Posts Tagged ‘Arugula’

Homemade tzatziki, a hefty bed of arugula, a quartered tomato, garbanzo beans, sliced mushrooms, a splash of rice wine vinegar, a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil, fresh ground pepper, and more of those toasted pine nuts. Not bad!



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Yummy…I started with a bed of arugula, piled it high with cucumber, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, avocado, and grapefruit, then zested a lemon over it all, tossed it with a lemon citronette, and finished it off with a handful of toasted pine nuts leftover from last night’s pasta dinner. Delicious.


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Yummy. Arugula, tomato, mozzarella, basil, shallots, avocado, balsamic vinaigrette.

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Still using up the arugula, cherry tomatoes, shallots, and mushrooms. Today’s variation includes kidney beans, basil, dried cranberries and a pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette.

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My salad-a-day practice slowly died a couple years ago. For health and happiness reasons, I’m determined to get it going again. For now, I’m trying a new experiment. I’ll use this space to document my salads. Minimum of one meal per day that is a salad, craziness encouraged. That might mean I post just a picture, or just a brief description. In other words, my posts should be prolific but less detailed and polished. (Of course, I reserve the right to get detailed and fancy if I feel like it.) We shall see! Here’s yesterday’s salad, a day late. It included arugula, cucumber, corn, cherry tomatoes, shallots, cilantro, and a rice wine vinaigrette. I ate it with a small piece of veggie lasagna, so it maybe shouldn’t count. Still, I developed this plan while I was making it, so it gets to be included: image Today’s lunch salad is coming soon.

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Early morning, time to make lunches. We had almost everything I needed for a couple of rocking southwestern salads, so I pulled all my ingredients out and got to work. No radishes in the house, so I used yellow bell pepper for extra crunchiness, and I went for pinto beans instead of black beans because, well, I felt like it.

Ingredients for Recipe for Salad with Southwestern Avocado Citronette, Pinto Beans, Mandarins, and Yellow Bell Pepper

All of the ingredients, ready to go.

(Serves one as a meal.)
4 cups of arugula.
1/2 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained.
1/2 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and sliced.
2 mandarins, peeled and sectioned.
2 scallions, sliced.
1 fistful of fresh cilantro.
Zest of 1/2 a lemon.

Southwestern Avocado Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T fresh lemon juice.
1/2 avocado, spooned into jar.
1/2 clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp cumin.
1/4 tsp smoked paprika.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

Recipe for Salad with Southwestern Avocado Citronette, Pinto Beans, Mandarins, and Yellow Bell Pepper

The finished salad, ready for the dressing to rain down and the fork to attack like lightning.

Since I was making two salads, one for me to eat at home and one for my husband to eat at work, I doubled all of the ingredients listed above. I started by laying down my lovely beds of arugula — mine in a bowl, his in a stainless steel container with a tight fitting lid. I rinsed and drained the pinto beans, setting them aside in a sieve to drain a little more while I worked. I zested the lemon over the greens, and crafted my salad dressings in twin jars. In this case, that included measuring out the ingredients, and spooning the avocado into the jars as well. I shook them up and tested them by dipping a leaf of arugula into the citronette and tasting for salt and flavor balance. I peeled and sectioned the mandarins. (Yes, they are far more beautiful when they are sliced open and the jeweled fruit is exposed, but those plain little membranes keep the citrus juices from wilting the greens.) I chopped the yellow bell pepper, the scallions, and the cilantro, and added all of my ingredients to my beds of arugula. I nestled my husband’s jar of citronette in with his salad and snapped a picture before popping the lid back on.

Salads just don’t take that long to make — twenty minutes or less of chopping and mixing, and you’ve got a deliciously nutritious meal, for now or later.

Recipe for Salad with Southwestern Avocado CItronette, Pinto Beans, Mandarins, and Yellow Bell Pepper

Here's the same salad, packed to go!

The Verdict:
You know what I thought of this. I loved it. Juicy citrus, creamy beans, crunchy bell pepper, peppery arugula… This is a can’t fail recipe for me, and, once again, it succeeded.

Make it a Meal:

Pack it to Go:

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Juicy skillet steaks. Wild mushroom cream sauce. Fresh sourdough bread slathered with butter. All I needed was a very simple side salad, light and refreshing, to complete the meal. I decided to go with a lemon-lime citronette, with mint and scallions to deepen the flavors.

Ingredients for Recipe for Salad with Arugula, Romaine, Lemon Lime Citronette, Mint and Scallions

Simple ingredients, ready to prep.

(Side salad, serves four.)
1 heart of romaine, chopped.
4 cups of arugula.
2 scallions, chopped.
1 fistful of fresh mint.
Zest of one lemon.
Zest of one lime.

Vinaigrette or Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T fresh lemon and lime juice.
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

Plated Salad with Arugula, Romaine, Lemon Lime Citronette, Mint and Scallions

Plated and ready to eat!

I chose crunchy romaine and peppery arugula to build my verdant bed of salad greens. I zested one lemon and one lime over the greens, then juiced the citrus and prepared my citronette. I used my favorite wide knife to smash the garlic, and then I minced it and added it to my jar of lemon and lime juice. I added maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, and salt, shaking it up and dipping a leaf of romaine or arugula in to taste it as I went. Once the dressing had the right balance of flavors, I chopped my mint and scallions and added them to the salad bowl.

I plated the food, and served it up.

Child's Serving of Salad with Arugula, Romaine, Lemon Lime Citronette, Mint and Scallions

Here's one of our kid's plates, with sliced steak and the food clearly not touching.

The Verdict:
This is one of those salads that just works. It’s so easy, and so good. A really tasty citronette. A good fistful of fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, tarragon, thyme, and savory are all good substitutions). A sprinkle of scallions. A bed of lush salad greens. That’s really all you need. Perfect side salad. We ate it all.

