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salad recipes

Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Salad vegetarian

Asian Noodle Salad Bowl

Asian Noodle Salad Bowl // Karista's Kitchen

Who doesn’t love bowl food? I’ve loved bowl food since before bowl food was a thing.

When I was a twenty-something I’d bake diced potatoes or cook some rice or noodles. Then I’d add one of them to a bowl and layer it with any complimentary ingredients I could find in my fridge or pantry. I’d top it off with something creamy or saucy and then proceed to enjoy every last bite.

There is something so fresh, simple and comforting about beautiful bowl food.  This Asian Noodle Salad Bowl is easily assembled with seasonal ingredients that are combined with a few pantry staples. The result is a beautiful recipe with loads of flavor.

Asian noodle salad bowls are the perfect lunch or dinner bowl, combining the comforting texture of soba noodles with an array of fresh ingredients.  Top the ingredients with the plate-licking spicy peanut sauce and you’ll find yourself adding this beautiful bowl to your regular menu rotation.

I make this Asian noodle salad bowl with all or just a few of the ingredients, depending on what I have on hand.  Sometimes I simply throw a handful of baby greens in the bowl and top with sliced mushrooms, sliced green onions and sesame seeds.  This Asian noodle salad bowl is also delicious with grilled or pan seared Gulf shrimp, tofu or tempeh. This beautiful Asian noodle bowl is always a favorite at my kitchen table.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Asian Noodle Salad Bowl

Serving Size: Makes two bowls

Asian Noodle Salad Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 package buckwheat or traditional soba noodles cooked according to package directions and cooled
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons warm water
  • Salt (optional)
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup sliced or diced red pepper
  • 1/3 cup mung beans
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup sliced radishes
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ avocado, sliced

Instructions

  • In a food processer add the peanut butter, chili sauce, lime juice, vinegar, hoisin sauce, olive oil and two tablespoons of warm water. Blend until the sauces is smooth and creamy. Add additional water to thin the sauce if desired. Season to taste with salt if needed.
  • To assemble the salad bowl, place about one cup of noodles in each bowl. Top with the carrots, red pepper, mung beans, green onions, radishes, basil, cilantro, sesame seeds and avocado. Drizzle with the spicy peanut sauce and serve. Serve with extra sauce for the noodles.
  • Notes

    I originally created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine February/March 2017 issue.

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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad Sassy Side dishes

    Italian Chopped Salad

    Italian Chopped Salad // the perfect spring and summer salad // Karista's Kitchen

    It feels so good to write today.  It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve missed writing and posting recipes and all the deliciousness that comes with blogging.  I miss reading the comments and responding – and feeling like I have my very own secret food club of sorts. 😉

    So, today I’m back on the blog sharing one of the many salads I make for my family.  The Italian Chopped Salad.

    I first developed this Italian Chopped Salad for the lovely professionals at Home By Design Magazine.  It was published last year and although I’ve always meant to post it here, I think I forgot about it.  Until I made it just last week for the Bennett Crew.

    This salad is everything a salad wants to be.  Crunchy, crispy, spicy and flavorful, loaded with fresh romaine and radicchio for a lovely blend of greens and tossed with Italian salami, pepperocini’s, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and mozzarella or  smoked provolone.  If I’ve got a few extra ingredients hanging around in the fridge just waiting to be used, I’ll toss those in too.

    Italian Chopped Salad // Karista's Kitchen

    A chopped salad is a salad in which all ingredients are fairly uniformly chopped.  Which makes the salad easy to dress and easy to eat.  There’s no need to use a knife to cut smaller bite sized pieces of lettuce greens or other veggies.  Just a lovely dish of evenly chopped vegetables dressed and ready to eat.  Chopped salads were über trendy a few years ago.  However, in my salad book, chopped salads have been in style for a very long time and I don’t see them trending down anytime soon.

    This Italian Chopped Salad is the perfect spring or summer entrée and it makes a festive side dish to homemade pizza or an Italian pork roast.  It’s one of those salads that is so completely lovely on a warm evening when dinner is served al fresco and the wine flows freely.   Can you tell I’m in summer mode? Even though the temps are back down to the high 60’s here, my summer heart (and palate) moves on.

