Category Archives: Salads

Beet and Bean Salad

This is a riff on a recipe that I just got from my dear friend, Kim, who always comes up with outrageously tasty dishes that are healthy, new twists on traditional fare. Kim’s version went with marinated butter beans, canned beets, sweet onions and finely diced celery hearts. It proved to be a game-changing reinvention of the three-bean salad from the ’60s. Reinventing the three-bean salad was not her intent, but as far as I was concerned, the marinated bean salad was officially back in play.

Been Salad with Beets

I tried a version tonight using roasted beets, garbanzo beans, my super garlicky vinaigrette and basil. I served it over fresh spinach to bring some more green into the mix. Bill opted to serve it up sans spinach and loved it.


  • 2 medium beets
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 28 oz. can of garbanzo beans
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3 Tbsp. Garlicky Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Wash and trim beets. Cut in half and place cut side down on a small roasting pan coated with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Cook for 45 minutes or until beets are tender.
  • In a large bowl, combine garbanzo beans, diced red onion, basil, salt, pepper and vinaigrette.
  • When beets are tender, remove from oven and allow to cool to the touch before peeling.
  • Once skins are removed, chop beets very fine and add to bean mixture. Stir to coat beets with the vinaigrette.
  • Marinate for at least an hour. Serve chilled.




Salmon Cakes over Spinach

I’m a big advocate of always being stocked with a can of red, wild-caught, Sockeye salmon. When in doubt, salmon cakes are always tasty on top of a salad — or rice. For most of the year, Pesto Salmon Cakes  have been my go-to salmon cake recipe. Last night, without any pesto on hand, I whipped up a more standard batch of salmon cakes and was reminded just how many fish there are in that big sea of salmon cake recipes.


  • 14 1/2 oz. can of red salmon
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesian cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil


  • Add all ingredients, other than the salmon and olive oil, in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Pour mixture into a medium-sized mixing bowl along with the can of drained salmon.
  • Mix well with a fork until salmon chunks are broken up and thoroughly incorporated. Form salmon mixture into 6-8 patties.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet, and add salmon patties. Cook on medium for 4-5 minutes on each side.  Serve warm over a salad, or with rice, or on a bun as a salmon burger.

Quinoa Beans and Greens

Quinoa has been the go-to grain around here for most of the year. Faster and fluffier than rice, a complete protein — and then there’s the whole Inca connection. Back in the day, when in doubt, I’d steam some rice, saute an onion along with any vegetables that were on hand, add a little salt, pepper and cumin, and call it dinner.

Last night, I switched it up a bit, with quinoa and then raised the superfood bar with a few cups of chopped arugula and spinach.  We had it as a main course and everyone was happy. This dish could also stand in as a side dish, or served cold as a salad.


  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup black beans rinsed
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups tightly packed spinach and arugula, or other greens


  • Rinse quinoa and add to 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until water is absorbed. About 15 minutes.
  • Saute onions and pepper in olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add rinsed black beans and cumin.
  • Rough chop greens and add to the saute pan along with cooked quinoa. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • When quinoa is cooked, add to the saute pan. Serve warm as a main course or side dish, or chilled as a salad.


Butternut Squash Salad with Quinoa and Feta

Growing up, a  salad meant iceberg lettuce, wedge tomatoes, cucumbers, and a choice of French, Thousand Island, Bleu Cheese or Italian. Of course there was the occasional Waldorf for fancy occasions, and various Jello molds were positioned as salads. Then came the ’80s and the pasta salad. Rotini, black olives, canned artichokes, red pepper.

I was thinking these thoughts this weekend as I tried out a Butternut Squash and Bleu Cheese Salad recipe from Real Simple that my sister had raved about and forwarded to me. I switched up the ingredients a bit: primarily Feta instead of Bleu cheese since Bleu isn’t on my 100 Ingredients list.

Butternut squash and feta salad

My question is, at what point was the lid completely blown off the salad box?  I don’t have the discipline or the inclination to keep a “Gratitude Journal,” but I do, upon occasion take stock of my blessings, and among them is the fact that I’m living in a time where roasted squash and Feta cheese gets incorporated into a salad.


  • 3 cups butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 5 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. organix apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves, rinsed and spun dry
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly roasted
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel squash and cut into cubes. Toss with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Roast squash for 30 minutes, tossing once.

Spread almonds in small baking dish. Roast at 350 for 10 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, Dijon, remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spread spinach leaves on a large platter. Allow squash to cool slightly before adding to spinach. Top salad with onions, almonds and feta.  Toss with dressing.

Kale Salad with Quinoa and Feta

A good salad dominates the dinner conversation. When it doubles as a vegetarian main course, that’s even better.

kale quinoa feta red pepper

That was the case last week with this Kale, Quinoa, Feta, Avocado, Cucumber and tomato creation that we enjoyed at my sister’s house in Iowa. As soon as we got back to Austin, I had to have it again, and made the mistake of steaming the kale for too long. It’s a whole different thing when the leaves all clump together without any of the that  robust kaleness that we have learned to love. So rule No. 1: Only steam the kale leaves for a split second — just long enough for the green to become deeper.

kale leaves

Otherwise, this salad is a sure hit. First time around, we had discussion about whether or not to go with the quinoa once all of the other ingredients were tossed together. It seemed perfect already without tossing in a grain when a grain did not seem necessary. We took the leap of faith. Turns out, it was a good leap.

kale and quinoa


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 large bunch of kale, rinsed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper


  • Rinse quinoa and add to a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed — about 15 minutes. Stir and set aside to cool.
  • Using a steamer or a metal colander, steam kale for 45 seconds. Remove from the steam and allow to cool.
  • Transfer kale to a large salad bowl and top with avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese and quinoa.
  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad and toss.