Category Archives: sides

Shaved Cauliflower & Radicchio Salad with Honey-Toasted Walnuts & a Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Did you need something super healthy and fresh to kind of ease you back into a week following the over-indulgence of Super Bowl weekend?  I did.  I also got to use one of B’s Christmas gifts to me for the first time, this ridiculous Cuisinart Food Processor, which made making this salad a 10 minute process instead of maybe a 20 minute one.  Shaving the cauliflower and radicchio into paper-thin slices really “takes this salad from a meal to an event” (we do the same thing with the radishes and avocado for our Favorite Salad Ever), so a julienne will work just as well if you don’t have a food processor that will accomplish this.  You can also just shave these into thin slices with a really sharp knife.  This salad is so pretty and crunchy, the dressing gives it a little lift of sweetness, and the honey-kosher salt toasted walnuts finish it perfectly.  It also makes a ton of it (this would be great for parties), so I just kept the salad and the dressing separate so we could combine them when we were ready to have this over the next day or so.  A paper towel in the bowl with your salad will keep the ingredients from getting soggy.

SHAVED CAULIFLOWER & RADICCHIO SALAD WITH HONEY-TOASTED WALNUTS & A MEYER LEMON VINAIGRETTE (makes a really big bowl of salad – adapted almost exactly from the lovely Happy Yolks)
– 1/2 a head of cauliflower (not cored)
– 1 head radicchio, cored
– 4-5 celery stalks, with leaves
– 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
– 1/2 c. honey-toasted walnuts
– 1-2 tbsp honey
– 3 meyer lemons, juiced
– 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
– 1/4 c. EVOO
– kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper

1. Cut a head of cauliflower in half, then shave it either with a julienne, a food processor, or a very sharp knife. Include the stem of the cauliflower. Throw this all into a big bowl.


2. Core a head of radicchio, and shave that as well. Do the same with the celery sticks, and also roughly tear  the celery leaves.  Add to the bowl. Chop the chives and the parsley, add to the ingredients, and stir everything to combine.

3. For the meyer lemon vinaigrette, juice the lemons, then add (in this order, to help it all blend together) kosher salt, pepper, dijon mustard.  Whisk together (or shake it up, if you’re using a little mason jar), then add the olive oil. Whisk or shake it to combine, then add to the salad (or keep separate if you’re planning to eat this over the next day or so, too).

3. To make the walnuts, drizzle them with honey and then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.  Bake for approx. ten minutes at 350.  Remove, let cool slightly, then top the salad with these.  Serve and enjoy.


Avocado Chicken Salad – No Mayo!

In the last post I mentioned that I’ve made some of my favorite chicken salads with avocado as a substitute for mayo, so I thought I would post that recipe this time around.  This, again, is a super easy recipe – very light and flavorful, and really healthy too.  It’ll keep for a day or two, but it’ll probably be gone before then!

AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD (makes approx. 2 servings)
– Shredded cooked chicken, approx. 2 cups
– 1 avocado, cubed
– juice of 1 lime (a Rosle Citrus Reamer works great for this)  
– 1 tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped
– 2 scallions, chopped

1. Cut an avocado in half, remove the pit, and dice it.  Add to a bowl and mash roughly with a fork to break it up a bit.

2. Once the avocado is mashed, add the cilantro, lime juice, scallions, and kosher salt/pepper (a pinch of each to start – then add more to taste).  You want to kind of make a guacamole base, and then add the chicken to it. 

3. Add the shredded chicken to the mix, then stir to combine.

4. Taste, season, then taste again.  Delicious!

Chickpea, Avocado, & Feta “Smash”

I felt like Maria von Trapp making this, because: Chickpeas? Avocados? Feta? These are a few of my favorite things…

Avocado is a great substitute for mayo – I’ve made some of my favorite chicken salads with avocados as a base – but mashed with chickpeas, combined with a little feta, lemon/lime juice, and cilantro, this was beyond delicious.  The citrus keeps the avocado from browning, so you can keep this for a full day in the fridge for a healthy snack, or a sandwich filler, or a scoop on top of some salad greens.  You get the picture. It’s healthy, it’s filling, and it’s ready in no more than ten minutes, tops.  Enjoy.

