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Strawberry Balsamic Salad

9 Jul

Yet another salad post, but this one is so exceptionally good, my fiance could not stop raving about it and immediately asked for seconds. This salad should really be called strawberry spinach salad with candied pecans, blue cheese with a strawberry chia seed balsamic vinaigrette, but for obvious reasons I’ll go with strawberry balsamic salad. None the less this salad has a complex flavor profile that will rock your taste buds!

The candied pecans are the most time consuming part of the recipe but they are well worth the extra 20 minutes. Or you can always just buy candied pecans or use toasted pecans and save on extra sugar.

I love to experiment with salad dressings and I wanted to make this one super fresh and special. I started with fresh squeezed orange juice and add to that strawberries, chia seeds, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, whoa it’s a kick in the mouth! The chia seeds not only thicken the dressing but they also add omega 3’s, fiber and protein. If you haven’t tried chia seeds yet this is a simple way to sneak some into a meal.

Strawberries are by far my favorite fruit,  I eat them all year round, but summer strawberries are the best. This salad showcases strawberries in a more savory way that will surprise you.

Strawberry Balsamic Salad

serves 2


  • approximately 6 strawberries, sliced( more or less to taste)
  • 4 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup candied pecans ( homemade or store bought)*
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoon chia seed
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, tops removed
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice


  1. Place the first four ingredients in a medium bowl and toss together.
  2. Take the rest of the ingredients and place in a blender or food processor,  blend until combined and smooth.
  3. Pour salad dressing over salad and serve.

*Candied Pecans recipe

  • 3/4 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans

Boil sugar, salt, honey,and water in a saucepan until it reaches 242 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and add vanilla and pecan. Stir to coat.

Place pecans on a lined cookie sheet. Separate pecan from on another and allow to cool 15 minutes until coating is hardened.

Keep the extra candied pecans in an airtight jar.


Fiesta Black Bean & Corn Salad

5 Jul

It is summer in Texas, which means it rarely dips below 100 degrees around dinnertime. Because of this heat and the abundance of fresh organic veggies from our garden, we eat salads more nights than not during summer.

I have been experimenting with salad dressings. I have been trying to make them healthier but also more flavorful. Finding the right ratio of flavors can be tricky, it is a trial and error process. The first experiment for a zesty dressing for this salad was a big fail, but I gave it another go and I found success!

I used red bell peppers, red cabbage, red onion, jicama, and romaine for the base of the salad. Then added corn and black beans, baked tortilla strips as garnish and a creamy spicy cilantro dressing t0 bring the whole salad together.

Fiesta black bean and corn salad

serves 4 entree salads



  • 6 cup romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup jicama, julienned
  • 2 cup fresh corn, boiled or roasted on the grill ( removed from cob)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 5 corn tortilla, cut into thin strips


  • 1/2 jalapeno, to taste
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 4 tablespoon Greek yogurt 0%
  • 4 drops liquid stevia or any sweetener to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place tortilla strips evenly on baking sheet.
  3. Bake tortillas until the slightly curl on the edges and are crisp. Around 6 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients, and toss until combined.
  5. In a blender or food processor add all dressing ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
  6. Right before serving garnish salad with tortilla strips, add dressing and toss.

Mexican Quinoa Salad

28 Jun

Quinoa is fast becoming a staple in this house. Not only is it a complete protein, it is also loaded with fiber, iron, and calcium. And best of all quinoa is gluten free!

This salad tastes like summer. The inspiration for this salad is the abundance of red bell peppers and cilantro in my garden. I paired my peppers with fresh roasted corn and black beans.

The sauce for this salad is simply apple cider vinegar and olive oil. It perfectly enhances the flavors of the season in this salad.

I used half black quinoa and half plain quinoa, in an effort to increase the color appeal of the salad, but any quinoa will work.

Serve this salad hot or cold!

Mexican Quinoa Salad

serves 4 entree salads


1 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cup water

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1 1/2 cup fresh corn, roasted and removed from cob

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Cilantro, garnish

lime wedges, optional


  1. In a medium saucepan add quinoa and water. Cook uncovered until water is boiling, cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes; or until no water remains.
  2. In a deep saute or large saucepan add olive oil, heat oil on high heat until oil shimmers. Add onion and red bell peppers, cook until soft; around 4 minutes. Then, add in corn and black beans and reduce heat to medium.
  3. Pour apple cider vinegar over the veggie mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. When quinoa is done, add it to the veggie mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Remove from heat, either serve immediately or chill for an hour and serve cold.
  6. Just before serving add cilantro and squeeze a little lime on top.

Sweet and Spicy Spinach Salad

19 Jun

This salad has it all, it’s slightly sweet, spicy crunchy and nutty.

Spinach is the base of this is salad, then I loaded it up with carrots, daikon, shredded red cabbage and red bell peppers.

The dressing has a citrus sweetness and a spicy kick that pairs perfectly with the crunchiness of the salad.

This salad is great to serve as a side salad or can stand alone as an entree salad.

Sweet and Spicy Spinach Salad

serves 4 side salads or 2 entree salads


5 cup baby spinach

1/2 cup daikon, julienned

1/2 cup carrot, julienned

1/2 cup jicama, julienned

1 cup red cabbage, shredded

1/2 cup red bell pepper, sliced

1/4 cup red onion, sliced

Sweet and Spicy Dressing

1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari

2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

2 tablespoons red onion, diced

1-2 teaspoon garlic chili paste, optional

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds


  1. In a small sauce pan cook orange juice over medium heat until it is reduced by half.
  2. Add orange juice, honey, tamari, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, red onion, and garlic chili paste into a blender or food processor. Pulse until dressing is smooth.
  3. Add all salad veggies together in a large bowl, drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Toss until completely combined.
  4. Serve immediately or dressing can be kept separately in the fridge until ready to use.

