I’ve never been to Greece, but my sister-in-law has. She told me that every time she ordered a “salad” while on the trip, it came without lettuce and instead focused on the tomato, cucumber, and peppers. Given that my garden is happily producing these three ingredients, I was immediately on board. The key is the combination of vegetables with olives and feta cheese and a highly lemony dressing. Next time I’ll do more research and give some proper facts and history, but for now I’m too busy eating my big Greek salad.
Greek Salad Recipe
2-3 medium sized tomatoes, cored, sliced into wedges and again into medium sized chunks
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise twice and sliced crosswise
1 gypsy pepper (red, orange or yellow), chopped in medium to large pieces
1 small red onion, sliced crosswise and chopped medium
Handful of pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and chopped in halves or quarters
1/4 (scant) cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 – 1 meyer lemon
Salt and pepper
1. Prep and combine vegetables and olives.
2. Whisk the dressing ingredients and toss with vegetables.
3. Serve with crumbled Feta cheese on top or sliced on the side.
– I know some people don’t like raw red onion, but in this instance, the added bite is a nice and in my mind necessary, complement to the other flavors. That said, you may not want to eat this before, say, an interview or a first date.
– As vegetables vary in size, you’ll need to eyeball ratios. The main idea is equal parts tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.
– Optional: Add 1 small clove garlic, crushed or chopped small, in with the dressing.
– Handful of mixed lettuce and large leaf arugula
– Red and sun gold cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
– 1 small or 1/2 large jalapeno, coarsely chopped, somewhat de-seeded
– Warmed pinto or Rio Zape Heirloom Beans
– Crumbled feta or cotija cheese
– Olive oil
– Kosher salt & black pepper
1. Gather vegetables from the garden. Clean and dry thoroughly in strainer or salad spinner.
2. Slice & chop vegetables.
3. Place lettuce pieces on plate. Lightly toss with a pinch of kosher salt. Add cherry tomatoes and drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top.
4. Place ~1/2 cup warmed beans (strained with slotted spoon) next to lettuce.
5. Add jalapeno over the top and sprinkle with cheese and black pepper.
6. Serve immediately.
These Rio Zape Beans resemble pinto beans, but are larger and profoundly satisfying. A great element to have on hand for quick tacos or served with a green salad to add flavor and sustenance.
– 1 or 2 cups dried Rio Zape Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans, washed and soaked for six hours in 1-2 quarts water (if 6 hours pass, drain the beans, reserving the soaking liquid and keep both on hand covered for up to 2 hours until you’re ready to start cooking.)
– 1 large onion, cut in half
– 1 or 2 celery stems, cut thirds
– 1 or 2 carrots, cut in half or thirds
– 2 garlic gloves, lightly peeled
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 bouquet garni of a few large parsley stems with leaves (tied with string in cheesecloth, net, sachet or coarsely chopped and stuffed into a large tea strainer)
– 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Place beans and soaking water into large saucepan. Add water if needed – the water level should be at least 1 inch above the top of the beans.
2. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaf and parsley bouquet and bring to boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer one hour.
4. Remove the parsley sachet and celery, then add salt to taste and simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour, until the beans are completely tender.
5. Drain through a strainer set over a bowl, reserving the liquid. Remove the remaining vegetables and bay leaf and discard.
6. Adjust salt to taste, add pepper.
7. Serve warm in tacos embellished to your taste or along with a mixed green salad with freshly chopped parsley /or cilantro & feta /or cojita cheese.
Notes: Beans will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Store so they are just covered with some of the reserved liquid, which should be used to reheat them as needed. Save any additional reserved liquid in a canning jar – label/date and freeze for future use. Makes a fantastic “vegetable stock” for asian noodles or soup. Cooked beans can also be frozen in liquid for future use.
Posted in Comfort Food, Dinner, Lunch, Mexican, Recipe, Salad, Snack, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian
Tagged heirloom beans, Pinto Beans, Tacos
I had something like this chick pea salad at ‘wichcraft, a lunch spot in San Francisco at Mission and 5th Streets downtown. I was bewitched. Here’s my version- it’s my new lunch obsession.
pinch of cayenne pepper
3 shallots or 1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 large garlic clove, minced
2-3 celery sticks, cleaned, halved lengthwise and sliced
2-3 shakes ground coriander (~1/2 teaspoon)
2-3 shakes ground cumin (~1/2 teaspoon)
1 pint cooked garbanzo beans, about two cups (or 1 – 14oz can chick peas, drained & thoroughly rinsed)
juice of one meyer lemon
kosher salt & pepper
2 (generous) Tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro or parsley (I use both.)
1) Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in small saucepan. Add pinch of cayenne pepper.
2) On medium heat, saute the shallots & celery for 1-2 minutes or so until slightly softened.
3) Add the garlic and stir, cooking for another minute or so. Add the cumin and coriander. Stir and add a touch more olive oil.
