Ottolenghi’s Carrot and Mung Bean Salad


During the winter months, when my CSA is on hiatus for a short while I rely on root vegetables, and legumes. This carrot and mung bean salad is a delightful citrusy salad that is hearty and can certainly stand alone as a meal. Mung beans are indigenous to Central Asia, and have been used in various forms throughout the cuisines. It’s one of those beans that can be transformed into many different variations– noodles, starch, paste for dessert, sprouts and flour. It happens to be a bland tasting bean, but what’s wonderful about the mung bean is that it absorbs flavors very well, so the punch of lemon zest and olive oil marries well with the carrots.

Carrot and Mung Bean Salad
Adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi


2/3 cup dried mung beans (green)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 large carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch thickness
a pinch of sugar
1 1/2 cups cilantro, finely chopped
lemon zest
small handful of feta cheese, crumbled


  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Once boiling, pour in the mung beans, bring back to boil and then reduce heat to simmer until they are just barely done, about 20 minutes. Drain beans when cooked and set aside in a serving bowl. Immediately drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil, minced garlic, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, and vinegar, while the beans are still hot. Mix gently.
  3. In a roasting pan, place the carrots, 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons of oil, and a pinch of sugar. Toss to coat, and roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the carrots are slightly caramelized.
  4. Add roasted carrots to the mung beans, and finish with cilantro, lemon zest, feta chunks, and salt and pepper to taste.

Quinoa & Arugula Bowl with Yoghurt Dressing

IMG_3708 And I’m back…. It’s the beginning of the CSA season and as usual the first couple of months the boxes are light and filled with a multitude of varying greens. This past week, I received arugula. I usually prepare my arugula in a salad with a drizzle of amazing pear balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. I decided this time, and mainly due to the fact that I was having guests for dinner to use my arugula more for a main meal.


Introducing, the Quinoa & Arugula Bowl with a Yoghurt dressing inspired from the California Barley Bowl, which alludes to the feel and taste of this bowl. Well…. if feels and tastes very clean and pure. It’s the sort of thing you can do most of the prep ahead of time – cook the quinoa, tossed with arugula (or sprouts), toasted sliced almonds, avocado, a bit of feta – all dolloped with a simple lemon zest yogurt sauce.


This bowl was a hit with my guests. First it fed as a side dish eight people and the yoghurt dressing was such a welcoming surprise to cool us down from the blistering heat we’ve been experiencing lately. There was a morsel of leftovers and my cousin Talia ate it for breakfast. It has such a healthy organic west coast feel that I totally get why it can be suitable for breakfast. Mind you… Talia happens to be from California, so this was probably nostalgic for her.


California Barley Bowl

Serves 6

2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups arugula
¼ cup feta cheese
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch red pepper flakes (*optional- I like a little spice)
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced

 Yoghurt Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup finely chopped chives
¼ cup finely chopped dill
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
¼ teaspoon black pepper

  1. In a large bowl, toss together cooked quinoa, arugula, feta cheese, almonds, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest, juice, green herbs and black pepper. Top the quinoa bowl with the yogurt sauce, place sliced avocados around the salad and serve.

Barley, Beet & Kale Salad with Feta


This salad is more than a salad, it is a meal. It has everything you would want in a meal and a salad;  protein to sustain your stomach for a while and, fiber and antioxidants (kale & beets), salty feta and a fresh orange zest to round out the flavors. Although I have made this salad/meal with barley (which is wheat free, not gf) you can sub out any grain, like quinoa or wild rice. It would give the same overall effect. This is a meal that gets better over time. You can prepare this a day in advance while the kale softens up from the rice vinegar dressing. Kale is not one of the wimpy greens that shrivels up and gets mushy with a dressing; it’s assertive at first and holds up but with time and maceration in a vinaigrette it absorbs the flavors and softens up a bit. It’s also one of the many reasons you can keep this in the fridge for a few days and grab it as a lunch in a packed container.