    Cheers to the approaching warm weather, dinners on the patio, sunsets, chilled wine and Italian Chopped Salad!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Italian Chopped Salad

    Serving Size: 4-6 as an entree

    Italian Chopped Salad

    Ingredients

    • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
    • 1 head radicchio, chopped
    • 6-8 ounces Italian dry salami, chopped or sliced
    • 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella, diced or the small bite sized Mozzarella balls called Ciliegine (you can also use 8 ounces smoked provolone, diced)
    • ½ cup pepperoncini peppers, stemmed and chopped
    • ½ - ¾ cup seedless kalamata olives, halved
    • ½ - 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
    • ½ cup diced or thinly sliced red onion
    • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced chiffonade
    • ½ cup diced cucumber (optional)
    • ½ cup diced marinated artichokes (optional)

    Instructions

  • Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl gently toss together all the remaining ingredients. Just before serving, dress the salad with half of the vinaigrette, using more if needed. Lastly, season with a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad Sassy Side dishes

    Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

    Mango Avocado and Quinoa Salad // So perfect for spring roasts or summer grilling // Karista's Kitchen

    I woke up at 3am the other morning thinking about Mango Avocado Salsa and how delicious it would be in a salad. Because honestly, I could eat Mango Avocado Salsa like a salad.

    And wouldn’t that salad be so fantastic if I added some quinoa and maybe greens?  Then I thought to myself how much you would love this salad!  So the next morning, I had to make it.

    It turned out just as tasty as I thought it would.  Quinoa, red onion, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, fresh parsley, lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, a little pepper, avocado, mango and micro greens.  It. Is. Divine. 🙂

    Mango Avocado and Quinoa Salad // So perfect for lunch, brunch or summer grilling // Karista's Kitchen

    I had a little leftover yesterday and added it to baby spring greens and dressed it with some of my leftover honey mustard dressing and that was equally as delicious.

    I’ve listed the recipe below but truly, you can create this salad to your tastes.  Adding more greens or less onions, more avocado and less mango.  It’s a base recipe so have fun and create an enticing spring and summer salad that will be so fabulous for brunch, lunch or with spring roasts or summer grilling.

    Wishing you all a most marvelous weekend!

    Loads of love,

    Karista

    PS: Thank you all so much for your heart warming and thoughtful comments about my last post, My Lost Love for Social Media.  I adore you all and I feel so lucky to have such an incredibly lovely group of engaging readers!

    Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

    Serving Size: 4

    Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup quinoa, cooked to package directions (Einkorn or other ancient grain works well too)
    • 1/2 cup diced red onion
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • 1 lime juiced
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1-2 mangos, diced
    • 1-2 avocados, diced
    • Handful of micro greens
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Fresh baby greens, baby spinach or arugula if desired
    • Crumbled Cotija cheese, optional

    Instructions

  • Prepare the quinoa according to package directions and then let it cool.
  • Toss together the quinoa, onions, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, fresh parsley, lime juice and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Layer the salad on a platter or plate with the quinoa, mango, avocado and top with micro greens. Garnish with Cotija cheese if desired or serve the entire salad over a platter or plate of baby greens.
  • For a little extra dressing, whisk together 1 part lime juice with 2 parts olive oil and a dash of honey, salt and pepper. This makes a quick lime vinaigrette. Adding a little Dijon mustard to it is also nice.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad

    Apple Jicama Slaw

    Apple Jicama Slaw with a creamy apple cider vinegar dressing // Karista's Kitchen

    Crunchy, sweet, crisp and tangy, this Apple Jicama Slaw seems the perfect combination of flavors and textures.

    We eat a lot of salad and slaw at my house which sometimes challenges my salad making creativity, especially when I make a salad for almost every dinner meal.

    I adore using all sorts of fun and fresh ingredients for our salads and often they’re simply composed of whatever is left in the fridge and whatever is fresh on the counter.   And of course, whatever might be in season.

    This is definitely apple season and I have quite a few sitting on my counter.  I also keep jicama in the fridge for when my snack craving gets the best of me.  This oval-shaped root vegetable has a beautifully crisp and slightly sweet texture which makes it a great snack to reach for when you’re hungry.  If you’ve never tried jicama, it’s definitely worth the effort.  Slice away the rough brown exterior and you’ll find a creamy white flesh that is perfect for slicing and snacking, julienne or grated for salads, and in Mexico, you’ll find it served sliced, chilled, seasoned with salt, chili powder and lime juice.

    Apple and Jicama Slaw // Karista's Kitchen

    I created a mayonnaise based dressing for this Apple Jicama Slaw recipe, however, a yogurt base would be just as delicious.  For a non-dairy version, a lime vinaigrette with a hint of Dijon would also be tasty.

