Watermelon Wedge

One of our favorite things to make in the summer is watermelon paired with unexpected ingredients. Last summer we shared a recipe for a Mexican-inspired spicy watermelon salad and recently we made watermelon and halloumi kabobs that we are still dreaming about. To keep the trend going and push the envelope a little, we took everything that we love about a wedge salad and transferred it on top of watermelon. It sounds insane, but it really works! When we think about a traditional wedge, the thing we like least about it is the iceberg lettuce. Other than satisfying the physical “wedge” component, iceberg lettuce is pretty flavorless. The watermelon adds a crunchier texture and the sweetness from the fruit actually makes the savory ingredients like bacon and blue cheese stand out more. If you have seen the “mustard and watermelon challenge” on TikTok lately, you know that a lot of people find the combo pretty awesome. Our homemade balsamic vinaigrette (made with Dijon mustard) ties it all together for a deliciously flavorful combination we will be making all summer long.

Watermelon Wedge

  • Servings: 8 wedges
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Everything we love about a wedge salad, with a watermelon twist!

Ingredients for the Wedges

  • 1 large watermelon (you will only use about 1/2)
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if they are large
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 3 scallions, stems trimmed and sliced

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs balsamic glaze
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay foil onto a cookie sheet and place the bacon onto the cookie sheet in an even layer. Cook the bacon for 10-15 minutes, or until it is crispy. Remove the bacon from the cookie sheet and place onto a paper towel to dry and soak up the extra fat. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Make the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small blender. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Cut the watermelon horizontally into two, two inch thick discs. Set the rest aside for another time and cut each of the thick discs into four pizza slices, making 8 slices total. If the watermelon is particularly juicy, set the watermelon on a kitchen towel before getting ready to serve.
  4. Assemble the wedges. Place each of the 8 wedges onto a serving platter. Dice the bacon and add the bacon, scallions, and tomatoes to the top of each piece of watermelon. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing and serve immediately.


Cabra Inspired Solterito Summer Salad

We posted on Instagram last week about going to Stephanie Izard’s restaurant Cabra for dinner in downtown Chicago. We had such great food and couldn’t wait to go back to our kitchens and use those flavors as inspiration for our next recipe. One of the dishes that we had was called Solterito, which is a Peruvian chopped salad. The version at Cabra was filled with a mix of savory and sweet ingredients, crunchy quinoa and an herby vinaigrette. With that dish as our inspiration, we set out to our local grocery store to find seasonal ingredients that we could incorporate in a similar manner. This salad was a big hit when we had some friends and family over for dinner this past weekend. We chose to serve this salad as a side dish with grilled chicken but could easily serve this as a main course for a weekday lunch.

Cabra Inspired Solterito - Summer Salad

  • Servings: 8 side dish portions
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Ingredients for the Salad

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 lb green beans
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 pint strawberries
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 tbs canola oli
  • 16 oz halloumi cheese, cut into bite sized pieces

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh savory
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the salad ingredients. Chop the green beans, cherry tomatoes, mango and strawberries into bite sized pieces. Remove the corn from the husk and combine into a large bowl the other salad ingredients.
  4. Make the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  5. When the quinoa has finished cooking, place is on a sheet pan in an even, single layer. Bake the quinoa in the oven for 10-15 minutes checking every 5 minutes. You want the quinoa to get crunchy and crispy but not burn. Once cooked, removed from the oven and set aside to cool.
  6. In a medium skillet, add the canola oil and wait a minute or two so that it is very hot. Add the halloumi cheese and cook until all sides are browned (about 10 minutes).
  7. Combine the salad ingredients, halloumi, quinoa and salad dressing into a large bowl. Toss the salad so that that dressing evenly coats the salad. Serve at room temperature.


Japanese Spring Shrimp Salad

A few months ago we shared a recipe for our Japanese Winter Salad, which includes a miso dressing that we are pretty much addicted to; it makes an appearance in one of our two houses almost every week. Now that the weather is getting warmer and eating salads doesn’t feel like a chore, we wanted to freshen up the winter salad and make it exciting for spring. One of the ways that we did this is by adding shrimp to the salad that we sauté in a bit of that miso dressing we love so much. As the shrimp cook the miso gets a little charred and sticky in the very best way. The shrimp are accompanied by cucumber, spring peas, and some toasted almonds for crunch. This salad is great with seared potstickers for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Japanese Spring Shrimp Salad

  • Servings: 4 appetizer salads
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A fresh appetizer salad that is perfect for spring, served with a miso dressing that we cannot get enough of!

