Category Archives: Salad

Couscous and Butternut Squash Salad with Kale or Arugula –Perfect Autumn Salad

Today is the first day of Fall and this salad is a perfect way to usher in the new season. This salad would really be delicious anytime of the year and if you added a protein it would make a delicious dinner salad.  It is just perfection on a plate. Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Fairly Healthy and you can keep it vegan without any dairy or add cheese for a delicious vegetarian salad .  It takes a bit of prep work but you can prep a few hours ahead and be done with it prior to the meal which is always a good thing in my book.

I prepped butternut squash and couscous and used baby arugula this time. I dressed the salad and let it sit , Kale is better when it’s soft and broken down so if you’re using Kale I suggest chopping it.  I love Kale but don’t want to feel like I’m eating my front lawn. It is delicious with kale or arugula or really any greens you prefer.

If you like a heavier dressed salad I would definitely double up the salad dressing. Or just pour a little over it and leave extra for individual dressing.

This is what I did. Enjoy and Happy Fall.

Ingredients:

1 lb . butternut squash – 1 package of pre-cut squash and then I cut into small 1/2 inch cubes

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste

1 cup dry Pearl Couscous , cook in water according to package directions

app. 2 cups chopped Kale Leaves or Arugula is also a great choice if you’re not a kale fan or really 2 cups of any kind of greens you like.

1/3-1/2  cup dried cherries–you can use craisins, raisins, cranberries whatever dried fruit you like -if you like less use 1/3 cup I tend to use more

1/3-1/2  cup chopped walnuts–same as above and you can obviously omit if you don’t like or use chopped pecans or other nuts

*app. 2 oz. crumbled goat or feta cheese if you’d like– I like the creaminess that goat cheese delivers so I use it over feta in this but use whichever you prefer

Orange Vinaigrette Dressing:

2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Freshly-Squeezed Orange Juice –this is a must

pinch of salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

To make the salad:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes.

Spread the butternut squash out in an even layer on a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray add 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil to squash to coat, sprinkle a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to the squash .  Bake for 15 minutes then flip squash over (as best you can) Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the squash is tender and slightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and transfer back to the large mixing bowl. Depending on your oven the squash could take a little longer to cook, you just want it soft enough that it’s cooked through and a little browned up

Couscous: buy pearled Israeli Couscous –available everywhere Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil add 1 cup Couscous a sprinkle of salt and return to a boil . Reduce heat and simmer covered till tender about 15 minutes.

To make the vinaigrette:

Whisk all ingredients, (orange juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and pinch of salt and pepper to taste. I used all of the vinaigrette and it was very lightly dressed and rather tasty. If you prefer more dressing on the side , double the recipe.

Add cooked couscous, kale, cherries, walnuts, goat cheese* and vinaigrette,  toss to combine. Taste for Salt and Pepper after all combined.img_2936img_2933img_2929img_2928

Serve Warm, or refrigerate and this will keep for app. 3 days in fridge.

It’s a very light salad dressing so the kale absorbs it and it will keep nicely in fridge.

Cauliflower, Orzo and Feta Salad

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Completed Salad

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Before I added the spinach

This is one of my most favorite salads of all time. The flavors meld together beautifully to make a most delicious salad. I highly recommend this salad if you’re just looking for something new to make for brunch, lunch or even dinner! I got this recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s Cookbook Cravings a few years back and it has gone into constant rotation ever since. Perfect for dinner, brunch or lunch anytime of the year.

I made cauliflower and orzo in the morning and put together ingredients as they cooled down. The cooling off of orzo and cauliflower was the only time-consuming event in making this recipe. You can refrigerate salad once cooled down, but I would bring it to room temperature prior to serving.

If you want to add a protein like chicken this would make a most perfect dinner salad. Or just eat it veggie style! Nothing bad here!