Serves 4


1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 bunch Tuscan kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch squares
1/4 cup minced shallots

3 medium, trimmed
1 1/4 cups pearl barley or quinoa or wild rice
4 ounces feta, crumbled
2 teaspoons (or more) unseasoned rice vinegar


  1. Whisk 1/4 cup oil, white wine vinegar, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add kale and shallots; mix until completely coated. Cover and chill until kale is tender, at least 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Arrange beets in a small baking dish and drizzle with a little oil. Season with salt and turn beets to coat. Cover with foil. Bake beets until tender when pierced with a thin knife, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces.
  3. Cook barley in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 45 minutes. Drain barley and let cool completely.
  4. Add beets, barley, and feta to kale. Drizzle salad with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar; gently to combine. Season to taste with pepper and more rice vinegar, if desired.

Roasted Bell Pepper & Chickpea Salad


Ever hear of the term, traffic light peppers? Sometimes, peppers are sold in packs of three: red, green yellow, like a traffic light. For a colorful traffic light salad, you can use any or all colored bell peppers. A little fact on peppers… Red peppers are actually green bell peppers that have ripened and sweetened.

These days, winter is just not ending and we are into the month of March already. I have been feeling a bit run down, which I am sure is due to me sitting indoors more often than not. Not getting enough fresh air and exercise as I usually do has left me a little under the weather, or more aptly put,  (SAD) seasonal affective disorder. I need to see the sun! This bleak winter is enough. So to boost my immune system, I need a shot of vitamin C. Now I know most people like to pop it, but I like to eat foods rich in vitamin C and one of the high ones on the food chain is the pepper. So here we have a deliciously fresh and perky salad that is also full of protein. While you can’t see it in the photo above, there are chickpeas hiding in there. A whole can full.

I do want to point you to a previous post on how to roast peppers to bring out the sweetest meatest flavor. I suggest you roast more peppers than needed, to store in the fridge in blanket of olive oil and fetch it for salads, sandwiches or to dress up a tired pasta. This salad is very straight forward in taste and in assembly. Mint and lemon bring the salad to a whole new level of fresh that just wakes you up out of the winter slumber.


1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas
4-5 roasted peppers (can be a variety of peppers)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 scallions, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Drizzle of virgin olive oil


  1. Roast peppers as described here.
  2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas, then pat dry with kitchen towel.
  3. In a medium size bowl, toss the roasted peppers, chickpeas and the remaining ingredients. Serve at any temperature you prefer. I prefer room temperature as the flavors are more pronounced.

Moroccan Swiss Chard Carrot Salad


It’s winter in New York. The weather has been vacillating between cold and colder or snow and slush. While yesterday was snowing, today it’s all being washed away with rainy slush. So I am home with a cold and I just want something easy to eat that will be fulfilling and yet wash out my system from this cold. That being said, at this time of year a lot of root vegetables are in. In particular, carrots and celery. Couple that with swiss chard and harissa (to burn out this cold) and a bright sprinkling of lemon and we have a medicinal dish.

According to Chinese medicine and basically all ancient food traditions, we should be eating to the seasons and during the colder seasons, increase the heat in our body. Makes sense. So this Swiss Chard & Carrot salad, which is not only delicious, has tons of garlic (which acts as an antibiotic) and harissa, which is a hot and spicy red pepper sauce that will dry out this cold. If you can’t find harissa, which is usually available at an ethnic supermarket, then replace it with hot sauce. Or you can purchase from my dear friend, Osi at Osi Living, here. You can be sure, it’s organic and made with the finest ingredients.

This recipe has been adapted from Wolfgang Puck’s contribution to The New York Times Passover Cookbook.  On these colder days, when you wrap a thick cardigan around your thick wool sweater, it’s the perfect recipe.

