Category Archives: salad

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing

Tonight was supposed to be leftovers night, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to cook something using the ingredients on hand. We had leftover chili and tortillas so I decided on chili enchiladas. That’s a heavy dish and as with most Mexican-style dishes I never know what type of vegetable to serve on the side. Broccoli? Cole slaw? Naw.

I rifled through the fridge and found an English cucumber, feta and some limes. I had chickpeas in the pantry. Yes….this could be something.

This salad was the perfect palate cleanser to the heavy enchiladas. The bright lime dressing cut through the spicy, cheesy sauce and left me licking the salad bowl.

You can opt to not fry the chickpeas, but that added crispiness was a wonderful touch.

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing

Serves 4

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 english cucumber, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3+ tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup feta crumbles
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Coat the bottom of a medium sauté pan with olive oil, about 2 tablespoons. Heat over high flame. Remove as much moister as possible from the chickpeas by putting them in a salad spinner.

When the oil is hot, add the chickpeas to the pan and fry them for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and crispy. Turn off heat and let chickpeas cool.

In a medium bowl, add the cucumbers, green onion, cilantro and feta.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When chickpeas are cool, add to the rest of the salad. Just before serving, whisk the dressing together and toss into the salad.

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

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Smoky tuna dip – a healthy snack

In Alaska we are pretty seafood-centric. Although we have more than 47,000 miles of shoreline my husband doesn’t like seafood so I rarely cook with it.

I have access to Alaska halibut and salmon, but sometimes I just want a good old-fashioned can of tuna. Recently I was in Mexico and a friend served up a dip made with smoked mackerel. I don’t have any smoked fish lying around my freezer so I tried my own tuna dip. With a tiny amount of liquid smoke and just a few other ingredients I came up with a smoky, delicious tuna salad that’s perfect for a mid-afternoon snack — and it’s healthy too!

Smoky tuna dip | A healthy snack from Alaskaknitnat.com

I love tuna packed in oil, but that can run pretty expensive at our local fancy grocery store. The big grocery store carries the next best thing for about $2.50 a can.

Smoky tuna dip | A healthy snack from Alaskaknitnat.com

You can use any can of tuna you’d like.

Smoky tuna dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 teaspoon of chile in adobo sauce
  • 1.5 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon plain, Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • salt and pepper to taste

Drain the tuna and place in a small mixing bowl. Combine all the other ingredients. Serve with corn chips or crackers.

Smoky tuna dip | A healthy snack from Alaskaknitnat.com

Salmon salad lettuce wraps

With a new year comes New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve decided to join the countless others who resolve to eat more healthily. As a contributor to Anchorage Food Mosaic Project, I was recently asked what my Food Year’s Resolution was. Fewer cheeseburgers was the first thing that came to mind, but also to cut down on carbs and to eat more healthily in general.

My husband and I are trying out the South Beach Diet, which is a low sugar and carb regimen. The first phase is pretty strict, but that doesn’t limit my ability to cook delicious food.

Today’s lunch was quick to prepare and pretty dang delicious. I love me some smoked salmon, but that stuff is expensive. I wanted to make a dish that had the flavor of smoked salmon, but was a little easier on the pocketbook.

This salad recipe is chock full of nutrients and with the use of smoked paprika, it fulfilled my craving for smoked salmon. I purchased my canned salmon at Costco, but if you’re lucky to have an Alaska fisherman friend, you could certainly make this with fresh-cooked salmon!

Smokey Salmon Lettuce Wraps | A Healthy Lunch from Alaska Knit Nat

Smokey salmon lettuce wraps — A South Beach Diet phase 1 recipe

Makes about 6 wraps

Continue reading Salmon salad lettuce wraps

Wild Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps

Last year we picked hundreds of pounds of boletes — wild porcini mushrooms. We dried them and have since not consumed many of them; so before we hit mushroom season this summer we decided we better start using these earthy, flavorful morsels.

Wild mushrooms pair well with risotto. I had a half box of Barilla Orzo pasta, which look like grains of rice. I thought the orzo would taste super with portobello and porcini with a hint of lemon and garlic.

Costco sells a four pack of portobello caps for just a few dollars. I lightly marinated them in oil and vinegar then grilled them over high heat and topped them with roasted bell peppers and chèvre. The fresh arugula salad was the perfect accompaniment to the meal with a simple lemon vinaigrette.

This is a quick meal that’s hearty and vegetarian too.

Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

Wild Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad

Serves 3

Ingredients:

4 portobello caps

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

4 Tbs. butter

Olive oil

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 cup dry orzo pasta

2 cloves garlic

zest and juice of one lemon

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup crumbled chèvre

3 mini bell peppers

salt and pepper

 

Directions:

Bring a cup of water to boil. Pour over the dried mushrooms and cover. Set aside for 15 minutes. Remove the stems from portobello caps and set aside. Remove the gills with a spoon. Lightly score the tops of three of the caps with a paring knife. Reserve one cap for the orzo. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, the vinegars, one minced clove of garlic salt and pepper to a one-gallon ziploc bag. Carefully add the caps, seal and gently toss to coat the caps. Let sit 30 minutes to an hour.

