Asian Quinoa Salad

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This is the quinoa salad to end all quinoa salads.  I can’t even tell you how many times I have made this in the last couple months.  First time I made it I half expected my hubby to grimace and say “bird seed?”… but he didn’t.  Not even after his third helping. 🙂  The dressing I used on it is my all purpose asian dressing I use for lots of things and it adds alot of flavor to the quinoa.  Since quinoa doesn’t really have much flavor of all on its own it is great for soaking up whatever you’re layin’ down.
You could adjust the salad veg to whatever you have or like, but this is most definitely our favorite way.   I even keep a container of finely chopped cooked bacon in the freezer for this salad alone.  If you are local I highly suggest you make a stop at the most amazing Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store and you can buy quinoa in bulk for a fraction of the cost too.  Now go forth and eat quinoa my friends.

ASIAN QUINOA SALAD

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped cooked bacon
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup or more chopped cilantro leaves

Asian Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 T sesame oil
1 cup rice vinegar (or white vinegar or half of each)
2 T soy sauce
2 T sugar or honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 T sesame seeds
2 tsp dried ginger (or 1 T grated fresh ginger)
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 tsp dried onion

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.  Add quinoa and return to a boil.  Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Fluff quinoa and let sit 5 minutes, covered, and off the heat.   This will make 4 cups cooked quinoa.  You will know it’s cooked because the outer hulls are popped off.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.  Pour about half over quinoa and chill.  Add remaining salad ingredients.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Serve with additional dressing if desired.

Asian Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

    Quinoa salad:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cooked bacon
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/4 cup or more chopped cilantro leaves
  • Asian Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1 cup rice vinegar (or white vinegar or half of each)
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 T sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp dried ginger (or 1 T grated fresh ginger)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 tsp dried onion

Instructions

  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Fluff quinoa and let sit 5 minutes, covered, and off the heat. This will make 4 cups cooked quinoa. You will know it's cooked because the outer hulls are popped off.
  • Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour about half over quinoa and chill. Add remaining salad ingredients. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
  • Serve with additional dressing if desired.
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    Macaroni Salad with Broccoli and Ham

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    This is my homemade version of the Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad with Broccoli and Ham at Sweet Tomatoes Salad Buffet Restaurant.   Went there with my hubby for date night recently and they had this on the buffet.  Totally brought back memories of working there many years ago.  I used to be a trainer for them and would travel around the US to train employees for the new openings.  It was pretty fun (most the time anyways) 😉
    I like the crunch in this salad from the raw vegetables.  It adds a much needed texture.  I don’t like alot of dressing on salads or pasta salads, so I wouldn’t use the whole amount of dressing, but add as little or as much as you like.
    And I used my homemade Canadian Bacon, but any cooked diced ham would fine.   This holds well, and is maybe even better the second day.

    MACARONI SALAD WITH BROCCOLI AND HAM
    1 pound large elbow macaroni
    2 cups fresh broccoli florets
    3/4 cup olives, sliced
    1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
    1/2 cup celery, diced
    3/4 cup carrots, peeled and diced
    1 1/4 cup diced ham (I used my homemade Canadian Bacon)

    Dressing:
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1/2 cup sour cream (Or use an additional 1/2 cup mayo)
    1/4 cup milk
    1 T sugar
    salt and pepper to taste

    Cook macaroni and rinse with cold water until cool.
    Toss with remaining salad ingredients.
    Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
    Toss with salad, reserving some to see how dressed you want it, then add more if needed.
    Chill for a couple hours or overnight.

