Archive for Summer Salads

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Meyer lemons were something we never saw in our markets here in Vancouver…but thankfully all that’s changed! Heck, even Costco sells them now!  This dressing is excellent and I make it often.  Whenever I find Meyer lemons, I pick up a bunch, squeeze them and freeze the juice for later use.

Makes Approximately 1 Cup

¼ cup Meyer lemon juice
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
½ tsp. stoneground Dijon mustard
1/8 – ¼ tsp. each of dried marjoram, oregano & basil (fresh herbs are wonderful if you have them, simply use 1/2 tsp. of each one)
1 Tbsp. honey
1 ½ tsp. sugar
Salt to taste
¾ cup EVOO

Put everything, except the oil, in the blender & blend until well combined; slowly drizzle in the EVOO until dressing is emulsified or all ingredients are well blended. Taste, adjust seasoning to your taste & enjoy.

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Anne’s Anchovy-less Caesar Salad Dressing

This one is for all of you who hate anchovies as much as I do!  I’ve sampled really fresh, marinated ones in Italy, sorry, they still taste like anchovies!  It’s OK though, my husband adores the little morsels!  The garlic gives it a really good punch. Anne gave me her recipe a really long time ago and we make the dressing often as you can tell from the stained, well-used recipe in the photo. Get out the romaine, parmesan and homemade croutons.

Makes approximately 1 cup

1 egg
2 garlic, coarsely crushed
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
9 Tbsp. EVOO
Dash of salt to taste
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp. lemon juice
2-4 drops of Tabasco
2-4 drops of Worcestershire sauce

Combine everything but the oil in a blender. Blend well. Slowly drizzle in the oil until well emulsified. Pour into a jar & keep chilled for up to 3 or 4 days.

Toss with romaine lettuce leaves, a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese & croutons, toss again.  Enjoy!

If you would like to make your own croutons, please go to Homemade Croutons.  Featured image shows salad with toasted Italian bread drizzled with EVOO…also fabulous!

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Cobb Salad

This is my adaptation of the famous salad.   I absolutely adore Cobb Salad.   From the tang of the blue cheese to the creamy avocado, crunchy lettuce, salty bacon, delicious!  Serve with homemade biscuits** or purchased rolls.  Thinking of starting a “Cobb Salad Club” for everyone I know who loves this salad as much as I do!

Makes 4 – 6 Main Course Servings

Make the Dressing:

You may need to increase the dressing if you are making recipe for 6 people.

DSC_0718.jpg nx23 Tbsp. red-wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup EVO

Whisk together all dressing ingredients, except oil, in a bowl, then very slowly whisk in oil in a thin stream, until emulsified. Or you can do this in a food processor. If you like you can make the dressing 1 hour ahead and store in the fridge until needed.

Make the Salad:

3 skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves (1 ¼ lbs.)
2 ripe avocados
1 head romaine lettuce, cut crosswise into ½” slices
6 bacon slices, cooked until crisp, drained & finely chopped
18 – 24 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 – 4 oz. blue cheese or Roquefort cheese, crumbled
2 – 3 large eggs, hard-boiled, each egg cut into 4 wedges
(opt.) 1 bunch watercress, leaves removed from coarse stems
¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives or green onions

Bring 5 cups of water to a simmer in a large saucepan, add chicken & simmer, covered 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat & cover; let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate to cool completely. This can be done the day before. (You can use leftover chicken breast if you have any, say from a roast chicken). Cut the chicken into 1/2” cubes. Halve, pit & peel avocados. If you rinse them with cold water, they won’t darken for some time. Cut the avocados into slices.

Divide the romaine (& watercress if using) between 4 – 6 dinner plates. Top with the chicken, arrange the avocado slices, egg wedges & cherry tomato halves decoratively around the plate. Sprinkle with the bacon and garnish with chives or green onions.

Serve the salad, passing the dressing.

If you would like to see how to microwave bacon, click Cooking Bacon in the Microwave.

If you would like to make biscuits, click Biscuits.

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Asian Coleslaw With Peanut Dressing

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If you only knew how many recipes I have for coleslaw! It’s seems like there’s at least one from every country in the world! This one is great with any Asian inspired meal and would go well with ribs, chicken or pork chops and I think would be a great addition to a barbecue. Just remember to dress the salad just before serving.

