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Tofu Nicoise Salad

5 Sep

As I browse through my instagram, Facebook, food gawker, etc. I can’t help but notice the influx of spicy pumpkin recipes that have taken over the internet. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to crank on the oven and have a hot date with Libby but it seems like summer is just starting to show itself up here in Michigan. There’s something about pumpkin that doesn’t pair well with 85 degree temps and 80% humidity. I just can’t wrap my mind around it, no matter what month it is!

Until the temperatures cool and the overcast skies appear, I have this beautiful nicoise salad for you.


My friend gave me this great recipe for baked tofu and it made the perfect replacement for a hearty fish-less option on this salad.

Just check out the colors in this salad…


It screams nutrition! Each one of those colors packs a punch with a different disease-fighting phytochemical.

This salad is really versatile. Feel free to use whatever ingredients you have on hand to make it work for you.

Tofu Nicoise Salad

Makes 4 servings

Note: To drain the tofu, I slice the tofu into 8 equal pieces and place them on a few layers of paper towel for 30 minutes. Lightly pat the topside dry with paper towel. 

For the tofu:

1-14 ounce package of firm tofu, drained and cut into 8 equal pieces

3/4 cup broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons soy sauce

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons parsley, minced

1 /2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

For the salad:

8 cups mixed greens

2 cups steamed green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces

12 olives, pitted and halved

2 cups roasted potatoes, quartered

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 hardboiled eggs, sliced

1. For the tofu: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk all ingredients except for the tofu in a small bowl. Place tofu on lined baking sheet and brush with half of the marinade. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Flip tofu over and brush with remaining marinade. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. For the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients except for the olive oil in a small bowl or pulse together in a food processor. Gradually whisk in olive oil or, with the food processor running, slowly pour olive oil in and process until combine.

3. In a large bowl, toss mixed greens with desired amount of dressing. Plate tossed greens on individual plates and divide remaining ingredients among each plate.



Roasted Grape Farro Salad

22 May

This salad is inspired by a recent trip we took out west.



I know what you’re thinking…”she just got back from visiting wineries in Sonoma and has this new appreciation for grapes and wine and came home ready to get her grape on in the kitchen.”


As much as I wish that were true, it’s not. This meal is a recreation of an airport meal that I had on our way home. I know, so anticlimactic. I can promise you that this dish won’t be anticlimactic for your taste buds, though.

This would be the perfect side dish to contribute to your next “bring a dish to pass” gathering or can easily act as the main star for a light lunch or dinner. You can make it ahead of time and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Did I mention that it’s also packed with fiber and healthy fats?


If you’ve never been to the San Francisco airport, you should go. Seriously. Not only do they have awesome food selection (inspiration for this salad), but they have a yoga room! And yes, I practiced in it! And no, I wasn’t the only person in there!

After getting my “om” on and having a delicious lunch, I was ready for the long flight ahead!

Roasted Grape Farro Salad

Serves 4

For the Grapes:

3 cups red seedless grapes, detached from stems

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the Pesto:

1 cup arugula

1 clove garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

For the rest:

8 oz farro

Juice of half a lemon

1/2-1  tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (to toast a small amount of pine nuts, place in a non stick skillet over medium heat for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Roast at  30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until grapes start to burst and release some of the juice.

2. While the grapes are roasting, make the pesto. In a food processor, pulse together arugula, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt to taste. Scrape down the sides. With the food processor running, gradually add olive oil until pesto reaches a smooth consistency. (the pesto could be made a day in advance)

3. Cook farro by adding it to a pot of boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain.

4. In a large bowl, combine farro, roasted grapes along with any juices on the pan, arugula pesto, and pine nuts. Toss with lemon  juice and olive oil.


Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

4 May

Hello hello. I have been MIA and I apologize. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks with another whirlwind week ahead. I had some quality family time over Easter and some quality sister time soaking up the sun in Florida. The hubby and I head on a West coast adventure later this week. All exciting things that have left me with very little time to cook or blog!

