Category Archives: Salads

Fresh Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tangy, savory and fruity - fresh raspberry balsamic vinaigrette

Tangy, savory and fruity – fresh raspberry balsamic vinaigrette

The raspberries I brought home from the store were on the soft and mushy side….  sigh….  I decided to smoosh them into a puree and whip up a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette – something I have been meaning to try for oh, only about 20 years or so.  No time like the present!   The hardest part was smashing the berries through a fine mesh sieve with the back of a spoon, but the resulting puree was velvety, though a bit tart!  A spoonful of honey fixed that.  I also added Dijon mustard and some seasonings for a more savory, zippy flavor, but you could forgo those ingredients for a sweeter dressing.




Soft and mushy raspberries - perfect for pureeing

Soft and mushy raspberries – perfect for pureeing










1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (for savory zest – if you don’t like mustard or want a sweeter dressing, you could omit)

Optional seasonings: for a zestier, more savory taste, I used some Litehouse freeze dried seasonings.  1/8 tsp garlic; 1/8 tsp red onion; 1 tsp basil – grind in a mortar with pestle or in a bowl with the back of a spoon.  You could also use garlic and onion powders instead and add fresh basil.  This is totally optional.  For a sweeter dressing, omit.

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

4 tablespoons raspberry puree

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or use half or all  light olive oil for a milder taste)


Wash and drain the berries.  Place a spoonful in a sieve over a bowl and press with the back of your spoon – around and around.  The seeds will remain in the sieve and the puree will drop into a bowl. Shake the sieve occasionally to force more of the puree through the holes.  Discard the seeds.  Repeat until you have four tablespoons or as much as you want.

Takes a little time, but worth the effort

Takes a little time, but worth the effort









Whisk the mustard, seasonings if you’re using them, vinegar and honey until well blended.  Stir in the raspberry puree. Whisk in the olive oil.



Italian Vinaigrette with Grainy Mustard

Best Boy Mustard!  It's the best!

Best Boy Mustard! It’s the best!

This is an update to my Italian Vinaigrette.  My friend at Best Boy & Co. makes amazing mustards, sauces and dry rubs.  I tried his award-winning grainy “Deli Mustard”   in this dressing, drizzled over a bowl of sliced tomatoes and goat cheese….  so good!  I simply substituted this mustard for the Dijon mustard.

Apple Slaw Salad Dressing


The apple slaw is marinating to release the juices from the apples and blend the flavors.

Grilled romaine topped with the apple slaw dressing makes a tasty perch for a grilled veggie burger.

Grilled romaine topped with the apple slaw dressing makes a tasty perch for a grilled veggie burger.



Here’s a great way to up the nutrition content of a salad dressing – add some grated apple for sweetness, crunch and flavor.  I created this hearty dressing to spoon over some grilled romaine and it was very good.  Depending on the sweet/tartness of your apples, you may wish to add some honey.  Let the dressing sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes after mixing to marinate and blend the flavors.  Serve immediately over the Grilled Romaine.  We had for lunch with a grilled Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burger and it was a great taste combination.


Grilled romaine is almost ready for the apple slaw dressing.


2 small apples, peeled and grated – I used Gala because that is what I had

2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

4 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Honey or your favorite sweetener to taste – wait until the flavors have blended a bit to taste before deciding if you need sweetener

Herbs to taste – I used some tarragon and chives.  Basil and mint would also be delish!

Cheese for Garnish – I used Feta.  Goat Cheese, Parmesan and Blue Cheese would be delicious as well.


Mix all ingredients except the garnish in a glass or stainless bowl and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.  Spoon over grilled romaine and garnish with the cheese.  Get creative if you like and garnish with dried fruit (think cherry, cranberry!) or fresh berries and perhaps some toasted nuts.  The sky is the limit – or at least your pantry or closest store…

Southwestern Roasted Potato Salad with Corn and Black Beans

Roasted Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes pair with roasted corn and black beans in a sour cream based tomatillo and cilantro dressing.

Roasted Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes pair with roasted corn and black beans in a sour cream based tomatillo and cilantro dressing.

I created this dish for the neighborhood Memorial Day “Mexican Fiesta” party.  I truly think it could also be called “salad of many bowls and dishes” based on the volume of dishes I washed during the creation….  It was worth it though!  The sour cream dressing is a favorite recipe from my friend, Jackie.  I thought it would taste especially delicious with this potato and vegetable combination.  And it did!  Thanks, Jackie 🙂  As typical for Ms. Creative Recipe, very little measuring went on during the preparation of this dish, other than the dressing which had Jackie’s exact measurements.  I also used whatever veggies I had on hand, so feel free to swap out as you like.

Ingredients – Salad

8 to 10 small Yukon Gold Potatoes – washed and cut into evenly sized chunks

2 to 3 Sweet Potatoes (or yams) – peeled and cut into evenly sized chunks

4 ears Sweet Corn – husked

Butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fresh Lime Juice – 1/2 lime

Salt and Pepper

Sweet Vidalia Onion or Green Onions – very thinly sliced and chopped

Celery – finely chopped

Sweet Bell Peppers – chopped

Yellow Cherry Tomatoes – quartered

1 can Black Beans – drained and rinsed well


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the potatoes in a bowl with olive oil and coarsely ground black pepper.  Spread on a baking pan in an even layer.  I used “release” foil for easy clean up.


Melt butter with salt and lime juice in a small bowl.  Brush liberally over the corn and wrap in a foil packet.


Roast the corn and potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender, but not mushy.  Turn the potatoes half way to maximize browning.  Corn may finish before the potatoes. Cool.


Cut the corn off the cob.