Yields 4 (as a side dish)

1∕3 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
6 thin long carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 ribs celery,
peeled and cut into small chunks
1 large bunch Swiss chard or spinach, ribs and leaves, sliced thin

Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of Harissa (depending on your level of heat preference)
Freshly ground Sea Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the half oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté until just fragrant.
  2. Then add the celery and carrots. Cook until the carrots start to soften or sweat. Add the Swiss chard and cook an additional 10 minutes, until very reduced and very tender.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and pour over the vegetables, mixing thoroughly. Serve Moroccan Swiss Chard Carrot Salad at room temperature.

Celery & White Bean Salad

Celery & White Bean Salad

I had a big event planned for this evening in my home – a Challah bake incorporating ingredients that are linked to the Jewish theme of the month. Interestingly, the Jewish month is Shevat, which is supposed to be a month that ushers in the Spring. Can you imagine?? Spring…. in New York in January?? Well, kind of and not exactly. The Jewish calender relates to Israel. So Spring in Israel, maybe, but even they just had a huge snow storm that shut down the city for days. So why do I tell you all of this…. because I had to cancel my event due to Snowstorm Hercules. We are about to be pounded with snow. Right now, it’s so beautiful outside – a dusting of white, clean and pure snow. It’s so so quiet outside. In this quietness, I like to make a little something, while gazing out my window in a sort of dreamy state, chopping up some celery. Hopefully, not my finger.

The easiest salad to assemble with the dear ol’ celery, that is so often overlooked and mostly used as a backbone in a dish. I have a can of white kidney beans, although you can use cannellini beans (almost the same) in the sense that they are both buttery and soft. Heat it up and toss with the the chopped celery. Add a squeeze of lemon and slivered almonds, because I just love almonds with just about anything, especially in a salad that’s gluten free. Although I added raisins, you can add any currants you like, if you are looking for sweetness, or completely forgo it. I like this salad both ways. I can assure you that every thing in this recipe most people (that like to eat) would have as staples in their pantry. Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is that?

Serves 4-6


8 large celery stalks, stripped of strings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, heated
3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Sea salt, to taste

  1. Slice the celery stalks quite thinly.
  2. Then, in a small bowl, make a paste with the olive oil, lemon juice, and Parmesan. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl toss the heated beans with the olive-Parmesan mixture. When well combined, add the celery, raisins, and most of the almonds. Toss once more. Taste and add a bit of salt if needed.
  4. Serve in a bowl or platter and top with some more Parmesan.


Morrocan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

For the last two weeks, my CSA delivered baby carrots, so have been trying a few different recipes – from soups to salads. I came across a cookbook Roots, by Diane Morgan – catchy title that has so many insinuations, like back to the roots of cooking, and cooking with root vegetables.

This salad embodies what I love most about salads – quick, easy and the ingredients are available year round. I added a bit of my own variation from the original recipe, as really you can add anything to this salad and it’ll work. It’s that versatile. On the plate is a heady toast of cumin dressing over julienne carrots (which you can use the food processor to cut down on time) cooked chickpeas, little chunks of medjool dates, and some fresh mint to open the palate with slivered almonds to garnish.

Serves 6


1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

10 ounces carrots, julienne
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15- ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2/3 cup medjool dates, cut into chickpea-sized pieces
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
For serving: lots of toasted almond slices

  1. To make the dressing, first toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and lightly browned, a minute or two. Let cool, and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle.
  2. In a bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, ground cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, chickpeas, dates, mint, and almonds. Gently toss until everything is evenly coated. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (You can toss this salad, minus the almonds, hours in advance. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.)


Spicy Cucumber Peanut Salad in Lime Dressing

This salad is the best of both worlds for me. Cucumbers and limes which are so refreshing and cooling against the backdrop of the slight bite from the chilies. My taste buds just do a happy dance when I eat this. The utter simplicity of this salad with just a few ingredients; a hit of citrus, toasted peanuts and an exotic touch of slivered coconut –  transforms this ordinary cucumber salad into a complex and layered salad. This recipe has been Adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s Cucumber Salad {Khamang Kakdi) in How to Cook Indian. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, April 2011.