CHICKPEA, AVOCADO, & FETA “SMASH” (serves 2-3)  
– 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I use Eden Organic beans, because they’re fully organic, their cans are BPA-free, and they’re only slightly more expensive but significantly better for you than the alternatives) 

– 1 avocado, cut into chunks
– 1/2 lemon, juiced
– 1/2 lime, juiced
– Approx. 3 tbsp. crumbled feta
– smallish handful of cilantro, chopped (approx. 2 tbsps)
– kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Rinse the chickpeas well and drain them, then add to a mixing bowl.

2. Cut an avocado into chunks. The easiest way to do this is to cut an avocado in half, lengthwise:  

Then, carefully but firmly, thunk (that’s a made-up cooking term) the knife blade into the avocado pit, twist it a bit, and gently pull out the pit. 
those are some balancing skills, right there!

Then, in the avocado half itself, cut the avocado into a grid, run your knife around the perimeter of the avocado, and squeeze out the chunks into the bowl with the chickpeas:

2. Combine the chickpeas and the avocado, lemon/lime juice, and kosher salt & pepper, and smash it all together.  If you have a Potato Masher, this helps to get things started, but finishing smashing with a fork until you have the chickpea/avocado consistency that you want.  If you want more of a chunkier avocado texture, smash the chickpeas until they’re 75% to the texture you want, then add the avocado to finish. Say smash again.  Smash!!

3. Add cilantro to taste, then feta, then add salt/pepper/lemon juice or lime juice as needed.

Sandwich filler?  Salad topper? Solo?  Any way (or “S”) you serve it, it’s a winner.

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Spinach, Roasted Butternut Squash, Feta, & Toasted Walnut Salad with a Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

I’ve been dying to try anything with Meyer Lemons for over a year now.  They only show up around here is in January – February, so when I saw a bag at Wegman’s the other day, I knew the time had come.  Meyer Lemons are kind of a cross between a clementine and a lemon (my friend Klob calls them “lemontines”), so they’re a little lighter and sweeter than traditional lemons.  The vinaigrette plays well against the roasted butternut squash, the feta adds a little saltiness, and the toasted walnuts add a little heartiness and crunch.  The spinach pulls this all together for a super satisfying, really easy salad.

– 1 9 oz. bag of spinach
– 1/4 – 1/2 Roasted Butternut Squash
– 1/4 C. crumbled Feta
– 1/4 C. toasted walnuts
– 2 Meyer Lemons, zested and juiced
– 1 tbsp. honey
– 1/2 – 3/4 C. EVOO (start with 1/2, then add more to taste)
– Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Roast the butternut squash. Basically, turn the oven to 400, throw in the squash for maybe 15 minutes, then remove to cut off the bottom and slice it in half easily.  Scoop out the seeds, rub a little olive oil on both sides, then place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet for 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.  Remove from the oven, peel off the skin, and cut as needed. I has some leftover from the other night’s chicken, kale, roasted butternut squash, and black bean enchiladas, so I just used that.

2. Add the spinach leaves to a large bowl, then and add a little kosher salt or Herbamare (lettuce is a vegetable, and should be dressed like one). Stir to combine.

3. In a small pan, toast walnuts over medium-high heat.  This should take about 5 minutes – just watch the pan closely, and shake it around a lot to flip the walnuts evenly.  You’ll see (and smell) when the walnuts are toasted – just be careful not to burn them!

4. Add toasted walnuts, cubed butternut squash, and crumbled feta.  Mix gently to combine.

5. In a smaller mason jar (or similar), combine the ingredients for the Meyer Lemon vinaigrette. Put a lid on the jar, shake well to combine, then season to taste if necessary.

6. Pour about half the dressing over the salad, mix gently to coat. Add more dressing if you like, or refrigerate for up to 3-4 more days.  Yummo.

Roasted Lemon Cauliflower

I would eat this every day, if it didn’t kind of make your kitchen smell like you were roasting tupperware.  That said, please open a window and try this, because it’s one of the healthiest, simplest, tastiest snacks you’ll ever have. 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH LEMON (serves 4 as a snack or side)
– 1 large head cauliflower
– 2 lemons, zest of 1
– 1-2 tbsp EVOO
– 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Wash and thoroughly dry the cauliflower, then cut into florets.  The easiest way to do this is to cut the cauliflower into quarters, then cut out the middle “stem” part.  The florets should fall away naturally, and you won’t end up with teeny pieces of cauliflower all over your kitchen.


