Salad Spring Rolls

One of my favorite things about living in Orange County was the plethora of Vietnamese restaurants.

Fun Fact: Orange County, CA has the largest Vietnamese population in the US.  

And because of that we were blessed with delicious (and inexpensive) restaurants.

Over the last four years, I’ve become obsessed with the Vietnamese Spring Rolls.  It’s almost a rule that I must order them any time I go to a Vietnamese restaurant.

I’m sure there have to be amazing Vietnamese restaurants here in the Bay Area, and I will do my best to discover them, but in the meantime, I’m going to keep the memory alive with some spring roll inspiration.

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These aren’t really Vietnamese spring rolls.  They don’t include rice noodles or shrimp or pork.  They’re just vegetables, which is why I call them salad spring rolls.  Despite not being like the tasty ones I get at restaurants, this has become my new favorite way to eat salad.

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They pretty quick, easy and tasty.  The other wonderful thing is you can make them with whatever you have on hand.

Here are some suggestions for filling your spring rolls:

Thai Basil
Lettuce
Cucumber
Carrots
Red Bell Pepper
Bean Sprouts

For Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1-2 tbsp peanut butter, natural
1-2 tbsp sriracha
1-2 tbsp water

To assemble, cut your vegetables into match tickets (i.e. carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers) and wash your lettuce and thai basil.   You’ll need to get rice paper.  You can probably find it at any Asian grocery store (or on Amazon).

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Wet your rice paper by dipping it in water for about 3 seconds and you’re ready to go (do one at a time, don’t wet them all at once, because they’re very sticky).  I have a rice paper water bowl, but it’s not essential, and shallow dish to submerge the paper in will work.

Then you can start assembling your spring rolls.   Place some of the vegetables toward the bottom of the circle, like such:

springrollsteps

Fold the right and left sides toward the center, then the shorter side up and roll to cover.  I couldn’t take photos of this process because it requires two hands and I only have two, unfortunately (or fortunately).  But this blog has an awesome tutorial!  Check it out!  

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Once your spring rolls are rolled and ready, make your quick dipping sauce.   Combine hoisin, peanut butter, sriracha in a bowl.  Start with 1 tbsp of each, taste it and adjust to your liking.

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You don’t have to use this dipping sauce, you can also mix fish sauce with water, a bit of sugar and chili garlic sauce and dip!  Or since these are salad rolls, feel free to dip in your favorite salad dressing.  We’re not being authentic here, so anything goes.

But seriously, this hand-held salad options is awesome.  I served it with some mustard rubbed chicken and it was a hit (to Jesse and me, that is, but I think we have ok taste).  I think this is my new favorite summer meal.

What’s your favorite salad or summer meal?

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Arugula Salad with Lentils and Spiced Butternut Squash

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a very happy Christmas, ate lots delicious food and spent time with family.

With my family, our holidays revolve around food and this Christmas was no different. We ate tons of tamales

and the only times we weren’t eating were the short walks we took to hang out with the neighbor’s llamas, ponies and donkeys.

llama

No, I’m not back in Peru.  People in LA County have pet llamas.   But other than llama sighting.  We mostly ate.

I don’t know about you, but after Christmas eating, I need vegetables.  Well really, I just think I need to eat normal, so that’s what I’m trying to do, but adding a few extra vegetables in there for good measure.

This morning, I finally tried Kodiak Cakes.  If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Like Foodologie on Facebook, you’ll remember that I won a few boxes of Kodiak Cakes through their 12 days of giveaways.  I decided to make some this morning

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Along with their red raspberry syrup.  Overall, they’re super tasty! What I especially love is that they use all natural ingredients (and not to mention easy! You just add water!).

Then for lunch, I had this amazing salad.

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It might not look that magical, but I promise it is.  It’s light but hearty enough to be a meal on its own. The mint makes it taste fresh and clean.  I’ve been making this salad for years so to be perfectly honestly, I can’t remember where I discovered it.  Someone deserves credit, I just can’t remember who.

