Salads Feed

Easy Summer Peach Caprese Salad

20200805_154328 Fresh Peach Caprese Salad

A fresh twist on an old classic. This is one of the most popular summer dishes that I make. Everyone raves, but the key is not so much the recipe (which is simple and basic) but rather the availability of summer ripe peaches at their peak of freshness.

Download Easy Summer Peach Caprese Salad recipe

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1½ tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper

1-pound ripe peaches, quartered and pitted, each quarter cut into 4 slices

12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick

6 large fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces, and a few basil sprigs for garnish

White balsamic vinegar (to drizzle, optional)

1. Whisk oil, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add peaches and gently toss to coat.

2. Shingle peaches and mozzarella on serving platter. Drizzle any remaining dressing from bowl over top. Sprinkle with basil and garnish platter with basil sprigs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, with optional balsamic drizzle.

Edamame Snap Pea Salad with Watermelon Radishes and Sesame Ginger Dressing

Edamame Snap Pea Salad Watermelon Radishes Sesame Dressing

This is a fantastic summer dish which I first tried at Alan Jackson’s restaurant/marketplace Lemonade. The edamame are a great base for salads because of their bright, fresh flavor and watermelon radish add great color and crunch while the sesame ginger dressing ties it all together. Makes a great salad to serve with sushi.

Download Edamame Snap Pea Salad Watermelon Radishes Sesame Dressing recipe

½ pound sugar snap peas (2 cups), ends trimmed

2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans), frozen, thawed, and cooked according to package directions

1 large shallot, minced (optional)

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, mint or basil

3 small red radishes thinly sliced

1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced and then cut each slice into quarters (to resembles triangle slices of watermelon)

1 carrot, grated on small holes of a box grater

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

½ teaspoon coarse salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup Sesame Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding a tray of ice cubes.
  2. Blanch sugar snap peas in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes (until they are just turning tender but still very crisp) and then immediately place into an ice bath. Slice sugar snap peas diagonally, smaller ones in half and longer ones into thirds.
  3. Put the blanched snap peas in a mixing bowl. Add the edamame, shallot, chives (or mint, basil), radish slices, carrot, and vinaigrette, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, salt, and pepper, tossing well. Serve chilled.


3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 Tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon chili paste (optional)

1/3 cup canola oil

2 Tablespoons sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a small mixing bowl or mason jar, combine the vinegar, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, mustard, soy sauce, chili paste, canola and sesame oils; season with pepper. Whisk or shake to blend. Keep any left-over vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 1 cup.

Best Broccoli Salad with Raisins and Toasted Nuts

Broccoli Salad Raisins Toasted Nuts

This recipe from Cook's Illustrated Complete Vegetarian Cookbook is fast to throw together and makes a great summer menu side dish. 

Download Best Broccoli Salad with Raisins and Toasted Nuts recipe

1 1/2 lbs broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1/2 cup dried cranberries, golden raisins, or currants

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Pinch of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped

1 large shallot, minced


  1. Combine four cups water and four cups ice in large bowl, set aside. Bring three quarts water to boil in a large pot. Remove 1/2 cup boiling water and combine with dried fruit in small bowl; cover, let sit five minutes, and then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, add broccoli stalks to boiling water and cook one minute. Add florets and cook until slightly tender, about one more minute. Drain broccoli and place in ice water to cool. Drain again, transfer to salad spinner, and spin to remove excess moisture.
  3. Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Transfer broccoli, dried fruit, nuts, and shallot to bowl with mayonnaise mixture, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve or refrigerate for up to 6 hours

Mexican Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Mexican chicken salad spicy avocado dressing

In California, it’s quite common to find a little “south-of-the-border” influence in many of our recipes, as is the case with this Mexican themed chopped salad.  It is bursting with vibrant flavors and while perfect for lunch, it’s also hearty enough to serve for dinner.  Like most chopped salads, it’s fairly easy to throw together, especially when you use a store bought rotisserie chicken. Adding a few traditional Mexican flavors like chili powder, cilantro, lime – combined with the creamy avocado, pan roasted corn kernels, and crunchy romaine lettuce - this salad reaches a new level of taste satisfaction. 