4) Stir in the chick peas and mix thoroughly.
5) Mix in fresh juice of 1/2 lemon. Generously sprinkle with kosher salt. Taste. Stir and repeat with second half of lemon or adjust to taste.
6) Add a bit of freshly ground pepper if desired. Stir in chopped cilantro & parsley and serve immediately, slightly warm.
This chick pea salad is great on its own as a side or I often serve it on top of a tossed salad. See below.
Mixed greens or arugula (2-3 cups), cleaned and dry
Crumbled goat cheese (feta would work too)
One green onion, sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
for dressing: kosher salt, olive oil, & red wine vinegar
1) Place greens in a bowl. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and then drizzle a bit of olive oil over the leaves. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and toss to coat evenly.
2) Add goat cheese, green onion, avocado and a mound of chick pea salad on top.
Note: I prefer to use dried garbanzo beans. After soaking & cooking the chick peas, I put them in pint mason jars and stash them in the freezer to use as needed.
I love a light pasta with fresh vegetables in the summertime. This recipe is lovely for dinner as a warm entree or could also be served cold as a pasta salad for lunch. The marinated artichoke hearts are optional, but add a nice tangy flavor.
1 small onion, chopped small
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped white mushrooms
~ 1 1/2 cups green beans, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 cup coarsely chopped baby or regular spinach leaves
2-4 marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (optional)
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 scant cup dry white wine
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Dash of fresh or dried thyme
~ 1/2 lb. campanelle pasta
1. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions on packaging, likely 10 minutes cooking time.
2. Prepare vegetables while water is boiling. Cook vegetables while pasta is cooking. If pasta is finished cooking before the vegetables are done, drain and toss with a touch of olive oil, cover and set aside.
3. Heat 1 generous Tablespoon olive oil in saucepan. Add onion and saute for ~ 5 minutes. Melt in 1/2 Tablespoon butter. Add red pepper flakes and dash of salt.
4. Add garlic and saute for ~30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in white wine. Let heat briefly, melding, and then add mushrooms and green beans (and artichoke hearts, if using). Stir in ~ 2 Tablespoons water, cover and steam 5-7 minutes, or until the beans are softened but still a little crunchy and bright green.
5. Melt in 1/2 Tablespoon butter, a touch more olive oil and and a splash of water if needed. Add dash of salt and pepper. Stir in spinach. Cover and cook about 1 minute.
6. Stir in a dash of fresh or dried thyme, add cherry tomatoes.
7. Mix vegetables into pasta. Serve with freshly ground pepper.
A light arugula salad for lunch or as a side at dinner time.
Arugula Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Corn and Carrots
2 cups arugula
1 ear of fresh corn, briefly boiled, kernels removed (or remove kernels first and blanch in hot water
5-8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1-2 small carrots, sliced
For the vinaigrette:
5 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely chopped red onion or shallot
Freshly cracked pepper and dash of kosher salt
Blend vinaigrette ingredients, taste and adjust as necessary. Toss with arugula, add vegetables and serve.
I tried out this farro recipe after seeing a recommendation on EcoSalon. It’s very tasty, and great to have for lunch, a snack, or to complement a fresh arugula salad with radish, or the like. I didn’t use all the pesto I made, although I think I should have added more of it to the farro in retrospect.
Here’s a link to the recipe: Farro with Fresh Mozzarella Salad and Arugula Walnut Pesto.
Also, if you need tips on cooking farro, this is the perfect resource: How to cook Farro.
Posted in Lunch, Salad, Snack, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian
Tagged arugula, farro, fresh mozzarella, pesto, salad, tomato, walnut
Excerpt from EcoSalon post:
“I can’t believe how quickly my deck garden has flourished! The lettuce, arugula and cilantro are going off. I realized it was high time to make use of these wonderful vegetables to make way for the next round of growth. What better than a spring salad breakfast? …”
Read full text…
Excerpt from my recent post on EcoSalon:
“I’ve never understood why anyone would buy ready-made salad dressing. Salad dressing is incredibly easy to make and most likely, you already have the ingredients in your cupboards. I highly recommend learning a few simple salad dressings as a way to not only continue your efforts to reduce buying processed food, but also to increase your cooking pleasure and save money. Plus, you will save space in your refrigerator because you will no longer have 15 jars of ancient, crusty, half-used salad dressing in the side door.
If you learn even one great salad dressing…” Read more.
I can’t seem to get enough butter leaf lettuce these days. This light salad is perfect for a springtime lunch.
Butter leaf lettuce (1/2 head), rinsed and chopped medium
2 small young carrots, sliced
3 toasted pecans, crumbled
goat cheese, crumbled
For the Salad Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 T white balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
Fresh cracked pepper
Quickly whisk salad dressing in measuring bowl. Adjust to taste. Toss with salad ingredients. Dee-lish! – hBru