Archive for Salads and Dressings

April 14th, 2014

Carrot Cake Salad

Carrot Cake Salad


I know there are a lot of Carrot Salad recipes out there – but here is my favorite way to make it.  This crunchy, sweet salad has all the basics of carrot cake:  toasted pecans, chopped dates, pineapple, coconut, and of course carrots. That’s it!  No mayo, no sour cream, no dressing of any kind.  I guess that makes it healthy and good- so good in fact you might even considering skipping the Carrot Cake Cheesecake for an extra serving of the salad if you want to be really good!


Carrot Cake Salad


The wonderful flavors in this salad can stand on their own!  The carrots give it crunch, the pineapple and coconut give it sweetness, the dates add a unique depth, and the toasted pecans make it simply irresistible {be sure to take the extra few minutes to toast them – it makes all the differences.} It goes perfect along side  your Easter ham, but you’ll also want to serve it at upcoming summer picnics – or maybe even for dessert!


Carrot Cake Salad


Below is a simple recipe – but to be honest I never stick to it.  Use more or less of any of the ingredients to create a combination that’s just perfect for you!


Carrot Cake Salad


3-4 carrots peeled and grated (about 1 1/2 lose cups)

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans (toast in oven at 375 for about 7 minutes)

1/2 cup chopped dates

1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits, well drained


Mix everything together and serve!

Serves 4-6



March 26th, 2014

Mandarin Salad with Caramelized Almonds

Mandarin Salad with Caramelized Almonds

For years this Mandarin Salad was my favorite- I took it everywhere with me.  Then I met a yummy Spinach Salad and soon forgot all about my mandarin friend.   In fact, after a time, I completely forgot all about it. Recently I came across the recipe- it was like meeting an old friend.  We quickly became reacquainted and now I remember  just how fresh and good it is.  I especially love the sugar-coated almonds.


Mandarin Salad


1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large bunch of romaine, torn
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 15 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

Cook almonds and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and caramelizes onto the nuts.  Cool on a tray and break apart.  Set aside.

Mix romaine with celery, onions, and mandarins.  Toss with Sweet and Sour Dressing.  Sprinkle with almonds just before serving.

Sweet and Sour Dressing:

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2 dashes of pepper sauce such as Tabasco

Combine and toss with salad as needed (you probably won’t use it all)

Serves 6-8



January 13th, 2014

Southwest Quinoa Salad

You really can’t go wrong with this Southwest Quinoa Salad if you’re tying to eat a little healthier after the holidays.  {Thank goodness for Mondays to get us back on track from the weekend!}

First you have quinoa, (a complete protein),  add some black beans (more protein and fiber), throw in some corn, bell pepper and onions (yummy flavor and crunch), sprinkle with cilantro and toss in a fresh lime dressing (Yum).  What you get is a simple and healthy salad that makes a complete meal .  It’s the perfect salad if you pack your lunch!   It’s also wonderful for dinner served with chicken or fish.  I like to top it with tomato and avocado if I have them.  You could also throw in some jalapeno if you want to turn up the heat.  Make it your own and enjoy!


Southwest Quinoa Salad


3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup corn (canned or thawed)
1  red or orange bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro


In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and broth; bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes).  Spread the quinoa on a plate and refrigerate 15-20 minutes or until cool.  (Chop and prep your other ingredients during this time.)

Whisk together the lime juice, oil, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper to make dressing.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the black beans, corn, bell pepper, onions,  cilantro, cooled quinoa, and dressing.  Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.





October 8th, 2013

Apple Pecan Chop Salad

One of the things I anticipate most in Fall is the arrival of a new crop of Honey Crisp Apples.  I love the fresh, sweet, crisp taste of these apples.  In an effort to use them any way possible, I decided a salad would be a fabulous way to incorporate them into dinner.

This salad is a favorite – it is so full of flavor and crunch!  Apples, cranberries, and pecans in a sweet and tangy Dijon-Lime Dressing – yum.  Serve it as a side salad, or you could even throw in some rotisserie chicken and/or bacon for a sweet meal in itself.


Apple Pecan Chop Salad


2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large Granny Smith Apple, chopped
1 large Honey Crisp Apple (or another tart red apple), chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 head romaine lettuce, torn


Whisk together lime juice, mustard and sugar.  Gradually whisk in oil.  Place apples, pecans and green onions in a bowl.  Pour dressing over mixture; toss to coat.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Add cranberries to apple mixture and toss.  Line a platter with lettuce, and top with Apple-Pecan Salad; or place lettuce on 4 individual salad plates and top with salad.





August 19th, 2013

Northwest Salmon Salad


I know I’ve said this before, but  this salad is one of my new favorites.  It combines Northwest favorites into one delicious salad – fresh salmon, peaches, blueberries and hazelnuts.



I grew up in Washington state, so for me this salad is a taste of home~ it reminds me of Columbia River Salmon, Yakima Valley peaches and berries, and Northwest hazelnuts.



Top it off with a cucumber-dill sour cream dressing (recipe below) or your favorite poppy seed dressing – either way, the taste is fresh and absolutely wonderful!


Northwest Salmon Salad


1 salmon fillet (1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
4 fresh dill sprigs
1 cup finely chopped peeled cucumber
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 cup snipped fresh dill
3 tablespoons capers, drained
8 cups mixed greens
2 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1 cup fresh blueberries
4 thin slices red onion, separated into rings


Place salmon on a greased baking sheet; sprinkle with salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice; top with dill sprigs.  Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 15-18 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  {Note:  You can also place the salmon on the grill.)  Flake salmon into large pieces.

In a small bowl, combine the cucumber, sour cream, red pepper, snipped dill, capers and remaining pepper and lemon juice.

Divide lettuce among four plates. Top with peaches, hazelnuts, blueberries, onion and salmon. Serve with dressing. 



recipe adapted from Taste of Home June/July 2011


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