Weeknight Caesar Salad

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All credit for this recipe must go to my co-worker Amy, who casually whipped together a Caesar salad for my husband and I when we were at her house for dinner one night. It was so good, and I was so impressed, gushing over the dressing. I also discovered that my husband has an incredible love for Caesar salad that I’d previously not known about.

While this salad is impressive, it’s far from difficult, as Amy showed me. You can, of course, buy caesar salad dressing in the store, sometimes even packaged with croutons and pre-cut romaine lettuce. But why do that, when you could have fresh dressing within a matter of moments, with ingredients you (probably, mostly) already have in your pantry? Continue reading

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Beet Salad with Fennel and Blue Cheese



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I’m really trying, you guys. I know you want vegetables. Maybe even need them, at this point in the winter, when the idea of eating another bowl of soup is enough to make you want to head for the tropics. I feel you. 

Which is why I think this salad is so perfect. First, vegetables. Second, they’re not delicate spring veggies that won’t fill you up. No, this is a combination of sturdy baby greens, red lettuce and beets, the root vegetable to end all root vegetables. 

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With the additions of fennel, which adds an unexpected warmth, apple, walnuts and blue cheese, this is a salad that eats like a meal. It will fill you up with fiber and good fats and so many antioxidants you won’t even know what to do with yourself.

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Oh, and did I mention there’s horseradish cream? I know it sounds a little weird, but trust me, it’s delicious. Use a good quality mayo (I used Sir Kensington’s and no, despite their really widespread blogger ad campaign, they didn’t pay me to write that) and, if the sauce seems a little thick, add just a touch of white vinegar.

(Lastly, I forgot the walnuts in that photo. I’m sorry. It was taken on a fast lunch break from work and the walnuts flew out of my mind. Pretend they’re there. Thanks.)

Beet Salad with Fennel and Blue Cheese
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Serves: 1
A perfect, big late-winter salad for when you just need some veggies…but also blue cheese.
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 beet, spiraled with a spiralizer or a regular vegetable peeler
  • 2 cups greens (including arugula, spinach and lettuce)
  • 1/4 cup diced apple
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 2 Tbsp blue cheese
  • 1 Tbsp horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp good mayo
Instructions
  1. First, take your walnuts and honey and toss them in a small bowl until the walnuts are fully coated. Toast in a toaster oven on the “medium” setting or in a 350 degree oven until lightly toasted. Remove and let cool.
  2. Layer greens, fennel, beets, apple, and blue cheese on a plate. In a small bowl, whisk together horseradish and mayo. Spoon onto salad. Top with candied walnuts. Yeah, buddy.
 

 

Beet Salad with Orange-Cardamom Dressing

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You know those days when you just want to eat a sandwich and go to bed? That’s pretty much how my life has been for the past two weeks. The “Polar Plunge,” as CNN has taken to calling it, has hit Idaho hard. While I expect living in the Rocky Mountains to be cold, of course, this is definitely the kind of cold that generally we don’t see until January, when we’ve already had two months to ease into it.

When it’s this cold, I have a hard time eating vegetables. Or, you know, anything that isn’t a carb and covered with cheese. This is lasagna weather, Minnesota “hot dish” weather, weather that demands meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s hard for me to get excited about salad when it’s so cold, my dog won’t go outside.

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This is a recurring problem in my life and on this blog. Thankfully, this salad has pretty much solved all of my problems with goat cheese, beets and a deliciously warming orange-cardamom dressing that not only made me feel all warm and cozy inside, but also infused a little bit of brightness into my otherwise lackluster, Vitamin D-deficient day.

And, because it’s winter, I bulked it up with kale and quinoa. No fussy, summery frisee or baby greens here — this is a winter salad that is more than up to the task of filling that winter-hungry tummy. Eat it for lunch, feel virtuous and full, and then go eat lobster mac and cheese or something for dinner. It’s winter — you totally have permission.

