Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette

Summer is in full swing and every week more vegetables are available at the markets. There is no better time than now to eat your fill of summer vegetables. One of my favorite vegetables are green beans. I can eat them plain, or all dressed up with butter and fresh herbs. I love the clean and slightly sweet taste with its snappy crispness. If prepared properly, green beans maintain their spring green color, hold their shape, and still have a fresh picked flavor.

Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette recipe

Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette recipe

Because they are so well-loved and easy to prepare, we often use green beans in a salad. Hot or cold, green bean salad is a perfect side dish for any type of meal on any given day. There are countless varieties of green bean salads to make as well. Fresh beans pair well with all sorts of vegetables like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, potatoes, peas, and other beans just to name a few options.  They are also good with endless seasonings and add-ins like walnuts, almonds, basil, tarragon, garlic, sesame seeds, or fresh ginger.

Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette recipe

Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette recipe

For this recipe, I decided to make a green bean salad with yellow wax beans and red kidney beans as the main ingredients. It is a lemony 3-bean salad with fresh basil and parsley, with a subtle spicy kick of fresh ginger and lemon vinaigrette. I wanted a salad dressing that is a little different from my typical vinaigrette of vinegar, mustard, garlic and olive oil. Because ginger and green beans taste so great together I decided to add it in. The ginger does not come off too strong, just enough for the beans to shine with a subtle spicy glow.

Fresh yellow wax beans are tender, sweet and delicious. I love the contrast of colors between pale yellow wax beans with the bright green beans and dark red from the kidney beans. Wax beans are hard to come by, as I have only seen them at local farm stands. Last summer I could not get enough of the yellow wax beans from Rochambeau Farm Stand and I can’t wait until they are available this summer. For this recipe, I bought this round of fresh beans from another local farm stand, Meadows Farm.  Lucky for me, I live in a metropolitan area with 4 local farms only a couple of miles away from my house. I get to participate in the best parts of both worlds.

Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette recipe

Look for green beans and yellow wax beans that are firm, bright in color, and not too big. At times, fresh beans can get fibrous and unpleasant to eat. Fortunately, it is easy to tell if the beans are fibrous by their look and touch. Older and more fibrous beans are less dense, limp, duller and paler in color. Haricot Verts are French green beans. These beans are smaller and often more tender than regular green beans. They also tend to be pricier.

For more summer vegetables recipes

Zucchini and Corn Salad with Avocado and Pistachio Salad

Sweet and Spicy Herbed Carrots  

Like most vegetable salads, if you prepare the green beans too far in advance, they will lose their crispness. Fortunately, because they take about a minute to cook, putting this green bean salad together is not a hassle or stressful to do before serving. There is a minor amount of chopping, and the only thing you must cook are the beans for one minute. The most difficult thing to make is the salad dressing, and that is fairly easy.

Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette recipe

Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette recipe

Serve this salad hot or cold as a side dish paired with fish, meats or chicken. Or, serve as a vegan entrée paired with brown rice or other grain. Enjoy!

Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Category: Salad

Cuisine: American

4 servings

Green Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette

Green bean salad is bright and refreshing with a lemon and ginger vinaigrette. The ginger is subtle, just enough to add a note of spice with the sweetened lemon juice. I like my green beans extra crispy, so I barley blanch them. The dressing will soften the beans, so you want to be careful to not cook them too much or add the dressing too early.

This salad pairs well with everything, especially grilled meats or fish. Serve with brown rice or another grain and you provide a complete protein meal for your vegetarian/vegan friends and family.

Ingredients

    Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 TB fresh lemon juice
  • Zest from half a lemon (optional)
  • 1 tsp honey, or agave, or liquid sugar in the raw*
  • 4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
  • A couple of grinds on the pepper mill of black pepper
    Green Bean Salad
  • 8 oz (225 g) fresh green beans or French green beans, cleaned and stems trimmed
  • 8 oz (223 g) fresh yellow wax beans, cleaned and stems trimmed
  • 1-15 oz (425 g) can Red Kidney Beans, or Black-eyed peas, or chick peas - drained, rinsed and dried
  • 1 TB minced fresh basil
  • 2 TB minced fresh parsley
  • 3 scallions, minced white and light green parts only
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed

