Category Archives: salad

Liberty Market

I had the great pleasure to visit Liberty Market in Gilbert, AZ this weekend. Not only did I have the best vanilla Americano that I have had in a very long time, but this is a photo of the salad I ordered. Is that beautiful or what? The greens were crisp and fresh, the tomatoes plump and ripe and the mozzarella was perfectly fresh and not too firm. And that’s not even the best part. Drizzled over the top with perfection was a sweet, tart, delectable balsamic reduction. It was so beautiful, I wanted to take it home with me. I wished I had brought my usual bag of bread in my purse (GF) to dip.

Daughter had the same salad and ate the entire thing, greens and all. And if you know her, you know that’s pretty amazing. She loves veggies, being a vegetarian, but salad is not her thing. She gave it a try and left nothing on the plate.

I highly recommend Liberty Market if you’re in Gilbert. The rest of our dining party raved about their sandwiches and salads. It’s a casual place with a coffee bar. You order up front, then grab a seat and smiling staff bring your food to the table. It’s worth the drive, if only for an awesome cup of coffee.

Of course, if you are GF, be careful and check with the staff before diving in. I made sure there was no bread or croutons used and stayed away from anything that might be contaminated. Always use caution and tell wait staff that you are GF so they are aware of your needs.


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Filed under gluten free, restaurants, salad

Hot out? Salad to the rescue…

It’s getting hot here in the desert-it should hit 100 in a few days. Who wants to think about cooking? That’s why salads are so fantastic at this time. I think I’ll write a book one day about all the fabulous salad ideas that would last all summer. For now, here’s one that was fabulous and fell together for lunch. Measurements are estimated since it’s all up to you how much you want of everything, and how many you’re making this for. This was just for me today, so add or subtract as you wish.

I’ve been visiting the farmers market often and found beautiful blood orange olive oil, pomegranate balsamic, fig jam, fig balsamic vinegar, and more. Take a chance and go for something different. Check out specialty stores if you don’t have a farmers market nearby. The flavors are intense and make your salad pop!

Blood Orange/Pomegranate Salad
2 cups organic lettuce (use a variety for color and fun)
1 handful shredded Romano cheese
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1/8 cup fresh organic blueberries
1/4 cup chopped candied pecans
1/2 tomato, chopped

1 TBS pomegrante balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic)
2 TBS blood orange olive oil (or regular olive oil)
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp strawberry jam

1. Add all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Place dressing ingredients in a small container, close and shake till blended.
3. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently (you might not need all the dressing, so use half and mix, then see how it is.)

All gluten-free and vegetarian, and lovely and fresh on a warm summer day. Enjoy!

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Filed under cranberries, gluten free, salad, vegetarian

Simple Greek Garbanzo Salad

Friends drop by for lunch? Nothing in the fridge? I recently wanted to make something with garbanzos since I love them, love the protein and the gluten-free nature of a salad. This is a simple and quick salad you can whip up for friends or just for yourself. The feta cheese gives it a Greek edge, but I’m guessing that goat cheese or no cheese is just as good. The longer it sits around, the more the flavors mesh, so make enough to last a few days.

I tend to always have cans of beans in the cabinet, but if you have the time and want to soak your dried beans overnight, by all means go for it. Usually, I want something now rather than waiting overnight-I’m just that way.

Simple Greek Garbanzo Salad
1 can of garbanzos, rinsed thoroughly
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
2 TBS fresh basil, chopped
Juice of one large lemon
1-2 Tbs olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix (except for 1 Tbs olive oil and salt/pepper).
2. Add one Tbs of olive oil first and taste. If you need more, add it. Depending on the size of the lemon, you may need to cut the acidity a little more.
3. Add salt/pepper to taste.
4. Done.

This is so simple, yet tastes so great. Simple dishes are sometimes the best in so many ways. I also like to separate it into small containers that I can eat whenever I’m hungry or grab it on the go. I even grabbed a container and brought it to my mom in the hospital when she was sick of hospital food. Worked like a charm!


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Filed under feta cheese, garbanzos, gluten free, salad, tomatoes, vegetarian

Salad Pizza-Prepare to Fall in Love!

I realized that when I my daughter is not home, I forget the responsibility to feed her and sometimes I don’t realize I’m hungry until I’m starving! Today, I realized I hadn’t eaten in many hours and my body was complaining. My first thought- what’s in the fridge? I want pizza, but I want more than pizza. I want a salad, but I want more than salad. Why not put them together?

I split a pizza crust from in half. Using just half, which is about one slice of regular pizza, I sprinkled it lightly with garlic powder and basil. Then added just a little mozzarella cheese (use just a tiny bit, if you’re nondairy you can leave it out or use your favorite kind). That went into a 350-degree oven for about 5 minutes.

While it was cooking, I made a small salad of greens and dressing (anything you like-mine was a favorite olive oil/balsmic/oregano mix). I mixed the greens well with just a little dressing (don’t overdue it).

Finally, I pulled out the pizza, piled the greens on top, then topped with shaved Parmesan. (OK- you can see in the photo that I piled on a little too much. But I love Parmesan. You can go a little easy if you want!) Wow! The crunchiness of the crust with the garlic and cheese gave it a pizza feel, yet the greens are cold and crispy and the dressing give a wonderful tangy bite to the dish. It’s a fabulous and quick treat. Why didn’t I think of this before?