Make it a Meal:
This is a very adaptable combination — add any leftover meat, or tofu, or garbanzo beans, and some extra fruit (citrus, berries, melon) and veggies (radishes, cucumber, mushrooms, peppers), and you’re good to go.

Pack it to Go:
It couldn’t be easier. Put your salad in a large glass or stainless steel container with a tight fitting rubber lid, and your citronette in a small jar. Tuck the dressing jar in to the larger container. When you’re ready to eat, shake up the citronette and drizzle as much as you need over your salad, then fork toss and enjoy.

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Improvising for dinner again, I needed a kid-friendly salad to accompany the chicken tacos they wanted. I went for a southwestern citronette, happy for a chance to play with the ingredients for one of my favorite salads.

I pulled a heart of romaine and some arugula out of the fridge, and grabbed a yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, a cucumber, cilantro, scallions, and of course some citrus fruits. Impressed by the beautiful colors, I snapped a picture and got to work.

Ingredients and Recipe for Salad with Sweet Southwestern Citronette, Arugula, Avocado, and Navel Orange

Here are the ingredients, ready to chop.

(Side salad, serves 4-6.)
1 heart of romaine.
2-4 cups of arugula.
1 fistful of cilantro.
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced.
1 avocado, quartered lengthwise and sliced.
5 mushrooms, quartered.
1/4 english cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced.
3 scallions, sliced.
1 navel orange, skin sliced off, quartered and sliced.
Zest of one navel orange.
Zest of one lemon.

Southwestern Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T lemon juice.
1 tsp maple syrup.
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp cumin.
1/4 tsp smoked paprika.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

Recipe for Salad with Sweet Southwestern Citronette, Arugula, Avocado, and Navel Orange

Tossed and ready to serve!

While the chicken for the tacos cooked, and my husband crisped the corn tortillas, I created a gorgeous bed of salad greens and zested the citrus fruit over the top. Then I juiced the lemon and prepared my citronette in a small jar. I doubled the maple syrup this time (from my typical half of a teaspoon for this type of salad to a full teaspoon). I’m not sure why I did that — in part to appeal to the kids, but it also just tasted right to have a sweeter dressing with the spicy arugula.

With the citronette made and mellowing, I started chopping and adding vegetables to my bowl. I saved the avocado and the navel orange for last so that the avocado would be lusciously green and the citrus juice wouldn’t wilt the lettuce.

Recipe for Salad with Sweet Southwestern Citronette with Arugula, Avocado, and Navel Orange: Plated

On the plate and ready to enjoy!

The Verdict:
The salad was delicious. It worked really well with the tacos, and was devoured by everyone at the table. Complete success!

Make it a Meal:
Easy enough — add pinto beans, black beans, leftover chicken, steak, carnitas, or shrimp, and then sprinkle some corn chips over it for extra crouton-style crunch.

Pack it to Go:
Avocado and orange need to be packed in a jar with the salad dressing. The rest of the salad is fine in a nice large glass or stainless steel container with a good rubber lid. Nestle the jar in the salad container and store it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat, simply shake the dressing and pour it over the salad. Use only what you need (use a fork to pull the yummy fruit out of the jar without getting more citronette than you want). Fork toss your salad, or put the lid back on the salad container and give it a few good shakes to combine. Enjoy!

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Sesame Chicken and Asparagus Lunch Salad, prep one

Arugula, leftover chicken, asparagus, and red wine vinaigrette.

Sesame Chicken and Asparagus Lunch Salad, prep two

Basil, scallion, mushrooms and radishes ready for slicing.

Since I was supposed to be walking out the door for a homeschooling park day when I realized I hadn’t eaten yet, speediness mattered.

I raided the fridge for leftovers and found a jar of shallot red wine vinaigrette, and some sesame chicken with asparagus. I grabbed arugula, mushrooms, basil, and a scallion to make it a meal.

Salad ingredients:
3 generous cups of arugula.
4 radishes, sliced.
3 large mushrooms, sliced.
1 scallion, sliced.
1 fistful of basil, chopped.
2 small sesame chicken tenderloins, sliced.
3 fat spears of asparagus, chopped.

Red Wine Vinegar Shallot Vinaigrette:
(Mine was leftover from a double batch I’d made the day before. If you want to replicate it at home, here are the ingredients for a single batch. Use what you need, there may be extra.)
1 T of red wine vinegar.
3 T of extra virgin olive oil.
1 small shallot, diced.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

I chopped fast, and dumped everything into the bowl. After drizzling the dressing over the top, I did a quick toss with my fork and then inhaled my lunch. Even when salad is quick to make, it’s never very quick to eat, but I did my best.

Sesame Chicken and Asparagus Lunch Salad

Dressed and ready to eat!

The Verdict:
Diverse flavors, many tasty bites, but the salad as a whole didn’t quite hang together. I think the basil and asparagus didn’t mesh as well as I’d hoped. If I’d had more time, I would’ve made a citronette instead, and replaced the basil with mint and lemon zest. I think a bright, citrus dressing would’ve been a better fit with the chicken and asparagus leftovers. Still, it was a decent lunch and provided me with plenty of energy for the park outing.

Make it a meal:
Already done!

Pack it to go:
This one would work well to go, just as-is, but why bother? Make a citronette instead, and use mint and lemon zest instead of basil. The ingredients are all hardy enough to handle spending the morning in the fridge. So, pack all the salad ingredients in a large container. The dressing goes in a small jar (I like jars that are little enough to nest inside the salad so you’ve just got one item to haul around). Add some dressing (start with a little so you don’t drown the salad), fork toss, and munch away.

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