Instructions

    Make the vinaigrette
  1. Add the grated fresh ginger, lemon zest (if using), lemon juice, and honey to a small bowl. Whisk until the honey is completely dissolved. Add the olive oil, a little at a time and whisk thoroughly between additions until emulsified. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Also, adjust flavor with additional ingredients if needed. Set aside.
    Make the Green Bean Salad
  1. Fill a large sauce pan or stock pot with water, and turn the stove to high heat. Bring the water to a boil. Meanwhile prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and fill part way with ice cubes and cold water. Set aside.
  2. When the water comes to a brisk boil, add a pinch of Kosher salt, then add the prepared green and wax beans. Quickly blanch the beans, about one minute or when the water returns to an early boil. Drain the water and immediately add the beans to the ice bath. Swirl the beans once around in the ice water with your hands. Allow the beans to stay in the ice bath until they are just cool. Drain the beans from the ice bath and spread them out on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
  3. Add the beans to a medium mixing bowl, then add the red kidney beans, minced scallions, and fresh herbs. Gently toss with your hands to mix. Give the reserved lemon ginger vinaigrette a good whisk to emulsify it again, and add about half of the dressing to the vegetables. Toss to mix, then taste to see if you want more dressing. Taste for seasoning and add a small amount of salt and pepper if needed.
  4. This is delicious served either cold or warm, but like most salads it is best eaten very soon after it is made. Make ahead note: you can make the salad dressing ahead and store on the counter for a couple of hours. Prepare the beans no more than an hour ahead of time. Add rinsed and dried kidney beans and green beans to a bowl and cover. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to mix them all together. It is best not to add the fresh herbs and scallions until you are ready to serve the salad. Assemble the dressing, herbs and vegetables, and mix together when you are ready to serve.

Notes

For a vegan meal, use your favorite liquid sweetener like agave. I am not as familiar with the level of sweetness agave or liquid cane sugar in the raw, so start with less, then taste and add more if needed. You can easily use a pinch or granulated sugar as well. Just make sure it is well mixed.

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Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad

Potatoes in all their varieties and preparations make great comfort food. Unfortunately, they also have a bad rap. This is because potatoes taste sublime with anything buttery, creamy and with lots of cheese. I find it hard to resist creamy potato salad with lots of hard-boiled eggs, so I created a recipe for lemon potato salad with little added fat, but still has a creamy texture.

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad Recipe

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad Recipe

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad is just what the name says. Potato salad with lots of vegetables and lightly coated with a lemon-mustard vinaigrette. To replace the hard-boiled eggs of traditional potato salad, I added tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and fresh corn. I believe this salad will work with any variety of vegetables, such as scallions, green beans, sugar snap peas, or traditional celery and carrots.

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad Recipe

For the dressing, I wanted it to be lemony and bright without it being too sour. So, I tamed the lemon with mustard, olive oil and my secret ingredient, pickle juice. Just a touch of pickle juice from a jar of bread and butter pickles adds the final touch needed for a delicate balance of sweet and sour flavors. If you do not like pickles then omit their juice, but you may need to add a pinch of sugar to the dressing. As I always recommend, taste and season as you like.

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad Recipe

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad recipe

Besides my secret ingredient, one other trick I use for potato salad is to add vinegar or lemon juice to the potatoes while they are still hot after cooking. The potatoes absorb the lemon juice and this added squirt of acid brightens them with flavor.

My inspiration for this recipe came from a delicious tomato salad. It is filled with grape tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh uncooked corn, avocado and basil. A perfect end of the summer salad to enjoy when corn and tomatoes are at their peak. Because potatoes and corn make the perfect pair, I decided to make a lemon potato salad version like this sunny tomato salad.

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad Recipe

Eating fresh corn just scraped off the cob is a treat. The kernels are nicely sweet and crisp. It is raw, but it does not taste raw.  If you want to add some extra corn flavor, run the back of a knife down the naked cob. This pressure pushes out some corn milk to mix with the fresh kernels. This technique is also great to use when making corn chowder or creamed corn.

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad recipe

Summer is a great time to highlight the fresh flavors of the garden. This is a simple salad to make and is very refreshing.  A meal filled with the summer bounty and enhanced with a lemon vinaigrette. Pair Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad with any grilled meat, chicken or fish. It is perfect to bring or make for a party, or make for a weeknight family dinner.

