salad

Fig and Goat Cheese Salad with Lemon Pepper Dressing

Can you feel it? The air is getting slightly cooler, and there are already leaves on the bike path. Even though I love scarves and everything pumpkin, I'm not quite ready to let go of summer. Please Colorado, give me just two more weeks of warm hiking weather and fresh local produce. One of my favorite summer snacks this year has been fresh figs. I love the subtle sweet taste and slight crunch of the seeds.  My latest discovery is how delicious they taste in a fresh salad with goat cheese. After having takeout pizza for lunch yesterday, I was hankering for something more nutritious. So, I whipped up this Fig and Goat Cheese Salad with Lemon Pepper Dressing.

Not only are figs lovely on the taste buds, but also highly nutritious. 

  • Figs are rich in alkalinizing minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese. 
  • Because of their high fiber and mineral content, figs are an excellent blood sugar balancer. Balancing blood sugar is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and balanced moods. 
  • 100 grams of figs contains about 3.3 g of protein (Murray, 2005.
  • The high potassium content in figs makes them an excellent support for healthy blood pressure.
  • They taste amazing with dark chocolate! (source: me.)

Fig and Goat Cheese Salad

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients for salad: 

  • 2 cups dark leafy greens (I used a blend of baby spinach and baby kale)
  • 5 Figs, cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup cucumbers

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 1/4 cup flaxseed oil or olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

  • Blend the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. It should be a bright yellow color.
  • Mix all the other ingredients and drizzle the dressing on top.

Notes

Even though flax oil offers some fantastic health benefits, not everyone enjoys its slightly bitter taste. Don't be afraid to sub olive oil or go half and half with the oils. IMPORTANT** If you choose to use flax oil, make sure it doesn't heat up in the food processor. Flax is a pretty unstable oil and doesn't do well with heat. Pulse the dressing lightly until blended, and store the extra in the fridge for up to a week.

I highly recommend adding some protein into your salad, such as grilled chicken or garbanzo beans! I happened to have it for breakfast today, hence the side of eggs!

Enjoy these last bits of summer!

Sources:

Michael T.Murray - Joseph E.Pizzorno - Lara Pizzorno - Atria Books - 2005

Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette

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You know what I think is the key to eating a ton of veggies every day? Delicious dressings and sauces. Seriously, I can eat ALL the veggies if I have a salad dressing or stir fry sauce that I really love. It's even better if I can make them from ingredients that I know are healthy. This recipe actually happened sort of by accident. The ginger man and I were having some friends over for dinner on Monday night and one of the main dishes was a giant chicken salad. I really wanted to go the extra mile and make the dressing as well. On a creative whim I put 5 simple ingredients into a blender and.....the base wasn't on tight enough so balsamic spilled all over the place! Always check your machinery before using ;) Anyway, after that minor mishap I tried again. What I ended up with was a sweet, tart, and spicy dressing that everyone loved. 

Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette

Prep Time5 minutes

Yieldabout1 cup dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6-7 strawberries
  • 1 raw garlic glove
  • pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

  • Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until you have a smooth consistency. It should look like a thick, pink fruit smoothie.

Notes:

If you like a sweeter dressing, go ahead and throw a couple more strawberries in there. I haven't tried it yet, but I am curious how this would turn out with other fruits. I'm thinking peaches....?! Give it a try.

This Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette tastes awesome on a salad that includes greens, red onion, bell peppers, avocado, walnuts, and feta cheese. The combination is amazing! Another tasty option is to drizzle this dressing over some apple slices with cheese. 

I have been loving your feedback on Instagram and Facebook! Let me know how you are liking the recipes, AND if there is anything you'd like to see up on the blog.

Happy Thursday!

Caprice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

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CYMERA_20140323_203817Happy Monday! This one is short and sweet, but super yummy. Let's talk about basil for a minute. Basil was a highly respected herb in many ancient civilizations because of its many medicinal properties. As a member of the mint family, basil has similar health benefits to that of peppermint and spearmint. It's a great digestive aid, provides support for the intestinal tract and kidneys, and helps increase blood circulation.  Basil leaves also contain orientin and vicenin, flavanoids that protect against free radical damage in cells.

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For the Salad:

  • 2 Cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, whole or diced
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup green onions

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For the Basil Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 Cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Blend the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth, and pour over salad. You'll definitely have enough for several salads.

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Other great additions to this salad are olives, sun dried tomatoes, or pine nuts. CYMERA_20140323_204931

Spinach Avocado Dressing (Paleo, Vegan)

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I was talking recently to a student of mine who just completed her first Whole30.  We'll call her H. One thing that changed her the most about this challenge was realizing how many foods she could cook and prep herself, rather than buying them at the store. It had never occurred to her that all the things she bought pre-packaged from the grocery store she could actually make herself from scratch. Seems obvious enough, but I recently had a similar "AH-HA" moment myself. I eat a lot of salads. Like a lot. They're easy, quick, and a great way to get in a bunch of veggies. I love raw veggies, but I have limits. A good sauce or dressing is a must if I'm going to eat salad, so needless to say, my fridge has to be stocked with them. I guess I just always thought that salad dressings were born and raised on the grocery shelves, but after talking with H that day, I had a major light bulb moment. I CAN MAKE MY OWN DRESSINGS!!! I know, probably sooooooo obvious to you guys, but this is big for me. This is especially awesome because even the healthier of store-bought dressings still have sneaky additives and ingredients that we can do without. I've been playing around with some different ones, and here is my fave so far.

Spinach Avocado Dressing

Makes about 1 Cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

You'll Need:

  • One large avocado
  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup spinach 
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper (optional, but so yummy)

I hope you can handle this because it's really complicated....toss all these yummies into a blender or food processor and turn it on. Done.

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You're basically blending up veggies to pour onto more veggies. 

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