Category Archives: salad

Food Matters Project #44: Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers

I’m so happy to be the host of this week’s Food Matters Project.  It’s a perfect recipe for our household these days.  Between a new schedule and a new job, our lives have been a bit busy.  Easy, make-ahead and delicious recipes are perfect for us.

A while back I chose Mark Bittman’s Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers.  It’s a great recipe that can be changed to what you have in your fridge.  It’s fantastic prepared the night before, and wonderful for lunch the next day!  Check out what other FMP participants did with their recipes here.

I love tuna salad, but I really hate to order it in deli shops or restaurants.  There is always so much mayo in there, it doesn’t have the tuna flavor.  And it’s heavy, loaded with calories.  I loved this pasta salad- served cold, it was perfect for a hot summer day, and it’s still light enough that it doesn’t make you too sleepy after you eat it for lunch!

Food Matters Project: Tuna SaladPasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 232)

1 lb pasta (type: your choice)
4-5 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cans 5 oz can of tuna in water, drained
1 small onion, chopped
3 tbsp capers
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.

In a large bowl mix together the following ingredients: cooked pasta, tomatoes, tuna, onion, capers, parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Stir well and serve.

Food Matters Project #43: Tomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked Mozzarella

I apologize for the silence on the blog, don’t worry we didn’t leave you!  Truthfully, there have been some small changes to our schedule due to a new job, and therefore small adjustments.  But we have been cooking- so don’t worry, there recipes will be coming!

Today is another great Monday for the Food Matters Project.  Our host today is Laura, of Chef Laura at Home.  She chose Mark Bittman’s Tomato Carpaccio with Mozzarella.  Check out the original recipe in The Food Matters Cookbook, or look what other FMP participants did here.

My version is not very similar to the original recipe.  Today was my first day at a new job, with different hours than I’m used to.  In addition, we’ll be out of town this weekend- so we’re trying to use up everything that’s hiding in the fridge and freezer.  Tonight’s meal was very simple, back to the basics.  There are always days where we come home from work, and don’t want to cook or prepare anything.  I resist the urge to dial the local Chinese takeout to order our dinner.

Instead, I make a plan for something healthier for us:

1) In our freezer we had 2 Polish sausages (from the Amish Market)- I defrosted them this morning.
2) We had a lot of lettuce and tomatoes left over- it was easy to chop those up and throw them together.
3) Sam stopped at the store to pick up a ball of cheese, and chose one of his favorites: Smoked Mozzarella.

This was one of those Monday meals: fast, light and filling!  And it did make a little more room in the fridge.

Tomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked MozzarellaTomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked Mozzarella
Fifth Floor Kitchen Original

This recipe does not have ingredient amounts, it’s meant to be a “clean out your fridge”.  Feel free to swap out lettuce varieties (spinach, arugula), vegetables (cucumbers, zucchini, corn), herbs (cilantro, parsley), or cheeses (cheddar, blue)

greens, chopped
tomatoes, sliced
smoked mozzarella cheese, chopped
basil, finely chopped
olive oil

Add all of the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a large bowl, then toss all of them together.  Divide the salad between plates, and lightly drizzle olive oil over the salad.

Enjoy this salad as a side with grilled meat or vegetables; or make it larger as a meal.

Food Matters Project #38: Spinach Cobb Salad with a Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette

I absolutely love salads for lunch!  If you choose one that has fresh ingredients, lots of vegetables and a delicious dressing- it’s the perfect dish that won’t weigh you down, or make you sleepy in the afternoon.  Fortunately, this week’s Food Matters Project recipe was a salad I can add to our meal rotation!

When I saw that Sara, of Pidge’s Pantry, chose Mark Bittman’s recipe for the Mediterranean Cobb Salad, I was excited to see what changes he made to the salad to pack it with flavor and nutrients.  I’ve never been too happy after ordering a cobb salad at a restaurant- it’s usually served with iceberg lettuce, tomato, bacon, egg, and blue cheese.  Not the healthiest of ingredients, and definitely not a refreshing salad.