    Macaroni Salad with Broccoli and Ham

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound large elbow macaroni
    • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
    • 3/4 cup olives, sliced
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
    • 1/2 cup celery, diced
    • 3/4 cup carrots, peeled and diced
    • 1 1/4 cup diced ham (I used my homemade Canadian Bacon)
    • Dressing:
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (Or use an additional 1/2 cup mayo)
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 T sugar
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Cook macaroni and rinse with cold water until cool.
  • Toss with remaining salad ingredients.
  • Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Toss with salad, reserving some to see how dressed you want it, then add more if needed.
  • Chill for a couple hours or overnight.
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    Chinese Chicken Salad


    This recipe has been a tradition for us for about 10 years now.  And I don’t see that changing anytime soon, it’s so yummy 🙂
    It originated from my friend Janice, and has been tweaked a little to our tastes.  We usually make it around the holidays, sometimes for New Year’s Eve, sometimes (like this year) I’ll be making it for our “no cooking” night.  The day we put our tree and Christmas decorations up I always have a dinner that requires no cooking.  We eat by candlelight and Christmas music on our china.  I’ll make a few appetizers the day before, and this is perfect since what minimal prep it requires can be done at least a day in advance as well.
    It never fails to please, and is wonderful for serving a large crowd as well.  We never seem to have any trouble eating it up though. 🙂

    CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD
    For Salad:
    1/2 to 1 whole head cabbage, green or red*, shredded
    2 green onions, thinly sliced
    2 T sesame seeds
    1/4 c peanuts
    1 pkg Oriental Ramen noodles, chopped (reserve seasoning packet for dressing)
    2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
    1 carrot, shredded
    1/2 pkg wonton wrappers (Or premade crispy wonton strips, some asian stores sell them)
    1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed
    For Dressing:
    3 T sugar
    1/3 cup oil
    2 T sesame oil
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/4 c rice vinegar
    Seasoning packet from Oriental Ramen

    Make the crispy wonton strips.  Cut wrappers into 1/2″ strips and fry in  a couple inches of hot oil until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
    Combine all the salad ingredients and toss gently together.
    Whisk the dressing ingredients together and toss with the salad.

    *Start with half a head of cabbage, and see if you want more, this will depend on how big your cabbage is, and how finely you shred it.  If you’re serving a crowd, this is a great way to stretch it a little more as well.

    Make ahead tip: You can have your dressing made days ahead of time, and even the salad.  Just keep the wonton strips, ramen, and peanuts on the side until just before serving so they stay crisp.

    Chinese Chicken Salad

    Ingredients

      For Salad:
    • 1/2 to 1 whole head cabbage, green or red*, shredded
    • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
    • 2 T sesame seeds
    • 1/4 c peanuts
    • 1 pkg Oriental Ramen noodles, chopped (reserve seasoning packet for dressing)
    • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
    • 1 carrot, shredded
    • 1/2 pkg wonton wrappers (Or premade crispy wonton strips, some asian stores sell them)
    • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed
    • For Dressing:
    • 3 T sugar
    • 1/3 cup oil
    • 2 T sesame oil
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 c rice vinegar
    • Seasoning packet from Oriental Ramen

    Instructions

  • Make the crispy wonton strips. Cut wrappers into 1/2" strips and fry in a couple inches of hot oil until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
  • Combine all the salad ingredients and toss gently together.
  • Whisk the dressing ingredients together and toss with the salad.
  • *Start with half a head of cabbage, and see if you want more, this will depend on how big your cabbage is, and how finely you shred it. If you're serving a crowd, this is a great way to stretch it a little more as well.
  • Make ahead tip:
  • You can have your dressing made days ahead of time, and even the salad. Just keep the wonton strips, ramen, and peanuts on the side until just before serving so they stay crisp.
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    Pork and Spinach with Orange Vineagrette


    I have a thing about citrus.  A kind of obsession I suppose.  While lime and lemon are my main addiction, orange will do in some cases, like for this recipe.
    Spinach really benefits from the brightness of the orange in the vineagrette and while it goes wonderful with the pork, I love this using baked or grilled or even just sauteed chicken breasts as well.

