salad

My Go-To Hearty Kale Salad

If you have been following along lately, you know that I have been throwing together a lot of salads. They are just so quick and easy and versatile. You can throw anything in them and run out the door. And, I’m not one that can always go out to lunch, so it’s great to have this ready to go at work. I always include one or two things with it, like an apple or a yogurt, or a granola bar or crackers and hummus, but this salad really helps satisfy me and keep me energized for the rest of my day.

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To me it’s hard to prep salads ahead of time because so many of the lettuces like spinach and mixed greens can get wilty (is that a word? I’m goin’ with it) really quickly. The great thing about kale is that I can go ahead and wash it, chop it and throw it in a bowl, or put together and dress my salad completely and it will still be good in a couple of days! For all of these reasons, I have been loving this kale salad. This is the variety I typically make but I put a few other varieties at the end of this post. You can either prep the greens and toppings and store separately, allowing for more variety during the week or go ahead and throw it all together in one large bowl! When I use this creamy tahini caesar (which I tell you in my post is by Cookie & Kate) I usually store it separately. If using a balsamic or some sort of vinaigrette, I’ll often go ahead and massage the dressing into the kale. It helps break it down a little bit so it is not so tough when it’s time to enjoy it.

Today I’m sharing this tasty, fueling and satisfying go-to salad with you. I hope you enjoy!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor



My Go-To Kale Salad with Creamy Tahini Caesar Dressing

Makes about 4 entree-salads (if using about 2 1/2 cups per salad)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Balsamic Roasted Portobello mushrooms (recipe and 3 ingredients in this post)

  • 1 batch of Tahini Caesar Dressing (recipe & ingredients in this post, original recipe by Cookie & Kate)

  • 7 cups chopped Lacinato kale (about 1 bunch)

  • 5 cups lightly packed Romaine lettuce

  • One 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional but I LOVE adding these!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven and roast mushrooms according to directions linked above.

  2. While the mushrooms roast, whisk together the ingredients for the Tahini Caesar dressing in a small bowl (recipe linked above). Keep in the bowl or pour into a small mason jar (or other airtight container) to store and use throughout the week.

  3. Add the pumpkin seeds to a small skillet and heat on medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes until the seeds begin to “pop”, brown and you start to smell their rich nuttiness. Yum! You don’t need to add any oil to the skillet because seeds naturally contain oil that will start to come out as the seeds begin to heat up.

  4. Add the kale, romaine, chickpeas, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, roasted chopped portobello mushrooms and pumpkin seeds to a large mixing bowl and toss together with tongs or salad spoons to incorporate all ingredients.

  5. Store the salad and dressing in the refrigerator separately to use throughout the week. Or, if serving for a group immediately, add dressing to the salad and toss until all well-combined. I would start with about 1/4 cup of dressing and toss all together. Add more dressing as needed or let your guests add it separately at the table!

  6. Enjoy!

Nutrition Notes:

Kale: Did you know kale is a non-dairy source of calcium?! I try to incorporate it into any of my athletes meals that don’t eat dairy but will eat kale (that’s not often, ha, but I’ll take it when I can!) This leafy green also contains, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese.

Tomatoes: vitamin C, lycopene, fluid, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium

Chickpeas: protein, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, copper, manganese

Pumpkin Seeds: protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats & some omega 3’s, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc

Tahini: protein, thiamin, phosphorus, monounsaturated fats and some omega 3’s, copper, manganese

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Chili Lime Shrimp & Mango Avocado Salad: A Monday Night Dinner After Being Gone All Weekend

Chili Lime Shrimp Salad.JPG

If you've been following along, you know that I have been traveling a lot lately.  It has been super fun but also doesn't leave much room for my regular routine, which usually includes weekend meal planning.  I love traveling and experiencing new foods in new cities, but, to me, there is nothing like a meal cooked in your own home.  It can be the simplest dish around -  nothing more than a grilled cheese and soup,.  However, for me the process of picking my own bread, my own perfect mix of cheeses and the fresh ingredients for a simple tomato stovetop soup is often times the perfect creative re-centering endeavor after crazy airports and plain rides and days of eating out.  