More potato recipes:  Potato Salad with Sorrel

Crispy Potato Skins with Smoked Salmon

Rosti

 

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 31 minutes

Category: Salad

Cuisine: American

6 servings

Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad

This is a very fresh tasting and bright salad. It is loaded with crisp fresh vegetables to contrast with the soft and creamy potatoes. My secret ingredient is pickle juice which helps round out the tartness of the lemon juice with a slight touch of sweetness. Like most salads this is best served the same day it is made, but it will last and still taste good in a 24-hour period. If you need to make this ahead, prepare the potatoes and the vinaigrette earlier and store in the refrigerator in separate sealed containers. Add the vegetables and vinaigrette before you are ready to serve, or no more than an hour before serving. Add more vinaigrette if necessary. See note.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs (691 g) medley of baby potatoes
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 ear corn on the cob
  • Half a cucumber about 6 oz (160 g) Quartered, seeds removed, and chopped
  • 2 fire and ice radishes, sliced thinly
  • One handful of grape tomatoes, about 4 oz (120 g), sliced in half
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts only sliced thin
  • 4 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • 2-3 sprigs Lemon Thyme
  • 1 TB minced fresh chives (optional)
  • 4-6 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade sliced (optional)
  • 3-4 leaves fresh mint, chiffonade sliced(optional)
    Vinaigrette
  • Juice from half a lemon, about 2 TBS
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 TB Bread and Butter pickle juice
  • 3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Scrub the potatoes under cold running water. Fill a large sauce pan part way with water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add a large pinch of Kosher salt to the water, then add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are just done. A knife or fork will easily slice all the way through the middle without resistance. This could take anywhere between 10 to 25 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. I start checking my potatoes after 10 minutes, then check them every 5 minutes thereafter. You do not want to overcook the potatoes or they get mushy.
  2. Once done, remove the potatoes from the boiling water and place on a cutting board. Let cool slightly or use tongs to hold each potato in place while you slice each potato in half. This needs to be done before the potatoes cool, because you squeeze lemon juice over them while they are still warm. It does not matter which way you cut the potatoes in half. I mixed it up for fun and variety and sliced them randomly in half lengthwise or crosswise.
  3. Place the warm sliced potatoes in a large mixing bowl, add the lemon zest and juice to the bowl and gently mix. Allow the potatoes to cool after the lemon juice is added.
  4. While you are waiting for the potatoes to cool, cut the kernels off the corn cob. Cut off the stem of the corn cob to create a flat surface. Place the shucked and cleaned ear of corn in a medium bowl with the flat stem side down in the bowl. Holding onto the tip use a sharp chef's knife and run the knife down the side of the corn cutting the kernels off the cob. Turn the cob a quarter turn and slice off the corn kernels. Repeat all the way around the corn cob until all the kernels are removed. Set aside.
  5. Add the corn and the remaining prepared vegetables to the cooled potatoes, then toss in the fresh herbs. Add the vinaigrette, a couple of tablespoons at first. Mix then taste to see if dressing is needed. If so, add more salad dressing until it reaches your preferred consistency. You should have leftover vinaigrette. Store the leftover vinaigrette in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator to use for another salad.
  6. Garnish with mint leaves and serve.

Notes

Potatoes are great sponges and will absorb anything you add to them. If you make this salad too far in advance the potatoes will soak up the dressing and it will appear dry. More dressing might be needed, just be careful not to make it too heavy the vinaigrette and oily.

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Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing

Several years ago I discovered two cookbooks that opened a new world of food and cooking, Jerusalem and Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. When first published, I resisted reading these cookbooks because of the hype surrounding them. It is my experience, hyped-up media often disappoints and does not live up to the claims. Later, when I got around to reading the books for myself, I realized how completely wrong I was. These cookbooks and all their other publications, are worthy of all the praise they receive. Jerusalem and Ottolenghi cookbooks changed the way I approach learning about new ingredients, cuisines, and cooking.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron reicpe

There are many recipes between these two books that I love, like Roast Chicken with Clementines and Arak, and Basmati Rice with Saffron Barberries Pistachios and Mixed Herbs, just to name a couple. However, I wanted to feature their recipe for Saffron Chicken with Herb Salad. I just learned this recipe and believe is perfect for this time of year. I renamed it, Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing. This recipe is fresh and vibrant and easily prepared. Perfect for the days when the warm sun is beckoning you outside.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing reicpe

For another salad idea try chicken salad with avocado dressing.