    I serve this salad a la carte for lunch or a light dinner and on occasion I’ll serve it with heartier fare, such as Cajun spiced shrimp or grilled or roasted chicken.  I also serve this Apple Jicama Slaw with my Slow Roasted Mexican Pork Tacos –  for taco perfection!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Apple and Jicama Slaw

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Apple and Jicama Slaw

    Ingredients

    • 1 head of Napa Cabbage, halved and sliced into shreds
    • 2 cups grated or julienned jicama
    • 2 cups thinly sliced apples
    • 1 handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
    • ¾ cup mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons of sugar
    • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place the cabbage and jicama in a large bowl and lightly toss with some of the dressing.
  • Pour the dressed cabbage and jicama onto a platter or in a serving bowl and then top with the thinly sliced apples and chopped fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
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    Appetizers Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad vegetarian

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad



    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad

    I’m in salad mode these days and this gorgeous Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad is my obsession as of late.

    I’m harvesting a plethora of produce from my garden and what I didn’t grow or can’t grow, I’m finding at our local farmer’s market and farms around the valley.  I feel like a kid in a candy store!

    My arugula grew beyond my expectations and my Swiss Chard is still going strong, which makes me super happy.  Swiss Chard is my favorite leafy green; I adore it for it’s peppery bite and it’s a bit more hearty when sautéed.  It makes the loveliest fillings for morning omelets or frittatas and works well in my simple weeknight one dish meal of white rice, sliced green onions, sliced fresh mushrooms, diced roasted poblanos (optional) and ground Italian sausage for the Bennett Crew and a poached egg for me. 🙂

    Due to my exploding arugula, I’ve created more recipes to include arugula this year than ever before.  However, with the heat recently, I try not to turn on the oven, so this Roasted Fig and Arugula salad plus a grilled entrée is often served for dinner.  Actually, I can eat this salad without anything else, that’s how much I love it.

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad

    I roast the figs early in the day and then refrigerate them.  Or I’ll grill the figs if I get busy and forget to roast them.

    I dress the arugula with a honey balsamic vinaigrette, a pinch of salt and pepper and then layer with the roasted figs and crumbled goat cheese for the yummiest and most indulgent Roasted Fig and Arugula salad.

    Although it’s been a hot summer, it’s been a lovely summer.  Quick day trips to the coast and dining at my absolute favorite coastal seafood restaurant, Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, hikes in the mountains with Tank and a visit with my sweet family.  The best part of this summer?  No moves! I’ve moved the last two summers and it feels so nice to be settled and enjoying the season.  Even if it’s been brutally hot.

    I hope you’re enjoying your summer, staying cool and spending lots of time gathered around the table with family and friends.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad with Crumbled Goat Cheese

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad with Crumbled Goat Cheese

    Ingredients

    • 4-6 cups of baby arugula leaves
    • 1-2 pints fresh figs
    • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (or more to taste)
    • 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1-2 tablespoons
    • 2-3 tablespoons honey
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  • Slice the figs in half and then toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Place the figs in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until they are soft and a little caramelized.
  • Remove the figs from the oven and let them cool.
  • Whisk together the 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle a bit of the vinaigrette over the arugula and toss. Plate the arugula and then layer with the roasted figs, drizzling a bit more vinaigrette over the figs if desired, and then sprinkle with the crumbled goat cheese.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

    Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Sliced Red Onions and Fresh Basil // Karista's Kitchen

    This is the time of year I’m in food heaven. Summer produce is at its peak and it adorns my table with gorgeous color and delicious flavors, like this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad.  

    Most of the plants in my garden are ready to harvest, with the exception of the few plants that have suffered little critter attacks, the heat and my apparent lack of gardening knowledge.  I was so excited about my little strawberry patch, only to walk out one morning and notice tiny teeth marks on my sweet red berries.  Darn bunnies. 🙁

    I have a short list of plants I probably won’t attempt growing next year.  I have completely failed at sugar snap peas – and I love sugar snap peas.  Disappointment is looming.  I’m not sure what happened but I think I may have planted them in the wrong spot in the yard.  My knack for growing cauliflower never emerged this season… and then the white flies noticed the fledgling cauliflower hanging about and pretty much decimated what was left of the cauliflower crop.