Husband suggested adding tomatoes and sliced pepperoncini, but I prefer to keep it clean, simple, and yummy. Add whatever you want, Dear Chef, it’s totally up to you-but do this. You won’t regret it. If you don’t have a pre-made pizza crust in your freezer (I always do), try to make a small crust on your own. It’s worth the effort-and best of all it’s not that high in calories. Perfect with a glass of wine.

Oh, and there is a fork in the photo, but it wasn’t needed. Just pick it up and dig in!


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Filed under gluten free, pizza, salad

Quinoa Frenzy

One more quinoa recipe, please. I found something like this at True Foods restaurant, a new place here in town serving gluten free and organic food. Wonderful. Using the ingredients in our weekly CSA basket, I was able to make a lovely quinoa salad that resembled the quinoa tabbouleh from True Foods, but was even better in my opinion. I found Inca Red quinoa at Sprouts and gave it a it a try. Wow, so good. Nuttier flavor than plain white quinoa. I think from now on I’m going to mix it half/half. It looks prettier that way and tastes great.

Red Quinoa Tabbouleh

1 cup red quinoa
1. 5 cups water
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 chopped red radish (or two small ones)
1 cup chopped fresh baby arugula
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
Juice of one lemon
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp agave syrup

1. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Quinoa has an outer coating to scare off the birds and makes it taste bitter. Just rinse it off for a few moments.

2. Add quinoa to water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt and let simmer for 15 minutes. Quinoa gets little swirlies in the middle when it’s about done. Let quinoa cool for about 30 minutes when done.

3. To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a small processor/blender and blend until smooth. Depending on the size of your lemon, taste and see if you need more oil, salt or pepper. You can also add garlic, dried parsley, etc. to your tasted. Experiment if you like.

4. When quinoa has cooled (you don’t want the arugula and parsley to cook), mix all ingredients together. Add dressing slowly, saving some for later. Let salad cool a little more, letting the quinoa soak in the dressing. You may want to add a little more dressing after the quinoa has absorbed the first go around.

This is quick and easy, and can even be put in lettuce wraps and eaten. It’s lovely at a pot luck lunch and provides tons of protein. The salad at True Foods had pomegranate seeds and Marcona almonds on top. Yum! I didn’t have either one but I will next time.



Filed under cabbage, quinoa, radish, salad

Quinoa Salad

I have embarked on the fantastic Nanowrimo boat (which is writing a 50,000-word book in 30 days) and therefore try to use my extra time to write. I’m attempting to make dishes this month that are easy to prepare and that I can eat over and over.

Today, I found fresh corn and cut all the corn right off and added it to black beans and quinoa-one word-marvelous. The corn was crunchy and sweet and the bean gave it just enough texture. I added a little fresh thyme from my garden, which gave it a wonderful flavor. Just don’t overdo it, it’s pretty strong.

If you don’t have fresh corn, dear chef, you can use frozen-but never canned. Canned corn is just too mushy for this. You want the crunchy texture of the corn, and what’s better than fresh?

Quinoa scares some people because it’s so new and different and it’s been compared in many ways to cous cous in texture. But this is not a grain, it’s naturally gluten free and very high in protein, making it even better than cous cous and, I believe, much tastier. Give it a try, you’ll be thinking up new ways to cook it as soon as you eat it.

Quinoa Salad
2 cups quinoa
2 cups water
Corn from three fresh cobs, cut off and rinsed
1 can black beans, rinsed (if you have time to soak some, that’s even better)
2 Tbs olive oil
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp fresh tarragon

1. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Quinoa has an outer coating to scare off the birds and makes it taste bitter. Just rinse it off for a few moments.

2. Add quinoa to water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt and let simmer for 15 minutes. Quinoa gets little swirlies in the middle when it’s about done.

3. In a large saute pan, saute corn with 1 tsp salt and 1 Tbs olive oil. Saute for just a moment until warm, then add the beans and stir. Add herbs and pepper and stir till the veggies are warm.

4. Add quinoa to the veggies and saute with the last Tbs of olive oil. Mix well and serve.

By the way, this makes a lot of salad, enough for a few days of lunches so be aware. If you don’t want as much, just cut the recipe in half and you’re good to go, but I guarantee you’ll wish you had made a big batch.

This is also great when it’s cold as a salad. I couldn’t wait until it cooled off before eating it and it was wonderful. Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow.


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Filed under beans, quinoa, salad, vegetarian

Crunchy Wild Rice Salad

I had no idea that wild rice had so much protein in it. It has just about twice the protein as brown rice and it takes great. It’s chewy and has a wonderfully nutty taste. So, when a friend made a cold wild rice salad, of course I had to go home and modify it.

I’m sure this can be changed according to the seasons. I love small sweet peppers and it’s a great time for apples in season. But perhaps later in the year carrots and onions will work well. It’s a great dish to bring to a potluck or take to school or work. I love that it’s filling and satisfying with crunch and sweetness. Give it a try…

Crunchy Wild Rice Salad
1 cup wild rice
4 cups water
1 apple, chopped
1 cup yellow/red/orange peppers, chopped
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds

2 Tbs Olive oil
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Agave syrup

1. Cook wild rice using package directions. I just add 1 cup rice per 4 cups of water, then simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain any water that’s left.
2. Toast pine nuts in a 350 degree oven for just a few minutes. Be careful, they burn quickly.
3. Make dressing and adjust ingredients to your taste. I like mine a little sweet so I add a little more agave. Add some lemon juice if it’s too sweet.
4. After the rice has cooled for about 30 minutes, mix all ingredients together and refrigerate. This lasts for a few days and tastes better each day as the flavors blend.


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Filed under gluten free, rice, salad, vegetarian