White Beans with Black Olive Vinaigrette


BLOG_July 28, 2014This is a truly simple vegan salad that is delicious on its own or mixed into a green salad. Makes a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

White Beans with Black Olive Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Canal House Cooking
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pitted black olives
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • S/P
  • 2 cans cooked cannellini beans
  • Lettuce, optional
  1. Mix together all ingredients from garlic to red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Season with S/P. Add the beans and toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve atop lettuce or a tossed salad, or eat on its own.



America’s Test Kitchen Tabbouleh

BLOG_January 29, 2014 copy.jpg

It’s July – holy shit, how did that happen? Summer is going by way too fast! I’ve been traveling and we recently adopted a rescue puppy so things have been a bit crazy around here.

It’s hot, and I’m pretty exhausted, so easy, cool, refreshing salads like this are my perfect summertime lunch. Fresh, homemade tabbouleh is so delicious – I love it stuffed in pita bread! Enjoy!

*I’ve listed the cooking time as 30 minutes, which is the active time – plan on another 1hr 30 mins for standing time.

America’s Test Kitchen Tabbouleh
Author: America’s Test Kitchen
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
  • 3 medium round tomatoes, about one pound
  • salt
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 cup medium grind bulgur (this is the most common “size” of bulgur)
  • 2 lemons
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • pepper
  1. Core the 3 tomatoes and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss tomatoes and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Transfer to a fine-mesh strainer, set strainer in bowl and let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile chop enough parsley to yield 1/2 cup. Set aside. Thinly slice the scallions. Set aside. Juice the 2 lemons to yield 1/4 cup juice. Set aside.
  3. Once tomatoes have finished draining, rinse the bulgur in fine-mesh strainer under cold water. Drain well. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in 2 tbsp. of the lemon juice and 2 tbsp. of the juice drained from the tomatoes.
  4. Let stand until grains begin to soften, about 30-40 minutes.
  5. Whisk remaining 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 6 tbsp. olive oil, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add drained tomatoes, soaked bulgur, chopped parsley, chopped mint, and scallions. Toss gently to combine.
  6. Cover and let stand at room temperature until flavors have blended and bulgur is tender, about 1 hour. Toss to recombine, season with S/P to taste, and serve.


How to Create Healthy, Satisfying Lunch Salads in Four Easy Steps


I just finished up a huge lunch made by my Spanish mother-in-law so this seems like a suitable post at the moment. I’m on vacation so healthy lunch is not a priority, but come next week I will be back to eating healthy, satisfying lunches and this is something I’ve wanted to share with you guys for some time.

As a teacher I don’t have the option of going out for lunch during the work week.  In my former life as an attorney I often took long lunches outside the office. Although there are times I miss having this option, I tend to eat much healthier lunches because I bring mine to work each day.

Lunch is by far the easiest way for me to infuse my diet with good, low-fat eating. I’ve tried really hard to create good breakfast habits, and although I’ve been fairly successful with smoothies or juicing in the morning, I often go through periods of wanting nothing but coffee at my normal 7am “gotta hit the road” time. Lunch, however, is something I am always ready to devour and I find healthy salads really satisfying mid-day.

I’ve found there are two really important keys to keeping up a good healthy lunch habit –

1. Make and pack your lunches Sunday before the work week. Salads are simple to create but require a great deal of washing and chopping. Doing all of this just once before the week starts ensures you will have lunch available each day with no additional effort.


2. Mix it up! If you have the same thing each week you will get bored and be more likely to eat out, or stick something in the microwave.

So, here are my easy steps for creating healthy lunch salads you can enjoy each week. On Sundays I set up five tupper ware containers and follow these steps, dividing the ingredients into each container and voilà I have lunch done for the entire week.

ONE: Pick a base. This is your main ingredient and these are some of my favorite options:



There are so many varieties out there so you don’t always need to stick to one type. I love baby kale, arugula, baby spinach, and romaine. And they are great all mixed together too. One note, if you use lettuce as your base make sure you DRY the lettuce really well after washing. Otherwise it will make the salads soggy. I wash, dry, and chop at one time and never have problems with packing five lunches at a time so long as I dry the lettuce well. Or I simply divide lettuce from a convenient container like those above (and shame on me, I rarely wash boxed lettuces so I hope they actually do wash three times :)).

*Whole grains 

Barley, bulgur, farro, quinoa, couscous, Israeli couscous (my favorite!) and rice are all great, hearty options if you want a grain base. You can also do a mix of greens and grains.

