Tag Archives: salad

Pearl Couscous with Zucchini, Corn and Herbs

During the summer months, corn and zucchini are always in abundance. However, in our house, zucchini is also a bottom dweller on the list of popular summer veggies available. Yet every year, I plant one or two plants, which inevitably will provide more zucchini than anyone around here wants to willingly eat.

When I saw this recipe, I knew it was one I wanted to try. I also wondered if my husband’s love of fresh summer corn would surpass his non-love of zucchini. So I gave it a try. The result was a surprisingly fresh dish bursting with flavor. Even my non-zucchini-liking husband said, “I like this salad!”

You can eat this as a salad, side dish, even a light main dish. Perfectly good hot, warm, or cold, it makes for an easy summer recipe.

Pearl Couscous with Zucchini, Corn and Herbs

Recipe slightly modified from Simple Green Suppers by Susie Middleton

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
1 cup pearl couscous, uncooked
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/4 cups of water or vegetable broth
2 cups finely diced zucchini (approximately 1/4-inch cubes)
2 cups fresh corn kernels
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
ground black pepper
sea salt


Melt one tablespoon of the oil in a medium sized pan, over medium heat. Add  half the onion (3/4-cup) and a small pinch of salt. Stir frequently, cooking until the onions soften.

Add the uncooked couscous to the onions. Raise the heat to medium-high and stir frequently until the couscous begins to lightly brown (5-7 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon of the ground coriander plus the 1 1/4 cups of water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed by the couscous. Remove the pan from the heat, then fluff the couscous with a fork. Keep covered, off the heat until needed.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining onion plus 1/2-teaspoon salt, sauté until translucent. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, until the zucchini slightly soften and begins browning lightly (5-7 minutes, approximately). Add the corn and 1/4-teaspoon salt, stirring often until the corn is slightly glistening (2-3 minutes). Add the minced garlic, remaining teaspoon ground coriander, stirring until well combined (1-2 minutes).

Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Add the lime juice , stirring to coat everything. Add the cooked, fluffed couscous, fresh basil, parsley and chives. Season with black pepper and salt to your liking.

Serve hot, warm, or even cold if you’d like.


Meatless Monday: Raw Green Bean Salad with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Feta


Even as a child (because I was  weird one!) green beans were one of my favorite vegetables! Granted, those green beans also often accompanied a frozen package of corn, peas, and oddly square-shaped carrots.

Last growing season I accidentally planted a couple bush bean plants instead of the pole beans I really wanted to grow. We didn’t have much of a harvest. This year, I planted some pole beans and anticipated a poor grow-season. However, we’ve been bombarded with a frequently consistent crop of green beans.

This salad is easy to throw together, flavorful and tastes great as a side dish or main dish.


Raw Green Bean Salad with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Feta


For the tomatoes:
1 pound Roma tomatoes, cut into rounds 1/4-inch thick
1/2 pound grape tomatoes, cut in half
good quality olive oil for drizzling, about 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the salad:
2 cups fresh green beans, cleaned* and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
zest from one lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1/4 cup crumbled feta
salt and pepper, to taste

  • To clean the beans, simply wash them and snap off the ends, removing the tough string if one is present.



Prepare the tomatoes:  Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Arrange 2 oven racks to the middle and bottom positions of your oven. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheets. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 3 hours, until tomatoes are soft and shriveled. Rotate the sheets among the racks every 45 minutes or so, to cook the tomatoes evenly. Cool tomatoes until they’re comfortable to handle.

Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, vinegar and minced garlic until completely combined.

Prepare the salad: In a large bowl, combine the cut beans, roasted tomatoes (as many of them as you want; the rest can be stored in a small glass jar filled with olive oil) and feta. Pour the oil and vinegar mixture over the beans along with some salt and pepper, then gently toss until everything is well coated. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, up to a few hours, before serving.


Smoked Salmon Salad with Smoky Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette


I have been extremely slow at getting into our gardens this year. Perhaps it’s the cold that doesn’t quite seem to go away. Maybe it’s the number of hours in a day and balancing everything that needs to get done simultaneously. Maybe I have just been lazy. Regardless, I made myself go out and fix the bamboo fencing around what one of our garden spaces will be, the same space that grew everything in wonderful abundance last year.

Were you around for the excitement of this space last year…

Or the bigger excitement when that space turned into this…

And provided us with…


Well into early fall…?

I am looking forward to growing our food again. There are few things more satisfying than deciding on a menu based out of things you’ve planted, cared for, grown, then harvested. (Do I sound like a hippie? It’s okay. I understand. And don’t give any flying you-know-whats.)

That said, I have been craving salad a lot recently. Salad, ice cream, and pasta if we’re going to get real here. So, I share the following salad with you! You can make things vegetarian by omitting the salmon and replacing it with more veggies, or perhaps some smoked tofu? Salads offer lots of room for creative options.


Smoked Salmon Salad with Smoky Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Serves 2-3.


For the dressing:
1/4 cup fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup low fat sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons sunflower, or other lightly flavored oil


For the salad:
2 cups packed fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup microgreens (I used broccoli micros)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 roma tomato, diced
1 carrot, peeled then grated
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2-3 ounces hot smoked salmon, broken into bite-sized chunks *

  • Hot smoked salmon is different than the cold smoked salmon that results in lox-like smoked fish. I use a brand that is semi-local, but feel free to use whatever variety is available to you. I’ve heard rave reviews of Cap’n Mike’s alderwood smoked salmon, if that interests you!



