Tag Archives: salad

Honey-Sweetened Cucumber Salad


If you are growing cucumbers in your garden this summer, this is a great side dish to use them in! I found a recipe at Our Best Bites that I modified a little…I used honey instead of sugar as a sweetener, used a little less salt, and used white wine vinegar instead of rice vinegar. I thought using honey in this cucumber salad worked out great! I’m trying to use honey instead of granulated sugar when I can because it’s healthier, and this seemed like a great recipe to try it in.

The honey gives this salad a yummy sweetness, and there’s a little zing and spice from some diced red onion and red pepper flakes. Sweet and spicy…I love that combination in this salad! If you don’t want much spiciness, add a little less of the red pepper flakes and it should be just fine! This recipe makes about 4-6 servings, depending on how big your servings are. If you’re making this for a larger group, you’ll probably want to double the recipe.

HONEY-SWEETENED CUCUMBER SALAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Our Best Bites

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds cucumbers (about 3 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar (or substitute rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons honey (or substitute same amount of granulated sugar)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons finely diced red onion

Place cucumber slices in a colander sitting over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss well. Let cucumber slices sit in your refrigerator for 1 hour, tossing them several times as they are draining.

Prepare marinade while cucumber slices are draining in the refrigerator: Combine vinegar, water, honey, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup (if you end up with less than 1/3 cup, add some water to bring the mixture to 1/3 cup). Remove mixture from heat and mix in the diced red onion. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

When cucumber slices are ready to remove from the refrigerator, dry them a little more by patting with some paper towels and then combine with the vinegar marinade mixture, blending well. Refrigerate until well chilled and then serve (you can serve it without chilling, but it tastes best chilled!).


Cucumbers are great in summer salads and side dishes! Do you have a favorite recipe you like to make with cucumbers?


Tabouleh Salad from Quinoa Cuisine


I’ve heard that quinoa is very good for you, but didn’t realize it was a superfood until I reviewed Quinoa Cuisine, a new cookbook that features 150 creative quinoa recipes, from salads and soups to entrees and desserts.

The introduction to the book gives you a good overview about quinoa, which is very helpful if you’re like me and don’t know much about it! According to the book, quinoa is rich in protein, calcium, iron, fiber, potassium, B vitamins, and Vitamin E. It’s also considered a complete protein because it provides a healthy balance of all eight essential amino acids. If you’ve never used quinoa, there are helpful cooking tips in the introduction also.

Then there are the delicious-sounding quinoa recipes…Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes,  Banana Nut Power Muffins, Black Bean, Corn, and Quinoa Salad with Lime Dressing, Gouda and Red Pepper Tarts, Spinach and Parmesan Pilaf, Chicken Potpie with Quinoa Biscuit Crust, Ginger-Peach Shortcake, Apple-Cherry Trail Bars…and many more! The recipes all use quinoa seeds, flakes, or flour to create yummy and healthy dishes. This softcover book does not have inside photos, but the recipes seem easy to follow.

I’ve always wanted to make Tabouleh, and when I saw a recipe for that in this book I just couldn’t resist making it! In this recipe, quinoa replaces the wheat grain bulgur. I really liked it, so I guess I’m a new Quinoa fan now…I’m looking forward to trying more of the recipes out!

Here’s the recipe for the Tabouleh…it’s packed with lots of healthy ingredients like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, green onion, olive oil, and some herbs and spices. Very delicious!

TABOULEH SALAD  from Quinoa Cuisine

A staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, this salad is a natural use for quinoa. Substitute red quinoa to add a nutty quality to the salad, or use black quinoa for a great contrast of color. SERVES 6 TO 8.
  • 2/3 cup white quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit for  5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the cooked quinoa, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, green onion, parsley, mint, allspice, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving so the flavors can marry. Serve cold or at room temperature.


A little garlic powder might be nice in this, too…I don’t think that’s typically in Tabouleh, but I may try that out next time!

Do you cook with quinoa often? What’s your favorite quinoa dish?

Lemon Pepper Garbanzo Salad


Since I love hummus so much, I’ve been interested in trying more recipes using garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. So when I saw this recipe from Spice Islands, I thought I’d give it a try. I love all the healthy, colorful ingredients this Lemon Pepper Garbanzo Salad has in it! I added just a bit more lime juice and lemon pepper seasoning because I like the tanginess of those flavors. And I mistakenly used a whole can of black beans instead of the 1 cup the original recipe called for, but I liked it with the extra black beans. The chopped veggies add a flavorful crunchiness when combined with the black beans and garbanzo beans, and the seasonings in this salad give it a great taste. It’s easy to make, so try it out when you get a chance!

LEMON PEPPER GARBANZO SALAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Spice Islands

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup celery, diagonally cut in 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 medium-sized pepper)
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 medium-sized pepper)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons dried cilantro
  • 2 to 2 1/4 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine beans, celery, peppers, and red onion in a large serving bowl.

