Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

It’s fresh cucumber season! I just love when the cucumbers start coming in. English cucumbers are a nice substitute during the rest of the year, but there is just something about a cucumber fresh off the vine that gets me every time!

This salad is a quick, healthy side dish, or even main course if you like cucumbers as much as I do! It’s perfect for a week night dinner, a picnic or even a snack! It will keep in the fridge for days so you can just grab it whenever you like! If you like cucumbers and Greek yogurt then this is the dish for you!

What You’ll Need:
4-6 cups of sliced cucumbers
1/3 cup of fat free Greek Yogurt (Note: If you’ve been here before you know I like Oikos, if you haven’t then that’s what I use! ;oP Fage will work too, but the flavor of the Oikos is much better in my opinion.)
1/4 cup of fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup of fresh chives, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
A tiny pinch of sea salt

Cut cucumbers and place in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

Cucumber Salad

Mix together yogurt, dill, chives, black pepper and sea salt until well incorporated. Add yogurt mixture to cucumbers and toss to coat. Chill for at least 1 hour and then serve.

Notes: I really like this with cucumbers only, but if you wanted to you could add in some bell peppers and/or red onion.

Wasabi Mustard Slaw

Wasabi Mustard Slaw

This is a spicy take on classic slaw, that cuts out the mayo and spices up the ingredients making it healthier overall and also adding a bit of a kick, but it’s oh so delicious. Sometimes it’s fun to play with a classic and make something totally new and if that creation is lighter than the original then all the better!

What You’ll Need:
1/4 a head of cabbage, cut or shredded (Note: You’re looking for roughly 2 cups.)
1/4 a head of red cabbage, cut or shredded (Notes: Again roughly 2 cups.)
1 large carrot, shredded
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup of rice vinegar
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of wasabi mustard (Note: I you can’t find wasabi mustard you could use 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon of wasabi.)

Wasabi Mustard Slaw: Vegetables

Toss together the cabbages and the carrot until completely incorporated. Set aside.

Wasabi Mustard Slaw: Dressing

In a small canning jar (or you can use a bowl and whisk if you want, but I think it’s easier to put it in the jar and then shake!) add olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, pepper and wasabi mustard and put a lid on the jar. Shake until all ingredients are mixed then pour the vinegar mixture over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Chill for 1 hour and then serve.

Notes: I was going to add a couple of tablespoons of celery seed, but I was out. This slaw is best served the day it is made as the vinegar content makes it wilt quickly if stored for too long. Also the red cabbage tends to lose it’s color the longer it’s in vinegar, though it won’t change the flavor of the slaw itself, you might just end up with reddish purple dressing.

Avocado and Red Bean Salad

Avocado and Red Bean Salad

Who says salad has to have lettuce? It’s fast and easy to toss together some great ingredients and come out with a wonderful salad sans the lettuce. This particular combination has a bit of a Mexican flare. It makes a great lunch or even a good pot luck type dish. The best part is that it’s quick, easy and healthy. What’s better than that?

What You’ll Need:
1 – 15.5 ounce can of red beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup of red onion, chopped fine
1 large avocado, chopped
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of paprika
A pinch of cayenne pepper
A pinch of chili powder
A pinch of of cumin

Toss together all ingredients and serve immediately.

Notes: Due to the avocados you want to make this right before serving and no more than 30 minutes ahead of time. You could also add the avocado later and mix up everything else ahead of time. You can add other types of beans in place of or along with the red beans. Corn and/or tomatoes would also be a nice addition.

Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad

I love tuna, but I don’t eat it that often due to mercury concerns. Every once in a while I grab some a tuna roll, grill a tuna steak or make some tuna salad. Yesterday was one of those days that started on a bad note and unfortunately when you start on that path you get caught up in a negative feedback loop and it’s hard to snap out of it and it was just a sour day all over. Tuna salad is one of those ultimate comfort foods for me, so I whipped up a batch.

Tuna salad is usually heavy, but it doesn’t have to be bad for you. In fact it can be good for you, though as I mentioned above with mercury concerns it’s not something you want to eat everyday, but it is possible to make a lighter version of the heavily mayonnaised versions you might get in a deli or even grandma might have made. You can make it into sandwiches, serve it in a bell pepper or tomato or even just eat it plain. The possibilities are endless and it’s quick and easy to mix up. What’s better than that?

