Tag Archives: salad

Rainbow Salad with Citrus Dressing… It’s like a Party in a Bowl!

One thing I can promise you, if you make this rainbow salad with citrus dressing, it’s like a party in a bowl! I’ve never said this before about a salad, but it will make you feel like you are on vacation in the islands. How did I come up with a rainbow salad? While I do love creating new and interesting salads, I can’t really take full ownership. I first saw it at a restaurant and it’s the only time I can think of when I had salad envy – if that’s even possible!

Okay, here’s the whole story… I was visiting my friend Susie in Pittsburgh, and we went out to lunch. She took me to a Caribbean restaurant in the Strip District called Kaya. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and I was so happy to see her and catch up, the menu definitely took second place. I quickly ordered a salad with green apples, goat cheese, and candied walnuts with salmon on top – delish – right? I was quite happy with my choice… until our salads arrived!

Susie ordered the most glorious and colorful rainbow salad I had ever seen. I somehow felt my salad was inferior and I was a little jealous. While mine was very good, it certainly wasn’t a rainbow! For a few moments, I couldn’t concentrate on the conversation. I wondered how I could have let this happen. Did I miss reading all of those ingredients on the menu?

The salad was arranged like a color wheel and as an artist, I felt I let myself down. Facing me was the papaya, I LOVE papaya! There were tomatoes, plantains, pepita seeds (pumpkin), red pepper, avocado, you name it – a feast for the eyes! I love a salad that is not lettuce heavy, and contains a lot of different fruits and vegetables. This salad certainly did that. Susie offered we share both of our salads, but I decided to stick with mine and enjoy the rest of our visit.

That was a couple of months ago and in true Sherri form, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. My mission now was to recreate it. How do I begin? With any recipe I create, there are various ways I go about getting started. In this case, I made a list of ingredients from Kaya’s menu online. Next, in a Google search I checked to see if there were any images. I remembered how it was arranged, but needed a refresher. I found a couple of great photos and started from there. With this information, I made the first version and it was delicious! I knew I didn’t have all of the ingredients it called for, and probably not the right quantities, but it didn’t matter. Below is a photo of the first attempt. I prepared it in a large bowl and it was a great presentation.

This week I found myself in the mood to make the salad again. I went online again and this time, I found a recipe from the restaurant itself – jackpot! http://bigburrito.com/eatbig/15/06/fuller_kaya_rainbow_salad.pdf

About some of the ingredients… My first attempt wasn’t too far off from the original even quantity wise. One of the ingredients I subbed is the Malanga. It’s not an easy vegetable to find unless you are in the Strip District where the variety of fruits and vegetables are in abundance! The first time, I used jicama and it was delicious adding a nice juicy punch. This time I did a little more research and found out Malanga is a root vegetable from South America. It is likened to a potato so I tried a white sweet potato as to keep the color of the original salad. While very different from each other, both jicama and the sweet potato are delicious in the salad. If you can’t find either, you can also use a regular sweet potato.

I’m allergic to mango so I subbed nectarines which were a perfect exchange. Feel free to use 1 cup mango if you like it. I also omitted the jalapeno and red onion. I don’t care for either in a salad –personal preference. I did amp up the green onion, and added a pinch of cayenne in the dressing to compensate for their omission. The original salad also had toasted garlic. I made garlic chips for the first salad, but felt it overpowered the rest of the ingredients so omitted for this version.

Before you get started, don’t be afraid of the list. I know it seems like a lot of ingredients. One quick stop to Trader Joe’s should get you just about everything you need including a bag of already julienned carrots and the plantain chips! From start to finish, it only took about 40 minutes including grilling a protein. It’s really worth the time and truly is a vacation in a bowl. Who doesn’t need that every now and then?

It has so many different flavors and textures that make it really amazing. Of course you can alter it to how you like (as I did) and change things around a bit. One thing for sure, it’s a real showstopper. It’s great for lunch or dinner, would be perfect for a dinner party and at this time of year, a great salad to eat in the Sukkah! Enjoy!

