Category Archives: salad

Green Bean, Basil and Radish Salad

Why has everything gone wacko? Who knows? All I know is that after a couple of weeks of vacation followed by a baking spree that left the people around me rolling their eyes in disbelief and a weekend of wedding festivities topped off by eating a piece of red velvet wedding cake, I had a hankering for my old friends, healthy vegetables. I was so into my piece of wedding cake and I kept looking at my husband’s slice, then I started eying a tray of wedding cake slices on plates that was left on a table next to me and I seriously started thinking, how tacky is that to nab another slice of wedding cake, I mean how often do you even see red velvet cake and it was so good! Plus I did dance quite a bit and must have burned a few calories, yeah right. Anyway, I was left with that sensation of desire for more red velvet cake that I usually satisfy by making the darn thing and eating it! Only this time I’m really feeling the effects of all my indulgences in my enlarging waistline which I couldn’t believe the skirt I just bought 6 weeks ago was tight, yuck! So, it’s back to my good buddies in the vegetable section of my local market. I’m really lucky that I love vegetables because many people don’t like them, my friend Margaret who was told by her doctor to eat more veggies is struggling to eat salads. I don’t have that problem, I just really have a sweet tooth, as we say. I come from a long line of Danish butter loving people, that I really identify with, and for the next while I need to break with that tradition and try not to put sour cream on my beets and things like that. The other thing that’s gone wacko is I can’t get my camera to focus, go figure so I used my husband’s camera and I can’t get that to focus either, must be a problem that’s going around! So, I’m posting this recipe with the most focused photo of the bunch, I will persevere and get to the bottom of this focus problem, I think it’s called get new glasses!

I’m going to try a few new recipes from ‘The Herbal Kitchen’ by Jerry Traunfeld, this is one of my favorite cookbooks that is of the healthier variety in my collection. I’m starting with this salad recipe and I’m sure they will get progressively less healthy as I go along.

Ingredients and Directions

6 servings, I ate almost the whole thing myself, do you think there’s a problem?

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pound fresh green beans
1 bunch radishes, cut into wedges, about 2 cups
1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup thin shavings Parmigiano-Reggiano

Stir the shallots and vinegar together in a large mixing bowl and let them sit for awhile to mellow the flavor of the shallots.

Boil the beans in a large pot of salted water until crisp tender, about 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of the beans. Drain the beans and plunge in a bowl of ice water, drain again and dry off.

Add the beans to the shallots and toss in the radishes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Put on a platter and top with the shaved cheese.

Think red radishes and not red cake! Just be sure to use tender green beans and you will be happy with this combination of colorful vegetables. You can also try different herbs in place of the basil, like tarragon or dill. Goat cheese might be a nice switch from the Parmesan.


Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Couscous Salad

This salad is beautiful to look at and healthy to eat with ingredients like sweet potatoes, red peppers, couscous, orange juice, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, scallions, garlic and chives. It tastes as good as it looks, especially the roasted sweet potatoes which taste like candy after being caramelized in a hot oven.

I brush slices of sweet potatoes with olive oil, a little sea salt and ground black pepper before roasting in a hot oven. I like to use parchment paper when I roast vegetables, it makes cleaning the pan a lot easier.

I also like to make roasted red peppers which I add to my couscous salad, they look great and are a flavorful compliment to the sweet potatoes. These are simple to prepare and can be made ahead before you roast the sweet potatoes.

I used the toasted Israeli couscous which is sold in the bins at the Oliver’s Market by my house in Santa Rosa. It’s also simple to prepare and is perfectly dressed with a mixture of olive oil, orange juice, garlic, scallions, chives, salt and pepper. The red peppers look great against the creamy light colored couscous.

Add the roasted sweet potatoes and stir together in a large bowl before serving with additional toasted pumpkin seeds and chives.


1 cup toasted Israeli couscous
1 & 1/4 cups water
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into bite size slices, about 1/4″ thick
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup chives, minced, plus additional for sprinkling on top
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, plus additional for sprinkling on top
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing on roasted sweet potatoes
1 orange, juiced
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, for dressing and roasted sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees


1. In a medium saucepan bring lightly salted water to a boil and add the couscous, simmer on low heat for about 8-10 minutes until tender and all the water is absorbed. Transfer to large bowl and stir to cool slightly before adding olive oil, orange juice, zest, garlic, salt and pepper. Set couscous aside.

2. Place sweet potato slices on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for about 25 minutes, remove from oven and stir the slices, put back in the oven for about 5 more minutes. You want the slices to be browned but still chewy, not dried out. Let cool for 10 minutes.

3. Add the scallions, chives, pumpkin seeds, red pepper and sweet potatoes to the couscous and gently stir to combine. Serve with the additional chives and pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.

Makes 4-6 servings

This salad also keeps well and makes a good picnic salad.

