Tag Archives: salad

Blackeyed Pea, Corn and Mango Salsa with Homemade Chips

Blackeyed Pea, Corn and Mango Salsa with Homemade Chips

There’s nothing like a refreshing and hearty dip on a hot summer day.  I’m always looking for fun new ways of making salsas and dips that are not heavy and creamy.  The Caribbean side of my family love eating Pigeon Peas.  In fact it’s a staple of most Caribbean rice dishes.  Pigeon peas are hard to find fresh here and I have to go to specialty stores to get the canned version.  The closest cousin I have found to the Pigeon Pea is the Blackeyed Pea.  I love the texture and mild flavor of Blackeyed Peas.  The skin is not thick and it has an almost creamy mouth feel.  Perfect for a salsa. I used canned Blackeyed Peas and canned Corn in this salsa.  You can definitely use roasted fresh corn and pressure cook some Blackeyed peas.  Since this was one of many items I was cooking yesterday, I decided to just go with the canned.  It turned out great and saved me some time.  With the fresh ingredients, you don’t really notice that the peas and corn are canned. The heat from the chilies are nicely balanced with the sweetness of the Mangoes. Paired with fresh home-made BIG tortilla chips as a scoop, this salsa is “da bomb”!

Mix the dressing ingredients together (LOVE the Pomegranate vinegar)

Pour dressing over the dip ingredients and mix well before chilling in the fridge

Make large homemade tortilla chips

The extra large “scoops” are fantastic with this salsa

Blackeyed Pea and Corn Salsa

2 cans (14 oz) of Blackeyed Peas (rinsed and drained)

1 can (14 oz) sweet corn (rinsed and drained)

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1-2 Thai chilis, take the seeds out if you want it less spicy

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, minced

15 or so green spanish olives, chopped

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

2 mangoes, diced

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

zest and juice of one lime

1/2 cup pomegranate vinegar

fresh cracked pepper

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

2 tsp sugar or honey

In a large bowl place the washed and rinsed canned Blackeyed peas and corn.  Add all fresh chopped ingredients and toss lightly.  Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over the dip and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.  Great with large home made tortilla chips.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

12 inch uncooked (or cooked) flour tortilla chips

Oil for  frying

Cut the tortillas into fourths and fry in oil until golden brown, drain over paper towels.  Can be made a day ahead and stored in airtight container or zip lock bags before serving.

Chickpea, Radish, Cucumber and Pepper salad with herb vinaigrette

Chickpea, Radish, Cucumber and Pepper salad with herb vinaigrette

We eat a lot of chickpeas in South Asia.  In cooked food, in fried fritters, in sauces and especially salads.  I wanted a quick and easy salad with a little crunch and some protein in it so it could double as a filling lunch and not merely a side dish.  I loved how this salad came together.  Perfect for a summer Saturday after a killer workout!

Mix together the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk together

Thinly slice all the veggies

Let it sit for a few minutes before enjoying

Chickpea, Radish, Cucumber and Pepper salad with herb vinaigrette 

1 14 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup of sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Vinaigrette

3 tbsp pomegranate vinegar

1 tbsp honey

lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp fresh chopped dill

2 tbsp flat leafed parsley, chopped

1 tsp dried basil

1/4 cup olive oil

fresh cracked pepper

salt to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients of the vinaigrette until an emulsion forms.  Toss together all the salad ingredients and pour dressing over the vegetables.  Let it sit for a few minutes before eating!

Radish Cucumber and Mango Salad with honey lime dressing

Radish Cucumber and Mango Salad with honey lime dressing

I remember when I first came to live in the United States.  I was living with a wonderful American family on a farm in Idaho.  A big, huge change.  There were lots of fresh produce available of course, especially in the summer.  That’s when I was introduced to salads.  Don’t get me wrong, salads are eaten all over the world but usually not as a meal.  It’s almost always eaten as part of a meal, like a side dish or even a palate cleanser or like a condiment.  In North America the salad reigns as a meal.  That was a strange thing for me.  To eat an entire meal that was mostly raw.  I remember telling my mom about having a salad for dinner and she exclaimed in dismay, “can’t those people cook?”.  After I got over the initial shock, I grew to love salads.  I love the textures, the freshness and the variety.  They are never going to go over big in any part of South Asia as a meal but I’m winning people over, one at a time.

I had this just the other day.  It was great and refreshing after a hard workout!  Yes, Ma…I ate it as a meal.

Thinly sliced radishes, english cucumbers and some mangoes

Added the vinaigrette

Toss, chill and serve

Radish Cucumber and Mango Salad

4 fresh radishes, thinly sliced

1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced

1 Mango, cut into small bite sized pieces

3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Dressing

1 lime

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp spicy brown mustard

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

fresh cracked pepper

Thinly slice cucumber, radishes and mangoes and place in a medium sized bowl.  Add chopped cilantro.  In a separate bowl zest the lime and then juice the whole lime.  Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and whisk until a thick emulsion is created.  Pour over salad and toss.  Chill and serve.

“Curried” Quinoa and Lentil Salad

“Curried” Quinoa and Lentil Salad

I need (and want) to lose 15 pounds by the end of June.  These 15 pounds have crept up on me like evil terrorists bent on a sneak attack.  My new policy is not to negotiate with terrorists!  I’m currently on my third round of P90X and my daughter Onjoli and her friend Katie are doing Insanity, both intense beachbody workouts.  I have promised to cook more innovative, high protein, low fat and tasty foods throughout the summer.  It’s a mother-daughter epic bonding extravaganza.  My husband, frightened by the prospect of eating salads and yogurt mentioned that he’d like to vote for food that is hearty and not “chick food”.  I have a lot of people to please, including myself.  I came up with this salad in my quest for “buffness” to go with my 10 minute Tilapia curry.  It was a wonderful dinner full of flavors, textures and a ton of lean protein.  I’m saving the leftovers for lunch!

