Salad

Potato, Green Bean and Egg Salad

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If you are celebrating memorial day this weekend and want to bring a low-FODMAP dish to the party, give this French-inspired recipe a whirl. It is healthy, way easy, and doesn’t cost a lot to prepare.  I like to use a waxy potato like Red Bliss, New Potatoes or Fingerlings for potato salads, since they have a creamier texture and are a little less starchy than the common Idaho or Russet. If you want to experiment with different flavors you can easily switch out the herbs, or add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You can enjoy this recipe slightly warm or at room temperature, which I prefer, as it brings out the flavors of the herbs and dressing. This makes an excellent side dish, or you can enjoy it as a main salad with fresh lettuce or arugula. Bon appetit and Happy Memorial Day!

Potato, Bean, and Egg Salad

Serves: 6
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients: 

2 pounds of potatoes
1 pound green beans
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon capers
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Instructions:

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  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until the potatoes are firm but easily pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking trim the ends of the beans.
  3. Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and cover. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes for a firm yolk. Drain and cool in a bath of ice water. Peel and quarter each egg. Set aside.
  4. Place the beans in the pot with the potatoes for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking the potatoes. Drain and set aside. If potatoes are large, you can roughly chop to desired size.
  5. While the potatoes, beans and eggs are cooling, make the vinaigrette: combine the capers, mustard, vinegar, and olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. 
  6. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and sprinkle with parsley, chives and salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 240, Total Fat 12g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 100mg, Sodium 110mg, Total Carbohydrate 27g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Total Sugars 3g,  includes 0g Added Sugars), Protein 7g.

Bright and Lemony Couscous Salad

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This February has seen a deluge of snow here in Boston, and it doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon! The snowfall has left us with piles in our front yard taller than the hubs and this weekend we might get another foot on top of that! This has left us sore from all the shoveling and daydreaming about summer. (I’m already picking out my summer vacation wardrobe – too soon?)

7-foot tall snowpiles! 

Our newest kitchen gadget - the Instant Pot 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker!

To help us get through this crazy winter we purchased our first electric pressure cooker! After hours of comparing various pressure cookers online and gathering input from friends on Facebook, we decided to go with the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 – a 6 quart model that is also a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and yogurt maker! I have yet to try out it’s various other functions, but we have had loads of fun cooking up recipes we’ve never made before. So far we’ve made mushroom risotto, beef stew, barbecue pulled chicken, cola and soy short ribs and beef stroganoff! Mostly warming comfort food for this blistery weather as you can tell. A blog post about healthy pressure-cooking will probably come along once I gather my bearings with this nifty gadget.

Although it’s been fun playing with the Instant Pot, hubs and I have been craving something simpler and less heavy. We need to maintain our energy for shoveling, after all! I remember having a couscous salad at our friends’ housewarming-slash-birthday party a few weeks back and wanted to recreate it. I used whole wheat Israeli couscous and added avocado to the mix. This would be perfect for work lunch, as a side salad or summertime picnic dish (if I cook it, summer will come? Field of Dreams reference for you there). You could easily exchange any of the ingredients for other fresh veggies. I forgot to put red onion in it this time, but it would be delicious with some diced in. Add some toasted walnuts or pine nuts to make it even heartier, or leave out the feta to make it vegan-friendly.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I will be – along with a nice big hot cocoa by the fire! Stay warm out there everyone!

Bright and Lemony Couscous Salad
Serves 6-8     
25 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat Israeli (big pearl) couscous
1 tbsp olive oil (for toasting the couscous)
1 ¼ cup water
1 English cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup olives (kalamata or black olives)
1 bunch curly-leaf parsley
2 cups feta cheese
1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
optional salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. When the oil is shiny add couscous to the saucepan with the oil and toast couscous for approx. 3-4 min, turning to coat all of the grains of couscous and toast evenly.
  2. Add water and cover, reducing heat to low-medium. Cook for 20 min or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Dice and cut cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado and olives. Finely chop parsley. Add all to a large bowl and toss with feta cheese.
  4. Squeeze the juice of the lemon on top of the salad and then drizze with olive oil. 
  5. When the couscous has finished cooking add to the salad and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Warm Farro and Greens

I recently was enlightened to Farro, one of the ancient grains making their way to mainstream supermarket shelves. When I decided I wanted to try to cook farro, I had no idea the little brown grain had such an ardent following of foodies that would take to the internet to dispel the beliefs that it is equivocal to another ancient grain, spelt (see here and here for examples). Controversy over ingredients excites me more than anything, so I was super excited to give this grain a try.

Farro is not always a whole grain, as I found out. Many of the store-bought farro actually has part of the bran removed, called semi-pearled, making for a quicker cooking time (about 45 minutes, similar to brown rice) with some of the fiber left intact. If you purchase the whole grain version be sure to soak it overnight. Either way, once cooked to al dente you will notice that this mighty morsel packs more flavor that your run-of-the-mill brown rice. It is deeply nutty, and has a chewy texture that really makes it stand out. It absorbs the flavors it is cooked in, so throw a little chicken or veggie stock to add a little umami. But even without seasoning farro can provide a complexity to dishes you may not have thought to use it in… such as salad.

I decided to try farro over a hearty green salad. I was inspired by my one of husband’s favorite salad at Sweet Greens, the Earth Bowl, which includes warm grains over arugula. (Delish!)  I used kale for the salad, however you can use any type of green that can withhold the weight of the farro, veggies and eggs in this recipe. I also include here a recipe for Citrus and Dill Salad Dressing, which is a perfect pairing for any summery salad. 

Farro would also be great thrown into a soup, or used like a pilaf style side dish. It has a multitude of uses, which I am looking forward to experimenting with. I’d love to hear some of your recipe suggestions using farro in the comments section!

Warm Farro and Greens Salad with a Fried Egg
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1 cup farro, dry
3 cups water
1 head of kale or swiss chard, chopped
½ red onion, diced
1 large tomato from the vine, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1-2 avocados, diced
4oz Citrus and Dill Dressing
Olive oil or butter
1-2 eggs for each person
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook the farro in salted, boiling water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water in a colander. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and prepare an ice bath for blanching the kale or swiss chard.
  3.  Add the greens to the pot of boiling water and stir once. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then remove the greens. Place immediately in the ice bath for 2 minutes. Dry kale using a salad spinner or paper towels.
  4. Combine farro, greens, onion, tomato, pepper, avocados and season with salt and pepper and add Citrus and Dill dressing. Mix well. Plate the salad on individual plates for serving.
  5. In a small pan melt olive oil or butter. Fry the eggs in the pan and season to taste. Place on top of the salad on each plate to serve.

Fresh Citrus and Dill Dressing:

Ingredients:
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp shallot, diced fine
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped fine

  1. Add all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk well. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.