What You’ll Need:
2 – 8 ounce cans of tuna packed in water, drained
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 eggs, boiled and chopped
1/4 cup of sweet pickle relish
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon of light mayonnaise
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl to incorporate. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Notes: I sometimes add in chopped bell pepper and/or chopped cucumbers to the mix as well. I also sometimes omit the pickle relish. I always use light mayo because it has half the calories and fat, but still tastes like the full fledged equivalent.

Shrimp Salad

Shrimp Salad

What better to do with left over Salt and Pepper Shrimp than make some shrimp salad! It’s cool, delicious and not so bad on the waist line either. You can’t go wrong with that.

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of shrimp, cooked and chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 teaspoon of celery seed
1-2 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning (Note: More if you like it with a zing, less if you don’t. If you’re not a fan of Old Bay you can leave out the seasoning and add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper instead.)
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Dump ingredients into a bowl and stir to mix. Let set in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.

Serve on lettuce leaves, a split tomato or on bread as a sandwich.

Shrimp Salad Sandwich

This makes four generous sized servings at about 170 calories a serving without the bread. You can’t beat that!

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

Fresh cucumbers are finally here! They are exceptionally delicious this year as well! This salad is something I started throwing together years ago. I needed something for a ladies lunch at church and I came up with this and a fruit salad with a key lime dressing at the same time. It’s cool, creamy and delicious! It’s just what you’re looking for on a warm summer day!

What You’ll Need:
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup of chives, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6-8 cups of sliced cucumbers

In a small bowl mix sour cream, dill, chives, a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir until incorporated. Pour mixture over sliced cucumbers and toss to coat. Serve immediately or chill until ready to use.

Simple, easy and delicious!

Spinach and Fruit Salad

Spinach and Fruit Salad

This is an oldie, but a goodie. With all the strawberries coming in in the garden it gives me the chance to make a lot of old strawberry favorites! My sister actually gave me a recipe similar to this when I was pregnant with Alexis and I craved it! Not surprisingly you’re looking at 4 of Alexis’ favorite foods now right there in the bowl (spinach, strawberries, blueberries and almonds…throw in some chicken, tomatoes and mozzarella here and there and the kid is in heaven! In fact in her mind she could survive on those alone, but that’s neither here nor there.)

The original recipe called for champagne vinegar (which I couldn’t find/wasn’t sure about using when I was pregnant anyway) and just strawberries paired with the spinach and almonds, but over the years I’ve tweaked it. Sometimes I use sugar in the vinaigrette, which the recipe called for and sometimes (and most of the time in fact) I use honey instead. I’ve tossed in cashews instead of almonds or used both of them at once. I’ve even used walnuts and paired it with apples and blue cheese. Feta works as well and any kind of fruit that strikes your fancy would be good, though I usually stick to just strawberries and/or blueberries and/or oranges.

Regardless of how you toss it (yeah I just went there! ;o)) this salad is the perfect meal for a summer time dinner or even lunch! It’s also another one of those that is easy and fun to play around with, making numerous yummy variations as you go!

What You’ll Need Per Person:
2 cups of baby spinach, washed and drained (Note: Even if the bag says it’s triple washed or whatever WASH it! You don’t know who has touched it or what conditions it has gone through despite of their claims. Unless you saw it washed with your own eyes don’t take the chance!)
1 cup of strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup of blueberries
1/3 cup of almonds (whole, slivers, slices, whatever you like)
1 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon of vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar, but you can use whatever vinegar you like)
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar or honey

Toss together spinach, strawberries, blueberries and almonds until incorporated. Mix olive oil, vinegar and sugar or honey to make a dressing. Drizzle over salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Notes: Due to the vinegar in the vinaigrette this salad wilts if stored so don’t make it too far in advance and realize that leftovers won’t store well and will end up a big wilted mess. I usually make it no more than 30 minutes in advance. Also I prefer more vinegar to oil, but if you prefer more oil equal the ratios or switch them around. It’s all according to personal taste.