Ingredients:

Cauliflower and Orzo Prep

1 head cauliflower broken into small florets, any color cauliflower will do and purple would be beautiful if you can find it

4 Tablespoons olive oil

3 minced cloves of fresh garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup orzo pasta

Dressing and the rest of the salad

3 Tablespoons olive oil

3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

2/3 cup dried cherries

4 cups baby spinach

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl toss the cauliflower with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the fresh garlic, the salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until softened and the edges of cauliflower start to brown up. ( not burned) I did it for 25 minutes. Set cauliflower aside and let it completely cool down.

Cook orzo according to box directions, I cooked for a minute less so it would be more al dente ( just a bit undercooked ) Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water, drain well and while draining toss in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil right in the colander.

In a big bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.

I allowed about an hour for complete cool down of cauliflower and orzo and added to bowl with dressing along with onion , feta, and cherries . Toss well until completely coated with dressing. Throw in the spinach and toss again till spinach is incorporated. Taste for Salt and Pepper and adjust seasonings to your liking. I added a sprinkle of black  pepper but no more salt.

Enjoy — this was totally delicious.

Middle Eastern Salad

This salad appeals to me on so many levels. Firstly I love Middle Eastern food , I love raw salads, I love the freshness that is going on in this salad and did I mention that it’s super easy with very obtainable ingredients.

I served with toasted pita bread cut into small triangles.

*this salad is obviously large — feel free to cut in half and play around with ingredients–it’s not an exact science

Ingredients:

5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

2 pints of small grape /cherry tomatoes or any tomatoes that you want to use. You can use up to 1 lb. of fresh cut up tomatoes

1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise , seeded and 1/2 inch diced

1 can 12 to 16 oz. size of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/3 cup cut up fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice — you may need up to 4 small lemons or 2 very large ones. I use my juicer for this.

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic — app. 3 cloves

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste– start with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 tsp. pepper– you’ll taste for additional salt and pepper at the end.

1/2 cup good olive oil

8 oz. good feta cheese, buy a chunk and dice it up

Toasted Pita Bread for serving

Directions:

Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, drained chickpeas, parsley , mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, garlic 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream till it emulsifies. Pour the dressing over the salad tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add in the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper *if necessary. Serve the salad alongside the toasted pita.

Yum!

Easy Israeli Salad

This salad is so delicious and fresh and works so well with grilled chicken, fish or really any protein. It’s a perfect accompaniment to a BBQ.

I just love it for lunch or dinner and it’s so easy that anyone can do it. Add in feta cheese, olives, or canned chick peas to add to this wonderful deliciousness.

Whatever and whenever you decide to serve this it will be most wonderful.

Just a word about making ahead… I chopped and diced all the vegetables and put in a bowl and put in the fridge. I juiced my lemon and had it set aside. Right before serving I added olive oil and lemon juice stirred it up well and tasted for salt and pepper.

If you add oil and lemon juice too soon it will be very soggy and I don’t like it that way at all. So just have it all ready to serve and add dressing right before.

Ingredients;

this is what I used feel free to substitute or add in whatever you’d like. ( Canned Chick Peas are also delicious in this) Olives, Scallions, Feta Cheese, whatever you feel like.

1 Large Seedless Cucumber or remove the seeds from a seeded one or just keep the seeds if you don’t care

1 box grape tomatoes halved

1 yellow pepper, diced or an orange one. I used orange and yellow about 1/2 and 1/2

1/2 cup diced red onion

2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley , chopped

3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil– I used 3 but you can start with 2 add the salt and pepper and add for more flavor after

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss together all the vegetables. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and chopped parsley and mix thoroughly to coat.

Season with Salt and Pepper to your liking. Serve cold or at room temperature. I like it cold but it’s delicious either way.

Summer Corn Salad with Feta

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This is a delicious and easy recipe which sometimes gets overlooked because I always make my Fresh Corn Salad but this is a bit different because it has Feta Cheese and some thinly sliced radishes. I suggest you try both of these wonderful recipes — super easy and super delicious for summertime cooking at it’s finest.

You might want to check out my other wonderful corn salad which is titled Fresh Corn Salad it’s a little different and might be more to your liking. I like both just fine and I think you will too! There are so very many variations of corn salad out there and especially in the summer when the corn is so fresh and delicious.