Download Mexican Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Serves 4

For the dressing:

1 avocado

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2 -3 limes)

½ cup olive oil

½-1 teaspoon hot sauce

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Cut avocado in half, remove pit, and scoop flesh into blender or bowl of food processor. Add remaining ingredients and process until creamy, about 30 seconds; set aside

For the salad

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup frozen corn

½ teaspoon chili powder

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (2-3 lb) rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, meat shredded into bite size pieces

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped into bite size pieces

6 radishes, sliced thin

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add corn kernels and cook until golden and beginning to brown – 3-4 minutes. Add chili powder and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add shredded chicken, black beans, lettuce, radishes and toss gently to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss to distribute evenly. Season with salt and ground pepper. Serve

Quinoa, Black Bean Mango Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Quinoa Mango Black Bean Salad1a

This is a bright colorful spring/summer salad that packs flavor and nutrition in every bite. Thanks to fresh veggies, citrus and quinoa, it’s loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, folate, iron and lutein. Quinoa, with its high protein content, nutty flavor, and delicate texture have made it a great alternative to pasta and rice. This is a perfect salad for lunch, or a barbecue side dish, and leftovers are great, as flavors get even better the next day.

Download Quinoa, Black Bean Mango Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette recipe

Serves 4 - 6

2 teaspoons olive oil (or coconut oil)

1 ½ cups prewashed quinoa (if you have unwashed, just rinse in a fine mesh strainer and spread out over clean dish cloth or paper towel to dry before proceeding

2 ¼ cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 jalepeno, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

½ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon coriander

Pinch of cayenne pepper

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves

½ cup olive oil

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into small pieces

2 scallions, sliced thin

1 avocado, halved, pitted, and sliced thin

  1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering and add quinoa, stirring frequently, toast until quinoa is fragrant and makes popping sound 6-7 minutes. Stir in water and ½ teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce to low, and simmer until most of water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl
  1. Process lime juice, orange juice, jalepeno, cumin, coriander, cayenne and 1 teaspoon of salt in a blender for about 15-20 seconds. Add cilantro and blend to combine. With blender running, slowly add olive oil and continue to process until smooth and emulsified, about 20 seconds.
  1. Add bell pepper, mango, black beans, scallions and dressing to cooled quinoa and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with avocado slices on each plate.

Fresh Tomato Cucumber Israeli Chopped Salad

Fresh Tomato Cucumber Israeli Chopped Salad

This simple, fresh, colorful chopped salad can be found everywhere in Israel, from roadside falafel stands to high end restaurants, and is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The variations are endless but the base always includes finely chopped tomatoes and cucumbers. I just returned from a truly memorable trip to Israel and highly recommend it as a travel destination. One of the highlights of the trip was an excursion to Safed, (also known as Zefat, Tsfat, Zfat, Safad, Safes, Safet, Tzfat, etc.) a charming town located in the northern part of Israel. It’s situated at 900 meters (2952 feet) above sea level in the mountains of Galilee and faces east towards Golan, north to Lebanon, west to Mt. Meron and the Amud Valley, and south to Tiberias and the Kinneret. We stayed at the Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel (  which has magnificent views of the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee.  It’s an incredibly tranquil spot (with rules like no mobile phones in common areas) which sits on 37-acres of land, with 96 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, an organic farm and dairy, orchards, herb gardens, streams and everything else required to be in perfect harmony with nature. Meals are served in a bright and airy dining room, featuring an enormous buffet table filled with dishes made from the farm's harvest.  Tons of vegetables, homemade cheeses, dips, local fish, pastas, and desserts are presented each day to the hotel patrons. The Israeli salad was always on the table, and paired well at any meal – whether it be eggs at breakfast, hummus and pita for lunch, or grilled fish at dinner. With the summer months approaching, this is a great recipe to utilize fresh garden produce from your own garden or farmer’s market.

This recipe requires a little advance prep, allowing time for some of the veggies to drain, so plan accordingly.

4 - 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1 ½ pounds)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

½ red bell pepper, finely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

¼ cup finely chopped parsley leaves

Ground black pepper

2 medium thin skinned cucumbers, peeled, quartered, seeded, cut into ¼-inch pieces, tossed with 2 teaspoons salt in strainer set over bowl, and drained about 1 hour (discard liquid)

  1. Core and halve tomatoes, then cut each half into 4 or 5 wedges. Toss wedges with salt in large bowl; let rest until small pool of liquid accumulates, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon juice, red onion, red pepper, mint, parsley, and pepper to taste in small bowl. Pour mixture over tomatoes and accumulated liquid and toss to coat. Rest to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add drained cucumber pieces; toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

The buffet at the Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel

Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel buffet

Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel Gardens & View

Mizpe Hayamim Spa gardens

Fresh Spinach Strawberry Salad with Herbs and Goat Cheese

Strawberry spinach salad 1 

With the warmer months approaching, it’s time to start enjoying some spring and summer recipes. In California, strawberry season is in full swing and it is big business here considering the Golden State is the nation's leading producer of strawberries. In 2014, more than 2.3 billion pounds of strawberries were harvested which amounts to 88 percent of the country's total fresh and frozen strawberries. Sweet strawberries make a perfect addition to this vibrant salad and the balsamic vinegar brings out the berries' beautiful color and truly enhances their flavor. The spinach leaves are tossed with a mixture of mint, basil, parsley and tarragon which lend delicious flavor and combine beautifully with the goat cheese.

