Beet, Goat Cheese, & Farro Salad

We have jam packed this salad full to the brim! Unlike our Semi-Homemade Pesto Caprese that we made earlier in the week, this recipe will have you in the kitchen for a bit more time if you are cooking the beets from scratch. We promise it is worth it! If you want to save some time, look for pre-cooked beets in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store. We have also found quick cooking farro at Trader Joe’s, which helps cut the time down even more. This dish is hearty choice as a “salad for dinner” recipe and one of our favorite ways to pack in the veggies this summer. 

Beet, Goat Cheese, & Farro Salad 
Makes: 4 entree servings 
Prep Time: 45 minutes    Total Time: 1 hour 

Ingredients for the Salad: 

  • 4 large (or 6 medium) beets, stems removed and peeled 
  • 1 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking farro 
  • 8 cups kale, large stems removed 
  • 2/3 cup goat cheese 
  • 1 avocado, sliced 
  • ⅓ cup olive oil 

Ingredients for the Balsamic Vinaigrette: 

  • ⅓ cup olive oil 
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tsp honey (use this only if you used balsamic vinegar, not glaze)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Chop the beets into large, bite-sized pieces. Place them on a sheet of foil and drizzle with 1 tbs of olive oil. Toss to coat the beats evenly and season with salt and pepper. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet, cover with a second sheet of foil, and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until they are fork tender. 
  3. While the beets are cooking, prepare the farro. Heat a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the farro according to package directions; quick-cooking farro takes about 10 minutes while traditional farro can take up to 40 minutes. The farro should still have some texture and chew; strain when it has finished cooking. 
  4. While the farro is cooking make the salad dressing. Whisk all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl until thoroughly blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. When the beets have finished cooking, toss them in a large bowl with the kale, farro, and about 3/4 of the salad dressing. It’s okay if the beets and/or farro are still a bit warm- this will help break down the kale so that it is more chewable. 
  6. Assemble the salad by layering the beet/farro/kale mixture on the bottom of a serving bowl. Top with the goat cheese and avocado. Drizzle with the remaining salad dressing and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.  

Semi-Homemade Pesto Caprese Salad

This salad qualifies as a “mostly homemade” recipe instead of semi-homemade recipe, it is that easy. Who says cooking needs to be hard?! Simple is the theme with this salad and boy is it delicious. With just a little chopping and mixing  you can have a healthy, nutritious, and tasty salad within 15 minutes. We love this recipe for a quick workday lunch with chicken but this it easily be altered to be an appetizer or side dish by removing the protein. Like all of our recipes, mix and match ingredients that you have on hand to make this recipe work for you. 

Semi-Homemade Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad  
Makes: 4 side dish servings; 2 main course servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Total Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 English cucumber 
  • 1 package of grape tomatoes 
  • 1 package Ciliegine mozzarella (small mozzarella balls)
  • 4 tbs pesto 
  • 1 rotisserie chicken or package of  pre-cooked chicken, optional 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Chop the cucumber and half the grape tomatoes and place in a bowl. 
  2. Add the mozzarella (be sure to drain) and pesto in a bowl. Gently mix until the pesto is evenly distributed among the ingredients, without wrecking the tomatoes. 
  3. Top with the chicken (if using) and season with salt and pepper to taste. That’s it. So simple, so easy, and so good! 

Fig, Bleu Cheese, & Walnut Salad

We were recently at Whole Foods and so excited because we found fresh figs for the first time in a while! We used dried figs in our Bruschetta Board that we posted last week and still had them on the brain when it came to making a menu this week! Sometimes simple is best, and this salad is just that. High quality ingredients with a simple vinaigrette and boom, we have a beautiful salad that pairs well with most menus this summer. 

Fig, Walnut, & Blue Cheese Salad 
Makes: 4 appetizer servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Total Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 6 cups arugula 
  • 8 fresh figs, stems removed and cut in half 
  • 1 wedge good quality blue cheese- if you hate blue cheese like Tate’s mom, goat works well too 
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 2 tsp butter 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients For Dressing: 

  • ⅓ cup olive oil 
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs balsamic glaze or 2 tbs balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tsp honey 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Make the dressing by whisking the dressing ingredients (olive oil through garlic) in a small mixing bowl. If you want a really creamy texture to your dressing, you can make this in a blender, otherwise, whisk until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. 
  2. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast them until they become fragrant- about 4 minutes. Remove them from the pan and season well with salt. 
  3. In the same pan, heat the butter until it becomes bubbly. Add the figs cut side down and let them caramelize for a few minutes. This helps bring out their sweetness and gives them a little crust. 
  4. Assemble the salad by layering the arugula, figs, walnuts, and blue cheese. Drizzle the dressing over top and season with a good amount of black pepper. 

Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Burrata

Summer squash season is quickly approaching and we couldn’t be more excited! We love to use zucchini and yellow squash all summer, particularly prepared raw as a nice change from all of the hearty squash dishes we eat. This recipe calls for the squash to be shaved- which we do by rotating the squash around with a vegetable peeler. We love the resulting ribbony texture which makes it feel like we are eating a hearty pasta salad as opposed to a vegetable dish. To finish, we added fresh burrata, Parmesan cheese, and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. This is a dish we will eat on repeat all summer long- it goes with just about everything!

Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Burrata

Makes: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 yellow summer squash
  • 4 cups+ arugula
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package burrata, drained
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbs olive oil
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Whisk the olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper- set aside.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the zucchini and yellow squash into ribbons. As you get toward the seeded center the ribbons will start to fall apart. Stop at this point and save the remaining part of each squash for a soup or stir-fry. Keep only the ribbons.
  3. Lay the arugula onto a large serving platter. Drizzle with 2/3 of the dressing and give it a good toss. Add the ribbons on top of the arugula and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
  4. Make sure the burrata is well drained and add it to the top of the ribbons. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tbs olive oil. Top with the Parmesan cheese and season well with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

We buy bok choy all of the time to pair with our favorite Asian recipes like Mapo Tofu and our Steamed Mushroom Buns. Some of the dishes we make are admittedly heavy and need a veggie side kick to balance things out. We usually sauté bok choy on high heat with a bunch of garlic, but now that the weather is getting warmer we decided to mix things up and serve it raw. Bok choy is a leafy green and is a great crunchy substitute for lettuce in a salad. Use this recipe as a “fridge clean out recipe” and toss in any veggies you have on hand. Bell peppers, avocado, and diced mushrooms would all make great additions to bulk the salad up.

Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

Makes: 4 servings (side salad)

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 baby bok choy, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Ingredients for Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk together the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic in a small mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt.
  2. Combine the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing and serve immediately.

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.