Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette

arugula, fennel, and nectarine salad on fancy white plate

It is mid-August and the weather is hot in Austin, Texas! We make a salad at least once a day to help us stay cool. We are in love with this new salad– Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette!

In addition to arugula greens, this salad has fresh basil and mint. The herbs on my back porch are doing great, thanks to daily watering and a burlap shade structure (from Costco) my husband hung over part of the deck. It’s just enough to block some of the harshest sun in the afternoon.

 

Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Dressing was born the other night when we were having a friend over for dinner and needed something to go with baked white fish and butternut squash risotto. We had some baby arugula, baby tomatoes (the most delicious tiny ones we got at Whole Foods this week), a little fresh fennel, fresh basil and mint, and a lemon in the fridge.

As I put the salad ingredients together, I saw a nectarine ripening on the counter, and wondered if it would go along with the other ingredients. I’m glad I tried it, as it was the perfect complement to the basil and mint, and the sweetness of the nectarine balanced out the bitterness of the arugula.

The third time I made this salad I added some organic feta cheese which made it look extra beautiful. If you’d prefer, you could put some toasted sliced almonds, pistachios, pecans, or homemade croutons on top of the salad instead of the cheese.

fennel and nectarine salad on fancy white plate

For the dressing, I used a white balsamic vinegar to go along with some lemon juice and olive oil to make a simple vinaigrette. But feel free to use any high quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil combination you like. I think a dark balsamic would work well here, as would a flavored white balsamic vinegar like lemongrass-mint or peach.

Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Summer Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 5 ounces baby arugula (about 5-6 handfuls)
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, sliced
  • zest of 1 or 2 lemons (yellow part only)
  • 2 nectarines, pitted and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes, halved
Dressing
  • juice of 2 lemons (~6 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
Salad
  1. In a large prep bowl, toss together arugula, fennel, basil, mint, and lemon zest.
  2. Using tongs, lightly dress salad with some of the lemon-white balsamic vinaigrette (below).
  3. Place salad onto individual salad plates or one large salad bowl or platter.
  4. Decorate the salad with nectarines and tomatoes. Drizzle with a little extra dressing, if desired.
Dressing
  1. Whisk together lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil (drizzle in slowly), a couple large pinches of sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
Variations
  1. Add some crumbled feta cheese, cubed fresh mozzarella, or some kind of toasted nut (sliced almonds, pistachios, or pecans) to the top of the salad along with the nectarines and tomatoes.

Try some other summer salads from cookloveheal.com:

Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad with Fresh Mint & Lemon

 

Baby Arugula Salad with Berries and Lemongrass Mint Vinaigrette

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

 

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing

Bon appétit!

 

Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad with Fresh Mint & Lemon

Raw and grilled zucchini salad with fresh mint and lemon

The other night we were having friends over for dinner and I needed to make something quick and easy to go with butternut squash risotto and grilled portobellos.

I remembered this Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad from a class I taught at Con Olio this spring that is really fresh, tasty, and quick to make. It’s the perfect salad for your menu when you have extra zucchini and tomatoes on hand– maybe you are experiencing this right now!

You won’t need a fancy spiralizer for the raw zucchini. Just use a simple vegetable peeler to make wide strips. Cut them to whatever length you’d like, or leave them long. They will wilt a little bit once dressing is added.

Feel free to experiment with other simple dressings like a balsamic vinaigrette using a white or traditional dark balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.

Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad with Fresh Mint & Lemon
 
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Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegan/Vegetarian
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 2½ pounds mixed zucchini and yellow summer squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, torn
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, destemmed
  • 2 cups baby tomatoes, halved
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Light a grill or preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Using a wide vegetable peeler, thinly slice one-third of the zucchini and summer squash into ribbons, set aside in a medium bowl and refrigerate.
  3. Slice remaining zucchini and summer squash into ¼-inch diagonals or rounds and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill zucchini and squash over high heat until lightly charred, 5 minutes (or roast on a sheet pan for 15-20 minutes, turning zucchini halfway. Return to the large bowl.
  5. Add the squash ribbons, mint, parsley, and tomatoes and toss.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Toss the dressing with all of the salad ingredients. Serve on salad plates and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

I hope you love making the Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad!

