Southwest Summer Salad

Here is a spicy, savory meal that makes great use of prime summer produce — corn, tomatoes, lettuce, and avocados — in one delicious salad.  This is a crowd pleasing superstar, as it’s dairy and gluten free, vegan, deliciously nutritious, and easy to do much of the prep in advance.

Southwest Summer Salad

This salad uses one of my prior recipes, Spicy Tofu Crumbles.  If you would prefer, you may substitute grilled chicken breast for the tofu crumbles.  The quick to make dressing can be adjusted for spiciness depending on your preference.  (for Hannah & Caleb) Enjoy!

Southwest Summer Salad
(all quantities are dependent on number of servings needed)

romaine lettuce, washed and cut
tomatoes, rough chop large tomatoes, or halve cherry tomatoes
fresh sweet corn – kernels cut off cobs, sauteed briefly in a little olive oil, then cooled to room temp.
avocado, peeled and diced
bell pepper, chopped
fresh cilantro, chopped
pinto beans, cooked and cooled
toasted pepitas
Spicy Tofu Crumbles
Chipotle Lime Dressing (recipe below)

Assemble all ingredients in a large shallow bowl.  Dress the salad just before serving.  Add tortilla chips for extra crunch.

Chipotle Lime Dressing
3 TB fresh squeezed lime juice
6 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp. chipotle powder (depending on how spicy your like dressing)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed

Lime Chipotle Slaw

If you’re getting some beautiful cabbages in your CSA box, or spy some nice ones in the produce market, I have a great winter salad – a fresh twist on coleslaw.

Lime Chipotle Slaw

Lime Chipotle Slaw

I make this one with tart lime juice and spicy chiptole powder.  It’s crunchy and tangy — and perfect with grilled fish or chicken.  Enjoy!

chipotle, mayo, cabbage, and lime

chipotle, mayo, cabbage, and lime

Lime Chipotle Slaw

1 LB cabbage
1 lime, zest and juice
1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup mayonnaise

Slice the cabbage fine.  I use the 4mm slicing blade on my food processor.  Juice and zest the lime.  Mix all ingredients and serve.  For a make-ahead salad, just mix all ingredients except cabbage.  Dress shredded cabbage just before serving.

Lime-Chipotle Chicken

It’s winter in California, which means spicy, tart, ripe limes.  This recipe is my go-to marinade for chicken thighs.
lime chipotle chicken 2lime chipotle chicken 1It stars a threesome of flavor all-stars:  lime, garlic, and chipotle.  These three are bold individually, but there is special magic when they get together in this marinade.  Whip up some Lime-Chipotle chicken, and then use a few more of those juicy limes in a Margarita.  Even if it’s cold and dark where you live, you’re sure to have an evening of warmth with this on the menu.

Lime-Chipotle Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
juice and zest of two limes
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp. chipotle powder (depending on how spicy your like your chicken)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cloves garlic, pressed

At least two hours prior to cooking, mix together all the ingredients in a 1 gallon zippered plastic bag.  Press the air out of the bag so that the marinade and the chicken are in good contact.  Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Heat your grill, grillpan, or frying pan until hot.  Take the chicken out of the marinade, but don’t worry about too much of the liquid clinging to the chicken.  Discard remaining marinade.

Grill or fry the chicken until done.  How to tell when it’s done?  The meat should tender, and not rubbery.  Any juices that come out should be clear rather than pink.  Chicken thighs take longer to cook than chicken breast meat of the same thickness.

Serve with a couple of lime wedges on the side.  Add cooked rice and a salad for an easy, tasty dinner.

Summer Corn Salad

Sweet corn!  Tender sweet corn is one of my favorite treats in summer.  It is at its peak at my market, along with deep red tomatoes and creamy-rich avocados.
Summer Corn SaladHere is my recipe for a simple summer treat featuring sweet corn in the starring role.  I serve it as a salad or side dish, depending on what else is on my menu.  This is a fabulous picnic dish, as it’s easy to make ahead of time and tastes best at room temp.