Grilled chicken salad with orange saffron dressing shows how well bitter and sweet flavors blend to form a perfect union. To start, a whole orange simmers for an hour with honey and saffron until soft and the liquid is reduced. The bitterness of the orange peel mellows when combined with grilled chicken salad, crisp fresh fennel, and handfuls of fresh herbs. This is a well composed salad and with each ingredient plays an important role. The grilled chicken provides the backbone and mellows the concentrated flavor of the orange dressing. A composed blend of fresh herbs brightens and lightens the salad with sweet aromas and a refreshing bite. The finishing touch that ties everything together, is a spark of heat from the fresh hot red pepper.

Additionally, this recipe taught me a new trick. The secret to making this dressing is to blitz the whole cooked orange in the food processor with the reduced syrup. Using the whole fruit developed intense orange flavor that reminded me of concentrated frozen orange juice. Also, the best orange popsicle you ever had on a hot summer day. It is amazing how bittersweet fruit flavor can cut the heat of summer in an instant like diving into a mountain pool.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing recipe

Personally, I hate throwing away citrus rind and am always looking for ways to include the zest in my meals. Citrus zest makes everything taste better so I was more than happy to use the orange rind. There is also less food waste. This grilled chicken salad recipe will turn heads and enlighten taste buds because of a simple and brilliant idea. It is a healthy and refreshing salad with hardly any added fat to weigh the meal down.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing recipe

The moment I read these two cookbooks, it was love at first sight. Savoring the bold flavors in each tested recipe, inspired me to be more daring in my cooking. I no longer shied away from unfamiliar spices like za’atar and sumac, but embraced them. For the past several years, Jerusalem and Ottolenghi hold an influential spot in my life like The Silver Palate and Marcella Hazan cookbooks did in the 1980’s. Not only are they inspirational, but educational about new ingredients, fresh insights, and different cultures. I am forever grateful.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Category: Dinner Salad

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

6 servings

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing

This is a bright and refreshing salad. By itself the orange dressing has a very concentrated bitter-orange flavor lightly sweetened with honey and saffron. The dressing mellows with the other ingredients and the freshness of the herbs are key to the bright flavor. A kick of heat from the fresh red chili pepper ties everything together. You can mix the salad with arugula if desired. Best eaten the day it is made. This recipe is from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 orange
  • 2 1/2 TB (50g) honey
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 (300 ml) cup water
  • 2 1/4 lbs / 1 k skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, or 1 large bulb
  • 1 cup / 15 g picked cilantro leaves
  • 2/3 cup / 15 g picked basil leaves, torn
  • 15 picked mint leaves, torn
  • 2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

    Make the Orange Saffron Syrup
  1. Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of the orange so it will stand flat on a cutting board. Cut the orange in half then cut each half into 6 wedges. Add the orange wedges into a medium sauce pan. Add the honey, saffron, vinegar, and water to the saucepan. If any of the orange wedges are exposed and not submerged under water, add more water so all oranges are covered. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the oranges to a boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer the oranges for about 1 hour. By the end the wedges will be soft and there will be about 5 tablespoons of syrupy liquid.
  2. Once reduced, add the oranges and syrup to a food processor and process until the orange syrup is smooth. If needed, add water to thin out the sauce and reach a runny and smooth dressing. Set aside.
    Prepare Chicken
  1. While the oranges are simmering, preheat the oven to 400F /200C. Gently pound the chicken breast with a meat mallet or the heal of your hand to create an even thickness in each piece. Mix the chicken breasts with 2 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. Sear the chicken breasts for 2 minutes on each side on a stovetop grill pan, or cook on a grill. Transfer to a sheet pan or baking pan and cook in the oven until done. (If you are using the grill there is no need to cook the chicken in your oven.) Pierce each breast with a fork, if the juices from the chicken are clear, not pink or cloudy, then the chicken is done. Internal
  2. temperature of 165F - 170F (74C - 77C). Depending on the thickness of each piece of chicken, roasting time could last for 5 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the oven (or grill) and set aside to cool.
    Putting it all together
  1. Once the chicken is cooled, shred the chicken breasts into decent size pieces and place in a bowl. Mix 1/2 of the orange dressing with the shredded chicken. Cut the fennel bulb in half and slice as thin as possible, lengthwise. Trim off the core if desired. Add the fennel, fresh herbs, remaining olive oil, crushed garlic, and lemon juice to the chicken. Gently stir to combine. Add the sliced red chili. Taste and correct for seasoning with olive oil, lemon juice or Kosher salt if needed.
  2. Serve immediately.

