In my mid-to-late 20s, there was this salad I used to make myself all the time. I’m talking maybe two or three times a week for months to years. (Katie & Terry probably remember this phase of my life well 😂🤣). I saw it originally in a magazine somewhere I think, though I can’t remember where. I got away from making it when Selim and I started dating, probably for two reasons. One, I stopped cooking for just one person and this is the perfect dinner for one. And two, Selim is morally opposed to anything trendy, and for awhile there everyone was putting an egg on top of everything! Happily, the thought popped into my head to make it for my dinner tonight, and now we have the recipe to share here. It’s really easy to throw together, easily modified, and simultaneously healthy and filling. The salad portion itself can be whatever you want it to be – I generally use mixed greens as the base, with carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers for additional veggies. The consistent components are a poached egg, balsamic vinegar, and lots of fresh pepper. When you break the poached egg open, the runny yolk combines with the balsamic vinegar to essentially create an eggy vinaigrette. The thick fat of the egg yolk replaces the oil of a normal vinaigrette.
As I was writing this post, I figured out that the original recipe inspiration for this salad is likely the Salade Lyonnaise – which is a classic French bistro salad with a bed of frisée, bacon, a poached egg, and a vinaigrette. Sounds familiar… I like my salad just how it is, though I’m sure many people would happily take the additional bacon.
Dinner Salad with a Poached Egg
- ~3 cups mixed greens
- Assorted raw crunchy vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery, broccoli, radishes, whatever!), chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 egg
- ~2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Poach the egg. [Many people have different tips and tricks on how this can best be accomplished. This is what I do: bring a small saucepan of water to a light simmer, not a boil; crack the egg into a small ramekin; swirl the water with a spoon to create a vortex in the center of the water; gently pour the egg into the vortex and immediately stop stirring; watch the pot to make sure it doesn’t start simmering and let the egg bathe in the water for about 4 minutes. I do not use vinegar or salt or anything else in the water, but you do you.]
- Assemble the salad – greens spread out on the plate, topped with the chopped veggies.
- Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to dry briefly. Then place it on top of the salad.
- Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over top. Crack a lot of fresh black pepper over that. Then break open the egg and toss the salad together!
I, like most other people I know, love a juicy summer watermelon. It is just so refreshing and delicious! I remember that my grandfather always used to (and probably still does) put salt on his watermelon, which I thought was absolutely crazy. I thought that salt would ruin the sweet taste. Through the years, I’ve come to realize that a lot of people like salty touch with their watermelon. If so many people like salted watermelon, there’s got to be something to it right? And then I realized that the salty watermelon thing was taken to the next step with feta and watermelon salads. This combination is all over Pinterest and summer restaurant menus. And logically, I understand that salt balances sweet and brings out brighter flavors. Yet for some reason, I still never tried it. Well that mistake is over. I didn’t know what I was missing.
The watermelon is still the star of this salad, but it doesn’t taste like just a fruit salad with some feta on top. It’s a little more savory than expected. The mint flavor is strong and makes it nice and herbaceous. Don’t worry about the vinegar on the cucumbers either – it’s not overwhelming at all. Overall a great salad for summer! 😎
Minty Watermelon, Cucumber & Feta Salad
- 1 cucumber
- ~1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 5 cups watermelon, chopped
- 3/4 cups feta cheese, diced
- ~10 leaves fresh mint, chopped
- Black pepper
- Peel the cucumber, then slice it length-wise. Scoop out the seeds. Slice into half-moons.
- Marinate the cucumbers in the white wine vinegar, topped with a few turns of fresh ground black pepper, for at least an hour.
- Chop the watermelon into bite-sized chunks. Chop the feta a little smaller, more of a dice (can you dice something that’s not a vegetable??). Tear or chop the mint leaves. Combine all of these in a large bowl.
- Drain the vinegar from the cucumbers. Add the cucumbers in with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Add a little more black pepper to taste.
- Best served immediately.
