Moroccan Spiced Millet and Lentil Salad

February 9, 2019 at 10:08 pm (B plus, Beans, Instant Pot, Middle East / N. Africa, Salads, Website / blog) ()

A friend suggested I try this Vegetarian Times recipe for a Moroccan Spiced Millet and Lentil Salad, but I was nervous about making it since Derek normally hates millet. I will never forget the time he took a bite of millet and then made a terrible, disgusted grimace “What have you done to the rice?” he asked. “This is the worst rice ever!”

So I waited until he was out of town this summer and then I invited my friend over to make it with me. We made a somewhat deconstructed version of the salad, and other than the fact that I totally overcooked the millet, everyone enjoyed it. Alma (at 3.5) also really liked it. Finally last weekend I got up the nerve to make it for Derek and he liked it as well. He didn’t even complain about the fact that I was serving him birdseed for dinner. Score! Read the rest of this entry »


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Beluga lentil and beet salad with walnuts

May 27, 2018 at 11:03 pm (Alma's faves, Beans, Fall recipes, Instant Pot, Monthly menu plan, My brain, Salads, Spring recipes, unrated, Winter recipes) ()

This is not really a recipe so much as a dinner idea. I basically serve beluga lentils and sliced cooked beets on a bed of salad greens, and drizzle with Annie’s dressing. If I have extra time I will roast some walnuts or pepitas to sprinkle on top. Occasionally we will skip the Annie’s and use feta instead.

I make this at least once a month, and everyone is always happy. When I tell Alma (at 3 years old) what we’re having for dinner, she says “oh, yum, I like that.” Derek is less excited about the idea (it sounds too boring) but once he actually eats it he’s always happy. I like it too. Plus it’s relatively easy to make and can be (mostly) frozen for a quick weeknight meal. Both the lentils and beets freeze well, as does Annie’s dressing. So all I have to do is pull out all the frozen components the night before, and then wash some salad greens.

I usually cook up a big batch of beluga lentils in my instant pot (see below for details). If you don’t have one, you could use a stovetop pressure cooker or just make them in a pan. I always make extra and freeze the leftovers in a glass jar.

I also usually cook beets in the instant pot. Roasted may be tastier, but the instant pot is so much easier and more reliable. Sometimes I am in a rush and then I buy the pre-cooked beets that are in every German supermarket. But they don’t taste as good as the ones I cook myself.

How to cook beets in the Instant Pot

Here are the instructions I used. My beets were big — just under 3 inches in diameter — so I cooked them for 20 minutes on high pressure. They came out perfectly—super easy to peel and the texture and flavor were great. In the past when I’ve boiled, steamed, or baked my beets, I’ve always had trouble getting them cooked consistently and getting the peels to come off easily. So this was a nice change of pace.

Here is her time chart with general guidelines (assuming 1 cup of water and quick release not natural release):

  • <2-inch diameter: 10 minutes under high pressure
  • 2-inch diameter: 15 minutes under high pressure
  • 2 to 3-inch diameter: 20 minutes under high pressure
  • >3-inch diameter: 25-30 minutes under high pressure

How to make beluga lentils in the Instant Pot.

I usually use a pot-in-pot method to cook lentils in the instant pot. I put 1.5 cups of water in the base of the instant pot, then put down the trivet and insert my small (3 quart) instant pot base. I fill it with 500g beluga lentils, 900g of water, and 1 tsp. of salt. I cook the lentils on manual (high pressure) for 12 minutes plus natural pressure release.

I have also tried setting the lentils up in the morning before work, and setting the timer so that the lentils would be done at dinnertime. Since the lentils would be soaking all day I lowered the cooking time, maybe to 5 minutes? I think it worked fine, but I’m not positive. I also don’t recall how long before dinner I set the start time. Maybe 10 minutes to come to pressure, 5 minutes to cook, and 15 minutes for pressure to come down, so 30 minutes before dinnertime?

If you don’t have the 3-quart insert, you can cook the lentils directly in the large 6-quart base. Jill Nussinow says to cook them with 1.5x water for 6 to 7 minutes plus natural release. But others say 2x water and still others say only 4 minutes natural pressure release. I tried a couple of different ways, but I was never happy with how they turned out. Unfortunately I didn’t keep notes. but I generally found that the lentils cooked unevenly. The ones on the bottom end up overcooked and the ones on the top end up underdone. If you have a a 7-cup pyrex bowl you could use that, but then 500g lentils will likely be too much, causing your bowl to overflow during cooking. Maybe 450g (1 pound) lentils and 800g water would fit? I’ve also heard that some people soak the lentils overnight and then cook them in the instant pot in a steamer basket. I haven’t tried it that way yet.

