Hard-to-Beet Summer Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Flipping through the pages of Bon Appetit Mag the other week, the gorgeous, vibrant photo of this dish literally jumped off the page at me. I earmarked the page, knowing I'd have to give it a try sometime soon and last weekend our first rooftop BBQ of the season gave me the perfect opportunity. The two-step cooking process makes this a little more time-intensive than your average summer salad, but I guarantee it's well worth the effort. Not only is it supremely delicious and healthy, but it's a real stunner that is sure to provide some eye candy to your spread. The recipe calls for yogurt, which I'm sure would be very tasty, but I had some dairy-free friends in the bunch, so I opted out. I also made this ahead of time and served it cold. 

Recipe via Bon Appetit

Ingredients

2 pounds mixed small or medium beets (such as Chioggia, red, and/or golden), scrubbed
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup (lightly packed) fresh mint leaves, plus more
2 tablespoons torn fresh dill, plus more
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. Divide beets between 2 large sheets of foil. Drizzle beets on each sheet with ½ Tbsp. oil; season with kosher salt and pepper and wrap up foil around beets. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, 40–50 minutes. Let cool slightly, then, using a paper towel, rub skins from beets (they should slip off easily). Crush beets with the bottom of a small bowl (it’s alright if they fall apart).

Meanwhile, whisk lemon zest, lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl; set vinaigrette aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beets, season with kosher salt and pepper, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to bowl with vinaigrette, add ¼ cup mint and 2 Tbsp. dill, and toss to coat.

Top with more herbs, and seasoned with pepper and sea salt.

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Sweet Corn and Quinoa Salad

Hot off the press! This simple early autumn salad appeared in my hometown newspaper, the Waterloo Chronicle, over the weekend. My parents gave it a go and said it was delicious, and my Dad reckons in could be even better with a few dried cranberries and almonds for an added crunch. It can also be served cold, so it's perfect for left overs, which makes this recipe a favourite in our "cook once, eat twice" books.

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Ingredients

Roasted tomatoes
2 cups of grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
1/2 tsp coarse salt

Salad
1tsp avocado or coconut oil
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 shallot finely chopped
1 1/2 cups sweet corn kernels, cooked
3 cups spinach, torn into small pieces
3 cups cooked quinoa
1/3 cup pesto
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup asiago cheese, grated or finely chopped

Preparation

Cut tomatoes in half, mix with oil and salt, arrange on baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

In large skillet, heat the oil and salt over medium heat.  Stir in the shallots and cook for 2 minutes.  Add corn, quinoa and cook until hot.  Add in the spinach and heat for one minute, until wilted.  Add in pumpkin seeds and asiago cheese and stir.  Spoon onto serving platter, put hot roasted tomatoes on top and serve

Serves 4.

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Sweet and Spicy Summer Salad

Summer may be winding down, but there is still time to make the most of all the gorgeous, fresh, local and seasonal produce that's at your fingertips. My philosophy is that you can mix any combination of fruits and veggies together in a bowl—the more colourful the better!—and it will taste amazing. The other night I tossed this sweet and spicy number together.

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Ingredients

Fresh or frozen shrimp, peeled, deveined and defrosted
Your favourite hot sauce
Mixed greens
Bell pepper, sliced or diced
Radish, sliced
Cucumber, sliced or diced
Carrots, diced
Cantaloupe, cubed
Olive oil
Fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper

Preparation:

Sautee the shrimp in your favourite hot sauce until cooked through and set aside. Combine the lettuce, veggies and cantaloupe in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and top with sea salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve onto plates. Top with spicy shrimp.

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Hold-the-wheat Buckwheat salad

Up for experimenting with a new grain? Try buckwheat! Despite it's misleading name, buckwheat, which also goes by Kasha, contains no wheat at all—it's actually a relative of rhubarb!—so it's a perfect staple for a gluten-free diet.

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Buckwheat takes more time than its other grain compadres to travel through your digestive tract, making it very filling and fit for a hearty meal. It stabilizes blood sugar, strengthens the kidneys, benefits circulation and is rich in vitamin E and B-complex vitamins.

Put on your creative hat because the possibilities for ways to enjoy buckwheat are endless. It makes for a delicious porridge in the morning, a great sidekick to a main meal, or can be the star of the show. The other night I used it to sup up a summer salad. Here's how:

Ingredients

1/2 cup buckwheat
1 cup of water
Greens of your choice
Veggies of your choice (I used roasted beets, carrots, avocado, peppers and blanched peas and asparagus)
Drizzle of olive oil
Squeeze of lemon
Salt (unrefined!) and pepper to taste

Preparation

Bring the buckwheat and water to a boil and let simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or cook according to package directions. Fluff with a fork, set aside and let cool. 

Add the buckwheat to your washed greens and veggies, add olive oil, lemon, S&P, toss and enjoy! 

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