How To: Recipe Makeover – Vegetarian Cobb Salad

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I know this title may read like an oxymoron.

Bacon and chicken are two of the ingredients typically found in a Cobb salad, joining eggs, blue cheese, tomatoes, and avocados. But who says you can’t deviate from the original now and then? What would life be like if we were all the same, right?

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When I posted this picture of my unique cobb salad creation on instagram, one person commented this was definitely not a cobb salad. It may not be typical, but it is MY cobb salad, my VEGETARIAN cobb salad to boot!

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Instead of chicken and bacon, we’ve got black beans and sweet potatoes. Instead of blue cheese, creamy and tangy goat cheese. Instead of eggs, sweet beets. I’ve kept the usual avocado and tomatoes. And when all of these ingredients are arranged oh so prettily on top of a bed of romaine, a vegetarian cobb salad is born. Top it all of with an herby mustard vinaigrette and you’ve got one heck of a delicious summer meal.

So call it what you want – a vegetarian cobb salad, a fully loaded salad, a rainbow salad, or just an extremely tasty salad. Bottom line, make this salad.

Dara

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Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Serves 2-4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of romaine
  • 2 sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1 can of sliced beets (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 large avocado (diced)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (crumbled)

Salad Dressing

  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Note

This may not be your typical cobb salad, but it is just as delicious. Feel free to sub the usual blue cheese for the goat cheese, or feta would also work well. Chickpeas or kidney beans can replace the black beans. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 and toss sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, or until brown and tender. Set aside.
2. On a large plate place a layer of romaine lettuce. Top evenly in rows with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, goat cheese, and beets. Top with dressing or serve on the side for everyone to toss themselves.
Salad Dressing
3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined.

How To: Recipe Makeover – Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons

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We have to talk about these crispy chickpea croutons.

You are going to want to make a double batch and eat them by the handful they are that good. I was going make our delicious and one of my ‘go-to’ salads the other night – our curry roasted squash and chickpea salad with an addictive tahini dressing, but I was craving a caesar salad. And no, I am not expecting again. Just sometimes you want to ditch the old vinaigrette and load up a salad with a creamy dressing and boat loads of cheese.

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But, being a “healthy” eating blog and all, I swapped the usual dressing for this bright and lemony version, kept the cheese, because cheese, and created these addictive crunchy chickpeas in lieu of the usual crouton toppers. Not that I have anything againts those mind you, and I do love our other kale caesar version, but with a can of chickpeas staring me in the face I wanted something different.

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Can we talk also talk about my mini food processor? I love it and highly recommend it for whirling up small batch recipes, like this dressing. It saves you from lugging out and cleaning the big gun.

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Back to the chickpeas – make them! And this salad!

We had it topped with a piece of simple olive oil and salt and pepper roasted salmon, but this salad would stand alone as a delicious lunch or turn it into more of a substantial dinner with a some grilled chicken, steak, or salmon.

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A craving for the classic caesar? Give this updated version a whirl!

Dara

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Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons

Serves 4-6
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Website Adapted From Mountain Mama Cooks

Ingredients

  • 1 large head kale (stems removed, leaves shredded)
  • 1/2 Pint grape tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp garlic powder
  • grated parmesan cheese (to garnish salad)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tsp worschershire sauce
  • 1 Tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

While this salad is great on it's own, turn it into more of a substantial meal by topping it with a piece of grilled chicken or salmon. The heartiness of the kale stands up to the dressing, making leftovers just as delicious the next day.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place chickpeas on a parchment lined baking sheet.
2. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to chickpeas and toss to evenly coat. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until browned and starting to get crispy. Set aside.
3. Place kale and tomatoes in a large bowl. Top with chickpeas and dressing and toss to evenly coat. Top with additional parmesan cheese before serving.
Dressing
4. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until combined. Taste and add salt and pepper. If dressing is too thick, add a little bit more water.

How To: Healthy Side – Kale and Apple Salad with Havarti, Almonds, Dates, and Avocado

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I find I normally have recipes I reserve for fall/winter and recipes I use for spring/summer.

Sure, I try to cook with seasonal ingredients, but mostly find I crave heartier stews, soups, and casseroles in the colder months and lighter salads and bbq meals when the weather turns warmer. But sometimes, you just need some green to brighten up a dreary winter day. And a kale based salad is a hearty way to satisfy your cold weather cravings AND get your 7 servings of fruit and veggies in your belly.

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This is no ordinary salad – loaded with cheese, almonds, dates, and avocado – it’s a party in your mouth! With all these fancy shmancy ingredients, a simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil is all that is needed.

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Arla Dofino generously gifted us with the havarti cheese used in this recipe. I love the subtle creaminess it adds and anything with cheese in it is a winner in my books!

Arla Dolfino has generously offered to donate a prize pack for one lucky reader that features a beautiful cheese board and coupons for Arla Dolfing cheese. Simply leave a comment on this post telling us your favourite way to eat cheese and a winner will be chosen at random. 