Beet Salad with Orange-Cardamom Dressing
 
Author: Kate Wutz
A gluten-free and meatless winter salad that you actually want to eat — beets, kale, quinoa and a bright orange-cardamom dressing keep things fresh and interesting even in the darkest polar plunge.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • pinch ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • zest of one orange, divided
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 2 medium beets, roasted
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and sliced into ribbons
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. First, whisk the first four ingredients and 1 Tbsp of the orange zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Bring quinoa and water or stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Add remaining orange zest and stir. Lower heat and cover, simmering for about 15 minutes or until quinoa no longer has a small white dot in the middle and the “springs” have become uncoiled. Set aside and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, cube the beets. Set aside in a bowl. Pour half of your dressing over the beets, then pour the other half over the quinoa. Stir to combine.
  4. If you want a pretty layered salad like the one I have pictured, place kale on individual serving plates, then top with quinoa, beets, goat cheese and almonds. If you would like a beautiful, brilliantly purple salad, combine everything in a very large mixing bowl and toss. Serve, or keep in the fridge for up to three days.
 
Notes
For a vegan version, use maple syrup in place of the honey and eliminate the cheese.

 

Grated Beet Salad with Apple and Dill

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This is definitely one of those salads that doesn’t sound that delicious when you talk about it. Beets? Okay, maybe, but a lot of people don’t like them. Apples with beets? Eh….and then you add cabbage, horseradish, dill and apple cider vinegar and you can tell that the people you’re feeding are already coming up with reasons they can’t eat it. They’re…allergic to apples. Yeah. That sounds right.

But trust me, it works. The dressing was actually inspired by a favorite pork chop recipe of mine that also doesn’t seem like it should work, but the tang of the vinegar and the kick of the horseradish play beautifully off of the shredded apples in the salad. And since we’re already playing with Eastern European flavors here, of course beets, cabbage and dill would go perfectly. It’s a little like a borscht…but not, because it’s deliciously crunchy, like the best coleslaw ever. 

Plus, it’s so good for you. Your entire body is going to thank you for eating this superfood of superfoods — and your tastebuds will thank you for waking them up with this tangy, zippy, herby combination. Serve it with pork chops or sausage and potatoes, and it will brighten your entire dinner.

Grated Beet Salad with Apple and Dill
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
A bright, zippy grated salad that will wake up your tastebuds and make your whole body feel good. Vegan, paleo and gluten-free.
Ingredients
  • 3 smallish red beets, scrubbed and peeled
  • 1 large golden beet, scrubbed and peeled
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage
  • 1 medium-sized apple, cored but with the peel still on (for fiber)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp horseradish, fresh or prepared
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh dill
Instructions
  1. Yep, you’re going to need arms of steel or a food processor for this one. Shred or grate the beets, cabbage and apple and place in a large bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients, and pour over the shredded veggies. Toss thoroughly, and adjust seasonings to taste.
  2. That’s it! Super-easy.
 

 

Marinated White Bean Salad

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Though all of the food on my honeymoon was pretty universally spectacular (bison tenderloin and boutique gin, for starters), there’s one simple meal that stands out in my mind.

Ben and I spent one night on our way back in Missoula, MT, a college town that for him meant fly-fishing and A River Runs Through It. For me, it meant a lot of great bookstores—and amazing food.

We’d spent most of our trip in some pretty remote locations, places where we could blissfully ignore the world, as there was no wifi, no cell phone service, and almost no reminders of the outside world. Waking up in the middle of a pillow-filled and down-enswaddled king bed in a Holiday Inn in Missoula was a bit of a weird feeling after a week of old and rustic lodges, it also felt like the height of luxury to us to be able to walk a block to a coffee shop, have lattes and split a scone, read the Wall Street Journal, and take a few hours to explore the city before driving back into Idaho.

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Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

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I’m ready to concede that summer is over. The light down jacket is out, the leaves are turning, and now I find myself craving pumpkin with a strength that cannot be denied. But as I refuse to post about pumpkin stuff yet, as it’s still September and I am a valiant defender of keeping holidays within their respective months, I’ve had to wrack my brain to come up with something to post.

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Broiled Fig and Prosciutto Salad

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Hi, my name is Kate, and I have a problem. I buy produce that I have no idea how to use.

We’ve all done this, right? Something will look irresistible — a purple bell pepper, for example, or an Asian pear — and you take it home, only to have it sit on your counter and rot while you rack your brain trying to think of something to do with this wonderful specimen.

I have done this too many times with figs to count. I don’t love the texture when I just eat fresh ones plain, so I needed to come up with some way to capture the lusciousness of the pint of black figs I brought home from the grocery store. This salad was the answer.

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