Also a note on cooking regular (greenish/brownish) lentils in the instant pot. Last time I did 2:1 water to lentils (by weight not volume, so a bit less than 2:1 by volume) in the main pot. I think I cooked them on high pressure for 5 minutes and released pressure after about 15 minutes, but the pressure was just about up. They came out not bad, but a tad unevenly cooked. I think next time I will try using the pot-in-pot method instead.

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How to improve your salads — add parsley

September 26, 2015 at 8:32 pm (Fall recipes, Salads, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

When my mom was here a few weeks ago she made an excellent parsley salad. It was made from parsley leaves (lots!), grated carrots, red onions, and a simple lemon dressing. Then she added roasted pepitas, which are optional. Delicious. I’ve never been a big fan of taboulleh, so I didn’t realize how tasty a simple parsley salad could be.

My mom had more parsley leftover after making two parsley salads, and so just threw it into a regular green salad. Sooo good. I really miss having a variety of green leafy vegetables available, and so adding parsley to salads is a great way to get more dark green vegetables into my diet. Plus it’s cheap and delicious. I highly recommend it.

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Celeriac and lentils with hazelnuts and mint

September 12, 2015 at 1:53 pm (B plus, Beans, Fall recipes, Ottolenghi, Root vegetables, Salads, Winter recipes)

This is another recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook. My mom picked it to make last week, as she had never tried celeriac before. I’ve mostly eaten celeriac pureed in soups or raw in salads, so I was also excited to try this recipe—the celery root is boiled but not pureed.

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Kohlrabi slaw with cilantro jalapeño lime dressing

July 23, 2015 at 9:41 pm (Cruciferous rich, Mexican & S. American, Salads, unrated)

I bought a large kohlrabi without having any specific plans for it, then found a recipe on for a kohlrabi and carrot slaw. I used the recipe as a jumping off point, altered it based on what I had in the fridge, and ended up with a kohlrabi, carrot, fennel, and apple slaw with a cilantro jalapeño lime dressing. It was a little spicy and a little sweet, and both Derek and I liked it a lot! I didn’t measure anything, so below is my best guess at what I did. Read the rest of this entry »

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Giant black bean salad with honey jalapeño lime dressing

May 3, 2015 at 10:22 pm (101 cookbooks, B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads)

Derek’s parents brought us four pounds of giant black beans from Rancho Puerto. They’re big and meaty and delicious plain, but I thought they might also make a nice salad. We went looking for a recipe and found this recipe for a giant black bean salad with a honey jalapeño lime dressing on 101cookbooks. We’ve tried various salads from the 101cookbooks website before, and usually haven’t found them that inspiring, but everyone really liked this one. The dressing is a nice balance of sweet and spicy and tart, and it goes great with all the other ingredients (black beans, arugula, feta, and toasted almonds), each of which adds an essential taste and texture.

The only criticism I have of the recipe is that the amounts seem off. We had more than 2 to 3 “large handfuls” of arugula, but it wasn’t nearly enough greens for that amount of beans. And it seemed like there was more almonds and dressing than we needed for 3 cups of beans, although perhaps if we had had more greens, we would have used up all the dressing.

I don’t know how this recipe would be with regular small black beans, but I’d like to try it, as I can’t get my hands on giant black beans very often.

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California barley bowl with arugula, avocado, seeds, and feta

December 31, 2014 at 4:39 pm (101 cookbooks, breakfast, Dark leafy greens, Grains, Necessarily nonvegan, Salads, Starches, unrated)

This was another pantry-cleaning-inspired selection. I wanted to use up some whole (unhulled) barley, and Derek and I chose this refreshing-sounding recipe for a barley salad from the 101 cookbooks website. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tangy lentil salad with a sherry, dijon vinaigrette

July 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm (Alma's faves, B plus, Beans, Cook's Illustrated, Derek's faves, French, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads) ()

This recipe is based on one from the Cook’s Illustrated “The Best Light Recipe” cookbook. The original recipe is for a lentil salad with scallions, walnuts, and roasted red peppers.  But when Derek makes this dish he usually just makes the lentils, and doesn’t bother to add the other ingredients.  He’s perfectly happy with just the lentils and the über simple mustard-olive oil-sherry vinegar dressing.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Chilean cabbage and avocado slaw

May 25, 2014 at 7:50 pm (B_minus, Cruciferous rich, Salads, South American, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog)

I needed to bring a salad to an Argentinian barbecue, but I wasn’t feeling so well, and wanted something quick and easy. I settled on this recipe for Chilean cabbage and avocado slaw by Martha Rose Shulman. Read the rest of this entry »

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Late Spring chopped salad

March 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm (My brain, Salads, unrated)

I made a spur-of-the-moment chopped salad (i.e., no greens) yesterday for breakfast, and it turned out delicious, so I’m going to try to write down what was in it.

