Book Club almost always inspires me to try making something new and the Watermelon Heirloom Salad has been on my list of ‘must try’ since my sister-in-law, Betty, told me about it.
I served this in July with tomatoes and watermelon in season. It is a refreshing salad especially during the hot days of summer. The salad was served with the feta on the side since some of our members are Vegan. Easy peasy and satisfies all. What a wonderful fusion of great flavors. It’s now one of my favorite summer treats.
WATERMELON HEIRLOOM SALAD
3 large heirloom tomatoes (about 1.5 pounds), cored and cute into chunks or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I used multi-color cherry tomatoes)
4 cups cubed watermelon
1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used Champagne vinegar)
juice of 1 lime
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh feta (don’t skimp on the quality of the feta)
1 lime, cut into wedges
- Combine the tomatoes, watermelon, mint and basil in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix together olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour olive oil mixture over the fruit and toss to mix.
- Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the feta over the salad (or on the side). Serve with lime wedges and sea salt.
Recipe from FreyFarms
Gluten-free eating means I rarely eat toast, breakfast pastry, etc. Sometimes, I just need a carb ‘fix’ and this recipe sounded delicious. I slightly altered the original recipe and loved the results. The second time I made this recipe, I substituted blueberries for the Craisins and baked in muffin paper/tins. I’ve shared both versions with good feedback. I’ll even admit that I didn’t eat all of it soon enough and the last piece was a bit dry. I thought, ‘why not put almond milk on it?’ like a bowl of oatmeal. It was delicious.
A new favorite for my gluten-free recipe box!
CRAN-APPLE OAT CAKE
2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 single-serving packets of Pure Stevia
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 small tart apple, chopped
1/2 cup Craisins (original recipe called for cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Soak the oats in the almond milk in the refrigerator overnight.
- In the morning, combine all ingredients.
- Spread in greased 9-inch pie plate (or muffin tins).
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Briana-Thomas
Cranberry and Mango Quinoa Salad is a favorite salad shared by friend, Chris, at many of our Book Club and pot luck dinners. Finally, I decided to prepare it and savored every serving. I’ve also tried adding other ingredients to add variety, including bits of turkey or slices or fresh avocado.
This salad is great for summer meals and gatherings.
CRANBERRY AND MANGO QUINOA SALAD
2 cups of water
1 cup of quinoa
1 cup fresh kale or spinach in bite size pieces
1.5 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks (one to two fresh mangos should yield just about 1.5 cups)
1.5 c cubed melon (I used Honeydew)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (toasted/optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
pinch of salt
- Bring water to boil and cook quinoa per the instructions. Cool.
- Add kale (or spinach), mango, melon, almonds, and cranberries to quinoa.
- Mix together Lemon poppy seed ingredients and pour over quinoa salad.
- Serving Option: Slice fresh avocado slices over top of salad.
Recipe adapted from Skinny Minz and Healthy Pursuit
Fennel was a target buy at Trader Joe’s for daughter Megan and I this week. My husband, Karl, used to love to cook Fennel as was prepared for him on business trips to Italy. It’s been years since I’ve prepared it. Megan suggested we roast it and it was fantastic. I have to say that eating it raw was delicious, too.
The fennel was prepared the same evening as the Zuppa Tuscana (recipe to post next week). We decided to put some of the fennel in our soup and loved the addition. I even added cold roasted fennel to a roast pork and goat cheese sandwich…love it!
Next time I’ll try roasting the fennel with other vegetable, perhaps white and sweet potatoes and a bit of rosemary?
2 heads fresh fennel
salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Rinse fennel. Slightly trim bottom and top of fennel bulb.
- Cut each bulb in half lengthwise. Cut out core and set aside.
- Slice fennel thinly and place on baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Roast for 15-20 or until brown on edges and tender.
Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup, with only 5 ingredients, sounded too easy to be good. I was wrong.
It was full of flavor and, depending on your taste buds, could be enhanced with additional vegetables and spices. I think I will add a bit of curry next time.
What would you add?
SWEET POTATO AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP
1 head cauliflower
3 sweet potatoes
1 sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
7 cups water
Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cut up cauliflower and lay out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, and bake for 25 minutes.
- In a large pot bring water, sweet potato, onion and garlic to boil. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender.
- Remove half of soup and puree in food processor. Return to soup pot.
- Garnish with green onion, salt and pepper, parsley.
Recipe adapted from Living Paleo Cuisine
Our family was gathering for a late Sunday afternoon dinner and Mexican food was planned. I needed a good starter but wanted something that wasn’t high fat/high calorie. I have had 7 layer dip many times and this is a low cal twist to that recipe. I used 2 cups of refried beans and 1 cup salsa for the bottom layer and otherwise, used the recipe as below.
It was a great little dip and I like it served with vegetables (especially Jicama) along with the chips.
MEXICAN LAYERED DIP
1 cup refried beans, vegetarian/low-fat
1/2 cup salsa
1-1/2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 avocados, pitted, peeled & mashed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup sliced black olives
raw vegetables spears; red/yellow/orange bell peppers, jicama, daikon radish, carrots, celery, etc.
tortilla chips or strips
- In small bowl, combine and stir beans and salsa. In separate bowl, combine and stir Greek yogurt and taco seasoning. In third bowl, combine and stir mashed avocado, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Use a 8×8″ pan or bowl or similar size. Place bean mixture on the bottom, guacamole in the middle, yogurt mixture on top; smoothing each into an even layer using the tip of a table knife.
