Category Archives: Salads I Have Known and Loved

Mini Croissants Stuffed with Smashed Chickpea Salad and Baby Greens

Healthy and delicious equals winning!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m on a quest to add more vegetarian protein to my meals so that my bebe-to-be gets her protein needs met. One easy recipe that I make is called Smashed Chickpea Salad. There are various versions floating around the internet, but this is my version.

Reminiscent of a chicken or egg salad, this salad uses chickpeas both for the protein and because of the lovely texture. I used store-bought mayo in this recipe just because of the risk of salmonella in homemade mayo, but when not preggo, I definitely make my own mayonnaise. Homemade tastes heaps better than store-bought, and is super-easy to make.

Growing up I always loved the egg salad-stuffed croissants from a local café near my home, and one of the ways they made it so delicious was by adding in alfalfa sprouts. So, this recipe also uses alfalfa sprouts! I think it definitely adds to the flavour, so while you could definitely adapt the sandwich to meet whatever you have in your pantry, I think it’s worth it to buy some alfalfa sprouts. I also used baby lettuce, as that’s what I’ve been growing in my balcony garden. Oh, on a side note, interested in seeing what I’ve harvested from my balcony garden this week? Check this out!

This week’s balcony garden harvest!

But back to the recipe at hand: Smashed Chickpea Salad Stuffed Croissants! I recommend getting really good, super-buttery croissants for this recipe. It definitely adds to the mouth feel (so flaky!) and taste (so buttery!) and elevates a good sandwich to café quality.

As with all of my recipes, this one can be easily adapted! Like fresh parsley? Add some in instead of dried! Like celery? Add some finely chopped celery in! And of course, adjust the seasonings to your taste. Once you know the basics of any recipe, you can adapt it and make it your own! You could even make this vegan, by using vegan-aise or a similar vegan mayo.

But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of this recipe!

 

5 from 2 votes
Print

SMASHED CHICKPEA SALAD STUFFED MINI CROISSANTS

This hearty sandwich is easily thrown together, and elevated to cafe quality by the use of alfalfa sprouts and extra-buttery croissants. Mini croissants make serving sizes a breeze!

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 c. mayo
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley (or fresh!)
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 mini croissants
  • 1/2 c. alfalfa sprouts
  • 16-20 baby lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas. 

  2. Using a potato masher in a large bowl, smash about 2/3 of them. 

  3. Add in mayo and remaining ingredients, and stir.

  4. Let sit to let flavours develop, or use right away. 

  5. Slice mini-croissants in half length-wise. Layer baby lettuce and alfalfa sprouts on bottom half of croissants. 

  6. Top with smashed chickpea salad, and place top half of croissant on top. 

  7. Serve and enjoy!

 

I like to eat these stuffed croissants for lunch, but they’re equally good served as a light dinner, especially on hot summer nights. A fresh fruit salad as a side, and my taste buds and tummy are happy! And I know that I’m feeding my bebe-to-be some good nutrition!

Next Post: I’m going to share a childhood favourite with you, an easy Pineapple Float! Just typing it out and thinking about it makes my mouth water, so stay tuned! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and Happiness is Homemade! As well as Full Plate Thursday!

Pesto & Garden Veggie Couscous Salad, with BBQ’d Tofu or Chicken

A slight bbq tang, plus the crisp crunch of fresh veggies means this summer salad is delish!

I was looking at Instagram the other day, and came across a mention of Pesto Couscous. My mind was instantly intrigued. Could a recipe be that simple? Take some couscous and add in some pesto? The answer, my friends, is yes! Heated, it makes a great side dish. Add in some protein and a colourful veggie, and you’ve got yourself dinner! Or…turn it into a salad! That’s this week’s recipe: Pesto & Garden Veggie Couscous Salad!

With the summer heat upon us, I’ve been feeling particularly like serving cold salads as a main course. Adding in garden fresh veggies and some chunks of BBQ’d protein, and you’ve got yourself a hearty main dish that won’t keep you in a hot kitchen, and can easily be packed up for picnics or lunches.

I used corn, tomato, and cucumber in this dish, but you can add in whatever veggies you have growing in your garden or can purchase fresh at a local store. For the protein, I added in chunks of tofu marinated in BBQ sauce and then baked and cooled. You could use chicken — in fact, I’m sure my darling meat-a-tarian husband would have preferred it, but hey, she who holds the ladle rules the world! Or menu, at least.

Want to make this easy dish yourself? Let’s get to it!

