This dish is the perfect summer side.  It’s easy, colorful, make-ahead and, most importantly, delicious!  I like to pack it up and take along to the beach or on a picnic, serve alongside ribs, or make a batch to take into work to have for lunch for the week.  If enjoying for lunch, you could add shredded chicken, or boiled shrimp, to make it a little more hearty, or serve alongside a summer soup or salad.

cousWhat’s your go-to summer salad?

Dress Up Your Salad

September 21, 2012

Homemade vinaigrettes are apparently all the rage these days.  Who knew I was ahead of the trend?  I’ve been making them for a while now and the flavor of a homemade dressing simply cannot be beat.  You can mix up the flavors with different kinds of vinegar, herbs and sweeteners.  My favorite is Balsamic Vinegar, but I’ve also used Raspberry Vinegar, Tarragon Vinegar and Red Wine Vinegar.  Fresh thyme is my go-to herb and I go back and forth between brown sugar and agave nectar to sweeten things up.  No matter what, garlic is always involved, as is a little salt and pepper.  I’ve also been known to sub citrus for the vinegar/acidity, so you can make a lemon or lime vinaigrette and even Dijon mustard can make a tasty appearance now and again.

Everyone has a different theory on the ratio that should be used.  I like to go 50/50 with oil/acid.  However, a lot of recipes call for three parts oil to one part vinegar.  It really depends on how you prefer the “tangy-ness” of your dressing, so feel free to play around with the ratios and go with what suits your palate best!
Do you make vinaigrettes at home?  If so, what’s your favorite ingredients to toss in and what ratio do you go by?

BeFunky Warming on iPhone

Always served best in a good ‘ol southern Mason Jar

Basic Vinaigrette

printable recipe

  • 1 cup evoo
  • 1 cup vinegar (I used ½ cup balsamic and ½ cup raspberry)
  • 1 tbs, fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs agave nectar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a Mason Jar, top with the lid, and shake.  Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Ancient Farro

May 2, 2011

I discovered farro a couple of months ago at a menu tasting for a work event.  It is said to be the oldest grain in the U.S. and can be cooked “risotto style” but is also delicious in soups and salads.  This easy make-ahead recipe is tasty on its own (I like to take for lunch) or a great fiber-filled side for any meal.  I get rave reviews whenever I prepare it and it’s currently one of my favorite things to throw together on a Sunday for the week.  I’m kinda obsessed with it.  After making it, I think you will be too.

Cook farro with red onion parsley and garlic

Cook farro with red onion, parsley and garlic

Cooling the farro after cooking

Cooling the farro after cooking

Farro Summer Salad

Farro Summer Salad

Farro Summer Salad Serves 8 to 12, as a side or main course
2 cups uncooked farro

1 medium red onion, cut in half
1 clove garlic
handful of fresh parsley plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
1 cup finely diced (about 1/4 “cubes) fresh mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons minced pitted kalamata olives
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
FOR THE DRESSING
scant 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I’ve also used Walnut Oil,it’s  equally as yummy)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons agave nectar (or honey)

1.Add the farro, one onion half, garlic, handful of parsley and salt along with 2 3/4 cups water to a 2 quart pot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off burner and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes. Discard the onion, garlic and large pieces of parsley. Spread out on a rimmed sheet pan and let cool completely (do not skip this step or the mozzarella will melt into the finished dish). Ask a question about this step.
2.Whisk together the olive oil, vinegars and honey to prepare the dressing. Chop the remaining onion half finely. Add onion, cooled farro, mozzarella, kalamata olives, tomatoes, remaining tablespoon of parsley and basil to a deep bowl. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and stir well to combine, using a long wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper. The salad is ready to serve, but can also be made and stored in the fridge, covered, one day ahead.

Summer Salad

July 23, 2010

I love summer.  The abundance of fresh vegetables are so pleasing to the palate.  This little salad is great to serve on a weeknight with homemade pizza, or nice enough to serve alongside a holiday dinner.  This dish really adds color to your plate — whatever the occasion. 

Tomato, Onion & Cucumber Salad 

1 red onion, sliced 

2 cucumbers, sliced 

3 Roma tomatoes, sliced 

1 TBS EVOO 

1.5 TBS vinegar (anything works, red, white, balsamic — here I used Tarragon Vinegar) 

Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste 

Toss everything together and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Served chilled. 

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Tomato, Onion & Cucumber Salad

Cucumber

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