Carrot Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts

I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

Are you ready for a week of delicious walnut recipes?

Walnuts are a delicious and versatile ingredient that is the perfect complement to other whole foods for nutritious, tasty meals and snacks. I hadn’t cooked much with nuts in the past, so I used my sister’s book, called The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, to get inspired. This book suggests pairings and ideas for creative cooking. I was impressed by the wide range of foods that walnuts pair with, including cauliflower, grapes, chicken, pear, and many others including the main ingredients in this simple salad recipe: apples, carrots, honey, cinnamon, and ginger!

Walnuts taste bittersweet, but the tannic flavor is minimized when you roast them. This also brings out the roasted nuttiness of the walnuts and enhances their crunchy texture, both of which work wonderfully in this light salad.


Carrot Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fresh, sweet, and crunchy summer salad.


Ingredients

1/2 cup walnut halves

1 large green apple

3 medium carrots

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon honey (optional)

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant but not dark. Set aside to cool.
  2. Grate the apple and carrots into a large bowl using a box grater or food processor with grater blade.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, cinnamon, and ginger. Pour over the carrots and apples.
  4.  Chop the walnuts roughly, add to the bowl, and stir everything together. Serve immediately or chill for an hour or two.

I’m not a huge fan of dried fruit, but it would be a fabulous way to add some extra sweetness to this salad. The next time I make it, I may toss in a handful of dried cranberries or raisins. If you try that, let me know if you like it!

 

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Baby Kale and Arugula Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Do you have the Jaime Oliver app on your smartphone or tablet? I’ve had it for years, but hadn’t used it. He has these awesome tutorial videos on there that teach you basic cooking skills. I really liked the ones about how to pick fresh fish, how to make vegetables taste amazing, and how to make an incredible salad. The dressing recipe for my post today is based on his tips! The fresh baby kale and arugula in the salad are from The Gilcrease Orchard here in Las Vegas. If you live in the area, you should definitely check it out. You can pick your own fruits and vegetables from the orchard and buy them for around $1 per pound. It’s amazing how much produce can grow in the desert! 

Colby and I started an indoor herb garden with basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and sage. By started I mean we bought the potted herbs from Trader Joe’s and are trying not to kell them… I’d love to start a little herb and vegetable garden in our backyard this year. I am very inspired to start a garden after meeting with the executive director of Create a Change Now Foundation. The organization builds gardens in at-risk elementary schools in Southen Nevada and develops nutrition education programming centered around the garden in an effort to reduce childhood obesity rates here. 

My coworker and I attended a fundraising dinner for the organization a few weeks ago. The kids harvested 119 pounds of produce from their school garden and local chefs prepared a delicious meal using the vegetables grown there. It was very cool to see! I am hopeful that we will be able to put a garden in at my office, too. We work with overweight children and their families, so having a garden on site would be an amazing resource!

Anyway, here’s a sweet and citrusy salad recipe for you!

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon grapefruit juice

1-2 teaspoons honey

Salt & pepper to taste

For the salad:

2 cups baby kale

2 cups baby arugula

1 cup diced fresh fruit (I used oranges and raspberries)

1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (optional)

Preparation:

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad ingredients. Toss together gently using your hands and top with freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!

  

Avocado Chicken Salad

There are ingredients you should always have on hand in the summertime for easy, no-cook meals. Today’s recipe features most of my favorites. 

Rotisserie chicken – Less expensive than buying a whole, raw chicken! How could you pass this up? Use it in salads, on sandwiches, or serve with grilled vegetables this summer.

Avocado – Perfect on everything, from eggs to salads and sandwiches to guacamole on chips. 

Tomatoes, Red Onions, Limes, and Fresh Herbs – No need to cook these fresh tasting produce items! They’ll brighten up any summer meal. 

Since getting back from vacation I feel like working all day takes up so much time that I just don’t want to spend more than 20 minutes in the kitchen in the evening. I’d rather spend my nights feeling like I’m still on vacation with a glass of wine on the patio. This chicken salad is very refreshing with white wine. Try it with this amazing find at Trader Joe’s:

 
Pancake Cellars’ Big Day White is dangerously drinkable. It offers flavors of white peach, apple, cantaloupe, orange blossom, honeysuckle, and lemongrass. At least that’s what it says on the label. To me it just tastes like summertime perfection! Oh, and did I mention it’s only $5.99? 

Pour yourself a glass and get started on the salad!

   

Ingredients:

(Serves 1)

1 cooked chicken breast (5-6 oz, skin removed)

1 roma tomato, diced

2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

1/2 an avocado, diced

1/2 a lime, juiced

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Dash of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional)

Preparation:

1. Gently fold together all ingredients in a mixing bowl and serve. Boom.

Easy, right? I just took a break from house cleaning for 10 minutes to make and eat this. Tidying up the house is much more fun with a glass of wine, Spotify’s “Cleaning the House” mix playing, and fueled up with this refreshing salad. 

  
I used rotisserie chicken in my salad, but you could easily use poached or grilled chicken breast instead. I’ll bet this is good with a swirl of Greek yogurt or sour cream added in. Enjoy!

What are your favorite summer meals and wines? 

Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Salad

Breakfast salad? Yes, please! I wrote this recipe for a contest using Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs, which are pasteurized using a water bath process that eliminates the risk of Salmonella in eggs without changing their flavor or nutrient composition. These eggs are a a particularly great choice for recipes that do not call for fully cooking the eggs. Examples include smoothies, ice creams, salad dressings, sauces, and poached eggs. 