I recently just finished back-to-back trips where I went to Belize followed by NYC.  Needless to say, there was zero meal prep done in-between.  Breakfast was pretty easy b/c I managed to stock the fridge with some less-perishable fruit and milk before we left and I always make sure to keep Sun Butter and my go-to granola bars in the pantry.  Those are staples I highly recommend keeping around. While breakfast was simple, Monday night dinner didn't come quite as easily; however, I was excited to still be able to get a fresh and fast dinner on the table.  Being tired from travel and a full day of work, I was tempted to call on my usual go-to's, Zoe's or Eatzi's, but I knew that as tired as I felt, what I really needed was to get in my kitchen and chop and toss and mix and grill.  I know myself and I know that taking an hour or so to myself after work and using that time to create something in the kitchen would leave me more rejuvenated than our standard take-out.  It's something about the mixing of flavors and textures and a variety of spices that inspires me and makes me feel like myself again.  I guess some would say that't the "creative" in me.

Anyway, the recipe I put together this past Monday is what I want to share with you here.  I want to walk you through my train of thought and how this delicious dish got to our table.

Ever since I made those incredibly scrumptious salmon tacos by Ina Garten back in May (see my Instagram post), I knew I wanted to try her salmon rub in other dishes.  I'd been wondering how it would turn out on shrimp for a while now and so that is what popped into my mind first. I knew the marinade would be simple and shrimp takes basically no time to cook.  I also knew that my husband and I were not going to want something super heavy after just coming home from back-to-back trips and, in general, I always tend to crave lighter dishes in the summer.  So, I mentally threw together a picture and ingredient list for this Chili Lime Shrimp Salad in between projects at work, stopped by the store on the way home, and then got to prepping in my kitchen.  This dish is so simple and full of flavor.  You whisk together a 5 - ingredient marinade and let the shrimp sit in it while you chop the mangoes, tomatoes and avocado and plate the mixed greens.  Then fire up the grill (or grill pan) and cook those shrimp before topping them on your fresh mixed greens salad.   The longer you let the shrimp marinade the better.  I let mine marinade while I prepped a few lunch items for the week so it was probably about 30 to 45 minutes but I don't think it's an absolute requirement if you're in a pinch.

Here are the details for my quick and simple Chili Lime Shrimp & Mixed Greens Salad.  I hope you can make it a last minute go-to like I have.

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

CHILI LIME SHRIMP & MIXED GREENS SALAD

To make 2 salads I used (& we had left-over shrimp for later in the week)...

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 5 cups of mixed greens (3 for Kyle & 2 for me)

  • 1 small yellow mango, cored, peeled and cut into larger chunks

  • 1/2 of an avocado, cubed

  • About 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 pound of peeled & deveined shrimp. I put about 8 shrimp on Kyle's plate and 5 shrimp on my plate and had about 5 more shrimp leftover, which will perfect for another one of these salads again this week

  • About 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • ~2 - 4 teaspoons EVOO, for dressing

  • Balsamic Vinegar, as desired for salad

  • Crusty bread, optional

  • Marinade ingredients (inspired by Ina Garten)

    • 2 teaspoons chili powder

    • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

    • pinch of salt

    • 2 tablespoons EVOO

    • Juice of 1 lime

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine ingredients for marinade in a large Ziplock bag. Add shrimp, coat evenly and let sit about 1 hour in the refrigerator.

  2. Add mixed greens to each plate or bowl.

  3. Top mixed greens evenly with the chopped mango, avocado and tomatoes

  4. Preheat grill pan on medium high heat.

  5. Once hot, using tongs, place shrimp on grill pan and cook about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side or until the shrimp are pink and no longer clear in the middle. Place cooked shrimp on a serving platter for guests to add to their salads or go ahead and plate onto dinner salads.

  6. Bake or toast crusty whole grain bread to accompany salads

  7. Serve salads with crusty bread, and drizzles of fresh lime, EVOO and balsamic vinegar as desired.

  8. Enjoy!

 