Combine the corn with the veggies and tomatoes in a large bowl.


Dice the potatoes and add to the mixture.


Toss gently with the dressing (recipe below) to coat.  Gently toss the black beans with some dressing in a small bowl to coat well without breaking up (so you don’t discolor the salad).  Gently fold the black beans into the potato salad and transfer to a serving bowl.

SW POTATO SALAD (28) (1280x956)


Jackie’s Jalapeno Ranch Salad Dressing


3 fresh Tomatillos, husked, washed and quartered

1/2 bunch fresh Cilantro – washed

2 pickled Jalapeno peppers

2 cups Sour Cream

2 envelopes (1 oz each) Ranch dressing mix


Place the tomatillos, cilantro and jalapenos in a food processor.


Blend until smooth, scraping down as necessary.


Combine with the sour cream and ranch mix, blending well.






Quinoa Salad with a Hint of Orange

Believe it or not, this was my first effort using quinoa.  I just kept slicing and dicing and mixing and tasting and the end result was pretty good.  Our neighbors were grilling some lamb with mint jelly for a sunset party and I thought this might make a nice side dish.  I garnished the finished salad with crumbled feta cheese and served some extra cheese on the side, which added a nice creaminess and a bit of salt to each bite.   Leftovers were delicious used the next day as an hors d’oeuvres scooped up on pita chips.  I’m documenting from memory here so I can try again with photos when I next have the time.


1 cup Quinoa

2 cups Water

Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cook five minutes.  Turn off heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.  Fluff and cool.  Toss in a large bowl with the salad ingredients and dressing below.

Salad Ingredients

Use as much or as little as you like and any variety you like, in true Creative Recipe fashion.  This is what I used:

Fresh Carrots – peeled and grated.  I used fresh unpeeled carrots because they really do taste better than the prepackaged minis.  I used the small shred on my hand grater.

Celery – very small dice

Sweet Red Bell Pepper – very small chop (I chose red for the color)

Red Onion – very fine dice

Yellow Squash – grated.  I used one small squash (tastes better than the large) and grated it with the skin on, using the large shred on my hand grater .

Radicchio – thinly sliced and chopped.  This adds a great color and a nice bitter contrast

Mandarin Oranges – 1 can, drained and chopped.  This was an after thought – or I should say after I tasted the salad.  It seemed too much on the bitter side from the radicchio, and the oranges added a nice sweetness and balanced the radicchio.


Juice of 1 small Lemon

2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

Sugar or Honey to taste (start with 1 teaspoon and go from there)

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon dried Dill Weed

Coarsely ground Black Pepper to taste





Green Salad

Mixed Greens Dressed

This is as fresh as it gets – straight from the garden to the salad bowl!  Scott planted a variety of  lettuces in self-watering boxes on our deck this summer so they would get sun with a bit of shade, require very little of our attention and be close at hand for picking.  Tonight’s blend included peppery Arugula, leafy Nevada, some Cimmaron Romaine (a beautiful red-bronze color, though I think it is in the bottom of the bowl in this picture – sorry!), Parris Island Cos (a very tender romaine), a sprig of Basil and a handful of a baby Mesclun blend.   I sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese and drizzled with my Italian Vinaigrette.  Very simple, very good.

The Cimmaron Romaine and Parris Island Cos were planted from seeds we ordered from one of our favorite seed conservation organizations, Native Seeds Search

The best way to wash garden lettuce is in a large bowl of cold water (we use a gigantic stainless bowl).  Don’t overcrowd the bowl with the lettuce; the idea is to get as much water as possible around the leaves to lift off the dirt. Gently swish the lettuce leaves in the water and lift them out into a strainer.  Dirt that was on the leaves is now in the bottom of the bowl.  Empty and rinse the bowl, and repeat until there is no more dirt.  Be very gentle with the lettuce leaves because they can bruise easily – fresh leafy lettuce from the garden is more tender than the sturdy blends from the produce department.

Once clean, we give the leaves a whirl in our salad spinner which gently (there’s that word again) and thoroughly dries the  lettuce leaves.  No soggy salad and the dressing will stick to the lettuce leaves much better.  Scott chose our OXO brand salad spinner – he is a great lettuce picker, washer, spinner guy and he loves to buy gadgets, so it was a win-win all over.  I think salad spinners are way beyond the gadget category, however, and more like an essential kitchen tool.  If you use a spinner, let me know what kind you use and how you like it.

Freshly picked, gently rinsed and spun dry - ready to be dressed!

Freshly picked, gently rinsed and spun dry – ready to be dressed!

Roasted Potato and Veggie Salad

This is my first post from my iPad, and an iPad 1 at that. So if you notice anything quirky, that would be the reason! I’m learning as I go! It’s all fun, though 🙂

My friend, Arlene, and I found ourselves with some delicious leftover roasted potato wedges and steamed green beans and asparagus. We gave ourselves a creative recipe challenge and decided to turn them into a salad using whatever else we could find in the refrigerator. This is what we combined:

Roasted potato wedges, cut in thirds

Crisp steamed green beans, rustic chop (Arlene defines her rustic chop as varying lengths to add visual interest)

Crisp steamed asparagus, rustic chop

Red and yellow bell pepper,diced

Roasted red beets, diced

Red onion slivers

Kalamata olives, halved and pitted

Marinated artichoke hearts, quartered

Jumbo green olives, sliced

Feta cheese crumbles

Greek salad dressing – we used Ken’s Steakhouse Greek dressing

We simply tossed it all together and placed in a serving bowl, topped with more cheese crumbles and refrigerated to marinate the flavors.

How creative can you get this summer with your leftovers?


Arlene is doing her “rustic chop” on the veggies!