SPICY CITRUS PEANUT SALAD

I’ve made variations of this recipe three times in the past month. I am a bit obsessed with the dressing, that has the right amount of heat and very mild hint of sweetness. The original recipe was published in the blog Naturally Nidhi, and you can find it here.

SPICY CITRUS PEANUT SALAD
(slightly modified from Naturally Nidhi)

makes 2 servings

for the salad:
2 oranges , peeled and segmented
greens of your choice (I used green leaf lettuce), amount enough for two
1/4 cup peanuts, roasted and salted

for the dressing:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
salt to taste

In a serving bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Add the greens, toss to coat uniformly with the dressing. Add the orange segments, peanuts and toss gently. Adjust seasoning if needed with a little salt.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: In her blog post, Nidhi used arugula. If you like to pump the sharpness-spicy level up, go for it. We like to use lettuce, I made it once with red leaf lettuce, another with butter lettuce, they all go quite well with all other ingredients. The dressing, so simple, packs a ton of flavor, I bet it would be great brushed oven a nice piece of salmon before grilling it. I simplified it a bit, so make sure to check her blog post for a more complex version.

We enjoyed it with rotisserie-style chicken from our grocery store, and no, I am not ashamed to confess it. Sometimes it is good to make life easier and concentrate on making just a salad and a side dish.

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TWO DELICIOUSLY REFRESHING CUCUMBER SALADS

Cucumber might be one of the most under-appreciated veggies, at least in our kitchen. I love raita, but rarely make it. At the grocery store, I grab every single veggie before inviting a cucumber into my shopping bag. But in the past couple of weeks I’ve been on a cucumber obsession, so today I share two recipes that will be part of our regular rotation from now on.

CUCUMBER & CRISPY CHICKPEAS WITH AVOCADO DRESSING


CUCUMBER AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH AVOCADO DRESSING
(adapted from Minimalist Baker)

for crispy chickpeas:
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
spray of olive oil if using air-fryer, 1 tablespoon olive oil if baking

for salad:
2 large cucumbers, peeled in strips, seeds removed, sliced thin
1 avocado, mashed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
squirt of lemon juice
1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup freshly chopped mint
1/4 cup freshly chopped dill

Make crispy chickpeas. Best way is with air-fryer. Spray with olive oil, season with paprika, salt and pepper, and cook for about 15 minutes in the highest temperature your fryer allows. Reserve.

When ready to make the salad, mash the avocado in a large bowl, squirt some lemon juice oven, then the olive oil, balsamic and the herbs. Season with salt. Mash it all well together. Add the slices of cucumber, toss with the creamy avocado dressing. Add the crispy chickpeas and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


This salad took Phil and I into a state of awe. I have a great friend who always says that food bloggers tend to use too many superlatives to describe their food, and I agree that can be annoying. But please allow me to say, this is an outstanding little salad, in which every ingredient works perfectly. Creamy, refreshing, hearty, we had zero leftovers. A moment of silence for my lunch next day, in which this salad was just a memory.

Moving on to version #2…

CUCUMBER & SHAVED CARROT SALAD WITH YOGURT-DILL DRESSING


CUCUMBER AND SHAVED CARROT SALAD WITH YOGURT-DILL DRESSING
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

2 cucumbers, peeled in strips, seeds removed, sliced very thin
1 tablespoon salt
1 large carrot, shaved in a box grater
1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
fresh dill to taste, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Place the slices of cucumber in a colander, add the salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. Lighty rinse the slices, and dry them on a paper towel.

Make the dressing by mixing yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, agave nectar, dill and spices. Whisk well. Add the dressing to the slices of cucumber, incorporate the grated carrot. Leave the salad in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I took two different approaches to the cucumber. In the first recipe I used them straight after slicing, whereas I salted them in the second version. As expected, in the salted version the cucumber had a slightly more tender texture. We loved them both ways, so if you are in a hurry, skip the salting in version #2, as it won’t compromise the outcome.

Both salads ended up as the star in our dinner, I highly recommend you consider increasing your consumption of cucumber, if you are also part of the team that keeps forgetting all about them…


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TURKEY TACO SALAD BOWL

I had no intention of blogging on this recipe because it sounded like a simple dinner that would be ok but nothing to write home about. That all changed with the first bite. It is undoubtedly the cilantro sauce that makes it special. Of course, if you are a cilantro-hater, this is not for you. The sauce is cilantro on steroids. We loved it. In fact, the husband exact words were “I hope you’ll make this sauce whenever we cook Mexican-anything.” There you go. Cannot get much better praise than that.

TURKEY TACO SALAD BOWL
(inspired by Averie Cooks)

4 large tortillas (I used Carb Balance flour tortillas)
a few tablespoons of vegetable oil
oven safe bowls to bake tortillas

for the Cilantro Lime Dressing:
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems included (about 2 cups)
½ cup full-fat yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lime

for the salad:
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix|
salt to taste
1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen, defrosted)
Romaine lettuce, shredded lettuce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, sliced
Shredded Mexican cheese
salsa (I used tomatillo salsa)

Make the tortilla bows. Heat oven to 375F. Heat a little oil on a non-stick skillet, place the tortilla over the hot oil, when it starts to bubble, flip it over, heat for a few seconds, then place inside an oven-safe bowl. Bake for 15 minutes or until it gets crispy. You can do this in advance.