For underneath the rainbow of vegetables:

1 head romaine lettuce for each salad, washed very well, dried well and chopped
about 2 cups in each bowl
Add to the lettuce:
1 handful parsley or cilantro, leaves only
1 handful basil cut in a ribbon (roll the leaves into a cigar and slice)
1 cup green onions (scallions) finely sliced
1 handful mint (optional)
make sure to wash these ingredients very well. If you want, you can reserve a little of each to sprinkle on top.

For the top of the salad:
1 cup julienne carrots (shredded would be fine too)
2 nectarines cut into chunks (or 1 cup mango)
1 cup cherry or heirloom tomatoes cut in half
1 cup fresh papaya peeled and diced
1 cup English cucumber diced (you can peel it if you don’t like the peel)
1 cup red pepper diced
2 cups white sweet potato
1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned are great too, rinse and drain)
1 cup plantain chips (left whole or crushed and sprinkled)
2 avocados sliced
¼ cup sesame seeds (I used black & white because I had it on hand)
1/2 cup pepita seeds (pumpkin seeds)
fried onions (optional)
2 limes cut in half to be served with each salad

Grilled Chicken, Salmon, or Steak (I grilled the chicken and salmon while I prepped the vegetables)

Citrus Vinaigrette:
Zest and juice of 2 oranges (pineapple juice can be subbed here)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
2 roasted garlic cloves (1 raw finely grated would work well)
1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
¾ cup good extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 teaspoon of each)
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Add zest and juices with garlic into a blender or food processor. After the citrus is blended, while pureeing, drizzle in the oil to emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little kick.

To Begin:
There are a couple of ways you can cook the sweet potato. You can steam it, sauté or roast it like I did. Heat oven (I used a toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Peel and dice sweet potato, toss in a little olive oil and put it on a sheet pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until you can pierce it with a fork.

If adding a protein:
Get your grill or grill pan hot. Season the meat or fish with salt and pepper and grill until done.

While that is cooking, prep all of your other ingredients.

Toss the lettuce base with some of the vinaigrette, just to season. Place in the middle of 4 plates or large bowls. Arrange the other ingredients on top – around the bowl. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and plantains on top. Serve with ½ lime for each salad. I hid it under the  pile of plantains! The restaurant link I have included actually gives a diagram on how to arrange the salad. I did my own thing. It was complicated enough with all of the ingredients. However you place the ingredients, it will be beautiful! I’m so excited for you to try it!



How about an Everything Bagel Salad to get you through the week?

For days when you are missing your weekend bagel, how about an everything bagel salad to get you through the week? It’s getting close to the weekend and you’re craving an everything bagel with cream cheese. What’s a girl to do? Turn it into a salad of course! Why an everything bagel salad? There are a few reasons: I love everything bagels, I love salads filled with everything but the kitchen sink, it gets me ready for the weekend without all the guilt of a bagel on a weekday and I happen to have a jar of everything bagel seasoning in my house impatiently waiting to be sprinkled on EVERYTHING!

Here is how it all started… I was in Trader Joe’s a couple of weeks ago scanning their new food section for a great new find. If you are a Trader Joe’s junkie like me, you totally get this. There on the shelf was a jar of Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend (try to say that 5 times fast!). First of all, the label was adorable and really caught my eye. Second, I don’t know why I got so excited, but I did; ideas were flooding through my head on what to use it on. I bought 2 jars and posted a photo on Instagram immediately proclaiming my excitement for this new and wonderful treasure I found. Since then, I have topped challah rolls with it, used it on salmon before grilling, sprinkled it on green beans and of course my husband added it as a booster to his already everything bagel with lox and cream cheese! Ooh, I just thought of how great it would be on avocado toast – I’m so going to have to try that!

Not familiar with the everything bagel (click here to find out more)? The only thing you need to know about an everything bagel is it is the quintessential NY bagel. Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion, minced garlic and coarse kosher salt – that’s it. Five simple ingredients become a game changer to the average bagel; in this case the average salad. There must be a lot of fans out there for type of bagel since it has its own jar of seasoning mix on the shelf. I found it at Trader Joe’s, but King Arthur also has a great mix you can buy online. I’ll also share my recipe at the end so you can make your own at home. Every now and then you will come across an everything bagel with caraway seeds – I’m not a fan and think it should stay in rye bread where it belongs!

