Category Archives: Salads and Dressings

Black Bean Avocado Salad

Black Bean Avocado Salad @ NancyC

I’ve been on an avocado kick lately! So I was drawn to this recipe from the new cookbook Lose Weight By Eating (William Morrow, softcover). This side dish has so many ingredients I love–LoseWeightByEatingavocados, of course, along with black beans, red onion, bell pepper, and corn. I just knew I would like it!

There are lots of other great-sounding recipes I found in my review copy. Author Audrey Johns developed more than 130 clean eating recipes during her 11-month weight loss journey, losing more than 150 pounds and proving that you really can lose weight if you’re eating the right things! There’s a good variety of recipes for every meal and healthy desserts, too–things like Chili Cheese Omelet, Strawberry Scones with Lime Glaze, Meatball Sliders, Skinny Chicken Alfredo, California Club Pizza, and Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes.

I decided to try the Black Bean Avocado Salad, which is described in the book as a crisp, salsa-like side dish–and just 131 calories per serving. You can serve it with chips as a snack, or top a chicken breast with it for extra flavor and protein.

BLACK BEAN AVOCADO SALAD from Lose Weight by Eating

Makes six 1/2 cup servings

  • 1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the beans, jalapeño, bell pepper, avocado, red onion, cilantro, corn, lime juice, and garlic. Gently mix and add salt and black pepper to taste.

Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour and serve.

I really liked the way this tasted–it’s nice when a dish is both healthy and yummy, isn’t it? Do you have a favorite healthy snack that you like to make?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Recipe Round-Up.

Summer Fruit Salad

One of the things I love best about summer is all the fresh fruit of the season, especially berries of all kinds. And this is a great fruit salad to make in the summertime because it has blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries…mixed in with lots of other delicious, colorful fruit! Berry season is pretty much over where I live, but the berries are still available at the grocery store. Some of you may still be at the tail end of berry season–lucky you!

This salad also has some canned pineapple chunks and it’s sweetened with the pineapple juice from the can. So there’s no extra sugar, and I think the sweetness is just right. I love all the colors in this salad–it’s so bright and summery–and I wanted to post it before summer comes to an end!


Makes 10 servings

  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice (not syrup), undrained
  • 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (you can use 2 cups blueberries if you don’t have blackberries)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup sliced or halved fresh strawberries  (you can use 2 cups fresh strawberries if you don’t have raspberries)
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup halved seedless red grapes
  • 2 medium size bananas, sliced

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, tossing to coat all the fruit with the pineapple juice. Serve immediately.

If you need to make this ahead of time, combine the pineapple, mandarin oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, and grapes, and refrigerate. When it’s close to serving time, add the berries and bananas; gently toss all the fruit and serve.

Note: If you’re using blackberries in this salad, don’t use an enamelware bowl to serve it in–I found from past experience that blackberries can stain enamelware! 

There’s still about three weeks of summer left, but we’ve already had some fall-like days. I’m always sad to see summer end, since it’s my favorite season. Is it still feeling like summer where you live?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Simply Sundays, Sunday Features, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Full Plate Thursday.

Three Bean Salad It’s hard to believe summer is almost here! Some days have already been hot and humid–too warm to cook or bake. So that’s when I start thinking of recipes to make like Three Bean Salad. It doesn’t require any cooking at all and is super-easy to make. It’s a great summer side dish for lunch or dinner and perfect for picnics. I decided to try sweetening my version with honey instead of white sugar and that worked out well. You need to make this salad at least 4 hours before you serve it, to give the salad time to marinate…and this is one of those recipes that tastes better the longer it marinates. So making it the night before you serve it works out great, too.

THREE BEAN SALAD by NancyC Makes about 8 servings

  • 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped (chop both the green stems and the white onion tip)–or you can substitute 1 medium chopped red onion
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • Optional: 1 to 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons honey, depending on how sweet you want it (or substitute 1/2 cup white sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In large bowl, add drained and rinsed beans, then add the chopped green onions and bell pepper; toss all ingredients together with a large spoon. In another bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid, add the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; whisk together or, if using a jar with lid, shake ingredients together well. Pour this dressing mixture over the bean salad mixture, tossing gently to coat everything well. Chill in your refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight before serving (the taste gets better the longer it marinates). Stir and toss mixture several times as it is marinating. Toss mixture once more right before serving.

Salads like this are great for summer! I really like making no-bake recipes when it’s warm outside. What easy warm-weather recipes do you like to make? Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me Monday.