Make the dressing:
In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, honey, sour cream, salt, paprika, granulated garlic, and pepper until completely combined.


Make the salad:
In a large bowl, gently toss together the salad ingredients. You can dress the salad with as much or as little dressing as you prefer. Serve immediately.



Smoked Salmon Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette


Sometimes a girl eats too many doughnuts for her birthday. Then chases them down with extravagant fru-fru cocktails, copious amounts of amazing sushi, and inevitably, birthday cake to round it all out. Sometimes the next day, that girl says, “Damn. I need to eat a salad.” (“…Good thing we ate ALL the doughnuts yesterday so I can’t have any post-salad consumption…”)

I am often embarrassed by the fact that salads are one of the few things that seems to befuddle my recipe-brain. How hard is it to throw together vegetables, dressing, maybe fruit, maybe seeds and nuts? Not that difficult. It’s the flavor combinations and textures that get me all woozy feeling. (Reaching for unmentionable glazed baked goods as a cure.) However, I will tell you – having a garden filled with organic greens and goodies is allowing me room to experiment more than I probably would otherwise. It’s fun (and satisfying) to be able to say, “Oh hey – I grew that! And damn it tastes good!”

My salad eating habits are borderline weirdo. Typically, I do not like salad dressing. I prefer carrots and cucumbers to be cut certain ways in order for me to eat them. Tomatoes? The seeds have to be removed or they aren’t getting into my salad. Luckily, these tendencies have lightened up in the last few years. I’ll throw random things together, add different textures and flavor, then name it salad. So long as there are green things in it.

The following salad ending up being a two person dinner. It was sweet, savory, filling. Eaten with some toasted, buttered bread, it was a nice light meal.



Smoked Salmon Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Serves 2 (dinner salad) – 4 (side salad)


6 oz mixed greens (I used arugula, spinach, and baby romaine)
½ cup fresh sweet corn kernels (about 1 large ear, or 2 smaller ears of corn)
4-6 radishes, thinly sliced
½ a small cucumber, cut in half then thinly sliced
1 small avocado, peeled and cubed
⅓ pound hot smoked salmon, broken into bite-sized chunks *

* Hot smoked salmon is different than the cold smoked salmon that results in lox-like smoked fish. I use a brand that is semi-local, but feel free to use whatever variety is available to you. I’ve heard rave reviews of Cap’n Mike’s alderwood smoked salmon, if that interests you!

3 tbsp. grapeseed oil
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
3 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
salt and fresh cracked black pepper



In a medium-sized glass jar with a lid, combine the oil, vinegar, lemon juice and basil. Cover, then shake until completely combined. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking. Shake right before using.

Gently toss the greens, sweet corn, sliced radishes, cucumbers and half of the dressing . Use your hands or tongs to toss the salad until everything is coated evenly.

Place the vegetables on two serving plates, along with the salmon and avocado evenly arranged on each salad. Drizzle the top of your salads with the remaining dressing and serve immediately.

Warm Beet Green Salad with Beets, Goat Cheese, and Pine Nuts


I grew up on an island small enough to travel from one side to the other, then back, in less than half a day. Everyone knows everyone, or knows of everyone. Family isn’t always blood-related. Anyone can be aunty, uncle, tutu… Two aunties I had known my entire life were Auntie Kei and Aunty Mitzi. They had known my grandparents – my mom’s parents – whom I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet. These two sisters lived together as long as I can remember. I remember going out to breakfast with my mom, the aunties, my sister, and brothers on many weekends. When we were little, the aunties went to doctor appointments with us, or grocery shopping, or on nearly any outing we invited them to.

I remember often receiving large brown bags filled with their homegrown star fruit and tangerines. They would rarely let us part ways without some kind of food gift – Japanese kanten they made (like jello, only made of agar agar instead of gelatin), or teriyaki nori (seaweed) I could never eat enough of, cookies, bags of honey boro, li hing mui… Sometimes what we left with were large amounts of homegrown beets and beet greens.

Even as a kid, I loved beets. My mom would steam the greens, then tightly roll them up and allow them to cool. She’d top the cold greens with mayonnaise, which I don’t think I would enjoy now so much (perhaps Vegenaise wouldn’t steer me away so quickly?). I actually much preferred the greens to the vibrant red beets. Last week when I was drinking a lot of raw beet juice, I realized how much I missed that flavor.

When I discovered two small beets in our refrigerator needing to be used up, I opted for the following warm salad, incorporating the greens as well. Beets are great for you – they’re high in many vitamins and nutrients including iron and folic acid, they’re low calorie and contain zero saturated fats, they help prevent heart disease and numerous cancers, AND! they’re energy-producing in your body… not to mention, they’re sweet and tasty. This salad is simple. I ate the whole thing for a rather filling brunch, but it can easily serve two or three people. The beets add sweetness, the goat cheese adds a creamy element that works well with the acidity of the lemon and vinegar, the greens balance the sweetness and the pine nuts add a bit of texture.

Continue reading