Mix cilantro, lemon pepper seasoning, garlic, cumin, vinegar, lime juice, and olive oil in a separate bowl. Pour over bean and pepper mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour to blend flavors, then serve.


All those colorful ingredients are a feast for the eyes, aren’t they? It’s a great side dish and if you want to make a meal out of it, you can serve a cup of this over lettuce greens–you won’t need to use any other dressing with this flavorful mix of beans and veggies!

Chopped Salad to Go


Here’s a fast, easy, and healthy lunch idea my friend Ann told me about. She saw this recipe over at Kraft Foods. I thought it sounded good, too, so I tried it out and thought it was great! This easy salad is so much better than fast food and perfect when you’re in a time crunch on your lunch hour. It’s really easy to put together beforehand, too–you can even prepare it the night before so it’s all ready for you to take when you leave for work the next morning. Here’s the recipe, with some notes on how you can modify it…

CHOPPED SALAD TO GO from Kraft Foods

  • 1 Tablespoon Miracle Whip® Dressing, light or regular (or you can substitute mayonnaise)
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian dressing, light or regular
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce (chop up your own or use pre-packaged lettuce mixes; I like to use spring mix or baby spinach leaves, or a combination of both)
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped red onion
  • 3 slices smoked turkey breast, chopped (or substitute smoked chicken breast or ham)
  • 1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled (or substitute 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon bacon bits)

Mix together Miracle Whip® and Italian dressing in a 3-cup resealable container. Top dressings with layers of remaining ingredients, then seal the container. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before eating, with the lid still on, shake your container to evenly coat the salad with dressing. Then it’s ready to eat!

Tomato Corn Salad


I came across this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine, and having never eaten Tomato Corn Salad, I was curious to see how it tasted. I liked all the ingredients I saw listed in the recipe–in addition to the tomatoes and corn, there were red and green onions, some fresh cilantro and basil…all tossed with a light dressing of balsamic vinegar. There’s also a little Dijon mustard in the original recipe, which I substituted with honey mustard, for just a touch of sweetness.

I really liked it when I tried it out…the balsamic vinegar gives a nice tangy taste to the salad, and the corn-tomato-onion combination is great, too. If you’re growing your own corn and tomatoes in your garden this summer, this is a great way to use your fresh veggies! I also like it because it’s a different way to serve corn–I don’t have very many recipes that include corn, so it’s a great addition to my recipe collection. And it’s just 140 calories per 3/4 cup serving, so it’s light and healthy, too! This recipe makes about 7 servings.

TOMATO CORN SALAD slightly adapted from Taste of Home

  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups fresh corn (about 9 ears of corn–or you can substitute thawed frozen or canned corn)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard (or Dijon mustard, if you prefer)

Combine the first eight ingredients in a large bowl. In a large skillet, saute corn and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in mustard. Add to vegetable mixture; toss to coat. Serve with a slotted spoon. 

Do you have any favorite recipes you like to make with fresh corn?

Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad


I really need to eat more veggies, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for good salad ideas and veggie side dishes. I found this veggie salad over at Nap-Time Creations last month–it was called Holiday Veggie Salad, and it looked really good and healthy! It also has feta cheese in addition to the veggies, and I love feta cheese! So I knew I had to try this. 🙂 I changed a few little things in the recipe, so I’ll share my version with you. It’s really good and a great way to get more broccoli and cauliflower in your diet!

BROCCOLI-CAULIFLOWER SALAD  adapted from Nap-Time Creations

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 medium heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups raisins (or substitute dried cranberries or other dried fruit)
  • 6-8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 1/3 cup light balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I used Newman’s Own Light Balsamic; I think it would even be good with a raspberry vinaigrette)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice (omit this if you’re using raspberry vinaigrette or another type of sweet vinaigrette, and just add a little more vinaigrette to the salad)
  • additional raisins and chopped pecans or walnuts for garnish

Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets; place in large bowl. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add to bowl. Add raisins (or other dried fruit), crumbled feta cheese, and sesame seeds if desired. Toss these ingredients together to distribute evenly. Then add the vinaigrette dressing and lemon juice; toss to mix and coat all the ingredients with the dressing. If serving in a large salad bowl, sprinkle additional raisins and chopped nuts in the center of the salad as a garnish. If serving on individual salad plates, garnish each serving with a sprinkling of raisins and nuts. Makes 4-6 servings.

If you want some tips on cutting cauliflower, I found some over at a site called cookthink. There were some very helpful instructions and photos, some of which I’m posting below…

Cut the head of the cauliflower in half (remove leaves first), by wedging a knife into the core from the bottom. Then slice through the core of each half, which will give you four quarters.

Slice the thickest part of the core away from each quarter (you can chop the core into smaller pieces and use in your salads or cooking–the stems will be tender when they’re cooked).

Then just pull the florets apart with your fingers!

