Shirazi Salad

If you’re looking for a totally refreshing salad for a hot summer day, look no further! OMG…I could eat this all day long! You’ll find it on many mediterranean restaurant menus, as it’s named for the Iranian city of Shiraz, the capital of Fars Province. Many recipes call for various different ingredients, but the one I tasted was simple and light and utterly addicting! Tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and mint surrounded by a light fresh lemon dressing. It’s a marriage made in heaven!

Shirazi Salad

Shirazi Salad

Shirazi Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup red or green onion, diced
  • ⅓  cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Preparation:

Place tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and mint in a bowl.  Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Combine all and stir.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Farro, Dried Cherry & Toasted Pecan Salad w/Feta

Never heard of farro?  Well, it’s a type of ancient wheat grain, and you might be surprised to know that it’s been around for thousands of years! Because of its high fiber content, it’s gaining popularity for it’s many health benefits.  And, we’re all over health benefits, right??  This salad combines the nuttiness of the farro, the sweetness of the cherries and the saltiness of the feta all in one healthy dish.  Throw in some pecans for crunch, fresh parsley and green onion to freshen it up and a light and tangy fresh lemon dressing to finish it off.  It’s one of my new favorites!  🙂

Farro, Dried Cherry & Toasted Pecan Salad w/Feta

Farro, Dried Cherry & Toasted Pecan Salad w/Feta

Farro, Dried Cherry & Toasted Pecan Salad w/Feta

Adapted from Southern Living Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup farro
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup toasted pecans, chopped (See Liz’s Tidbits)
  • ¾  cup dried cherries
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup chopped italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup feta cheese

Preparation:

Bring farro and broth to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and cook until the farro is tender 20-25 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cool water. Then set aside to cool.

Once cool, stir in remaining ingredients.  I like to add my feta cheese to the top just before serving.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • To toast nuts, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350° for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. I like to toast a whole sheet pan full then keep them in a mason jar in the fridge for when I need them.
  •  I like organic produce when I can get it.  It’s just a personal preference.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Cannellini Bean Salad

 Continuing on my quest for great summer salads, this winner comes from the magazine, “Eating Well”.  I love all kinds of beans and always keep a good variety of canned ones in my pantry just for throwing together a last minute salad.  They’re good for you and make a great, quick “go-to” lunch.  Fresh herbs make all the difference in this light summery salad, and I love the crunch of the celery against the creamy beans. Everything about it screams healthy!  Eat it on it’s own as a salad or use as a base to top with fish, grilled shrimp, scallops or chicken!  Bon Appétit!
Cannellini Bean Salad

Cannellini Bean Salad

Cannellini Bean Salad

adapted from “Eating Well” Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed well
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup finely diced celery

Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, sage, chives, salt & pepper. Add rinsed beans, celery and tomatoes.  Toss well.  

 

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Great for picnics or outings! Can be made and stored in the refrigerator a day ahead.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Blueberry & Kale Grain Salad

It’s a hot summer here in Texas, and what better way to beat the heat than with a cool salad?  I’m always on the lookout for delicious and healthy summer salads.  Not only is this one delicious, but it has healthy written all over it!  Sweet juicy blueberries are the star, and combined with feta, snap peas and pecans, you’re rewarded with that crunchy, sweet & salty combo.  Kale and wheat berries round out the dose of healthy!

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Blueberry & Kale Grain Salad

Blueberry & Kale Grain Salad

Blueberry & Kale Grain Salad

Southern Living Magazine

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat berries (farro, quinoa, or wild rice can be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg fresh sugar snap peas
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • ½ cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta

Preparation:

Bring wheat berries, salt and 4 cups water to a boil in saucepan.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cook snap peas in boiling salted water to cover 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, then drain.  Plunge into ice water, drain and pat dry.  Slice in half.  Drain wheat berries, and rinse under cold water until cool.

Toss together kale, wheat berries, and ¼ cup vinaigrette in large bowl.  Let stand 30 minutes. Stir in blueberries, pecans, and sugar snap peas.  Add salt & pepper if desired and sprinkle with feta.  Serve with remaining ¼ cup vinaigrette.

Red Wine Vinaigrette (makes about 1 cup):

  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ large shallot, minced
  • ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard

Stir together red wine vinegar and minced shallot; let stand 10 minutes.  Whisk in olive oil and remaining ingredients.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate in airtight container up to 1 week.

Liz’s Tidbits:

The Vinaigrette recipe makes more than you will use for this salad.  Keep the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Fresh Pea Salad with Radishes, Tomatoes and Mint

Summertime brings an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies, and I love all the wonderful tomatoes and peaches that have been appearing at our local roadside stands. It’s a real treat to see my favorite guy with all his goodies just right up the street from me, and since he’s only there a couple of days a week, I pounce on him as soon as I see his stand go up!  Lately, he’s been bringing freshly shelled peas and beans, and he introduced me to the not so accessible, but very delicious “purple-hull” peas. They are actually close cousins to the more familiar, but less tasty, black-eyed peas.

I wanted to showcase these peas and do a little more than merely throwing them in a pot with some onions and bacon, so I searched for a salad.  I found this in my new favorite cookbook, Cooking Through the Seasons by Cooking Light. The salad is bright and fresh and is the epitome of summer!