Chop the stems and one portobello cap. Remove the porcini mushrooms and reserve the liquid. Chop the porcini. Set aside.

Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the orzo for 7 minutes. Drain and set aside. Lightly toss with olive oil so they don’t stick together. Meanwhile, heat the butter and one tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated from them. Add the lemon zest and one minced clove of garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, till garlic is fragrant. Add the orzo, 1/4 cup of reserved mushroom liquid and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Toss thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

Set all burners on your gas grill to high and heat for 15 minutes. Chop the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Skewer them on a metal skewer. Turn grill burners to med-high and set the peppers and the mushroom caps, top side down, on the grill. Cover and grill for about 4 minutes. Flip and grill another 4 minutes. Remove everything from grill and slice the peppers. Serve the caps with sliced peppers and crumbled chèvre alongside the orzo, sprinkled with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

For the salad: Top baby arugula with sliced cherry tomatoes, blueberries and crumbed chèvre. Squeeze fresh lemon on top and drizzle on extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Creamy Potato Salad

We’ve been having an unusually sunny and warm May, which means it’s time for BBQ food. No BBQ is complete without creamy potato salad. This recipe was inspired by one from Cook’s Country Magazine where they incorporate an egg yolk into the dressing. I’m not usually a fan of hard-boiled eggs mingling with my potato salad, but this time it turned out surprisingly well.

I know everyone has a “method” to cooking perfect hard-boiled eggs. My method is to cover the eggs with cold water and pour in a couple of teaspoons of baking soda. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and boil for 11 minutes. Then immediately drain and cover with icy cold water. Not only are the yolks perfectly cooked, but the eggs peel easily too.

Creamy Potato Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

Creamy Potato Salad

Serves 4

3 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 hard-boiled eggs, one yolk reserved

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. agave nectar or honey

1/2 a celery rib, minced

2 green onions, minced

2 pickles, diced

1/4 cup greek yogurt

2 Tbs. mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Toss your diced potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Add a couple of pinches of salt, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer till potatoes are just tender — about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, agave nectar, and the yolk from one egg. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a bowl. Pour over half the dressing and gently toss to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the remaining eggs to the remaining dressing and thoroughly mash till the egg whites are small chunks. Add the celery, green onions, pickles, yogurt and mayo. Once the potatoes are cooled, add the remaining dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer your salad even creamier, add a little more mayo.

If you’re looking for a healthier potato salad, why not try this tasty recipe I made with red potatoes? Click on the photo for the recipe:

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Grilled Caesar Salad

Yes, I just used “grilled” to describe salad. I made grilled casear salad last night before our steak dinner and not only was it tasty, but it delighted my guests that I put the lettuce on the grill. I used whole heads of romaine lettuce cut down the middle. The char added an extra dimension of flavor to the salad and didn’t compromise the texture at all.

This recipe is from Cook’s Country Magazine. I particularly like it because it doesn’t call for raw eggs. I recommend using romaine from Costco because they’re not loose leaf like what I was finding at the grocery store.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Serves four

Ingredients for dressing:
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

For the salad:
Two romaine hearts, halved lengthwise through the cores
1 baguette, sliced on the bias into 12 slices
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
1/4 cup parmesan

Directions:
Combine the lemon and garlic and let marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add to a blender the mayo, cheese, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, anchovies, salt and pepper. Toss in the lemon juice and garlic and process for about 30 seconds. While blender is still running, slowly add the olive oil. Place in the fridge till you’re ready to grill.

Heat the grill to super hot. Brush your “croutons” with olive oil on both sides and toast on the grill. Scrub the cut garlic clove on the toasts and set aside. Prepare your romaine hearts by painting dressing on the cut sides. Place cut side down on grill for 1-2 minutes till you see grill marks.

Serve with croutons and remaining dressing. Top with parmesan cheese.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Homegrown Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

In my household growing up, we ate pretty European. Pasta alla carbonara, lots of lamb and most importantly we eat our salad after the main dish. My mom always makes a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing and in the summer we always use greens from the garden. Radicchio, arugula, romaine and even nasturtium and pansies alongside greek olives and an occasional avocado and tomato on the vine.

I learned her house dressing at a young age and since then have tweaked it to become my own.

I never measure anything exactly, but the main thing to keep in mind is that it’s 2:1 oil to vinegar.

The other night I put together a basic greens salad with a honey mustard vinaigrette.

Ingredients:
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
some sort of light vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
salt and pepper
salad greens

Use the spoon of your salad tongs to measure the oil and vinegar and combine everything in the bottom of the salad bowl. I fill the spoon up twice with olive oil and then halfway with balsamic. Then I used my parents dill and garlic flavored vinegar and filled the spoon halfway again. This makes dressing for a huge salad. Use your own judgment depending on the size of your salad. Just remember two parts oil to one part vinegar or lemon juice.

Next mince your garlic and add it to the bowl. Add your dijon, honey, salt and pepper and whisk with the salad spoon. Add your lettuce and wait to toss till right before dinner is served.