    I’ve had a few successes however.  I am awesome at growing greens!  Which is great because we eat loads of greens in my house.  Bok Choy, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Collards are being harvested daily.  My spring lettuce flourished as did the arugula.  Tomatoes will be ready soon and the cucumbers are popping out everywhere.  Another huge success are the peppers, which is making Ranger Craig very happy.  He could eat peppers daily.  And of course my herb garden is overflowing with the most beautiful and fragrant herbs.  Ok, so I have somewhat of a green thumb.  I believe it may be more determination than an actual green thumb. 🙂

    Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Red onion and Fresh Basil in a Sherry Vinaigrette

    The one vegetable I do wish I’d grown in my garden this year is corn –  so I could make this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad straight from my garden.  

    Summer isn’t summer without corn. And well… potato salad, grilled ribs, grilled chicken, burgers, grilled stuffed peppers, macaroni salad and I could go on and on.  Maybe it’s the memories it evokes, noshing on corn on the cob with smears of butter on warm summer days, or watching my family dig into a bowl of this sweet corn and tomato salad.

    Grilled summer corn and tomato salad is a staple on our summer table.  

    It’s easy to prepare and it holds well in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Although it doesn’t last that long in my house.   Slightly sweet from the corn and a little tang of fresh cherry tomatoes combined with a little spice of sliced red onion and then topped with fresh and fragrant basil.  The simplicity of clean, fresh flavors shines through and is melded together by a little taste of char from the grilled corn.  Earthy, fresh, fragrant and most of all, delicious.

    Cheers to a delicious and fun-filled summer!

    Loads Of Love,

    Karista

    P.S. Having a little trouble with my print plugin but hopefully it will be fixed soon.  Thanks so much for your patience!

    Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

    Ingredients

    5-6 cobs of fresh summer corn, husks peeled and rinsed

    1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

    1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

    1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped chiffonade (Julienne)

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

    2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (start with 2 tablespoons and taste, if you need more add the extra tablespoon)

    Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    Directions

    Pre-heat the grill to 400F.  Brush each corn on the cob with a little oil and then wrap each corn on the cob in aluminum foil and place them on the grill.  Note: Some people like to soak the corn on the cobs in water for about 10-15 minutes prior to grilling.  But if the corn is fresh and kernels look plump, this step won’t be needed. I don’t typically soak my corn prior to grilling unless its end of the season and the kernels look less than plump.

    Grill the corn for about 15-20 minutes, turning with tongs every five minutes to insure even cooking.  Once the corn is done, remove from the heat and let them rest for about five minutes.  Then unwrap the corn and let them rest another five minutes if they are too hot to handle.  Then scrape all the corn off the cob and place it in a bowl.

    To assemble the salad, gently toss together the corn, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, chopped Italian parsley and basil.  Whisk together the olive oil and sherry vinegar and then gently toss with the vegetables.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    This salad is fabulous when it’s had about 30 minutes to sit on the counter at room temperature.  This will allow all those delicious flavors to meld together.  Place any leftover salad in a covered container in the fridge for up to five days.

     

     

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Roasted Heirloom Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad


    Roasted Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad 2
    The month of June has been filled with a plethora of emotions.  Professional angst led the way with big decisions looming and changes on the horizon.  I had exciting but tough decisions to consider that made my focus narrow and kept my head buried.  That’s when life came to a screeching halt.

    We lost a beloved family member unexpectedly. And although this lovely lady led an adventurous and fulfilled life, it was heartbreaking to lose her.  We spent a week in my old stomping ground, sitting around the old wood table rehashing memories, sorting, giving things away and just when I thought there wasn’t a bright light to be seen, I stumbled upon an old friend that I haven’t seen since the age of 13.  We cried. We sat on sofas and visited, reminisced, laughed, shared stories of our children and remembered why we had been good friends.

    Before leaving the old stomping ground, Ranger Craig and I found the sweetest cafe that serves traditional food of the region.  Cuisine I know well, food from my childhood and adolescence, meals that hold memories.  Ranger Craig and I indulged in Fried Catfish, hushpuppies, coleslaw, chicken fried steak with white gravy, fried okra and sweet tea.  It was a feast!  We left with smiles on our faces and memories swirling in our thoughts.

    I returned home, washed clothes, took Tank to his favorite kennel and then headed to the airport for the second time in two weeks.  A family reunion was happening and I couldn’t miss it.  Exhausted but energized because I would see family that I haven’t seen in two years.  More tears, hugs and loads of chatter and conversation.  Nieces, nephew, brother, sisters, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and people I had no idea I was related to… all merging at my parents home for a celebration.

