Tag Archives: Salad

Green Goddess Dressing

Hello, Dear Readers! Remember last month when I wrote a blog post for NewlyWife? Well, I’ve officially become a contributor on NewlyWife and will now post there once a month. Head over to NewlyWife now to check out my post on how to make Green Goddess Salad Dressing and homemade mayonnaise. Both are super easy and tasty, so you won’t want to miss it!

salad, tongs, dressing

I should also add that the inspiration for the post came from my new wooden salad bowl. I’ve had my eye on wooden salad bowls for a while, but the prices at stores like Crate & Barrel and Sur La Table put it in the “maybe later” category. When Sam and I saw a bamboo serving bowl at Ikea for $20, we popped it in our cart with hardly a discussion. Not only does the wood add a lovely warmth to our table setting, but the bowl is lightweight, unlike our porcelain salad bowl (which is actually even smaller than our new wooden bowl). If you’re in the market for an inexpensive wooden salad bowl, Ikea is the place to go.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another post for you here on Tomato Tango, so stay tuned!

Eat Your Colors: Kale, Carrot and Cabbage Salad

kale salad

Salads are one of my favorite things to make in the kitchen. First, there’s the obvious gratification of feeling healthy after eating a salad (which for some odd reason doesn’t happen after I eat cream puffs or chocolate mousse). The second reason I love making salads is that it’s an easy, low-risk way to be creative in the kitchen. When you’re baking, you can’t exactly say, Hmm, how about I throw in a few more eggs or some extra whole wheat flour? With salads, throwing in a little bit of this and that is the name of the game.

Get me some leafy greens

Another plus with making salads is that you get to play the part of artist, where color, shape and texture come from ordinary foods. Just check out the colors in this salad—the vibrant hues of purple and orange juxtaposed against a backdrop of green are positively fun and playful. And that’s only considering the salad’s visual appeal. Take a bite and your taste buds will confirm what your eyes suspected: There’s a whole lot of delicious going on between the crunchy cabbage, tart lime, piquant pepper, creamy avocado, sweet orange, and salty pepitas. (I do love me some adjectives!)

eat your colors

And let’s not forget the kale, the very foundation upon which this salad rests. Kale is my go-to antidote for any Quick! Get me some leafy greens! moments. I don’t mind eating raw kale, as in this other salad, but I know some people find kale’s texture a little tough to handle in a raw salad. Enter mixed baby kales, the newest member of the organic, boxed, pre-washed salad greens family. Baby kale is tender and kind of cute, a mini-me version of hearty Dino Kale and Curly Kale, and I’m convinced it will appease—nay, win over—the raw kale opposition party. With that I say, welcome to the salad bowl, baby kale!

This recipe was inspired by the Rainbow Kale Slaw and Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad from the Whole Foods Recipes app.

Serves 2 (or one very hungry salad eater)


3 cups mixed baby kale
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 orange, sectioned and cut into chunks
1 lime, juiced
1”-piece of serrano pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado
a handful of pepitas (roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds), to garnish

Make the Kale, Carrot and Cabbage Salad

Combine the kale, cabbage, carrot, green onion, cilantro, and orange chunks in a very large salad bowl. If you use a bowl that is bigger than you need, it’s easier to toss the salad and incorporate the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, serrano pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, and slice the flesh into cubes. (This video demonstrates how to cut an avocado.) Add the cubed avocado to the bowl and thoroughly coat with the dressing, which will prevent the avocado from browning. Pour the dressing and avocado over the salad greens. Using salad tongs, toss the salad to fully coat the leaves with dressing. Garnish with pepitas and serve immediately.

Corn, Cabbage and Cucumber Salad

Corn Cabbage and Cucumber Salad

Whenever I return home from vacation, there is nothing I crave more than raw vegetables. Thankfully, the huge pile of mail we came home to contained two cooking magazines full of veggie inspiration: Everyday Food and Whole Living.

This Corn, Cabbage and Cucumber Salad is a riff on the Tricolor Salad from Everyday Food (July/August 2011, p 96). In the original recipe, the purple color is provided by Radicchio rather than red cabbage as in my salad. When I was scanning the produce section at the market for Radicchio, my eyes landed on a solitary, wilted head of Radicchio nestled next to equally sorry-looking Belgium endive. With a fairly steep price tag and a doubtful crunch factor, I opted for red cabbage, which remains remarkably crisp even when it’s pickled. My salad needed crispness, and I could count on red cabbage to be crisp.

It turns out my salad needed more than crispness; it needed pep, life, kick—and desperately. While I’m grateful for the abundance of recipes the folks at Martha Stewart create, this isn’t the first time I’ve found their recipes uninteresting and dull. Time to call in creativity and doctor up the salad. A little lime juice, Serrano pepper, cilantro and Cotija cheese did just the trick, turning a so-so salad into just the thing to satisfy my veggie cravings.

Inspired by Tricolor Salad from Everday Food (July/Aug 2011, p 96)


¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Serrano pepper, finely diced
½ head small red cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups corn kernels (from about 3 ears)
½ English cucumber, sliced into ¼-inch thick half moons or quarters
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup crumbled Queso Fresco or Cotija cheese

Make the Corn, Cabbage and Cucumber Salad

Combine the lime juice, olive oil and Serrano pepper in a small bowl or cup. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, corn kernels, cucumber slices and cilantro. Drizzle the dressing over the top, mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Queso Fresco or Cotija cheese over the top just before serving.

