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Foodist Approved: Kamut Salad with Strawberries, Arugula, and Blue Cheese

by | May 26, 2015
Kamut salad with strawberries

Kamut salad with strawberries

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Maria Speck while she was on tour for her new book, Simply Ancient Grains. Maria’s passion for inspiring Americans to broaden their grain-repertoire is contagious. Despite being in the thick of recipe testing for my book, I was inspired to try a few of her recipes. I was thrilled when Maria happily agreed to let me share one of her favorite whole grain salad recipes on Summer Tomato.

In the recipe below, I’ve made a few adaptations to Maria’s original. Her Kamut salad is made with oranges, orange peel, leeks, and raisins, but to put to good use the produce available at the farmers market right now, I decided to give the salad a spring makeover. I swapped out the oranges for strawberries and used fresh arugula instead of the cooked leeks. I also decided to skip the raisins since my strawberries were super sweet. Lastly, I swapped lemon zest for the orange zest in the original recipe.

When I asked Maria if she was okay with my spring interpretation of her recipe she wrote, “I love it! Why not? That’s what cooking is all about.” Adore that. Feel free to experiment with your own adaptations—and if you do, share them here.

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Foodist Approved: Grain-Free Tabouleh Salad

by | Jan 14, 2015
grain-free tabouleh

grain-free tabouleh

This grainless variation of a Lebanese classic was specially requested by Darya’s husband, Kevin. Kevin came across a tabouleh salad made with cauliflower instead of bulgur while on a work trip and has been craving it ever since.

Because just about everyone can benefit from more veggies and many of us are sensitive to grains, it seemed like a genius substitution.

I love how much the roasted cauliflower resembles couscous once pulsed a couple times in the food processor, only sweeter and fluffier. A definite keeper!

Tomatoes in the wintertime remind me of soggy cardboard—flavorless and mealy—so I used reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes. Of course come summertime, feel free to swap back in fresh cherry tomatoes.

Thanks for the inspiration, Kevin!

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Foodist Approved: DIY Quinoa Salad

by | Aug 20, 2014

Quinoa Salad Kopecky Summer Tomato sm

So you want to eat healthier but you’re not sure where to begin? A good place to start is revamping your lunch.

Lunch is easy to overlook, inconveniently located smack-dab in the middle of the day. This means you might be tempted by anything you can grab on the go, often a processed-deli-meat sandwich or a deceptively-labeled energy bar.

Since a long lunch and an afternoon siesta are not likely to become a part of our culture anytime soon, the best routine you can get into is to make a big batch of a veggie-loaded whole-grain salad on Sunday evenings. My go-to is a seasonal quinoa salad that I pack with whatever veggies I have left over from our weekly farm share and toss with my favorite lemon miso dressing.

Below is a recipe guide for creating your own quinoa salad. Keep the basics in mind (grain + veggies + dressing) and you really can’t go wrong with mixing and matching. Once you’ve made this recipe a couple of times, you’ll be able to accomplish it in 30 minutes or less.

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Improve Your Salads 237% With Carrot Ribbons

by | Aug 13, 2014
Carrot ribbons are better than Christmas!

Carrot ribbons are better than Christmas!

I hate to break it to you, but you’ve been using your vegetable peeler incorrectly for your entire life. And so have I, until recently.

A few weeks ago I was casually browsing the internet looking for a recipe to include in my weekly For the Love of Food link roundup, when I stumbled upon an intriguing carrot salad recipe. The recipe itself was mildly interesting, but that wasn’t what captured my attention. I mean, how good can a carrot salad really be?

But I do eat a lot of salads, especially this time of year when the farmers market is exploding with delicious produce, and something about this particular preparation caught my eye.

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Foodist Approved: Fennel and Pear Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

by | Mar 12, 2014
Fennel pear salad

Fennel pear salad

I’m ready to say goodbye to soup, stews and roasted vegetables. Now that the days are getting longer and warmer, I’ve been craving refreshing salads.

But I find it a challenge to shop this time of year. Our bodies are asking for new revitalizing foods, but summer’s alluring produce still seems far off. Don’t be tempted to buy artificially ripened tomatoes or strawberries from far-off places, instead embrace salads that celebrate winter vegetables.

I’ve made this fennel and pear salad for just about every get-together I’ve been to in the last month. It’s rare that a salad gets the limelight at a dinner party but this simple, yet sophisticated, salad always does just that.

I recommend making a large batch of the red wine vinaigrette to have on hand all week (this recipe makes enough for 2-3 family size salads). It pairs perfectly with any type of salad and stores well in the fridge. If you prefer, you can cut the vinaigrette recipe below in half and that will be plenty for this dish.

I hope you enjoy, and let me know if this becomes your new favorite end-of-winter salad!
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Foodist Approved: Cannellini Bean and Tuna Salad with Giardiniera

by | Jan 29, 2014
Cannellini Bean and Tuna Salad

Cannellini Bean and Tuna Salad

A friend asked me the other day where I get the ideas for my recipes. Lucky for me I live in Portlandia where there is no shortage of foodie inspiration. If I have a whoa-Nelly eating epiphany while dining out, I jot down notes in my phone to remember the flavors. I then try to recreate the masterpiece at home and love the challenge of adding my own wholesome spin.

That’s how most of my recipes I share with you begin. But this week, I decided to go straight to one of the creators of some of Portland’s best dishes, and asked the uber-brilliant Cathy Whims, owner of both Nostrana, and Oven & Shaker and 5-time James Beard Award Finalist to share one of her healthy go-to recipes.

Cathy happily offered up the recipe for her salad of cannellini beans and albacore tuna conserva that’s a favorite on the menu at Nostrana.

