Wheatless Wednesday – Arugula, Corn and Tomato Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

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1-2-3-GONE! Or ‘How to make a salad disappear!’  Want to hear more magic words?  How about;  Ready in 15 minutes or less…   I am very lucky to have been graced with a bounty of lovely, ripe tomatoes so early in the season.  I’m heading out of town this weekend (to Charleston, so I foresee some southern cooking in my future) and I needed to use some of my fresh tomatoes before I go.  I also happened to have some young, white corn that is so sweet and tender that it can be eaten raw, right off the cob.  Now that is good corn!  With these ingredients, I couldn’t really go wrong.  I tossed them together in a salad with baby arugula and avocado, then drizzled them with a yummy jalapeno vinaigrette that is loaded with fresh basil and cilantro.  But it’s really about the tomatoes and the corn, so don’t hold back.  I served this to a group of men, watching the NBA playoffs last night and almost didn’t get a chance to take photos.  Luckily I managed to snap a few before they all descended.  I served the salad with corn tortilla chips which were a great pairing. (Alas, no photos…They were too quick.)

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But corn is a carb!  Fear not my carb-avoiding friends.  Corn is a high quality, slow digesting complex carbohydrate and a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Corn has high amounts of insoluble fiber — meaning, the kind of fiber that goes through the body intact and gets things going in the bowels (You didn’t read that here!)  Insoluble fiber has been shown in research to help feed the “good” bacteria in our gut which is very important in our over-processed world.  Corn is also gluten free which makes it a good choice for those avoiding wheat and wheat products.

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TIPS:  Consider serving the salad in individual glass jars or small bowls. This is a great use of leftover corn on the cob, either grilled, steamed or boiled.  Just slice it off the cob and you’ve got the start of a great meal!  I love the Jalapeno Vinaigrette.  It’s just slightly spicy and the fresh herbs give it a pesto-like quality which is really delicious on this salad.  If you like food really spicy, add a second jalapeno or include some of the seeds.   I also added fresh mozzarella because I had a large crowd of hungry men to feed, but it’s not really necessary.  The real stars here are the fresh, ripe vegetables.

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ARUGULA, CORN AND TOMATO SALAD WITH JALAPENO VINAIGRETTE

2 cups fresh baby arugula
3 ears fresh corn (or 2 cups frozen corn)
3-4 large tomatoes (or combination with cherry tomatoes)
1-2 avocados
6 oz fresh mozzarella (optional)

JALAPENO VINAIGRETTE
1 large jalapeno pepper
1 cup fresh herbs (basil and cilantro)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsn fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

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  • Wash and dry arugula and place in a large serving bowl

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  • Shuck corn and cut the kernels off the cob using a sharp knife. If the corn is young and sweet, put it right into the salad.  If it’s a bit chewy you can steam.boil or pan fry it for a few minutes.  Let it cool before you put it in the salad.  You can also grill the corn first (before you cut it off the cob, shucked or unshucked).

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  • Chop tomatoes into a medium dice.  Cut cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters. Add to salad.

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  • Cut mozzarells, if using, into medium sized cubes.

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  • Chop avocado into a medium dice.  Add to salad.

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  • Put all vinaigrette ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

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  • Drizzle salad with vinaigrette and toss to combine.  Serve with tortilla chips if desired.

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Arugula, Corn and Tomato Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 46
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 cups fresh baby arugula
3 ears fresh corn (or 2 cups frozen corn)
3-4 large tomatoes (or combination with cherry tomatoes)
1-2 avocados
6 oz fresh mozzarella (optional)

JALAPENO VINAIGRETTE
1 large jalapeno pepper
1 cup fresh herbs (basil and cilantro)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsn fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

  • Wash and dry arugula and place in a large serving bowl
  • Shuck corn and cut the kernels off the cob using a sharp knife.
  • If the corn is young and sweet, put it right into the salad.  If it’s a bit chewy you can steam.boil or pan fry it for a few minutes.  Let it cool before you put it in the salad.  You can also grill the corn first (before you cut it off the cob, shucked or unshucked).
  • Chop tomatoes into a medium dice.  Cut cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters. Add to salad.
  • Cut mozzarells, if using, into medium sized cubes
  • Chop avocado into a medium dice.  Add to salad.
  • Put all vinaigrette ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Drizzle salad with vinaigrette and toss to combine.
  • Serve with tortilla chips if desired.

