Category: salads

Smoky Kale Caesar Salad

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Kale. You either love it or you hate it. I’ve had a place on Team Kale since I tried Baked Kale Chips (whoa that’s from 2010!). GO KALE, GO!

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Last week I had a super tasty Kale Caesar Salad at Cowgirl Creamery  in Pt. Reyes Station. It was one of those salads that made it to the top of  my MUST RECREATE THIS list in my brain. The kale was supple with a slight bite. There were bits of shredded cheddar (I believe?) in the mix as well as Parmesan. The two provided a nice creaminess to the salad. Cowgirl Creamery knows what’s up! And croutons…TORN CROUTONS..maybe they were cubed but I’m quite partial to torn…

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

I used the Simple Caesar dressing as a base but added a bit of chili powder & smoked paprika to give it a little oomph. Loves!  I can imagine that a little bit of Chipotle Tabasco would add a good smoky taste too. The best part of this salad is that it holds up over time. You can definitely take leftovers to work and they’ll still be good. Just package up some extra croutons cuz you know EXTRA CROUTONS. Always with the extra croutons!

Pear Cranberry Arugula Salad

Pear Cranberry Arugula Salad // shutterbean

Today there’s a bunch of food bloggers throwing a virtual Baby Shower for Bev of Bev Cooks. Will I tell you what kind of candy bar is melted into a diaper in this virtual shower situation? No. But! I will contribute an amazing winter salad to the party! A baby shower just wouldn’t be right without salad, don’t you agree?  Bev is pregnant with TWINS and she’s one of the funniest bloggers out there.  I absolutely adore her writing and her food combinations make me weap sometimes. HELLO Bacon Wrapped Stuffing Bites and get out with your Spicy Breakfast Taquitos, Bev!  Anyways, congratulations to you, Bev! I have no doubt you’ll be the best mom! Also, my mom’s name is Bev so I can speak from experience as a child with a mom named Bev that moms named Bev are awesome. (Hi Mom!)

Pear Cranberry Arugula Salad // shutterbean

OK. SALAD. I’m currently engaged in a love affair with this salad. I made it RIGHT after Thanksgiving when we still had a few leftovers and MAN! It was just what the doctor ordered when I wanted to be healthier but still wanted a little indulgence. It’s also a good way to stretch out that last bit of cranberry sauce and if you have any fried onions leftover from your green bean casseroles. THOSE ONIONS BELONG IN SALADS, folks.

Pear Cranberry Arugula Salad // shutterbean

If you don’t have any cranberry sauce left, you could use a scoop of jam. Fig, raspberry, strawberry and even marmalade would be good substitutes. It helps emulsify the dressing and gives it a little sweetness. It’s like dijon, but the exact opposite. This salad is heavy on the toppings (the best salads are!) so feel free to add more arugula to stretch it out.  I think you’ll see why it’s currently in my salad rotation. Those onions, man. They’re everything.

Country Italian Salad


Country Italian Salad // shutterbean

The internet is allllllll about Thanksgiving right now and it’s kinda freaking me out cuz it’s Monday and I don’t even want to begin writing out the 10 page TO DO list I have to complete in the next month and a half. You feel me?  I wish I had a new pumpkin pie recipe, appetizer idea or a new side dish recipe  to show you but I’m just trying to get my act together while living in a state of denial.  In the midst of all this madness, it’s important to take good care of ourselves. We must find good shortcuts, give thanks and eat a ridiculous amount of salad to balance our (MY) future indulgences.  Eat salad, make TO DO LISTS, watch The Voice, drink a toddy, live life all while doing laundry and on and on…

Country Italian Salad // shutterbean

So, HELLO MONDAY!  Let’s do this. Let’s make another one of my favorite Trader Joe’s salads. This Country Italian Salad is one of my go-to salads when I’m grabbing a quick lunch at work. I usually pair it with a cup of Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Tomato Soup (which I add a little cheese & hot sauce up in).

Country Italian Salad // shutterbean

Now I have meals for work the rest of the week. What I love about this salad is the crunch, the protein from the beans, the tangy dressing and the sweet peppers. It’s definitely good on its own, although you could add some tuna, chopped chicken or go wild and add avocado in there. You could also pair it with grilled sausage & grilled flatbread. That sounds good, right??! The garlicy parmesan dressing (that get’s even better on day two) is where it’s at. I want to put it on everything.

Other Trader Joe’s Salad I’ve Shutterbean-ified (totally a word) include:

BBQ CHICKEN SALAD

SUPER SPINACH SALAD

BROCCOLI KALE SLAW

Spinach Bacon Salad

Spinach Bacon Salad // shutterbean

I had a fantastic weekend of eating. Doughnuts, tater tots with fried eggs, sausage & cheese, a mushroom burger with fries, bourbon, pumpkin ice cream sandwiches…THE WORKS. While I’d like to think I’m gonna spend the next week living off of greens, smoothies & green juices, I know myself all too well.

Spinach Bacon Salad // shutterbean

I know that I my tastebuds still want something hearty after eating excessively. I know that a shock to the system with a little green injection is what I need, but if I don’t add something with a little ooooomph, I’m liable to turn EAT WEEKEND into EAT WEEK. I just know this.