At Nostrana the tuna is quickly seared over a flaming charcoal grill to maintain its beautiful rare flavor. For a stress-free weeknight meal, Cathy gives us her endorsement to use canned tuna, but only top-quality from Spain or Oregon.
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Foodist Approved: Southern Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens and Quinoa Salad

by | Jan 1, 2014
Black-eyed peas and collard greens quinoa salad

Black-eyed peas with collard greens and quinoa salad

This recipe is inspired by my Southern roots. In the South we eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day for good luck. Tradition says that eating these cute beans leads to a prosperous year.

Typically this dish is cooked in pork fat. I decided to skip the oink and instead created a vibrant salad. After all the holiday overindulging we need a little help detoxifying our digestive systems.

This recipe contains plenty of foods rich in fiber and phytonutrients, two things crucial to cleaning the ol’ pipes of toxins. You can make it ahead and pack for lunch all week to ensure you start your year right.

Here’s to a delicious 2014!
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Foodist Approved: Roasted Butternut and Leek Warm Winter Salad

by | Dec 4, 2013
Butternut Warm Winter Salad

Butternut Warm Winter Salad

It’s OK to let yourself indulge a little this time of year. The best part about the holidays is family, friends and… food. I can’t imagine how boring a holiday party would be without delicious eats and festive cocktails. And enjoying good food in the company of good friends is healthier than eating a salad by yourself at home in front of the TV.

But (and this is a big but) don’t be tempted to bring home the leftover cheese platter and pecan pie, even with Mom insisting.

To maintain your healthy lifestyle throughout the holiday season it’s important to eat fresh and light at home. Soups, salads, baked fish and roasted veggies are all great choices. They’ll balance out all the festive eating and drinking, and getting plenty of veggies this time of year is especially important to keep your immune system strong and your waistline in check.

When the weather is cold and rainy (as it so often is this time of year in Portland), I don’t crave salads. But I know that a salad is sometimes just what I need to recover from a night out. I’ve discovered that if I top my salad with warm roasted veggies, I get both my raw- and cooked-veggie fix together. Plus, a warm salad is so much more appealing. The key to a winter salad is to use a hearty green like arugula or spinach; leave the romaine lettuce for light summer salads.

I made an amazing winter salad the other night with leftover roasted butternut squash. I added it atop my usual favorite combo of arugula, walnuts and Parmesan, then added pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of hummus dressing. It was so good!

Butternut can be difficult to chop. I recommend heating the entire squash in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes so that it’s easier to get a knife through it. Or buy your butternut already cut (I promise I won’t tell). Just don’t use frozen butternut. After cooking it will have the consistency of baby food.
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Foodist Approved: Cucumber Wakame Salad with Oranges

by | Nov 13, 2013
Cucumber Wakame Salad

Cucumber Wakame Salad

Unless you’re Japanese, here are some words you’ve probably never heard: “Honey, we’re running low on wakame! Don’t forget to pick up another bag!”

But perhaps they should be. Sea vegetables (wakame is one) are one of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods. Sea vegetables make up 10% of a typical Japanese diet, and guess what people live longer than any other in the world? (Hint: it ain’t Americans.)

The ocean provides us with thousands of varieties of vegetables. Some varieties have a fishier taste than others, but marinating the vegetables in a lemon or vinegar dressing will offset that fishiness. My favorite varieties are wakame, arame, toasted nori and kombu. Because of its mild taste, arame is great for kids and those who’ve never tried seaweed. You can find all these varieties in most health food stores. They come dried in small bags and require soaking in water to rejuvenate, but are otherwise easy to store and can be kept on hand for days for when you need a good nutrition kick.

Below is a recipe for my favorite seaweed salad. You’ve probably had a similar dish at Japanese restaurants. The restaurant version has a lot of added sugar. Instead of sugar I use orange segments for a delicious sweet and salty contrast. This salad is easy to prepare and goes well with an array of main dishes, from baked fish to veggie stir-fries to steak or grilled chicken. Try it as a side with my Miso-marinated Grilled Chicken. I promise you’ll be happy and healthy!
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Foodist Approved: Kale + Radicchio Superhero Salad with Farro

by | Sep 4, 2013
Kale and Farro Superhero Salad

Kale and Farro Superhero Salad

Elyse Kopecky is a social media consultant and whole foods chef based in Portland, OR. After 10 years working for NIKE and EA SPORTS she left her desk job for the chance to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at www.freshabits.com and @freshabits.

Foodist Approved: Kale + Radicchio Superhero Salad with Farro

by Elyse Kopecky

The flavors of this salad combined with the al dente texture of the farro make for a salad reminiscent of a bowl of fresh pasta tossed in olive oil, garlic and lemon.

Do you find yourself making the same salad night after night? Let me guess (and I speak to you now from my own past habits), does it include baby spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and maybe a few sugar-loaded dried cranberries, plus a drizzle of store-bought dressing (also sugar-loaded)? No wonder you aren’t excited to eat it.

Enter kale salads. If you’ve dined out recently you’ve probably noticed that kale salads are making appearances everywhere, from pizza joints to upscale farm-to-table restaurants. Thanks to some top chefs kale has recently gained celebrity status, and for good reason. Kale works great in a variety of dishes and is especially delicious in salads. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for spinach losing some of the limelight.

Ready to up your salad repertoire? You won’t be disappointed by my recipe for Kale + Radicchio Superhero Salad with farro, walnuts and Parmesan all tossed in a lemon garlic dressing. I aptly named this dish Superhero Salad because it incorporates a range of my favorite nutrient-dense ingredients for strength and energy. And don’t frown at the parmesan cheese. Yes, hard cheeses are healthy.

If Popeye ate spinach, then Batman and Wonder Woman ate bowls and bowls of kale salad.

Enjoy!
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