3. In a small bowl, combine the juice of 1/2 a lemon and the salt, mixing to combine. Then, using a Microplane, add the zest of two lemons (just the yellow – zesting the white part, or the “pith”will make this really bitter) and the EVOO, and mix that together as well.

4.  Pour this lemon/EVOO mixture over the cauliflower florets, and toss to combine.  Arrange the florets in a single layer on an ungreased roasting sheet and put in the oven.

5. Every 10 minutes or so, take the cauliflower out of the oven, squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over them, and flip them with a spatula. Repeat until the edges of the cauliflower are deep brown and caramelized – this should take approx. 30 minutes.

Cauliflower, after the first flip.

6. When roasted, remove the florets from the oven, squeeze the juice of another lemon half over them, then serve. This is fantastic either hot or cold.

Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts

Ok – I literally did not know there was an “s” at the end of “brussels” until just this minute.  That still looks weird to me, but it’ll stay. It fits, though, because much like getting used to the “s” at the end of the word, brussels sprouts themselves also took some getting used to. As a kid, I wasn’t a fan, but as an adult, they’re one of my favorite sides.  Roasting them in a pan caramelizes them somewhat, and the light dusting of parm gives them a salty little kick.  I swear these are better than candy.

PARMESAN CRUSTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS (serves 2-4 as a side – via 101 Cookbooks)
– 20 brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (choose ones that have tighter leaves – these will be fresher)
– 2 tbsp EVOO
– kosher salt
– freshly grated parmesan cheese – a microplane works well to shred the parm into superfine little wisps

1. Wash and trim the brussels sprouts – peel away a few of the looser outer leaves, trim the stems. Then, cut them in half and toss them in a bowl with a tablespoon of EVOO.

2. Heat the other tablespoon of EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat.  When hot, arrange the brussels cut-side down, sprinkle with some kosher salt, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

3.  After 5 minutes, uncover, raise heat to medium high, and cook until the brussels are browned and caramelized. Using a spatula, toss them around the skillet a few times to cook the sides and the edges.

4. Turn off the heat, then dust the brussels with the parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately, and watch your guests become brussels sprouts converts.

Roasted Red Grapes with Thyme

I can’t even tell you how simple, delicious, and pretty this side is. It’s perfect for entertaining  – put it alongside a cheese plate, and you have a lovely little spread of hors d’oeuvres. Roasting the grapes brings out their natural sweetness, but that’s balanced by the thyme, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. We love this. Love this. Love this.

ROASTED RED GRAPES WITH THYME (orginial recipe found on Noble Pig)
– 1 bunch seedless red grapes (organic, if you can find them)
– 4-5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
– 1 tsp. kosher salt
– 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
– EVOO (approx. 2 tbsp)
– Parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Wash grapes and dry thoroughly.

3. Gently combine thyme leaves, EVOO, kosher salt, pepper, and grapes, then arrange on a single layer of parchment paper.

4. Roast for approx. 10 minutes, shaking the pan once about halfway through to rotate the grapes a bit.  The skins of the grapes will split and wither slightly – this is when you know they’re ready to come out of the oven.

5. Serve warm or cool alongside whatever other hors d’oeuvres you have, or just enjoy on their own!

Roasted Garlic Hummus

I eat so much hummus on a weekly basis that I finally decided to try to make it myself. It seems like a really impressive recipe, but is incredibly easy and tasty, and has become one of the most-requested things that I make (and not just in our house!). The roasted garlic adds a nice dimension of subtle flavor, and you can skip it if you want, but why not just try it once?  

—– You willllllll tryyyyyy the roastedddd gaaarrrllliiicccc ——

Omg weird, didn’t you just get the urge to break out a garlic bulb to roast??

ROASTED GARLIC HUMMUS (Serving size varies, depending on your house’s level of hummus consumption)
– 2 cans chickpeas (15.5 oz each), rinsed and drained
– 1 whole garlic bulb
– 1/3 C. tahini
– 1/3 C. EVOO
– Approx. 1 C. chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a full vegan side)
– 1/2 lemon, juiced
– 1 tsp. paprika
– 2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley (flat leaf)
– 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
– 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450. 

