Category Archives: Salads

Watermelon and Feta Salad

DSC_0007It’s summertime in Arizona.  This is a refreshing salad that you can easily throw together for a gathering.


1/4 cup  orange juice
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2  cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon  salt
1/4 tsp sumac
1/2 teaspoon  ground black pepper
1 watermelon  cut in 1-inch cubes
12 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 cup whole fresh mint leaves, julienned
A sprinkle of Hawaiian Black Salt

Whisk together the orange juice, lime juice and zest, sumac, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to form an emulsion. This can be made in a day in advance. Store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.

Place cubed, watermelon, feta, onions and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat your melon and toss well.

Sprinkle with Hawaiian Black salt and serve at once.



Pomegranate Quinoa with Pistachios


3 cups cooked quinoa
1 jar sliced peaches, diced  ( you could easily substitute oranges, pears, cherries or cranberries)
1/2  cup chopped pistachios
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dates, pitted and diced
1/2 bottle POM pomegranate juice reduced
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
2 teaspoons sumac, divided
1 teaspoon dried mint, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh mint



DSC_0077In a salad bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, peaches, pistachios.

DSC_0080Then add dates and mint.

In a small sauce pan reduce POM juice then  combine the olive oil, , garlic, 1 teaspoon of sumac, dried mint and kosher salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.

Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and toss so everything is evenly coated. Dust with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sumac and freshly chopped mint.

DSC_0088 Mix well and refrigerate.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_0953The mint and pistachios really bring this dish alive.  Salad can be served immediately or saved for up to 2 days.

Asparagus and Comte Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing

DSC_0048This is a great spring salad.  Yes, in Arizona it is already Spring.

1 pound large asparagus spears
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon grated Meyer lemon rind
4 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
1  tablespoons chopped  dill
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup shaved Comte Cheese


DSC_0048 2 Working with 1 spear at a time, shave asparagus into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, stopping short of tips. Combine asparagus ribbons, tips, onion, fennel, and 1 tablespoon fronds in a bowl.

DSC_0052Add a good shaved cheese on top of your ingredients.

DSC_0051Comte is the cheese I used but you could substitute any hard cheese.
DSC_0050 Combine olive oil, rind, juice, dill, 1/8 teaspoon salt, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring with a whisk.

DSC_0054Pour dressing over asparagus mixture. Toss gently to coat; refrigerate 10 minutes.

DSC_0057 Sprinkle salad evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon fennel fronds, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

DSC_0057 2

Crunchy Croutons

DSC_0095Here is my standard crouton recipe.  I often will take my spare Artisan bread and toss it in the freezer whole.  Then when I know guest are coming I pull the loaf out and cut it up for croutons.  It’s a great way to use that portion of Artisan bread that didn’t get consumed.


4 to 6 cups bread cut up in pieces
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper
Can I use other ingredients? YES, of course you can. Sometimes I do pepper flakes or cheese depending on what soup or salad I’m making.


Preheat over to 400 degrees


DSC_0092Toss all ingredients above into your bowl of bread pieces.

DSC_0088Place on Baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Checking once during baking process.


Cabbage and Pepitas Salad


I apologize for the ugly shot of the disposable pan.  I was prepping baked goods for a family reunion only to hear at the last minute that what they needed was side dishes.  So needless to say I didn’t have time to take shots worth much, but this side salad is worth making if you are serving items with a Latin Flare. Oh, and by the way it also needs to travel several hundred miles and taste good the following day.

1/2 cup unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
4-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tsp. Red Pepper flakes
1 tsp. chili powder
Kosher salt
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. agave syrup or honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium head green cabbage, sliced in thin strips
1 small red bell pepper
6 green onions thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
6 ounces crumbled Cotija mexican cheese

Put the pepitas in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pepitas start to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 Tbs. of the oil, 1/2 tsp. of the chili powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, agave, the remaining 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Use a fork to whisk in the remaining 4 Tbs. oil. Set aside.

In a large serving bowl, combine the cabbage, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeño, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro.


Add the vinaigrette and toss well.


the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, cheese, and half of the spiced pepitas, and toss to combine. Serve topped with the remaining pepitas and cheese.


Bonnie’s Summer Basil Vinaigrette

DSC_0003This is a wonderful sweet and tangy Vinaigrette that can you be used on Caprice Salad or any summer salads that you wish to add some zing to.

2 cups (about ¼ pound) tightly packed fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon raw sugar
2 tablespoons honey or agave
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine first five ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree mixture until smooth and bright green.

With motor running, slowly add the salad oil to form an emulsion*.
Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.


If not serving immediately, store in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator. Will last for a week or more.

Sweet Pickled Veggies

I don’t always have time to can bread and butter style pickles, and in the summer time I really don’t wan to heat up the house.  Here is my summer time cure.

5 or 6 house cucumbers
1 Red onion
Several small Variety Carrots
1 cup raw sugar
1 handfull horizontal sliced Snap Peas
1 tablespoon canning salt
1 tablespoon pickling spices
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup white distilled vinegar

Wash and slice cucumber, onions, carrots and snap peas. If you have other veggies on hand throw them in, I promise not to tell.

IMG_4826Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir until sugar and salt dissolves, about 3 minutes.


Pack cucumbers and onions into a sterilized quart jar using a wooden spoon to nestle all in. Pour in the vinegar mixture and tighten lid. Shake several times to distribute spices.


Refrigerate for a minimum of one day. Turn jar upside down occasionally too. These will do okay in the fridge for a month, if there’s any left at that time.


Also feel free to reuse your liquid for more fresh veggies.

Fennel and Snap Pea Salad

Summer is here, let’s make this… This is a great side dish, I ‘ve even served it along side pizza.  It’s a great way to offer a health alternative for your guests.


1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil                                                                          1 Tablespoon walnut oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups sugar snap peas, ends removed, cut into thin strips
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots                                                                       small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into thin strips 
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon if you have fresh if not you can used dried.
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup toasted walnuts



Whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, shallots, tarragon and salt in a large bowl.




Slice your snap peas into small pieces.


Add the , peas, fennel, tarragon to bowl.Toss to coat and season to taste with pepper.

Garnish with fennel fronds and top with toasted walnuts.




This is a great side dish for your spring and summer gatherings.


Raw Brussels Sprouts with Avocado Salad


If you love or hate Brussels Sprouts I encourage you

to try this recipe.  The greatest problem  I have is eating such a small portion like this.


  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup romano or any other hard cheese you prefer
  • pepper and salt to taste

I beg of you toast your pecans!  Your recipes will not be as great as they can be if you don’t toast your nuts.. These pecans were 12 minutes at 350 degrees.  I also toasted some pine nuts at the same time for a future recipe.

DSC_0019 2


While your pecans are in the oven process your brussels sprouts through a food processor or slice very thin by hand.

DSC_0021 (2)


Add your sliced avocado, cranberries and pecans to your brussels sprouts and toss.



Now take your raw sugar, olive oil, and champagne vinegar and wisk until emulsified.


From here you will add your romano and pour over your salad and blend.  Below you will find your end result.



Now the only choice you have to make is do you make a small portion like this or do you eat out of the large bowl.


Super Simple Pickled Ginger


Why do we often let such simple things intimidate us?  Pickled ginger is so easy to make and taste wonderful.  


  • 1 lb ginger
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs salt

Peel ginger with back of spoon and run through processor. Lay ginger flat and sprinkle with salt. Cover with paper towel for one hour to absorb moisture. Boil sugar and vinegar and pour over ginger in non reactive boil.  It’s best after it sits for a few hours or overnight.  I can keep it in the fridge for several weeks.