Makes Approximately 8 Serving

DSC_7002 nx2For the Dressing:

6 Tbsp. rice vinegar (not seasoned)
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
5 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter (I would suggest a natural style with no sugar or salt added)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. golden sugar (packed), if you have palm sugar feel free to substitute it for the golden
1 ½ Tbsp. peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 ½ Tbsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. Sriracha sauce (or to taste)

For the Coleslaw:

5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (use a mandoline if you have one)
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (as above)
2 large red bell peppers cut into very thin strips
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into thin strips (or use a food processor), I have an old Mouli, so I used it
8 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Make the Dressing:

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour into a jar with a lid so you can shake it up when you come to dress the coleslaw. You can make this the day before; just remove the dressing from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to use it. I always make the dressing ahead as I find it helps to blend the flavours.

Assemble the Coleslaw:

Combine the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Add the dressing & toss to coat. Season with salt & pepper & serve.

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“Tuscan” Fig Salad

The other day a friend dropped off some fresh figs from her garden…

In anticipation of the fig delivery we had picked up some Pecorino ReNero and a bit of a French bleu cheese (they were out of Gorgonzola Dolce).  We figured this would be the perfect time to assemble a bit of a antipasto/salad so we could use some of he delicious olive oil we bought at Azienda Agricola Casamonti that we only use for drizzling on stuff and also to dribble some of the amazing mosto cotto we picked up in Panzano in Chianti at Stefano’s place, Accademia del Buon Gusto.  Some nice crusty bread might be a good thing too!

DSC_8818 nx2For the Antipasto/Salad:

Some fresh figs, quartered (approximately 2 per person)
Fresh greens
Slices of Proscuitto di Parma, 2 – 3 slices per person
Thin slices of Pecorino
Gorgonzola Dolce (preferably) or another very creamy type blue cheese
The best EVOO you have
Mosto cotto or a good aged balsamic vinegar



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Anne’s Pineapple Shrimp Salads

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This recipe is in homage to the lady who hired me to take over at the executive dining room of a major Canadian bank, when she retired two years later. This salad was always welcomed at the luncheons there, especially after Christmas and New Year’s pig-outs! It is very refreshing and really good. I particularly like to serve biscuits with this salad. Click on the links at the bottom of the recipe for two of my favourite biscuit recipes.

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

DSC_8695 nx2For the Salad:

1 to 1 ½ lbs. cooked shrimp
2 medium sized pineapples (the “Gold” ones are the sweetest)
2 heads butter lettuce; red butter lettuce would be very colourful

Make The Dressing:

1 cup canola oil or other light tasting oil
6 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
1 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp. grated fresh ginger, or more to taste
¾ cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s light is fine)
1 ½ Tbsp. ketchup (4 ½ teaspoons)
¼ tsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 to ¼ tsp. Tabasco
1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper

Garnish: 2 lemons cut into 8 wedges each,
cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Combine the oil, lemon juice, paprika, sugar & ginger in a jar & shake well. Place the shrimp into a large bowl. Pour half the dressing over & marinate in the fridge for an hour to blend the flavours. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the remaining dressing, mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard, Tabasco & white pepper; put aside in the fridge until ready to assemble the salads.

Remove the skin from the pineapples; quarter & remove the cores. Cut the pineapple into bite sized cubes. Tear the lettuce into pieces & arrange on individual dinner plates. Arrange the pineapple cubes in a mound on top of the lettuce; drain the shrimp & place on top of the pineapple cubes. Either drizzle with the dressing or pass dressing separately. Garnish with cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, green onions & lemon wedges.

**I particularly like this salad with Anne’s bran biscuits but my homemade buttermilk biscuits are equally good.

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Curried Rice Salad

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If you are in the mood for the taste of curry, this salad is for you!  We barbecued some chicken wings to have with it…delicious!  And it would be great to take to a barbecue! You can add cooked barbecued chicken or Chinese barbecued pork to make it into a main course salad too.

Makes Approximately 4 – 6 Servings

For the Salad:

DSC_7988 nx23 cups cooked Basmati rice, cooled to room temperature
½ cup to 2/3 cup peas, either cooked fresh or frozen & run under hot water
4 green onions, sliced thin
½ large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
½ cup raisins
½ to 2/3 cup toasted cashews or toasted slivered almonds**
(opt.) ½ cup grated carrots
Curry dressing (below)

Curry Dressing:

½ cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
¾ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
¾ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. curry powder

Make the Dressing:

 Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid & shake well; allow to stand for a couple of hours.

Make the Salad:

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl; toss with the dressing.  Chill for a few hours.  Remove from the fridge, stir gently but well & allow to stand for an hour or so before serving.