NUTRITION NOTES

Mangos:  vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, fluid

Mixed Greens:  iron, vitamin K, fiber, fluid

Tomatoes:  vitamin C, lycopene, fluid

Avocado:  monounsaturated fat, potassium, lutein, fiber

Shrimp:  protein, B12, iron, phosphorus, selenium

EVOO:  monounsaturated fat, vitamin E

Salmon Nicoise Salad

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Hello, friends!  It's been quite a while since my last post.  This season has been a packed one that seems to have flown by.  I was super excited to get away this Memorial Day weekend.  Kyle and I took a trip to the ranch, which meant no phones or computers or social media - just family, exploring, reading, writing and grilling.  It was just the right balance of exploration and rest. We navigated our way along streams that opened to fresh pools of cold water surrounded by the greenest grass (a very unique find in the Texas - New Mexico desert) and we made ourselves at home on the large rocking chairs that lined our front porch with plenty of reading and writing material in hand (& morning visits from our peacock friend, which you know about if you saw my IG post, ha).  Given the time and lack of technology, I got to catch up on all of my fun reading, brainstorm new recipes and articles, and start making progress on recipes I have been wanting to post for some time now.

As summer is quickly approaching, I thought getting my Salmon Nicoise Salad up would be a good first step.  It's fairly simple to throw together and, although a salad, it is hearty enough for a filling and satisfying weeknight or weekend dinner.  Not only is it simple and filling but wild salmon is also reaching its peak season as we speak, making it a perfect time to give this recipe a try!  Parts of this salad can also be prepped ahead of time, which is great if you're making this for company and want more time to talk and hang out vs being in the kitchen. I'm excited to finally get this recipe up and here it is - my Salmon Nicoise Salad.  It's recipe that friends and family have enjoyed these last few months and I think you will enjoy as well!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

SALMON NICOISE SALAD

Serves 3 - 4

INGREDIENTS (for Salad):

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  • Two 6-ounce salmon filets

  • 1/8 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • 1 medium lemon, sliced into 6 thin slices

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced (about 4 cups diced raw)

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, to cook potatoes

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise

  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed

  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives (drained of juice)

  • 2 tablespoons capers (drained of juices)

  • 3 cups mixed greens

  • Champagne Vinaigrette - see recipe below

INGREDIENTS (for Dressing):

  • 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard



DIRECTIONS:

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Dressing whisked!

Dressing whisked!

Olive mix & greens tossed together with dressing and added as base of dinner plate

Olive mix & greens tossed together with dressing and added as base of dinner plate

Layer roasted sweet potatoes, steamed green beans & flaked salmon to dish. Serve with the roasted lemon slices.

Layer roasted sweet potatoes, steamed green beans & flaked salmon to dish. Serve with the roasted lemon slices.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and place both salmon filets on baking sheet.

  3. Sprinkle salmon filets with a pinch of salt and cracked pepper (<1/8 teaspoon salt on each).

  4. Top each salmon filet with 3 slices of lemon, covering the length of the filet and set salmon aside.

  5. Line separate large baking sheet with parchment paper (may need 2 - see step #7).

  6. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the sweet potatoes, 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.

  7. Spread the potatoes out onto the large prepared baking sheet (use 2 baking sheets if the pan gets too crowded).

  8. Place sweet potatoes in the preheated 400 degree oven on the top rack and cook for about 35 minutes, flipping the potatoes about 15 - 20 minutes into cooking. If cooking potatoes on bottom shelf, turn or stir about 10 minutes into cooking to prevent burning on one side.

  9. While potatoes cook, add capers, olives, tomatoes, and mix greens to a bowl and set aside.

  10. Now start the green beans.. Fill a medium pot with about 1/2 - inch water and bring to a boil. Add the steamer basket to the pot followed by the green beans. Cover the pot and allow beans to steam about 5 minutes. After the beans have cooked, turn the burner off but leave beans in the basket covered to stay warm.

  11. When the potatoes have about 15 minutes left, add the salmon filets to the oven and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes (cooking time of salmon will vary. A general rule is to cook the salmon 10 minutes for every inch thickness).

  12. While the salmon & sweet potatoes cook, make the dressing by whisking together all dressing ingredients. Or add to a small jar and shake really well!

  13. Add about 1 tablespoon of the dressing to the greens-caper mix and toss to combine.

  14. After the last 15 minutes, remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and turn the oven on broil, cooking just the salmon filets about 1 more minute. The lemons will brown and caramelize slightly. Remove from the oven.

  15. Now that all items are cooked, to a dinner plate: Place 1/2 salad mix. Add 3/4 cup green beans to one side of plate. Add 3/4 cup of sweet potatoes to another side of plate. Flake the warm salmon in the middle.

