Salad · Side dish

Curried Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad


Grain + vegetable + protein = an amazingly easy, tasty and healthy salad.

I make a lot of these types of salads. I even blogged one not too long ago. I hesitated sharing this one, but it’s so good, SO GOOD, that I just had to share.

The thing I love about these salads is that they pack a lot of flavor. They’re also full of vegetables, so I feel good eating a big bowl. Or two. And they’re easily adaptable. Use what grain(s) you like. Use what vegetables you like. Add chopped chicken for protein or garbanzo beans to make it vegetarian or quinoa to make it gluten-free.

There are two tips to make these salads really stand out. The first is to season everything as you go. The second is a well-seasoned vinaigrette. Please make your own. The vinaigrette I use for this salad comes from Giada De Laurentiis. Many, many years ago, I watched her (on Everyday Italian) make a curry vinaigrette to top a carrot and pear salad. While that particular fruit/vegetable combination didn’t knock my socks off, the vinaigrette did. If you’re not a fan of curry, this vinaigrette is not for you. If you are a fan, you’ll love it and want to use it all the time.

So here’s another salad recipe. This is the combination I used this time, but I’ve made it before with other ingredients. I often make it with whole wheat couscous for the grain. Sometimes, I’ll chop a cucumber and throw it in there. Oftentimes, I use golden raisins for a little sweetness. One big thing I did differently this time was roasting the vegetables first and, wow, was that a good idea. It’s not necessary, but if you have 20 minutes, I recommend it.


Curried Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad

Cook 1 cup of farro according to package directions, drain and place in a large bowl

2 carrots, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup garbazno beans

1 small handful of cilantro, chopped

1 small handful of dried cherries

salt and pepper

Curry vinaigrette*

Preheat the oven to 450. Toss the carrots and red pepper in a bowl with oil (whatever you have. I like to use neutral oils when roasting such as grapeseed), about a 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, turning once or twice.

While the vegetables roast, make the vinaigrette.

When the vegetables are done, add to the bowl with the farro, toss in 1 cup of garbanzo beans, a handful of dried cherries and the cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and stir to coat.

Refrigerate or serve at room temperature (I like it at room temp).

*Curry vinigrette

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 a small shallot, chopped

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a blender combine the white wine, curry powder, shallot, honey, salt and pepper and blend to combine. With the machine running add the olive oil.

Salad · Side dish

Freekeh salad

freekeh 007

Freekeh salad

2 cups cooked freekeh (or quinoa, farro, brown rice) (cooled after cooking)

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup diced English cucumber

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 pint of roasted grape tomatoes*

1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese (omit the feta cheese for a vegan salad)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 red onion, diced

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

A pinch of oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Juice from 1/2-1 whole lemon

Toss the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.

Pour the vinaigrette over the freekeh mixture and toss gently to combine.

Sprinkle the juice of half a lemon over the salad. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice to taste.

Keeps for several days.

*Roasted tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Place the tomatoes on a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes burst and start to shrivel.

Want to know more about freekeh? Freekeh is young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. It’s a healthy whole grain food, much like bulgur wheat and other whole grains.

Salad · Side dish

Creamy Avocado Potato Salad

Guacamole and potatoes? Yes, please.

This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” recipes. I like guacamole. I love potatoes. Why didn’t I ever think to put them together?

Besides being delicious on its own, the avocado in this salad is a great, healthy alternative to mayonnaise. Avocados area an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, which may improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.

With temperatures inching higher, and spring and summer on the way, I anticipate many servings of this creamy, delicious, slightly-unexpected side dish.

Creamy Avocado Potato Salad

Adapted from Vegan Brunch

2 lbs fingerling or baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch chunks

1 tablespoon cilantro

1 clove of garlic, peeled

2 ripe avocados

2 tablespoons lime juice, from a lime or two

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

1 plum tomato, chopped

1/2 small red onion, diced small

1/2 English cucumber (or regular cucumber), diced very small

Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to a rolling boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside to cool. I put them in the refrigerator while I prepared the dressing.

To prepare the dressing, place the garlic clove and cilantro in the food processor and process for about 10 seconds, until the cilantro and garlic are chopped. Next, split the avocados in half, remove the seeds and scoop the flesh into the food processor. Add the garlic, lime juice and salt and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed. Once smooth and creamy, add the tomato and onion. Pulse three or four times, until they are incorporated but not completely blended.

Put the potatoes and cucumbers in a large mixing bowl. Add the avocado mixture and mix well, being sure not to mash the potatoes. Taste and add more salt and lime juice to taste. Sprinkle a little extra cayenne pepper on top, if you like.


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Salad · Snacks

Roasted sweet potatoes


I roasted some sweet potatoes (sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar) and tossed them with sauteed kale, dried cranberries and pecans for a quick, on-the-go lunch. I walked by the stove as the light was hitting the sweet potatoes and couldn’t resist taking a quick shot.


Autumn Chopped Salad

I have a friend who, when I ask her if I can bring anything when she invites me to dinner, usually asks me to bring a salad.
I’m thrilled that my salad-making skills are being tested.
I really like making salads – interesting salads that go beyond carrots and cucumbers as the main ingredients. Experimenting with seasonal produce is sure to lead to a great salad. In the summer, my favorite salad involves grilled corn cut off the cob with grilled zucchini. In the fall it’s apples or pears with dried cranberries or cherries.
When I came across this autumn chopped salad, I knew I would to make it ASAP. I’d recently gone to a local produce farm to get some decorative gourds for a centerpiece (I’m no Martha Stewart, but I was hit with inspiration) and I couldn’t resist buying some apples. For the life of me, I can’t remember which type I got, but I know they’re small, sweet, red-skinned apples. I planned to just snack on them through the week, but I used two of them for this salad.
This salad. This salad is really good, y’all. I’m kind of a ‘make your own vinaigrette’ purist (because it’s so easy and you don’t get any weird ingredients), but I made an exception this time – I bought Newman’s Own products (I can pronounce every ingredient on the bottle). They worked perfectly. I’ve never really been a poppyseed dressing person, but I may be a convert. It’s just so good! The apples, the pecans and the cranberries play perfectly off each other. The poppyseed dressing brings it all home.
Next time my friend asks me to bring a salad to dinner, I’ll mix this one up in about 10 minutes and be on my way. Hopefully, she’ll love it as much as I do.
Autumn Chopped Salad
Inspired by Espresso and Cream
  • 3 heads of Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 medium apples (any sweet apple will do), chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 4 slices thick cut (nitrite, nitrate free) bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled
  • 4 ounces of Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3/4 cup poppyseed dressing
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the dressing and the vinaigrette and pour over the salad.