I thought I’d sneak in a quick post just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

I love roasted chickpeas. They satisfy the need for a crunchy snack and are full of protein and fiber. You can easily season them how you like. These Mexican roasted chickpeas are the perfect healthy way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.


The inspiration for these chickpeas came from these delicious lentil tacos. I tossed a can of chickpeas with the spice mixture from the tacos and some vegetable oil, popped them in the oven and waiting while they roasted to perfection.

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My favorite way to enjoy these was atop a clean version of a taco salad. I tossed together some romaine, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced green onions, crushed Beanito chips, avocado, and topped with some olive oil and lemon juice…yum yum yum.

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Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. In a small bowl, combine spices. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with vegetable oil. Add spice mixture and toss until chickpeas are well coated.

4. Spread chickpeas into a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast in oven for 35-45 minutes until crispy, tossing or stirring chickpeas every 15 minutes.


Greek Farro Salad

14 Mar

Another favorite thing of mine is simple ingredients.

I was craving a hearty, fresh, salad with a grain base.


I had picked up some farro from Trader Joe’s. I had a ton of fresh veggies that I couldn’t wait to bite into. I had some feta cheese that was begging to be a topping on my salad. I was thinking about what to do for a dressing. I decided to keep it simple. With good ingredients, there’s no need to get too fancy with anything.


Let the flavors shine through!

I was also dreaming of summer (as another foot of snow was being dumped on us…I’m not complaining though!) and a salad made with refreshing veggies was just the thing.

You can feel great about eating this salad. It makes a great main dish or the perfect side dish to accompany your meal. The farro is a whole grain with a satisfying chew to it. The chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein. The olive oil gives you a daily dose of omega-3’s. And who can complain about a colorful array of veggies?

Bite into this salad and dream of warm summer nights, pool parties, and flip flops!

Greek Farro Salad

Note: The cucumbers don’t keep their fresh bite after the second day. I would recommend keeping them separate and adding them to your salad if you don’t plan to enjoy it all the first couple days.

Makes 6 cups

3 cups cooked farro (I used Trader Joe’s)

1 cup cucumbers, chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

3 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced thin

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1. Add farro, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, feta, and chickpeas in a large bowl. Stir to combine.

2. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Stir to combine. Add more salt to taste. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Warm Autumn Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

2 Nov

The weather man described today as a blustery fall day. He was right. And I love it! There is something about a cozy fall day that can’t be beat.


When I lived in Florida, the thing I missed most about the Midwest was fall. My warm-blooded friends didn’t get it. They would look at me cross-eyed when I couldn’t contain my excitement about heading north for a fall weekend.  Wearing sweaters, bundling up in a puffy jacket, throwing on a pair of boots, and eating “fall food”. Things look, smell, and taste better during a Midwest fall.

This Autumn Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is just the thing to warm up with on your next cozy fall day. It’s great on its own as lunch or a light dinner or would be great paired with simple roasted chicken or pork tenderloin. You decide 🙂 Just make sure you pour yourself a healthy glass of red wine, crank on the oven, and enjoy the beginning of the hibernating season.

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Warm Autumn Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

Makes 2 meal servings or 4 side servings

*The dressing will make more than you need for this recipe, save the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It works great as a dressing for a simple greens salad.

The Squash:

1 small butternut squash, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The Salad

1 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

The Dressing*

1/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon herbamare (this is a dried herb seasoning blend)

1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

1. For the squash: preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a shallow baking dish, pour the melted coconut oil and cinnamon over the cubed squash and apples. Gently toss to combine. Roast squash in the oven for about 45 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.

2. While the squash is roasting, Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, herbamare, and dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in the canola oil. Next, soak the dried cranberries in 1 cup of hot water for about 10 minutes until they are plump. Drain.

