Tag Archives: Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad with Juliet Tomatoes

Pesto Pasta Salad

I had my first taste of Hillside Farms‘ baby Roma tomatoes last summer, at the beginning of my local food adventures.  The moment that first Juliet tomato burst in my mouth was an epiphany. It tasted like sunshine, sweeter than any tomato I’d ever eaten.

I had been skeptical about the locavore movement until then, but with that one bite I finally understood what the “eat local” hoopla was about. A year later, I’ve certainly bought into the local food movement. And my heart still pitter-pats every time I see Hillside Farms’ Juliet tomatoes in my Local Box.

If I don’t eat them straight out of the package, I enjoy using Juliet tomatoes in a simple pasta salad with pesto dressing. I almost always have goat cheese and the ingredients for homemade pesto in my fridge during the summer months, and this salad is one of my favorite things to cook on nights when Juliet tomatoes arrive in the Local Box.

This salad is as versatile as it is easy to prepare. I’ve added olives, chopped green onions, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, baby spinach, grilled chicken breast, and even chopped raw baby squash to this salad, all with good results. It’s a terrific base for whatever I’m craving along with those sweet little tomatoes from Hillside Farms.

Pesto Pasta Salad with Juliet Tomatoes (serves two as a main dish as written;  serves more if you stretch it by adding more veggies or meats)

1/2 lb. farfalle, penne, or conchiglie pasta
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 pint Juliet tomatoes
4 ounces goat cheese

Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, prepare pesto sauce by combining basil, grated cheese, olive oil, and minced garlic and one teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Pulse for about 90 seconds, until pesto is uniform in texture. Set pesto aside until the cooked, drained pasta is cool to the touch. After that, mix the pasta and pesto sauce in a serving dish.

Put the goat cheese in the freezer for a few minutes while you slice the cherry tomatoes in half. (Chilling the soft cheese makes much easier to break up later.) Add the sliced tomatoes to the dressed pasta, then use a butter knife to chip the cold goat cheese into the salad. Gently stir the finished salad to combine all the ingredients and chill it for at least an hour in the fridge before serving.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery and appears on their blog “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

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Two Healthy Salads by my Husband

Tonight, Rami and I enjoyed one of the best meals we’ve had at home in quite a while.  We ate a gingery citrus cole slaw and a quinoa broccoli salad, plus whole wheat beer bread. And the best part, I didn’t cook a single thing!

Earlier tonight I was busy making chocolate chai truffles for a food swap on Monday when Rami walked in the kitchen and said, “How can I help?”

That’s a dangerous question in our house, because in a matter of minutes, he had been put in charge of making our entire dinner. He prepared two salads, Kathy Patalsky’s Napa Cabbage Cole Slaw and Amy Sherman’s Quinoa Arugula Salad, plus a loaf of whole wheat beer bread as a test for another food swap recipe.

The beer bread turned out really well (whew!) and the salads were awesome.  I’m planning a full post on the bread in advance of Monday’s swap, but in the meantime, here’s a recap of the salads:

The cabbage slaw is one of the best cabbage recipes I’ve found online.  Rami is typically not a fan of cabbage, and I don’t care for tangerines. However, in this recipe, we loved both of those foods!

Rami did make a few substitutions in Amy’s recipe according to what we had on hand: tangerines from G&S Grove instead of oranges, double the amount of regular mayo instead of vegan (sorry, Amy!!), and a green bell pepper instead of yellow.  Next time we make this, we’ll experiment by using less ginger and even more tangerines.  And the flavor of the dressing is so strong, I think I might be able to get away with adding a whole bag of sunflower sprouts to the mix.

Equally tasty was this broccolli arugula quinoa salad:

Rami was pretty liberal in his interpretation of the original recipe, which originally called for shaved asparugus, avocado, and lemons. He used  broccoli from Texas Daily Harvest (he added it to the quinoa pot for the last 5 minutes of cooking time), subbed tangerine juice for the lemon juice, and skipped the avocado.  The textures of steamed broccoli and quinoa really work well together, so next week I’ll be looking for more recipes that call for them together.

Turkey & Radish Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

This salad combines leftover Thanksgiving turkey with crunchy daikon radishes, tender greens, and a creamy homemade green goddess dressing.   I used a food processor to slice the radishes and prepare the dressing, but the task could just as easily be completed by hand with a good knife and a mixing bowl.

Turkey & Radish Salad with Green Goddess Dressing (serves 4)
Salad:
1 bag salad greens, washed and dried
4 inch section of daikon radish, sliced very thinly
1 1/2 cups cold chopped turkey
Green Goddess Dressing:
1/2 cup chopped parsley, thyme, sage, or other fresh herbs on hand
1 tablespoon minced onion (or sub. 1/4 c. chopped shallots)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 lime, about a tablespoon
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, plus more for garnish

Chop turkey into uniform pieces, if necessary. Wash and dry the salad greens and set aside.  Cut a four-inch section off of the radish and use the disc blade on the food processor to slice the radish very thinly; set aside sliced radishes.  Fit the food processor with the chopping blade.  Mince onion/shallots in the food processor, then add herbs and pulse until chopped.  Add mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lime juice, milk, salt and pepper and blend until dressing is well combined.  Toss dressing, greens, turkey, and sliced radishes.  Serve salad immediately.

If, after making this salad, you find yourself with half a daikon radish leftover, use it to make this easy radish dip and sandwich spread. Perfect for zipping up leftover turkey sandwiches!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook: Quiches, Kugels and Couscous

A few weeks ago I got a copy of Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, the latest in a series of wonderful cookbooks by Joan Nathan that explore Jewish culture and cuisine around the world.  Joan is coming to Austin soon to discuss Quiche, Kugels and Couscous at a brunch hosted by the Dell Jewish Community Center on November 14th as part of their Austin Jewish Book Fair. (More details here.)

As the title suggests, Quiche… describes the evolution of Jewish home cooking in France.  It includes a huge selection of recipes that each call for unprocessed, seasonal ingredients, and the narrative portions are a pleasure to read.  There are some color photographs in the book, but no tablescapes or over-the-top styling in the way.  I am gradually working my way through the book, starting with the easiest recipes first and moving towards more complex entries as I become more familiar with them. (I’ve read the book cover to cover twice, and now I’m on lap three.)

My favorite dish so far is a simple lettuce salad with vinaigrette dressing.  I love this recipe because it utilizes ingredients that are always in my pantry or crisper, and because it makes radishes taste wonderful. (This is quite a feat, in my opinion.)  I’ve made this several times and, although the book tells me to whisk the ingredients together in a salad bowl, I prefer to use a blender so that my arms don’t get so tired.

Lettuce with Classic Vinaigrette (serves 4)
from Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan, published by Knopf, 2010.

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
Leaves of 1 head of lettuce
2-4 radishes, sliced as thin as possible

Wash lettuce and dry gently with a salad spinner or kitchen towel.  Slice radishes. Set aside. Combine all remaining ingredients in a blender.  Pulse until oil is emulsified and garlic and shallots are minced completely.  Pour dressing into a bowl and gently place the lettuce leaves on top. Toss the salad, and garnish with sliced radishes to taste.

If you’re considering attending the brunch with Joan Nathan in Austin, I recommend reading Lisa is Cooking’s recent interview with Joan and Alice Water’s insightful review of the book on Amazon.com.  You can also get a sample of Joan’s writing style and some recipes from the book in this great article she wrote for Tablet Magazine. Bon appetit!

*My copy of this cookbook was supplied free of charge by Knopf Publishing.