The poached egg in this recipe combines beautifully with the tangy lemon juice and savory bacon fat to make a dressing that will make a salad lover out of anyone! Don’t worry, it’s lightened up with the use of center cut bacon and substituting olive oil for a portion of the bacon fat. Enjoy this summer salad guilt free as a light dinner with crusty bread or accompaniment to brunch with friends. Oh, and don’t skip the step of massaging your kale! It’s worth the extra effort, as the bitterness of the leafy green will be mellowed by the lemon juice.

  
Ingredients:

1 bunch kale, purple or green

Juice of half a lemon

Dash of salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 slices center cut bacon, diced

1 tablespoon thinly sliced red onion

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

2 large eggs

2 radishes, sliced

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preparation:

1. Begin by tearing the leaves from thicker stems of the kale. Discard the stems and thinly slice the leaves. Place the kale in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with lemon juice, salt, and olive oil.

2. Massage the kale for 2-3 minutes with your hands, or until it is beginning to soften.

3. Cook the diced bacon in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden. Add the red onion, sauté for 60 seconds longer, and remove from heat.

4. Bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer in a saucepan. Add the white vinegar. Break an egg into a small bowl or cup and gently pour into the simmering water. Using a slotted spoon, gather the egg white around the yolk. Repeat with the second egg. Cook for about 90 seconds for runny eggs, or up to 3 minutes for firmer eggs.

5. Top the massaged kale with the warm bacon and onion mixture and toss to combine. Divide the kale between two plates or shallow bowls. Top with sliced radishes, one poached egg, and freshly ground pepper. 

  
Don’t you love that poaching eggs isn’t as difficult as it seems? I think this method is fool-proof. I hope it works for you, too! 

What are you cooking this summer? Check out the links below for more safe egg inspiration!

*By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 



Favorite Workday Salad

I love finding a portable meal that’s flavorful, protein rich, and easy to prepare multiples of for the week! This salad has been my go-to for two weeks now and I’m still not tired of it.

Ingredients:

2 eggs or 3 egg whites, hard boiled & chopped

1/2 can of tuna

1 medium tomato, diced (or 1/2 cup grape tomatoes sliced lengthwise)

2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

1/2 cup garbanzo beans

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Large handful of spinach or mixed greens

1 tablespoon olive oil

Squeeze of lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Place eggs in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil. Cover, remove pot from heat, and set a timer for 12-15 minutes. Run the eggs under cold water to stop the cooking process and make them easier to peel.

2. Layer all ingredients except for greens in a bowl or travel container. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Top with mixed greens or spinach.

4. When ready to serve, stir or shake to combine all ingredients.

And done! I like to make 2-4 of these at a time to keep in the fridge for lunch on weekdays. They hold up well as long as the spinach/greens are on top!

Enjoy!

Quick Southwest Black Bean and Corn Salad

Hello again! With family in town for the past week and a few weekend adventures in the weeks before that, this post is a little overdue. While this salad may sound like a summertime dish, it’s delightful any time of year as an easy side. I like to make enough for a week and toss some shredded chicken in for quick workday lunches.

Libby’s sent me samples of conveniently packaged bags of sweet peas, green beans, and whole kernel corn to play with! I was going to enter a recipe contest with my free samples, but my internet connection wasn’t allowing me to post that week. Bummer. Thanks anyway, Libby’s! I’m sure they got lots of great contest entries.

Libbys Sweet Corn

Ingredients:
(serves 6-8 as a side dish)
-1 bag of Libby’s sweet whole kernel corn OR 1 can of sweet whole kernel corn (drained)
-1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly in a strainer
-8 oz grape tomatoes, whole or sliced lengthwise
-1/4 cup finely diced red onion
-optional: 1/2 red or green bell pepper, finely diced
Cilantro and avocado for garnish

For the dressing:
-1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about half a lime, depending on size and juiciness)
-1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/8 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
-Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Whisk together all salad dressing ingredients, or shake together in a small tupperware container.
2. Combine all vegetables in a mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and gently fold together using a rubber spatula. Serve chilled or room temperature. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 7 days.
black bean and corn salad

I love colorful salads, don’t you? This one is flavorful and easy to assemble. It tastes even better the next day! If you want to make it EVEN easier, try using salsa as the dressing instead of making your own vinaigrette.

black bean salad up close

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

This chilled recipe makes a perfect snack or appetizer on a warm day. Enjoy a refreshing cucumber in this simple salad.

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Ingredients:
2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 tbs shallot or red onion, minced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sambal olek (hot chili paste) or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar, honey, or a few drops of stevia
1 tsp sesame seeds

1. Whisk together all the ingredients except cucumbers and sesame seeds in a bowl.
2. Combine sliced cucumbers with the dressing in a large bowl or ziplock bag. Toss to coat and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
3. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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Frisée Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Poached Egg

My expert gourmet sister said this is called a lyonnaise salad. She also pointed out that the lettuce I used wasn’t actually frisée, but whatever I used turned out pretty tasty!

I got (what I thought was) frisée lettuce in my bountiful basket yesterday and had no idea how to use it. After googling recipe ideas, I learned that frisée is best with warm, savory dressings. The recipe I ended up using comes from epicurious.com. You can read it here.

I followed every step exactly- I tore the lettuce into bite sized pieces.

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I cooked some delicious uncured Black Forest bacon cut into 1/4″ pieces.

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I finished the hot dressing with shallots and red wine vinegar.

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The part I was most excited about was successfully poaching an egg to top the salad with! The instructions in the recipe are very helpful.

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I don’t usually love salads, but this beast is SO GOOD! I will definitely be making this bacon salad again and again. It’s gluten and grain free and very simple to put together once you get the hang of poaching eggs. It would be delicious without the egg, too.