  16. Serve with the remaining dressing, caramelized lemon slices and warm crusty bread.

  17. Enjoy!

 

NUTRITION NOTES:

Green Beans:  folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A

Sweet Potatoes:  beta carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese

Lemons: vitamin C

Dressing:  monounsaturated fat, vitamin E

Salmon:  omega 3 fatty acids, protein, B12, selenium

Spinach:  vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, iron

FUN NUTRITION FACTS - SALMON

Did you know what the different types of salmon mean?  I didn't really until recently when I asked the man at the fish counter about it and then read an article on it in my new Cook's Illustrated magazine.  Yes, knowing the difference between these can play a role in what you choose from a nutrition perspective, but it may also help your friend or family member like salmon!  Salmon can certainly be a fishier fish, but some varieties are more mild than others.  Here is a brief rundown of what I now know....

WILD SALMON (Coho / King / Sockeye) - leaner, tougher, a stronger flavor

FARM RAISED (Atlantic / King salmon) - milder flavor, more omega-3's (fattier fish), a softer, flakier texture (some say "buttery").

Want more details on the salmon varieties?  There's a good overview here. (Thanks Cook's Illustrated!) or here (thanks Food & Nutrition magazine)!

 

Grilled Pesto Garden Salad with Warm Balsamic Shrimp

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This month my recipe is a fresh and simple summer dish.  Everything can be assembled and piled on the grill or, if a grill isn't available, a grill pan will do the trick.  This recipe has so many components that appeal to the senses with its array of colorful vegetables, soft feta cheese, pretty green pesto, and pink and white juicy shrimp.  The sights and senses are enhanced by the sweet pop of flavor from the grilled summer veggies, the nuttiness and depth from the pesto and the subtle bite from the warm balsamic dressing.  I created this recipe about 2 years ago and have pulled it out as a summer staple, whether at home, on the beach, or visiting family, every summer since.

The tomatoes and bell peppers give the salad a burst of vitamin C, while the grilled asparagus and leafy greens give a boost of iron, folate and vitamin K.  The pesto contributes healthy fats from the olive oil and nuts that promote healthy cholesterol levels, help the body absorb the vitamins A and K from the dish, and may help fight inflammation.  The smooth feta offers a little fat that aids in satiety, a tiny bit of protein and a little calcium.  To help refuel tired and worked muscles or to fuel them for a big run or workout the next day, I like to add some hearty whole grain bread to serve on the side.  This adds fueling complex carbohydrates to refuel depleted energy stores in the muscle and also keep the body from using the body's protein stores to repair any torn tissues from exercise.  It also provides some protein (since it's a whole grain), fiber, and a little magnesium and phosphorus among other nutrients, depending on the exact bread you buy.  The combination of tastes, textures and nutrition in this dish makes it a truly fueling and satisfying meal.  

So, get out the grill and toss together this grilled veggie and shrimp salad for a light and satisfying summer supper.

Happy Fueling!


Grilled Pesto Garden Salad with Warm Balsamic Shrimp

(Serves 2)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 small shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 small summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4 inch slices

  • About 0.75 pound of asparagus (1/2 a bunch), chopped into 3-inch pieces.

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large 1 to 1 1/2 -inch pieces

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into large pieces 1 to 1 1/2 -inch pieces

  • 2 cups mixed greens

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. jarred pesto

  • 2 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese

  • 1 loaf whole grain bread

For Shrimp Marinade:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tsp. honey

  • dash of salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Whisk together all ingredients for the marinade.

  2. Add dressing to a bowl or sealable bag with the shrimp and allow to marinate while you prepare the rest of the meal.

  3. Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat.

  4. Toss the chopped vegetables with 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt and a dash of pepper.

  5. Grill the vegetables on the grill until they start to soften and begin to get grill marks.

  6. Place the grilled veggies in a bowl and gently toss with the pesto. Tent with foil or place in a warm oven to keep warm.

  7. Remove shrimp from the bowl or bag with marinade and grill about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side.

  8. Assemble salad by adding 1 cup of mixed greens to base of each plate. Then top with grilled vegetables, 5 shrimp, and 1 tbsp. feta cheese per plate.

  9. Accompany dish with warm rustic whole grain bread, if desired, and enjoy!

Grilled Pesto Veggie Salad with Honey Balsamic Shrimp.PNG