Eggless “Egg Salad”

I had a block of extra-firm tofu in my fridge, which I was originally going to try baking. But then I came across an eggless “egg salad” recipe using tofu and I decided to try something like that instead. It’s not that I don’t like regular egg salad–I really love it–but I do have high cholesterol, so I try to be careful with my egg intake. This tofu egg salad has a similar consistency to regular egg salad and the spices added to it give it a great flavor. I really liked it and it’s nice having an eggless egg salad option if you need it!

EGGLESS “EGG SALAD” by NancyC, adapted from Veg Kitchen Makes 4 servings

  • 1 (12-ounce) tub extra-firm tofu, well-drained
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 large green onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard (or you can use Dijon mustard if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Drain tofu well, then press and squeeze the tofu, draining any additional moisture from it. In large bowl, crumble the tofu, then add the diced celery and green onion, blending ingredients together. In small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, curry powder, turmeric, and parsley flakes, blending well. Add this mixture to the tofu mixture in the large bowl, stirring well to combine. If you’d like the mixture to be creamier, add a little more mayonnaise–a Tablespoon or two–and season with salt and pepper. Serve as a sandwich or put a large scoop over some mixed greens for a salad.

Have you made anything like this before? I thought the tofu worked out great in this recipe. I’ll have to try baking it sometime, too. What’s your favorite way to fix tofu?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday, Wow Me Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Let’s Get Real Friday.


Low Fat Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and Dip


Homemade salad dressings are so good–I’ve made a few of them, but have never made one of my favorites–Ranch!  I usually use low fat dressings on my salads, so I decided to try making a low fat Ranch. I adapted a recipe from, adjusting the amounts of some of the ingredients slightly. Since I didn’t have fresh herbs, I used dried–and the taste still turned out great! But I’m sure it would be even better with fresh herbs, which I plan on using when I make another batch.

This dressing is thick and creamy compared to most dressings–it’s hard to tell it’s made with low fat ingredients! And because it’s on the thicker side, it makes a great dip for fresh veggies, too. The only downside is, it’s best the day it’s made–you can store it in the fridge for several days, but the consistency gets thinner and runny.

I love the way it tastes, but it’s an easy recipe to adjust if you want to add a little more or less of any of the herbs and spices. Enjoy this homemade dressing on your favorite salad or as a dip with your favorite raw veggies!


Makes 1 3/4 cups

  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill weed or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In medium size bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream or yogurt. Stir in garlic and onion powders, chives, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. You can store any unused dressing in the refrigerator for several days, but the consistency will get thinner and more runny, so it’s best not stored too long.

I think this homemade salad dressing tastes so much better than bottled dressing. It’s worth making your own if you have a little extra time. Do you make your own homemade salad dressings?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.


Royal Riviera® Rogue Valley Salad


A few days ago, I found a nice surprise on my doorstep–a box of beautiful Harry & David® Royal Riviera® Pears! And Harry & David® is also extending a special offer to me and my readers–a 20% discount on your next purchase of anything on their site when you enter the code NANCY20 during checkout! So if you still need some gifts, you’ll want to check out their site!

I learned a little about the history of these pears, too. These sweet and juicy pears, traced back to 19th century France, were brought to Oregon’s Rogue Valley in 1897, where they thrived in the climate there. And for 80 years Harry & David® have been shipping these pears from their southern Oregon orchards.

I was wondering why there was a spoon in the package, and then I saw a note explaining that, in celebration of Harry & David’s® 80th anniversary, and also in honor of National Pear Month (yes, December is National Pear Month!) they were inviting some pear lovers to take the “Spoon Test Challenge” to see if their claim that Royal Riviera® Pears are really “so big and juicy, you can eat them with a spoon” is true. So I did take the Spoon Test Challenge, which involved letting the pears ripen for 1-2 days, slicing them in half, and using a spoon to eat the juicy pear. And I am happy to verify that yes, these pears really are juicy enough to eat with a spoon! They are really, really good. If you like pears or know someone who does, these are a real treat!

Here are some serving suggestions for these pears:

  • Halve, core, and eat with a spoon (makes a wonderful, healthy dessert!)
  • Slice and serve after dinner with an assortment of fine cheeses
  • Slice pears for salads
  • When slicing pears for salads or dessert, Harry & David® recommends peeling them first, then sprinkling with some lemon juice to keep them looking fresh

Here’s a recipe for a salad you can try–this recipe was included in my package of pears, so I thought I’d share it with you. This would make a great salad for your holiday meal! You can also find more salad recipes at Harry &

ROYAL RIVIERA® ROGUE VALLEY SALAD (recipe and photo from Harry & David)

royalFor the dressing:

  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup walnut oil
  • Whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil. chill for 20 minutes.