TWO: Add chopped vegetables.

This is self-explanatory, but there are really so many options so don’t limit yourself to cucumber and tomato. I love the new varieties of petite bell peppers out now. Mushrooms, raw corn cut off the cob, snow peas and other raw vegetables are all great options. Again, make sure you dry all ingredients well, especially the mushrooms.


THREE: Add-ins.

This is my favorite way to add variety to my salads. Some wonderful options to provide texture and taste:


Marinated vegetables like baby artichokes

Fruit, dried and fresh


Crumbled cooked tempeh or tofu



Scoop of hummus (pack it separately)

Sliced meats

Tuna or other fish

FOUR: Decide on a dressing.

Most days I simply leave a wedge of lemon in each salad container and I have a bottle of olive oil at work – I use those to dress my salads. But I also love to make vinaigrettes with fresh herbs. I do this by simply processing fresh herbs, S/P, lemon, and olive oil in a small food processor until smooth (much like a pesto, but not as thick). Again, to prevent the salad from becoming soggy you should pack the dressing separately. Mason jars are great. Bring one to work and use your dressing throughout the week. If you buy a dressing make sure to read the labels closely so you don’t ruin your beautiful, healthy salad with unhealthy wasted calories.

See here for instructions on making frozen herb patties you can use to make dressing even when you are out of fresh herbs. Summer is approaching so that’s the time to preserve all the beautiful herbs popping up in the sun. Enjoy!



Skinny Taco Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing

taco salad

Taco salad is one of my favorite dishes and I’ve adapted the traditional recipe to make it a bit more “skinny.” Swap ground beef and sodium-laden spice packets with ground turkey and real spices and add a low-fat Greek yogurt based dressing … yum! Of course, you can also make this recipe with ground beef or buffalo if you prefer (just remember to drain excess fat after browning meat).

Recipe notes: You may be tempted to buy ground turkey breast, but I highly recommend regular ground turkey for better flavor and texture (it’s still low-fat). Also, I love Bush’s Cocina Latina beans, but have only found 30 oz. cans so I use half and store the rest in the fridge.

Skinny Taco Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing
Author: Q&DK
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 (4 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can beans (any variety – undrained if not refried)
  • Salad fixings – lettuce, tomato, scallions, cucumber, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 tbsp. Ranch dressing mix
  • Hot sauce, optional, to taste
  • Fresh cilantro to top, optional
  1. Brown the ground turkey until cooked through. Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, tomato paste, salt, and beans. Stir to combine and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened and seasoned throughout. If the mixture looks too thick, add a tbsp. or so of water at a time to reach the consistency you desire. Taste and add salt if needed.
  2. Meanwhile, wash and prep the salad and arrange on plates. Make the dressing by combining the yogurt, salsa, and ranch dressing mix. Add hot sauce to taste.
  3. Spoon the taco meat on to the salads and top with dressing.
You may be tempted to buy ground turkey breast, but I highly recommend regular ground turkey for better flavor and texture (it’s still low-fat). Also, I love Bush’s Cocina Latina beans and use them in this recipe but have only found 30 oz. cans so I use half and store the rest in the fridge.

taco salad2


Spicy Ginger Beef Salad

Spicy Ginger Beef Salad

I know this is soup, chili, and all things pumpkin season, but let’s get real … you will eventually want something totally different.

Like a spicy beef salad with ginger, chile paste, and Sriacha. Yum.

For my non-beef eaters, you can easily substitute beef for chicken, fish, or tofu/tempeh. No problem. Serve this as is, or with a side of jasmine rice and pretend you’re sitting on a Thai beach.

Speaking of Thailand, if you like this recipe, check these others out. And don’t forget to subscribe via email and like Q&DK on facebook to get new recipes as they are published (and nothing else)!

Spicy Ginger Beef Salad
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Q&DK
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 and 1/2 lbs. hanger steak, trimmed
  • Coarse S/P
  • 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. minced lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. Sriacha
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. red chile paste
  • 1 large head green leaf or romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • Fresh basil to garnish
  • Sesame seeds, optional to garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Season steak generously with S/P. Add steak to pan and saute for about 5 minutes until browned. Turn steak over and stick in oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice across the grain.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients from soy sauce through chile paste in a small bowl. Stir well to combine and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed. Arrange the vegetables among the plates and top with beef and dressing. Garnish with basil and sesame seeds.