Spicy Southwestern Salad

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spicy southwestern salad with avocado dressing


  • creds: pinch of yum
  • prep time: 15 mins
  • cook time: 20 mins
  • total time: 35 minutes
  • yield: 4 large salads

DESCRIPTION

This easy to prepare Spicy Southwestern Salad recipe has roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, and creamy avocado dressing!


INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SALAD

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon each cumin and chili powder (plus a sprinkle of cayenne if you like it hot)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado (optional)
  • 1/2 a head of romaine lettuce, chopped

FOR THE CILANTRO DRESSING:

  • half an avocado
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a squeeze of lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces. Mix the olive oil, cumin, and chili powder together in a small bowl. Brush mixture on sweet potatoes. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir or shake the pan. Turn heat up to 425, and roast for another 10-15 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be just barely roasty-brown on the outside.  cook another minute or two if needed.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, pulse all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth.
  3. Toss the beans, corn, lettuce, and sweet potatoes with the dressing. Serve with the other half of the avocado!

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Roasted Red Peppers with Pesto and Goat Cheese

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8-12 baby red bell peppers (or a combination of red, yellow and orange)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons prepared pesto (I love using Kirklands from Costco)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 ounces goat cheese
  • fresh oregano (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice mini bell peppers in half and remove stem and seeds. Place in a large bowl (or large ziplock bag) and toss with pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar until peppers are completely covered.
  3. Line up peppers on a baking sheet and place into oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Take peppers out and carefully add crumbled goat cheese to insides of pepper halves.
  5. Place back into oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until goat cheese is melted.
  6. Optional: sprinkle chopped fresh oregano over peppers before serving.
  • Psst!  You can marinate and place peppers on a foil lined tray up to the night before if you want to shorten the preparation time right before serving.

Roasted Vegetable and Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad with Roasted VegtablesOrzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables

 

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 32 oz. Chicken Broth
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Finishing touches:
  • 4 green onions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. combine the chopped eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

While vegetables are cooking, bring salted chicken broth to a boil in a medium pot . Add orzo and  cook for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

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For the dressing, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate.

Just before serving, add the green onions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Can be served at room temperature or refrigerated.

Enjoy!

Note: I adapted this delicious side dish recipe from Ina Garten.  I originally found it in my now dog-eared Barefoot Contessa Parties! recipe book.  I love almost every recipe in this publication.  Thank you Ina!

Psst! You can boil the orzo in water instead of chicken broth if you want to go vegetarian.

Homemade Yogurt Sauce / Tzatziki

Homemade Tzatziki
Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions: 

Wash produce (lemon and cucumber)

Grate the cucumber and squeeze out as much liquid as you can and set aside. This prevents your yogurt sauce from being to runny and watered down)

Cut 1/2 lemon into quarters

In a medium bowl, combine the drained cucumber, yogurt and the juice of 2 lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow flavors to mix.

Try it with Moroccan Lamb Meatballs, Curry Spiced Chicken Thighs, or Ras El Hanout Chicken Breasts below.

autumn gingerbread cakeletsCurry-Spiced ChickenChicken and tabouleh

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

DFTSI Roasted Cherry Tomatoes_5709Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I love roasted vegetables! It seams to bring out the sweetness and also carmelizes the outside.  These roasted tomatoes are super easy and delicious too.  You can easily double or triple the recipe if you are serving more people.

Serving: 2
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 15-20 minutes
Total Time 20-25 minutes

Ingredients
1 pint cherry tomatoes (Try the heirloom tomatoes if you like a variety of colors)
1-2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
4-5 large basil leaves cut into chiffonade (with scissors)

Instructions
1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spread the tomatoes  on a cooking sheet with an edge (or jelly roll pan) lined with foil
3. Sprinkle with the olive oil and toss the tomatoes gently.  Sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the fresh basil and a little more salt to taste.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Snack Bites

DFTSI Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Bites_6428Sometimes you just need something sweet and crunchy. It’s tempting to reach for something pre-packaged that’s easy and tasty but makes you feel guilty right after you put it in your mouth.  Not these.  They are crunchy and satisfying while also being high in nutrition Get your snack fix with this easy to prepare treat that you can feel good about.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Servings:  2
Ingredients: 4
Calories: 200/serving

Ingredients

1 medium pear
4 Tablespoons  PB2 (Powdered Peanut Butter)
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut (I like it toasted)

Preparation

In a small bowl, mix PB2 with 2 Tablespoons of water.

Slice the pear into 8 -10 wedeges

Spread peanut butter mixture thinly onto pear wedges and place on either a serving platter or 2 individual salad plates.

Sprinkle with coconut and chocolate chips. Enjoy!

 

Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Easy Peasy Roasted Green Beans

2-4 servings
Time – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash green beans, snap off the ends and place on a foil-lined pan.
Add olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper to the beans, toss gently and spread out on the pan.
Place in oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until crisp and tender.