  • Two carrots, grated
  • Half of a kohlrabi, peeled and then julienned (actually I used a spiral slicer)
  • About half a jar of hearts of palm, sliced
  • A handful of florets of raw cauliflower, which had been marinated in a very ginger-y, vinegary dressing overnight
  • One stalk of celery, sliced
  • A couple handfuls of chopped parsley

We dressed the salad with my homemade Annie’s tahini dressing. The salad was very tasty, but what I liked most about it were all the different textures. Everything except the parsley was crunchy, but each ingredient offered a distinct type of crunch. Read the rest of this entry »

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Raw zucchini, carrot, kohlrabi, and arugula salad with a cashew, tomato, basil dressing

December 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm (B plus, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Other, Salads, Sauce/dressing, Summer recipes) ()

Diana Dammann (the founder and organizer of our local Saarbruecken vegetarian society) brought this dish to a barbecue this summer, and I really liked it. It’s supposed to be a raw “spaghetti and tomato sauce”, but to me it just seemed like a very tasty salad. The zucchini, carrot, and kohlrabi all add a different type of crunch, and the dressing is creamy and satisfying without feeling too heavy. Diana came over yesterday and showed me how to make it. The recipe is originally from the book “Vegan lecker lecker!” by Marc Pierschel, and according to Diana, it was the first vegan cookbook published in Germany. Read the rest of this entry »

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Roasted delicata squash with quinoa salad

December 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm (B_minus, Grains, Salads, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog)

I saw delicata squash in Saarbruecken for the first time this year, and was so excited I bought all of them.  But my mom told me that they don’t last as long as other winter squashes with harder skins, so I asked Derek to choose a recipe to use up some of them.  He chose this recipe from a “lighter cooking” section of Food and Wine magazine. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chipotle-braised pinto beans with delicata squash

November 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm (Beans, B_minus, Cruciferous rich, Fall recipes, Mexican & S. American, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Vegetable dishes, Winter recipes)

I made this recipe for “braised pinto beans with delicata squash, red wine, and tomatoes” a few years ago when I was visiting Derek’s parents in New York.  My mom joined us for dinner.  Since Derek’s father can’t eat much salt, I cut the salt back substantially, and just let each person salt the dish to taste.  At the time, my mom really liked the dish, but no one seemed to want to eat the leftovers, but maybe it was just because I cut out the salt.  Adding salt at the table doesn’t get the salt into the center of the beans and squash, where it’s needed.  I do remember being impressed that the delicata squash skin really wasn’t tough at all.  But overall I just found the stew a bit boring.  But I finally found delicata here in small-city Germany, and decided to give it another try. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Anjelica Home Kitchen cookbook

July 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm (Grains, Other, Salads, Sauce/dressing, Tempeh, unrated)

I really liked the tagine recipe that I made from the Anjelica Home Kitchen cookbook last week, so I decided to try a few other recipes.  Brief notes are below.

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Melon jalapeno “salsa” salad

July 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm (B_, Mexican & S. American, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Summer recipes)

Despite the last disaster, I decided to try another melon recipe from the Vegetarian Table: Mexico cookbook by Victoria Wise.   The author says that melons are an old world ingredient (originally cultivated in Persia), but that they’re extremely popular in Mexico.  She uses the melon as the basis for a fruity, tropical salsa.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Celery salad with green apples, walnuts, and mustard vinaigrette

March 9, 2011 at 11:36 pm (B plus, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, French, Peter Berley, Salads, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

This recipe is in the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, and I’ve been wanting to try it for a while now.  Berley says that the salad is “all about the nuance of crunch. The green apple, celery, and walnut each have a different yet complementary toothsome quality in the mouth.”  It seemed like a great winter salad, but I was nervous about making this recipe because Derek normally isn’t too excited about celery.  I thought I might have to eat all four servings myself.  I shouldn’t have worried though — Derek loved it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Beet and fennel salad with hard-boiled eggs