Arugula Salad with Lentils and Spiced Butternut Squash

adapted from somewhere I can’t remember…

1/2 butternut squash, diced
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 to 1 cup lentils, dry
6 cups arugula1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
4 oz (or more) goat cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375F.  Toss diced butternut squash with paprika, cumin, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at bake for 15 minutes. Toss and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until crispy and cooked through. Please note: this cooking time may vary depending how how big you diced the butternut squash and how intense your oven is, so check it every so often and toss to make sure it doesn’t burn.

While the butternut squash roasts, cook the lentils.  Cover in water and boil about 20 minutes (or until tender).  Once cooked through, rinse and set aside.

Once the lentils and squash are ready, assemble the salad.  In a large bowl, toss together arugula, mint, 2 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Scoop some of the salad on a plate, top with goat cheese, lentils and butternut squash. Serve and enjoy!

Feel free to made adjustments. I love mint so I’m a fan of tons of mint.  Don’t love mint? Omit it.  Out of goat cheese or hate its guts? Replace it with manchego! If you don’t like manchego, then we just can’t be friends.  But if you want to make it vegan and omit the cheese, I’m a-okay with that.

I have a feeling this is going to be salad week for me.  Be on the look out for some healthy eats and New Years resolutions in the days to come!

How was your Christmas?  What was the best thing you ate?

Arugula Salad with Mozzarella, Prosciutto and Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

I have to tell you, I’m really itching to bake something.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve kept it healthy as of recent…

Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash = Local carb, quick and easy.

Black Bean Enchiladas= Delicious, quick, vegetarian and good for you.

Eggplant Rolls with Goat Cheese = light and divine.

The last thing I made was an epic chocolate raspberry truffle cake and a bluberry-rhubarb crisp (to die for! Must remake!) for my friend Sara’s wedding rehearsal

IMG_3828The wedding and the rehearsal were in this barn… on a flower farm.  Isn’t that the cutest?!  Ok back to food…

I love making healthy things to eat, but let’s be honest.  Making pie is just plain fun.  I’m starting to miss it.  Fourth of July is next week, you bet your buns I’ll be making a pie (Remember when I made Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a touch of bourbon last year?).

But before we get all patriotic and start playing with butter, let’s do a little more green and talk about a super tasty salad.  This salad is guaranteed to satisfy.  It’s light but has enough fat in it to keep you satisfied.  We all hate the word fat, but when was the last time you were hungry after eating a few spoonfuls of peanut butter?

Fat keeps you full.  Enjoy it.  In moderation.

But really, prosciutto is probably not the kind of fat that’s good for you, but luckily it’s so intense that a little bit goes a long way.

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Arugula Salad with Mozzarella, Prosciutto and Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

2 cups Arugula
1-2 oz prosciutto (I used 1)
2 oz fresh mozzarella
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp capers
2 tsp fresh chopped oregano
pinch of black pepper

Lay arugula on a plate.  Top with prosciutto and mozzarella.  In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, capers, oregano and pepper.  Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

ArugulaProsciuttoMozzarella3I am completely in love with this salad.  It’s pretty much perfect for one person or two.  I’ve made it at least 4 times (probably because I bought a 4 oz pack of prosciutto), shared it twice and it’s delicious.    You know what else I’m in love with? Showing you pictures of this wedding.

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It was also pretty much perfect.   Ok ok, you’re probably over it right?  I’ll keep my wedding obsession on my pinterest board and try to stick to food.

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4th of July and Pie is coming up.  What are you excited about?

Roasted Beet, Asparagus and Arugula Salad

As much as I advocate cake and pie eating, I really want you to eat vegetables too.

Lots of vegetables.

They’re good for you.  Sometimes sugar and butter need to take a back seat and we need to have something good for you.  Like this salad.