Sushi Salad

Sushi Salad

I love this time of year! This is the time of year that things start coming in in the garden! Not only do we have strawberries galore, we’ve got carrots that were over looked last year during harvest that are ready to go and we’ve got snow peas that are starting to pop up! When these early harvest things start coming about it’s fun to start making things using those ingredients! You can’t get more local than your own back yard!

This dish is a variation of the one I found at Fat Free Vegan last fall. This is my twist on her original idea. Sometimes I use sushi rice and sometimes I use short grain brown rice as I did last night (which for all practical purposes is sushi rice that hasn’t been processed). In fact any sort of rice you prefer would work fine. I bet orzo might even pass in a pinch and it’s pasta, not rice, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, Sushi Salad Dianne Style is cool, delicious and gives you that sushi kick if you like that sort of thing (which I do) without the roll. Even if you don’t really care for sushi (or think you don’t) try the salad…It’s a dish in and of itself and if you like fresh, you’ll love this!

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of uncooked short grain brown or white rice, cooked according to package directions
3 tablespoons of sushi vinegar
1 – 10 ounce package of frozen edamame
1 carrot, cut into rounds
1/2 a large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 – 6 ounce jar of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tablespoon of prepared wasabi (Optional…I LOVE wasabi, but if you aren’t a fan of the heat then leave it out. It definitely gives it a bit of a kick, though it does mellow out in the leftovers.)
1 cup of snow pea pods
1 sheet of nori, chopped or torn (Optional)

Cook rice according to package directions. Remove from heat and place in a very large bowl (I prefer glass) and stir in sushi vinegar immediately. Next stir in frozen edamame into the rice/vinegar mixture while the rice is still hot to thaw them and let sit for about 10 minutes. Add carrots, cucumbers and mushrooms and stir to mix. Add wasabi and stir well to incorporate. Sprinkle the top of the salad with snow pea pods. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Right before serving add a bit of chopped or torn nori as a topping to each serving if desired.

Notes: You can add in anything you like in your sushi rolls. I like it topped with avocado and sprinkled with Furikake.

Egg Salad

Egg Salad

So now that Easter is over what do you do with all those boiled eggs? Well Deviled Eggs are always a good choice, or you can use them in Potato Salad or even Tuna Salad, but the King of all egg recipes is Egg Salad. I developed this recipe a few years ago after wondering what Egg Salad actually was. I had never had it before. This take is not as heavy as some, but it’s delicious none the less. Eat it on bread, or in a tomato…You can’t go wrong either way!

Note: I do NOT advise making anything with Easter Eggs that have spent hours out of the fridge. We color eggs, but don’t hide them, so they go from the pot, to the fridge, to the dye and back to the fridge. If your eggs have been out in nature for several hours or more waiting to be hunted, especially if it’s warm, then don’t cook with them.

What You’ll Need:
6-8 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of mayo
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

Mix eggs, celery, celery seed, salt, pepper, mayo and mustard until incorporated. Serve in a quartered tomato with lettuce or on bread with lettuce and tomato as a sandwich.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

This is my take on a classic Southern potato salad. Growing up in Tennessee when you had a barbecue or a day at the lake, chances are there would be potato salad. My mom taught me how to make it way back when, in fact I don’t even remember how old I was, I just remember always knowing how to make potato salad. In the south there are potato salads with mustard, and potato salads without. Whichever way you had it as a kid, is the way you’re partial to, and people take their potato salad very, very seriously.

At some point when I was in high school when the occasion arose to make potato salad, the duty became mine. It’s one of those things that you just do by heart. It’s good cold or hot. It’s very versatile. In fact my mom and I often would have a little bowl when it was warm, while we let the rest of it chill. Try it, you’ll like it!

What You’ll Need:
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 eggs, boiled and chopped
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of celery seed
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 of a large red onion, chopped fine
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/3 cup of sweet pickle relish
2 heaping tablespoons of yellow mustard
1/4 cup of mayo

Boil potatoes until fork tender. (I usually boil the eggs in the same pot with the potatoes. It kills two birds with one stone!) Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still hot add cheese and seasonings and stir to mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. You can serve the salad warm or chilled. I like it either way, but some people prefer it chilled.