Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Salads

I wish I had a backyard. 

Somewhere to grow what I want and enjoy planting flowers, to just relax and enjoy life. Summertime always makes me miss having a backyard, because I live for the outdoor dinner parties and sitting under the stars with a cup of tea. I used to have the most beautiful backyard- complete with tomato garden and aloe vera plants. Even though I was only renting the space, I chose to spend the money and upgrade the backyard area .. knowing that when I moved, it would all have to come down.. But the memories are worth it to me. And it is a positive feeling I can relate to from my childhood. Because in California, you can dine under the stars almost all year round and my family was big on that. 

I wanted to share some of my favorite salad recipes, that just scream summer. They are the perfect addition to any outdoor meal and are especially nice when it's too hot to cook! The watermelon one is a new crush of mine. It is perfect for a hot day, when all you want is something refreshing and easy! I highly suggest you put that on your must try list. 

  • 1 bunch of curly green kale
  • 12 brussels sprouts (about 2 big handfuls’ worth)
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan (use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese into little strips)
  • dash of sea salt
Tahini-maple dressing
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white miso
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Use a chef’s knife to cut out the ribs of the kale leaves. Chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle a dash of sea salt over the kale and use your hands to massage the kale by lightly scrunching handfuls of kale in your hands. Release and repeat until the kale becomes darker in color and more fragrant. Transfer the kale to a medium serving bowl.
  2. Chop off and discard the stem end of the brussels sprouts and any discolored outer leaves. Slice the sprouts as thin as possible, then use your fingers to break up any clumps. Add the sprouts to the bowl.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, vinegar, miso, maple syrup and red pepper flakes. Whisk in the water until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour the dressing over the kale and sprouts and mix well.
  4. In a small pan over medium heat, toast the almond slivers, stirring frequently, until fragrant and turning golden (this will take less than five minutes so watch carefully). Add the toasted almonds and parmesan shavings to the salad and toss. Serve immediately.


For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots (1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1/8th seedless watermelon, rind removed, and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 12 ounces good feta cheese, 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) whole fresh mint leaves, julienned


Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to form an emulsion. If not using within an hour, store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.

Place the arugula, watermelon, feta, and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat the greens lightly and toss well. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately


  • 1 1/2 pounds small golden beets 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 1/4 cup orange juice 
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens 
  • 3 cups chopped beet greens (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups tangerine or orange sections, halved crosswise (about 8 tangerines)
  • 2 tablespoons shaved fresh Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Leave root and 1-inch stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place beets on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat beets with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until tender. Cool beets slightly. Trim off beet roots; rub off skins. Cut beets in half.
  3. Combine orange juice and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add beets, tossing gently to coat. Remove beets with a slotted spoon, and set aside, reserving orange juice mixture in bowl. Add salad greens and beet greens to bowl; toss well. Place about 1 cup greens mixture on each of 6 salad plates; top each with about 1 1/2 cups beets, 1/4 cup tangerine sections, 1 teaspoon cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon nuts. Serve immediately.

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