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Roasted Beet, Asparagus and Arugula Salad

2-3 fresh beets
3-5 cups arugula1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 tomato, sliced
2 oz goat cheese
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 400F.  Thoroughly wash beets, then wrap beets in aluminum foil.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until tender.  Allow to cool.  Peel and slice. (Note: You can roast a bunch of beets and once and store them in the fridge for about a week in the roasting foil.  Peel and slice when you’re ready to serve them)

Steam asparagus for about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and rinse with cold water.  Set aside. (You can do this while the beets roast, or you can plan your next vacation)

Make dressing by mixing together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.  Whisk until well combined.

Lastly, assemble the salad.  Start with a bed of arugula, layer on the tomatoes, asparagus, beets and goat cheese.  Drizzle with dressing and serve!  This salad will feed 2 very hungry people or 4 as a side salad.

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Eat it up!

Couscous Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Dates

I’m a fan of picnics.  Food and outdoors.

What’s not to like?

Living in Central NY I forgot how great picnics can be.  Now that I’m back in Southern California, and especially in Orange County, there are parks everywhere.  It’s quickly becoming my favorite pass time.

The beauty of California is that you can go on picnics basically year-round.  It’s February, and I’ve easily gone on at least 3 picnics this year.

You know what that means?  I need to start diversifying my picnic menu.  I started with cheese, crackers, fruit, sliced vegetables and hummus for dipping.  Now I’m getting more intense.  This last picnic involved plates and forks.

Watch out, I’m gettin’ fancy.

So the most recent picnic menu:

  • Couscous Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Dates
  • Lemon-Parmesan Asparagus
  • Fruit Salad

Let me tell you about this couscous salad.  Of course I brought it in a jar, but jars are optional.

The great thing about this salad (if we can really call it a salad) is how easy it is to make.    If picnics aren’t your thing, this is pretty great for a potluck as well.  Give it a try.  It’s mild but slightly exotic tasting.

I say yes.

Couscous Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Dates

adapted from Epicurious

2 cups water
1 tsp salt
10 ounces couscous
1/4 cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Boil water, add salt and stir in couscous.  Cover and turn off the flame, keep covered for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prep all the ingredients (i.e. chop dates, cilantro, onions, etc.).  Once the couscous is ready, fluff it with a fork and transfer it to a large bowl to cool.

In a small bowl combine lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and cardamom.  Pour over cooled couscous and toss.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, toss and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours.  At this point you can search for the perfect picnic spot.  Once you’re there, serve and enjoy!

Easy, delicious, healthy and completely transportable. Perfect for picnics.

So if you’re in warmer climates, go on a picnic soon and make this.  If you’re in the cold, lay a blanket in your living room and have an indoor picnic, it’s not quite as fun but it’ll hold you over til late spring/summer.

Just saying, it’s worth a try.

Spinach-Quinoa-Peach Salad with Honey-Sage Vinaigrette, My Type of Salad

You know how they say people have types?  A type of guy or girl they always date or crush on.

You know what I mean.  You probably have a type.

I like to think this is my type

But realistically, it’s usually some goofy-looking, bearded guy…

I’m not the best at that whole guy thing so instead, I’ll stick to food.

In that department, I most definitely know my type, and this is my type of meal.

I like things that don’t seem to make sense together.  I guess that’s true for guys as well, but let’s stick to the topic at hand:

This salad combines sweet, salty, warm, cold, soft, crunchy and creamy.  If it were a lady it would be that cute, quirky girl that gentlemen seem to pine over in movie.  You know the type:

But in life, it’s just a delicious lunch.

Spinach-Quinoa-Peach Salad with Honey-Sage Vinaigrette

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 peach, sliced
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the quinoa with one cup of vegetable (water and salt works too).  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  In the meantime prepare the salad and dressing.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, peach slices and goat cheese.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, sage and salt and pepper.

Once the quinoa is ready, fluff it a bit with a fork, pour hot quinoa over the salad, quickly pour the dressing over the mixture and toss to combine.  The spinach will wilt slightly but still stay fresh and delicious, giving this salad the perfect combination of textures.

Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main dish.

So whether you’ve found your type or, like me, have no idea what your type actually is, just make this salad.  Chances are it’ll be your type too.