Anatomy of Salad, or How I Recover from the Weekend Revelry

Beet, Potato and Egg Salad

Weekends, at least in our household, are the days ordained for gastronomic revelry. Between the Saturday morning pancakes, sweets only on days that start with “S” (though I break that one almost daily) and dinners out with friends, we eat well. It’s a tradition that runs in the family: my mom has a set of dishes she uses only on the weekends, a toast to the few days of rest between harried workdays.

Last weekend was one such festive weekend, and it felt a bit like the holidays all over again. Friday night was Sam’s work party complete with cocktails, appetizers and multiple desserts. Saturday included a full-course afternoon tea with girlfriends. And then there was the pan of leftover brownies, with its siren’s call. Needless to say, when Sunday evening rolled around, Sam and I were craving something light and full of veggies. Thus commenced the creation of this salad.

Inspired by the French Salade Niçoise, I began with cold, cooked potatoes and boiled egg. The rest of the ingredients, though, fall into the category of “what’s left in the fridge.” This post is intended to be inspiration more than a hard and fast recipe. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand to create your own version. Here’s what I used in my “How I Recover From the Weekend” Salad:

  • Mixed greens (I used red and green oak lettuce leaves)
  • Homemade Balsamic & Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Cooked beets, cubed
  • Cooked potatoes, cubed
  • Medium or hard-boiled egg (instructions below)
  • Microgreens
  • Homemade bread crumbs (recipe below)
  • Parmesan cheese

Homemade Balsamic & Mustard Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
Freshly ground salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. The mustard acts as an emulsifier and binds together the oil and vinegar, which normally do not mix well. This recipe easily doubles or triples if you need to make more.

Homemade Croutons

Several Slices of Your Bread of Choice
Olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F. Using a serrated knife, slice the bread into cubes, however big or small you like your croutons. In a bowl, toss the bread cubes with a few drizzles of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes onto a cookie sheet or baking tray and bake until crisp and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Remove bread crumbs from oven, let cool and store in an airtight container.

Medium-Boiled Egg

1 egg

Fill a medium saucepan with water, add a pinch of salt and place pan over medium-high heat. When the water begins boiling rapidly, lower the egg into the boiling water with a spoon. Reduce heat slightly so the egg isn’t dancing all over the bottom of the pan but the water still simmers. Refer to this timing guide to determine how long to cook your egg:

  • 6 minutes: runny yolk guaranteed, white may be slightly undercooked
  • 7 minutes: some of yolk may have hardened, white will be fully cooked
  • And if a runny yolk makes you queasy, leave the egg in the boiling water a few extra minutes.

When the egg is finished cooking, remove it from the pan with a spoon, walk over to the sink and rinse the egg in plenty of cold water. Continue running cold water over the egg for at least 1 minute. This ensures that the egg stops cooking and also makes it easier to peep. Peel the egg.


Salad Spinner 101 & Lemon Mint Tabbouleh

salad spinner

While buying bags of prewashed lettuce is a good step toward eating more greens, you can save money by washing your own greens—and they’ll be fresher.

Like most people, sandwiches were my lunchtime standby when I was growing up. Peanut butter and jelly. Turkey with mustard and lettuce. Tuna salad.

In about third grade our family made the transition from white bread to wheat, and I whined as much as I did during our transition from 2% milk to skim milk. At the end of my high school years, my parents made another transition: salads for lunch instead of sandwiches. I still took sandwiches to school for lunch, but on the weekends and summer break I joined them for salads.

The salad transition was hot on the heels of the demonization of bread, and we were doing our part to avoid “bad carbs.” While we’re more lenient now with our carb consumption, the salad transition was positive because it established in us the habit of eating more vegetables. Unless I make an effort to eat vegetables at lunchtime, my daily veggie quota is often relegated to only a couple servings at dinnertime, and that does not add up to the 5 servings of veggies I try to eat every day.

Thus, most days I eat a salad for lunch. If eating a salad every day sounds boring, think again: it affords just as much versatility as a sandwich because the toppings for your salad are limitless. And if it sounds like too much work, all it takes is a little planning and one secret tool: the salad spinner.

A salad spinner solves the quandary of how to dry and store freshly washed lettuce. Here’s how it works: slice or tear your lettuce into a large bowl or clean sink and fill with cold water. Let the lettuce soak for 5 minutes, occasionally swirling to remove any dirt from the lettuce. Lift the greens out of the water, place in the salad spinner and spin. Pour out the water from the bottom of the spinner and store the lettuce in the salad spinner in the fridge, which will keep the leaves fresh and crisp.

With clean lettuce in your salad spinner, all you need are salad toppings. Leftovers from last night’s dinner make a quick, easy topping. Another way to conquer salad prep time is to prepare a large batch of a topping to use throughout the week, such as this Lemon Mint Tabbouleh.

Lemon Mint Tabbouleh

lemon mint tabboulehIf you don’t have any bulgur on hand, you could substitute quinoa or whole wheat cous cous. This is easy to mix up the night before and doesn’t require any cooking (only soak the bulgur in hot water for 15 minutes).

Serves 6


¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup bulgur
1 cup boiling water
1 cup chopped seeded plum tomatoes
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 large green onions, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh mint


Whisk oil, lemon juice and garlic in small bowl until combined; set aside. Place bulgur in large bowl. Mix in 1 cup boiling water. Let stand until bulgur is tender and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Mix in tomatoes, parsley, green onions and mint. Add dressing; toss to blend. Season tabbouleh to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand at least 30 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.

Recipe from The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh (p 447).
Oxo brand salad spinners have served my family well for years, and if you’re short on fridge space, it also comes in a smaller size.
- ww4 - price7