February 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm (Derek's faves, My brain, Root vegetables, Salads, Spring recipes, unrated, Winter recipes)

Beet and fennel salad is a standard combination.  You’ll find hundreds of recipes for it on the internet.  Some recipes call for roasting the beets and fennel, but I prefer the contrast of the crisp, raw fennel and the silky, smooth roasted beets.  Many recipes omit the lettuce, but I think it helps bring the salad together, both literally and conceptually.  Finally, I like to add hard-boiled eggs to this salad.  It’s not traditional but I think beets and hard-boiled eggs just go great together.  Traditionally this salad is dressed with a simple vinaigrette, sometimes made with the juice from the beets.  But I like it with Annie’s Goddess dressing, of course.  Even Derek, who groans whenever I say I’m making salad, really likes this salad. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vietnamese Coleslaw

February 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm (B plus, Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, Other, Salads, Tofu) ()

When I was in Austin visiting my family I spotted a new cookbook on my mom’s shelf:  Vietnamese Fusion Vegetarian Cuisine by Chat Mingkwan.  I’ve always wanted to learn how to make Vietnamese food, so I asked if I could borrow it.  My mom had already flagged the recipe for Vietnamese Coleslaw, and so I decided to start there. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hummus as salad dressing

February 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm (Mom’s recipes, Salads, Sauce/dressing, unrated)

I was in Austin visiting my family a few weeks ago, and I ate really well all week.  One of the highlights was that my mom made us delicious salads almost every day.  One reason the salad was so delicious is that almost everything in the salad came from my mom’s organic vegetable garden.  (We were there before it snowed and all the plants froze.)  In addition to her homegrown veggies, sometimes my mom would add pieces of hearts of palm, which add a mild pickled taste and silky texture.  For a dressing, my mother served all her salads with a thin version of her homemade hummus.  She adds extra bean cooking liquid to make the hummus thinner than she normally would, and uses it as a salad dressing.  It’s lemony and garlicky, thick and rich tasting, and high in protein.  A brilliant idea!  I bet other bean spreads would make great salad dressings too.

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Black bean and seitan tostadas

February 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm (B plus, Beans, breakfast, Derek's faves, Mexican & S. American, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Seitan)

I brought back a big stack of very fresh corn tortillas from Austin.  The first thing I did with them was throw together some bean and cheese tortillas one morning.  But something was wrong–neither Derek nor I liked them that much.  So I decided to try Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast recipe for black bean tostadas with seitan.   The black bean mixture turned out much better than my improvised version. Read the rest of this entry »

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Warm white bean salad with sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella

February 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Necessarily nonvegan, Peter Berley, Salads, unrated, Winter recipes)

Derek chose this recipe from the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  I had a white bean and smoked cheese dish years ago at a friend’s place in Chicago.  It was excellent.  I was hoping that this dish would bring some of the same flavors together.  The technique is pretty simple.  You saute up carrots, celery, onions, garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, then add a little water and let the vegetables steam briefly.  Then the white beans, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and red wine vinegar are stirred in.  Finally you toss the whole thing with arugula and chopped parsley. Read the rest of this entry »

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Carrot mint salad

December 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm (B plus, Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Salads, Spring recipes, Summer recipes, Winter recipes)

This recipe is quite simple but extremely tasty, and quite refreshing.  The vibrant orange of the salad adds some loveliness brightness to our otherwise grey European winter days.   The recipe is based on a recipe in Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, but I’ve modified it a bit to suit my own tastes.  Here’s my in-progress version of the recipe.  I’ve doubled the amount of carrots because carrot salad makes such nice leftovers, and I can eat it days on end without getting tired of it.  If you don’t have a food processor and don’t feel like grating 2 pounds of carrots by hand, by all means cut the recipe back down. Read the rest of this entry »

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Zucchini “carpaccio” with feta and pine nuts

September 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm (B_, Derek's faves, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Summer recipes, Website / blog)

I made this no-cooking-required zucchini salad from in August when I had a ton of zucchini lying around.  It made a huge bowl of salad, but between Derek and I we ate it all in one sitting! Read the rest of this entry »

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Millet and vegetable pilaf

June 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm (C, Grains, Peter Berley, Salads)

This recipe is from Peter Berley’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen and the head note just cracks me up.  Berley calls millet a “curmudgeonly uncle” who needs a good deal of “buttering up”.  I’ve always liked the dry austerity of millet, but I’m sure Derek would agree with Berley’s description. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thai tofu salad

May 9, 2010 at 10:59 pm (B_minus, East and SE Asia, Other, Salads, Tofu)