Notes

For an easy shortcut, substitute the grilled chicken with shredded rotisserie chicken, or any leftover chicken.

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Here Comes the Sun: Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Is it June? Cold and damp air surround me, along with dark grey clouds and constant rain showers. It’s so damp and chilly, I’m wearing my fleece jacket inside. This is not typical seasonal weather in New York. When will the warm days of summer arrive? Wrapped in my winter sweater, I gaze out my window and feel dreary about the looming storms. This past weekend, I got a rare 24 hours of warm glorious sunshine, but it was nothing but a tease. I am craving warmth and sunshine in any form.

Sunshine Salad of Papaya Cucumber and Feta recipe

In good conscious I cannot complain about rain. I value its importance too much. Yet, we all have a fickle relationship with rain. It is something that you want when you don’t have it, and something you hate when you do. However, this weather is getting me down. Desperate times call for the unexpected and if I cannot feel the sun on my back, I must taste it in my food.

This recipe for papaya, cucumber and feta cheese salad is a bowl of sunshine and a party of different flavors and textures mixed together. The ingredients include sweet tropical fruit, crisp vegetables, crumbly cheese, brined olives, and a citrus dressing. This is what happens when tropical paradise invites the Greek Islands over for a party. You are not sure how everyone will get along, but delightfully they harmoniously mingle and create a festive atmosphere. Even the cured Greek olives add a welcome note into the party.

Sunshine Salad with Papaya, cucumber and Feta recipe

Sunshine Salad with Papaya, Cucumber and Feta reicpe

Learn more about Papaya here.

I first discovered this papaya salad from one of my brothers in law. Tom made this salad for my mother in law’s 85th birthday party. I was curious how the papaya would taste with all the ingredients because papaya is not a fruit I typically eat or cook with. Tom took great care making the salad and arranged each layer like a sculptor attentive to every detail. We placed his salad on the table like a work of art, almost too beautiful to eat.

Sunshine Salad with Papaya, cucumber and feta recipe

As expected, the papaya salad was a huge success. Each guest stopped and admired the salad before they helped themselves. A lot of love went into making the salad, and in return love was given in appreciation. The fresh flavor of papaya and cucumber complemented the saltiness of the feta and olives. This unexpected pairing brought a delightful and subtle sensory experience. They say opposites attract, yet they also harmoniously blend and make for some of the best tasting foods.

Tom made this salad from a recipe in, The Inspired Vegetarian by Louise Pickford with photographs by Gus Filgate. This cookbook was first published in 1992 and Louise Pickford is a British cook and food stylist. Her intention was to inspire vegetarian cooking to mean more than sprouts and tofu. She certainly succeeded with this recipe.

Sunshine Salad with Papaya cucumber and feta recipe

Tips for making Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad

I slightly adapted Louise Pickford’s recipe, which she adapted from a feta salad recipe she first tasted in Astipalaia, Greece. First, I increased the amount of cucumber, then decreased the amount of feta. The contrast of the crisp cucumber with the soft papaya is refreshing. Adding more cucumber helps with the dryness of the feta cheese as well.

I also added fresh mint and eliminated the ground nutmeg. I am sure the nutmeg is nice, but I was hoping to create a fresh and sunny salad. The flavors of fresh herbs with a hint of spice from ground red chilies brought forward the flavors of the sun I dream of.

Papaya is ripe when the skin is yellow. The riper it is, the sweeter the taste. Like avocados, it is rare to find ripe papaya in the store. So plan to buy your papaya at least 3 days in advance. Hopefully, 3 days is enough time for the papaya to ripen.

If you cannot get papaya (or not a fan), substitute the papaya with ripe cantaloupe or watermelon. The olives might not pair as well with the watermelon, but they are easily removed.

I also like to serve this salad on greens dressed in extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. This papaya salad tastes great on peppery arugula or other slightly bitter greens.