For the salad:

  • 1 head butter lettuce, washed and dried
  • 1 large or 2 small Royal Riviera® Pears, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2/3 cup Rogue Creamery or other blue cheese
  • 2/3 cup Harry and David® candied pecans, roasted pecans, or roasted walnuts

Gently tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces. Arrange on four chilled plates. Top with fans of pear slices. Sprinkle blue cheese evenly over the pears and lettuce and top with nuts. Drizzle the dressing generously over the salad and serve.

Are you a pear-lover, too? What kinds of recipes do you like to use pears in?


Spinach, Blueberry, and Blue Cheese Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette


I took a short break from the internet at the end of August, and I can’t believe we are into September already! But it’s still officially summer and the weather is still warm for many of us, so I thought I’d post a recipe for a fruity, cheesy salad. Salads make great light lunches on hot, humid days and it’s even more convenient when you can make them ahead of time for work or just to have handy at home. I found lots of great grab-and-go ideas in Mason Jar Salads and More by Julia Mirabella. The salads are made by layering the ingredients vertically in Mason jars (the 9781612432892.011dressing usually goes on the bottom–this salad is an exception). In addition to recipes for salad lunches, the book includes some breakfast smoothies and oatmeal you can make-and-take in mason jars, as well as other healthy lunch options that include pasta and rice. There are some snack ideas, too, and lots of great homemade vinaigrettes to try out.

I decided to make the Spinach, Blueberry, and Blue Cheese Salad and instead of using the Red Wine Vinaigrette that the original recipe calls for, I made the Blueberry Vinaigrette. I thought the blueberry-spinach combination was really good, and I loved the taste of blue cheese with it, too. The Blueberry Vinaigrette was great on this salad–it added even more blueberry flavor. If you like fruit and cheese, this salad is a great way to enjoy those mix of flavors. Some of you may not be crazy about blue cheese, so if that’s the case, you could try substituting feta cheese. This is a really easy salad to put together–hope you enjoy it!


Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3 cups spinach leaves, divided
  • 1/4 cup shaved or sliced almonds
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Blueberry Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • 1 quart-size Mason jar

Place the blueberries, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil until it is the right consistency.

Place the blueberries in the bottom of the Mason jar. Next make layers of 2 cups spinach, the almonds, and the remaining 1 cup spinach. The final layer should be the blue cheese. If you’re eating this right away, you can pour the vinaigrette over the salad and serve. If you’re storing this in the fridge for later, see below…

On top of the blue cheese, make a parchment paper cup (cut a square of parchment paper to an 8×8″ size; place it over the jar and push down to form a little cup). The edges of the parchment paper should extend beyond the edge of the jar; bend edges downward over the outside of the jar.

Pour the vinaigrette into the parchment paper cup and twist on the lid, making sure it is tight. Refrigerate until ready to eat and mix the vinaigrette in with the other ingredients in your salad. Note: !f you’re going to eat this salad on the same day you make it, you can put the dressing in the bottom of the jar and eliminate the parchment paper cup. Otherwise, the salad will last longer if the blueberries don’t sit in the dressing.


  • 3 Tablespoons fresh blueberries
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons olive oil

Place the blueberries, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil until it is the right consistency.

I love using fresh fruit in salads–it adds so much extra flavor! What fruits do you like using in your salads?


Tomato Cucumber Salad with Feta


If you like tart and tangy, savory and salty flavors, then this is a salad you may want to try! I decided to make this when my friend Greg gave me some cucumbers from his garden. You can’t go wrong combining cucumbers with tomatoes, but when you add in some feta cheese and Kalamata olives, that really gives this salad a special zing! The “dressing” in this salad is very simple…just some lemon juice and olive oil. So there are lots of healthy ingredients in this. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, you can chop up larger tomatoes into chunks and that should work fine. If you have a garden, it’s a great way to use all those cucumbers and tomatoes you’re growing this summer!


Makes about 5 servings

  • 1 pint (2 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese (about 1/4 lb.)
  • 2 small to medium cucumbers, diced into 1/2″ chunks (about 2 cups diced)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (slice both the white onion part and green stems)
  • 1 cup pitted and sliced or halved Kalamata olives
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

In large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the thyme, salt, pepper, and feta cheese.

Add in the cucumber, green onions, and olives; toss with the tomato/feta cheese mixture, tossing everything together well (you can let this mixture sit at room temperature up to 1 hour before serving). Just before serving, add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss everything together well. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

I love using fresh veggies from the garden or farmer’s market in summer recipes! Are you growing any veggies this summer?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday/Create with Joy, Show and Share/Coastal Charm.