Orange Sesame Kale Salad

5 Jun

This salad will knock your socks off, and maybe change your mind about raw kale. The inspiration for this salad came from a kale salad that I tried a few months ago. The original salad though was way too sweet and had a bit too much oil. So this is a healthier remake of a healthy salad.

I choose fresh squeezed orange juice for the base of the dressing. To that I added minced ginger, Tamari, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, olive oil, garlic chili paste, and black sesame seeds.

The key to making this salad super tasty is to thoroughly coat the kale with the dressing. Top with roasted Pepitas, dried cranberries and raw blanched slivered almonds. Once combined the salad should sit for at least 30 minutes for the best taste.

Orange Sesame Kale Salad

makes 6 side salad servings


  • 1 bunch of Curly Kale
  • 8 ounces orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free Tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (toasted or white will work as well)
  • 3 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted Pepitas
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raw, blanched slivered almonds


  1. Wash kale, remove the thick rib and tear into bite size pieces. Place kale into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate small bowl add orange juice, sesame oil, honey, tamari, rice wine vinegar, garlic chili paste, minced ginger, and olive oil. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour dressing over the kale and toss until all the kale is coated.
  4. Top the salad with the pepitas, cranberries, and almonds.
  5. Let salad sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Root Slaw with Mint and Lime Dressing

1 Jun

So May was National Salad Month, but let’s forget all that and celebrate June as salad month!

This root slaw is packed with so much goodness I can hardly believe it. Beets, daikon, red cabbage, jicama, broccoli, and carrots. Topped off with fresh mint and lime dressing. This salad is too good to miss.

The inspiration for this salad came from my garden with it’s abundance of fresh veggies and herbs. Not all of these veggies were from the garden, but you can taste the freshness.

The combination of fresh mint and lime against the earthy flavor of the salad is incredibly delicious. This slaw is perfect for picnics or backyard barbeques.

Root Slaw with Mint and Lime Dressing



  • 1/2 cup daikon, shredded*
  • 1 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded*
  • 1/2 cup jicama, shredded*
  • 5 carrots, shredded*
  • 4 broccoli stalks, shredded*
  • 3 beets, shredded*

* Tip – Use a food processor to make easy work of shredding all these veggies.


  • 5 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar



  1. Toss all shredded vegetables in a large bowl until well combined.


  1. In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour into a lidded jar. Dressing with keep up to 2 days in the fridge.
  3. Add dressing to slaw 15 minutes before serving.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

29 May

This Brussels Sprout salad is a game changer. I came across this recipe from Gluten Free Girl last fall, I tried it with some modifications and it was good but not fantastic. I recently revisited this recipe and modified it yet again and this current version is amazing!

Although I love Brussels Sprouts this salad is the first time I have eaten them raw and I have to say I love their crunchy kick. To make quick work of shredding the Brussels sprouts I used a mandolin. Just watch your fingers!

After you have shredded the Brussels Sprouts the rest of the salad comes together quite quickly. The addition of Shredded Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts creates the base for the salad.

My secret ingredient is a French Dijon mustard that packs quite a kick! I suggest you use a spicy Dijon, to give the salad a bite that will stand up against the Brussels sprouts. Making the vinaigrette in a jar makes easy work of emulsifying.

Toss the vinaigrette into the Brussels sprouts and try to share, if you can.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad


  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 teaspoons spicy Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Use a mandolin or food processor to shred Brussels Sprouts, place shredded Brussels sprout in a large serving bowl.
  2. Shred Parmesan cheese onto the sprouts and add the toasted walnuts.
  3. In a small jar with a lid add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Replace lid and shake until vinaigrette is completely combined.
  4. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine.
  5. Enjoy!

Cabbage Salad with Mint and Garlic

8 Nov

This cabbage salad or what I call Lebanese Cole Slaw, is the traditional accompaniment to Mona’s Mjadara.  If you missed the Mjadara post you should really check it out. You can do it now, I’ll wait.


Back already? Cabbage salad is super simple and very tasty!

When I was taught to make this salad, I was taught to slice the cabbage very thinly by hand. I am not very good at getting it thin enough. Recently though I discovered that I could use a mandoline to shred the cabbage super fine, with little effort. This discovery is a HUGE timesaver!


Once the cabbage is shredded, it is time to make the dressing for the salad.

Mash three cloves of garlic with a mortar and pestle with plenty of salt.


Spoon the mashed garlic into a jar, along with olive oil. Squeeze in lemon juice and then add the dried mint. Put a lid on the jar and shake!


Apply the dressing to only as much cabbage as you will be eating that day. Save the additional dressing and cabbage in fridge for up to two days.


Serve with Mjadara!




Cabbage Salad with Garlic and Mint

1 head of green cabbage

3 cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons of salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1-2 lemons

2 teaspoons of dried mint


  1. Quarter cabbage, shred cabbage very thinly using a mandoline or knife. Put cabbage into a large bowl.
  2. In mortar place 3 cloves of garlic with the salt. Mash garlic until it is a smooth creamy paste.
  3. Spoon garlic into a jar, add  olive oil and squeeze in 1-2 lemons (depending of how juicy they are).
  4. Add dried mint to jar.
  5. Place the lid on the jar and shake.
  6. Pour the dressing onto the cabbage. Using only what you will eat in one day.