Viewing entries in


grilled wedge salad with honey jalapeño dressing

Grill all of the things!  Summer is a time for grilling, that much is obvious, but there is still a lot of room for creativity when it comes to what you choose to grill.  In this case, we're grilling a whole mess of vegetables to create one glorious, grilled wedge salad.  Radicchio and cabbage make a bittersweet pair and look ever so pretty on the plate.  I topped that off with fresh, grilled corn, jalapeños, red onions and shaved rainbow carrots to make this flavorful, crunchy and quintessentially summery salad.

When grilling your veggies, make sure to pay attention to the cooking times for each item since they come in lots of different shapes and sizes.  The radicchio will grill the fastest, being somewhat light and delicate, followed by the jalapeño.  The cabbage and corn are much thicker and sturdier, so they take more time, and red onions are somewhere in-between.  I may or may not have grilled an extra cob of corn just so I could do this to it:

What the heck is that weird looking sauce, you ask?  If you haven't tried this Chicago-made but Alabama-inspired barbeque sauce, Lillie's Q Ivory, you need to immediately drive to Marczyk Fine Foods and go get yourself some.  It is a mayonnaise based sauce with lots of tang from the addition of cider vinegar and lime juice.  It's seasoned with lots of fresh black pepper and some other magical, wonderful and undisclosed secret spices that came from Grandma Lillie's genius brain.  I salute you, Grandma.  Your BBQ sauce is ridiculous.

Grilled Wedge Salad 

with Honey Jalapeño Dressing

serves 2


1/2 a small head of cabbage

1 small head of radicchio

1 cob of corn

1 red onion, sliced into rounds

1/2 jalapeño, halved and seeded

peanut oil

2 small rainbow carrots, shaved

1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco

1 handful cilantro leaves


Juice of 2 limes

2 tsp honey

1/2 jalapeño, grilled and minced

2 T peanut oil

2 T olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

Heat your grill to medium-high.  Slice the cabbage and radicchio into quarters and brush lettuces, corn, onion and the whole jalapeño with a little peanut oil.  Place your veggies onto grill and cook until each side gets a good char.  Remove from grill when done and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Set vegetables aside and allow to cool slightly, then mince the jalapeño and set half of it aside for your dressing.

For the dressing, whisk lime juice and honey together in a small bowl until well combined.  Slowly drizzle the oils in as you whisk continuously, then season with salt and pepper to taste and whisk in the minced jalapeño.  

Assemble grilled wedges on your plates or serving dish.  Slice corn kernels off the cob, chop the grilled onions, and mix the corn, onion, shaved carrot and jalapeño together with a little bit of dressing.  Drizzle desired amount of remaining dressing over lettuce wedges, then top with remaining salad ingredients, garnishing with the queso fresco and cilantro leaves.  Serve immediately.



shredded mexican salad

Summer is here!  It's salad season!!  OK, maybe that doesn't sound super exciting, but is there any other time of year that's better suited to enjoying a big plate of fresh, crunchy, cooling vegetables?  I think not.

Every Summer, without fail, I make some version of this salad.  It happens to be a favorite amongst our friends, who we cook for often, and definitely a favorite of mine, too, although I think I make it a little differently every time!  The foundation always remains the same - a whole bunch of sliced cabbage with lots of other vegetables (other really great additions/substitutions for this salad are grilled corn, jicama, sliced green onions, grilled peppers, or queso fresco) and a creamy, cilantro flavored dressing.  This dressing is extra luscious thanks to the avocado and sour cream, but it has a lot of tang from the fresh lime juice.  For a lighter version, I've played around with different fats like peanut oil (use judiciously!), yogurt or coconut milk instead of sour cream, or eliminating the avocado altogether.

This crunchy slaw gains a lot of heft, substance, and meaty flavor from the addition of ground bison, although a vegetarian version is equally tasty (black beans make a great protein!).  If you aren't familiar with bison, this recipe is a really easy, user-friendly place to start for first-timers.  I'm a real bison lover, myself!  It has a rich, beefy taste but with more sweetness than beef and a subtle grassy flavor.  Not to mention, bison is lean and very low in cholesterol compared to beef, chicken, and even some fishes.

So, here's to enjoying the hot weather with a cool, crunchy salad!  

Shredded Mexican Salad

serves 6


1 lb ground bison

1 T vegetable oil

2 tsp Southwest seasoning (I used

Savory Spice Shop's

El Diente Peak Southwest seasoning, which is a blend of chile powder, paprika, coriander, cumin, pepper, crushed red pepper, and mexican oregano)

salt and pepper

6 cups shredded cabbage

1 large red onion

2 tsp vegetable oil

1/2 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes

1 carrot, shredded or cut into matchsticks

1/2 an avocado, diced

3 large radishes, sliced

about 1 cup cilantro leaves

a handful of cilantro micro greens (optional)


juice of 2 large limes

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 an avocado

a handful of cilantro (stems and all), roughly chopped

1/2 tsp Southwest seasoning

salt and pepper, to taste

First, cook your bison.  Add 1 T vegetable oil to a large, shallow pan and heat to medium high.  Add ground bison, Southwest seasoning, and a generous amount of salt and pepper, to taste.  Cook until meat is just browned, about 8 minutes.  Set aside, allowing to cool.

Rinse and dry your cabbage and set aside.  Slice red onion into rounds and brush with 2 tsp vegetable oil.  Using an outdoor grill or a grill pan, heat your grill to medium-high.  Grill onions until each side gets a good char, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Allow onions to cool, slightly, then chop well and set aside.  Meanwhile, slice the cherry tomatoes in half (start at the tip where the stem was once attached if your knife isn't so sharp) and set aside with remaining vegetables.