Here are some quick links to some other summery salad recipes on cookloveheal.com:

Baby Arugula Salad with Berries and Lemongrass Mint Vinaigrette

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

 

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing

Bon appétit!

 

Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)

photo of kabocha squash-red lentil curry in white bowl on purple placemat on the dinner table

Community cookoffs are a delicious way to bring people together!

It’s almost time again for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA) Annual Community Cookoff! This year’s theme is “Oodles of Noodles” and will be held on Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 2-4 pm at the Brew & Brew. It will be a celebration of carbs and the recipes of many chefs working hard to please your palate!

This year’s cookoff motivated me to post about last year’s AFBA 2017 Collossal Curry Cookoff. As a brand new member of the AFBA, I decided to enter my Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry in the cookoff. I was a bit scared, but I thought it would be a good way to meet my fellow AFBA members and showcase the type of food that I cook.

Curries don’t have to be hot to be flavorful, aromatic, and delicious!

I was excited for people to try my vegan curry which was not at all hot and spicy. I wanted to make the curry flavorful (with sweet kabocha squash, fennel, sweet potato, and curry leaves) and spicy rather than hot (with ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon). I also used red lentils to give the curry great body, flavor, and texture. Yum!

fresh ginger and bowl of spices for Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry

Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)
 
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Serves: 2 quarts
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup carrot, finely diced
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced
  • 2 fronds fresh curry leaves, chiffonade or 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup sweet potato, small dice
  • 1 cup fennel bulb, small dice
  • 2 cups kabocha or butternut squash, small dice
  • 1 cup zucchini, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups filtered or spring water
  • 1 teaspoon tamari, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar, or to taste (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • lemon or lime wedges, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Rinse red lentils several times and soak in a bowl with water for about an hour.
  2. Heat heavy-bottomed soup pot on medium heat. When hot, add coconut oil, onion, and pinch of sea salt. Sauté on medium heat until soft.
  3. Add the carrot, celery, curry leaves or bay leaf, ginger, and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir in powdered spices.
  4. Add the chopped sweet potato, fennel, squash, zucchini, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes.
  5. Drain red lentils and add them to the vegetable sauté. Add water, bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer until lentils and vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in coconut milk. Season with tamari and ume vinegar (or sea salt). Heat until simmering.
  7. Add fresh herbs and turn off heat.
  8. Serve on top of rice with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

3rd place finish!

After a few hours of curry tasting and ballot casting, I was thrilled to get a 3rd place finish, and went home with various gift cards and goodies from local businesses. It ended up being such a fun day!

I hope you’ll try making this recipe when you are in the mood for something sweet, savory, and nourishing. It is delicious with basmati rice and a crisp green side salad. I also add baby spinach when warming up leftovers to give it some freshness.

Sign up for this year’s cookoff!

And by the way, get your tickets here for the 2018 AFBA Oodles of Noodles cookoff on September 23rd. It will be an experience to remember!

Please let me know if you’d like to chat about on-demand cooking lessons, corporate team building, dinner parties, or yoga retreat catering.

Shaved Carrot, Radish, and Green Apple Salad with Lemon and Fresh Mint

Try this light and refreshing shaved salad as a side to almost any meal. Radishes are good at dissolving fat, while green apple and lemon have the sour taste that is cleansing for the liver and gall bladder. The mint garnish gives it a super fresh taste!

Shaved Carrot, Daikon, and Green Apple Salad with Lemon and Fresh Mint
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 daikon radish or 1 bunch red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, trimmed and peeled into wide strips
  • a few pinches sea salt
  • 1 green apple, cored, cut into quarters, then thinly sliced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar (optional)
  • ½ lemon, sliced into thin quarter moons
  • handful fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
Instructions
  1. Place daikon and carrot into a large bowl. Massage sea salt into vegetables for a minute or two, until vegetables are shiny.
  2. Add green apple, lemon juice, and umeboshi vinegar (if using). Toss to coat the entire salad.
  3. Plate salad with sliced lemon and fresh mint leaf slivers.
Note
  1. Umeboshi vinegar will add a salty, sour taste to the salad.
Variation
  1. Add ½ bulb fresh fennel, cored and thinly sliced.