I had never visited the cookthink site before…I just came across in when I was googling how to cut cauliflower. It looks like there are lots of helpful tips and recipes over there, so you’ll have to check it out when you get a chance!

Italian Panzanella

If you’re in a “salad rut” and wanting to try something new, try this Italian Panzanella! When I saw this recipe and photo over at MarthaStewart.com, it looked and sounded so good and healthy! As I looked over the ingredients, I discovered that I liked everything that was in it. So I tried it out the other day…I thought it was really good. I had never made anything like it before, but it was very easy to put together. Martha’s website mentions that the cannellini beans and provolone cheese, mixed with the veggies, make this a “well-balanced vegetarian meal.” I’m not a vegetarian, but I do like to eat healthy, so I give this recipe a “thumbs up!” This makes 4 servings.


  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups large cubes of Italian country bread* (or your favorite bread)
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces provolone cheese, diced (buy the cheese unsliced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Whisk together vinegar and oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add beans, cubed bread, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and cheese. Toss these ingredients with the vinegar and oil mixture; cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours. Stir in the basil just before serving.

*Italian country bread has a chewy, coarse texture that holds moisture well without becoming soggy. Also known as pan bigio, it is typically made with whole wheat flour or a mixture of white and whole wheat flour.

Linked to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays.

Savory Strawberry Salsa


This is a nice twist on your typical salsa if you’re wanting to try something different. I slightly adapted this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. The strawberries and honey make it naturally sweet and the lime juice, chopped green chiles, and pepper give it a mild spiciness. This goes great with grilled chicken (spoon it on top); you can also spoon it on salad greens (instead of using dressing), for a tasty salad. Or have it as a snack with some tortilla chips. It’s yummy and healthy, too! This recipe makes 12  1/4 cup servings (or 3 cups).

SAVORY STRAWBERRY SALSA (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped avocado
  • 1/2–3/4 cup coarsely chopped cucumber (remove seeds before chopping)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. canned chopped green chiles or 1/2-1 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno chile pepper (seeds removed) if you want it spicier
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium-size bowl; if using on a salad or serving with chips, cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. If serving with grilled chicken, you can use it right after you make it. 51 calories per 1/4 cup serving.

Here’s how you can serve it with grilled chicken…it’s really good!


Linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Tastes, Anything Related Tuesday, Toot Your Horn Tuesday, Make it Yours Day, Show and Tell.

Strawberry-Walnut Spinach Salad

This easy-to-make salad is tossed with a homemade honey-sweetened dressing that is so good! Although this is a spinach salad, you can substitute your favorite mixed salad greens for the spinach if you like. It’s a good and healthy way to enjoy fresh strawberries in the summertime! Make sure you wait until just before serving before you toss your greens with the dressing to prevent your greens from wilting. This recipe makes about 8 servings.


  • 3/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 10 well-packed cups baby spinach or mixed salad greens (or you can use some of both)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (or you can substitute chopped pecans)
  • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

In small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, poppy seeds, garlic powder, dry mustard, and vinegar; refrigerate until chilled. In large salad bowl, place the baby spinach or mixed salad greens. Right before serving, add the chilled dressing and toss with the greens. If you are serving this in a big salad bowl, sprinkle all of the sliced strawberries over the greens and then sprinkle on the chopped walnuts. Or, you can divide the salad greens (already tossed with the dressing) onto individual serving plates and sprinkle each individual serving with the sliced strawberries and chopped walnuts.

If you want to make a smaller salad, just halve the recipe; that should give you about 4 servings.

Linked to Feature Yourself Friday, Foodie Friday, Hodgepodge Friday, Favorite Things Saturday, Sunday Showcase, Sundae Scoop.

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Salad

Fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella…three of my favorite things to eat, in one great salad! This is another quick and easy tomato recipe that I adapted from my old cookbook, The Tomato Cookbook. Also known as a Caprese Salad, it makes a nice lunch or light dinner. I’m so glad my garden tomatoes and basil are doing well…it’s great to just go out into the backyard and pick your meal fresh from your garden!  I don’t use any bug sprays on my plants; instead, I planted a big bunch of marigolds (from seeds saved from last year’s garden) near my basil and tomato plants, and have found that marigolds really do help keep the bugs away. Little by little, I’m learning how to do things the organic way. 🙂


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 5-6 medium size)
  • 12 ounces Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. each (or to taste) of salt, pepper, and sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • dash of red wine vinegar (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts (optional)

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, and arrange on a serving platter. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar if desired. Scatter basil leaves over the tomatoes and cheese (if using large basil leaves, you can chop them if you want; if using smaller basil leaves, just keep them whole). Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and cheese. Add a dash or two of red wine vinegar if desired. Sprinkle on the toasted pine nuts if desired (to toast the nuts, put them in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until they are a pale golden color). Serve your salad with warm Italian ciabatta bread, garlic bread, or your favorite crusty bread. Makes 4 servings.

Linked to Just Something I Whipped Up MondayMarket Yourself Monday, and Rednesday.