As promised, here’s the recipe for the gorgeous salad hidden in the corner of one of our pictures from Saturday night’s Patatas Bravas with Super Garlic Aioli! Ally’s cousin Emily is responsible for this dish, and we’re hoping this is the first of many of her creations we’ll share on here (you should see some of the incredible desserts she makes). This salad is beautiful for your eyes and your taste buds – I mean, you can’t really go wrong with cheese, summer peaches, and prosciutto! The ingredient amounts are easily adjustable for different numbers or preferences of diners. Basically framework for a beautiful summer dish! Emily mentally combined a few recipes she’d come across to yield the final result of this one – inspiration from here, here, and here.
This salad came together, in part because of the THREE MASSIVE BAGS of fresh, juicy summer peaches that my aunt/Emily’s mom brought home from Saunders Brothers. August is National Peach Month, and we definitely know why! ❤ ❤
Peach & Burrata Salad
- Mixed greens
- 3-5 peaches, peeled & sliced
- 2-4 balls of burrata, cut into chunks
- 6-8 slices of prosciutto, torn into bite-sized pieces
- Fresh mint, chopped
- Balsamic glaze (homemade or store-bought*)
- *If making your own balsamic glaze, reduce balsamic vinegar with brown sugar in a 4:1 ratio (ie: 1 cup vinegar to a 1/4 cup sugar) at a simmer until thickened and syrupy.
- Assemble salad by placing mixed greens on a platter or in a large bowl. Top with the remaining ingredients.
- Oooh & aahh at your pretty salad!
We eat massive salads for dinner many nights. We never share them, because usually they’re not all that organized – it’s usually a look in the fridge, pull out some vegetables, and top them with a protein kind of adventure. Since it’s Monday and the beginning of the week, we were a little more coordinated. Also, we accidentally created a gorgeous plate of colors! Nutritionists have been telling us to “eat our colors,” and we have you covered here! This salad, while not exactly low calorie, is healthy and filling. The way this is written makes two large salads, meant to be eaten as a stand-alone meal. Don’t worry – you’ll be so full, you even notice that you only ate salad for dinner.
Southwest Steak Chopped Salad
- Mixed greens, ~1 1/2 cups per plate
- 1/2 cup carrots per plate
- 1 ear of corn, divided between plates
- 1 can of black beans, divided between plates
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (substitute smoked paprika for less heat)
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 3/4 lb steak
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt & a few turns of fresh black pepper
- Optional additional toppings
- Tortilla strips
- Jalapeno slices
- Cook corn in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove to cool when complete.
- (Heat black beans if you prefer. We just rinsed and ate them cold.)
- Stir all steak seasoning together. Liberally coat both sides of the steak.
- Prepare steak as you normally would – we like to broil it briefly on both sides, for a medium-rare finish – but we know many people prefer their steak on the grill.
- Whisk together all of the salad dressing ingredients.
- Assemble salad with a base of chopped greens and topped with chopped carrots, chopped bell peppers, black beans, and corn, sliced off the ear.
- Add your dressing over the vegetables and top with your steak, sliced. Finish with any additional toppings you desire!
Makes two large, dinner portion salads
Awhile back I shared one of my favorite lunches, this Couscous Salad. It’s pretty easy to make, pretty healthy, and pretty delicious. In that post, I talked about how I find lunch very uninspiring. I still do. I love going out to lunch though… why is it that a sandwich, soup, or salad at a restaurant is so much better than the exact same dish you made at home? Is that just me??
Maybe it’s because I don’t eat a wide variety of lunches. There’s only so many things that are portable and easily eaten on a brief lunch break. This salad is one of my go-tos. It takes about 5 minutes to make, so you can throw it together the night before. It’s healthy, with very simple ingredients. And since the whole avocado is in there, it’s filling enough to last you through the afternoon.