I made additional changes to Bittman’s recipe.  I wanted the salad to have a bit more nutrients and vegetables, so I mixed the romaine with spinach.  I also had some red bell peppers, cucumbers and green onions which I added to the salad.  For those who are not fans of anchovies, I can sense your apprehension- I had that once myself.  But if you’ve had a good dressing with anchovies in it, then you just might be a convert.  This dressing fit perfectly with the salad, providing that tangy, salty flavor that it needed.  But if you’re not that adventurous just yet, then double the capers, and skip the anchovies.  You’ll make this salad again- so there is plenty of time to try new ingredients down the road.

Check out Sara’s version of the Mediterranean Cobb Salad, and all other Food Matters Project participants variations here.

With spring here, and summer just around the corner, here are some additional salads we’ve shared and eaten in the past: Greek Panzanella Salad, Lentil & Summer Vegetable Salad, Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market Salad, Spicy Asian Salad with Sunflower Seeds, Arugula Salad with Eggs & Mushrooms, and Asparagus, Tuna & Bean Salad.

Spinach Cobb Salad with a Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette

Spinach Cobb Salad with a Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette
Adapted from: Food Matters Cookbook (pg 149)

I’m not providing specific amount of the ingredients since this can be tailored to how many people you plan on feeding, or if you want more of certain ingredients.  The dressing produces about a 1/2 cup of liquid- enough for at least 4 servings.  If you don’t want to use anchovies in the dressing, just double the amount of capers.

spinach, chopped
romaine lettuce, chopped
tomato, chopped
red bell pepper, chopped
cucumber, chopped
hard-boiled egg, chopped/crumbled
green onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 anchovy fillets, with a bit of their oil
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp parsley
pinch of pepper

To make the vinaigrette combine the oil, vinegar, anchovies, capers, parsley and pepper into a food processor.  Blend together until a creamy emulsion forms, within 30 seconds.  Taste and add more vinegar or pepper if necessary.

Mix the spinach and romaine lettuce together on a large plate.  Then spoon the ingredients on top (the order doesn’t matter): tomatoes, red bell peppers, cucumbers, egg, chickpeas and green onions.  Then drizzle the vinaigrette on top, right before serving.

Food Matters Project #25: Greek Panzanella

I was a little excited about this weeks Food Matters Project.  The chosen recipe was great to put my own spin on it, and a way to enjoy fresh vegetables from the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market!

This weeks host is Megan, from Art by Megan.  From Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, she chose Greek Nacho’s with Feta Drizzle.  Check out her post, or other participants interpretations.  Find the original recipe on page 75 in the Food Matters Cookbook.

I’ve been craving a panzanella salad, which tends to be a summer salad that incorporates bread and tomatoes.  So why not make a greek version of a panzanella?  Last year I had saved a recipe (more of a guide) on how to put one together from Aggie’s Kitchen and have been wanting to make it since.  This was a fairly large salad (bigger dinner and leftovers), so I hope you all have large serving bowls!

Greek Panzanella
Adapted from: Aggie’s Kitchen

3 pitas, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cucumbers, chopped
1 bell pepper (we had green), chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup kalamata olives, halved
6 oz feta, crumbled or cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a large bowl, gently toss the pita bread cubes, garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil and sesame seeds.  Add this mixture to a hot non-stick skillet and toast for about 10 minutes.  The bread should be lightly brown, but not burnt.

Once the bread pieces are cooked, add them to a large salad bowl.  Then, add in tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, feta, salt, pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Gently toss all of the ingredients to combine.

Lebanese Salad with Pita Chips

Summer is the time to eat salads, when all the veggies (and fruits) are fresh and vibrant.  Usually, it’s also so hot that turning on the stove or oven is not what you’d like to do.  So there is always salad.

The only problem I have with salads is that they sometimes get boring.  So I’m always searching for a new flavor, a new component, or a new idea.  I’m sharing this salad with you since all of you might need some new inspiring ideas for salads, with summer in full swing!  Or if any of you have delicious ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Lebanese Salad with Pita Chips
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times (July/August 2012)

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups of chopped cucumbers
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 cups of whole grain pita chips, crumbled/broken

3 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate juice (such as POM Wonderful)
2 tsp ground sumac
4 garlic cloves

4 oz crumbled feta

In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for a salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.  Top the salad with the vinaigrette.

Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the top and serve.