Ingredients:

4 cups of fresh corn ( it’s so amazing in the summer) I actually used 6 ears of corn –boiled it for 3 mins and plunged into an ice bath to stop cooking. I did it the night before because it’s just easier that way

1/3 cup of fresh cilantro chopped–if you don’t like cilantro you can omit it, but it packs a  lots of flavor–just saying…..

3 Tablespoons Lime Juice –I used my juicer because this is a lot of squeezing. Or buy the fresh lime juice in those little green bottles. (see photo) but nothing beats fresh in my book

1- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, I used 1 . Feta was plenty salty here. You might want to add more, you can taste as you go.

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil–Extra Virgin is the way to go

1 cup thinly sliced radishes — they are amazing this time of year but if you hate them you can substitute with a little red onion or scallion. I love radishes and I love the pop of color and crunch they provide

1 cup cherry tomatoes–sliced in 1/2 or into 1/4’s

1/2 cup crumbled Feta— I used a 6oz. container

Directions:

Cut corn off cobs–I know it’s work but it’s worth it and mix the corn with all ingredients adding cheese last. Yum!!! refrigerate and take out before you’re eating and let sit at room temperature.  I put salad together early in the morning and refrigerated all day. You can make it and serve it right away  but it will be better after flavors marinate a bit.

Enjoy!

Watermelon Cucumber Salad–Perfect Summer Salad

This is a most delicious salad and a departure from the usual fare of lettuces etc. Sweet and Savory and very refreshing . Simple to pull together and easy to make. Of course you can substitute or add other items if you’d like such as olives, arugula , basil etc. This is how I did it and we all totally enjoyed it!!! The salad is a rather loose recipe and can be adapted very easily to other ingredients and your own particular tastes.

It really is the perfect Summer Salad. The saltiness of the feta and the sweetness of the watermelon make for a perfect summer salad.

Ingredients:

1 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1″cubes or melon balls.

1 shallot finely chopped

1 chunk of Feta Cheese– I like to cut my feta cubed but crumbled could work as well. Feta is usually a greek style cheese made with sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. I prefer a block even though I know crumbled is more convenient. The block is usually sold in a brine and that will keep the feta moist and crumbles tend to be dryer. They all taste good though so buy what you prefer. I often buy Bulgarian Feta which is rather firm and cuts and crumbles easily. Look for it. Also French Feta sometimes–check out the assortment in the cheese section of your market. And of course Greek Feta is probably the most preferred. Salty and tangy the way feta should be. Cut or Crumble your choice.

4 Tbsp. Torn Fresh Mint — more for garnish –I love Mint but some people really don’t you can substitute Basil or nothing if you’d lke

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 persian cucumbers — I buy the small ones and cut into small cubes

1/4 red onion sliced thinly

1/3 cup Pistachio Nuts — I chop them gently — obviously no shells –you can omit this all together if you don’t like them for a nut free salad

 

Vinaigrette:

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

3 small cloves Garlic–finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 Teaspoon dried oregano

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

In a small bowl whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Directions:

Combine the watermelon,1 finely chopped shallot, and mint in a large bowl with the 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil . Season with Salt and Pepper to taste and toss to combine. Transfer to fridge and let marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

Remove from fridge and add the cubed feta, cucumbers, red onion slices and pistachios. Toss to combine. I transferred to a serving platter , drizzled with the vinaigrette and served with extra pistachios and extra mint. 

You’ll want to use a slotted spoon for serving.

 

 

 

Lime Shrimp with Corn and Avocado

IMG_8249 (2) IMG_8233 IMG_8228 (2)All I can say is Wow!!!! This is truly one of my most favorite recipes ever.   I cooked about a lb.of beautiful shrimp and I wanted to use it in a delicious light salad incorporating some fresh corn and avocados. This salad has some of my most favorite ingredients in it.  I used fresh corn, fresh tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, and shrimp! Limes are the secret ingredient here because they add all the flavor to this super light dressing.  This has got to be one of the healthiest most delicious salads.  Totally not fattening but filling because of the shrimp , corn and avocados. If you’re into these ingredients this is a must go to for summer entertaining. Light and Fresh , low in calories and so so easy to make.

