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salad

Cooking

Beet Carrot and Feta Salad with Lime Honey Dressing

close-up of salad in a bowl

This Beet, Carrot and Feta Salad is fantastic to make anytime of the year – summer, winter, spring or fall, and is full of contrasting flavours and textures. Because the beets and carrots are roasted in the oven, this salad is great as a transitional salad between seasons. It has nice soft sweet roasted vegetables in the middle which contrast nicely with the bitter greens on the bottom and the salty creamy feta on top. This salad ticks off all the boxes of tasty, delicious, and beautiful to look at. Oh, and I haven’t told you about the dressing yet: tart heavenly lime juice and zest sweetened with honey and smoothed out with olive oil. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

My friend, Philippa gave me this recipe a few summers ago. The first night that I made this salad, my family went completely quiet, as we savoured it, enjoying all the different flavours. It has become a regular menu item ever since.

In the summer, salads are the mainstay of our dinner menus. I love salads because they are super nutritious and quick to put together for an evening meal. With a bed of fresh greens, chopped fresh veg, a source of protein from tofu, chicken, eggs or beef…the world is your oyster for choices. And homemade dressings are a snap to shake together: oil + vinegar, creamy herby dressings etc. So easy.

While it is super easy to create your own salad, some combinations are better than others. This Beet, Carrot and Feta Salad is most definitely one of those combinations. You definitely want to have this one on your menu roster.

Creating summer salads is fun in the summer months, when you don’t want to be doing much cooking. Here are some tips for creating a summer salad the whole family will love.

Tips for creating your own summer salads

  • use a mix of colours such as various leafy greens, radicchio, cherry tomatoes, yellow, red or purple peppers
  • try to incorporate a variety of textures such as soft avocado, leafy greens, crunchy fruits or vegetables,
  • make a contrasting dressing; consider dressings such as oil and vinegar vinaigrettes, creamy herby dressings or a spicy dressing with siracha, or pickled jalapeno peppers
  • To make a salad a full meal, consider adding some protein: sauteéd tofu, chicken, beef, edamame, legumes, canned fish

This Beet Carrot and Feta Salad works best if you can find really good feta cheese.

Tips on buying good feta

  • Make sure the feta is made from sheep’s milk, or at least a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk. Feta made from cow’s milk will be too dry.
  • buy feta in a block and crumble it just before serving, so it’s not dry
  • store the remaining feta in the original container with the brine, including any extra crumbled feta.
  • if you would like to read more about feta cheese, click here
  • and if you love cooking with feta, here is another recipe for you to try

roasted beets and carrots on a tray

First, roast the beets and carrots. Roasted vegetables develop a nice caramelization which augments their complimentary flavours.

roasted beets

The beets looks exceptionally lovely after roasting: all deep purple with a lovely soft almost creamy texture.

Tips on Roasting Vegetables

  • cut the vegetables into medium bite-sized pieces
  • slightly coat them in olive oil before roasting
  • have all the vegetables in uniform sizes
  • give them a good stir around after about 20 minutes
beet, carrot and feta salad in a bowl

Bon Appetit!

Suzanne

Cooking

Quick and Easy Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup

raw fruit for fruit salad

This Quick and Easy Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup is just the thing to have in your fridge this time of year! I just love it! It’s the perfect snack for me to have all ready-made in my fridge. Especially after all the recent Easter Feasting. It’s not completely necessary to have a recipe for a fruit salad, but I always find it helps to motivate me towards making one.

Back in the day, when we used to go on vacation, the hotels we stayed at inevitably always had a huge bowl of fruit at the breakfast buffet. And every vacation, I would decide that when I got home, I would make a big bowl of fruit salad every week. Of course, this is harder to achieve when you have a large family, but occasionally I do have a nice big fruit salad in there, at least for a few days. And we all enjoy it!

What I especially love about this salad, is the lime syrup that I pour over top. It really powers up the flavours, and makes it more than just your average fruit salad. The lime juice also helps preserve some of the fruits.

What other fruits are good in salad?

  • bananas are very nice, but add them individually, as they will go mushy mixed in with the other fruits and stored in the fridge
  • mango is very nice and will keep quite well
  • berries are fantastic in a fruit salad. I tend to just choose one berry, as they can be expensive when not in season. Also, berries such as raspberries and blackberries can be quite delicate and fall apart easily. You could sprinkle those on top of your bowl, if you don’t like them falling apart.
  • pink grapefruit are also very good. If you were going to use pink grapefruit, I would swap out the oranges for pink grapefruit. They are a little more tart than oranges, but would go nicely with the other fruits.
  • Kiwis are also very delicious. The green colour is a lovely contrast with all the other fruits. If you want an extremely colourful fruit salad, add some kiwis.

How do I know when fruits are ripe?

  • Pineapple: Pineapples are ripe when they are a lovely golden/yellow colour. They should also not feel rock hard. Solid green, rock hard pineapples are not ripe. Pineapples don’t continue to ripen much after they are picked, so try to choose a good one at the store.
  • Strawberries: Strawberries also don’t ripen after they are picked. You want to choose nice bright red strawberries. Look for strawberries that have healthy green leaves on top and no white at the top of the berry. If you’re buying them in a clear plastic box at the grocery store, check all sides of the container to make sure there aren’t any that have blackened or are mouldy.
  • Kiwi: To test a ripe kiwi, press slightly on the skin. It should give slightly when you press on it. A ripe kiwi should have brown fuzz overtop of brown skin. If the skin is green, it is not ripe. However, kiwis ripen up very well on the kitchen counter. So, if the kiwis that you buy are not ripe, you can set them in a bowl on the counter for a few days until they ripen up.
  • Bananas: Bananas are ripe when they are yellow. If you can only find green bananas at the grocery store, that’s ok. They will continue to ripen on your kitchen counter. Don’t keep bananas in the fridge as they will turn black. If your bananas become spotted with black specks, they are still good to eat, and even more perfect to cook with. You can bake with them right away, or you can freeze over-ripe bananas in the freezer until you are ready to bake.
  • Mango: There are many different varieties of mango that are available at the grocery store. A mango that is ready for eating, is semi-soft. If it’s rock hard, it’s not ready. But mangoes will continue to ripen after they are picked. If you buy rock hard mangoes, put them on your kitchen counter for a few days until they ripen up.