You can serve it in a pretty bowl…

Fresh Pea Salad with Radishes, Tomatoes and Mint

or serve it in individual martini glasses for a different presentation!

Fresh Pea Salad with Radishes, Tomatoes and Mint

Fresh Pea Salad with Radishes, Tomatoes and Mint

Slightly adapted from Cooking Through the Seasons, Cooking Light

Six Servings, 2/3 Cup

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh purple hull peas (or any peas you choose)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt & pepper
  • mint sprigs for garnish

Preparation:

Sort and wash peas, and place in a small saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above peas, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain

Combine juice, vinegar and oil in a small bowl, and stir well with a whisk. Combine peas, tomatoes and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, drizzle juice mixture over salad, and toss to coat. Cover and chill. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

Liz’s Little Tidbits:

Think outside the box when it comes to serving your food.  Make it FUN!  Shot glasses are a great way to serve an appetizer soup (think gazpacho or chilled watermelon soup for summer). Serve individual cobblers in little ramekins.  Martini glasses are no longer just for martinis!  Use them for your shrimp cocktail or maybe your dessert!  They’ll leave your guests ” oooh-ing and ahhh-ing”.

Green Bean Salad w/Tomatoes, Arugula & Basil Dressing

I LOVE arugula!

Arugula is a leafy green herb in the mustard family that has a hot and peppery flavor.  I actually prefer it to lettuce in my salad.  So, when I saw this recipe for a green bean salad with arugula, using basil and lemon, I knew I had to give it a try!  I served this as a side dish with my Redfish on the Halfshell (see previous post), and daughter, Alexis, liked it so much, she has requested the recipe. 🙂

Green Bean Salad w/Tomatoes, Arugula & Basil Dressing

Green Bean Salad w/Tomatoes, Arugula & Basil Dressing

adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 strips lemon zest about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, white pith removed
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 lb fresh Haricots Verts (see Note)
  • 2 cups arugula, rinsed and spun dry
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 oz) 1-inch-diameter fresh mozzarella balls, halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

Fill an 8-quart stockpot three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Put the basil and lemon zest in a metal sieve, immerse it in the boiling water, and blanch for 5 seconds.  Remove, tapping the sieve over the sink to shake off excess water.  Turn off the burner but leave the water in the pot with the cover on.
Roughly chop the lemon zest.  Put the basil and zest in a blender and pulse a few times.  With the blender running, slowly pour in the oil, puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Transfer to a small bowl or liquid measuring cup and cover.  Refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad.
Return the water to a boil over high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons salt and the beans. Cook until the beans are crisp-tender, about 4-6 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water, and spread the beans on a large rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate to cool completely.  If making more than an hour ahead, cover and refrigerate.
In a large bowl combine the cooled beans with the arugula, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Toss with the basil oil and lemon juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and more lemon juice.
**Note:  Haricot vert is French for green beans.  “Haricot” meaning beans and “vert” meaning green.  French green beans are longer and thinner than most American varieties and are also more tender and have a more complex flavor. When lightly cooked, they are crispy, and very tasty, with a hint of sweetness.  Blanch only for a short period of time (4-6 minutes) to keep their crispness.  If you can’t find haricot vert in your grocery store, chose the thinnest young green beans you can find.

Trying to hang on to summer! Mango Rice Salad with Grilled Shrimp

I have 8 more days of being able to sleep past 6:15 am!  Eight more days until school starts back up.  Ugh!  Not that I’m counting, or anything, but I REALLY DO ENJOY SUMMER!…not having to get up at the crack of dawn, not having to constantly be asking, “Have you started your homework?…Have you FINISHED your homework?…Do you even know what homework YOU HAVE?” LOL!    Summer is so laid-back for us…hanging out at the pool, having friends over to grill, the list goes on and on.  I really don’t have time now for another trip before school starts, so in an effort to pretend I was in the Caribbean tonight, I made a recipe from a new cookbook I purchased, called Cooking Light-Cooking through the Seasons.  In keeping with my summer theme of “Main Meal Salads”, I tried one of their summer recipes called “Mango Rice Salad with Grilled Shrimp”.  It was a nice blend of sweet (a little coconut milk in the rice added some sweetness along with the diced mango) and spicy (the shrimp are marinated for about an hour in a few different spices, one being red pepper which I kicked up a few notches!)  Instead of heading out to the grill, I decided to roast my shrimp on a sheet pan instead, and they turned out great!  If you don’t have the time to make it down to the islands this summer, try the next best thing, and cook up a little island food!

Mango Rice Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Mango Rice Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Printable Recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 36 shrimp)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 3/4 cups shredded carrot
  • 2 cups diced peeled mango (about 2 mangoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray
  • cilantro sprigs (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add shrimp; toss to coat.  Cover and chill 1 hour.
  2. Bring water and coconut milk to a boil in a medium saucepan; add rice.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Add carrot and next 7 ingredients; toss gently to combine.
  3. Prepare grill or grill pan to medium high heat.  (Or pre-heat oven to 400° and roast shrimp for 8-10 minutes).
  4. Thread shrimp onto each of 12 (6 inch) skewers.  Place skewers on grill rack or grill pan coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done.  Serve kebabs over salad.  Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Note:  I roasted my shrimp in a 400° oven for 10 minutes.  They were perfect!

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