    PORK AND SPINACH WITH ORANGE VINEAGRETTE
    4 T olive oil, divided
    salt and pepper
    2 lbs pork tenderloin or pork loin roast
    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 T Dijon mustard
    1 T honey
    1 garlic clove
    about 2 lbs fresh spinach

    Heat 1 T of the oil in an oven safe skillet over medium heat.  Season pork with salt and pepper and sear on all sides.  Place in skillet in oven and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, or until reaches 145 degrees.  (If using pork loin roast instead of tenderloin it may take just a little longer)
    If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, just transfer pork to a baking pan, or skip searing step all together and just bake.
    While pork is baking, make vinaigrette   Combine the orange juice, mustard, honey, garlic, and 2 T of the oil in a blender.  Season with salt and pepper, and process until smooth.  Set aside.
    When pork is done remove from oven and tent with foil to rest before slicing.
    Heat remaining 1 T oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
    Cut thick stems off spinach and wash and dry.
    Add to hot pan and toss frequently to wilt.  Drain off any liquid and season with salt and pepper.  Slice pork and serve with spinach and pour vinaigrette over both or serve on the side.

    Recipe source: Everyday Food

    Pork and Spinach with Orange Vineagrette

    Ingredients

    • 4 T olive oil, divided
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 lbs pork tenderloin or pork loin roast
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 2 T Dijon mustard
    • 1 T honey
    • 1 garlic clove
    • about 2 lbs fresh spinach

    Instructions

  • Heat 1 T of the oil in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and sear on all sides. Place in skillet in oven and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, or until reaches 145 degrees. (If using pork loin roast instead of tenderloin it may take just a little longer)
  • If you don't have an oven safe skillet, just transfer pork to a baking pan, or skip searing step all together and just bake.
  • While pork is baking, make vinaigrette Combine the orange juice, mustard, honey, garlic, and 2 T of the oil in a blender. Season with salt and pepper, and process until smooth. Set aside.
  • When pork is done remove from oven and tent with foil to rest before slicing.
  • Heat remaining 1 T oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
  • Cut thick stems off spinach and wash and dry.
  • Add to hot pan and toss frequently to wilt. Drain off any liquid and season with salt and pepper. Slice pork and serve with spinach and pour vinaigrette over both or serve on the side.
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    Grainy Potato Salad with Salami


    My hubby hates regular potato salad, mainly because of the eggs and mayonnaise (2 ingredients he dislikes).  But this is more like a German potato salad, especially if you use a German style mustard and salami.
    We thought it was even better the next day, the potatoes really take on more flavor after it sits for a bit.  I used some salami from one of my favorite places, Edelweiss Delicatessen.  I have made it with half each red and yellow baby new potatoes, but it’s just as good using just one variety as well.

    GRAINY POTATO SALAD WITH SALAMI

    2 lbs new potatoes, (red, yellow, or half of each)
    6 T cider vinegar, divided
    1 T kosher salt
    1/4 cup coarse mustard
    3 T sugar
    1/4 cup oil
    1/3 cup salami, chopped
    1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
    2 T thinly sliced green onions
    salt and pepper to taste

    Half potatoes, and place in a pot with 3 T of the cider vinegar and salt.  Add water to cover.
    Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until you can pierce potatoes with a fork.
    Drain potatoes and set aside while you make dressing.
    Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together  the remaining 3 T cider vinegar, mustard, sugar, and a pinch salt and pepper.
    Whisk while pouring oil in, then test and add more salt or pepper to taste.
    Pour dressing over potatoes along with salami, parsley, and green onions.
    Stir once, gently, trying to be gentle on potatoes.
    Can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.