 

Wheatless Wednesday – Winter Green Salad with Crispy Quinoa

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New year equals new ideas.  The holidays might be over but that doesn’t mean the presents have to stop!  I finally decided to order a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box loaded with produce fresh from a local farm delivered right to my door – And my first one came today!  Even though I was the one to order it, I still felt ridiculously excited to see two boxes with their mystery contents at my doorstep this morning when I got up. It felt like Christmas and Hanukkah all over again.  Some of us will go to great lengths to extend the holiday season…  For those that don’t know, CSA is an alternative ‘farm to table’ method for distribution of produce. Consumers sign up with a local company who arranges personalized home delivery of organically and locally grown fruits and vegetables.  I signed with Farm Fresh to You, who supplies produce from Capay Organic Farm located about 90 miles Northeast of San Francisco.  I chose the Traditional CSA Box but they offer many types and sizes of boxes, like Fruit or Vegetable Only, even a ‘No Cooking Box’.  I decided to try this for a few reasons.  First, I love fresh produce and in the winter, my garden is a bit sparse (because I’m a fair weather gardener).  I also like supporting local farmers and eating with the season. Lastly, instead of going to the market and hand selecting items for dinner, I thought to stretch my creativity by having to figure out what delicious meals to make with the contents of my mystery boxes.

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What was in my box?  Butternut squash, beets, rainbow carrots, Treviso radicchio, kiwis, baby bok choy, watermelon radish, fennel, red d’anjou pears, pink lady apples and assorted lettuce. Whew! After mulling the many possible ways dinner could go, I opted to use the most perishable items first, like lettuce.  So salad it is… Winter Greens with thinly sliced pears, watermelon radish and avocado, coated with yummy crispy quinoa and crumbly feta with a few pistachios thrown into the mix. I added quinoa, not only to give my salad a nutrient boost with it’s high protein content and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and iron, but also to enhance the taste and feel of the salad.  When tossed with a simple vinaigrette, the crispy quinoa bits collect on the veggies making each bite a tasty treasure.

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I first had crispy quinoa in a salad at Tamalpie Pizza in Mill Valley, CA.  I was instantly enamored and only slightly dismayed to hear that the quinoa was deep fried.  It was such a great concept, that quinoa can be transformed almost into something else.  I don’t remember what else was in that salad except for leafy greens (and it is not currently listed on their menu, darn) so I made up my own salad with some help from my CSA box.

TIPS: Always rinse quinoa before cooking (unless the packaging says that it has been pre-rinsed) to remove any remaining saponins, a naturally occurring but bitter substance that the plant produces to protect itself from predators (smart, huh?)  Use a fine mesh colander so you don’t lose any of the tiny grains.

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WINTER GREEN SALAD WITH CRISPY QUINOA

1/2 cup dry quinoa (any kind) or 3/4 cup cooked
1 Tbsn high heat oil like coconut or avocado (not olive oil)
1 head or 4 cups assorted lettuces
5-6 radicchio leaves
1-2 watermelon radish
1 d’anjou pear
1/4 cup pistachios (or roasted hazelnuts)
1/4 cup crumbled feta (optional)

Vinaigrette: (1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. You can also add 1/2 tsp of either cumin or Italian seasoning or any fresh herbs)

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  • Rinse quinoa and simmer in salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender.  All water should be absorbed.  Let cool.

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  • Heat 1 Tbsn oil in a skillet until almost smoking and add in the cooked quinoa. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa pops and sizzles and turns crispy, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

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  • Cut or tear the larger lettuce leaves into pieces. Slice the radicchio

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  • Thinly slice the radish, pear and avocado.

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  • Sprinkle the cooled quinoa on top of the salad greens

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  • Top with the sliced pear, radish, avocado, pistachios and feta.

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  • Dress sparingly with the vinaigrette and toss gently. Serve with more vinaigrette and feta on the side

 

Winter Green Salad with Crispy Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1/2 cup dry quinoa (any kind) or 3/4 cup cooked
1-2 Tbsn high heat oil like coconut or avocado (not olive oil)
1 head or 4 cups assorted lettuces
5-6 radicchio leaves
1-2 watermelon radish
1 d’anjou pear
1/4 cup pistachios (or roasted hazelnuts)
1/4 cup crumbled feta (optional)

Vinaigrette: (1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. You can also add 1/2 tsp of either cumin or Italian seasoning or any fresh herbs)

  • Rinse quinoa and simmer in salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender.  All water should be absorbed.  Let cool.
  • Heat 1 Tbsn oil in a skillet until almost smoking and add in the cooked quinoa.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa pops and sizzles and turns crispy, about 5 minutes. Let cool in the
  • Cut or tear the larger lettuce leaves into pieces.
  • Slice the radicchio
  • Thinly slice the radish, pear and avocado.
  • Sprinkle the cooled quinoa on top of the salad greens
  • Top with the sliced pear, radish, avocado, pistachios and feta.
  • Dress sparingly with the vinaigrette and toss gently.
  • Serve with more vinaigrette and feta on the side