If you like cilantro I would chop some up and add it, but a lot of people hate it so much I chose to not add. I removed all the seeds from the jalapeno and probably used 3/4 of a large one. One small seeded jalapeno is perfect and not hot at all. Be careful handling the peppers and the seeds,  I’ve taken to wearing surgical gloves to cut up the peppers.

This is a perfect salad just don’t add avocados till you’re ready to serve,  everything else can be assembled ahead of time. I put together in the morning of the day I was serving and then added my avocados right before I served. This is what I did.

Honestly one of my most favorite salads.

Ingredients:

1 lb. cooked shrimp (after cooking it should be 1 lb.) I then cut it up into smaller pieces. I probably cut each shrimp into 4 pieces. Remember I used under 10’s. So that’s 10 shrimp to a pound. You want the shrimp pieces to be bite size but not too small.

1/4 cup chopped red onion

3 cobs of fresh cooked corn ( just put cobs in boiling salted water, bring to a second boil and remove and plunge into an ice bath) let corn cool and remove kernels from cobs.

2 limes-juiced , I use my juicer to juice because it’s tough with limes and you need as much lime juice as possible from 2 limes. I squeezed a third lime over at the end, but it’s probably not necessary. The citrus helps keep avocado from turning brown as well.

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

a few grinds on the pepper mill–to taste

I put in about 1/2 pint of small grape tomatoes, but you can eyeball if using larger tomatoes, I didn’t want tomatoes to over power the other outstanding flavors –if you prefer you can cut tomatoes in 1/2. I sometimes do this if I am not using the small grape tomatoes.

2 avocados–sliced and cut into cubes

1 small-medium jalapeno–seeded and minced

*a handful of chopped fresh cilantro if you love it

Directions:

  • We Cook shrimp- peel and de-vein or buy it cleaned and de-veined whichever works best for you. I like cooking my own shrimp but you can certainly use a “cooked shrimp” readily available in most markets. I cut shrimp up into bite size pieces but not too small.

Cook corn and allow to cool down. When corn is cooled completely down I cut kernels off.

In a separate small bowl, place chopped red onion, lime juice, olive oil and salt and a little black pepper. Whisk together .

I placed Shrimp, Corn, Jalapeno and Tomatoes into a large bowl. About an hour prior to serving I poured the lime juice combination over the bowl of Shrimp.

Mix well and allow to sit and marinade. You’ll want to mix a few times before adding avocados to circulate the marinade.

Taste for Salt and Pepper but it should be good.

I added the 2 Avocados right before serving and squeezed a little more lime over it, probably not necessary but I did. If you’re adding the cilantro go ahead and add it now.

That’s it–perfect summer salad.

The basics: salad dressing- Mustard Vinaigrette and Caesar

Salad Dressing in the Cuisinart

Salad Dressings

While there are some amazingly delicious salad dressings out there these days I prefer to make my own. Sometimes you have to cave and go store bought but if you have a little extra time these are well worth a little extra effort.  It is so easy to make these salad dressings and the taste is so delicious and fresh. They will keep for a few days to a week in the fridge (Ball Jar or Good Seasons Cruet Jar; sold in almost every supermarket.) Also the kitchen stores and Amazon sell some awesome salad dressing containers.

For all of the dressing, I throw all the ingredients in a mini food processor, whole garlic and all

This one is my most favorite go-to dressing: 

 My Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing 

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar

about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh minced garlic (about two small cloves)

1 egg yolk (unless you’re spooked about raw egg, in which case you can omit and substitute with about a tablespoon of mayo. I always use egg.)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to start and you can always add more add the end but I never do

1/4 teaspoon black ground pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

First, I put the garlic in the processor, then add everything but the olive oil. Give it a good whirl, mixing all ingredients together. Then add olive oil slowly; it will emulsify and you can taste and add salt and pepper to taste and adjust the Dijon to your liking. You may start with less and add. An option is to squeeze in a little lemon juice. I am pretty true to this recipe and it always rewards. Feel free to double up.

