Spicy Watermelon Salad

We love the summertime and the food possibilities when we are in full blown fruit season. There is no better snack than a piece of watermelon or mango topped with a hearty pour of Tajin- a Mexican chili lime spice mix. You can find Tajin at most grocery stores and Trader Joe’s makes a comparable product as well. The heat from the chili powder, lime, and salt makes the fruit taste sweeter and come alive. We used that summer snack as inspiration to make this Spicy Watermelon Salad. It is a sweet and savory fruit salad that makes a great side dish for any summer party or your Memorial Day menu this weekend. 

Spicy Watermelon Salad 
Makes: 4 servings as a side dish 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients For the Salad: 

  • 1 mini watermelon (about 3 lbs before carving)
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled 
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped 

Ingredients For the Dressing: 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp chili powder depending on your crowd 
  • juice and zest of one lime  
  • 1 tbs honey 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Make the dressing for the salad. Whisk together the olive oil, chili powder, lime zest and juice, and honey in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
  2. Carve the watermelon so that the watermelon is in large, bite-sized pieces. We have a quick tutorial for this on our Instagram highlights, linked here. Put the watermelon and sliced red onion in a large bowl and cover with the dressing. Gently toss to coat. The two ingredients can easily sit in the dressing for a bit to marinate if you need to make this dish in advance. Just drain some of the excess liquid before serving. 
  3. Finish the salad by layering the watermelon with red onion, queso fresco, and cilantro in a serving dish. Season to taste with salt, pepper, or additional lime before serving. 

Mediterranean Bulgar Salad

This bulgar salad is one of our go-to side dishes. For those unfamiliar with bulgar, bulgar is a grain that is made from cracked wheat. It tastes like a hybrid between quinoa and rice, with a little bit more of a crunch and texture to it. It is also cooked similarly to quinoa and rice, by boiling it in water. There are many different ways to prepare bulgar. For this recipe, we serve the bulgar cold and load it with veggies and serve it as a side dish, like a salad. You can easily add a protein or additional vegetables to this dish to bulk it up a bit and serve it as a main course. It will store great as leftovers for weekday lunches as well!

Mediterranean Bulgar Salad

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Ingredients for the Salad:

  • 1 cup bulgar
  • 2 cups water
  • salt
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup parsley, diced

Directions:

  1. Prepare the dressing. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  2. Bring two cups of water to a boil. Add the bulgur, lower to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered in the pot for another 10-15 minutes.
  3. Prepare your vegetables. Chop the cucumber, tomato and red onion into bite sized pieces. This does not need to be perfect!
  4. Combine the bulgar, vegetables, feta and parsley in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss until the dressing is fully incorporated.

Semi-Homemade Barbeque Chicken Salad

Lunches can sometimes be one of the hardest things for us to pull together during the week. With juggling schedules, working from home, taking care of the dogs and kids, it is just plain hard right now to pull together good meals! We have brought semi-homemade Monday in to save the day. We leverage rotisserie chicken and basic store ingredients. This salad is extremely flavorful, filled with fresh vegetables and comes together in less than 30 minutes.

Semi-Homemade Barbecue Chicken Salad

Makes: 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs smokey hot sauce (or any hot sauce you have on hand)
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (available at most major supermarkets), chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients (ketchup – honey) in a sauce pan over low heat. Continuously stir the dressing until the brown sugar is dissolved. The BBQ does not need to come to a boil. Remove the sauce from the heat and into a bowl. Add the ranch dressing and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Rinse out the pan. Add the olive oil, corn and jalapeno. Sauté on low for 5-10 minutes until the corn is fully heated through. If the mixture seems dry, add 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Assemble the salad. Add the romaine, black beans, cherry tomatoes and chicken in a bowl. Toss with the BBQ ranch dressing until the salad is thoroughly coated.
  4. Top with cheddar cheese and avocado and serve cold!

Semi-Homemade Southwest Caesar Salad

After two weeks of living together in quarantine, we have come up with a pretty good system for meal planning. While it might seems a little OCD to plan out lunches and dinners every day for four adults, it actually helps cut back on food waste and helps us buy the minimum amount of groceries that we need every week. Cooking over 14 meals a week has its challenges, and by Thursday and Friday we are looking to be creative in the kitchen with minimal effort. In the last two weeks we have resorted to a number of semi-homemade meals, particularly for lunches. 