3 Reasons why I prefer having a bowl of Fruit Salad over individual fruits

  • no peeling; the washing and peeling is already done
  • no chopping; fruit salad is ready to eat on the spot or pack up right away for healthy lunches
  • it’s a healthy food choice for the whole family; also introduces new fruits to little ones

How long does fruit salad last in the fridge?

Fruit salad will last a good few days in the fridge, up to four or five. The strawberries in the fruit salad will get a bit soft, so you could also add those individually, if that bothers you. Personally, I don’t mind. But the grapes, pineapple and oranges keep very well in this fruit salad, which is one reason why I like that combination.

Tips for Making a Fruit Salad

  • always make sure your fruit is perfectly ripe. That way your fruit salad will keep longer and taste the freshest and most sweet.
  • cut fruit into uniform size, you want to be able to get a mix of fruit in every mouthful
  • use a variety of colourful fruits, for eye-popping colour
  • for a beautiful presentation; you can layer the fruits individually in a glass bowl or trifle dish. Stir it around just before serving.
  • Fruit salad is delicious on its own, but it’s also very good with yogurt (plain or fruit flavoured), vanilla ice cream, sherbet or a dollop of whipped cream.
fruit salad in a bowl

My Quick and Easy Fruit Salad makes quite a lot, if you use the same fruits that I did. What I love about this fruit salad, is the combination of pineapple, grapes, strawberry, oranges and blueberries. The flavours go amazingly well and these fruits are available year round. This combination of fruit also keep quite well with the lime syrup. However, after a couple of days, the strawberries may get a big soft. But I never mind, they’re still delicious.

I hope you enjoy my Quick and Easy Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup. Let me know if you make one yourself, and what fruits you choose.

Quick and Easy Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup

Print Recipe
Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 Pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large bunch of grapes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 box of strawberries (about 12)
  • 1 pint blueberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 oranges, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Lime Syrup
  • 7 tablespoons lime juice
  • 7 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

1

Wash and chop fruit.

2

You can cut the grapes in half if you like.

3

I cut the strawberries into quarters because they were quite large. You can also cut them just in half if they're not too big.

4

The important thing is to have all the fruit pieces in uniform bite-size pieces.

5

Place in a bowl or container to keep in the fridge.

6

This makes about 12 cups of fruit salad.

7

Lime Syrup

8

Add water, lime juice and sugar into pot.

9

Boil until reduced a bit and slightly thickened.

10

Place the syrup in a container and place in the fridge until cold.

11

Once cold, pour over the fruit salad.

Cooking

Tuscan Tuna, Bean, Tomato Salad

tuscan bean salad in a bowl

My Tuscan Tuna, Bean, Tomato Salad is as delicious as it is nutrient-dense. This Tuscan Tuna, Bean, Tomato Salad contains beans and tuna for protein, torn naan bread for carbs, tomatoes and herbs for fibre and vitamins and is sprinkled with olive oil and red wine vinegar. The olive oil will keep the salad moist, keep you filled longer and provides numerous health benefits.tuscan tuna, bean, tomato salad in a bowl

I created this recipe last week when the temperature hit an all-time high of 47 degrees celsius in Ottawa. That is the hottest day I have ever experienced, and that includes visiting Hawaii in August!  I was inspired to make a Tuscan salad after leafing through Emiko Davis’s cookbook, Florentine. So many of her Tuscan recipes feature so many of my favourite  ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, onions, fresh herbs, country bread, and beans.

tuscan tuna, bean, tomato salad in a bowl

I love italian food, but Tuscan recipes are even more special.  Everything is so simple, and yet come together so naturally, like all the ingredients belong together. This simple salad can be prepared in about 10 minutes with a tin of tuna and beans, fresh cherry tomatoes and some other pantry supplies.

This salad is perfect for a light backyard lunch, a picnic at the beach or a packed lunch. Whatever the occasion, this salad’s fresh flavours and contrasting textures will provide you with a delicious nutritious lunch.

This salad would also work with  garbanzo beans (chick peas) or romano beans, if you don’t have pinto beans. I’m just partial to pinto beans. You can make this salad vegan by eliminating the cheese and tuna. Then increase the other ingredients by about one third.

tuscan tuna, bean, tomato salad in a bowl

Tuscan Tuna, Bean, Tomato Salad

Print Recipe
Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 100 grams pinto beans
  • 100 grams tuna, in oil, drained
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • about 12 basil leaves, or a few squeezes of basil paste
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • a drizzle of red wine vinegar
  • a pinch of coarsely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 a naan bread, torn into pieces

Instructions

1

Drain and rinse the pinto beans.

2

Drain the tuna.

3

Add the pinto beans and tuna to a bowl. Add the cut up cherry tomatoes. Add the basil.

4

Tear up some naan bread, and add to the bowl.

5

Drizzle over some olive oil and a bit of red wine vinegar. I usually like a bit more oil than vinegar.

6

Mix everything loosely with your fingers.

7

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.

adapted from Florentine by Emiko Davies