Make the dressing. Place the cilantro, yogurt, olive oil, salt, pepper and lime juice in a food processor and process until smooth. Reserve in the fridge until needed. You can also make the dressing hours or a day in advance.

Make the taco meat. Brown the ground turkey on hot oil, seasoned lightly with salt. Once the meat is getting some color, add the taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water. Simmer gently, cover the pan for 5 minutes, then uncover and let the water evaporate until it reaches the level you like for your salad.

To assemble the salad, add all different components inside the tortilla bowl, drizzle the cilantro dressing all over.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I used a Mission carb-balance tortilla, and it works but it’s definitely not the best kind to make a bowl, so keep that in mind. I only have two oven-safe bowls that are the perfect size to shape them, so we enjoyed some of the salad in the bowl, and either moved on to a regular tortilla (the husband), or the salad by itself (yours truly).

If you only have one or two oven-safe bowls, you can bake one at a time, and save them, heat them all up in the oven for a few minutes before serving. I used frozen corn, and sautéed lightly in olive oil, with salt, pepper and cumin. Pretty much anything that sounds good to add to a taco salad will work here. Black olives, roasted red peppers. Just have fun with it, but whatever you do, do not skip the cilantro sauce!

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ORIENTAL-STYLE SESAME SLAW

I love cole slaw, but prefer a dressing without mayonnaise. Something fresh, light, and bright. This version couples orange juice with sesame oil. I add just a little squirt of lemon juice at the very end because I crave that extra acidity. Some might try to convince me that incorporating the lemon juice in the dressing would do the same job, but I beg to differ. In fact, when I ate the leftovers, I did a little lemon juice encore, and loved it even more.

ORIENTAL-STYLE SESAME SLAW
(adapted from several sources)

for the dressing:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

for the salad:
3 cups shredded napa cabbage
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
fresh cilantro leaves, amount to taste
black sesame seeds to serve
fresh lemon juice to serve

Start by making the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup or flask with a lid, and whisk or shake to emulsify. Reserve.

In a large serving bowl, add all ingredients for the salad except the black sesame seeds, combine tossing gently, then pour the dressing on top. Toss again and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds, add lemon juice, adjust seasoning if needed, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: f you like cole slaw but mayonnaise is not your thing, this will for sure please you. It gets even better next day, as all components are so sturdy. I made it twice already, the second time I added fresh orange zest together with the black sesame seeds before serving and that was a nice extra touch of flavor. Avocado goes quite well with it, keep that in mind. Not much else is needed to make this a complete meal. We enjoyed ours with a rotisserie chicken, so that was a super easy dinner to put together. The recipe can be easily adapted to a Whole30 system, if you don’t use soy sauce, and replace it with coconut aminos.

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GRILLED ROMAINE LETTUCE WITH TAHINI DRESSING AND CHICKPEAS

Another food trend I kind of twisted my nose at… grilled lettuce. How wrong can a person be? Very. I am here to gently invite you to the bright side. Don’t eye-roll, just trust me. It is absolutely delicious! You can do it on the outside grill or in the comfort of your kitchen using a non-stick grill pan, which is what I did. I don’t remember the husband getting so excited about a salad, but he gave this one two very enthusiastic thumbs up and insisted it must become part of our regular rotation. I am more than happy to “make it so.”

GRILLED ROMAINE LETTUCE WITH TAHINI DRESSING AND CHICKPEAS
(inspired by several sources)

2 heads of Romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed, sliced in half lenghtwise
olive oil to rub on the surface
salt to taste to season
for the tahini dressing:
1/3 cup yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt to taste
water to adjust consistency

for the chickpeas:
1 can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
olive oil spray to coat chickpeas
salt to taste
smoked paprika to taste (or other spice of your choice)

Make the dressing: combine all ingredients except water in a blender. Blend until smooth, then add water until it reaches the consistency you like. Reserve.

Make the chickpeas: coat them with oil, season and air-fry for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Alternatively, roast them in a 425F oven until done.

Grill the lettuce: rub olive oil on the cut surface of the lettuce, season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill for about 3 minutes, flip the pieces and grill for just a couple of minutes on the other side. Transfer to a serving platter, opening the leaves a bit so that the dressing can reach in between them.

Drizzle the dressing, add the roasted chickpeas, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: You can grill the lettuce 30 minutes in advance, and just allow it to sit in the serving platter waiting for showtime. You must use Romaine, other lettuces cannot stand to the heat as well, although I did see some recipes using little butter lettuce heads cut in half. I have not tried to use them, to me they seem a bit too delicate. The dressing is so good I could eat it with a spoon. And of course, fried chickpeas take the concept of croutons to a whole new level. A little tip for you that worked super well for me: I air-fryed the chickpeas twice. After they were first made, I let them sit at room temperature, and then right before adding to the salad I fried them again for 2 minutes. The crispiness factor went off the charts. I have to try that again and write down some specific timing but keep this in mind if you own an air-fryer. Elaine and Karen, I am winking at you both!

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