Posts tagged salad

Three-Pea Chicken Salad



For the third (or fourth, or fifth…) time, I’d like to attempt restarting this blog. I took a long hiatus from cooking most anything interesting, partly because of my repeated attempts to fast (more and less successful over the past year) and partly because of my increasingly busy schedule. Still, cooking remains a big passion of mine, bigger than almost anything else. So now, when I can, I’d like to go back to posting some things I made long ago, as well as whatever I make when I can manage something interesting.

The other night, it was this salad. See, neither my husband nor I are big salad eaters. I don’t mind it when it’s well composed, but I can almost never manage to make one at home that measures up to the ones you can get at a restaurant. My husband’s issue is that he just really hates lettuce, because it doesn’t taste like anything and he sees it as a foil for salad dressing, which he doesn’t much like either. So the few salads I’ve made at home have been those with little to no lettuce, and those seem to be well-received. This particular night, I really wanted something with plenty of fresh, crunchy vegetables and a little chicken for texture and protein.

It takes a little longer than usual to make if you do chop and shred everything as indicated, but if you’re feeling lazy I imagine you can just use all of the vegetables whole or in larger pieces.



Three-Pea Chicken Salad

(serves 2-3 as a main course; 3-4 as an appetizer; the amount of dressing is enough to dress the salad very heavily. I suggest tossing the salad with a few spoonfuls at a time until you reach the amount of dressing you prefer.)


  • 1 c. string peas
  • 1 c. sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 c. green peas
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs
  • 3/4 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon (or 1 tbsp. fresh minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place chicken thighs in a small pot and cover them with water. Sprinkle in some salt, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Take the pot off the heat and let the chicken thighs cook in the hot water 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. When cooked, take out of the water and let cool.
  2. Heat a separate pot of water to boiling, and salt it. Add string peas, snap peas, and green peas, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until vegetables have turned bright green. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water. When vegetables are done, drain and add to bowl of ice water to rapidly cool them.
  3. Drain the vegetables. Pick out the string peas and snap peas and shred them with a knife. Add shredded peas, green peas, and red bell pepper to a bowl. When chicken is cool, shred it as well and add it to the bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon zest (and juice, if using), garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables and chicken.

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day 3

Yesterday was definitely not a success on many levels. I ended up eating a little bit of something I shouldn’t have on all three counts: macaroni + cheese, definitely a not-vegan, wheat pasta, with some sugar in the mix. Yikes. That’s what happens when I’m not prepared and am making a snack for someone else, I guess. Was the addition of broccoli a redeeming factor? I think yes. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Other than that, I did definitely feel a little bit spacey and woozy. Possibly that’s because I went on a bike ride when I hadn’t eaten anything all day long, but it wasn’t a very long bike ride after all – only about 4 miles one way, and 3 miles when I came back a few hours later. But then it was crazy – after I ate the mac and cheese I felt hugely energized. I ate again – something better for me – a couple of hours later and then ended up walking 4 miles and staying up until 6AM. So I’m not totally sure what the effects of food on me were versus just having interesting conversations or whatnot, because it’s certainly not the only time I’ve eaten that late.

Food Diary, 9/5/12

  • 6pm, Bolthouse 100% green smoothie – 90 cal
  • 10:30pm, Pirate’s Booty – 65 cal
  • 10:30pm, organic mac + cheese w/broccoli – 200 cal
  • 12am, potato salad (recipe below) – 460 cal
  • 3am, PBJ oat crackers – 470 cal
  • Total ~1285 cal


Warm Tuna + Potato Salad

This salad is sort of a way simplified version of a French Niçoise-style salad, but you could jazz it up any number of ways – such as adding capers, olives, or other vegetables or garnishes. Or, you could reserve the tuna oil and whip up a vinaigrette, pouring it over all of the salad components – and you could chill it! Basically, endless variations. But for a quick, easy meal, here’s how I did it – serves 2.


  • 6 small red potatoes, diced
  • 1 c. frozen green beans
  • 6-8 oz. jar of tuna packed in oil


  1. Cook potatoes in salted water until nearly done – about 8-15 minutes depending on the size of your potato pieces. Add the green beans about a minute or two before you take the potatoes off the heat. Drain potatoes and green beans.
  2. In the same pan, add the tuna and oil, breaking up the tuna a bit with the back of a fork if necessary. Heat over medium heat and add in potatoes and green beans when the oil is hot. Cook another 5 minutes, or until potatoes are completely cooked. Salt to taste.

