Salads Archives - Plant Based, Family Friendly Meal Planning by Stephanie Dreyer, Los Angeles

September 6, 2017
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We’ve had a few cooler days the last week or so and although, I am not quite ready to give up summer, my body has been craving heartier salads than the usual bowls I tend to throw together. The Harvest Grains blend from Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite side dishes, but I was inspired to turn it into a salad for a beach outing last weekend. The grain medley includes Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. It’s all kinds of awesome and makes a great alternative to pasta in a traditional pasta salad, which is what I was craving when I created this Kale Harvest Grains Salad recipe.

The grains blend is tasty on its own but I added more flavor with some cubed dairy-free mozzarella, sliced baby tomatoes and chopped basil. When it comes to dressing, any vinaigrette will do. I made a homemade Greek style dressing with Penzey’s Spices Greek seasoning blend. It wouldn’t be a salad without some greens! I started with the Power to the Greens blend from Trader Joe’s (kale, chard, and spinach) and topped it with the grains salad mixture and drizzled it all with my dressing. It’s a simple yet satisfying recipe that I have been enjoying all week. I hope you do too!

If you try my Kale Harvest Grains Salad, please be sure to tag me. I love to see your creations with my recipes!

Kale Harvest Grains Salad

The grains mixture stores well for about 3 days. Store your greens and dressing separately until you are ready to eat it. It also makes a great lunch to pack for work.

 

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Kale Harvest Grains Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 package Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Medley
  • 2 cups Imagine No-Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 ounces dairy-free mozzarella, diced
  • 2 cups mixed greens (such as kale, chard and spinach)
  • Greek or Italian Salad dressing vinaigrette (such as red wine or balsamic)

Instructions

  1. Prepare grains medley according to package directions, using the broth. Set aside to cool.

  2. While the grains cook, chop the basil, slice the tomatoes and dice the cheese. Prepare the salad dressing if not using store-bought.

  3. Fluff the grains medley with a fork and add the basil, tomatoes and cheese.

  4. Place two cups of greens on a plate, along with a 1/2 cup of the grains salad mixture. Toss with 1-2 tablespoons of dressing.

  5. Store leftover greens, dressing, and grains salad separately for additional servings.

Kale Harvest Grains Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 


August 2, 2017
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During these warm summer days, all I want to eat is salad! But, sometimes I crave something a little heartier from the salad family…which takes me back to my days by the pool as a kid. My aunt would fill a huge Tupperware bowl with a delicious pasta salad. It was full of raw veggies and my favorite – olives! She’d toss it all with Paul Newman’s Italian dressing and we’d feast on it all day.

This salad is my Mediterranean twist on the traditional pasta salad. I don’t need many reasons to whip up a spread, but give me some guests (even if they are impromptu), and you can guarantee that I will use it as an excuse to throw together a few appetizers or a meal for everyone to enjoy. That is exactly what happened when I created this recipe for Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad.

Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad

It was a weekend of busy. Wonderful busy – seeing friends, family popping in during an out-of-town visit, other family coming over to watch a movie. So much fun! We had just gotten home the night before so I knew I was going to have visitors for lunch, but had not thought about what to make. I settled on paninis (my favorite go-to lunch for feeding a crowd) and thought I would make my roasted vegetable orzo salad to go with it. I had a few zucchinis to use thanks to the bounty I was gifted from my dad’s best friend, which was one of the key ingredients. After checking my pantry, I realized I was missing a key ingredient – orzo – so I used pearl couscous instead. I also realized I had an abundance of cherry tomatoes to use (also from my dad’s best friend), and decided to roast those with the zucchini.

As I roasted those, I saw some artichoke hearts and kalamata olives calling my name, so the dish instantly transformed into a whole other recipe altogether. One of my favorite moves is the shredded parmesan cheese from Follow Your Heart. I use any excuse to sprinkle it on everything! That was the final touch to this recipe, and my Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad was born. I hope you enjoy this salad doing something fun this summer with lots of friends and family!