For this semi-homemade Monday, we have taken a regular old caesar salad bag and transformed it into a complete meal. We have given it a southwest twist by adding corn, tomatoes, black beans, and blackened chicken. To give the dressing its own makeover, we have blended a chipotle in adobo into the pre-made caesar dressing that came in the salad bag. Instead of a boring salad that would have us hungry in an hour, we created a complete meal that satisfies us until dinner. 

Semi-Homemade Southwest Caesar Salad 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes   Total Time: 40 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 chicken thighs 
  • 1 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 tbs garlic powder 
  • 1 tbs paprika 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 large caesar salad bag (we bought ours from Costco so it was quite large) 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half 
  • 1 cup corn (frozen works great just make sure it is thawed) 
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 4 scallions, chopped 
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced (if you don’t have any, substitute Cholula or any hot sauce)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Heat a large, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Let the pan get nice and hot before adding the olive oil to the pan. 
  3. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with the garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and cook the chicken for 5 minutes per side. If you are using skin-on chicken, make sure the chicken is skin side down in the pan. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the chicken juices are clear and the chicken is cooked through.
  4. While the chicken is cooking prepare the remaining ingredients. Layer the romaine from the salad bag, the cherry tomatoes, black beans, and scallions in each of four salad bowls. Reserve the corn for later. 
  5. Use the chipotle in adobo or hot sauce to kick up the caesar. Add as much of either to get to your desired spice level. 
  6. When the chicken has finished cooking, remove the chicken from the pan and set onto a cutting board to rest. Put the frozen corn into the same pot and toss it in the juices to give it some flavor. 
  7. Add the corn and a piece of chicken to each of the salads. Top with the dressing, parmesan cheese, and croutons from the salad bag. Serve immediately. 

Semi-Homemade Potsticker Salad Bowls

If you know us personally, you know that we love dumplings something fierce. At any given time, you can venture to Tuck or Tate’s homes and find potstickers in the freezer. They are the ultimate answer to “oh crap, what is for dinner?!” We have created these Potsticker Salad Bowls by combining two of our favorite Japanese appetizers: potstickers and the house salad with ginger dressing. 

Makoto Ginger Dressing one of the only pre-made salad dressings that we will buy at the grocery store- the stuff is that good. You can find it at regular grocery stores (Publix, Wegmans, King Soopers/Kroger) in the refrigerated salad section. We’ve added romaine, shredded carrots, snap peas, and cucumbers to bulk this baby up with some vegetables and brown rice because Tuck and Tate have fathers that would never consider a lettuce-based salad a dinner. If you prep the salad ingredients while the potstickers are cooking in the pan, this dinner can be on the table in 20 minutes. 

Semi-Homemade Potsticker Salad Bowls 
Prep Time: 20 minutes    Total Time: 20 minutes 
Makes: 4 servings 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 package frozen potstickers (there should be about 20 in the pack) 
  • 2 tbs sesame oil 
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sriracha 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped into bite sized pieces 
  • 1 package frozen brown rice 
  • 1+ cups shredded carrots 
  • 1+ cups snap peas 
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 avocado, quartered and sliced 
  • 1 bottle Makoto Ginger Dressing 

Directions: 

  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, sriracha, and water to the pan- stir to combine the ingredients. Add the frozen potstickers to the pan, creating one even layer of potstickers. Cook the potstickers on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes- rotating every once in a while so that all sides of the potstickers are heated through. As the water evaporates and steams the filling, the oil and soy sauce will coat the outside dough and give the potstickers a crispy flavorful topping. 
  2. While the potstickers are cooking, cook the frozen brown rice in the microwave according to package directions. It doesn’t have to be scorching hot, just heated somewhere north of room temperature. 
  3. Assemble the salads by layering the romaine, brown rice, snap peas, carrots, and cucumbers. Top with the Makoto dressing. When the potstickers are finished cooking (starting to get crispy on the outside and the water has evaporated), remove from the pan and serve on top of the salads. Garnish with avocado and serve. 