This is another recipe from the cookbook Buddha’s Table by Chat Mingkwan.  I bought mint and cilantro for a recipe, but then forgot which recipe I had bought them for.  I was trying to figure out what to do with the herbs and decided to make a deconstructed Vietnamese spring (summer?) roll salad. But at the last minute I saw this recipe for a minced tofu salad, which calls for mint and cilantro, and decided to try it instead. Read the rest of this entry »

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Yin and Yang Salad with Cabbage and Peanut Dressing

March 13, 2010 at 10:14 pm (101 cookbooks, Cruciferous rich, Salads, Tofu, unrated)

My friend Jenny and I were talking about 101 cookbooks, and she strongly recommended the Yin and Yang Salad recipe.  She said she liked the combination of the raw cabbages and the rich peanut dressing–it seems more balanced than starchy noodles and peanut sauce. I got all the ingredients to make the recipe, but then when I went to prep dinner I realized that the tofu was supposed to marinate overnight, so I made McDermott’s peanut-style sesame noodles instead.  The next day I marinated the tofu and made the yin and yang salad for dinner.

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Tri-color winter salad with kumquats

January 1, 2010 at 11:06 pm (B_, Italian, Jack Bishop, Salads, Winter recipes)

Before I met Derek, he used to eat frequently at Cafe Sam, in Pittsburgh.  One of his favorite dishes was a radicchio, arugula, and endive salad served with feta cheese and hard boiled eggs.  I was planning to try to replicate this salad, and bought all the ingredients to do so, but as I was checking out at the Turkish grocery store near my house, one of the “seasonal fruits” on display at the checkout stand caught my eye.

A few years ago I went to the Vegetarian Summerfest with my friend Annette, and we had a blast. One of my most distinctive memories from the summerfest is of Dr. Michael Greger asking us “What’s by far the healthiest citrus fruit?”. But no one in a room full of nutrition buffs could answer the question.  His answer, it turns out, was the kumquat.  He argued that it’s the healthiest because you eat the whole thing, rather than discarding the pith and peel like with other citrus fruits.  According to Greger, the bitter flavors in the pith and peel come from a multitude of uber-healthy substances.  Greger exhorted us to never eat another lemon, lime, or orange without first zesting the fruit, and adding the zest to our food.  I can’t recall what he said to do with the zest, but I imagine it could be good in yogurt, smoothies, rice dishes, breakfast cereal–even in tea or ice water!  I was pretty good about zesting all my citrus for a while, but eventually I forgot all about his citrus chastisements.  Until, that is, this week, when I saw those kumquats at City Basaar.  I bought a handful to bring home, and decided to ditch the feta and egg in this salad in favor of thinly sliced kumquats.

Four years ago: the best lemon bars ever

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Potato, beet, and belgian endive salad with toasted hazelnuts

December 21, 2009 at 12:19 am (B_, Peter Berley, Root vegetables, Salads, Starches, Winter recipes)

I bought some beets and potatoes at the farmer’s market and started looking around for something to do with them.  I found this recipe for a winter salad in Peter Berley’s modern vegetarian kitchen.  The potatoes and beets are each dressed separately–the potatoes in a lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette and the beets with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and caraway seeds.  Then the two are mixed together and garnished with chopped, toasted hazelnuts and fresh dill.  The salad is meant to be served with endive petals.

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Summer rice salad

July 19, 2009 at 6:45 am (B_minus, Italian, Jack Bishop, Salads, Starches, Summer recipes)

I was looking for something to do with some yellow and red bell peppers, and I found a recipe in Jack Bishop’s Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook for a summer salad made with arborio rice.  I normally just use arborio rice for risotto, so I was excited about trying something new with it.  The rice is boiled in salted water like pasta, until al dente (about 16 minutes), and then mixed with a vinaigrette and allowed to cool before the vegetables and herbs are mixed in.

Bishop says to peel and seeds the tomatoes and cucumber, but I just seeded the tomatoes, and peeled neither.  If I made this again, I wouldn’t even bother to seed the tomatoes. I think the pulpy parts would add more tomato flavor.  My cucumbers were the little tiny ones that have small seeds–maybe if you have big, waxy American cucumbers it would be worth seeding and peeling them.   I didn’t have fresh parsley, but I doubled the basil to two tablespoons.  I also forgot to add the one garlic clove that Bishop calls for. The salad tasted okay, but was a bit boring, and the ratio of rice to vegetables seemed too high.  I added one red bell pepper, another kirby cucumber, and two more small tomatoes to the salad.  The extra veggies helped, but it was still a little boring.  Derek thought it needed pesto, and I agree that it definitely needed more than 2 Tbs. of herbs.  After my tweaks the salad was pleasant eaten with scrambled eggs and garlicky chard for lunch, but I wouldn’t make it again without making some additional changes.

