Posts filed under ‘Salads’

Spring Salad Mix





My best friend was having brunch at her place in Brooklyn  Saturday morning and I agreed to bring something healthy to balance out the meat and carbs (Ashley’s succulent baked chicken wings, Kristen’s “crack” mashed potatoes, and Cresha’s flaky, yet moist biscuits, nicely browned sausage links, and bad ass mimosas) we were about to inhale before hitting the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.    

I was at my favorite grocery destination in the Lower East Side (The Essex Street Market) the night before and discovered ricotta salata in the dairy case.  In addition to this mysterious block of cheese, I also bought endive and bibb lettuce.  I already had a bag of baby spinach in the fridge at home so I thought how refreshing it would be to create my own “mixed greens”.  I also had an heirloom tomato and a bottle of ready-made dressing at home in order to create the perfect salad.  

The Food Network peaked my interest after watching a couple of shows that incorporated ricotta salata, but I hesitated at first since there was a presumption of having a sharp cheese flavor.  It turned out to be pleasantly mild however, with a feta-like texture.  

Candied walnuts or pecans are a great addition to the recipe below.  Any mild flavored ingredient such as beets would work great with a salad that contains ricotta salata.  Anything pungent such as sliced red onions or green olives may overpower the subtleties of the dish.  


1 head bibb lettuce

1/2 cup crumbled ricotta salata

1 medium ripe vine or heirloom tomato (4 wedges)

Handful baby spinach

1/2 head endive (sliced)

Freshly ground black pepper

Favorite dressing – mine happens to be Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar



Toss various salad greens with dressing and add tomato wedges and ricotta salata.  Grind fresh black pepper to taste.


May 3, 2009 at 5:23 PM Leave a comment

Asian Lettuce Wraps


When it’s warm and sunny outside, all I want to do is go out and play the whole day.  Which means I want to do as little cooking as possible.  I also want to save money by eating at home.  The solution? Asian lettuce wraps.  They make a satisfying, yet light lunch/dinner.  This inspiration came from several SF Bay Area restaurants serving this dish in various ways.  I’m not a big fan of the Cheesecake Factory, but their version was probably the best one I’ve tried.  My recipe does not contain a dipping sauce since I felt there were already a lot of flavors in the dish that the sauce would overpower.  I’ve also added just a few of my favorite vegetables to this recipe.  Feel free to substitute any other varieties of vegetables you would prefer.  For instance, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, and mustard greens (instead of leaf lettuce) would be a nice variation of this recipe.  The key is to just have fun with it by experimenting.  


1 tbsp vegetable oil

3 large leaf lettuces

Handful of carrot sticks

1 medium zucchini (cut into same size sticks as carrots)

1/2 medium yellow onion (1/4 inch thick slices)

1 1/2 cups of sliced shitake mushrooms

2 tbsp Soy Sauce

1 1/2 tsp Hoisin Sauce

1/2 lean ground pork

Black Pepper



Cook ground pork until dark brown over high heat.  Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and cook for another minute.  Place cooked ground pork to the side into a dish.  Using same skillet (on high heat), add vegetable oil and sliced onion.  Cook until it starts to turn brown.  Add zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots until tender.  Add remaining soy sauce at the last minute and cook only for another minute.  Important to add soy sauce at the last minute.  The sodium will draw out excess moisture from vegetables and would make the stir-fry watery.  Add freshly ground black pepper.  

How to assemble the wrap:

Smear 1/2 tsp of hoisin sauce onto one large lettuce leaf.  Add 1 tsbp of ground pork.  Then top off with one large spoonful of cooked vegetables.  Roll lettuce leaf over to create a wrap.  Repeat with remaining lettuce leaves.  

Bon Appetit!

April 25, 2009 at 10:36 PM 1 comment

Asian Pasta Salad



Just like everyone, I’m always looking for new and inspiring ways to jazz up my lunch for the work week.  There are so many salads and sandwiches one can eat until you are blue in the face.  There are two things I look forward to in an overall satifying lunch: flavor and texture.  I wanted something fresh and crispy, yet full of life that encapsulates aromatic flavors seeped into every bite.  I wanted to make something different…something McDonald’s, the cafeteria, nor the deli can offer.  Then, all of a sudden, I was sparked with the idea of making an Asian themed salad!  I started to jot down the key components for what would be an ideal Asian pasta salad.  It turned out to be incredibly easy and the best part?  It does not need re-heating.

This recipe, would in turn, make a great dish for a picnic outing with friends or perhaps a day at the beach.  

Dressing ingredients: 

2 tbsp sesame oil

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp hoisin sauce


Other ingredients:

1/2 box any veriety of spaghetti pasta

1/4 lb snow peas

1 cup shredded carrots



Bring pasta to a boil with salted water.  In the meantime, cut snow peas length wise into strips and shred carrots.  Set aside in a bowl.  Whisk all dressing ingredients together.  Once the pasta is al dente, drain with cold running water.  This helps the noodles to cool down quickly and not stick to one another after drained.  After the dressing has been well incorporated, add to pasta along with carrots, and snow peas into a large mixing bowl.  Toss together by using tongs.  Ready to eat immediately and best at room temperature.  


Can be topped with crushed toasted peanuts or sesame seeds. Also, great when coupled with grilled chicken or salmon. 

Other veggie substitutes can be: asparagus spears, sugar snap peas, red bell pepper, sprouts, or shredded napa cabbage. Chopped cilantro or basil would be a great garnishment as well.

April 4, 2009 at 11:29 PM 5 comments