    The noise levels raised as the house and backyard filled with familiar faces, children’s laughter and larger than life characters with a penchant for comical relief.  Once again food was central around this celebration table.  We served my Mom’s favorite eggplant parmesan, a penne with a tomato cream sauce, lasagna Bolognese, caprese salad, Caesar salad and of course cake for dessert.  I don’t think we have a speck of Italian heritage but it seems to be one of my family’s favorite types of cuisine.  It feels comforting.  It feels like home.

    I’ve always identified with the familiar phrase “home is where the heart is”.  It seems a bit cliché sometimes, but it couldn’t ring more true this month.  I’ve left a piece of my heart in many places and with many people who I share memories and special moments.

    Once again, I find food to be a common denominator.  Much of life is lived around the table (or, at least mine is).  Sharing a meal and sharing time; creating memories.  Cementing emotions and eventually leaving a piece of my heart with the moment.

    We’re home now and I find myself missing my loved ones.  My twin sister and my brother who I feel so connected it would be hard to breathe without them.  My beautiful and loving sister-in-law who is the best sister-in-law in the world.  So much that I call her simply, my sister.   My precious kids. All of them. My own daughters, my nieces, my nephew – giving me so much joy in my life that my heart just might burst.  As my Auntie Ellen would say… they are completely delicious. 🙂

    I’ve gotten terribly mushy with this post. I try to keep these posts mostly about food but I couldn’t help myself today.  Although I don’t know each of you individually, I want to thank you for following Karista’s Kitchen.  Thank you for loving the recipes, for your kind comments and for using them to create your “life around the table”.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Roasted Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad with Marinated Mozzarella // Karista's Kitchen

    Roasted Heirloom Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad 

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    1-2 pints cherry tomatoes or Heirloom cherry tomatoes

    1 container or 2 cups marinated mozzarella balls, cherry tomato size (ciliegine)

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1-2 tablespoons aged, good quality balsamic vinegar

    1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (Julienne) or hand torn (save a little for garnish)

    Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    Directions

    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    Toss the tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Transfer the tomatoes to a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast them in the oven for about 5-8 minutes or just until they are wilted.  You only want to bring the sugars (sweetness) out of the tomatoes so don’t leave them in too long or they will be too mushy.

    In a large bowl toss the marinated mozzarella with the fresh basil.  Then gently fold in the tomatoes and then pour onto a platter.  Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil on the salad and then the 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  Season with another pinch of salt and pepper and then garnish with remaining fresh basil.

    Serve room temperature or slightly chilled.

    *This recipe was originally created for Home By Design Magazine

     

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad vegetarian

    Arugula, Spring Peas, Asparagus and Feta in an Herbed Vinaigrette

    Arugula, spring peas, asparagus and feta in an herbed vinaigrette // Karista's Kitchen

    My spring greens are wildly growing out of the garden boxes and it’s only mid-April!  Every morning Tank and I walk outside to preview the spring greens that have popped up or grown an inch overnight.  We fight with nagging slugs that are taking pleasure in dining on my Pok Choy and then we snip greens for salad and sautéing.  Tank pretends to be interested in my garden boxes but I’m not fooled; he only accompanies me outside to chase imaginary critters out of the back yard.

    This week it was all about pok choy and arugula.  Although some of the spinach found it’s way into breakfast.  I had so much arugula, I was making arugula, granny smith apple and hummus roll ups and this lovely arugula salad all week long.  I even ate it one morning for breakfast… with a fried egg on top. Delicious!

    Sal de Ibiza from Little Lace Box and Karista's Kitchen

    Spring produce is the first gift of the the growing season.  The bright green leafy produce have endless amounts of uses and can be combined with so many other delicious produce of the season.   Using these delicious greens should be effortless and simply prepared.  The flavors are so delightful, I wouldn’t want to overshadow them with additional heavy ingredients.  So I’ve kept this salad light and happy – dressing it with finely chopped fresh herbs from my garden, a splash of lemon, extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper and finished with a lovely Sal de Ibiza Fleur de Sel from Karista’s Kitchen Store.  A lovely spring salad for a lovely spring day.