Here are the ingredients, with my suggested changes:

  • 1.5 cups Arborio rice
  • salt
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 small, ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 small kirby cucumbers, diced
  • 10 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 Tbs. minced parsley
  • 2 Tbs. minced basil leaves

Rating: B-

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Raw beet and carrot salad

December 10, 2008 at 6:02 pm (Root vegetables, Salads, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

I wanted to make a raw dish for Thanksgiving, and decided that it was a great opportunity to finally try raw beets.  I searched around for a recipe using grated beets and carrots and found this salad on the blog Chocolate and Zucchini.

I first tried grating the beets in a food processor, but the blade resulted in very flat, soggy pieces of beet.  Next I tried a box grater, but that also resulted in pretty flat pieces, and was too much work, considering that I was making a huge bowl of salad.  Finally, I ended up using an old rotary grater that clamped to the counter. It had different types of round, metal cylinders that fit inside it, each of which generated different sized slices and pieces.  I’ve never seen one of these before, and don’t know exactly what they’re called, but they must have been what people used before they had electric food processors.  It generated perfect crisp curlicues of beets and carrot, and wasn’t *too* much work.  It was actually pretty fun!

To flavor the grated beets and carrots I followed the Chocolate and Zucchini recipe loosely.  I used a little raw garlic, some olive oil, a lot of dijon mustard, some vinegar, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper.  I found the final product to be very refreshing–a nice antidote to all the heavy, cooked dishes at Thanksgiving dinner.

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Sorrel Salads

October 1, 2008 at 12:52 pm (My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, unrated)

Sorrel is a slightly sour, slightly citrusy green.  My grandmother’s generation called sorrel sour grass, and knew it as the primary ingredient in schav, a Russian soup served cold and topped with sour cream.    I’ve found sorrel (der Sauerampfer in German) at the farmer’s market for the past few weeks.  Along with lettuce and chard, it’s one of the few greens that are available here. I haven’t tried making sorrel soup yet, but we have been enjoying eating it in salads.

A few weeks ago I made a version of my watercress, watermelon, feta and ginger salad, substituting sorrel for the watercress.  I prefer watercress in this salad, but haven’t found it yet in Germany.  The sorrel version was not bad.

Today I made a salad with sorrel, a tart jonagold apple from the market, and beets (purchased at the market pre-roasted and peeled).  I tossed on a few pecan halves (not from the market, but from the Trader Joe’s in Seattle), and whipped up a quick dressing (1 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar, 1 spoonful of honey mustard, fresh ground black pepper, and some fresh minced oregano, from the market).   Both Derek and I enjoyed the salad quite a bit.

Posted December 24, 2006, in Chicago:

I bought some sorrel at the farmer’s market, but then had no idea what to do with it. It tasted good–sour and slightly citrus-y, but I couldn’t really think of any combos that seemed appropriate. I added some sorrel leaves to my spring rolls, which I enjoyed. Then today I was desperate for food, and made a salad with what I had in the fridge at work.

sorrel leaves, torn
1 small apple, tart and sweet, from my CSA
dill, torn
annie’s goddess (tahini) dressing

The combination was quite nice. The dill and sorrel went unexpectedly well together, and the tart/sweet of the apple complemented the sour sorrel and earthy tahini wonderfuly.

Rating: B

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Pomegranate Fennel Slaw

September 17, 2008 at 6:11 pm (B plus, Cruciferous rich, My brain, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetable dishes)

I really love a good coleslaw.  Not the pasty, suffocating in mayonnaise slaw that you find in a bad deli, or at a catered picnic, but the crisp, refreshing, jewel-toned cole slaw that’s always featured on the cover of Real Simple or Cooking Light. I particularly like coleslaws that include fennel and tart apple.  I was trying to choose a dressing for a fennel/apple slaw, when I thought of using pomegranate molasses.  I originally bought it for the barbecued tofu recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance, and since then I’ve been experimenting with other way ways to use it.  It makes a nice tea-like/juice-like beverage when added to cold water.  The resulting beverage is not unlike tamarind “cider”: a little sweet, a little tart, and a lot… brown.  But no worries, the pomegranate molasses doesn’t mute the perky colors of this coleslaw. I really liked the pomegranate sweet and sour flavor in this coleslaw, especially with the added sweet and sour of the Jonagold apples from the local farmer’s market.


