Tag Archives: salad

Italian Pasta Salad

Servings: 12


Pasta Salad
1 lb pasta such as penne, elbow, fusilli or rotini
1 large green bell pepper chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half or quartered
8 oz salami thickly sliced or cut in small pieces
8 oz bocconcini mini, or cut in half or quarters if using regular size bocconcini
1/2 medium red onion finely chopped
8 oz spicy salami thickly sliced or cut in small pieces
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese cut in small cubes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives sliced

Italian Dressing

2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
2 tbsp oregano fresh, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried oregano)
2 tbsp basil fresh, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried basil)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp pepper or to taste


Cook the pasta according to the package directions. For 1 lb of pasta you will need about 2 gallons of liquid, also make sure to salt your water well, at least 2 tbsp of salt. After you drain the pasta do not rinse it, if anything add a little olive oil to it to prevent it from sticking together.

Toss all the pasta salad ingredients together.

In a small bowl or jar add all the dressing together and whisk well. If using a jar, put the lid on and close it, then shake well. You want the dressing to emulsify a little bit, this will ensure the pasta will absorb the dressing.

Pour the dressing over the pasta and toss well. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Cheese: I used mini bocconcini, but regular mozzarella cut in cubes can be used as well. Another alternative to Monterey Jack cheese could be a marble jack cheese, or a sharp cheddar cheese.

Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. This salad is even better the next day.

This salad will yield about 15 cups


Lentil Salad

Servings: 4



1 cup dried green lentils (or other lentils) (Note 1 for canned)
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth (or water + 1 bouillon cube, crumbled)
1 1/2 cups water
1 large garlic clove, smashed (Note 2)
Lemon peel (about 3/4 x 2″)
1 bay leaf, dry or fresh
2 sprigs thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 rib celery, broken into 3 or 4 pieces (or just a handful of leafy fronds)


8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (Note 3)
2 cucumbers, cut into quarters then diced
1 red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup coriander / cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
3 oz feta, crumbled (or more.)
2 handfuls rocket / arugula lettuce (optional – bed for salad)

Lemon Dressing:

2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sugar, optional
1/2 tsp salt + black pepper


Place Lentil ingredients in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes for firm (I like this) or 25 minutes for soft. DO NOT overcook and make it mushy.

Drain in a colander, pick out celery etc. Rinse VERY quickly just to remove any grit coating the lentils (don’t want to rinse away flavour.). Set aside.

Place Dressing ingredients in a jar, shake well.

Place lentils, tomato, cucumber, onion, coriander, parsley and some of the feta in a large bowl. Pour over most of the Dressing, then toss.

Place rocket lettuce on a serving platter. Pile salad on top. Drizzle over remaining Dressing and crumble over feta. Serve. (I like serving with pita bread to stuff it in)

Recipe Notes

1. This recipe can be made with any lentils except I don’t recommend red (gets too mushy, is good for curries and soups). My favourite is green because of the size and because it holds its shape well when cooked, making it perfect for salads. Adjust cook time to lentil type – start checking for doneness at 20 minutes.

Canned Lentils: Drain and rinse, the microwave briefly until warmed through. Pour over some of the dressing (hot lentils soak up flavour better), stir then leave to marinate for 1 hr+ (even overnight is fine). Then proceed with recipe (no need to make extra Dressing).

2. Smashing Garlic: Makes it burst open to release flavour into the liquid but still easy to pick out. Just use the side of your knife and press down with your palm so the garlic bursts open, slip skin off and discard.

3. You could also use 3 tomatoes but make sure you deseed them i.e. scrape out and discard watery centre, then dice. Otherwise it will make the salad soggy.

4. Storage: A rare gem that truly keeps well for 2 days. Keep rocket lettuce separate because the Dressing will make it soggy. The less Dressing on the Lentil Salad = keeps better. It would keep for longer except I never keep raw garlic longer than 48 hours for safety reasons (can cause nasty food poisoning).

Avocado Chicken Salad

This Avocado Chicken Salad recipe is a keeper. Easy, excellent chicken salad with lemon dressing, plenty of avocado, irresistible bites of bacon and corn.


2 large cooked chicken breasts shredded or chopped
2 large avocados
1 cup corn from 1 cooked cob
6 oz lean bacon cooked and chopped
1/4 cup Chives (or green onion), chopped
2 Tbsp Dill chopped, or to taste

Lemon Dressing:

3 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper


Dice or shred the 2 large cooked chicken breasts and place into a large mixing bowl.

Peel and pit 2 large avocados, slice into bite-sized pieces and add to the mixing bowl.

Add 1 cup of cooked corn (freshly cooked corn is best), toss in 1/4 cup chopped green onion, chopped bacon, and 2 Tbsp fresh Dill.

Add dressing ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. Drizzle over your salad and toss to combine. Serve with slices of hard boiled egg if desired.

Recipe Notes

* You can use rotisserie chicken, cook your own chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper or use well-drained canned chicken.