* Please note our salad is not pictured with cucumber because we were so excited to cook, photograph, and then eat this recipe that we forgot to add them in the process. Sigh. 


Mexican Squash Salad

Moving to Florida last week was a great reminder that spring and summer are on the horizon! We dread eating salads in the winter and seriously look forward to sunshine and the desire to eat vegetable cold again. This Mexican Squash Salad is the perfect way to push you out of your salad rut. We’ve mixed a blend of lettuces and cabbage, radishes, and avocado as the base of the salad. Acorn squash is a great starchy vegetable to bulk it up and keep us feeling full. The cilantro vinaigrette is a must have for cilantro lovers- it goes well on everything from salads to fish and any roasted vegetable. And finally, pan fried cheese “croutons” because salads are more fun when crispy cheese is involved.

Mexican Squash Salad

Makes: 4 entree sized portions

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 3 cups romaine lettuce, finely chopped to match the consistency of the cabbage
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 radishes, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 8 oz queso blanco (Halloumi also works)

Ingredients for Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable or avocado oil
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare the squash by cutting the stem off the top, and using that flat end to cut the squash in half. Use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds. Cut the squash into large, bite-sized wedges. Drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the squash onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the squash is browned and fork-tender.
  3. While the squash is cooking, prepare the salad dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients (vegetable oil – cumin) in a small food processor. Blend until the dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Next prepare the cheese. Cut the cheese into large, bite-sized pieces. Heat a small skillet with 1 tbs olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cheese. Fry for about 2 minutes per side so that the cheese is crispy. Set aside on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
  5. Assemble the salad by layering all of the salad ingredients, starting with the lettuces and ending with the cheese croutons. Drizzle generously with the cilantro and lime vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Beet & Blood Orange Salad

To celebrate the upcoming baseball season, and Tuck’s departure to Florida for Spring Training, Tuck and Tate’s parents went to a going away dinner at Jovanina’s Broken Italian in downtown Denver. In true Tuck & Tate fashion, we consumed almost everything on the menu and cannot rave about our dinner enough. From bone marrow to parmesan souffle, wood fired pizzas to fresh burrata and charcuterie…. we ate it all. Of everything we consumed, one of the dishes that stuck out the most was the beet salad. Roasted beets, blood oranges, and a layer of creamy ricotta… it was perfect. So perfect that we had to recreate it as soon as possible.  

A quick note about the length of time designated for this recipe. The amount of time necessary to make it relies entirely on how you plan to cook the beets. We have roasted them in the oven, which is easy but can take quite a long time. If you have an Instant Pot or any sort of pressure cooker, you can reduce 15+ minutes from our suggested time. If you want to skip cooking the beets all together and just buy pre-cooked beets from the salad section of your grocery store, reduce the total time down to 20 minutes. If you do buy precooked beets, try to avoid anything packed with other flavors. This salad has a delicate flavor profile and you won’t want the beets to overrun or clash with the other ingredients. 

Beet & Blood Orange Salad 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 min     Total Time: 1 hour 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large beets (we chose one yellow and one red for color variation) 
  • 1 blood orange 
  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese 
  • 2 tbs honey or agave 
  • 1/3 cup roasted and salted pistachios 
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs olive oil 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Prepare the beets by trimming off the stems and leaves and peeling them with a vegetable peeler. If you have kitchen gloves use them to avoid staining your hands. Once the beets are trimmed and peeled, cut them into large, bite sized pieces. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Lay the beets in a single layer on the foil, drizzle them with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until they are tender with a fork. 
  3. While the beets are cooking, prepare the ricotta. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, honey, and the zest from the blood orange. Whisk really well, until the ricotta is light and fluffy in texture. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside. 
  4. Remove the peel from the blood orange using a knife to remove the peel and pith from the orange. For an instructional video, click here. Cut the orange horizontally and set aside. 
  5. Make a quick dressing by combining the olive oil and the juice of a few of the blood orange slices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  6. Assemble the salad by layering the ricotta on the bottom of the plate, followed by the beets and blood oranges. Top with the pistachios and drizzle the dressing over top. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Serve immediately. 

