Tag Archives: salad

Easy Soba Salad

soba salad recipe

It’s fun to get wild in the kitchen with new ingredients and daring flavor combinations. But sometimes I find that the oldest recipes are the best ones. This easy Soba Salad recipe is one of my favorite go-to dishes that I’ve been making for years. The recipe was originally stolen borrowed from my step-mom (along with this recipe for Spicy Tuna Hand Rolls). And it’s been on constant rotation in our kitchen ever since. It’s not fancy or complicated. But it is totally delicious. Continue reading


Salads In A Jar {for every day of the week!}

Salad In A Jar

Can we talk chores for a minute? And when I say talk, I mean, um, complain. 

Here’s the deal, guys. I don’t mind taking the dog out, cleaning the bathroom, or washing the car. But for some reason, I simply can’t stand packing lunches every morning before work. Especially before I’ve had any coffee. But because I’m: 1) frugal, and 2) trying to be healthy, I know I have to take this whole lunch-making job seriously. A few weeks back, I started making an effort to pack my lunch for the whole week on Sunday night. And while that might sound slightly crazy, I have to assure you that I’m not eating soggy sandwiches on Fridays. I’m eating salads. In jars. And it’s actually – dare I say it – a fun chore have. Continue reading


Thai Beef Salad

Thai Beef Salad

Years ago when Sam and I were first dating, we took a cooking class together. The class was Thai-food themed, and we learned all about the flavors of Thailand like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk. The class was great. We drank a lot of wine. Cooked a Thai food feast. And left with one very important takeaway: take-out is way easier.

Thai Beef Salad

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The best kale salad! Really.

the best kale salad

Kale has become one of our staple kitchen ingredients; like milk or eggs. Or wine. I’m pretty sure that counts as a staple, anyway. This salad is a mixture of all my favorite ingredients on a bed of raw kale: roasted butternut squash, pecans, goat cheese and dried cranberries. And, the post title is no lie. This is the best kale salad. Ever.

the best kale salad Continue reading


Quinoa + Lime Salad

quinoa lime salad

Quinoa Salad has totally been our go to dish this summer. Because it’s easy, healthy and full of flavor. And, it’s also gluten-free and dairy-free – which matters to us now that Sam has a bunch of (super lame) dietary restrictions.

Growing up in Hawaii, we ate rice every day – sometimes with every meal. I’m still loyal to my rice dishes, and it took me a while to embrace quinoa. I found that the trick is to use the grain in new dishes, rather than trying to sub it in to be healthier with my favorite recipes. This Quinoa and Lime Salad is a perfect example. This recipe simply wouldn’t be as good with rice. And it wouldn’t be as filling, either; quinoa is a protein powerhouse.

Quinoa Lime Salad

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Healthier Broccoli Salad

healthier broccoli salad

Quick word association! Ready? Summer = ______?

healthier broccoli salad

For me, summer is all about BBQing. In Hawaii we grilled all year long, and I never thought much about it. But in Portland, things are a little bit different. No one wants to cook dinner outside in the pouring rain – so we do it all summer long to soak up as much grilling as we can while the sun is out. I would eat just about anything cooked on a grill. I would also eat just about anything that accompanies most of these dishes. You know, like potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, etc. Basically, anything covered in cream.

You know I’m not a health nut, but finding a healthy alternative to my fave dishes is always a good thing. This week I’m totally patting myself on the back for making this healthier version of Broccoli Salad. It’s so good – and will definitely be our (guilt free) Go To side dish this summer.

healthier broccoli salad

Broccoli salad is normally loaded with mayonnaise and bacon (yum, I know), sugar, and cheese to boot. My version omits the sugar and cheese completely. Greek yogurt rocks my world, and acts as a perfect substitute for that creamy texture that’s normally hard to replicate. And guess what else I did? I swapped bacon for turkey bacon. Let me just say that I will choose real bacon 99.9% of the time because I’m a bacon snob. But the turkey bacon is so perfect in this dish. All in all, way healthier than the traditional broccoli salad huh?

healthier broccoli salad

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Tropical Chinese Chicken Salad

tropical chinese chicken salad title
We’ve had an unusually warm Spring in Oregon, and I can’t bring myself spend the evenings inside cooking dinner. That means we’ve been eating lots of salad and no bake meals. Over the weekend I pre-cooked a bunch of boneless, skinless chicken breasts to use throughout the week. I’ve used the chicken in a variety of ways, including Chicken Salad in an Avocado and most recently, Chinese Chicken Salad with homemade asian vinaigrette. With macadamia nuts, of course. Because by now you know that I can’t avoid bringing tropical to the table.

tropical chinese chicken saladtropical chinese chicken salad Continue reading


Citrus, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Citrus, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
You know what’s awesome? Hearty meals that are disguised as salads. Like this one, one of my current favorite “salads”: Citrus, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette.