- Sprinkle on toppings: shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives. Top with a sprig of cilantro. May be assembled, covered, and refrigerated up to 6 hours in advance. Serve with veggie spears and/or tortilla chips.
My youngest daughter LOVES vinegar potato chips and I spotted this recipe some time ago on a blog that I follow, Lucy’s Friendly Foods. I am a popcorn hound and had to try it. If my daughter, Sarah, liked it, it was a winner.
I’m happy to report we both liked it! The reduction of the balsamic vinegar had a delightfully sweet, and salty, taste. A nice, lighter, change from the traditional (and always yummy) buttered popcorn.
SALT AND VINEGAR POPCORN
12 cups popped corn
4 tablespoons dairy-free spread
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
- Pop the popcorn.
- Melt the dairy-free spread in a saucepan. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
- Simmer for 3-4 minutes to slightly reduce the vinegar.
- Pour over the hot spread/balsamic mix.
- Stir well and serve immediately.
Adapted slightly from: lucysfriendlyfoods.com
Can you tell I’m in the mood for spring? My past two recipes have been all about it! This Spring Garden Vegetable Soup has also been in my ‘must make’ stack. I like the versatility of this recipe, easily adapting to Vegan or Vegetarian (using vegetable stock and omitting the cream and chicken) and it is Gluten-Free.
This soup is light and, oh, so healthy. Daughter Sarah served a small bowl to 10-month old grandson, Evan, and he really liked it! I served the soup with the not-so-healthy baked Red Lobster Biscuits (which Evan DEVOURED) but a hearty whole-grain bread would be wonderful paired with this soup.
SPRING GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP with ASPARAGUS, ARTICHOKES, PEAS & SPINACH
6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
4-6 cups water (to reach desired thickness)
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, cut into half circles
2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
3 carrots, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
1 15-ounce can artichoke bottoms, tough bits sliced off and discarded, remaining parts cut into lengths
16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts (from Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces asparagus, woody ends snapped off, skin pared off if tough, spears cut into one-inch lengths, tips set aside
8 ounces frozen peas
8 ounces frozen spinach
Generous salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
Cream to taste (1/4-1/2 cup)
Optional: 2-3 cups chopped chicken
- In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the leek, stir to coat with butter and let cook until just soft.
- Add the celery and carrots to the pot, stirring to coat with butter and cooking until soft.
- Add the artichoke bottoms, artichoke hearts and asparagus lengths (leave the tips aside).
- Add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through. (Optional: Add cooked chicken at this point).
- Stir in the asparagus tips, peas and spinach and let cook through. Add water to reach desired thickness.
- Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream to taste. Best if left to rest for 24 hours before serving.
Recipe adapted from ALANNA’s TIPS
Tender stalks of asparagus at the store are a sign that Spring is upon us (or at least we hope it is). This recipe for Asparagus Tapenade has been in my stack of ‘must try’ recipes for a long time. I wish I could remember where the recipe came from so I could give proper credit.
Asparagus Tapenade is a great recipe for anyone, but is a tasty treat for those practicing a Vegan or Vegetarian diet.
I served the Tapenade with vegetables and bits of bread. It was great with both but I LOVED it on artisan bread.
1 pound asparagus (thick spears work fine)
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil or fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, optional
1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper
Additional salt and pepper to taste
- Bring pan of water to boil over high heat.
- Rinse and trim ends from asparagus, then cut in 1 – 2 inch pieces.
- Add asparagus to water, return water to boil, reduce heat to medium. Cook until just soft and still bright green, about three minutes. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium high, stirring occasionally, watching carefully to avoid burning.
- Add remaining ingredients to a food processor. Add toasted pine nuts and cooked asparagus. Pulse until thoroughly blended but still roughly chopped.
- Transfer to clean container and refrigerate until fully chilled. Serve with crackers, vegetables and/or on crostini/bread.
Edamame and Edamame Salad was a new discovery about 4 years ago. I loved Edamame at our favorite sushi restaurant and I’ve enjoyed Edamame Salad at potlucks but have never made one. When this recipe popped up in a recent issue of Relish.com it inspired me to try it. As I mentioned on Tuesday, it paired well with the Yogurt Marinated Chicken.
The salad kept for days and I’ve enjoyed it as an entrée as well. The Salad would be equally good without the Feta cheese, for those that are following a Vegan diet.
Mediterranean Edamame Salad
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked, shelled edamame
2/3 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup black olives (Kalamata–I used mixed Spanish olives), pitted and halved
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups lettuce or greens
- To prepare vinaigrette, combine vinegar, garlic and oregano, and mix with a whisk or in the blender. Slowly add olive oil and mix well. Add salt and pepper.
- To prepare salad, combine edamame, tomatoes, onion, olives, feta and vinaigrette. Let marinate 30 minutes (or longer).
- When ready to serve, toss or serve salad with lettuce or greens.
Courtesy of Get Fresh Memphis; Relish.com