Here’s my favorite way to eat a bagel… Unless it’s fresh and hot out of the oven (which only happens in NY) I lightly toast it and then scoop it so there is less bread and you can add more toppings. Then of course there is the cream cheese, but not just any kind of cream cheese, for me it has to be vegetable cream cheese (follow this link for my recipe). Lox is a perfect addition and a couple of thick slices of a crisp tomato. Is your mouth watering yet?

Now for the salad… I love a really good salad and I’m hooked on making salads fun and interesting. For me, a salad is at its best when there are a lot of goodies in them other than an overwhelming amount of lettuce. I like to think of the lettuce as the bread or bagel in this case, which holds a sandwich together. The lettuce will be the anchor here.

When I first set out to make the salad I thought of all the components from toppings to the base.  I knew the calories and carbs would be a fraction of what you get from a bagel, plus I wanted to keep all of the satisfaction. The fun of it is you can customize it to what you like on your bagel i.e. salad! If you love whitefish, buy smoked whitefish or smoked trout and top your salad with that. If you like capers, hard-boiled eggs, and onions, throw them in too.

For this salad, I deconstructed the vegetable cream cheese and made the ingredients the toppings: radishes, carrots, and scallions. Of course, I had to include salmon in some way but didn’t think lox was the way to go, but if you try it, let me know how it is. I’m more of a baked smoked salmon girl anyway, which is difficult to find in Columbus. I decided on a piece of fresh salmon. I topped it with everything seasoning then seared it in a pan. Hard-boiled eggs also make an appearance in my salad for a few reasons: I love them, they are perfect on a bagel, and they go great in a salad!

It’s a very quick salad to put together as well. As the salmon was cooking, I assembled the other ingredients. I shredded some romaine lettuce, crushed up some everything bagel chips, added some goat cheese for that cream cheese texture and really good flavor. It was all coming together and I couldn’t be happier.

There you have it, a salad to get you ready for the weekend and for you diehards, a salad you can bring to work on Monday. Enjoy!

Ingredients for one salad
1 ½ cups shredded romaine lettuce
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 carrot grated (½ cup)
1 to 2 perfect hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters
2 to 3 radishes sliced very thin
2 scallions sliced into thin rounds
1 ounce goat cheese
8 everything bagel chips broken into pieces
Dill (optional)
4 ounce salmon filet
everything bagel seasoning

Lowfat ranch dressing of your choice

In a medium bowl, combine the shredded romaine and next 8 ingredients. Arrange it nicely in the bowl by layering it, or placing the vegetables together.

For the salmon, rub it with about a teaspoon of olive oil, sprinkle the everything seasoning on both side then place it in a hot pan on medium heat. Cook about 4 to 5 minutes per side or until your desired doneness. Then add the cooked salmon on top of the salad.

For the salad dressing, I used a package of Concord Foods Ranch dip (which I find in the produce area of my grocery) mixed with a container of Breakstone’s reduced fat sour cream (nonfat plain Greek yogurt would work as well) plus one tablespoon of Hellman’s mayonnaise. Then I add water until is pour-able but not too thin. I am always on the lookout for a good ranch dressing in a bottle, but they all have msg in them. I like this brand because it does not contain monosodium glutamate (msg) and I can use a very low fat base. And yes, I do know this is a lot of dressing for one salad, but I think you’ll be making it again and again, so you might as well have dressing on hand! Of course, you can buy any kind of creamy dressing you like for this. Pour dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

How to make your own everything bagel seasoning (feel free to play around with this ratio)
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds*
2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1 tablespoon minced dried garlic
1 to 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt (this is optional if you don’t like salt, omit)

Mix it all together and store in a small jar until you are ready to use it.

*Use 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds   if you can’t find, or don’t want to use the black.