Ingredients

  • 16 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cups baby kale
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 cup spring peas (you can use the peas in snap peas or frozen peas if spring peas are unavailable)
  • 1/2 cup toasted, sliced almonds
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 batch miso dressing, divided

Directions

  1. Prepare the dressing by blending all of the dressing ingredients in a small blender. Mix until smooth. Remove 1/4 cup of the dressing and set the remainder aside.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the 1/4 cup miso dressing and stir the pan so that the sauce is evenly distributed on the bottom. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook the shrimp for 3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the heat after they have finished cooking.
  3. Assemble the salad by layering the baby kale and cabbage on the bottom of a large serving dish. Add the cucumber, spring peas, almonds, and avocado. Top with the shrimp and drizzle with as much dressing as desired. Toss to coat and serve immediately.


Mad Greens Inspired Brussels Sprout & Quinoa Bowl

We were driving home from the airport a few months ago and stopped at Mad Greens for a quick lunch. Jamie ordered the Belgium Bowl and has pretty much been obsessed with it ever since. So much so, that we now have driven out of the way to find a Mad Greens more than once. The Belgium Bowl has a number of ingredients, but is essentially a roasted brussels sprouts, quinoa, and chicken bowl with some fun toppings like bacon, goat cheese, and pecans. It’s hearty and very filling, which is something we look for in a lunch salad. We started to make this salad at home and have mixed and matched our own variations to get it to the recipe we are sharing today. It has become a family favorite and a great recipe to transition from winter into spring.

Mad Greens Inspired Brussels Sprout & Quinoa Bowl

  • Servings: 4 entrée servings
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A hearty and healthy brussels sprout and quinoa bowl, inspired by the Belgium Bowl at Mad Greens.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups finely shaved brussels sprouts (you can do this in a food processor)
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the quinoa. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the quinoa and cook on a simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the bacon to the pan and cook until it is crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside on paper towel, reduce the heat of the pan to low and drain the fat from the pan. You don’t need to clean the pan completely – you can leave any fat that remains on the bottom of the pan. Add the pecans to the pan and toast them until they become fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the bacon is cooking, make the dressing. Whisk the olive oil, mustard, and honey together in a small bowl. This dressing is more on the mustardy side (our preference) but if you want the dressing to be a little sweeter, add the full 1/4 cup honey into the dressing. Once all ingredients are combined, add a little water to the dressing to thin it out to a drizzly consistency and season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Add the quinoa and brussels sprouts to a large mixing bowl. Chop the bacon and add it to the bowl along with the toasted pecans and red onion. Dollop the goat cheese around the salad and add the dressing over top. Toss everything really well so that the goat cheese is spread throughout the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


Green Bean Cobb Salad

We tend to struggle with getting our veggies in during the winter. When snow is falling and it’s just about freezing, the last thing we want to eat is cold lettuce. We were brainstorming ways to make winter salads and dreamt up this Green Bean Cobb Salad. Everything we love about a traditional cobb salad (hello, toppings!) but on top of green beans instead of iceberg lettuce. The result is refreshing but still hearty and something we are down to eat any time of year. We paired the salad with our favorite Sunday Night Salad Dressing, which adds a little bit of a vinegar punch to the richer ingredients like bacon and feta.

  • Servings: 4 side salad servings
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Ingredients


Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lay a sheet of foil onto a cookie sheet and place the bacon on the foil. Cook the bacon for about 12 minutes, or until it’s crispy. Remove and set aside until cool. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Bring a medium sized pot of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Cook the green beans for about 3 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Let the green beans sit in the water for at least 3 minutes before drying on a kitchen towel.
  4. In the same water that you used to cook the green beans, boil the eggs. Bring the water to a simmer and gently add the eggs into the pot. Cook for 8 minutes. Remove the eggs and run them under cold water. Peel and dice the eggs.
  5. Make the salad dressing. Make the salad dressing according to the recipe directions in the link above. This can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  6. Assemble the salad. Lay the green beans in the center of a serving dish. Add the salad toppings (bacon, tomatoes, eggs, red onion, avocado, and feta cheese) in different sections on top of the green beans. Serve with a generous amount of dressing.


Rick and Cathy’s Chopped Salad

When we told our parents that we were recreating “Rick’s” chopped salad for the blog, both of our parents insisted that this was actually “Cathy’s” chopped salad. Since the owner of the salad is an even 2 to 2 split vote in our house, they both are getting credit. Welcome to the blog, mom! We love this salad because it is lettuce free! Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy our lettuce salads, but there is something special about a salad that is filled with just the ingredients you love and no fluff. Because there is no lettuce, this salad can be made in advance and also holds up great as leftovers. No seriously, it does. As two people who will always throw leftover salad away, this is our one exception because nothing will wilt or change in texture overnight. We will serve this as a side salad for dinner one night and then top the leftover with chicken for lunch the next day. A perfect salad to add to your weekly rotation.

Rick and Cathy's Chopped Salad

  • Servings: 8 side portions
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A lettuce free salad that is a go-to for lunch or dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 stalk celery, stem and leaves removed
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black olives, sliced in half
  • 1 can hearts of palm
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare the vegetables by chopping everything into bite sized pieces.
  2. Place all of the vegetables, chickpeas, olives and heart of palm into a large salad bowl and mix to combine.
  3. Add the olive oil, salt and a few turns of black pepper. Toss the salad to combine the ingredients. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.