Sunshine salad with papaya, cucumber and feta recipe

Sunshine salad with papaya, cucumber and feta recipe

Here comes the sun and summer fun with Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad. It is an unexpected and delicious salad and delight for the senses. And I say, “It’s all right.”

Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Category: Salad

Cuisine: Greek with a Tropical twist

4 servings

Serving Size: 4-6 servings

Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Papaya and feta cheese is not your ordinary combination, but mixed with cucumber and cured Greek olives this recipe creates a beautiful and delicious salad. The mild sweetness of the papaya with the saltiness of the feta and olives blend perfectly. This is a fresh and unexpected salad perfect for a party or BBQ.

Plan ahead because papaya's take a few days to fully ripen.

Best eaten the day it is made.

This recipe is slightly adapted from The Inspired Vegetarian by Louise Pickford, 1992

Ingredients

    Salad
  • 1 cup / 4 oz / 125 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 large cucumber, (about 14 oz / 400 g) peeled, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 TB chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp fresh mint, chiffonade
  • 1 large, about 2 lbs 11 oz / 1 K 225 g) papaya
  • Shy 1/4 cup / 1 oz / 28 g pitted black Greek olives, sliced thin
    Salad Dressing
  • 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Pinch of ground chili pepper

Instructions

    Make the salad dressing
  1. In a small bowl, blend together the salad dressing ingredients until well incorporated.
    Make the salad
  1. In a medium bowl mix together the chopped cucumber, crumbled feta cheese and fresh dill and mint. Add two thirds of the salad dressing, about 2 tablespoons (38 g) to the feta and cucumber and mix. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and let the cucumbers and feta cheese marinate at room temperature for a couple of hours. About a half hour before you want to display the salad or eat, peel the papaya, cut it in half, then remove the seeds. Cut the papaya into bite size chunks. The papaya can be peeled and chopped in advance, but not too long for it to get soggy. Pour the remaining salad dressing over the papaya and mix. Arrange the papaya around the interior rim of your serving platter, then add the cucumber and feta mixture in the middle. Sprinkle with sliced olives and more fresh mint.
  2. Serve
  3. Papaya cucumber salad is best eaten the day it is made. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator, in a sealed container for 24 hours.

Notes

Papaya is ripe when the skin is yellow and the flesh is somewhat soft. If you cannot find papaya in your store, ripe cantaloupe or watermelon are great substitutes. You may or may not want to add the olives with the watermelon.

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Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit

When I first ate quinoa, my gratitude propelled my love for it more than its flavor. I was desperate for another gluten-free option to replace rice, and I was also on a low-glycemic diet. I can eat wheat and other gluten-protein grains, but several of my friends can’t. So, serving food that everyone can eat, not feel different or left out is my entertaining and personal philosophy. Quinoa is a perfect grain (seed), to eat and a great source of protein for plant-based diets. Ever since my discovery of this recipe, quinoa salad with avocado and dried fruit makes a regular appearance on my dinning table, especially for entertaining.

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit Recipe

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit reicpe

I discovered this salad recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine 2009, in an article featuring avocado recipes. Next to dark chocolate, avocados are one of my favorite foods. Naturally, the recipe grabbed my attention.  During the time, I needed vegan and gluten-free recipes to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. The quinoa salad with avocado turned out to be the perfect option, a two for one deal. Additionally, this quinoa salad turned my attitude around from not just being grateful, but liking quinoa as well. This salad appeals to everyone, not just people who are vegan, vegetarian, or on a gluten-free diet.

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit Recipe

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit

There are many reasons why I love this salad and the taste is just one of them. This quinoa salad is just as much about avocados as it is quinoa. With a ratio of about 2 cups of cooked quinoa to 2 whole avocados, you get a creamy avocado morsel in every bite. Being a major avocado fan, I find this significant amount of avocados wonderful. What’s not to love about an avocado in every bite? There is never such a thing as too much avocado.

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit Reicpe

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit Recipe

The dried apricots and raisins adds punch and concentrated flavor. The nuttiness of the quinoa and creaminess of the avocado provide a foundation for the dried fruit to pop. You do not need a lot of dried fruit, a little goes a long way. The deep orange color of the apricots adds a nice attractive element to the salad as well. If you live in an area where apricots are grown, try substituting fresh ones for the dried apricots. The only consideration is, once sliced, apricots get mushy and aged looking after they linger. However, adding a fresh ripe apricot might be worth a try.