I like to use the small pickling cucumbers in this salad because I don’t think they leech as much water and stay more crisp in the fridge. You obviously can use a regular cucumber if you’d like. I usually make a double or triple batch at eat it all week. I kept this recipe small, because when it sits in the fridge for a day or two, the avocado gets brown and less pretty. I don’t mind this because it still tastes good despite its appearance, but I don’t want you people to make a big batch and be sad a few days later.
Fresh Avocado & Cucumber Salad
- 1 avocado
- 2 pickling cucumbers
- Juice from ~2/3s of a lime
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 4 turns of fresh ground black pepper
- A pinch or two of Kosher salt, to taste
- Slice the cucumbers and cut the avocado into chunks.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine.
- Refrigerate until serving.
Beets are one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. I’d had beets just once that I can remember prior to when Selim and I started dating, and I hated them that one time. So for years, I never tasted another beet. Selim likes them a lot and eventually convinced me to try them again. I was skeptically, but he converted me into a beet-eater.
A lot of times we just grate a beet in with whatever other salad ingredients we’re using that day. But I wanted to make a salad that showcased the beet itself. You may think it sounds ridiculous to roast some of the beets and not others – after all, once they’re all mixed together they barely look any different! But I’d give it a whirl. The roasted beets have a different texture and flavor than the raw ones. It gives this salad a greater depth of flavor, I think.
Two-Way Beet Salad
- 2 medium beets
- Olive oil, divided (2 tsp + 1 tbsp)
- Salt & pepper
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2oz feta, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Take one of the beets – scrub clean, peel, and chop into small rectangles/squares.
- Toss the beet cubes in 2 tsp of olive oil and a few dashes of salt & pepper. Spread on a foil-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven on a middle rack. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, take the other beet and similarly clean it. Grate this one via one of the larger holes on your grater. Place in a large bowl.
- Whisk together balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, thyme, and a few more turns of black pepper in a small bowl.
- Once the roasting beets are done, add them to the bowl with the raw, shredded beets. Toss with the vinaigrette.
- Top with feta and serve.
I don’t know about y’all, but I feel like lunch is kind of a struggle meal. I want to have something that tastes good, is easy to make, is portable to work/school, is pretty healthy, and keeps me full until dinner. That’s doable, but sometimes is just a little boring. Lunch just isn’t an exciting meal to me! When you think of lunch, what do you think of? Lunch just elicits the thought of a sandwich for me. I actually love sandwiches, but you can’t eat a sandwich every single day.
The other thing about lunch is that I don’t really ever think about making “a recipe”for lunch. I feel like I just throw something together. I think others feel the same way, judging from some recent social media posts I’ve seen from friends looking to add some variety to their brown-baggin’ it work lunches. Which led me to the realization that my simple, thrown-together lunch(es) might be something new for someone else.
This is one of my favorite go-to lunches. It pretty much hits all of my lunch criteria as above. Tastes good? Big old check. Easy to make? Check. Portable for work? Definite check. Reasonably healthy? Veggie-packed check. Keeps me full? Check, check, check. The portions I describe here gives me 3 or 4 lunches for a week, which simultaneously preps for a good portion of the week and leaves room for a little variety.
Like I said before, I don’t really follow a recipe for this and alter it probably every time. Try it this way. And next time, try some different vegetables, different dressing, or some additions like cheese or meats. The variation below uses Trader Joe’s Light Champagne Vinaigrette, my current obsession.
- 1 cup pearl couscous
- 2 cups water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1 small cucumber, sliced and quartered
- 10 baby carrots, sliced
- 10 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1 ear of corn, cooked/boiled and kernels removed
- 2 tbsp Light Champagne Vinaigrette
- Fresh-ground black pepper
- Bring the water, couscous, and bouillon cube to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat until water is absorbed and grain is soft, but not mushy. (Note: different sizes and variations of couscous may require more or less water. Follow given instructions if they differ from mine.)
- Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables.
- After couscous has cooked, drain if needed, and set aside to cool.
- Combine veggies, couscous, and dressing. Top with a few turns of black pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Makes 3-4 lunch servings.
Now who has some new-to-me easy lunch ideas to share?