Meal planner – Week 1

 

Meal Planner

Weekly Meal Planner

 

Welcome to My Meal Planning Corner! I am starting a new feature on my blog, where I would share easy, flavor-packed meals that you can throw together even on a busiest week nights! Continue reading

Black Lentil Salad with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts

Black Lentil Salad with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts

Much to the disappointment of my husband, I have been experimenting with some new vegetarian recipes. The good news for all of you that have carnivores in the family is that my husband rarely noticed that absence of meat. I started making vegetarian meals once a week, then after couple of weeks we were eating vegetarian meals 3 times a weeks. I have been creating new vegetarian recipes that are healthy, nutritious and delicious, but they best part is both me and my husband are embracing this way of eating as a new lifestyle now. By no means I consider myself a vegetarian, but you will see more vegetarian meals going forward from me. These black lentils are called beluga because of their resemblance to caviar. In this hearty dish, the little legumes are cooked with some thyme and bay leave and then combined with shallot, fresh parsley, capers and finished with lemon juice for a last-minute touch of brightness. Fresh zucchini, juicy cherry tomatoes, handful of freshly snipped basil are tossed with a little bit of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, then topped with pine nuts that goes perfectly with the lentil salad.

Black Lentil Salad with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts

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Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hazelnuts and Bacon

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hazelnuts and Bacon

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hazelnuts and Bacon

 

Most of us think about brussels sprouts as fall and winter food, but here in California the season is extended. I was at the farmers market the other day and came across perfectly fresh, bright green brussels sprouts on a stalk and couldn’t resist to buy them. They were so fresh, so instead of cooking them I decided to make a raw, shredded salad with hazelnuts, bacon and lemon vinaigrette. Simple, healthy and delicious! If you have a mandoline, now is the time to break it out, but watch your fingers! If you don’t own a mandoline, don’t worry, just use a sharp knife and slice the sprouts as thinly as possible. Toss crunchy shaved brussels sprouts with toasted hazelnuts and light lemon vinaigrette and top with crumbled bacon. Enjoy this easy salad for lunch or as a side dish for dinner.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hazelnuts and Bacon

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hazelnuts and Bacon

 

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Rainbow Chopped Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

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Spring is finally here and the arrival of warmer weather had inspired me to create some innovative salad combinations that combine some of my favorite cuisines. Don’t get me wrong, we are still a primarily meat based household, but every now and again you like to go to the lighter side. No reason that healthy needs to be boring. This salad is topped with a ginger peanut dressing that brings the combination of zesty, tangy, sweet and salty straight from Southern Asia and combines the textures of crunchy vegetables and earthy kale, to make each bite an adventure. Continue reading

Mango Salad with Ginger Dressing {snow peas, red pepper, cilantro, cashew nuts}

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A light, refreshing salad loaded with crispy snow peas, sweet mango, crunchy red pepper and zesty ginger dressing – perfect as an appetizer or a side dish! Simple preparation and fresh ingredients make this salad perfect for spring! I just love the vibrant colors of this salad: bright green snow peas, sunny mango, and deep red pepper, combined with the ginger dressing that is to die for. It’s crisp, crunchy, sweet, tangy, slightly spicy and also incredibly healthy. It’s a perfect side dish to go with a grilled chicken or fish and some brown rice! Continue reading

Vegetable Salad with Crunchy Spiced Chickpeas

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The thing I love most about this salad is how easily it comes together, and how it’s loaded with delicious good-for-you ingredients. I usually make a double batch of chickpeas and use half for the salad, and save the other half for snacking. These baked chickpeas are both tasty and healthy. I tossed them with a little olive oil, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and some tomato paste, then roasted them in the oven until crunchy. This salad can be easily made with ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen! I had some cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper and some radishes that I tossed with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice, red vinegar, a touch of honey, and some fresh herbs.Top it with some crunchy chickpeas and your dinner is ready! I think feta cheese will be a great addition as well. Continue reading

Artichoke Salad with Pecorino Romano Cheese, Pine Nuts and Lemon Vinaigrette

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While the rest of the country is still deep in snow and cold, we here in San Diego are having unusually warm weather. It’s been in 80’s last 3 days and it feels like the summer is already here. Because of the glorious weather, I decided to make something light and refreshing for lunch the other day. This salad is a flavor explosion in a bowl! Peppery arugula, earthy artichoke hearts, salty Pecorino Romano cheese, and mildly sweet, nutty pine nuts. The zesty lemon vinaigrette is a great dressing to compliment the flavors and brighten it up a bit with the citrus. Perfect to serve with grilled chicken or turkey! Continue reading

Cotija Cheese, Roasted Corn and Grape Salad

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As the dog days of summer set in, I was looking for something that would be light, but still be filling. I decided to combine summer flavors and a cheese from south of the boarder. Firm and salty cotija cheese is a great standby ingredient for turning a simple salad into a special dish. Halloumi cheese is also great for frying. In this recipe the cheese is fried briefly and then tossed with sweet corn and juicy grapes, which compliment it’s flavor and texture. I used a simple lemon oil dressing and added a little bit of almonds for a crunch. Serve with fresh bread for lunch or a light dinner.

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Grilled Corn, Tomato and Feta Quinoa Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

 

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I have been thinking to make quinoa salad for a while now. The health benefits of this gluten-free ancient grain are spectacular. Red quinoa makes a beautiful main-dish salad, but you can use whichever color you’d like. I decided to use corn and heirloom cherry tomatoes to go with my quinoa salad. The corn is so good right now and I just love the sweetness of cherry tomatoes in my salads. I added one roasted poblano pepper just for a little bit of heat and extra flavor. The citrus vinaigrette that I am using is quite simple, but it brings up the flavors in salad and it’s a combination of fresh orange and lime juice with a little of Dijon mustard, fresh ginger and a touch of agave nectar. I finished this salad with some feta cheese, almonds and fresh basil and cilantro. It’s a perfect side dish to go with a grilled chicken or as a main course for lunch or light dinner. Continue reading

Chicken Carnitas Salad Bowls with Chipotle Cashew Cream

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It’s hard to find time during the busy week to make a delicious and healthy meal from scratch. I don’t know about you, but I always look for ideas to make at least two different meals from one dish. Well, chicken carnitas is a great example. Last night we had chicken carnitas salad bowls with fresh corn, black beans, avocado and cherry tomatoes drizzled with chipotle cashew cream. Light, healthy and delicious! Today I am making chicken quesadillas using the leftovers from chicken carnitas and I am serving it with roasted tomato salsa and spanish rice. One dish, two different meals! Continue reading