Assemble your dressing in a blender or food processor.  Add dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl and add as much dressing as you like (I used about half for a lightly-dressed salad).  Serve immediately.


1 Comment

Simple Peach Salsa

There's something about summertime that makes me want to eat lots of salsa.  Maybe it's because the magical condiment is such a quick and easy way to assemble lots of fresh, ripe summer ingredients into a wholesome, raw sauce that adds tons of flavor to seemingly endless ingredients.  This peach salsa is so easy to put together and so tasty that I've already made it twice this week!  Now is the time to stock up on all those perfectly beautiful Colorado peaches that are in adundance this time of year. 

This version is more on the spicy side and is wonderful in savory applications such as black bean and grilled vegetable tacos, served atop grilled fish, steak or pork chops, or just simply used as a dip for a good, salty tortilla chip.  However you decide to use the salsa, you might want to think about doubling the recipe.  You'll want to have leftovers! 

Simple Peach Salsa
makes about 3 cups

6 firm but ripe peaches, peeled and diced (3 cups)
1/4 cup lime juice (3-4 limes)
2 T jalapeno, minced (1 large pepper)
1 T garlic, minced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
large pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. ancho chile powder
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss well.  Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

1 Comment


Black Bean, Zucchini and Roasted Garlic Cakes

We've all had them before.  Just about anybody who has ever eaten more than a few vegetarian meals has probably eaten a black bean burger.  I've always been quite fond of the protein-packed patties, but most of the store-bought versions really fail to satisfy.  Even the all-natural black bean burgers usually have an ingredient list that is far too long for me to feel good about (and often has a lot of unnecessary soy or corn-based fillers), not to mention the texture is usually dry and over-firm.

These black bean, zucchini and roasted garlic cakes, on the other hand, might become your new favorite meat alternative!  They are perfectly moist, thanks to the addition of shredded zucchini and the roasted garlic gives them a wonderfully savory aroma and flavor.  They have a nice, soft texture on the inside but get a crispy coating of panko to give them some crunch.  I served mine with Romaine and Radish Slaw and Cilantro-Lime dressing to make for a really fresh, crunchy and tasty meal.  The recipe can easily be doubled and the leftovers frozen, which makes for a super-quick and easy meal later on in the week. 

Black Bean, Zucchini and Roasted Garlic Cakes
makes 8 cakes

1 garlic bulb
2 T olive oil
4 cups black beans, soft-cooked
1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded and blotted dry with a towel (about 1 medium zucchini)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Slice about 1/4 inch from the top of the garlic bulb so that a little bit of each bulb is exposed.  Add olive oil to a small ramekin and place the garlic bulb, cut side-down, in the ramekin.  Roast garlic until it becomes fragrant and soft, about 30-40 minutes.  Leave oven on and allow bulb to cool for at least 15 minutes.  Once cooled, squeeze garlic bulb from the bottom so the garlic cloves pop out of their skins.  Mash garlic with a fork to make a paste.

Next, assemble your cakes.  Add beans, garlic paste, zucchini, 1/2 a cup of the bread crumbs and spices to a large bowl.  Using your hands or a potato masher, mash the ingredients together until combined.  Season with salt and pepper and taste.  Adjust seasoning, if desired.  Lightly beat the egg with a fork then add to your bean mixture.  Mix well and set aside.
Brush a large baking sheet with olive oil and heat in the oven for at least 5 minutes.  Place remaining 1 cup of bread crumbs on a medium-sized plate.  Divide bean mixture into 8 balls.  Taking one ball at a time, flatten into a patty and coat each side with bread crumbs.  Place each patty on the heated baking sheet and place in the 450-degree oven.  Bake until the bottom of the cake becomes golden and crispy, about 12-15 minutes.  Flip the cakes and bake another 10-13 minutes.  Allow to cool, slightly, then serve atop the slaw (recipe below) with an extra drizzle of dressing, if desired.



Radish and Romaine Slaw with Tangy Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Summertime is slaw time!  I just love a cool, crunchy slaw on a hot summer day.  There's something so refreshing about lots of crispy, thinly shredded vegetables tossed with a light and tangy dressing.  This salad is full of good stuff like spicy radishes and mellow, sweet Romaine lettuce with a hit of stringent cilantro.  

Although mayonnaise is synonymous with slaw dressing I like to use it sparingly, if at all.  This recipe uses just enough to give the dressing that signature mayo tang but without the heavy, oily weight of it.  I used light coconut milk (no pantry should be without it!) to thin the dressing out but keep it creamy, and lime juice adds a hint of sweet and sour.  I had this salad along with some Black Bean, Zucchini and Roasted Garlic Cakes and used the extra dressing to drizzle over the top. 

Radish and Romaine Slaw with Tangy Cilantro-Lime Dressing
serves 4-6

1 large head of Romaine lettuce
1 cup radishes, shredded (1 small bunch)
2 cups red cabbage, shredded (1/2 a small head)
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 cup good-quality mayonnaise
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup cilantro (leaves and stems)
juice of 2 limes
salt and pepper, to taste

First, prep your Romaine.  Slice off the bottom core and soak leaves in a clean sink full of tepid water, stirring the leaves occasionally, until the dirt settles to the bottom - about 15 minutes.  Use a salad spinner to dry leaves, then slice them into thin shreds.  In a large bowl, mix Romaine with remaining ingredients and set aside.

Add dressing ingredients to a blender and puree until the cilantro is well-incorporated.  Add anywhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of the dressing to salad, reserving the rest for drizzling on top of the black bean cakes or reserving for another purpose*.  Serve immediately.

*If you are making enough for leftovers, only dress the amount of salad you will be eating right away.  Keep the dressing and slaw ingredients separate until ready to serve.