  • about 1/6 head of red cabbage, shredded (10 ounces)
  • one large fennel bulb (about 1 pound), sliced thinly (about 1/8 inch thick)
  • 2 medium tart apples (about 6 ounces each), julienned
  • 1 carrot, grated (optional)
  • seeds from half a large pomegranate
  • 4 Tbs. pomegranate dressing (see below)
Pomegranate dressing (makes between 1/3 and 1/2 cup):
  • 4 Tbs. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

In the past I didn’t care for raw fennel–I found it generally tough.  I recently discovered, however, that if you slice fennel very thin it’s not tough at all but deliciously crisp.  Now that I have a mandoline (more about it in a later post) that makes getting thin slices super easy, I’ve been eating a lot of raw fennel.  I never had the knife skills to get my fennel thin enough with just a knife, but probably a v-slicer or food processor, or perhaps even the little slicing blade on a box grater would work as well.

This salad is simple but delicious.  I can eat about 4 cups of it in a sitting.  Of course, it takes me about an hour, and I feel like a cow at pasture, but I enjoy munching on it all the way to the last bite.

Obligatory nutritional note:  raw cruciferous vegetables have amazing detoxification phytonutrients, and red cabbage is particularly high in antixoidants including vitamin A and C.  The volatile oils in fennel that give it its unique licorice-like flavor are also rich in antioxidants (and fennel also is high in vitamin C).    And we’ve all heard about the amazing antioxidants compounds in pomegranates.  Even apples (actually their skin) contain quercitins, flavonoids with powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, especially when working in combination with vitamin C. This salad should really be called death-to-oxygen-cancer-and-all-other-toxins slaw.

Update October 4th: I made this recipe again, but I used slightly different amounts, closer to what my mom described in her comment.  I only had a medium fennel bulb (8 ounces julienned), and one large (8 ounce) apple.  I used the seeds from a whole pomegranate, and one 4 ounce carrot.  I liked the salad a lot, although I wouldn’t have minded a tad more fennel and apple.  Maybe I’ll switch the recipe to call for equal amounts (10 ounces) of cabbage, fennel, and apple.  I used 4 Tbs. of dressing, and thought it was enough, although it wouldn’t have been bad with one more Tablespoon.  Since the dressing recipe makes a bit too much, if you don’t want extra dressing you might want to cut the recipe by 2/3:

  • 2 1/2 Tbs pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar (or other vinegar)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2/3 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. minced shallt
  • 1/6 tsp. salt
  • 1/6 tsp. black pepper

Derek and I both rated this version a B+, but I left the pomegranate seeds out of Derek’s, since (like my Dad), he says they hurt his teeth.  I forgot to measure, but I think the recipe made over 8 cups of salad, maybe even 12 cups.

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Fennel Salad

January 13, 2008 at 2:44 pm (Salads, unrated, Website / blog)

I really like the idea of a fennel salad, but haven’t yet made a fennel salad I really like. Last week I tried making a salad inspired by this recipe: spanish fennel and orange salad from Cooking Light. Unfortunately, I started off poorly because the orange I bought weren’t the greatest: they were not very flavorful and kind of stringy. I didn’t have red onions, or orange juice, so instead added in some minced preserved lemons. The preserved lemons were a mistake; the brininess and aged flavor did not mesh with the bright flavors of the orange and mint. In general the flavor of the salad was just too muddy–too many different things going on. It needed to be simpler with fewer ingredients. Probably mint and fennel would be a good combo, or coriander and fennel, or orange and fennel, but not orange and mint and coriander… The yogurt didn’t add anything, just muddied up what should have been a salad with a crisp, refreshing texture. The salad wasn’t terrible the first day, but the next day the oranges had gotten totally soggy and pretty unappetizing, and the whole thing was a soupy mess. I had to toss it.

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Three Seed Quinoa Salad

October 1, 2007 at 8:14 am (B plus, Derek's faves, Grains, Peter Berley, Salads, Summer recipes)

This is a recipe from Peter Berley’s cookbook The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. It has a great nutty yet fresh flavor, and it’s so colorful it makes a lovely salad for a potluck or a picnic.