    Recipe slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

    Grainy Potato Salad with Salami

    Ingredients

    • 2 lbs new potatoes, (red, yellow, or half of each)
    • 6 T cider vinegar, divided
    • 1 T kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup coarse mustard
    • 3 T sugar
    • 1/4 cup oil
    • 1/3 cup salami, chopped
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
    • 2 T thinly sliced green onions
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Half potatoes, and place in a pot with 3 T of the cider vinegar and salt. Add water to cover.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until you can pierce potatoes with a fork.
  • Drain potatoes and set aside while you make dressing.
  • Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 T cider vinegar, mustard, sugar, and a pinch salt and pepper.
  • Whisk while pouring oil in, then test and add more salt or pepper to taste.
  • Pour dressing over potatoes along with salami, parsley, and green onions.
  • Stir once, gently, trying to be gentle on potatoes.
  • Can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.
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    Greek Salad


    I’ve served this salad 2 ways, and I can’t decide which way I like it better.  One way is to just toss it all together, the other is to serve the feta on the side with some fresh basil, and alongside some homemade hummus and paprika roasted chickpeas.  (Both ways with some soft wrap bread of course, although pita chips would be good as well.)

    Either way you serve it, it’s quite yummy and I love it for a cool summer dinner.  If you want, you could serve it with some grilled chicken, or maybe even grilled lemon chicken.  Yeah, that would be good. 🙂

    GREEK SALAD
    2 roma or 1 large tomato, chopped
    1 English Cucumber, chopped
    1/2 large red onion, chopped
    1/2 cup kalamata (or black if you prefer) olives, halved
    feta cheese (on the side with a little fresh basil, or crumble directly into the salad)
    To taste: olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and black pepper

    Combine the tomato, cucumber, red onion, and olives in a bowl. (And feta if using directly in salad).  Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently toss.

    Greek Salad

    Ingredients

    • 2 roma or 1 large tomato, chopped
    • 1 English Cucumber, chopped
    • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
    • 1/2 cup kalamata (or black if you prefer) olives, halved
    • feta cheese (on the side with a little fresh basil, or crumble directly into the salad)
    • To taste: olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and black pepper

    Instructions

  • Combine the tomato, cucumber, red onion, and olives in a bowl. (And feta if using directly in salad). Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently toss.
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    Avocado, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad


    A friend passed this recipe on to me, or at least a version of it. I’ve been meaning to try it for awhile and one night I had some avocados and tomatoes at their peak that needed used so I finally made it.  I added a few other ingredients to our liking and while it isn’t really a salad… I wasn’t sure what it was. 🙂  Maybe a relish?  Either way, it’s super yummy by itself, or with some grilled chicken (my favorite), or even on a burger.

    As with anything containing fresh avocado, it just doesn’t keep well for long, so it’s best eaten the same day it’s made.  Which… I suspect won’t be a problem.

    AVOCADO, TOMATO, AND MOZZARELLA SALAD

    2 avocados, chopped
    3 tomatoes, chopped
    8 oz ball fresh mozzarella, chopped
    2 T fresh basil, chopped
    2 shallots, finely diced
    1 T olive oil
    1 T lemon juice
    salt and pepper to taste

    Place the avocados, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and shallots in a shallow bowl.  Sprinkle with the olive oil and lemon juice and very gently toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

    Broccoli Salad

    A couple of months ago I started volunteering with Bountiful Baskets as a site coordinator.  If you’ve never tried it, head over to their website and check it out.  It’s pretty awesome. It’s a non-profit, all volunteer run food co-op.  Every week I come home with all this fresh produce and it’s been so much fun to try new things and have such an abundance of fruits and vegetables in the house.

    I was trying to think of something new to do with broccoli, and decided to make a salad for a bbq instead of a pasta salad.  We loved it. I know usually broccoli salad has raisins, but I really prefer dried cranberries.  They add a great tartness.  And cashews go great with the broccoli, while you could omit as well if you have nut allergies.  See my tip at the bottom for adding extra crunch by using the broccoli stems as well.
    This will keep covered in the fridge for at least a couple of days as well, so it’s great for a make-ahead dish for 4th of July potlucks/bbqs too.

    BROCCOLI SALAD
    8 cups broccoli florets*
    1/2 lb bacon (about 6-8 slices) cooked crisp and crumbled
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1 cup roasted cashews
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 T red wine vinegar
    1 T sugar
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 tsp pepper

    Place the broccoli, bacon, onion, cashews, and cranberries in a large bowl and mix together.
    In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.   Add to the salad and toss to coat evenly.

