Whoever thought up the idea of salsa should be knighted. Seriously. Salsa is one of those side dishes that can step up your main dish’s game, or be a palatable introduction to your dinner party. With summer officially here, cherries are in season and an amazing sweet-meets-tart contribution to your meal plan. Filled with antioxidants and inflammation inhibitors, cherries offer multiple health benefits, particularly for those with arthritis, diabetes, insomnia, family history of cancer, and/or high blood pressure.
Not only is this dish DE-LISH, it is also a visually beautiful contribution to the menu. The burnt orange from the butternut squash and persimmon, combined with pomegranate, celery, and parsley make it an artistic winner at any meal. This Thanksgiving, I had a number of friends with dietary restrictions joining my family gathering, so I knew there would be a new variety of side dishes to try. Thank goodness I’m a foodie Instagram addict and found MindBodySoul’s awesome recipe reposted by Whole Foods. I was inspired and contributed something totally different from the other typical Thanksgiving dishes. Even the carnivores were impressed! Can’t wait to go round two with this recipe.
The winter season often leaves me in a rut for colorful, light food, so when I come across something that’s both in season and not heavy on the root vegetables, I’m quite excited to try it.
New Seasons Market is a Portland grocery store that not only has a ton of wonderfully organically and locally grown produce, but they always have super delicious samples to pass out (I promise that’s not the only reason I shop there). Recently I can across this persimmon, pomegranate and celery salad, which completely won me over. Between the sweetness of the persimmons, pomegranate tang and celery crunch, this salad is beautiful as a side dish or a meat dressing. I paired it with a peach bourbon glazed salmon (which basically is 4 tbsp of Aunt Becky’s Peach Bourbon jam on 2 lbs of salmon steak, baked at 350 for 25-35 min) and quinoa, of which there were absolutely no leftovers to speak of.
For something with so few ingredients, it really packs a flavorful punch. I was so pleased to share this dish with a friend recently, and she gave me the best compliment of all: entire shock at how tasty it was! Let this be your meal’s main feature, or partner with roasted chicken or pork. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll be adding this salad to your cooking rotation tout suite!
Oh, yeah, summer won’t be over that easily! This salad is very simple to put together and a perfect side dish (or even a full fledged meal).
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1-2 corn husks or 1 can of corn (on the cob is WAY better!)
- 2-3 tbsp butter
- Seasoning – I keep this open-ended, because it can be good with so many different flavorings. I chose a BBQ rub, comprised of chili powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, brown sugar, cayenne and Italian seasonings
- 2 avocados, cubed
- tomatoes, diced (I prefer cherry tomatoes, but that’s just my bag)
- Kale leaves
- Mozzarella cheese
- Optional meats: salami, cubed chicken, salmon
Grill up the corn adding butter and seasonings toward the end of its roasting (after about 10 minutes). If it’s not grilling season, it’s just as easy to do this on a stove top, it just tastes better when it’s off the cob. Mix in with avocado, tomatoes, and any other toppings you’d like. I found that the butter coated the whole dish nicely and didn’t require any additional dressing, though I would recommend a squeeze of fresh lime over the whole thing. Enjoy!
Oh, hello summer. So nice to see you again! When the weather turns hot, I can’t be bothered with cooking hot things (well, to excess). I was first introduced to this mango salsa recipe sans farro years ago as a topping for grilled salmon (absolutely delicious), and since then have enjoyed it over chicken, shoveling it in my face with chips, and now as a light salad. This is a perfect picnic or potluck contribution and will keep for a few days. You can easily make this dish gluten-free by dropping the farro. I haven’t tried it with quinoa, but I imagine it would be equally delicious.
Fast, visually pleasing and delicious, this salad brought me great joy as my dinner. I was lazy after pilates and didn’t want to cook, so I dug through the fridge and tossed together my findings, and thus became my tasty meal.
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Shredded cabbage
- Died cranberries (or cherries)
- Pumpkin seeds (great for building immunity)
- Pine Nuts
- Fig & Walnut Vinaigrette (found at New Seasons)
- Cauliflower (first tossed with the Fig & Walnut Vinaigrette)
- For meat lovers, I would recommend adding in some salami, perhaps Olympic Provisions’ Sopressata or Finocchiona – just the right amount of salty to balance with the blue cheese
During a recent après ski evening, some friends compiled a series of side dishes, and the quinoa, date and arugula salad simply stole my heart! It’s the perfect spring salad: mint, dates, peppery arugula and quinoa for some extra texture and protein. I made my own version and decided to add beets: huge win! The original concoction did not include cheese, but at a friend’s recommendation, I added some chèvre and it was a double win. Picnic season anyone?
As delicious as traditional mayo-based chicken salad, sometimes you need to change it up. I fell in love with the Cafe Yumm sauce a long time ago, and figured since I had some leftover chicken breast, why not try a different take on chicken salad?
This recipe is great if you’re looking for a fast, healthy lunch or even dinner. I ate the salad straight, but it would be delicious over kale, cabbage, or even mixed with quinoa. The apples and pepper add a nice crunch, and the Yumm Sauce is a healthier (gluten-free) alternative to the typical mayonnaise dressing.
- 1 tbs grape seed oil
- 1 chicken breast, cut into chunks
- 1 apple (Granny Smith or Gala is ideal)
- 1/4 cup cranberries
- 1 diced avocado
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 diced red pepper
- 1 diced carrot
- 1/4 cup diced gouda or another sharp cheese
- 2 Tbs Yumm Sauce (more or less)
- Small handful of cilantro to taste
- Heat oil over medium heat, then add diced chicken, stirring frequently until cooked thoroughly, about 6-8 minutes.
- Let cool, then chop chicken into fine bites.
- In a bowl, add chicken and remaining ingredients through carrots.
- Combine with Yumm Sauce and toss until evenly coated.
Beets and I have been at odds with each other for years. While my parents have insisted that it is an amazing root, I have not seen eye to eye with them… until now.