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Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 can quartered artichokes, in water (drained)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup basil, sliced in a chiffonade
  • 8 oz pearl couscous
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan Parmesan cheese, (such as Follow Your Heart)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning blend
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the zucchini, tomatoes and garlic on a baking pan. Drizzle on the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the vegetables so that they are thoroughly covered with the oil and seasonings. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, prepare the couscous according to package directions. Drain and cool when cooked.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and the Greek seasoning blend. Whisk together until well blended.
  5. Stir in the couscous, artichoke hearts, roasted vegetables (with juices), basil, and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad

 


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I love this tempeh “chicken” salad filling! It’s great on sandwiches and also on top of a bed of greens. Recently, I fancied it up a level and made canapes using endive leaves. I served it as a side to a cup of soup for lunch, but wouldn’t it make a pretty appetizer too? Try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1 8-0 z packages Organic Tempeh (such as Lightlife)
  • 4 stalks celery , minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot , chopped
  • 4 small dill pickles , minced
  • 2 scallions , chopped
  • 1 cup Wildwood Garlic Aioli (or vegan mayo such as Vegannaise)
  • 6 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Tempeh Salad in Endive

Instructions

  1. Cut tempeh into chunks and steam for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and crumble with your hands into a bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients and stir well to combine.
  3. Serve on sandwich bread, over salad greens, or atop crackers or veggies as canapes!

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Happy summer, everyone! I can’t believe it’s already halfway over. I love this time of year SO MUCH. My household is so much calmer and peaceful. Everything is effortless. Easy. Breezy. Fun. During the school year, I am a control freak, wrangling kids, keeping to schedules, and enforcing rules – all so chaos doesn’t ensue. Dinner is served strictly at 6:30PM so that everyone is fed and in bed by 8:30PM. Come summer and we’ve been eating as late as 8 o’clock as summer fun calls and I don’t start dinner until later. It means later bedtimes, but no one seems to mind, because as my eldest daughter says, “What do we have to get up for?” I LOVE SUMMER.

So, this salad! I love a good Caprese salad. I have taken some liberties with this recipe, by chopping things up instead of slicing the tomatoes and cheese in rounds as it is done in the traditional dish. But, this also isn’t traditional, as I swapped out the mozzarella with Kite Hill’s Ricotta. I love this creamy, salty cheese SO MUCH. It really is fantastic. Of course, you could keep things traditional with the equally awesome VeganMozz from Miyoko’s Kitchen.

This Caprese Chopped Salad gets it glory from the bounty of summer – heirloom tomatoes. Sure, you could make this any time of year with any kind of tomato, but why not make it now with all of the beautiful tomatoes available not only at the local farmer’s market, but also at the grocery store? Add in just a couple of other ingredients and you have a fresh salad that makes a great lunch or dinner, or is easily served alongside pasta or a bowl of soup.

This Caprese Chopped Salad couldn’t be any easier. If you don’t believe me, check out the video below to see what I mean!

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Vegan Caprese Salad

Instructions

  1. Slice tomatoes into wedges and lay out on a platter.
  2. Stack basil leaves on top of each other and roll together tightly. Slice the leaves into a chiffonade.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over salad to taste.
  4. Crumble Kite Hill Cheese on top.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

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With summer here and the kids out of school, the Dreyer house seems to be a beacon for visitors! I don’t need many reasons to whip up a spread, but give me some guests (even if they are impromptu), and you can guarantee that I will use it as an excuse to throw together a few appetizers or a meal for everyone to enjoy. That is exactly what happened when I created this recipe for Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad.

It was a weekend of busy. Wonderful busy – seeing friends, family popping in during an out-of-town visit, other family coming over to watch a movie. So much fun! We had just gotten home the night before so I knew I was going to have visitors for lunch, but had not thought about what to make. I settled on paninis (my favorite go-to lunch for feeding a crowd) and thought I would make my roasted vegetable orzo salad to go with it. I had a few zucchinis to use thanks to the bounty I was gifted from my dad’s best friend, which was one of the key ingredients. After checking my pantry, I realized I was missing a key ingredient – orzo – so I used pearl couscous instead. I also realized I had an abundance of cherry tomatoes to use (also from my dad’s best friend), and decided to roast those with the zucchini.