2. Lop the top off a full bulb of garlic, and discard.  Place garlic bulb in a muffin tin, drizzle with olive oil, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake for approx. 30 – 40 minutes, or until garlic is roasted.


3. Squeeze out the roasted cloves of garlic (or use a fork to extract) into a large mixing bowl.

4. Add chickpeas, EVOO, tahini, lemon juice, paprika, parsley, salt & pepper to the mixing bowl.  Stir well to combine.
5. Add mixture to a Food Processor, pulse to combine, then add the chicken or veggie stock little by little as you continue to blend the chickpea mixture.  The consistency will change from kind of chunky to fluffy and thick – keep adding the broth until you have the consistency you want.

6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. The flavors will continue to combine and deepen over this time, so when you add seasonings after blending it, make sure to add a little less than what you think it really needs.

7. Serve with carrots, celery, the ever-popular pretzel chip, or use as a spread on sandwiches or apps.

Happy 12.12.12!

Kale, Carrot, and White Bean Blend

I had a sleepover at my sister’s the other night, and she brought out this deliciously filling “snack” that could have been dinner if it weren’t for the Grotto pizza we were already sharing. This is one of those super easy recipes that you can just throw together with ingredients you already have, and in no time at all you have a hearty, healthy dish (to go with the pizza that you’re eating).

KALE, CARROT, AND WHITE BEAN BLEND (serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish)

– 1/2 a bunch of kale, “ribs” removed, washed and roughly chopped
– 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
– 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 tbsp. EVOO, 1 tsp. butter

1. Wash your kale and carrots. Even though you’re going to peel the carrots, you should wash them anyway. Any dirt on the skin will get dragged into the carrot itself when you peel them unless they’re clean.

2. Remove the “ribs” from the kale, and roughly chop.

3. Cut the peeled carrots into 1/8 inch rounds.

4. In a large saucepan, bring enough water to cover the carrots to a boil. Add the sliced carrots and boil until just tender (approx. 5 minutes). Drain the carrots and return the saucepan to the burner, now lowered to medium heat.

5. Add 1 tbsp EVOO and a smidge of butter to the saucepan and, when hot, add the garlic and stir until fragrant – appox. 90 seconds.

6. Add carrots to the pan and stir to cover with the EVOO/butter/garlic mixture.  Then add the chopped kale, and stir together with the carrots until slightly wilted.
7. Finally, add the can of rinsed and drained white beans, and combine with the kale and carrots until beans are warmed through.  Both the kale and carrots will continue to soften during this time, so make sure the kale isn’t too wilted in the step above.

8. Add seasonings if necessary – kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder – to taste and serve warm. This is even good cold as leftovers the next day.

— Happy 64th birthday to my mom, who would love this recipe! xoxoxo

Best Broccoli Ever

This recipe was one of Brad’s best finds. He says he made it because of one specific line in the recipe he read online:  “This broccoli is better than a steak”.  It’s kind of unbelievable how roasting veggies makes them completely different, and broccoli is no exception. Add some lemon, parmesan cheese, and toasted pine nuts, and this side could stand on its own (although sometimes nothing can substitute for a steak). It’s delicious and looks like you put a lot of effort into it, but is quickly thrown together while you’re making an entree.

BEST BROCCOLI EVER (serves 4 or so – copied almost exactly from The Amateur Gourmet)

– 3 medium heads broccoli
– 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
– 5 glugs EVOO
– 1/2 of 1 lemon (zest and juice)
– 1/4 C. freshly grated parmesan cheese
– 1 tbsp. julienned basil
– 3 garlic cloves, sliced

1. Heat the oven to 425.

2. Cut broccoli heads into medium size florets, wash and dry thoroughly. 

3. Toss broccoli florets and sliced garlic cloves with 4 of the 5 glugs of EVOO, and kosher salt and pepper (approx. 1 tsp. of each).  Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until some edges are brown.

 4. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts (if using) and set aside.

5. When broccoli is roasted, remove from oven, zest the lemon half over the broccoli, then squeeze the juice of the lemon over it as well.  Add toasted pine nuts, parm cheese, basil, and another glug of olive oil, and stir to combine.

6. Serve and enjoy – we had this alongside portabella mushroom “pizzas” for a healthy, carb-free, and delicious dinner.