 

5 from 1 vote
Print

PESTO & GARDEN VEGGIE COUSCOUS SALAD

This easy yet hearty summer salad uses pearl couscous tossed with pesto and garden fresh veggies, topped with chunks of bbq'd protein, to make a refreshing but hearty summer dish. 

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 c. pearl couscous (uncooked)
  • 1 1/4 c. water
  • 2 heaping tbsp. pesto
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 pickling cucumber, chopped
  • 1 ear corn
  • 1/2 c. bbq'd protein (I used bbq'd tofu)

Instructions

  1. Boil pearl couscous in water for 10 minutes or until cooked to your taste (it's just like boiling pasta). Drain.

  2. Cook ear of corn (I cooked it for a few minutes in the microwave), and remove the niblets. 

  3. Add pesto to drained couscous and let cool. 

  4. When cool, add together pesto couscous, chopped tomato and cucumber, and corn niblets. 

  5. Stir, then top with chunks of bbq'd protein. 

  6. Chill to let flavours meld, and then serve. 

 

I strongly prefer to use pearl couscous in this salad, both for mouth feel and for presentation, but if regular couscous is all you have, you do you, boo. As with the veggies, it’s all about using what you’ve got! And what you’ve got with this dish, is a hands down hit for a potluck, work lunches, or dinner on a hot night. Even better is if you’re able to use pre-cooked protein, leftover from another meal, or even from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Less cooking means less time in a hot kitchen and more time eating and socializing! And I’m all about the eating!

Next Post: Any requests? I’d give you my own version of fried green tomatoes, but I know many people have strong feelings on the subject. Maybe something with seasonal fruit? Mmm…fruit! I’m pretty sure fruit is my spirit animal. 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Happiness is Homemade, and Clever Chicks Bloghop! As well as Full Plate Thursday!

Syrian-Style Chopped Salad: An Easy Beat-the-Heat Dish!

 

Deliciously fresh and cool and perfect for a summer lunch or dinner!

Inspired by some Syrian-Canadian friends, I made a Syrian-Style Chopped Salad this weekend! This is the perfect dish to make with all the fresh produce available in summer. The primary ingredients are cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs, and it’s so refreshing to eat chilled for dinner on a hot summer’s day!

There is one less common ingredient: zaatar. Zaatar is an Arabic spice, and used in Middle Eastern cooking. I’ve used it before, as I grew up with it, and while I didn’t have it in my pantry, I asked my dad to borrow (er, have) a few tablespoons worth. You can probably find it at a local bulk store in a large city, or at a speciality food store. I believe my father buys it from a Middle Eastern grocery store, but even the local discount grocery stores have ‘exotic’ spices in their aisles these days, so I’d suggest looking there first.

My backyard tomatoes aren’t red yet, so I did have to use store-bought, but as any good foodie knows, home-grown tomatoes are THE. BEST! I did pick the parsley, mint, and radishes from my garden, though! (Am very proud of my densely grown balcony garden. The DH calls it ‘Las Amazonas’, so you know it’s pretty intense!)

Have I made it sound appetizing enough yet? Then let’s get cooking!

SYRIAN-STYLE CHOPPED SALAD

This is an easy, beat-the-heat dish to make from fresh garden produce! Can be adapted to add grains or protein. 

Servings 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/3-1/2 c. parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped (can use dried if that's what you have)
  • 1 tbsp. radish, sliced or diced
  • 2 tbsp. zaatar (Arabic spice)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir. 

  2. Chill for half an hour or until serving. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You can add in couscous or bulgar to make this a heftier salad; just add in a bit more lemon juice and oil. Alternatively, you can add in feta cheese, cubed & fried tofu, or even cooked chicken for some protein. Make it your own! 

By the way, this salad is so delicious that even my meat-a-tarian DH, who usually gamely eats whatever vegetarian dish I gave him but doesn’t choose vegetarian food if he has a choice, ACTUALLY ATE SECONDS OF THIS SALAD! Of his own volition! So yes, I will be making this a lot!

Although I’ve classified this salad as a vegetarian side dish, you could easily make it a main dish by adding in couscous or bulgar (cracked wheat), and adding in some crumbled or cubed feta cheese. And as I (the Queen of Substitutions) always encourage, make it your own by using whatever fresh produce you have in your garden or available at the local stores!

Next Post: I’m thinking the Shake n’ Bake tofu that I mentioned in a previous post. So many ways to use this versatile (and UBER-delicious protein)! And I’m not generally a tofu fan, so you KNOW it must be good! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Happiness is Homemade!