**If you would like to see how to toast the nuts, click here.

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Thai Rice Noodle Salad With Cilantro, Mint and Peanuts

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Such a refreshing salad to make for dinner or lunch on a warm day! It must be the cooling effects of the mint! To change things up, you could use Thai basil instead of the mint. This salad would go really well with Thai chicken wings or Thai flavoured chicken patties wrapped in a butter lettuce leaf served with a Nuoc Cham dipping sauce.

DSC_7833 nx2Makes 6 Servings

¼ cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 Tbsp. palm or golden brown sugar
½ sweet onion (such as Vidalia), thinly sliced, separated into rings
8 oz. medium size dried Thai rice noodles
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1Tbsp. Thai Fish Sauce
½ tsp. dried chili flakes or 1 small Thai chili, minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint (I use less, but to your taste)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 large English cucumber, halved lengthwise & thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 (12 oz.) fresh plum tomatoes, seeded & chopped or an equal amount of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. chopped lightly salted peanuts
1 – 1 ½ cups fresh bean sprouts, rinsed (opt.)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Make the Salad:

About 30 minutes or up to 4 hours ahead, whisk vinegar & sugar in a medium bowl to blend. Add onion rings & toss to coat; cover & let stand. Just before making the salad, drain & reserve the liquid.
Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 2 minutes. Drain. Rinse Under cold water; drain well.

**The method I use is to place the noodles in a large heat-proof bowl & pour boiling water over them, stirring with tongs, then allow to stand anywhere from 5 minutes up to 10, checking often to make sure until they are al dente, drain noodles well & rinse as above.

Whisk lime juice, oil & crushed chili flakes or fresh minced chili in a small bowl to blend. Stir in the mint & cilantro. Place the noodles in a large bowl, drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of the reserved onion juice & toss to coat. Add cucumber, green onions, tomatoes & marinated onions; drizzle the lime juice mixture over & toss gently. Season to taste with salt & pepper; sprinkle with the chopped peanuts, serve immediately.

**Click here for the link to the Thai chicken patties.

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Fresh Bean Salad

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Makes Approximately 6 Servings

When beans are in season, either your own home grown, or bought at your local farmer’s markets, it’s time to make this salad! A very tasty side dish! Dress the beans with the vinaigrette just before serving so the beans will retain their bright colour!

DSC_4116 nx21 ½ lbs. mixed coloured beans (green, yellow & perhaps purple)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbsp. EVOO
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. stone-ground mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. each salt & freshly ground black pepper
½ red onion, thinly sliced
3 – 4 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

Make the Salad:

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add 1 Tbsp. salt.

Fill a very large bowl with ice & water; set aside.

Blanch the beans (different colours separately), for 3 – 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the beans to the bowl of ice water. Chill until cold, adding more ice if the water is not cold enough. Drain the beans in a colander; place on a towel to dry.
Whisk together oregano, oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt & pepper in a large bowl. Just before serving add the onion & blanched beans. Taste & adjust seasoning as necessary. Place in a serving bowl & serve.

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Orzo With Feta And Cherry Tomatoes

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A warm pasta salad that would go well with lamb, chicken or fish; it’s light, easy to make and fits the bill on a warm evening. Or you could simply serve as a main course!

DSC_4371 nx2Makes 4 Servings (2 For a Main Course)

½ lb. orzo
1 ½ Tbsp. EVO
1/3 cup pine nuts** (see below)
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped** (see below)
6 oz. cherry tomatoes
¼ lb. feta cheese (I recommend Dodonis)
1 ½ Tbsp. red wine vinegar

** In my opinion, the Mediterranean pine nuts are the best ones to use, however they are a bit pricey & I am reading that the crops are becoming scarce, so feel free to substitute slivered almonds.

**If you like you can substitute some fresh basil or oregano for some of the parsley.

Fill a large pasta pot with water & bring to a boil.

While the water is coming to the boil, heat 1 ½ tsp. EVO in a small pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking & sauté the nuts with salt to taste, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to paper towels to drain & set aside to cool.

Add 1 Tbsp. salt to the boiling water, then add the orzo & cook until al dente; stirring occasionally.

Quarter the tomatoes & coarsely crumble the feta. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, parsley, vinegar & remaining tablespoon of EVO; season with salt & pepper to taste; add the tomatoes & feta & gently toss to combine.

When the orzo is cooked drain in a large sieve & rinse slightly with warm water. Drain orzo well & add to the tomato mixture, tossing until just combined. Either scatter the nuts on top before serving or lightly fold them in. Serve immediately while still warm.

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