Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad

black bean corn tomato salad
This bean, corn and tomato salad has become one of my favorite side dishes to serve because it is such a great complement to many dishes and is so incredibly fast and easy to prepare! I’ve served it with eggs for a Southwest inspired breakfast, steak fajitas for a Mexican inspired dinner, or as a simple and healthy salad for lunch. The black beans add tons of nutrients and fiber to your daily diet. Since the spices and fresh lime juice add a burst of flavor to the salad, you won’t miss the fact that there is very little oil in the dressing. The hot sauce (optional) also adds a nice kick to the dish. The salad also makes for a fabulous presentation on any dinner table with all its vibrant colors!  Continue reading

Simple Green Salad with Parmesan Crostini

I love pairing a simple green salad with hearty, comfort food. That’s why this dish was a perfect side to my baked penne. It is so easy to make yet so refreshing and yummy. I was inspired to make a simple green salad after watching Rachael Ray make this shallot vinaigrette. It adds such a nice little kick to the arugula. And the crostini – who doesn’t love toasted bread with a little cheese on top?! The fresh thyme on the crostini makes a huge difference as well. A hint of lemon, citrus flavor to balance out the Parmesan cheese. I promise this will  become your go-to recipe for a quick and simple green salad!  Continue reading

Not Your Typical Carrot Salad

How many times have you eaten carrot salad and thought to yourself, “Ehh, nothing special” or “Yup, tastes like plain carrots to me?” Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about plain carrots. They are naturally sweet and extremely high in nutrition. Every now and then, however, I think we could all use a carrot salad make-over. This recipe is the perfect solution! Not only is it quick and easy to make (15 minutes), it’s also packed with amazing flavors. The cumin, fresh lemon juice and parsley add the perfect balance of smoky, citrusy and fresh flavors. What’s also great about this salad is you could make it ahead of time since it could be served cold or at room temperature.

Because the carrot salad is flavor intense, I would recommend pairing it with a simple main dish such as steak or chicken. The flavors in your main and side dishes should not compete against each other, but rather complement each other. I served this salad with a simple grilled steak and it was absolutely delicious! Continue reading

Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad

This fresh and light summer salad is dedicated to my friend, Peggy. Thanks to her CSA (community-shared-agriculture), I had about five cucumbers and six large tomatoes sitting in my refrigerator last week! Making a boring green salad would’ve been such a waste given the freshness of the cucumbers and tomatoes. Then I remembered watching an episode of 30 Minute Meals where Rachael Ray made this yummy looking salad. It was so quick and easy to make. I already had all the ingredients, but added a few spices to kick things up a bit. Even if you don’t like raw onions, please don’t omit them from the recipe. They lend such a nice flavor to the dish that it would be very bland and boring without them! Red onions are milder than yellow onions, and get even milder because of the vinegar in the salad. You can reduce the quantity of onions in the recipe if you’re still skeptical ;). Continue reading

Tomato and Basil Salad

I don’t think I need to mention again how much I LOVE tomatoes. I made this salad last night to serve with steak because I needed to use my Italian basil. We were away for vacation and the basil grew out of control! I whipped this salad together with just a few ingredients I already had in my kitchen. When tomatoes are this sweet in the summer, you don’t really need to add much to them. I used pearl tomatoes on the vine, but you could use any sweet tomato that is available in your store. Grape or heirloom tomatoes would be delicious as well. This salad could be served as an appetizer or side dish. It is so fresh and light – perfect for any summer meal! Continue reading

Asian Chicken Salad

Looking for a healthy option for dinner but still want loads of flavor? Well, I’ve got a dressing that will have you begging for more salad! This dressing has the perfect balance between sweet, savory, and tart flavors. Such bright and citrusy notes combined with the richness of toasted sesame oil and soy sauce will awaken your taste buds! This salad is perfect for any light, yet satisfying summer dinner.

I was inspired to make this dish after a trip to California last year for my cousin’s wedding. It was held at the Hyatt Huntington Beach Hotel Resort, which is where I first came across this salad and AMAZING dressing. The hotel restaurant made the salad using grilled steak; however, I alternate between steak and chicken, depending on my mood. (Don’t worry, both are equally fantastic with the dressing!) The hotel also used Napa cabbage in their salad, which I love and prefer. Nonetheless, my grocery store doesn’t always have Napa cabbage so I sometimes use Romaine lettuce as a substitute. You can use whichever is available or to your liking. The great thing about this salad is you can personalize it by adding your favorite veggies. Snow peas, bean sprouts, bell peppers, and green beans are just a few examples that would be wonderful with the dressing. Continue reading

Ginger Chicken Salad

For all my foodies out there that love Hainanese Chicken, THIS is the salad for you! And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you definitely need to keep reading ;). I’ve taken the the two things we love most about this dish (the ginger sauce and moist chicken) and put them into a healthier version. You’re probably thinking, “Salad, for dinner??” But I promise this salad will leave you feeling satisfied. It has just the right balance between bright and intense flavors, and the protein from the chicken will keep you full longer. Best of all, it is SO easy and simple to make. The traditional version of this dish requires boiling a whole chicken, while this recipe only uses chicken breasts. The fresh ginger, lime juice, and chili sauce make this refreshing salad perfect for any summer meal! Continue reading

Strawberry Arugula Salad

Strawberry Arugula Sald

I was really inspired to make this salad after our trip to Panama. We stayed at a beautiful secluded beach resort, The Bristol Buenaventura, about two hours west of Panama City. We had an amazing time! The scenery, food, and service were truly exceptional.

On our first night, I surprised Michael by ordering the Strawberry Arugula Salad because I usually don’t like arugula. I always found it to be too bitter for my taste buds; however, I really wanted something cool and refreshing for dinner given the hot and humid weather. What a great call! The salad looked so pretty and appetizing with its bright and vibrant colors. More importantly, it was so good and refreshing! I loved the balance of sweet strawberries and savory blue cheese because it really brought out the spiciness of the arugula. Continue reading