Spinach Bacon Salad // shutterbean

This salad straddles the line between healthy & indulgent. There’s spinach, tomato & avocado–all healthy things. But, there’s also bacon and the combination of the bacon and slivered almonds= CRUNCH TOWN. How could I forget to mention the dressing? It’s super savory with the soy sauce and the creamy avocado base! It’s everything I want in a salad when I’m trying to be good yet I still wanna be bad.

This is the story of my life.

BBQ Chicken Salad

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

Trader Joe’s has a really good BBQ Chicken Salad that I was obsessed with UNTIL I read the back of the container and saw how many grams of fat were in it. GAH-REAT.  And that was for HALF the salad. There was a good week where I had that salad almost every single day at work. I couldn’t stop myself.

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

I’ve been wanting to make my own/healthier version of this salad for some time now and here it is! Instead of the heavy mayo based Ranch dressing, I used creamy Greek yogurt and mixed it with fresh lime juice and Sweet & Spicy Tabasco Sauce.  It adds a tangy sweet kick to the salad. If you have trouble finding that particular flavor, you could always add in a little bit of honey and regular Tabasco to mimic the flavor.  I also took away the shredded cheese because there’s so many flavors going on there that it’s seemed unnecessary!  I did add some avocado in it’s place though…oh and lots of cilantro!

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

It’s the perfect weeknight salad! And if you’re thinking of packing it up for work throughout the week, just make a bigger batch of dressing and take it with you. Dress as you need it! Also, be sure to add the tortilla strips (or chips!) at the last minute. No one likes a soggy bite of tortilla in their salad. NO ONE.

The Reset Button Salad

The Reset Button Salad // shutterbean

For the past few weeks leading up to my juice cleanse I’ve been going to my local Whole Foods and making this salad for my lunch at work. I learned to bring my own cucumber, walnuts and dressing in my purse so I can get my salad for about 3 bucks. Over the years, I’ve learned what weighs down a salad bar salad. Stay away from cherry tomatoes, cucumbers (WHY DO THEY CUT THEM SO BIG?) hardboiled eggs, chicken & beans. They’ll tip the scales for sure.

The Reset Button Salad // shutterbean

I like to call this salad The Reset Button Salad because it’s filled with goodness. The biggest impact comes from the red quinoa. It’s totally nutty and makes it more of a meal. I’m less inclined to want a side of bread or (cough cough) french fries as a result. Just this salad has the tendency to fill me up! The shredded carrots & beets add a nice crunch while the green onions give it a good onion flavoring without overpowering. For extra oomph, I added toasted walnuts (because I adore them!) and some crumbled feta for contrast. Arugula…well…you know me… My arugula obsession continues, but I find that it works really well here. It’s the type of salad that will help RESET your brain into remembering that healthy food can be so satisfying. And if you have an avocado just lying around, I promise that it would be a great addition to! Omit the feta and it’s a vegan dream.

Later this week, I’m gonna bring you a foccacia recipe which will probably spur you to eat this salad even more. Cuz, BALANCE.

Tomato & Watermelon Salad

Tomato Watermelon Salad // shutterbean

I feel like I’ve seen so many versions of Tomato & Watermelon salads out there. They’re usually made with some variation of feta, mozzarella, basil and mint. But as I was passing through this recipe from Dr. Andrew Weil’s (love him!) True Food Cookbook, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw goat cheese & roasted cashews. Now THAT’S different. I just had to.

Tomato Watermelon Salad // shutterbean

I expected it to be simple, not Earth shattering. In my head the watermelon would balance out the acid of the tomatoes. The cashews would be crunchy and the basil would give it that oomph it needed. In reality, the flavors were complex. They were different. They intrigued me!  I couldn’t stop eating!

Tomato Watermelon Salad // shutterbean

This is the type of inspiration I would get from ordering something at a fancy restaurant…yet I sat in my kitchen eating this.

It’s summer in a bowl, folks. And summer is so dang FANCY.

Grilled Greek Panzanella


Grilled Greek Panzanella // shutterbean

Take one of my favorite salads and mix it with grilled bread and you have the perfect way to win my heart. Need me to alphabetize your DVD collection? No problem. Want help unpacking your closet after a move? OK. Looking for someone to help you detail the inside of your car and or fridge? You’ve come to the right place. All I require is this entire bowl of Grilled Greek Panzanella alongside a tasty cocktail (or three). Give me some headphones and let me go!

I have a feeling the waiting list will be long…

Grilled Greek Panzanella // shutterbean

I made this recipe when we were on vacation!  Our friends had a couple of Barefoot Contessa Cookbooks  in the condo my parents were staying and while flipping through the pages, my brain immediately locked in on this recipe.  Mama wanted GREEK…in Hawaii! I also wanted to make a recipe because I was JONESING to blog.

Grilled Greek Panzanella // shutterbean

This panzanella salad is well rounded with flavors. Salt from feta & olives. Crunch and sweetness from the peppers, tomatoes & cucumbers. And the grilled bread that soaks up a little of the tangy dressing?? I think I may have fainted…INCREDIBLE. It’s sure to be a bribing tool this summer.