Rice, Bean and Citrus Salad

16 05 2016

This tasty side dish was a brainchild of a bean and orange salad I’ve had at family parties over the summer. It’s light and refreshing, perfect to serve along with a big piece of meat like steak and surprisingly, it feeds a crowd!

Rice Bean and Citrus Salad

The following serves 6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat): 

  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper, whatever color you have (I used yellow here)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro
  • 4-5 nectarine/halo/cutie oranges, peeled and separated

Cook rice according to package directions. While the rice is still warm, mix in the lime zest and salt to taste.

Meanwhile, in a medium-large bowl, add the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. While whisking, stream in olive oil until thick and emulsified, just eyeball it.

Add the black beans, bell pepper, carrots, shallot and cilantro and toss well. Allow to sit in the dressing for a few minutes, then add in the rice and toss to combine.

You can leave this out covered at room temperature for a few hours until ready to serve. Before serving, add the orange segments and toss to combine. Note: the oranges are not in the picture above because I wasn’t ready to serve this at the time of photographing.

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Garlic-Parm Quinoa and Zucchini

3 05 2016

You know how sometimes you just need a quick side dish? Well, here’s one right here to add to your arsenal – quick and healthy quinoa and zucchini with just a few ingredients.

Garlic-Parm Quinoa and Zucchini

The following serves 3-4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large zucchini, cut down the center lengthwise and then into moons
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated parmesan

Cook quinoa with 2 cups chicken stock according to package directions. Reserve the 1/2 cup for later.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and zucchini and saute until starting to brown and soften, flipping once, 5 minutes or so. Add the butter, garlic and salt to taste and continue to saute until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, another couple of minutes. Add the cooked quinoa and the rest of the chicken stock, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and add the cheese, cooking and stirring another minute or two until the stock is absorbed and everything is combined. Taste, and season with salt as needed.





Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

21 06 2015

This pasta salad is light, fresh and super tasty – great for serving in the summer! I love taking ideas I see on in my fav cooking shows or magazines and making them my own. This recipe is a great example, thanks to the Food Network’s The Kitchen for the pineapple-zucchini salsa idea!

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

The following serves 6-8 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and The Kitchen):

  • 2 small to medium-size zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 of a peeled and cored pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 lb gemelli pasta
  • 2 small to medium-size shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (save yourself time and use it from the tube)
  • 2 tsp finely diced jalapeno or your favorite hot sauce, use more or less depending on how much spice you like
  • 6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Champagne or Chardonnay Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro or mint
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium. Grill the pineapple and zucchini for a few minutes on each side until beginning to char. You still want the zucchini to have a little crunch. Remove from the grill and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, diced the pineapple and zucchini and add to a large bowl or casserole dish. Toss with the cucumber, and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk the shallots, ginger, jalapeno or hot sauce, oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to the pineapple-zucchini mixture and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with salt and cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to pan to cool slightly.

Add the slightly cooled pasta to the dressed pineapple-zucchini mixture. Add the cilantro or mint and toss everything well to combine. Season with a little more salt and pepper to taste if needed. You can also add more oil or vinegar if you’d like.

Store covered in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.





Fruity Orzo Salad

8 06 2015

Saw this fruity salad idea in my latest Rachael Ray Mag and had to give it a try! It’s pretty versatile too, you can switch up the pasta, the fruit and the herbs – perfect for quick summer meals!

Fruity Orzo Salad

Fruity Orzo Salad

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray):

  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 4-5 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Golden balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 nectarine, chopped
  • 1/2 cup drained mozzarella pearls (small, fresh mozzarella balls)
  • 1/4 cup sliced chives or basil
  • Zest of half a lemon

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook orzo to al dente according to package directions. Drain, cool and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk together some vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next add the cooled orzo, the chopped nectarine, mozzarella balls, chives (or basil) and lemon zest. Toss everything to coat in the dressing. Taste and adjust vinegar, oil and/or seasoning if needed. Add in the bacon and toss to coat.

Serve salad with a protein of your choice. Pictured here is a salmon burger.





Cabbage and Apple Salad

7 10 2014

Here’s a crunchy, healthy and super flavorful salad which I like to serve as a side dish. You can quickly whip it up and let it hang out in the fridge while you cook dinner – which will allow the flavors to combine. Don’t worry about the measurements, just wing it and adjust to your taste as you go. If you like salad a little on the tangy side, add more vinegar. If you don’t like it as dressed, don’t add as much liquid. Just have fun with it! 🙂

Cabbage and Apple Salad

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

  • Dijon mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cabbage, shredded or sliced thin
  • Apple, cored and sliced thin
  • Shallot, sliced thin
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Whisk a little Dijon mustard with some apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add shredded or sliced cabbage, sliced apples and sliced shallots. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning, vinegar or oil as needed. Add sunflower seeds and fresh parsley before serving.





Leek and Carrot Rice Pilaf

1 08 2014

Here’s a great rice pilaf recipe for a quick weeknight side dish. I like using whole wheat orzo and brown rice for a healthier starch. This is also versatile, you can easily swap out the leek and carrot for other veggies you have on hand.

Leek and Carrot Rice Pilaf

The following serves 4 (adapted from Rachael Ray):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped onion or shallot
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, chopped
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 and 1/4 cups brown rice
  • 3 and 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 lemon zested, and some of the lemon juice
  • Parsley, chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute a few minutes. Add orzo and toast, stirring occasionally, until deep brown and beginning to smell nutty. Add garlic, leeks and carrots and saute a few minutes until they begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next, add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and cook until the stock evaporates.

Next add the rice, the remaining 3 cups of stock and the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Cook 15 – 20 minutes covered and on low, until rice is tender and liquid is almost evaporated. Remove lid, stir and season with more salt if needed. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Serve alongside a protein of your choice. Pictured here is grilled quartered chicken.





Grilled Kale, Quinoa and Cherry Salad

2 07 2014

Tonight we enjoyed this fabulous quinoa salad featuring Fresh Fork Market kale and cucumber. Pick your protein and enjoy it warm, at room temp or even cold – it’s that versatile. Serve it as a side dish, a salad or even an appetizer, making it perfect for summer potlucks too! I’ll be sharing this with friends and fam this holiday weekend! 🙂

Grilled Kale, Quinoa and Cherry Salad

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and A Beautiful Mess):

  • 1 bunch organic kale, large stems cut away, washed and dried
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • Reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dark cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 medium organic cucumber, cut in half, seeded and chopped
  • Chopped parsley
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sharp provolone cheese, shaved

Preheat grill to medium.

Drizzle kale with a little olive oil and season with salt to taste. Grill over medium heat, 1-2 minutes on each side until a little char starts to form. Remove from the grill and cool. Once cool enough to handle, slice or tear into small pieces. Discard stems.

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Mine called for 1 cup dry quinoa to 2 cups water. To add some extra flavor, I used 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup water. I recommend using the pre-rinsed kind of quinoa to save yourself time. Once cooked, allow quinoa to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the grilled kale, cooked quinoa, cherries, cucumber and parsley. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and garnish with sunflower seeds and shaved provolone. You can enjoy this salad warm, at room temperature or even cold.