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IMG_7591Turn this salad into a main with a piece of seared salmon or a can of chickpeas, and you have a delicious lunch or light dinner. Unless of course you would prefer to just throw in some extra cheese – by all means I wouldn’t object!

Dara

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Kale and Apple Salad with Dates, Almonds, Avocado, and Havarti

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of kale (chopped)
  • 1 apple (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup havarti cheese (cubed)
  • 1/3 cup almonds (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup dates (pitted and chopped)
  • 1 small avocados (peeled, pitted, and chopped)
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

This salad is great as a starter or side and can also be turned into a main course with the addition of some chickpeas, grilled salmon, or chicken. It also holds up well as leftovers for the next day.

Directions

1. Place kale in a large bowl and pour lemon juice and olive oil over top. Toss thoroughly to evenly coat and let stand while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
2. Add dates, avocado, cheese, and almonds and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

 

How To: Seasonal Cooking – Spinach Salad Bowls with Candied Walnuts and Honey Basil Dressing

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Howdy y’all! Everyone have a good weekend? How amazing was this past Saturday’s weather? I mean it was practically t-shirt and shorts weather. Do you know what else kind of weather it was? Salad for dinner weather.

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This spring  season is also the season we have salad for dinner about twice a week. I love me a big pot of chill or stew, but it is this time of year that I crack open the salad section of my recipe binder.

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The important thing with salads for dinner is ensuring they are jam packed with loads of goodies so you aren’t hungry an hour later. And this spinach salad is overflowing with lots of delicious and filling additions. Crispy roasted corn, broccoli, and peppers, sweet and savoury candied walnuts, lots of creamy old cheddar, and a fresh basil dressing. To reference Seinfeld, this is one “big salad!”

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I’ve also thrown in some roasted tofu for added protein and staying power. Some leftover chicken or steak would also be a great addition.

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It’s t-shirt weather and salad for dinner weather- the best kind of weather if you ask me!

Dara

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Spinach Salad Bowls with Candied Walnuts and Honey Basil Dressing

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
Website Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients

Candied Walnuts

  • 3/4 cups walnut halves
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp paprika
  • 1/4 Tsp salt

Salad

  • 1 head broccoli (cut into florets)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 Cups canned corn (drained)
  • 2 Large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 Pint grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 Block tofu (cubed)
  • 1 cup old cheddar (cubed)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Note

This main course salad is my new favourite summer salad. It is also totally customizable - use chicken in place of tofu, zucchini or cauliflower in place of the broccoli and red pepper, and pecans or almonds in place of the walnuts. If making ahead, leave dressing and walnuts on the side until ready to serve.

Directions

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1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl combine honey, olive oil, paprika, and salt. Add walnuts and mix until coated. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 7-10 minutes. Set aside to cool and harden.
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2. Increase oven temp to 400 and line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Place corn, red pepper, and broccoli and baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 25 minutes, until brown. Set aside to cool.
3. Place tofu on baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until brown. Remove to cool.
4. In a large bowl combine the spinach, tomatoes, roasted vegetables, tofu, cheddar, and walnuts. Top with dressing and dig in!
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5. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or mini chopper and pulse until combined.

 

How To: Seasonal Cooking – Farro Salad with Roasted Winter Vegetables, Tofu, and Goat Cheese

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I posted a teaser pic of this salad on instagram and claimed we had a new favourite grain in town.

Move over quinoa – farro has arrived.

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I’m a sucker for texture and farro has got me hooked. It’s like the chewier and heartier cousin to brown rice. And it combines perfectly with a smattering of winters finest vegetables.

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This kind of salad is something that is a staple in our house. You take whatever vegetables you have lying around in the fridge, throw them in the oven, combine with some herbs, a grain (farro in this case), and a whack load of cheese and bob’s your uncle. In this salad I’ve also added some cubed roasted tofu to up the protein content, but some leftover chicken or a can of beans would also do the job.

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I love my grain salads to be just that – a salad. I think of the grain kind of like the crouton of the green salad. So there are no boring bites in this salad. Every forkful is loaded with flavour, texture, cheese, and of course chewy farro.

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Step aside barley, farro is here to stay!

Dara

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Farro Salad with Roasted Winter Vegetables, Tofu, and Goat Cheese

Serves 4-6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Side Dish
Website Adapted from Joanne Eats Well With Others

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
  • 4 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 2 Cups brussels sprouts (halved)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup sage (chopped)
  • 1 block of tofu (cubed)
  • 140 gram package of goat cheese (chopped)

Note

This hearty grain salad is great for lunch or a light dinner and is very customizable. Feta cheese works really well in place of the goat cheese. If you don't like tofu, leftover chicken or canned chickpeas could be used instead. Quinoa or brown rice could also be substituted for the farro.

Directions

1. In a medium sauce pan, bring 2 cups of water and farro to a boil. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 25 minutes until tender. Drain any remaining water and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, toss together butternut squash, carrots, brussels sprouts, red onion, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet.
3. On a seperate baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place tofu and spray with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables and tofu in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and tofu is brown.
4. In a large bowl combine farro, roasted vegetables and tofu, chopped parsley, sage, and goat cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper.