Summer Cherry Salsa

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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. Continue reading

Radicchio and Granny Smith Apple Salad

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Most bitter, peppery leaves and I don’t see eye to eye, particularly radicchio and arugula (sacrilege, I know). However, after experiencing killer radicchio salads from Tasty ‘n Sons and Nostrana, I decided to try creating my own version. It came out near to perfection. Try this lovely as a fish side dish or with a lemony main course. What would you pair it with? Continue reading

Peruvian Green “Crack” Sauce

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I have no shame. This sauce is so damn delicious that I have straight up nicknamed it “crack sauce”, and so has almost everyone else who has tried it. I bless Pinterest, This is How I Cook, and Serious Eats for bringing this baby into my life. While 2016 has been a challenging time, this sauce has certainly been a glimmering light! Continue reading

Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

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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.

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Crazy Good Olive Tapenade

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Whoa. I mean, serious whoa. This stuff is so delicious, you’ll want to put it on everything. I first made it up as a dip, complete with warmed baguette, double creme brie and prosciutto, but it would also be awesome as a chicken marinade. However you dress it up, it’ll be a huge hit (I even converted a staunch anti-olive eater!). Find additional recipe ideas at the bottom of the post. Continue reading

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chilean Grapes

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Why I haven’t followed more grocery stores’ twitter feeds until recently is crazy to me. If you ever are in need of dinner inspiration, go straight to your favorite grocery establishment’s social media feeds, not the least of which being Whole Foods, New Seasons, Trader Joe’s and Fred Meyer. This brussels sprouts recipe came from Freddy’s, and I’ve recreated this side dish on multiple occasions. Grapes are usually available, but for the more seasonal foods focused people out there, replace the fresh grapes with raisins or even dried cranberries. Want a meat-friendly alternative? Fry up some bacon – a beautifully salty pairing with the sweet grapes and goat cheese. Continue reading

Persimmon, Pomegranate, Celery Salad

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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. Continue reading

Chard and Garbanzo Bean Salad

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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! Continue reading

Roasted Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad

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Inspired by the Picnic House‘s brown rice salad, this side dish is a big hit at potlucks, lunch and dinner side dishes. Happily, the recipe is simple, limited effort and absolutely delicious – hot or cold.

Roasted Vegetables and Brown Rice Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium skinned, cubed sweet potato
  • 2-3 carrots, quartered and cubed
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small flowerettes
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnut vinaigrette (I prefer Lucini, found at New Seasons)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions

Most of the “work” for this dish is taken care of while the vegetables are roasting, which can be done the night before and then kept cool until serving. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss cauliflower, carrots and sweet potatoes with 2 tbs of olive oil, some salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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While the vegetable roast, warm over low heat the remaining tbs of olive oil in a pot, then add the brown rice and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add water and cook to package instructions (usually around 25 minutes).

Once the rice has finished, remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally to release the heat. If you would like this to be a warm salad, immediately start mixing together the roasted vegetables and rice, add hazelnuts, cilantro, and vinaigrette. For a cold salad, let the rice cool completely before adding all the ingredients together.

Yup, that’s pretty much it! You may like to add more salt and/or vinaigrette to the salad, but regardless, you won’t be disappointed in the outcome!

Leftover tip: heat the leftover salad over medium heat with just some water, then break an egg and scramble. Makes for an awesome breakfast!

Sriracha Avocado Coleslaw: A New Fan Favorite

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As far as I’m concerned, there are two camps when it comes to coleslaw preferences: mayo-based and vinegar-based. Both have their virtues and vices, though one seems to be missing something from the other. I’m a mayo fan. Always have been, plan to always be, but I find I miss out on the bite of the vinegar sauces, but when I have them, I miss out on the creamy. :-/ What’s a girl to do? How about creamy and bite in one? Thus, the Sriracha Avocado Coleslaw was born. Continue reading