** For a healthier salad, you can use uncured turkey bacon which tastes amazing, but has less fat.

Wild Rice Salad

This Wild Rice Salad is a salad for celebrations. Stellar flavour combination – wild rice, pomegranate, pecans, rocket / arugula, green onions, cranberries and feta.
Servings: 3-6 people


1 cup wild rice (Note 1)
4 oz baby rocket / arugula, roughly chopped (~2 giant handfuls)
1 pomegranate, seeds only (see video, Note 2)
3.5 oz feta, preferably soft Danish, crumbled (Note 3)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (or similar)
3/4 cup roughly chopped toasted pecans
1 cup green onions, sliced (or chopped red onion)


2 tbsp white wine vinegar (or cider vinegar, or other clear-ish vinegar)
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper


Wild Rice

Boil 1 quart+ of water in large saucepan (no need to be exact). Add rice, lower heat so it’s simmering gently. Cover then cook for 40 minutes (Note 4), or until rice is tender but not super soft (some will burst).

Drain then leave to steam dry and cool.


Shake Dressing in a jar, set aside for 15 minutes+.

Place rocket, rice, cranberries, pecans and green onions in a bowl. Add some of the feta and pomegranate. Pour over most of the Dressing, toss gently.

Transfer into serving bowl, top with remaining feta and pomegranate. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

1. Wild Rice isn’t actually a rice, it’s a grain. It tastes nutty and almost toasted, so much more interesting than plain rice. I get my from Harris Farms, it’s also sold in some Woolworths (Macro organic brand, health food section), fruit & veg stores like Thomas Dux (I’m in Australia).

2. Pomegranate: To remove seeds, cut in half then hold one half cut side down in your hand over a bowl. Use a wooden spoon to “spank” it firmly! The seeds will fly out into your hand.

3. Soft feta, called Danish feta here in Australia, is ideal for this salad. Goat’s cheese is also fantastic with this. Soft crumbled cheese pairs really well with this salad. Ordinary Greek feta is fine too – once crumbled.

4. How to cook Wild Rice: Just cook it like pasta, then drain and leave to steam and cool. If you like your rice/pasta firm, then 35 minutes will do it. I like mine tender but not super soft, so 40 – 45 minutes is my time. If you like rice/pasta super soft, cook your wild rice for 50 minutes.

5. Make Ahead: Ideal for making ahead, prepare all ingredients in a bowl but don’t toss. Make dressing in a jar and leave for up to 2 days. Then toss it all together just before serving. But even after dressing, this salad keeps quite well because it’s not a super leafy salad – I am happy with mine even after 48 hours. DO NOT keep dressing for longer than 48 hours because it has raw garlic in it (just to be safe, because minced raw garlic can go off after 3 days or so and have nasty consequences).


Banana Split Fluff Salad

Makes about 8 cups salad.


1 – 3.4 ounce box instant banana pudding
1 – 20 ounce can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
1 – 8 ounce container Cool Whip
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts + 2 Tablespoons for garnish
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
2 ripe bananas, sliced
2 – 10 ounce jars maraschino cherries, halved


Stir together the pudding mix and pineapple until dissolved and thickened.

Fold in the Cool Whip with a spatula.

Gently stir in the marshmallows, nuts, chocolate chips, bananas, and cherries.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour to chill.

Notes: *Stir in the bananas right before serving. Or dip the banana slices in lemon juice to keep them from browning too quickly

Chicken Salad

Serves four


2 medium chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or cubed
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large apple, chopped (red or green apple, use what you like)
3/4-1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (or pecans, or other nuts or seeds)
1 cup grapes, halved (or dried cranberries, cherries, or other fruit)
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt*
1/4 cup mayonnaise*
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar (or tarragon vinegar, or white wine vinegar)
1 TBSP fresh tarragon, chopped (or basil, oregano, rosemary, or other herb)
Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste.

* Author’s note: I like to use a combination of mayo and yogurt to make this classic salad a little lighter. Feel free to use whatever you like.


Shred or cube the chicken and place it in a bowl. Add the chopped celery, apple, and toasted walnuts.

In a separate bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, tarragon, and a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Add the dressing to the chicken mixture, and stir to combine.

Mix in the halved grapes last, to keep them from getting bruised. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If the mixture is a little dry, add a bit more yogurt or mayonnaise.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Author’s Notes: Salad is best after a couple of hours, so the flavors have had a chance to mingle. Serve as is, in a wrap, on a sandwich, or however you like. You could even double the dressing and mix in some cooked penne for a pasta salad. I like mine simply with fresh lettuce and a bit of avocado.

Wedge Salad with Tarragon Blue Cheese Dressing

Serves: 4


1 head of iceberg lettuce
1 c light mayonnaise
1/2 c light sour cream
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice, fresh
1 pinch cracked pepper
2 Tbsp very finely diced white onion
2 clove very finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 c crumbled blue cheese
4 slice thick cut bacon
1 vine ripe tomato, diced


Saute bacon in a skillet until crisp, and then place on a paper towel to cool. When cool crumble into small to medium sized pieces.

Add to a small bowl the mayonnaise, sour cream, finely diced tarragon, onion and garlic, pepper, vinegar and lemon juice. Mix vigorously with a fork or small whisk to completely blend.

Rinse off a head of iceberg lettuce and remove the core and the outer leaves. Slice into four equal sized wedges, and place onto serving plates. I think you can also put them on one big serving platter and let guests take their own, that can be pretty too.

Dice a tomato into medium sized pieces (not too big).

Assembly: Pour 1/4 of the sauce over each wedge, letting it drizzle all over the top and down the sides. Scatter crumbled bacon and tomatoes over the top of the dressed wedge, dress with a few extra pieces of blue cheese and tarragon and serve.