Browsing Tag

summer salads

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

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with green onions, pickle relish, shredded carrots and cilantro // Karista's Kitchen

Simply saying the word “summer” evokes some of the sweetest of memories.  Grilling outdoors with a cold beverage or tasty cocktail in hand, fresh fruit in abundance sitting on the kitchen counter, berry picking until our hands are bright red or purple, sweet cobblers and homemade ice cream, walking barefoot (my favorite!) and feeling the earth beneath my feet and of course Macaroni Salad.

Summer just wouldn’t be summer without macaroni salad.

I’ve made Grandma Eilene’s Macaroni Salad for years and my Bennett Crew adores this side dish.  However, recently I developed and photographed another very popular macaroni salad for my lovely clients, Home By Design Magazine.  Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.  Not surprising that it was a huge hit at my house.  I’d sampled versions of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad when visiting Maui a few years ago and I totally fell in love with this version of the quentisential American side dish.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is still macaroni salad but it’s loaded with all sorts of delicious ingredients.  

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad // Karista's Kitchen

It’s quite heavy on the mayonnaise as well, which doesn’t bother me one bit because I love mayonnaise.  I love it so much I’m terrified we’ll run out so I keep two extra jars in the pantry at all times.  I also make mayonnaise on occasion and my homemade version is so absolutely divine in this salad. Using your favorite mayonnaise is key because mayonnaise plays a big part in flavoring this salad.

I’ve recently discovered this mayonnaise from Thrive Market. My new favorite!  My youngest gal is allergic to canola oil, for reasons I won’t get into here unless you want me to stand on my non-GMO and Monsanto is bad soapbox. 😉  So I’m always looking for a tasty alternative mayonnaise to keep in stock.  On occasion I can find this at my local market but most of the time I purchase through Thrive Market.  This online market is such a convenient option for all your healthy pantry items, not to mention many of the items are priced less at Thrive Market than at my own market.

No kickbacks or payment for this mention, I just wanted to pass on my fun and fabulous find!   I still support local as much as possible. While were on the subject of supporting local… I love Barn2Door for my other local and regional ingredients.  Clean, sustainable food right from the people who grew it! 

Now that we’ve chatted mayonnaise and markets, I’ll get back to the rest of the salad ingredients.  I include shredded carrots, cilantro, sliced green onions, sweet pickle relish, sometimes shredded or cubed cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs and avocado slices for garnish.  Loaded with flavor and texture, Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a deliciously festive side dish for all our summer barbecues.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy summer!

Loads of Love,


Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Serving Size: 6

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

You’ve never had a macaroni salad quite like Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. Creamy, dreamy and filled with flavor, this salad is fresh comfort food at it’s best. Traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is laced with a sizeable amount of mayonnaise. Personally, I adore mayonnaise and often make it at home. But if it’s not on your favorite ingredient list, feel free to adjust measurements.


  • 1 lb macaroni pasta cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 4-5 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped or sliced
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar (optional)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Avocado slices for garnish


  • In a large bowl, add the shredded carrots, chopped cilantro, hard boiled eggs and green onion to the cooked macaroni.
  • Then gently fold in the mayonnaise, white wine vinegar and pickle relish. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Let the macaroni salad sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will help the macaroni absorb all the delicious flavors.
  • To serve, place the macaroni salad in a large serving bowl and garnish with avocado slices.
  • Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

    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,


    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


    • 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


  • 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.
  • Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin



    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad vegetarian VRAI Magazine

    Blueberry and Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

    Blueberry Spinach Salad with Goats Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

    There are loads of fun and exciting things happening at VRAI Magazine, besides this delish recipe of course.

    VRAI Magazine is designing our first ever digital issue for the holiday season.  We are so excited about all the fabulous stories, recipes, travel, DIY, Fashion and lifestyle articles all surrounding the holiday season.  We’ve launched a Kickstarter video and we’d love your support!  Click  HERE and check out the video.  You’ll get to see and hear from all of us.  Including a snippet from Moi. 🙂

    VRAI Magazine is also where you’ll find this lovely and seasonal salad recipe.  Click HERE for the recipe.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

    As often as we possibly can, Ranger Craig and I head to the ocean.  Just to stroll, hike if we’re feeling ambitious, tour the light houses or sit quietly on the cliffs watching for passing whales and playful seals.  Snapping pictures each with our own cameras and then comparing photos to see who got the best shot.

    Whether its cloudy, foggy, misty or sunny – just spending time by the sea makes me feel a little more renewed and seems to refill my artistic coffer.  Sort of clearing my mind of the busy week behind me and all the tasks that had to be tackled.

    Newport, Oregon

    My most treasured reason for spending time at the ocean is of course, the seafood.  And there is none better than the delightful, inventive, fresh and delicious cuisine at Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, Oregon.  It’s such a pleasure to dine at Local Ocean, watching the all the talented prep cooks and chefs create their art in the open kitchen.

    Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, Oregon

    The fantastic and professional staff at Local Ocean Seafood!

    After our meal we always stop by Amber’s fish counter for fresh oysters and my absolute favorite chevre, a smoked goats cheese called “Up in Smoke” from our local award-winning Rivers Edge Chevre created at Three Ring Farm here in Western Oregon.

    Rivers Edge Chevre

    Rivers Edge Chevre from Three Ring Farm

    A soft but slightly firm chevre that is wrapped in large maple leaves and smoked to perfection.  Not overly smoky, just ever so slight – enhancing the flavor and texture of this lovely little cheese.  I serve this chevre with assorted crackers or crostini and sometimes alongside a local red pepper jelly or fig preserves.  Such a delicious cheese, I thought it would pair beautifully with summer green beans, dried cherries and toasted pine nuts.  Tossed in a balsamic vinegar and my best California extra virgin olive oil.

    Although this salad is perfectly delicious on its own, while sipping on a little glass of red or white wine, it paired beautifully with our dinner of Chicken Gaston Gerard.  This salad will also make a lovely summer side for grilled meats, poultry and fish.

    If you ever venture to Newport, Oregon, dining at Local Ocean Seafood is a must.  Tell Ms. Amber that Karista sent you by!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Green Bean and Smoked Goat’s Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Serves 4


    1 lb fresh green beans

    4 oz smoked chevre or more if you love your chevre (if you can’t find smoked chevre feel free to sub with your favorite soft goats cheese.  A flavorful goats cheese is excellent on this salad)

    A handful of dried cherries

    ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

    2-3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar

    3-4 tablespoons California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste


    To Blanch the green beans:

    Begin by filling a large pot half way up with water or enough to cover the beans.  Do not salt the water.  Bring the water to a boil.

    While the water is heating, snap the stem end off the green beans.  I like snapping them by hand but feel free to use a small knife.

    Fill a large bowl with ice water to create an ice bath for the green beans. Have it ready before adding the green beans to the boiling water.

    Add the green beans to the boiling water and let them cook for about 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  You want them crisp tender.  Just this side of raw. Not mushy.

    The easiest way for me to quickly get them from boiling water into ice water is to pour the green beans into a large strainer in the sink and then transfer the beans to the ice bath.   But you can also scoop them out of the boiling water with a handheld mesh strainer and transfer them into the ice bath.

    Let them sit in the ice bath for about 3-4 minutes and then drain.  I like to lightly blot them dry so the vinaigrette will stick to the green beans.

    Prepare the salad:

    Salt and pepper the green beans and then arrange them on a platter.  Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the green beans.  Next sprinkle with crumbled chevre, the dried cherries and toasted pine nuts.

    Serve as a side dish with meat, poultry or seafood.  This is also lovely as a main dish over a bed of mixed greens and a few more veggies, like pickled beets and roasted carrots.  Enjoy!

    Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Mediterranean Couscous Salad

    spring peas, couscous, mint, sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese

    Mediterranean Couscous Salad

    Several years ago my sister, Kristin, who is always on a mission to find the tastiest and simplest dishes, sent me this Couscous Salad recipe.  And since that time its been a staple at my house, especially during the warm summer months.  This salad makes a fabulous side dish to any barbeque or summer meal, but it can also make a great weeknight main meal by adding shredded or diced grilled chicken.

    And in daring, creative Kristin style, my sister will occasionally add an assortment of mediterranean olives and capers and a dash of lemon juice,  just to spice things up a bit.

    Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad (4 – 6  servings)

    Shopping List

    1 box Cous Cous (I prefer Near East brand) parmesan and garlic or pine nut and herbs (or substitute with quinoa for a wheat free version)

    1 Cup frozen organic spring peas

    1 Jar (about 1 Cup) julienned sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and herbs

    ¾ Cup feta cheese, crumbled (or more if you like) (I highly recommend Valbreso French Sheep’s Milk Feta, so yummy!)

    ¼ – ½ Cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped

    Salt and pepper to taste

    To Assemble

    Cook the Cous Cous according to package directions and let cool slightly.

    Fluff with a fork and place the cous cous into a large mixing bowl.  Add the frozen peas and toss with the warm cous cous.

    Next, drain most of the oil, but not all, from the sun dried tomatoes and then add tomatoes and remaining olive oil to the cous cous, lightly toss.  Add the feta, mint, pinch of salt and pepper and toss once more.  Taste for seasoning adding more salt and pepper if needed.

    Meal Ideas

    Add leftover chopped roasted or grilled chicken to your cous cous salad to make a delicious and healthy lunch or dinner.

    For something different, try fresh basil in place of the fresh mint, and pair it with fresh mozzarella in lieu of the feta.