Shoepeg Corn Salad with Honey Dressing


I was looking through some old recipes I’d clipped from magazines awhile ago and came across one for Shoepeg Salad. It sounded like a great side dish for summer. I found some other variations on this salad at different recipe sites and ended up making my own version. This is a sweet, crisp salad; some sites describe it as a “relish.”  It’s great for potlucks, picnics, or any summer meal. And it’s so easy to make! All the recipes for this that I came across used granulated sugar as the sweetener, but I decided to use honey instead.

Shoepeg corn is one of the main ingredients in this salad, but it can be a little hard to find at the grocery store! I had to do some searching, but finally found it on the top shelf in the canned veggie section. Before I made this salad, I didn’t know exactly what shoepeg corn was. After looking on the web, I learned that, back before the Civil War, this certain type of corn was called “Shoepeg Corn” because of its peg-like shape. Shoepeg corn kernels are also smaller and sweeter than yellow corn.

If you’re having trouble finding shoepeg corn, just substitute white or yellow corn in this salad recipe–it will still taste great!


Makes about 8 servings

  • 3 (11-ounce) cans white shoepeg corn (or substitute 2 [15-ounce] cans of white or yellow sweet corn), drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can sweet green peas, drained
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped (chop both the white onion part and the stems)
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimiento, drained

For the Honey Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup honey (or substitute granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

In large bowl, add first six ingredients (corn, peas, bell pepper, green onions, celery, pimientos); set aside.

In clean glass jar with lid, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and, with lid tightly on, shake mixture until all ingredients are blendeds together well. Pour dressing over vegetable mixture in large bowl and mix well, until all vegetables are coated with dressing.

Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight. Serve cold.

I’m glad I discovered Shoepeg Corn Salad–cool, crispy salads like this are perfect for summer! Have you made Shoepeg Salad before?

Linked to Fiesta Friday and Inspire Me Monday.


Veggie Chip Salad with Avocado


TyrrellsPotato chips remind me of summertime–I guess it’s because they always seem to be at picnics and cookouts! I’m not a heavy potato chip eater, and maybe because of that, the last bag of chips I bought at the grocery store about a month ago seemed super salty and greasy to me. Then I heard about Tyrrell’s Hand Cooked English Chips–and agreed to try the seven flavors they have launched in the U.S., compliments of Tyrrell’s.  I had read that Tyrrell’s Chips are handcooked in small batches on the company’s farm in the English countryside and made from just two kinds of potatoes local to the farm–the Lady Claire and Lady Rosetta.

These chips are made with all natural ingredients, too. So I thought they would have to taste better than the last bag I bought from the grocery store! I was right–these chips have a great potato taste and are available in unique flavors like Lightly Sea Salted, Mature Cheddar and Chives, Sea Salt and Black Cracked Pepper, Sweet Chili & Red Pepper, VegChipsSea Salt and Cider Vinegar, Worcestershire and Sun Dried Tomato, and Veg Chips (Beetroot, Parsnip, & Carrot Chips with a pinch of sea salt). I had the chance to sample every flavor and I liked them all! I guess my very favorites were the zingy Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar, the slightly spicy Worcestershire and Sun Dried Tomato, and the savory Veg Chips–those were awesome!

I loved these chips so much I decided to make a recipe with one of the flavors. I had seen some salads that were served over corn chips, so I thought I’d try a salad that was served over Tyrrell’s Veg Chips. The savory flavors of the salad and the crunchiness of the chips make a great combination!


Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 (5.3 ounce) bag Tyrrells™Veg Chips
  • 6 cups well-packed pre-washed lettuce mix
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can yellow sweet corn, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pitted black olives, drained
  • 1/2 medium size red onion, diced
  • 1 medium size red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup light Italian salad dressing (or more or less, to taste)

Just serve the salad over the chips!

Divide the Veg Chips among 4 to 6 plates and spread chips in a layer over each plate; set plates aside.

In medium to large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, corn, olives, red onion, avocados, red bell pepper, and shredded Cheddar cheese. Add the Italian dressing and toss until everything is coated. Serve salad over Veg Chips.

Tyrrell’s Chips are available at Shop Rite, Fairways, Food Emporium, Whole Foods, Piggly Wiggly, Fresh Market, and Vitamins Plus, and you can also purchase them online at They also have a handy store locator on their site.

Sea Salt flavored potato chips have been a favorite of mine for quite a while, but now that I’ve tried the Veg Chips, that may change!🙂 What’s your favorite potato chip flavor?