    Wishing you everything beautiful and delicious in this spring season!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Arugula, Spring Peas, Asparagus and Feta in an Herbed Vinaigrette

    Serving Size: 4

    Arugula, Spring Peas, Asparagus and Feta in an Herbed Vinaigrette

    Ingredients

      For the Salad
    • 2-3 cups arugula leaves
    • 1 cup baby sweet peas (thawed if using frozen)
    • 1 cup roasted or steamed asparagus
    • 1/2 cup feta cheese (I love to use Valbreso Sheep's Milk Feta on this salad)
      For the Vinaigrette
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (about the juice from one large lemon)
    • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
    • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • Pinch of sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
    • Black pepper and sea salt to taste
    • Fleur de Sel to finish

    Instructions

  • Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, chopped herbs and Dijon Mustard if using. Season to taste with black pepper and a little sea salt.
  • In a bowl, add the arugula, peas and asparagus. Toss the greens with some of the vinaigrette (to your taste) and then plate the salad onto 4 salad plates or one large platter.
  • Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel and then garnish with Feta Cheese. Serve immediately.
  • Notes

    Sometimes I serve this salad as a lunch entree with brie or goat cheese on crostini, slightly warmed and toasted in the oven and then drizzled with honey.

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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Red Quinoa Lunch Salad

    Red Quinoa Lunch Salad // Karista's Kitchen

    You know that salad you’ve always got to have on hand, stocked in the fridge, or someone in the family just might have a meltdown?  Yep, that is this salad.

    I first dined on this salad at my favorite co-op market in Seattle many years ago, PCC Natural Markets.  Not only did I work as a cheese specialist at PCC Natural Markets, but I also taught culinary classes at their IACP award winning culinary school, PCC Cooks, for four years.  A fantastic group of professionals committed to our community farms, quality food and nutrition. I couldn’t have asked for a more gratifying place to work.  I met the loveliest and most interesting people, including fellow chef’s, nutritionists and culinary instructors.  Some are now dear friends – I love it when that happens!

    This red quinoa salad was always served in the deli at my local PCC Natural Market.  I never left the store without a medium container filled to the brim with this salad.  Sometimes I’d hide it in the back of my refrigerator when I got home; so I could at least sneak a few bites before the rest of my family found it and devoured it.

    Red Quinoa Lunch Salad // Karista's Kitchen

    I now live about 275 miles south of the nearest PCC Natural Market – so I make this salad at home.  I snagged this recipe (called Red Quinoa Tabouli on the website) and ended up adapting it a bit to suit my family’s tastes.  My family dubbed it the “Red Quinoa Lunch Salad” because that’s usually when everyone wants to eat it;  at lunch.

    My family has also been known to add extra ingredients like Italian salami, sweet peppers, bay shrimp, grilled chicken and on occasion Ranger Craig will toss it with some smoked salmon.  However it’s served it’s nutty, fragrant, full of flavor and so completely satisfying.

    Wishing you all a fantastic weekend.  Don’t forget to move the clock forward one hour! I’m already feeling sleep deprived just thinking about it.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Red Quinoa Lunch Salad

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Red Quinoa Lunch Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups dry red quinoa, rinsed
    • 2 1/3 cups water
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
    • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
    • 1 cucumber, chopped
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
    • Avocado slices for garnish

    Instructions

  • In a medium pan bring the 2 1/3 cups water to a boil. Add the quinoa and bring it back to a boil. Cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about five minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit for another five or ten minutes until the quinoa has sprouted or is cooked. Drain well, if needed. Cool in the refrigerator.
  • Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard and sugar. Toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa and then add the lightly fold in the green onions, cilantro, cucumbers and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Let the salad sit overnight or for a few hours so the flavors can meld together. Serve cold or at room temp.
  • Garnish with Avocado slices.
  • Notes

    This recipe was slightly adapted from the PCC Natural Markets Red Quinoa Tabouli.

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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Citrus and Arugula Salad with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Citrus and Arugula Salad with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts // Karista's Kitchen

    There are moments, much to my children’s dismay, random musings come flying out of my mouth and I realize at that exact moment, most likely my young ladies etiquette training didn’t quite stick.  What would my Grandmother say?

    Yes, I had my very own GrandMama.  My paternal Grandmother was a proper lady and a stickler for manners. When I was very young, I would spend hours at her little pink house learning the fine art of a tea party, listening to fascinating stories about her ancestry, learning how to be a gracious hostess and how to sing opera.  We always had tea and toast (Grandmother’s substitute for English biscuits) and my sister, Grandmother and I would all take turns singing Grandmother’s favorite song, Que Sera Sera.  