Quinoa Salad and Avocado and Dried Fruit Recipe

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit Recipe

The lemon cumin vinaigrette is much brighter than it sounds. Thanks to the absorbing power of the quinoa, the cumin flavor is in the background and does not overpower the delicate flavor of the avocado. The cumin adds a bit of earthiness against the airy and lemony sunshine. The taste of the flavors are unexpected, yet truly complimentary. I love it. The blend of the quinoa, avocado and dried fruits with the dressing is a nice balance of sweet, acid, nuts and earthy flavors. It is not a heavy dressing, just enough to season the ingredients. Therefore, the quinoa salad does not taste or look oily.

More Gluten-free recipes:

Nifty Cake recipe 

Gluten free Dutch Baby

Airy Banana Oat Pancakes

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit Recipe

The only thing I change is, I like to add fresh herbs when they are available. Basil adds a nice bit of fresh green sweetness, and even parsley or mint works. If you want to add cilantro, substitute the lemon zest and juice with lime and see how you like it. Quinoa and avocados pair well with a variety of herbs and spices, just be careful not to overpower the salad with too much of anything. If you need a more substantial meal or substitute for almonds, chickpeas are also delicious in this salad.

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit recipe

Making this salad reminds me of my hometown in California. I can picture so many parts of my childhood with each ingredient. Eating avocado sandwiches with my friends at a restaurant in Strawberry. Climbing our apricot tree and picking them before the birds got them.  But, what really touches my heart is when I rinse the quinoa. Running my hands through the cold, wet and gritty quinoa seeds, reminds me of making sand castles and building forts at Cronkite Beach.  It’s usually cold, foggy and the sand is rough. Despite the cold, I love the Marin Coastline and will forever hold it dear in my heart.

Food has a way about savoring old memories and making new ones. Deborah Madison created this recipe, but after making it for so long and cherishing new and old memories, it feels like my own.

Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Dried Fruit Recipe

 

Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Dried Fruit

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Category: Side Dish or Vegetarian Main Salad

Cuisine: American/ Vegan

4 main course servings, 6 side dish servings

Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Dried Fruit

If you love avocados, like I do, you will love this quinoa salad. The lemon and cumin vinaigrette is bright with just enough seasoning to blend well with all the ingredients. I make this salad often for entertaining and weeknight dinners.

If you ever need a salad that covers many dietary considerations, this is the one to make. It is perfect for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free diets, as well as a crowd pleaser for everyone.

Use any color quinoa you like. I like the mix the white and red quinoa, but the red quinoa with the green avocado and orange apricot is very appealing.

You can make the salad ahead, but do not add the salad dressing, almonds and avocados until you are ready to serve. Best eaten the day it is made, but will be ok for leftovers the next day.

Recipe is from Fine Cooking Magazine, by Deborah Madison 2009

Ingredients

  • 3 TB raisins, dark, golden or a mix of raisins
  • 2 TB dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red or white quinoa, or a mix
  • Kosher salt
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground sweet paprika
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 2-3 TB coarsely almonds

Instructions

  1. Add the raisins and apricots to a small bowl and cover with hot water. Soak the dried fruit for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.
  2. Put the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water passing through the strainer runs clear, not chalky. Add the rinsed quinoa to a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook until the water is all absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. You will see the germ ring that will look like a white curlicue around each seed.
  3. When done, fluff the quinoa with a fork and spread out on a sheet pan to cool to room temperature.
  4. While the quinoa is cooking, toast the almonds. Heat a small skillet on the stove at medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the almonds and stir, shake or flip the almonds in the pan and toast the almonds until they get slightly darker and release their oil. About 1 minute depending on how hot your skillet is. You will start to smell the almonds as they toast. Keep the almonds moving so they do not burn. Immediately remove the almonds from the skillet and cool. Once cooled, rough chop the almonds and set aside.
  5. Make the salad dressing. Finely grate the lemon zest into a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, and whisk until well combined.
  6. In a large bowl add the cooled quinoa, apricots, raisins, avocados, scallions and chopped almonds. Carefully mix the ingredients together. Try mixing them with a fork so you do not squish the ingredients together. Then add the salad dressing. Mix until combined. Spoon into a severing bowl, garnish with chopped almonds, scallions, and lemon zest. Serve at room temperature.
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