Beet, Carrot and Sugar Snap Pea Salads

Simple marinated vegetable salads make cooking and entertaining a pleasure. These salads can all be made the day before you serve them to your guests. The colors of these vegetables compliment each other and look inviting on the plate. I found a beet recipe from Café Liz, Kosher vegetarian recipes from Liz’s kitchen in Tel Aviv, that I like because of the use of bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns in the dressing. The herbal flavor of the bay leaves is a nice compliment to the beets. I changed a few things, like roasting the beets instead of boiling them and warming the olive oil dressing before adding the beets, to infuse the spices. The spicy carrot salad recipe is from ‘Let My People Eat’ by Zell Schulman and is a traditional Moroccan recipe passed down from her Mother-in-law. Again I changed a few minor things, I like to use whole cumin seeds, toast and grind them myself instead of buying ground cumin. The sugar snap pea salad is a combination of lemon zest, olive oil and my beloved fresh mint from the overflowing pot which is going to get a haircut soon! Please come by and help yourself to some fresh mint. These salads are all small portions and are meant to be served together for a first course for 4 people.

Beet Salad with Bay Leaves and Sherry Wine Vinegar

1 bunch of beets, 3 large or 4 medium
4-6 bay leaves, fresh Mediterranean Bay Laurel
2-3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice, optional
12 peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°

Wash and remove beet greens, save for later use. Tightly wrap the beets in foil and roast until a small knife easily slides into the beets, about 25 minutes. Let the beets cool and when you can handle them, slip the skins off and cut into wedges.

Put the remaining ingredients together in a saucepan and heat until warm, take off the heat and add the prepared beets. Let the mixture rest so all the flavors can develop. I got a little carried away with all the bay leaves but I removed them before serving the salad.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

1 bunch organic carrots, washed, trimmed, peeled and sliced into coins
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground together with the other spices
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Juice of 1/2 half lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

  1. Place the carrots in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water and cook over medium heat until tender, about 5-7 Minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the ground spices, lemon juice and olive oil. Add this to the cooked carrots and gently mix together. Let cool for 20 minutes and garnish with parsley. These may be prepared several days in advance. Serve at room temperature.
  3. Note about the spice mixture, I doubled the spice mixture (ground cumin seeds, paprika, red pepper flakes and salt) and used half of it for this recipe and saved the rest for later.

Sugar Snap Peas with Mint and Lemon Zest

8 ounces sugar snap peas, washed and trimmed
2 teaspoons mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
2 teaspoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Bring a medium sauce pan filled with salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and bring to a gentle boil. Cook the peas about 1-2 minutes, drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water.
  2. Remove the peas from the ice water and place in a medium size bowl. Stir in the mint, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Now you are ready to make your composed salad plates when ever you like!

Cilantro Peanut Slaw

1 large head Napa cabbage, sliced thin and cut in 1″ pieces
2 cups roasted and salted peanuts, chopped
1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, including most of green ends
1 bunch cilantro, cleaned, picked and chopped
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons spectrum sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 cup canola oil
pinch red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Whisk together the vinegar, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, canola oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

2. Place cabbage, peanuts, scallions and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the dressing and stir well.

This is so easy and such a good keeper. I love picnics in the fall, especially in parking lots!

Raw Vegetable Salad with Lime Dressing

This salad recipe was inspired by a week in Hawaii enjoying Lori Mildren’s salads. Lots of raw veggies in our salads at every meal. Fun to prepare, colorful and delicious. My interpretation of a ‘health salad’.

1 small head of Napa cabbage, sliced thin
1 small bunch of radishes, sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin, including green part
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 small bunch of sweet basil, or a combination of herbs; mint, oregano, parsley, chopped into small pieces
1 small head of broccoli separated into florets and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 small lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place all the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, salt and pepper to taste.

3. Stir the dressing into the vegetable mixture. Serve or cover and refrigerate.

Serves 6-8

Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas

This recipe is from Food & Wine August 2009, Folk Festival Picnic.

1/2 pound sugar snap peas
1 & 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons champagne wine vinegar
1/2 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup minced chives
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Bring a small pan of salted water to boil and simmer the peas for 1 minute, remove and chill in a bowl of ice water.

2. In a small saucepan combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until all the water is gone and the quinoa is tender. Uncover and fluff the quinoa, then place in a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.

3. In a small bowl combine the oil, vinegar, sea salt and pepper. Add the peas to the quinoa with the pumpkin seeds, chives and dressing. Mix together and add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Salad with Green Beans and Gravenstein Apples

I love the smell and taste of Gravenstein apples, I can’t resist them. I was inspired to create something a little bit different then I had planned when I went to the market. So, I put them in my salad, no problem.

8-10 Cups arugula and escarole, cleaned and dried, tear escarole leaves into pieces
2 handfuls green beans, nice fairly thin ones, blanched for 1-2 minutes and placed in ice water
1 cup toasted walnuts
1 thinly sliced Gravenstein apple
1 minced small shallot
4 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Whisk together walnut oil, champagne wine vinegar, creme fraiche, shallot, sea salt and pepper, set aside for flavors to develop while putting together salad.

2. In a large bowl put together arugula, escarole, apple. green beans and walnuts. Add dressing to salad and mix together.

Serve on your grandmother’s best glass tea sandwich platter.