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1/3 cup hulled sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup arame (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • kernels from 2 ears sweet corn (about 1 1/3 cups I think)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch red radishes (8 to 10), trimmed and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large carrot, grated

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small bunch cilantro (about 1 cup), trimmed, leaves and tender stems chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (Berley calls for 2 tsp. coarse sea salt)
  • black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit.  Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Pour them into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. Optional:  Combine the arame with 2 cups warm water and set aside to swell for 10 minutes, until soft. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan bring the quinoa, 1.5 cups water, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil. When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet to cool.
  4. In a pot fitted with a steamer, combine the corn kernels with the red onion. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove to a colander and chill under cold running water. Drain thoroughly.
  5. To make the marinade, in a large mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, cilantro, scallions, jalepeno, garlic, 2 tsp. salt, and black paper to taste. Whisk well.
  6. Add the toasted seeds, quinoa, steamed vegetables, red pepper, radishes, carrot, and arame to the marinade. Mix well and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marry the flavors.

According to Berley this yields 4 to 6 servings.  Maybe it’s 6 servings if you eat it as a main-dish salad, but normally I serve it as a side and it makes way more than 4 to 6 servings.  I think it makes 8 to 12 side servings.

My Notes

This is a recipe I’ve made many times, but somehow I’ve never posted to my blog.  I’ve used frozen corn before, and maybe jarred red peppers. I once made it with many fewer vegetables (as prepping all the ones here takes a long time), and the recipe wasn’t as good. It really needs them all. I’ve never used the arame before, because I didn’t have any, and I was a little afraid. I do want to try it someday though. The seeds really make this dish–don’t leave them out. The cilantro and jalepeno are also essential.  Do not let the quinoa sit covered in the pot after it’s done cooking, or it will become mushy. I don’t think you actually have to spread it on a cookie sheet, but adding it to a big bowl and tossing it to let the steam out is a good idea so it stays al dente.  I’d also like to try cooking it for only 10-12 minutes and then letting it cool in the covered pan.

This salad is just a tad oily.  I’ve tried cutting the olive oil to only 1/4 cup, but the salad still seemed a little oil, and it also seemed slightly too vinegary.  Derek liked it fine, but I thought the oil/vinegar balance was off a bit.  If I cut the oil again I’ll cut the vinegar as well.

I once was out of scallions and made this with chives instead.  It needed a little more sharpness / heat.

Rating: B+

Derek: A-

Update July 2012:  I accidentally left my corn at the farmer’s market, so I tasted this with all the ingredients except the corn.  It still tasted good but was clearly missing the sweetness of the corn, some juiciness, the textural contrast, and the cheery yellow color.  I made an extra trip back to the market just to get the corn.  That’s how essential it is.  I was also just a tad short on apple cider vinegar, so I used a bit of sherry vinegar.  Strangely, at  first the salad tasted quite a bit more acidic than it normally does, but by the next day I couldn’t tell the difference.  The salad seemed (as usual) a bit oily.

This recipe took me about 45 minutes to an hour to make, with some cleanup as I went.  Chopping all those veggies takes me quite a while!

1/8 recipe (~250g) has 323 calories, 10.5% protein, 48% fat, 41.5% carbs.

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Pear and honey salad on a bed of bitter greens

September 13, 2007 at 10:46 pm (B plus, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Winter recipes)

I had a few pears getting overripe, and was trying to figure out what to do with them. I wanted to make poached pears but was too lazy. I remembered trying Jack Bishop’s dessert recipe with pears, parmesan ribbons, and honey a few months ago, and not being that excited. I decided to start with that idea and turn it into a salad rather than a dessert.

  • a big plateful of arugula
  • 2 pears, sliced
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, sliced
  • a number of ribbons of sharp cheese, I used gruyere and very well aged gouda, and made ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/2 very small red onion, sliced into circles
  • about 10 sage leaves, minced
  • a few drizzles of very warm honey
  • fresh ground black pepper

This salad looked quite pretty, but perhaps needed a bit more color–maybe if I had a red pear instead of a green one? The combo of the peppery arugula, hot onion, earthy sage, sweet crisp pear and warm honey, and rich salty cheese was delicious. I tried it first without the onion but thought it really needed that extra bite. For those who don’t like raw onions, I might try soaking them in vinegar or hot water to tone them down just a bit. The apple was delicious, but didn’t go so well with the other flavors–next time I’d make it with just pears. I didn’t add any dressing other than the honey, but Derek thought it could use a touch of dressing for the greens–maybe a honey vinaigrette. He promised to come up with a recipe for me. I know this combination of ingredients is fairly standard, but still it was quite tasty.

Rating: B+
Derek: B+

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