Lentils and Quinoa

The herb lineup: Mint, Cilantro and Chives

Whisk together the dressing ingredients

Chop all the ingredients and add them to the quinoa and lentil mixture, along with the chopped herbs.

Curried Quinoa and Lentil Salad

Curried Quinoa and Lentil Salad

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

1 cup brown lentils, uncooked

2 tsp salt

1 ripe avocado, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup toasted cashews

2 mangoes, diced

1 english cucumber, diced

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

2 tbsp chopped mint

1 tsp chives, chopped

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

1 lemon, zest and juice

1/4 tsp red chili powder (you can add a bit more since the quinoa and lentils soak up extra heat)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, grated

salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1 1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp honey

Wash Quinoa and lentils and soak in some water for about 1 hour.  Drain and add 4 cups of water and salt. Bring to boil in a medium saucepan, reduce heat and cover.  Cook about 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed and quinoa and lentils are tender, rinse with cold water and place in a large bowl.  Add vegetables and  mangoes to the quinoa and lentils.  Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and pour over salad.  Toss together and chill before serving with 10 minute Tilapia Curry or enjoy it by itself as a great salad!

Roasted Corn, Mango and Lentil Salad with Red Chili Ginger Honey Lime Dressing

Roasted Corn, Mango and Lentil Salad with Red Chili Ginger Honey Lime Dressing

It’s a long name, I know.  But It’s a great salad!!  I had a bunch of corn on the cob left over from a recent meal and I wanted to re-use them in something fresh.  I roasted up the corn over the burners, (that’s the wonderful thing about having a gas stove) and added in some lentils for protein and Mangos for sweetness and it was delightful.  Roasting the corn adds a slightly smokey flavor and the English cucumbers are crispy, crunchy and fresh….hmmmmm, it’s very tasty! I’m glad it turned out so good.  With the weather getting warmer and summer just around the corner, I know I’ll be making this salad a LOT!!

Ingredients at a glance

Roast corn directly over the burner (if you have a gas stove)

Using a Bundt cake pan really helps when cutting the corn off the ear

When cutting Mangoes, first slice on either side of the large seed

Cut squares into each of the slices

Flip the skin down to pop the mango cubes "up"

Slice the cubes off the skin

Cut all the Mango from around the seed

Whisk together the dressing

Toss everything together and serve

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Corn, Mango and Lentil Salad with Red Chili & Ginger Honey Lime dressing

6 half ears or 3 whole ears of corn, roasted and taken off the ear

1/3 red onion, finely chopped

2 Mangoes, chopped

1 small English Cucumber

small bunch Cilantro (Coriander leaves)

1/2 cup dried lentils

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Dressing:

1 lime

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Red chili, seeded and minced

1 inch piece of ginger

1 tablespoon honey

In a medium size pan place the lentils with 1 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to boil, turn it down to a simmer and cover until they are tender (should take about 20-25 minutes).  In the meantime, roast the corn over a burner by holding it with a pair of metal tongs.  When roasted, cut the corn off the cob and place in a large bowl.  Cut both Mangoes into small cubes and add to the roasted corn.  Add the English cucumber and the red onion to the other vegetables as well.  Drain Lentils and rinse with cold water before adding it to the vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped Cilantro and get the dressing ready.

Preparing the dressing: 

Zest the lime in a small bowl using a microplane, also using the microplane grate the ginger to yield about 1 tsp.  Juice the lime and add seeded and minced chili, salt, pepper and honey and start whisking as you add the olive oil in a drizzle, this will turn the mixture into a nice and almost creamy emulsion.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly.  Serves 4.  Great with Seared Yellowfin Tuna or by itself.

North African Style Couscous

North African Style Couscous

Couscous is a semolina pasta made out of durum wheat.  It is a staple food in pretty much most of North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya).  It’s cooked plain or in a wonderful salad type dish and usually eaten with meat stews that are slow cooked.  This dish goes wonderfully with the Tajine style Moroccan Chicken or just by itself as a refreshing salad or side dish.

Start by boiling

2 cups chicken stock (because it gives it such a depth of flavor but if you’re trying to make it a completely vegetarian dish then use vegetable stock or plain water) and ½ tsp kosher salt together.

Add  1 1/4 cup of couscous and  take off the heat.  Cover and let sit for 5-6 minutes.  Fluff with fork.

In a large skillet heat  ¼ cup olive oil and add 1 small chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic minced into small pieces.

Saute  for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the garlic is very fragrant then add the couscous and toast for 8 minutes or so, couscous should get slightly brown.

Take it off the heat and pour into a large bowl and while still warm:

Add to couscous:

½ cup feta cheese

Chopped bell peppers

Chopped avocado

½ cup flat leafed parsley

Cucumber

Toasted almonds

Flat leaf Parsley, Curly leaf parsley and Cilantro

Dressing:

¼ cup oil

1 large lemon, zested

¼ tsp salt

Pepper (fresh cracked if you can)

Juice from lemon

Whisk to make dressing.  It will become a delicious opaque golden colored dressing. Pour over couscous and toss together.  Enjoy right away as a side dish or with any Moroccan style stew!