Kat Barry: Salads from healthful hotties

Published 5:56 pm Thursday, August 15, 2013

This past weekend two of my best friends were in town visiting. These two are beautiful, health conscious, and lovers of all things delicious. I had such a great time with them and being around other like minded ladies is invigorating. In honor of my admiration and appreciation of these healthful hotties, I thought I would share two of their favorite summer salad recipes. Courtney, who gave me the first is one of the most inspiring kitchen mavens I know. The other, is for Isabel, who is the living example of the healing power of clean eating.
Both of these salads welcome my veggie loving ladies to the Midwest by showcasing the abundance of fresh herbs and bountiful selection of seasonal produce we have in the height of our veggie season.

Mrs. Wilson’s Tabouleh Salad
Yields: about 6 1/2 cup servings

Tabouleh is a light and refreshing Mediterranean salad that is perfect in the summer. Fresh mint and parsley along with lemon juice and local tomatoes really please the palate. Tabouleh works well on its own as a side salad but it also works well as a relish on veggie burgers, falafel, or grilled tofu.

1 1/2 cups finely chopped parsley
2-3 green onions chopped
(including the green part)
2 ripe heirloom tomatoes,
chopped into small cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup bulgur wheat uncooked
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add the bulgur. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the bulgur is fluffy.
2. Allow the bulgur to fully cool while you prep the fresh herbs, veggie, and lemon juice.
3. Toss cool bulgur with remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Serve atop a bed of spinach or just eat plain. Let your creativity be your guide.
Cook’s notes: For a gluten free version use quinoa instead of bulgur. You can also amp up the flavor by using vegetable stock to cook the grains. In my opinion this salad is best if it’s had at least a few hours to marinate. It should keep in the fridge for four or five days.

Crazy Quinoa Salad
with Tahini Dressing
Yield: 4-6 servings

For this salad I usually just use whatever seasonal vegetables I have and look the best. The ideas here is to create a carnival of colors, so keeping a balance of color is really the only rule. Tossing it in a tahini dressing adds a filling richness that allows this salad to stand on its own.

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (or 1 cup water
+ 1/2 vegetables bouillon cube)
1/2 green heirloom bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup fresh corn, cut from the cob
1/2 purple or red heirloom
Bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup heirloom radishes, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
1. Rinse the quinoa well in a wire mesh strainer.
2. In a small saucepan, bring the water or vegetable stock to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat, and let simmer covered about 12-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Allow to fully cool.
3. While the quinoa is cooling, prep all the veggies and place in a large salad bowl.
4. Toss veggies and cool quinoa with about 10 ounces of tahini dressing. Store in individual serving size containers for a quick and healthy lunch.

Tahini Dressing
Yields about 16 ounces

2/3 cup tahini
3 cloves minced garlic
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons fresh parsley,
finely chopped
½ teaspoon cumin
¾ teaspoon sea salt
black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Place tahini paste through pepper in a small mixing bowl. Slowly add water, about 2 tablespoons at a time while whisking. Add up to about ¼ cup, or until desired consistency is reached. It should be the consistency of a thick ranch dressing.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or so.