This is awesome over almost any greens.

Keep excess in fridge for about 3 or 4 days.

Caesar Salad Dressing 

Again I put all ingredients in mini or regular processor

2 cloves garlic

1 egg yolk

kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

4-5 anchovies (I like it salty and use 5)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tablespoon (heaping) I like a lot Dijon Mustard

grated Parmesan cheese (fresh is always best)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

First, I chop garlic then add anchovies to the processor, and mix together. Then add lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and egg yolk. I mix all together, and then slowly add olive oil in, mix together and taste for salt, because the anchovies and mustard give it a lot of salt and kick. You can always add more salt, but you can’t take it away. Add pepper.

For the Salad:

Pour dressing on about two heads of romaine. I’ve stretched it to 3 and I know they sell 3 heads in a bag–it’s a bit skimpy, but doable. Mix together and right before serving, add cheese; or let everyone do their own with a hand grater!

I buy Organic Romaine heads (3 in a package). I prefer organic.

Basic Corn Salad — Perfect Summer Side Dish

It’s Summer and the living is easy –and the corn is delicious.  There are times I buy fresh corn but don’t feel like serving it on the cob even though it is perfectly delicious this way. This corn salad is a suggestion for you as a side dish with very little ingredients and pretty much all corn. I like to serve as a side dish in the summer because it can be made ahead and served at room temperature. It’s a most perfect side dish. It doesn’t get more basic or easier than this recipe.  My absolute go-to summer side dish. Super Easy.

 

Enjoy the rest of the summer and keep on Cooking with Candi.

Ingredients:

5-6 ears of corn , shucked

1/2 cup small diced red onion

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

3 Tablespoons good olive oil

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt – you can always add more salt after you finish and taste for salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper the same applies for the pepper as for the salt

app. 1/2 cup cut up fresh basil leaves–use as much or as little as you like –it adds wonderful flavor

*add a few small cut up grape tomatoes for another variety on this

Directions:

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for app. 3 minutes (just to let go of the starchiness) Drain and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. When the corn cools down , cut the kernels off the cob , cutting close to the cob to get the whole kernel. I use a bundt pan to catch all the kernels.

Toss the corn kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

How simple and easy is this?IMG_5739

Michele’s Ramon Noodle Salad – Perfect Summer Salad

photoI have already posted my version of a Napa Noodle Salad, which we all love and totally enjoy all summer long. Here is a new spin on it which my friend Michele passed to me.  So whether you love the other one or never even tried it this one is definitely worth trying and will be a part of my Summer Salad Repertoire.  Thanks again Michele! And by the way Joel loved it, and it contains Broccoli Slaw!!!! this was a major shock for sure. Maybe the tide is turning? This is not vegetarian but my Napa Noodle Salad is so just substitute that dressing. Enjoy!

  • you can check out the other version of this salad and it’s listed as Napa Noodle Salad which is perfectly vegetarian

Ingredients:

1 cup of olive oil ( you can use a little less)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 – 3 packages slaw of any style or mix. Michele used 2 12 oz. bags broccoli slaw and one bag regular cole slaw (these bags of slaw are available in almost every supermarket now in the lettuce section) 3 bags will serve 12 nicely and there is enough dressing for 3 .

2 packages beef flavored Ramon noodle soup mix ( I know this is a bummer for the vegetarians out there

1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 tbsp. soy sauce

Directions:

Prepare dressing by combining oil, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and two flavor packets from soup mix. Whisk well and chill. Make the dressing early in the day and whisk it a few times throughout the day.

Before you’re ready to serve , crush the ramen noodles. Then combine slaws, seeds, almonds, and noodles.

Dress salad 10 minutes before serving. Put together the salad right before serving so everything stays crunchy.   Enjoy!