Super Simple Arugula Salad

Whenever we are cooking a complex main entrée for dinner, we like to keep the other dishes simple and easy to put together. This recipe will come in handy for just that – bringing you a great salad that is made in under 10 minutes. Salads don’t always need to have a long list of ingredients and complicated dressings to be delicious. This peppery arugula salad is made tangy from the red onion and feels bright and refreshing on the palate from the lemon and olive-oil dressing. We eat this salad almost every week and use it for everything from an appetizer for a coursed dinner to a side dish with veggie burgers. It pairs well with just about everything and we know it will become one of the “go-to’s” in your kitchen as well.

Super Simple Arugula Salad

  • Servings: 2
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A simple, tangy and refreshing salad that pairs well with just about any meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 3-4 cups arugula
  • 1/4 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Make the dressing. Combine the olive oil, lemon and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper to your liking.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the arugula and onions. Toss with the salad dressing and top with the parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.


Japanese Winter Salad with Miso Dressing

A few weeks ago we set out to create a dinner menu for our mom’s birthday. We are typically a family that goes out to celebrate birthdays, but in the world of Covid that isn’t possible. We wanted dinner at home to still feel special and celebratory, and settled on a combination of a catered platter of sushi and a few homemade accompaniments. If you know our mom, you know vegetables are always a priority. We set out to make an appetizer Japanese salad, which is one of our favorites when we eat at a sushi restaurant. To make things more seasonally appropriate for a birthday in November we subbed traditional romaine for baby kale and used radishes and rainbow carrots for some color. The key to this salad, and the reason you should bookmark it, is the miso dressing. It. Is. So. Good. It is the perfect mix of umami, tangy, and savory flavors that bring all of our favorite Japanese flavors to the forefront. We double this recipe so that we can have it as a pantry ingredient. In addition to this salad, it is great drizzled over roasted vegetables, grilled steak, or tossed with chilled noodles.

Japanese Winter Salad with Miso Dressing

  • Servings: 4
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A delicious winter salad with a miso dressing that you’ll want to have over and over again.

Ingredients for the Salad

  • 6 cups lightly packed baby kale, stems removed
  • 4 rainbow baby carrots, peeled with a julienne peeler
  • 4-5 large radishes, thinly sliced and stem discarded
  • 1 avocado, cut into large segments
  • 2 scallions, sliced on a bias

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil (or any neutral oil)

Directions

  1. Make the salad by preparing all of the vegetables and layering them in the order they are listed on a serving platter.
  2. Make the dressing by combining the miso – water in a blender until the garlic and ginger are mostly smooth. With the blender running, add the avocado oil in a steady stream until it has been fully combined with the rest of the dressing. If the dressing too thick for your liking, add another 1-2 tablespoons of water to get it to the thickness you desire .
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.


Edamame Rice Salad

We weren’t exactly sure what to name this dish… is it a carb? Is it a salad? Is it a vegetarian entree? It’s a little bit of everything, thanks to an abundance of veggies in this dish. Cooking at home for nearly every meal since March has given us a chance to experiment with recipes that go the extra distance and last for more than one meal. Zhuzhing up leftovers feels like a much easier task than cooking new recipes for every darn meal of the week. This Edamame Rice Salad fulfills that task perfectly. Leftovers hold up really well for a few days in the refrigerator. We can add grilled chicken, shrimp, or avocado to give leftovers a new look. Best of all, it’s a quick and easy recipe that keeps us eating healthy all week long. 

Asian Veggie Rice 
Makes: 6+ servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes   Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients For The Salad:

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups lightly packed chopped purple cabbage 
  • 2 cups frozen edamame beans, no shells 
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 bell peppers, diced 
  • 4 scallions, diced 
  • 2/3 cup cilantro, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds 
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds 

Ingredients for the Dressing*: 

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 4 tbs rice vinegar
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 tbs minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • salt to taste

Directions: 

  1. Heat 4 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the brown rice and reduce the pot to a simmer. Cook according to package directions, about 30 minutes. 
  2. While the rice is cooking, chop the other vegetables and make the dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients (vegetable oil – chili paste) in a medium bowl until they are combined. Season to taste with salt, set aside.
  3. When the rice has finished cooking, fluff it with a fork to release some of the steam. Add the frozen edamame to the rice, give it a quick stir, and cover for 5 minutes. This will help thaw the edamame and bring the temperature of the rice down, closer to room temperature. 
  4. Make the salad by combining the brown rice- bell peppers in a large bowl. Add half of the cilantro and scallions and half of the dressing; toss to coat. Top with the remaining cilantro, scallions, dressing, sliced almonds, and sesame seeds to serve. 

*If making the dressing from scratch isn’t in your plans, substitute with any of your favorite Asian salad dressings from the grocery store. 


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.