Archive for the ‘Salads’ category

Farro salad

April 12, 2019

Farro is marketed as an ancient type of wheat—supposedly, it is the same as wheat was before humans started domesticating and hybridizing it. Be that as it may, it’s a tasty and useful grain. This is one of my favorite ways to use it. I prefer the variety called einkorn with its smaller grains, but you can use any farro.


1 c farro
½ c sliced radishes
½ c halved cherry tomatoes
½ c cucumber halved lengthwise and then sliced
1 c arugula or other salad green in small (1-2″) pieces
3 TB (about) olive oil
1 TB (about) balsamic vinegar
S & P to taste

Note: If you are making the salad ahead of time, hold the arugula and add just before serving.

Rinse and drain farro. Add to 3 c boiling salted water and simmer for about 30 min, until done to your liking (it should be a bit chewy, I think). Drain, rinse to cool, drain again, and toss with remaining ingredients. Tastes better if allowed to sit for a while before serving.


Curtido (Salvadorean “cole slaw”)

June 4, 2015

This refreshing salad is the traditional accompaniment to pupusas (stuffed masa patties) and is also great with lots of other things, grilled/smoked meats in particular (think BBQ pork, grilled chicken, burgers, and the like). It is different from most American coleslaw in that it has no sweetness, but it has an additional level of flavor complexity due to the maturing period. It’s easy to throw together and, once ready, keeps a long time in the fridge.


As with all cabbage salads, the quality of the cabbage makes a big difference. The fresher, the better. I like to use a mix of red and green cabbage, it is very pretty, but you can use all one or the other if needed.

1 lb red and/or green cabbage
1 small onion (tennis-ball size, more or less)
1 large carrot
1 or 2 sliced jalapeño peppers (optional, if you like some zing)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 c water
1/4 c white vinegar
2 TB plus 1 tsp kosher salt

Cut the cabbage into thin shreds. Peel the onion and cut into same-size shreds. Ditto for the carrot. Combine in a bowl with the oregano, cumin, pepper, and salt. Mix well (hands are great for this!). Let sit for 2-3 hours so the vegetables will wilt a bit. Stuff into jars.

Mix the water and vinegar. Pour over the cabbage mixture and use a chopstick to make sure there are no air pockets..

Transfer the cabbage and brine to two 1 quart jars. Press the cabbage down with a wooden spoon. If the cabbage is not completely covered by the brine, dissolve 1 generous TB of kosher salt in 1-1/2 c water and use this brine to top up the jars. Cover loosely and let sit at room temperature for about 4 days. After 3 days, taste the curtido to see if it is to your liking. The maturing time is really subjective–but it’s almost impossible to go wrong! When to your liking, transfer the jars to the fridge where it will keep for many weeks.

Steak salad with walnut vinaigrette

June 11, 2014

This is a lovely summer dish that fits in well with a goal of eating more vegetables and less meat. Serves 4.

The vinaigrette:

1/2 c shelled walnuts
1 peeled clove garlic put thru a press
3 TB red wine or sherry vinegar
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Toast the walnuts by shaking over medium heat in a small, dry skillet until fragrant. Remove to a cutting board and chop finely – pieces the size of raw rice grains, more or less. Put in a small jar with the remaining ingredients and shake well.

The steak:

Ribeye or NY strip steak about an inch thick or a little thicker. You want 3-4 oz of meat per person, which means either one large steak or two smaller ones. Rub with black pepper, pat dry, and let come to room temperature. Grill over very hot coals until medium rare. Remove to cutting board and set aside. You will be serving it at room temperature.

The salad:

2-3 medium boiling potatoes
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and dried
1 small or 1/2 large fennel bulb
1/4 of a large sweet or red onion
About 20 cherry or grape tomatoes

Peel the potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces, and simmer until tender. Drain and while still warm toss with 1/4 c of the vinaigrette. Set aside to cool.

Shred the lettuce. Cut the fennel into fine julienne and the onion into thin slices. Halve the tomatoes. Toss these 4 ingredients in a large bowl with vinaigrette to taste (you probably will not use all the dressing).


You can do this on a single large serving platter or individual plates. Mound the salad and top with the potatoes. Cut the steak into 1/4 inch thick strips and arrange on top. Pass additional dressing for people to add if desired.

Pasta, bean, and sausage salad

July 26, 2012

This hearty, main dish salad can be prepared ahead of time, and in fact tastes better if it sits a bit before serving.

3 links of Italian sausage
1/2 lb of short pasta such as fusilli or penne
1 – 15oz can of kidney beans
1/2 c diced sweet onion
1/2 c each fresh parsley and basil (be sure to use the flat leaf Italian parsley)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
White wine or sherry vinegar (don’t use balsamic, it’s too sweet)
tomato slices

Cut the sausage into thin rounds and saute until cooked thru and starting to brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool and drain off excess fat.

Cook the pasta per directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Set aside.

Drain and rinse the beans.

Combine thebeans, pasta, and sausage with the onion, the herbs (coarsely chopped), salt and pepper to taste, about 1/3 c oil and 2-3 TB vinegar. Toss well and taste, correct seasoning and vinegar if needed. Arrange nicely in a bowl with the tomato slices on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Remove from fridge about 30 min before serving – it tastes better if not too cold.

Peter’s egg salad

December 20, 2011

Most egg salad is either insipid, consisting of little more than eggs and mayo (or worse, Miracle Whip), or it’s way too involved and complex. THis one, I think, strikes the right balance.

4 hard cooked eggs (see below)
1/3 c chopped celery
2 TB finely chopped scallions (white part)
1/3c Hellman’s mayo
1 TB capers, drained
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste

Chop the eggs, or put them thru an egg slicer twice, turning 1/4 turn between cuts. Mix well with all other ingredients and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors blend.

In my experience, the best way to hard-cook eggs without getting the dreaded green ring – harmless but unsightly – is to put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water at least 1 inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and cover. Let sit 20 minutes and you’re done. Cool immediately under running water.

Cole slaw dressing with caraway

July 16, 2011

One of my favorites. Not exactly low-calorie but it is low-carb.

3/4 c Hellman’s mayo
1/4 c sour cream (yes, the real stuff)
1 TB rice wine vinegar
Generous grinding black pepper
1/2 TB caraway seeds

Mix all ingredients and mix with your finely shredded cabbage. Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

You’ll note there’s no salt in this recipe. This is because it is preferred to shred the cabbage ahead of time and toss with some salt (say about 1 tsp per quart) and let sit in a collander for an hour or so before dressing. You may or may not get any actual liquid draining from the cabbage, but I find this results in a better texture.

Zucchini-rice salad

May 1, 2011

An unusual and refreshing salad, great with grilled meats.

2-3 medium zucchini (1 or 1-1/2 inch diameter, 6-8 inches long).
1 c basmati or other long grain rice
1/2 of a large onion
2-3 TB lemon juice or rice vinegar
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c minced parsley

You want young, fresh, tender zucchini for this. Trim the ends, cut in half lengthwise, and slice thinly into 1/8″ slices. Put in a large bowl. Slice the onion into thin 1/4 rounds. If it’s a harsh onion, soak in warm water for 10-15 min and drain. Add to bowl. Make a dressing using the lemon juice or vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring 2 qts of salted water to a boil and add the rice. simmer for 8-10 min or until the rice is done—don’t overcook. Drain the rice in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Set aside to drain. When the rice is drained, add to the bowl along with the dressing and parsley. Toss well and refrigerate for 1-4 hours before serving.

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