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Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 can quartered artichokes , in water (drained)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives , sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup basil , sliced in a chiffonade
  • 8 oz pearl couscous
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan Parmesan cheese (such as Follow Your Heart)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning blend
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the zucchini, tomatoes and garlic on a baking pan. Drizzle on the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the vegetables so that they are thoroughly covered with the oil and seasonings. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, prepare the couscous according to package directions. Drain and cool when cooked.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and the Greek seasoning blend. Whisk together until well blended.
  5. Stir in the couscous, artichoke hearts, roasted vegetables (with juices), basil, and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Kale salads are ubiquitous these days.  So are Brussels sprouts recipes.  They are still my favorites, so I decided to combine the two and top it with a killer pomegranate dressing that is a beautiful addition to any holiday table, if I do say so myself!  I take my salads and my vegetables seriously every day of the week, but especially during the holidays.  Because of my vegan status, I am usually asked to bring one or both of these dishes if I am not hosting the soiree.  Actually, let’s be honest, with my type A tendencies, I demand, um…I mean offer, to bring these dishes to the party.  Since these dishes are typically the mainstays of my meal unless I am the hostess, I want to be assured that they will be done right.  I know…control issues!

For me, a salad is much like a symphony.  You need the right mix of ingredients to create a masterpiece. I take a lot of pride in hand picking those said ingredients and then, folding them together in the salad bowl.  The dressing is the piece de resistance. There is a time and place for bottled dressings, but for the holidays that just won’t do.  Still, I don’t want to slave away over my dressing. Light, simple, just a few ingredients.  That’s how I dress my salad. My feelings about salads are similar to those for vegetables. They must not be overcooked.  Soggy veggies are a drag. Too much salt and oil are equally ruinous to what I believe are the best dishes on the table.  Again, I rely on fresh ingredients with just the right amount of seasoning.  This salad has all of the above going on.

I will get to the salad in a minute, (which is delish on its own), but this pomegranate dressing!  With just 4 ingredients and no blender necessary, you can add the ingredients directly to your dressing carafe and shake things up to have this dressing ready in under 5 minutes.  I wanted to highlight the flavor of the glorious pomegranate in this recipe.  I also top the salad with actual pomegranate seeds to enhance the sweet and tart flavor of this distinguished fruit.  Instead of straight up pomegranate juice, I am using Trader Joe’s Power of 7 Juice, an organic blend of pomegranate, tart cherry, black mulberry, red grape, carrot, cranberry and blueberry juices. No concentrates or anything else is added – just the juice.  I have combined that with either your choice of grapeseed oil or vegetable broth, and added whole grain Dijon mustard and just a touch of maple syrup.  Make sure you use the whole grain Dijon mustard. The big mustard seeds look gorgeous in this pomegranate dressing.

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Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Ingredients

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

  • 1 head lacinato kale
  • 2-3 cups shaved Brussels sprouts
  • 1 red onion , cut in half moons
  • 1/4 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 batch of Dijon Mustard Pomegranate Dressing

Dijon Mustard Pomegranate Dressing

  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice or blend , such as Trader Joe's Power to the Seven
  • 2 TBL whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBL maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Dressing Instructions:

  2. Combine all ingredients into a mason jar or salad dressing carafe and shake vigorously. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Salad Instructions:

  4. Place the almonds in a dry saute pan over medium heat. Toast the nuts for about five minutes, tossing often so they do not burn and are toasted on all sides. Set aside.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the onion. Cook about 10 minutes until the onions are caramelized. Stir in the Brussels sprouts. Cook another 5 minutes until they have wilted down some, and are bright green with a bite still to them. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  6. Clean and de-rib the kale leaves. Stack on the leaves on top of each other and roll together into a tight wad. Slice the kale into ribbons and place in a salad bowl. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the dressing onto the kale and massage with your hands until softened.
  7. Stir in the Brussels Sprouts, pomegranate seeds, and almonds. Toss to combine.
  8. Drizzle with more dressing, as desired.

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Would it surprise you to know that I eat an avocado just about every day? Chopped on top of a salad, sliced in a wrap, or mashed as guacamole, I crave avocado daily. It is a bit of a comfort food for me, and with all the “good fat” it contains, I try not to feel guilty about eating it! Today, I add a new way to eat my avos – stuffed! A stuffed avocado, you ask? Yes, it’s delicious. You will love it!


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