1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach (about 6 cups)

1 cup packed small mixed fresh herb leaves such as basil, mint, and parsley

2 tablespoons packed tarragon leaves

1 cup quartered strawberries

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon very finely minced shallot

1 teaspoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 ounces fresh goat cheese (feta will also work)

Aged Balsamic vinegar, to drizzle

1. In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, mixed herbs, and tarragon leaves. Gently toss with the strawberries and a few pinches of salt and pepper.

2. In small bowl, combine vinegar, shallot, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk until mixture appears milky and no lumps remain. Whisking constantly, very slowly drizzle oil into mixture. Vinaigrette should be glossy and lightly thickened.

3. Toss the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat and crumble the goat cheese on top. Drizzle with aged balsamic and serve immediately.

California strawberries4

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad


Brussels Sprouts seem to be one of those vegetables that you either love or hate, but honestly, when prepared correctly, they’re absolutely delicious. There are numerous ways to fix them – steam, roast, bake – but this recipe uses a raw preparation and a simple Dijon vinaigrette that produces a fresh, light “slaw” that’s full of flavor. A mandolin, or very sharp knife is critical to achieve finely shredded Brussels sprouts. When buying sprouts at the market, look for ones with a bright green color; brown spots generally indicate older sprouts which can taste bitter.


Download Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe


Serves 6


3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 small shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon sea salt

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved, and sliced very thin

3 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded (1 cup)

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped


1. Whisk lemon juice, mustard, honey, zest, shallot, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until incorporated. Toss shredded Brussels sprouts with vinaigrette and let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

2. Fold in the Pecorino cheese and toasted chopped walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Brussels_sprouts raw

Summer Pearl Barley Salad

IMG_2195 Barley Salad

Barley is a wonderfully versatile grain with a rich nutty flavor and a nice chewy, pasta-like consistency. According to the Whole Grains Council, “barley is highest in fiber of all the whole grains, with common varieties clocking in at about 17% fiber.” It’s a great addition to hearty soups, but it’s also nice in summer salads and makes a perfect alternative to pasta. This recipe is easy to throw together early in the day and stored in the refrigerator, giving the ingredients and chance to blend and become more flavorful. You can add other favorite summer ingredients like cucumbers, zucchini, or cherry tomatoes.

Download Summer Pearl Barley Salad

8 leaves Lettuce (large-sized)

1 cup Bob's Red Mill Pearl Barley

3 cups Water or Vegetable Broth

1 can organic garbanzo beans, rinsed well and drained

1/2 cup chopped raw unsalted cashews

1 cup carrots shredded

½ cup dried currants

½ cup chopped scallions

¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped

5 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt, to taste

¼ teaspoon black pepper


1. Bring the 1 cup barley and 3 cups water or broth to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. In a large mixing bowl stir together the barley, garbanzo beans, cashews, carrots, currants, scallions, basil, parsley and mint. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper; pour over the barley mixture and toss to coat. Chill for several hours.

3. Arrange lettuce leaves in a chilled salad bowl or platter. Turn barley-salad mixture into the bowl. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and carrot curls, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Strawberry Avocado Summer Salad


Sweet summer strawberries at their peak flavor combine with the buttery creaminess of ripe avocados to deliver one stunning salad. Just toss it all together with a simple lemon vinaigrette for a great seasonal salad.

Simple Lemon Vinaigrette

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

½ teaspoon mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

Pinch cayenne

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk lemon juice, zest, shallot, honey, mayonnaise, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in nonreactive bowl until smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil. (Dressing should appear homogeneous, glossy, and slightly thickened, without any pools of oil on surface.) Store dressing in a small mason jar until ready to use. Shake well before using.

Strawberry Avocado Salad

2 avocados peeled, pitted and chopped

1 cup fresh strawberries finely chopped

1 tart apple, cored and chopped

1/2 jalapeno minced, seeds removed

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

2 cups fresh arugula, optional

1. Gently combine salad ingredients in large bowl and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of vinaigrette and toss to combine. Serve on its own, or over a bed of arugula.