CREAMY Fire and Ice Salad, Plus My Veggies For The Week

Creamy and cool and perfect for summer!

Fire and Ice Salad often contains some sort of pepper (cayenne or jalapeno) to create fiery heat, and then combined that with super-crisp and thoroughly chilled cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions, to create a super-refreshing salad that both teases and cools the palate. I decided to take that concept, mix it up with the concept of a cucumber raita (a yoghurt and cucumber condiment/salad used to cool the palate in between hot curries) and make it my own!

Hence, I present…CREAMY Fire and Ice Salad!

I make my own preservative-free ranch dressing mix, and I used that as a base for the dressing, mixing it with sour cream, yoghurt, mayo, and a dash of lemon juice, for a refreshing salad that makes the perfect accompaniment to any summer meal.

This can easily be thrown together in 5 minutes, and then set in the fridge to chill until the rest of the dinner is ready. If you don’t want to make your own ranch dressing mix, you can definitely replace it with a store-bought package. You do you, boo!

 

5 from 1 vote
Print

CREAMY FIRE & ICE SALAD

A deliciously cool and creamy salad, perfect to serve alongside BBQ during the summer months!

Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp. mayo
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Mix sour cream, lemon juice, mayo, yoghurt, and dressing mix together.

  2. Toss with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion.

  3. Chill and serve!

I mentioned my veggies for the week in the title to this post. I tend to buy whatever is on sale and whatever looks especially good. I just finished my weekly shop, so this week’s veggies are sweet potatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh spinach, and sweet peppers. I’m making Sweet Potato and Hummus soup, garnished with avocado and sour cream; Coleslaw, using my mum’s recipe (oil and vinegar based); Spinach Salad (IF the strawberries that I’m growing on my balcony ripen in time); and of course, today’s recipe, CREAMY Fire and Ice Salad. Given that I’m cooking for two but using family-sized recipes, I’ll have lots of delicious and nutrient-filled veggie dishes for the week!

Next Post: Probably something veggie-filled. Although I’m also craving some fruit. Watermelon smoothies, anyone? 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, and Happiness is Homemade!

Best Ever Macaroni Salad, and…Eating for Two

Best ever macaroni salad!

I hosted a family BBQ this weekend, as it was a long weekend here in Canada (Victoria Day weekend, also known as May 2-4 weekend). One of my contributions was my Best Ever Macaroni Salad! It was a hit! This macaroni salad isn’t your sad buffet macaroni salad, but is a fresh version with no preservatives but a whole lotta flavour! A variety of spices give it flavour, and the secret ingredient, balsamic vinegar, gives it that umami taste that makes your mouth water in anticipation.

This is a very easy macaroni salad to throw together, and it gets better the longer it sits in the fridge. I have used fresh red and green peppers in the salad (for colour and crunch) and other times I’ve used dehydrated red and green peppers. The seasonings can of course be adjusted to your own taste. Make it your own!

Want to make some? Let’s get started!

5 from 1 vote
Print

BEST EVER MACARONI SALAD

This easy pasta salad is great to bring to BBQs or family dinners. Easily thrown together from mostly pantry ingredients, you'll knock of everyone's socks with the great taste of this salad! 

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 3 c. cooked macaroni
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried onion
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. chopped red & green peppers (or substitute 2 tbsp. chopped dried peppers)
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. chopped green onion (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together, and let sit in fridge for at least two hours. Serve chilled! 

 

Oh, and guess what? The title to this post referenced it, but…I’m pregnant! Did you figure it out from my gender reveal cake post a few weeks ago? I wasn’t announcing it then, so I tried to imply that it was for someone else, but it was really about ma bebe. Because I’m having a little girl! Am so excited. My husband and I call bebe-to-be by a nickname, Baby Pina (baby pineapple), so I think that shall be her blog name. Baby Pina is expected in about 5 months, and let me tell you, I can really notice an increase in appetite (at least now that the all-day and all-night morning sickness has eased off a bit). I need to eat every few hours or else I get all vomity. Fun times. So, lots of protein-rich food it is! I made Easy Enchiladas yesterday, but used a heavy hand with the beans to up the protein, and plan to make yoghurt tomorrow to add into my favourite smoothies during the week. In other words, lots of healthy food!

Next Post: Something healthy but delicious, I think! Heavy on the delicious. I haven’t decided what to make yet, but am craving something creamy. And sweet. Maybe a custard cream cake? Not so healthy, but oh so delicious! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, and at Happiness is Homemade!