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cucumber potato salad

Potato salad is probably one of my all-time favorite foods.  Though I usually like to stick with the somewhat heavier mayonnaise, yellow mustard, and hard-boiled egg variety – probably due to the first time I ever made it, out of an old cookbook, which was the best recipe I’ve ever found – I have also taken a liking to the warm bacon-dressing and cider vinegar potato salads.  When I came across a recipe that used fat-free yogurt as a dressing base and added cucumber to the mix, it inspired me to try a lighter touch as a nice change of pace.

Turns out it really is a very refreshing, clean-tasting take on a summer classic.  We had it with grilled sausages and carrots, and I recommend going that route, though I’m sure this would go with any variety of summer dishes.  One of the best parts about this recipe – a trick I’m sure I’ll use in the future – was to freeze the potatoes after cooking for about ten minutes, which really cuts the need to chill the finished dish, so dinner is on the table much faster.

Cucumber Potato Salad (serves 2-3)


  • 4 small red potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise OR olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. pickling liquid from a jar of pickles OR a healthy squirt of lemon juice and some chopped fresh dill


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Add potatoes and cook 8-10 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet.  Freeze about ten minutes, or until cool to the touch.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk yogurt with mayonnaise and pickling liquid.  Fold in cucumber, shallot, and potatoes.
  4. Chill a further 5-10 minutes if needed.

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Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, Radishes, and Kumquat Vinaigrette

Holiday dinners around our house are often an expression of excess, as with most people.  For the past few years, our family has adopted a new tradition, where we cook the foods of another country for our Christmas dinner.  Sometimes it is foods they eat on Christmas, or other festival/ceremonial foods, or just something that sounds delicious.  In the past, we’ve done Spain (an assortment of tapas and a roasted leg of lamb), Portugal (Portuguese Fisherman [a dish of spicy sausage, onions, and peppers], and condensed-milk-free flan), Switzerland (traditional fondue), etc.

This year, exhausted from months of planning and executing my wedding, we opted for something a little bit more American-traditional.  No specific menu in mind, just good, solid, Fall-season celebration foods.  Not wanting to go overboard on fat and calories, I thought a good salad was in order.  Now, I should specify, I almost never really eat salad anymore.  I have generally limited myself to Caesar salad, chinese chicken salad, and any of a variety of chunkier vegetable salads, such as panzanella (Italian bread and tomato) or the like.  Then I discovered my love of beets, especially roasted beets, and my love of goat cheese, and dear goodness, my love of them together.  Amazing.  I know they do well in salad.  I just needed to find the right accompaniments.

A small bin of fresh kumquats at the grocery store pretty much sealed the deal for me.  I brought them home without an idea of what I would do with them (and still haven’t used most of them, so ideas are welcome), and finally pulverized them into a delicious, creamy vinaigrette for this salad.  All in all, I really thought it was pretty well-balanced.  If you like nuts in your salad, I could see a good walnut or almond being put to use here.  Other roasted and cooled vegetables might also be a good match – carrots, asparagus, etc.

Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, Radishes, and Kumquat Vinaigrette (10 first-course servings)


For Kumquat Vinaigrette:

  • 10 kumquats, quartered and seeded
  • 6 oz. rice vinegar
  • spoonful of sugar (yes, really, I didn’t measure), or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 4 – 6 oz. olive oil, or to desired texture

For Roasted Beets:

  • 4 medium beets, each scrubbed under running water (no need to peel), and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • salt and pepper

For Salad:

  • 16 oz. baby spinach leaves
  • bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
  • 8-16 oz. soft goat cheese (or other cheese of your liking)


To Make Roasted Beets:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Take washed beet wedges and toss in a large bowl with olive oil and salt.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet, and cover with foil.
  4. Roast about 30 minutes, then remove foil and roast another 15-30 or until beets can be pierced easily with a fork.

To Make Kumquat Vinagrette:

  1. Blend kumquats and rice vinegar in a food processor, blender, or a cup with an immersion blender, until thoroughly combined.  While the blender is running, add in as much olive oil as you desire for your preferred dressing consistency, somewhere between a half cup and a cup.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and sugar.

To Assemble the Salad:

  1. Toss spinach leaves with vinaigrette until they are coated evenly.  Divide among salad bowls.
  2. Top each serving with 2-4 beet wedges, some of the radish slices, and about an ounce of the goat cheese, crumbled.

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