Summer Corn Salad

4 ears fresh sweet corn, kernels cut off the cobs
2 large ripe tomatoes*, cut into bite sized chunks
2 large avocados, cut into bite sized chunks
1/4 cup good quality olive oil, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
sea salt
1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
2 limes – juiced

Heat a large saute pan over high heat until medium hot.  Add 2 TB olive oil to pan, then the sweet corn kernels, and saute just until the kernels begin to turn from opaque to semi-transparent.  They may take on a bit of brown at the edge of the pan — this is good and adds flavor to the salad.  Total cooking time should be 5 – 6 minutes.  Turn the corn out into a bowl and cool until room temperature.

Using a fine rasp, zest one of the limes.  Then juice both of the limes.  In the bottom of a large bowl mix together the remaining olive oil, the lime juice and zest, about 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and chipotle powder.  To this dressing add the corn, avocado chunks, tomato chunks, and cilantro.  Gently toss, taking care not to mash the avocado.  Adjust seasoning.  Serve cool or at room temperature.

*feel free to use cherry tomatoes, halved, if you prefer  – or if that’s whats growing in your garden.

Summer Quinoa Saute

Quinoa is a protein-packed, easy to make grain with a rich nutty flavor.  Here’s a quick saute that pairs quinoa with a couple items playing starring roles in my CSA box this season: summer squash, tomato, and bell pepper.

In this one dish meal I spice things up with jalapeno and preserved lime.   Feel free to substitute the vegetables you have on hand.  If your garden is giving you zucchini – then by all means – saute that zucchini.  Use this easy recipe as a template, but make the dish your own.  Enjoy!

Summer Quinoa Saute

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped

1 LB baby summer squash, sliced into bite sized chunks

1 large ripe tomato, diced

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 TB minced preserved lime – or zest and juice of one fresh lime

salt, to taste

2 TB olive oil

Avocado wedges and cilantro for serving (optional)

Prepare quinoa by simmering quinoa and water for 20 minutes in a covered saucepan.

While the quinoa is simmering, heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and saute the squash, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomato, and garlic.  When the vegetables are nearly done cooking, add the preserved lime, and salt to taste.   Simmer for another minute or two to blend the flavors.  Serve the sauteed vegetables on the warm, cooked quinoa.  Top with avocado wedges and cilantro if desired.

Corn, Chard, and Summer Squash with Rice

I’ve made this one dish meal a couple times this summer.  It was motivated by my CSA box, and the fact that I needed a tasty dinner in a hurry.  My family liked the combination of sweet corn, savory chard, and spicy chipotle.  Avocado and lime make a great topping for this particular combination of flavors.  This is a flexible recipe, and one could include fresh tomatoes, green beans, leftover diced cooked potatoes, or eggplant.  Part of the fun of getting a CSA box is the creativity it inspires in my cooking.

2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
1 bunch chard, shredded
2 ears sweet corn, kernels cut off the cob (use this nifty tool)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
5 baby squash, chopped into bite sized pieces
olive oil
Chipotle powder
lime wedges
avocado wedges
cilantro – a few sprigs

Heat a large pan over medium high heat.  Add 2 TB olive oil, then saute the onion for 5 minutes.  Then add the chard.  Saute for 5 minutes, then add the corn kernels, summer squash, and crushed garlic.  Saute for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are just cooked through.  If at any point in the recipe the vegetables are browning too much, just add a little bit of water to the pan and stir.  It will quickly evaporate.  You are looking for nicely cooked, slightly browned vegetables.

Season with salt and chipotle powder to taste.  Mix in the rice.  The rice should be warm when you mix it in.  If it’s not, just keep the mixture on the heat for a little while to warm it through.

Top each serving with a couple avocado wedges, a slice of lime, and some fresh cilantro.  I like to give mine a little extra drizzle of olive oil, too.  Enjoy.