles of salad dressing in my home. One for my husband (who refuses to change, though I’ve tried-and will continue to try to convince him otherwise) and one for my children (cursed Ranch dressing!). I’m still on my journey with dressing salads. And I’ve pinned about a dozen recipes for making the recipes the men in my house cling to so deeply so I can at least give them the “real” thing.

In the mean time, I just found this recipe for a lovely and simple balsamic. I’ll post the recipe because YOU MUST MAKE IT! I don’t like maple syrup always and I read in the comments that another reader used honey. So that is what I went with (and it’s reflected in the recipe I’ve posted below). This dressing is so good!

If you have never tried making your own dressing, I want you to know how easy it is with just a few simple ingredients. For the basics a good list of things to have on hand would be:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • A good balsamic vinegar (I love my Costco variety and I also play around with the specialty varieties from the shop I linked above)
  • Lemon
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Apple juice/Orange juice

These are just a few things that I’m fairly certain people have in their pantry at any given moment. And they promise to brighten and liven up those greens in no time! Try your hand at this simple recipe I’ve posted below. Then branch out! Try putting marinated artichoke hearts, capers, lemon juice and salt and pepper on a salad with some thinly sliced red onion. That’s it! No dressing. Top it with some fresh Parmesan cheese even! Whatever you do, keep trying and have fun with it.  Happy creating!

Better Than Bottled Balsamic Vinaigrette

The easiest and most delicious homemade dressing I have ever made!

Adapted from Dreena Burton’s Eat Drink & Be Vegan ‘Back-to-Basics’ dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 tablespoons balsamic, white, or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or regular mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • (1/2 minced clove of garlic – optional)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Toss all ingredients into a bowl and whisk! Makes about 1/2 cup of dressing.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2010/03/13/a-salad-confessional/#ixzz2gaSXEigv

The Douglas Family “Taco” Salad

I love Mexican food. But when I make it, I never know what to serve with it beyond the standard rice and beans. This recipe is my go-to summer fare whenever I make a Mexican inspired dish because it is light and goes well with just about anything! It is a recipe that I grew up with and I’ve never really seen anywhere else.

Ingredients:

2-3 Cups hand-shredded lettuce (I like to use green leaf, Romain, or even baby spinach)
1 Can Red beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (Pepper Jack is good too)
1 small can sliced black olives, drained and rinsed (optional)
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 C chopped tomatoes (try using multiple varieties for color)
1 avocado, chopped
1 small bag lightly salted or reduced fat Fritos
French dressing

1. Clean, drain, and rinse all your veggies. Make sure you dry your lettuce well. Overly wet lettuce makes this salad less visually appealing.

2. In a large bowl, combine the dry lettuce with the other veggies. If you are serving immediately you can toss 1-2 cups of Fritos in this salad. However, if you are not serving it ASAP, put the Fritos in a bowl to the side. When you are ready to serve, toss together or let people “build it” themselves, putting the Fritos on the bottom and the salad on top. Serve with French dressing. You can even make it yourself by clicking on this link!

Funny Note: My best friend in WA is half Puerto-Rican. She teases me about certain recipes in my repertoire by referring to them as “white-people food”. This one definitely counts as such, but it is really good! Therefore, I claim no ethnicity with this dish other than my own family recipe that we love.

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

This salad dressing totally rocked my socks tonight! I had to toss it up (get it?) on She Cooks! ASAP! I did not author this one-it’s straight from Emeril Lagasse. I highly recommend you do this in the blender or if you have an immersion blender, use the wisk attachment on a tall cylinder. Mmmm…this is heavenly over Arugula with some gorgonzola cheese, some purple onion and tomatoes! YUMMY!

Ingredients:

1/4 C balsamic vinegar
2 t dark brown sugar
1 T chopped garlic
1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
3/4 C EVOO

Directions:

1. Beat the vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until all are nicely dissolved. With the immersion blender (use the whisk attachment), slowly add the EVOO while the whisk is running. The dressing will turn into a lovely thickness in about 1 minutes!

(I’ll post pics tomorrow…too tired tonight!)

Fruited Chicken Salad

Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Author: the base of the recipe is from Taste of Home, but I changed it because I do that to recipes. 🙂

 

Example One of Fruited Chicken Salad

Example One of Fruited Chicken Salad

 

 

Example 2 of Fruited Chicken Salad

Example 2 of Fruited Chicken Salad

 

Ingredients:

4 C cubed, cooked chicken
1 C sliced celery
2 C seedless red grapes, halved (or you can mix red and green grapes)
1 small can mandarin oranges-drained
1/4 C sliced green onions
3/4 C mayo *the real stuff! DON’T USE MIRACLE WHIP!
2 T honey
1 T Dijon Mustard
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C pecan halves
1 T dried parsley flakes

1. In a bowl, combine the chicken, celery, grapes, pecans and onions.

2. In a small bowl, make the sauce with the honey, mayo, and mustard. Pour the sauce over the mixture and gently toss to coat; add salt and pepper to taste and parsley for a little pretty.

3. Gently…very, very, very, gently, add the mandarin oranges. Don’t stir it to much. Just gently fold it. Otherwise, they get all smooshed and mushy.

Serve with crackers, croissants, lettuce or whatever else sounds tasty!

P.S. This chicken salad is up there with the one Dierburgs makes (for my St. Louis crowd) and Costco makes (for my Washington crowd)!