 

 

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 6 cups romaine lettuce, rinsed, spun, and chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced (or 1 cup grape tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • ¾ kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced
Dressing
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
  • ½ cup spring or filtered water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • sea salt, to taste
Instructions
Salad
  1. Place greens onto a platter or individual salad bowls. Decorate greens with tomato slices, cucumber slices, olives, and red onion.
Dressing
  1. Drain cashews and discard soaking water.
  2. Blend cashews in blender or VitaMix with water, garlic, scallions, lemon juice, and umeboshi vinegar until smooth.
  3. With blender on low speed, add in olive oil and blend until incorporated.
  4. Add dill, mint, and oregano and blend on low for a few seconds.
  5. Add a pinch or two of sea salt, if needed, to balance flavors.
  6. Pour dressing into a bowl or creamer to serve alongside salad.
Variation
  1. Serve with goat feta or homemade tofu feta cheese on the side.

 

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley

chickpea hummus and crudite vegetables

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley is perfect for an school snack, to bring to a potluck, or as an appetizer. Just serve with your favorite crackers and vegetables. Here, I served the hummus with blanched green beans and red bell pepper slices.

dipping red bell pepper into chickpea hummus

Why make hummus from scratch when you can get it at the grocery store? It might be less expensive, but I really prefer the taste of homemade hummus to any commercial variety I have tasted.

Nearly all store-bought hummus brands contain additives and preservatives that I wouldn’t normally eat and make the taste of the hummus acidic, oily, and not-so-nutritious. Some of the additives include: citric acid, distilled vinegar, and vegetable oil (soybean, sunflower, or canola).

All you really need in a good quality hummus is:

  • chickpeas
  • garlic
  • lemon juice
  • tahini
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

Finally, although it takes more effort to cook your own beans from scratch, the result is well worth it. I recommend soaking 2-3 cups of dry chickpeas (instead of 1 cup as the recipe says) so you’ll have plenty leftover to use in soup, pasta dishes, or roasted chickpeas.

This recipe gives the option of using olive oil or tahini (sesame butter), or a combination of the two. Made exclusively with olive oil, the result is a lighter, more Mediterranean-style hummus.

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley
 
Prep time
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Recipe type: Appetizer or Snack
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry chickpeas*
  • spring or filtered water
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-inch piece of kombu
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons roasted tahini (sesame butter)
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped, divided
  • extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • *Or omit first 5 ingredients and use 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas.
Instructions
  1. Rinse chickpeas and place in glass bowl. Cover with water about 1-1/2 inches above the chickpeas and soak 6-8 hours.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker with enough fresh water to cover 2 inches above the beans.
  3. Boil for 10 minutes uncovered. Skim off foam that collects on the surface.
  4. Add garlic and kombu. Place lid on the pressure cooker and allow to come up to pressure.Turn heat down to low, and cook chickpeas for 18 minutes.
  5. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. Once the lid can be removed, add sea salt and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup chickpeas in a small bowl to use for garnishing.
  6. Strain chickpeas and garlic (reserving cooking liquid) and place in food processor.
  7. Place lemon juice, lemon zest, and ume plum vinegar in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  8. Add olive oil and blend again until smooth.
  9. Adjust thickness by gradually adding some of the cooking liquid (if needed).
  10. Adjust seasonings (add more lemon juice or sea salt if needed).
  11. Add half of parsley and pulse food processor just to combine.
  12. Put hummus in a serving bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil, a handful of chickpeas, and a sprinkling of parsley.
Variations
  1. Boil chickpeas in a heavy bottomed pot instead of pressure cooking. Cooking time may take more than an hour for chickpeas to become soft before adding sea salt.
  2. Use extra-virgin olive oil in place of tahini for lighter version.

Try making a colorful veggie platter with your homemade Chickpea Hummus:

Rainbow Veggie Platter with Parsley-Tahini Sauce

Enjoy!

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Questions?

Call or email me to schedule a consultation or talk about one of my services. I love meeting with people, and I’m always happy to chat!

(512) 217-1259

rachel@cookloveheal.com

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