Take it from me… lettuce is so last year. This dish, err, salad, is packed with protein-rich red quinoa, meyer lemon zest, kale that’s cooked until slightly softened, garbanzo beans, citrus slices, and pomegranate seeds for crunch.

And holy cow, it’s good. And pretty too, right?

Citrus, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Citrus, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

The quinoa will leave you full for hours – and the mix of savory, sweet and tangy ingredients will leave your tastebuds feeling truly satisfied. Seriously. In fact, I originally made this dish as a side salad – but quickly learned it’s much more of an entree.

 Citrus, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Citrus, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Yields 2

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For the salad
2 cups water
Juice and zest of 1 Meyer lemon
Course salt
1 cup red quinoa
1 T olive oil
1 shallots, sliced into strips
1 large bunch black kale
1 T apple cider vinegar
Zest of 2 Meyer Lemons
3 tangelos (or another orange variety), peeled and separate slices
Seeds of 1 pomegranate (or 1 8-oz package)
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans

For the dressing
Zest of 2 Meyer lemons
2 T honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T tangelo juice
4 T apple cider vinegar
2 T veggie or chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add salt, and zest and juice of 1 lemon. Add quinoa and cook according to package directions. Wash kale and pull leaves off the tough center stem. Slice into small ribbons. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet and add shallots. Saute for about 3 minutes until just softened. Add kale and stir for about 2 minutes, until kale starts to wilt. Add 1 T apple cider vinegar and lemon zest, and cook for another minute. Then remove pan from the heat. Let cool slightly, and stack in large salad bowl with quinoa, garbanzo beans, tangelo slices and pomegranate seeds.
For dressing, whisk together lemon zest, honey, olive oil, lemon juice, tangelo juice, vinegar, stock, salt and pepper. Toss into salad and enjoy immediately.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/



Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette

It’s so easy to eat healthy salads in the summer. There’s an abundance of fresh produce in Portland starting late spring, and the local farmers’ markets are like going to veggie heaven. Plus, when it’s hot, who wants a hot and heavy meal? Unfortunately, things change during the winter. I go into hibernation mode and have mean cravings for mac n’ cheese and pizza.

Thankfully I found the perfect winter salad to help keep me in my jeans. It’s filled with hearty toppings like warm roasted butternut squash, crunchy pecans, savory crumbled goat cheese and dried cranberries for sweetness. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette

And this dressing? I’m surprised I haven’t shared this with you yet. It’s my go-to homemade dressing. It’s so easy and so delicious.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette

Go eat your veggies!

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette
Serves 2

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Approx. 1/2 a medium-sized butternut squash
1 T olive oil
2 large cups of spinach or desired greens
2 T dried cranberries
2 T pecans
2 T crumbled goat cheese
Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette
1 heaping teaspoon of Trader Joe’s garlic aioli mustard (or mustard of your choice)
2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
Salt + Pepper

Preheat oven to 425F. Peel, de-seed and slice butternut squash into thin strips. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss. Put pieces into a baking dish and bake for approximately 35 minutes until browning. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
In the meantime, layer spinach, cranberries, nuts and cheese into 2 plates. Top with butternut squash. Mix together dressing ingredients in a bowl and pour onto salad. dressing.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/


Healthier Hawaiian-syle Mac Salad

For many of my friends, comfort food is fried chicken. Lasagna. Burgers.

Healthier Hawaiian-style Mac Salad
For me, it’s Hawaiian-style “plate lunch”.

There are a handful of restaurants and food carts in Portland that serve Hawaiian food, but none come close to my favorite spots back at home.

Sometimes, a girl has to take things into her own hands. And the best part about that is being able to adapt recipes. The macaroni salad traditionally served in plate lunches is literally dripping in mayonaise.It tastes soooo good. But it is soooo bad.Luckily this recipe gives me most of the satisfaction with much less guilt. It uses whole wheat pasta, a lighter dressing, and is filled with chopped veggies for extra ruffage.

Healthier Hawaiian-style Mac Salad
It’s not zero cal, by any means. But it’s certainly easier to enjoy a scoop.

Healthier Hawaiian-style Mac Salad

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1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
3 T lowfat mayo
Red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1 sweet onion
2 carrots
1 celery
1 red pepper
3 cups whole wheat macaroni noodles

Boil noodles and let cool. In the meantime, dice vegetables and mix yogurt, mayo and paprika. Mix into cooled noodles until fully coated. Add a splash of red wine vinegar for extra flavor. Refrigerate before serving.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/