    I was young when my Grandmother passed but she often pops into my thoughts, especially when I do something she wouldn’t approve; which sort of makes me giggle because I can just hear her “Tsk Tsk!”.  I always think of her when I watch Downton Abbey or when my daughters use the wrong cutlery at the table.  I’m not sure she would have cared for the world we live in today… but I think that’s why she charms me.  A character bigger than life, although she stood a scant 5 feet tall.  Living in times past, always regaling me with stories and tall tales that never ceased to amuse me.

    Little Lace Box

    I thought of Grandmother again this week when my Little Lace Box arrived.  Oh how she would have loved this box! The January Little Lace Box was curated around a theme they call “The Dining Car”.  The theme is to commemorate the beginning of the fifth season of Downton Abbey on PBS.  The box was curated on the notion of “practical vintage”.  The perfect mix of vintage, beauty and practicality.  I can honestly tell you it is the perfect mix of products for me.  Little Lace Box brings the designer to you in an online boutique and curated monthly box full of fabulous finds created by up-and-coming designers.  I love that this company highlights the work of new designers, artists, food artisans and many more.  This is what we all need when we’re starting the  long walk down our entrepreneurial path! A company that will believe in our work, our art and share it with the world.

    Little Lace Box

    I realize this is a recipe website but I adore Little Lace Box so much I wanted to share it with you – along with a recipe of course.  A recipe that would have been approved by my Grandmother. She would have loved this salad.  So fresh, so lovely and on the prettiest little plate.

    One of the most fantastic things about working in my field is all the beautiful people I have the pleasure of meeting.   So many wonderful people who make a lasting impression on me and my work.  The lovely Carolina was our tour guide and historian for my DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience in 2103.  Yep, I’m still talking about that trip because it was so completely heavenly.  Carolina is not only beautiful on the outside, she is every bit as beautiful on the inside. I enjoyed every moment we shared, chatting about life, love, history, art, culture and of course food.  She shared with me this delectable salad that she often makes in her home.  I adapted it a tiny bit, adding the cheese, but it is just as lush and fresh and delicious with or without the cheese.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Citrus and Arugula Salad with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Serving Size: 2-3

    Citrus and Arugula Salad with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup assorted citrus wedges (grapefruit,mandarin oranges, blood oranges,etc)
    • 2-3 cups baby arugula leaves, packed
    • 1/3 cup feta cheese (or sub with goats cheese)
    • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
    • Drizzle good quality aged balsamic vinegar
    • Drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • In a large bowl, toss the arugula with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • Divide among 2 or 3 plates and then top with citrus and dust with feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Mixed Greens and Mandarin Orange Salad with Candied Nuts

    Mixed Greens with Mandarin Oranges, Candied Nuts and Parsley Vinaigrette // Karista's Kitchen

    Every new year I choose a “word” for the year.  It’s a word to reflect on and possibly keep me on track or aspire to.

    Last year I chose two words. I couldn’t decide.  My husband would tell you the word “Decisive” should have been thrown into the collection.  (I’d like to believe “indecisive” just means that I think creatively.  My husband loved that explanation.)

    However, I felt in some way, both words I chose reflected my thankfulness for friends and family and reminded me how much I value the people in my life.  Connect and Listen.  That last one is a toughie.  And I bet you’re asking yourself “how’d that workout for you Karista?”  Let’s just say I felt fairly successful at staying connected.   “Listen” is a forever word.  For me, a word that will be a continuous work in progress.  I hope to master it someday.  Not just listening to others, but listening to myself.  Sometimes we know best, we just don’t listen.

     

    Mixed Greens with Mandarin Oranges, Candied Nuts and Parsley Vinaigrette// Karista's Kitchen

    This year I chose the word “Nourish”.  It’s the very foundation of this blog. It’s why I made the decision to go to culinary school 15 years ago; it’s why I decided to change career paths; it’s why I decided I wanted to teach home chefs the secrets to cooking well at home. It’s why I decided to share with you my most loved recipes. Recipes that are creative, sometimes playful, achievable and always delicious. Recipes that bring me joy – putting a smile on my face and on my taste buds.

    Nourish is also the word that reminds me to support and encourage, to cherish and strengthen – Not only my family and friends but myself as well.

    The new year is about nourishing my mind with new ideas, creativity, new books to read and new techniques to master.

    The new year is about nourishing my body with whole foods, supporting local agriculture and yes, more exercise with more time spent outdoors.

