Tag Archives: summer salads

Chickpea and Tahini Salad III (Perfect Picnic Salad)

21 Jul

I am forever putting together cold chickpea salads for the summer.

Tahini is, of course, one of my favorite condiments for this purpose. For the uninitiated, it is a sesame paste, very thick, that keeps for a long time in the fridge and is critical to Middle Eastern cuisine. A tablespoon adds a depth of flavor, a teeny bit on the bitter side, and a thickness or creaminess of texture to sauces and dressings that I like a lot. Try a basic dressing from a Mediterranean Buffet , a   version with soy sauce, or another with tomatoes and herbs. Which I guess means I should call this Chick Pea and Tahini Salad IV, but whatever!)

This time I had dill in the fridge needing to be used up so I figured I would try it. The result was fresh and good. Mint would be a terrific substitute or addition. You can really go in many directions with this one! You can mix it with rice or use it to top a green salad or just eat it right out of the mixing bowl with a spoon while standing in front of the fridge (not that I would ever do that. Uh-uh. Not me).

Light and fresh – perfect side for supper!

Chickpea and Tahini Salad III

1 Tbs lemon juice or red wine vinegar (start with half a tablespoon and increase to your taste)

1 Tbs tahini

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs dill, chopped

28oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs red onion (a quarter of a medium red onion), sliced thin

Mix or whisk lemon juice or vinegar and tahini together in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well.


Cold Rice Noodle Salad with Creamy Tahini

17 Jun

Rice noodles are cool. They start out all stiff and fragile and white and, after just three minutes in boiling water, they turn glassy and soft and a bit sticky. I love their texture and their look, and they remind me of a beloved Filipino chicken and noodle recipe my mom used to make when we were kids, one she got from a very dear Filipino friend.

My son loves them plain; he has taken to burying the fresh peas from our garden under a pile of noodles and carrying on all sorts of conversations with pretend characters as they make their way to his mouth. I am sure there is a whole chapter in the Bad Mommy Handbook about the evils of letting kids play with their food, but I can’t bring myself to care. The last thing I want is for the dinner table– perhaps the last bastion of real family life left to us all — to become a battlefield.

So he plays with his plain rice noodles and peas (“Oh no, don’t let him find me!” says the pea. “I am going to eat you!” says the evil bad guy, played by my son) while I play around with making cool dressings for the part I want to eat.

This one was inspired by Lindsey at Makes and Takes and I modified to suit our tastes and what was available in our garden and pantry. You will note that I used Veganaise – this was a salad my dad promised to try (yes, he is still on his crazy ass diet, but he is not so militant anymore and for this Father’s Day he was downright anarchic), so I used the vegan mayonnaise as a consideration. It’s actually fine for things like this.

You’ll also notice the pea pod option. Leandro eats the peas from the garden, but not the pods (yet), so I took the pods he was emptying and added them. They are unbelievably sweet and crunchy right off the vine and fit right in with the other stuff.

Cold Rice Noodle Salad with Radish, Cucumber, Pea Pods, and Creamy Tahini Dressing


8 oz. rice noodles, prepared according to package directions and cooled.

5 small radishes, greens removed and cut into tiny matchsticks (about 2 Tbs)

¼ hothouse cucumber, cut into tiny matchsticks (about 2 Tbs)

(optional – a handful of peapods – peas removed – cut into tiny matchsticks; microgreens; toasted sesame seeds, matchstick carrots)


2 Tbs mayonnaise or Veganaise

1 tsp rice vinegar

½ tsp sugar

2 generous Tbs tahini

1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine

Sriracha or other Asian hot sauce, to taste (I did one generous squeeze)

¼ salt or to taste

Mix salad ingredients together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Add dressing to bowl mix thoroughly, adjust seasoning, and serve.

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

17 Aug

Beets keep for three weeks or so in the fridge (You should always cut the beet greens to an inch before storing and use the beet greens right away), so if you have any in the cool box waiting for inspiration, this is a simple dish that results in big flavor and gorgeous visuals.

I think you will especially like the vinaigrette (and you can reserve some to use on salads later in the week; it really perks up a simple, seasonal fresh from the garden tomato and cucumber salad like the one I had today with a bit of feta).

This became an instant top ten for my mom; we are all big salad eaters around here (except for my son, but nevermind; we’re working on it) but even those most dedicated herbivore needs a wake up for the taste buds. Beets and goat cheese have become a classic flavor combination with good reason, so don’t wait ’till you see it on a menu. DIY!

