April 15, 2014

Ultimate Greek Chopped Salad


I can't even tell you how many times I've made this salad. So. Crazy. Good. I keep going back to it because it's crisp, refreshing, and flavorful (with an added protein boost from the beans!) And I love how fast it comes together. The red wine vinegar-oregano dressing is made in under a minute, then you just chop up the veggies, toss it all together, and do a face plant right in the center of the bowl. Errr... I mean eat it gracefully with a spoon :) Either way. This was one of the early posts I did on the blog, and since I've already made it several times this year I wanted to get better photos to share with you all. I do hope you give it a try!


Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients
1 hothouse cucumber
4-5 ripe roma tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper
1 small red onion
15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

{For the dressing}
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions
Make the dressing: in a small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Dice the cucumber, onion, bell pepper and tomatoes (removing any excess liquid from tomatoes).
Put vegetables and garbanzo beans in a large bowl.
Add dressing and toss to combine.
Can eat immediately or refrigerate for at least an hour to let flavors combine. Some dressing will settle on the bottom, so stir before serving.

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More chopped salad deliciousness!


April 9, 2014

Quinoa Avocado Spinach Power Salad


POW! Nutritional punch! Quinoa, tender spinach, and sweet cherry tomatoes join forces with bites of creamy avocado to bring it all together. I find it to be a perfect marriage of filling and energizing. I'm fascinated with the fact that it's so simple, yet the flavors seem so complex as you eat it. My head starts spinning at how many variations there could be. Add some beans for an extra protein punch, change up the veggies, or use fresh lemon juice in the dressing instead of red wine vinegar. Although I probably won't stray too far from this version because my husband raves about how much he loves it. It's our new favorite quinoa dish! Not to mention it makes a rock star take-along cold lunch. Hope you love it too!


Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients
1 cup dry quinoa
2 medium avocados
3 oz. baby spinach
8 oz. cherry tomatoes
3 green onions

{For the dressing}
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (I use 2)
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt

Directions
Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
Meanwhile, make the dressing: in a small bowl whisk together ingredients and set aside.
Roughly chop the spinach and place in a large bowl.
Slice the green onions, halve the cherry tomatoes, and dice the avocado.
When quinoa is done cooking, add it to the large bowl with spinach and toss. The heat from the quinoa will lightly wilt the spinach.
Add the green onions, tomatoes, and dressing. Stir to combine.
Add the avocado and lightly toss.
Serve immediately or refrigerate to let flavors blend more.

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Crazy for more quinoa?
Check out these other recipes too! :)

March 30, 2014

Black Bean Lentil Salad with Cumin-Lime Dressing


This is my kind of meal! Hearty black beans and lentils mixed with cilantro, veggies, and a flavorful cumin-lime dressing. As soon as I saw the recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen, I knew it'd be a huge success so I just had to try my own version. I've made numerous recipes from Kalyn's site and have never been disappointed. This salad was certainly no exception - it became an instant favorite! It's so simple to make, and is a perfect cold lunch to bring along for work or picnics, gatherings, and BBQ's. Thanks Kalyn!


Vegan, gluten-free
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

Ingredients
1 cup dry lentils (green or brown)
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper
1/2 small red onion
1-2 roma tomatoes
Large bunch cilantro, stems removed
Optional: green onion

{For the dressing}
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. salt
Optional: chipotle powder, chili powder, pepper, hot sauce, other seasonings, etc.

Directions
Cook lentils according to package directions, leaving firm not mushy. Drain.
While lentils are cooking, make the dressing: place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Finely dice the bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes. Roughly chop the cilantro.
In a large bowl, place the black beans, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, and lentils. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Add cilantro, and lightly toss.
Serve immediately or chill covered in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors combine.

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If you like the black bean/lentil combo, try these Black Bean Lentil Tacos too!


March 22, 2014

Creamy Avocado Lemon Basil Dressing + Dip


This is the creamy dressing I use for the Rainbow Chopped Salad, but we also love it as a veggie dip! Fresh basil and lemon pair wonderfully with the creamy avocado, with just the right amount of tang from the garlic and white wine vinegar. Enjoy!


Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients
1 avocado
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. agave/honey
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Store covered in the fridge. Will keep for about 4-5 days.

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Like this? Try the Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing as well!


Rainbow Chopped Salad with Avocado Basil Dressing


Let's talk about avocado pits. You know that neat little trick they tell you to easily remove them? Just whack it with a knife and they come right out. Pretty cool, right? Except now you're wielding a knife with an avocado pit firmly wedged onto the blade. What am I supposed to do with that? I think I missed the memo on how to properly dislodge the pit from the knife. I've tried several methods (some probably not that safe) including one that sent the avocado pit flying across the kitchen. Slippery little fellas! Tell me I'm not the only one who struggles with this. Oh, I am? Doh! Either way, I play it safe now and leave the pit in, scooping out the insides and working my way around it. No more flying avocado pits. I swear they started making capes for themselves.

Since you guys go crazy (as do we!) for the Southwestern Chopped Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing, I wanted to create another salad that played off that but with different flavors. Instead of cilantro lime, I used lemon basil and brought it together with creamy avocado goodness. You can really use whatever salad vegetables you like - it's extremely versatile. I used these for a "rainbow effect" and maximum color pop because it makes me happy. :) We also love to add beans for a protein punch. The dressing makes an amazing veggie dip or dressing for other salads too. If you want, you can conveniently make it ahead of time and toss with the salad right before serving. It gets even better as it sits in the fridge after the flavors combine. For us, the amount of dressing below is a great match for the amount of salad.


Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients
1 large head romaine
1/2 small head red cabbage
8 oz. cherry tomatoes
1 english cucumber
2 carrots
1 yellow bell pepper
Optional: garbanzo beans, black beans, corn, sprouts, fresh herbs, etc.

{For the dressing}
1 avocado
Juice from 1 lemon (more to taste)
3/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. agave/honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions
Make the dressing: place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary. Place in fridge to let flavors mingle while you make the salad.
Chop all vegetables and place in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
Toss with dressing and serve.

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