    The new year is also about nourishing my soul – with more quiet time, more time with friends and family, more time spent listening.  Ah… we’re back to that word again.

    In this busy world of ours it’s so easy to forget to nourish ourselves.  Despite what our busy minds tell us, it’s not a selfish act; it’s an act of love for those around us. If we’re nourished and feeling happy and healthy, we’re better able to care for those we cherish.

    I realize it’s easy to say that now while I’m sitting here at my computer – first day back from a refreshing winter break.  I know it will be much harder to achieve when the work deadlines are looming and the family is pacing in front of my office door because they’re hungry and in need of dinner.  But I vow to nourish myself so that I can support and cherish others.  Including you!

    This is going to be one DELICIOUS year.  I’m excited about all the new recipes, classic recipes revised and revisited, recipes to make your dinner hour easier and recipes that will nourish, enlighten and delight!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    This is a refreshing salad with the most delicious combination of flavors.  Don’t let the simplicity fool you! For a quick meal, I pair this salad with grilled or pan seared shrimp, scallops, salmon or chicken.

    A dear friend made this salad for me years ago.  She’s no longer with us in person, but she will always be with me in spirit.  Thanks C!

    Mixed Greens and Mandarin Orange Salad with Candied Nuts

    Serving Size: 2-3

    Mixed Greens and Mandarin Orange Salad with Candied Nuts

    Ingredients

    • 4-5 cups of your favorite washed greens. I like a mix of seasonal greens.
    • 1/3 cup assorted chopped nuts (pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, whatever you like)
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • one sheet of wax paper or aluminum foil
    • 1 cup mandarin orange slices, or more to taste
    • 1/4 cup sliced scallions/green onions (I like about 1/3 cup. I love green onions and they are excellent for gut health)
      For the vinaigrette
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Place the greens in a bowl. Reserve.
  • If you don't have wax paper, grease aluminum foil or parchment paper with oil. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the sugar to the skillet. Just when the sugar begins to turn into liquid, add the nuts and quickly stir. Take the pan off the heat and pour the candied nuts in a single layer onto the greased foil or parchment or the wax paper. Let them cool and then break into small pieces.
  • Next, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey and Italian parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Toss the greens with the vinaigrette and then transfer to a salad bowl or platter, or individual plates. Top the greens with the sliced scallions/green onions, mandarin oranges and garnish with candied nuts. Serve immediately.
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    Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Red Cabbage, Apple and Carrot Coleslaw

    Photo credit: Food Matters Website

    Recently, Ranger Craig and I watched the full length feature film documentary, Food Matters.  A compelling look at the food we eat and how it affects our health and well-being.  It’s an absolute truth that we are what we eat.  Food can affect our bodies and minds either positively or negatively;  all the more reason to keep your food real and consume less processed foods.

    Fresh and flavorful whole foods are a treat to the taste buds.  Whole and healthy foods don’t have to be tasteless, but can be transformed into divine and delicious meals. Using fresh herbs, aromatics (onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, peppers, etc.), spices, healthy oils and whole seasonings keep the fresh foods bursting with flavor while nourishing our bodies.

    So, when you serve your next barbecue pork, chicken or beef (all natural and organic of course), try serving this delicious fresh whole foods mixed coleslaw salad with your meal.  It will complement your main dish, give your body health boosting nutrients and satisfy your taste buds.

    I loved this recipe so much I wanted to share!  Recipe (and photo) adapted from the Food Matters website. 

    Serves 3-4 (recipe easily doubled)

    Ingredients

    • 3 cup of red cabbage (thinly sliced)
    • 6 carrots (peeled and thinly sliced)
    • 1 granny smith apple (thinly sliced)
    • 1-2 cups fresh spring greens (optional)
    • 1/4 cup of sesame seeds
(toasted if you like)
    • 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (raw or organic if you can find it)
    • 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

    handful of pecans or walnuts for garnish (I like the nuts toasted)

    Directions

    Use a knife or food processor to chop the cabbage, carrots and apple Julienne style. Throw your sesame seeds in (I like using black and white sesame seeds) or toast them lightly in a frying pan.
 Toss all of this together.

    For the dressing combine the ginger, vinegar and oil and stir with a spoon.  Add this to the cabbage, carrots and apples evenly.
    Top with more sesame seeds (fantastic source of Calcium).  Salt and pepper to taste and add pecan nuts for a delicious nutty taste.

    Enjoy!