Thanks to Adriana for inspiring this recipe in a comment on an earlier beet recipe (beets and greens with orange). https://hotcheapeasy.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/roasted-beet-salad-with-orange-and-beet-greens/.

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

5-6 medium beets, tops trimmed to one inch, roots intact, washed and dried

3-4 Cups baby salad greens (spinach goes very well with this, as does arugula), washed and dried (if using large leaves, tear into bite-size pieces)

2 oz crumbly goat cheese

¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Handful of walnuts/cranberries (optional)


¼ Cup sherry or other mild vinegar (scant; reduce if using full-strength white or wine vinegar)

1 generous tsp prepared mustard (Dijon preferred)

¼ tsp agave nectar (or honey)

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets loosely in foil and roast about 40 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from foil and cool. When you can handle them easily, peel with your hands. You may want to use gloves or put your hands in a plastic bag to peel, as the beets stain fingers pink. Cut into small bite-size chunks.

Lay a bed of salad greens on a plate, top with beet chunks, and optional red onion, walnuts and cranberries. Dot with goat cheese.

Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad just before serving (You may want to pour dressing after the goat cheese to keep it from getting colored. You may also want to drizzle less rather than more to really enjoy the exciting flavors of the salad ingredients).

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange and Beet Greens

16 Jul

We’ve been away on a camping trip for a week, but starting back up with a bang….BEETS!

Wacked-out color, floppy texture, weird vegetable discs out of a can. Ick.

That about sums up what I knew about beets as a kid. Later I got into the occasional fresh carrot, beet and apple frappés at farmer’s markets in Puerto Rico, but that was more a Saturday morning hangover-helper type thing as I was shopping for vegetables than a real affection for beets themselves.

It wasn’t until many years later that I had a food revelation at Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village. I was doing a story on Chef Dan Barber for Le Connoisseur, a Puerto Rico food and wine magazine. He is a locavore chef in the tradition of Alice Waters and even owns his own farm. His other Blue Hill is located at Stone Barns, the Rockefeller organic farm center right by Sleepy Hollow, north of New York City http://www.bluehillnyc.com/.

So the chef trotted out a number of tiny dishes, including a single square of beet on a skewer. It looked like a precious jewel and the flavor was giant: intense, concentrated, sweet. I was hooked in a single morsel.

However, it wasn’t until getting involved in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that I actually had to figure out how to prepare them myself. Like, do you actually cook them? How? Do you peel them first? What about the greens?

Here are some short answers, followed by a showstopping roasted beet recipe.

Trim off the greens about an inch from the actual beet. You can eat them and they should be used within a day or two, taking out larger ribs before cooking. They can be used like most other leafy greens.

The unwashed beet roots will last about three weeks in the fridge. To use, scrub gently and do not remove the root. Do not peel before cooking. You can wrap in foil and roast at 400°F for 1-1.5 hours or simmer in salted boiling water for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Another option is to steam in a vegetable steamer for 30-45 minutes. the beets are done when a fork goes easily through the center. The skins will come off easily and should be removed while the beets are still warm. Use kitchen gloves or put your hands in plastic bags to handle them, as they will stain*. Flavor affinities include goat cheese, tarragon, herring and ham.

I have toyed around with this next recipe for several years now, and I think I have finally hit just the right balance of sweet and sharp. It also takes advantage of the beet greens. It is a gorgeous looking salad and the taste is, well, revelatory.

El amor entra por los ojos -- This dish is love at first sight!

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange and Beet Greens

6 medium beets with beet greens attached

1 large navel orange, peeled, separated into segments, pith and white removed

2 shallots, peeled and chopped fine

¼ -1/3 Cup red wine vinegar

¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim greens from beets. Cut off and discard stems. Coarsely chop leaves and reserve.

Wrap each beet loosely in foil. Place on oven rack and roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool, then peel beets (use gloves or small sandwich bags to protect fingers from stains. Cut into eight wedges and place in medium bowl.

Bowl four cups of water, then add beet greens and cook until tender, just 2-3 minutes. Drain, cool and squeeze out as much water as possible. Add greens to beet bowl. Add orange segments (you may break them up) and shallots to bowl. Whisk vinegar, oil, garlic and orange peel in a small bowl to blend well and add to beet mixture. Stir to coat, season with salt and vinegar and allow to stand for at least an hour at room temperature before serving.

*You may notice that beets add color to your subsequent bathroom visits. Do not be alarmed! And kids find it very amusing.

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