Serve 4


3 medium cucumbers, partially peeled
1 green serrano chile, stemmed and minced
1/2 cup peanuts, toasted
1/3 cup dried large-flake coconut, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
a handful cilantro, chopped


  1. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and chop into1/4 inch cubes. Just before you’re ready to serve, transfer to a mixing bowl and toss gently with chile, peanuts, coconut, lime juice, and sugar.


  2. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a small skillet and stir in the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the cumin for 15-30 seconds – just long enough to toast the spices. You’ll know from the fragrance. Remove from heat, sprinkle in the salt, and immediately stir this into the salad. Turn out onto a patter topped with the cilantro.

Coleslaw Salad with Peanuts and Lime Dressing

I have been out of commission for the last 2 weeks. Not by choice… actually I had no choice, no power, and no heat due to Hurricane Sandy. I am sure you have heard of this notorious hurricane that moved slowly across the eastern seaboard only to collide with a No’easter. Long Island was in the dark.
It knocked nearly all electric out for 2 weeks. While I am grateful, we got the power restored and my home is intact, during that entire time I did not cook. So, my diet was a bit haphazard due to my disorientation of this whole ordeal.

My CSA along the eastern tip of Long Island somehow managed to deliver fresh produce to my garage, which is the central depot in my area. Their thinking was that so many people who like me were on a poor diet for the last 2 weeks could use a boost of healthy organic produce. They were right.

So this week, among the wide assortment of vegetables, I made this quick and easy salad made from cabbage and cilantro. It’s Indian inspired and in South India, they eat a variation of this salad cooked. If you though that coleslaw was a german side to a tripple decker pastrami sandwich, know that the Indians thought of it first.

The easiest way to cut up cabbage is to cut it up into cubes and then toss in the food processor to grate. If you don’t have a food processor, you can always practice your knife skills slowly and methodically cutting the cabbage into fine ribbons.

Coleslaw Salad with Peanuts and Lime Dressing
Serves 6 


1 1/2 cups unsalted raw peanuts
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 of a medium-large cabbage
1 basket of tiny cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon + fine-grain sea salt
  1. In a skillet or oven (350F) roast the peanuts for 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice along the way, until golden and toasted.
  2. Cut the cabbage into two quarters and cut out the core. Using a knife shred each quarter into whisper thin slices. The key here is bite-sized and thin. If any pieces look like they might be awkwardly long, cut those in half. Combine the cabbage, tomatoes, jalapeno, and cilantro in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt. Add to the cabbage mixture and stir to combine. Just before serving toss in the peanuts to retain their crunch. Taste and adjust the flavor with more salt if needed.

Lemon Zested Kale Salad with Pecorino Cheese

I think kale is the quintessential vegetable that leads people to associate it with an organic lifestyle…. if that means meditating, chanting, vegetarianism- it’s just all healthy and environmentally friendly. Probably every vegetarian organic restaurant I have ever been to features kale on the menu- and it’s no wonder, as it has a strong dose of anti oxidants which has anti cancer properties.

Usually I eat kale steamed with potatoes and create a curry dish tossing some spices and onions together in the pan. However, this past week, my CSA delivered tender kale greens which forms the perfect background layer to this intense salad that is combined with the strong flavored ingredients of dry-roasted slivered  almonds, red pepper flakes, and a simple lemon with olive oil dressing. This has become one of my FAVORITE salads because it has all the things I love in a salad- crunch, cheese and mostly satisfying.

The salad calls for just a handful of ingredients, but they all deliver. Simple, but special- just use fresh and the best. It’s a salad I throw together for a light dinner, but also something I can make for friends or family when they come over on the spur.

This recipe has been inspired by Melissa Clark’s In The Kitchen with a Good Appetite


1 bunch Tuscan kale
1/2 garlic clove or 1 garlic scape
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
1/4 cup (or small handful) grated pecorino cheese, plus additional for garnish
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
1/2 toasted slivered almonds
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Trim the bottom few inches off the kale stems and discard. Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle or a knife, pound or mince the garlic or garlic scape and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with the toasted slivered almonds, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.