Shaved Carrot Salad

Today we are giving the humble carrot a major glow up. We are in the camp that carrots are mostly a filler ingredient. In a mirepoix for our Short Ribs Bourguignon? Sure. As the star of their own show? Not so much. We wanted to challenge ourselves when brainstorming our Valentine’s Day menu to think outside the box of what a salad can be. Lettuce in the winter can be such a drag and oftentimes we need a mixup from yet another kale salad. Insert the carrot. We bought whole rainbow carrots, shaved them into thick strands, and served them with a lemony, mustardy vinaigrette. For garnish we used the fronds of the carrot stems which add a nice herby note to the salad. Overall, a bright side dish to complement the decadence of our short ribs and French Onion Soup this Valentine’s Day.

Shaved Carrot Salad

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 large carrots whole carrots, ideally in a variety of colors (use 8+ small carrots)
  • 1/3 cup leaves from the carrot stems, roughly chopped

For Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon- juice and zest
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash the carrots really well to remove any dirt from the carrots or their stems. Pat dry with a kitchen towel .
  2. Make the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium-large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Use a knife to cut the stems and leaves off the carrots. Remove the fronts from the stems and roughly chop the fronds. Add to the dressing bowl.
  4. Use a vegetable peeler to gently remove the outer layer of each carrot. Discard the outer layer. Use the vegetable peeler to shave the carrots into large ribbons. Toss the carrot ribbons into the dressing bowl. Taste again and season with salt and pepper, accordingly.
  5. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Arugula Salad: Winter Edition

We know that getting your veggies in during the winter is a feat. If it’s not cooked in a soup, we mostly aren’t interested. To try and break out of these habits, we have really tried to up our salad game this winter. This salad is the wintery cousin of a traditional Cobb Salad. We start with arugula- a peppery lettuce that is a great pairing for richer ingredients. To the arugula we add roasted butternut squash, crispy bacon, toasted pecans, dried cherries, and blue cheese. Topped with our favorite balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is tremendously decadent and delicious. If you are like Tate’s mom and passionately hate blue cheese, goat cheese is a great substitute!

Arugula Salad
Makes: 4 entree salads (6+ side salads)
Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients for the Salad:

  • 8 cups arugula
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash*
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
  • 4 oz blue cheese (or cheese of your choice, cut into small chunks)

Ingredients for the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1 tbs + 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs + 1 tsp balsamic glaze (any balsamic vinegar will work)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the butternut squash on 2/3 of the pan. Season well with salt and pepper. Lay the bacon on the remaining 1/3 of the cookie sheet, making sure that nothing overlaps. Put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through to coat the butternut squash in some of the bacon fat.
  3. While the squash and bacon are cooking, make the salad dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small food processor and mix until well blended. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. When the butternut squash and bacon have finished cooking, remove from the oven and let cool so that the squash is just warm and not scorching. You don’t want it to wilt the arugula.
  5. Make the salad by layers the arugula, squash, pecans, cherries, and bacon onto a large serving platter. Drizzle the dressing over top and serve immediately.

*Many grocery stores sell pre-chopped butternut squash. You can usually find it in the frozen food section or refrigerated produce section and it makes life MUCH easier!


Wedge Salad with Avocado Lime Crema

Tate’s mom hates blue cheese. There, we said it. Despite many attempts to appreciate the stinky cheese in all of its glory, she just can’t get on board. A wedge salad has been one of the few dishes she hasn’t found a way to enjoy until now. Our version of this classic salad combines many of the OG ingredients but uses an avocado lime crema dressing as a substitute for the cheese. The result? An equally delicious salad that can be enjoyed as a weeknight dinner or a perfect starter to a fancy steak night at home. Even the blue cheese lovers can enjoy this by sprinkling the stinky cheese on top before serving!

Wedge Salad with Avocado CremaMakes: 4 side salad servings Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes IngredientsFor the dressing:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp salt

For the salad:

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced

Directions

  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If the consistency of the dressing is too thick for your liking, add 1/4 cup of water at a time and blend until it is the desired consistency.
  2. Cook the bacon until crispy. Leave the bacon strips whole and blot the oil away with a paper towel.
  3. Cut the iceberg into 4 wedges. Put the wedges on 4 dishes and dollop a large scoop of the dressing on top. Add the onion, tomato and bacon over the wedge. Serve immediately.