Category Archives: Salad

Roasted Squash with Wilted Spinach and Bacon-Shallot Vinaigrette

Roasted Squash and Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon-Shallot Vinaigrette

I don’t think I have ever eaten what would be considered a “healthy” salad in my life.  My thought process goes more like this, “Well I’m not eating a cheeseburger so therefore I am allowed to put whatever I want on my salad and not feel guilty about it!”  This recipe is no different.  This salad was created for enjoyment of all the fall colors and flavors.  The health factor takes a very distant third in terms of what I cared about when creating this recipe.

This is not a difficult recipe but it is a bit more time-consuming that what I would typically do for a weeknight.  If you roast the squash beforehand however, this recipe will come together in a flash.  There will probably be leftover squash but it makes a great side dish for the rest of the week.

Yield: 4-1st course servings or 2-dinner servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour


  • 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 (2 pound) butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (6oz) bag baby spinach
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. shallot, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz. soft goat cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Fry bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Transfer bacon to paper towels and strain bacon grease.  Reserve bacon fat.
  3. Cut ends off of squash and cut in half.  Remove seeds.  Using a vegetable peeler, peel butternut squash to remove outer layer.  Cut squash into 1 inch cubes.
  4. Toss squash with 1 Tbsp. reserved bacon fat.  Spread squash on a cookie sheet in a single layer and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30-45 minutes until you can just pierce through with a fork.  Remove from oven, and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Return to oven on a low broil until caramelized.  Remove squash from cookie sheet to a plate*.  Set aside.
  5. Return oven to 400F, and roast onion with 1 tsp. bacon grease for 15 minutes.
  6. To make the dressing, heat 2 Tbsp. bacon fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and saute until softened.  Add the apple cider vinegar and apple cider to skillet and allow to reduce for 10-12 minutes until the mixture becomes thickened.  Once the dressing has thickened, whisk in the Dijon mustard and olive oil.  Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste.  Immediately toss warm vinaigrette with spinach to wilt.
  7. Arrange spinach on plates and top with roasted squash, roasted red onions, and crumbled goat cheese.  Use a grind of fresh pepper to finish.

* Remove the squash from cookie sheet while still warm.  If you wait until it cools, like I did, the squash will stick to the cookie sheet and it will be hard to remove.  If this does happen, just place the cookie sheet back in the oven until warms and it should again become easy to remove.


Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Entrees, Fall, Salad, Uncategorized


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Summer Quinoa Salad

Summer Quinoa Salad

This is one of my most requested recipes so it’s about time I put it on the blog.  It’s very versatile so you can add anything that is in season at the time you make it.  It’s a very fresh tasting salad and works as a really nice side dish at a summer bbq.  It can be left out at room temperature and since it’s not mayonnaise-based, you don’t have to worry about it making anyone sick if left out too long.  It’s also very healthy, packed with protein, and gluten-free.

For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa, it is a small grain similar in texture to couscous.  It is very high in protein, gluten-free, a good source of fiber, and iron.

Jicama is another ingredient in this recipe that might be unfamiliar, and might not be readily available in all grocery stores (I’m thinking the small town in South Dakota where I grew up).  It adds a nice crunch to the salad so if you can’t find it, try substituting some chopped water chestnuts.  Jicama is a root and it’s texture would be similar to a crisp, firm apple.  It has a sweet flavor which comes from oligofructose inulin, which is a prebiotic.  It is also high in fiber, and vitamins A, B, and C.

Yield: 14 Servings
Assembly Time: 15 minutes    


  • 5 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice, about 6 limes (see note below)
  • 8 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp. fresh ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 ears corn, cut from cob
  • 1 cup chopped jicama


  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.  Remember to rinse your quinoa well in a mesh strainer.  The saponin on quinoa’s outer exterior imparts a bitter flavor that you want to avoid.  Rinsing two or three times will do the trick!
  2. Toss everything together.  The salad is best if allowed to sit overnight to let the flavors come together.

* Juice your limes before cutting to get the juices flowing.

Summer Quinoa Salad Label


Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Salad, Uncategorized


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Corn Bread Croutons


  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups corn bread, cubed


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Melt butter with garlic and toss in cubed corn bread.  Toast until lightly browned and crisp, ~15 minutes.



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Beet Salad with Black Beans and Grilled Halloumi

Beet Salad with Black Beans and Grilled Halloumi

Halloumi is a Greek cheese that gets a beautiful brown crust when grilled.  It’s saltiness pairs great with earthy beets and would be a perfect first course to any dinner party!

2 Servings


  • 1 red beet, 1 inch top left on
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 blood orange, segmented
  • 1/2 cup fennel, sliced thin
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted hazelnuts, skins removed*
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • coarse sea salt and white pepper to taste
  • 4 oz. Halloumi cheese, ask your cheesemonger (that’s right, I said cheesemonger!)**


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Drizzle beet with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, sea salt, and white pepper.  Wrap in tin foil and roast for 45-50 minutes, or until tender.  Unwrap beet and let cool, peel and cut into thin slices.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Reserve 1 tsp. blood orange juice from segmented oranges, add balsamic vinegar and whisk in remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine all the ingredients except the cheese.
  4. Right before serving, heat a non-skillet to medium-high heat.  Drizzle olive oil on cheese and place in skillet.  Flip until Halloumi is browned all sides.  Serve warm Halloumi over salad.

* Heat a dry heavy skillet over medium-high until hot, but not smoking.  Add hazelnuts and swirl pan around until hazelnuts are slightly darker in color and become fragrant.  Transfer nuts to a paper towel and rub  between your hands until skins come off.

** If you can’t find halloumi, substitute with another salty cheese such as ricotta salata, but skip the grilling step.  Most cheeses won’t hold up to the high heat.

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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Beans, Salad, Sides, Uncategorized


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Ahi Tuna and Grapefruit Salad with White Beans

Ahi Tuna and Grapefruit Salad with White Beans

This salad is high in protein and very filling.  It’s also easy enough for a weeknight dinner.


  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 3 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. minced jalapeno
  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 ahi tuna steaks (1 inch thick)
  • 1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped + more for garnish
  • 4 red onion slices. thinly sliced


  1. Segment 1/4 of grapefruit and set aside.  Squeeze 1/8 cup juice from other portion of grapefruit.
  2. Combine grapefruit juice, vinegar, garlic, jalapeno, and  salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Next, make emulsion.  To do this you want to add oil VERY slowly to begin with.  This will ensure that the water-loving portion (vinegar) will fully envelop each little drop of oil so there is no separation between oil and vinegar as the dressing stands.  Add a drop at a time and whisk like crazy.  Keep adding a slow steady stream while vigorously whisking for the first 2 Tbsp.  You can add the remaining oil at a faster pace but continue whisking the entire time.
  4. Marinate tuna in 2 Tbsp. dressing for 30 minutes to 1 hour.   Refrigerate the rest of the dressing until ready to use.
  5. Heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat and sear tuna for 1 minute on each side (for rare).
  6. Toss mixed greens, 1/4 cup cilantro, and beans with dressing.  Season with salt to taste.  Top with tuna steak, grapefruit slices and fresh ground black pepper.  Garnish with cilantro and red onion.
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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Beans, Entrees, Salad


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