3. When the squash and apples are done roasting, in a medium bowl, combine the squash mixture with the quinoa, chopped pecans, and cranberries. Toss lightly with the dressing as desired (I used about 3-4 tablespoons of dressing for the entire recipe). The flavors marinate more the longer it sits so don’t be afraid to toss the entire salad all at once ahead of time.

Summer Corn Relish

8 Sep

I LOVE Saturday mornings. Saturday mornings mean waking up to a piping hot cup of coffee, a Miracle Greek Yogurt Breakfast, watching an episode of The Pioneer Woman, only to be totally inspired to head to my local farmer’s market to see what I can whip up with my weekly share.

Last weekend, this is what I came up with.


Summer Corn Relish

I used poblano pepper and a fair amount of cayenne because I like things on the spicy side. If you prefer things less spicy, cut back on the cayenne and poblano or substitute a red bell pepper for the poblano. I liked this best served over a bed of arugula with some cherry tomatoes. It would also be great as a topping on a burger or taco. Either way, you want this in your fridge!

3 ears of corn, kernels shaved from the cob

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1/2 cup shallots, finely diced (about 2 small)

1/2 cup poblano pepper, finely diced (about 1/2 medium)

1 tablespoon lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine corn kernels, cayenne pepper, and salt. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add corn and cook until corn in tender, 4-5 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and agave nectar and cook for an additional minute.

2. In a medium bowl, combine corn mixture with shallots and poblano pepper. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Smashed Salmon Salad

21 Aug

All of the reminiscing about college that I did last weekend really got me in the mood for one of my favorite meals from college…the Smashed Salmon Salad.


Kona Bistro was the place we went to in college for special occasions…especially when our parents were in town since it’s a little on the pricey side for a college student. When you go to Kona Bistro, you obviously get the Smashed Salmon Salad. You can’t pass through Oxford, Ohio without trying it. Miami of Ohio isn’t exactly located in a convenient location to just “pass through” on a road trip…it’s in the middle of corn fields. Luckily, I discovered this recipe on Pinterest which allowed me to recreate the fond memories I have of “bopping” up and down high street without a care in the world. I put my own little twist on it but am thankful to have come across this original recipe.


To all my fellow Miamians out there, as you enjoy this delicious salad, I hope you look back fondly on the wonderful memories that can only be made in a place like Oxford, Ohio.

I would love to hear your favorite college memory in the comment section 🙂

Smashed Salmon Salad

Serves 2

Adapted from:

2-6 ounce salmon filets

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

1/2 cup mango chutney (Trader Joe’s has done it again with this little jar of heaven.)

12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 tablespoon skim milk

1 tablespoon low-fat cream cheese

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

2 handfuls spinach

3/4 cup shredded carrots

4-5 heirloom tomatoes, sliced thin (any tomatoes will work, but heirlooms make for a beautiful presentation)

1. Combine dijon mustard and 1/4 cup of mango chutney in a large ziplock bag. Place salmon filets in bag and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place empty baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Once the oven is preheated, remove baking sheet. Turn temperature down to 275 degrees. Place salmon filets skin-side down on the baking sheet. Brush any leftover marinade over salmon. Put baking sheet back in the oven and roast salmon for 12-15 minutes until salmon reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Remove the skin of the salmon from the filet using a sharp knife.

3. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a pot filled with cold water. Bring water to a boil and boil potatoes until tender. Drain potatoes and let rest in the pot, off heat, for about 5 minutes. Add milk, cream cheese, butter, garlic powder, and onion powder in pot. Using an electric mixer, whip potatoes until all ingredients are combined and potatoes are smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Assemble the salads by placing a handful of spinach on each plate. Place half of the mashed potatoes (about 1/2 cup) on top of each plate of spinach. Add half of the sliced tomatoes on top of each mound of potatoes. Next, add half of the carrots to each plate onto of the tomatoes. Lastly, place the cooked salmon on top of the tomatoes. Finish each plate with 2 tablespoons of mango chutney on top of the salmon. Enjoy 🙂

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