    *I know that you can buy bags of broccoli florets, but I suggest buying uncut heads of broccoli.  Cut the florets off in small pieces, then dice some of the stem.  It adds a great crunch to the salad.

    VARIATIONS: If you’d rather, you can use almonds instead of cashews, or omit nuts all together.  You could also use raisins instead of the cranberries, I just prefer the tart cranberries.

    Grilled Pizza with Roasted Garlic Chicken and Citrus Vinaigrette

     

    This is one of those meals I could make every week and not get tired of it.  I love homemade Naan bread, but this grilled pizza definitely makes the cut as well.  Using the leftover garlic infused oil from the roasted garlic paste just made sense.  Why not?  It adds a subtle garlic taste without being overwhelming.

    The vinaigrette is a perfect pairing, it really lightens it up and adds a fresh citrus flavor.  We’ve also made the salad with red leaf lettuce instead of the spinach, and I think romaine would be good as well, or even a mix of greens.
    Serve the pizza with the chicken and salad and let everyone make a kind of taco or wrap out of it, adding the vinaigrette to the salad beforehand, or serving on the side.

    Grilled Pizza with Roasted Garlic Chicken and Citrus Vinaigrette

    For the pizza:
    1 batch pizza dough
    reserved garlic oil, or olive oil

    Raise dough as usual in recipe.  Separate into 8 balls.
    Roll out each dough ball on an unfloured surface to about 8-10 inches across.  Brush with garlic oil.  Grill over medium heat (I used a grill pan).

    Cook for a couple minutes on each side.  It’s ready to flip when it starts to bubble.

    Brush with the garlic oil.
    Keep warm in a tortilla keeper if desired.

    For the Chicken:
    4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
    1 1/2 T olive oil
    salt and pepper
    4 T roasted garlic paste

    Coat the chicken with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
    Grill over medium heat (again using a grill pan or outdoor grill) for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.   Spread with garlic paste and et rest.  Cut into strips.

    For the Salad:
    8 cups baby spinach
    1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese
    1 1/2 cups tomato wedges
    1/4 cup red onion, slivered
    1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

    Toss together.  Toss with vinaigrette or serve on the side.

    For the Citrus Vinaigrette:
    2 lemons (about 1/3 cup juice)
    1 orange (about 1/3 cup juice)
    1 shallot, diced
    1 1/2 cups olive oil
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper

    Juice the lemons and orange.  Combine in a blender with shallot and salt and pepper.  With motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream until creamy.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

    Recipe adapted from Michael Chiarello

     

     

     

     

    Edamame Salad with Roasted Vegetables


    I don’t care for pre-prepared dishes.  They rarely taste like much more than the packaging they come in.  Awhile ago I did buy a premade edamame salad and it was decent enough, but I knew it would be better made at home.  And I was right : )
    I was trying to decide what to put in the dressing, then I remembered I had a jar of dressing in the fridge leftover from this salad and thought I’d give it a try.  It was a perfect fit and I think this salad is just as good after it sits for a bit as well, as the dressing marries with the edamame and beans for a while.

    EDAMAME SALAD WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES

    1 1/2 cups edamame*
    1 carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
    1 ear corn, kernels cut off
    1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
    1/4 cup dried cranberries
    drizzle olive oil
    Dressing, recipe follows

    Place the carrots, corn kernels, and pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil.
    Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

    Let cool slightly, then toss with edamame and cranberries.
    Add as much dressing as desired.
    *I use frozen unshelled edamame from Costco.  When you want to use them, you just microwave and shell.
    DRESSING:
    1/4 cups canola or olive oil
    1 T red wine vinegar
    1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    1 tsp soy sauce
    2 tsp lime juice
    4 tsp brown sugar
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp ginger powder
    kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

    Shake everything together in a jar.

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