Tag Archives: salad

Cinco de Mango Salad

26 Apr

The weather is finally warming up and that means one thing, more salads. The hotter it gets, the less I use the oven. I grew up in Maine, people! High heat, humidity and I are not friends. Today was sunny and a glorious 79 degrees. Hot, but not I need to hide in the air-conditioning hot.

In honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo, I was feeling festive. Warm weather does that to me. I always want margaritas, guacamole, and chips. I picked up a few beautiful mangos that were just screaming to be salad-ified. (Yes, salad-ified is a word. I say therefore it is.) This is a somewhat healthier option that’s like mango salsa, but a little less tart so the different flavors have room to stand out, but also meld together. I was flipping through the May issue of Bon Appetit and saw a recipe using pickled onions that inspired me (Shrimp and Potato Salad, pg 152). The sour onions really balance out the sweetness of the mango. I tried this Mango Salad a few different ways: on its own (which was amazing), over a bed of baby spinach, and even in a tortilla with the avocado mashed up. Insane!

I also couldn’t resist the gorgeous radishes either. They are such a misunderstood vegetable. I’ve grown to love them in salads and even as a dipper with hummus. They’re crunchy and have a bitterness/heat that kind of bites you back.

What’s on your Cinco de Mayo menu?

Mango Salad with Pickled Onions

1 red onion, thinly sliced

5 T red or white wine vinegar

1 mango, sliced into spears

2 mini seedless cucumber (or 1/2 a whole one), diced

1 lime, juiced

1 avocado, sliced

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

handful cilantro, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 a serrano pepper, membrane removed, minced

salt & pepper

1. Put the sliced onion in a bowl. Rinse with cold water for a minute. Drain well. Season with salt and pepper. Pour vinegar over and mix until coated. Marinate for at least one hour before using. Stir occasionally while marinating to ensure all onions pickle. This is kind of the cheater’s version of pickling because there’s no cooking involved.

Sliced Red Onion Marinating

2. In a large separate bowl, add the lime juice, cumin, cilantro and serrano. Mix until combined.  Add mango, cucumber, sliced radishes and avocado to vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until all elements are covered in vinaigrette.

3. Garnish with pickled onions.

Aspara-pea-bean Israeli Couscous Salad

5 Apr

I received a few requests this weekend for easy, vegetarian recipes. Couscous and quinoa salad immediately came to mind because they’re healthy, full of whole grains and vegetables, and are very simple to make.

When it comes to couscous, I prefer Israeli to North African. Israeli couscous is bigger and more pasta-like than the smaller, grainy North African. Instead of North African, I usually use quinoa which has a similar texture, but more nutritional benefits.

Israeli Couscous

Israeli couscous, or pearl couscous, is typically made from semolina and flour. Its’ small, round granules give it a lovely chewy consistency. It’s often a side dish, but don’t dismiss it as a main. It can be the star too! Toasting the couscous gives it a nutty flavor and helps the morsels cook through without falling apart.

North African Couscous

I was inspired by the sugar snap peas, asparagus, and green beans at Whole Foods today, but you can use any vegetable readily available. It would be fantastic with a mix of roasted zucchini.

You’ll see this recipe calls for cinnamon. Even if you’re not a huge fan of this spice, I encourage you to at least try it in this recipe once. The cinnamon gives the final dish that extra “somethin” special and really makes a world of difference.

Happy eats!

Aspara-pea-bean Israeli Couscous Salad

2 T olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick

1 dried bay leaf

1 3/4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 lb green beans

1/2 lb sugar snap peas

1/2 lb asparagus, ends trimmed

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

zest & juice of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1/2 orange

1/4 cup raisins

black pepper to taste

1. Add 1 T olive oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add pine nuts and toast until golden brown. Transfer to small bowl.

Toasting Pine Nuts

2. Soak the raisins in the orange juice, set aside to use later.

3. Prepare to steam the vegetables. Pour a couple of inches water into a pot. Place the steamer insert in, cover, and place over medium-high heat until water is boiling. Place string beans in the steamer basket for about 5 minutes until a pairing knife goes in with no resistance. Immediately shock them in an ice water bath to maintain bright green color. Do the same to the asparagus and sugar snap peas.

Tip: Steam extra veggies (1 lb of each instead of 1/2 lb) and store in the refrigerator for an easy weeknight saute, or salad.

All-Clad Stainless Steamer Insert

Steamer Set-Up

Sugar Snap Peas in Steamer

Ice Bath

4. Add 1 T oil in same pan, add shallots and saute until golden.

Sauteed Shallots

5. Add couscous, cinnamon and bay leaf. Stir continuously until couscous begins to brown. Add broth and salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender (approx 10 minutes).

Cooked Couscous

Remove from heat, stir in parsley, pine nuts, raisins with orange juice, and lemon zest.

Couscous with Pine Nuts and Parsley

6. Serve warm or room temperature.

Aspara-pea-bean Israeli Couscous Salad

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