Category Archives: Salads

Gluten-Free Tabbouleh

I needed a side-dish to have with our burgers tonight and this was healthy and delicious.  It was super easy and I am excited for the left-overs tomorrow for lunch!  We had it with our Gorgonzola Stuffed Burgers and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut.  And, crazy enough, when I mixed together all three on my plate, it was outstanding!


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Gluten-Free Tabbouleh

1 c. uncooked quinoa
2 c. vegetable broth
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 pt. grape tomatoes, halved
5 green onions, sliced thinly
1 c. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 c. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt/pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine cucumber, parsley, tomatoes, onions, and cooled quinoa. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. Toss lemon dressing with quinoa mixture and serve cold.


Avocado Egg Salad

I needed to use up some hard boiled eggs at lunch today but didn’t want to just have the egg. I also am trying to stay away from mayonnaise as much as possible. So, I found several sources that had a version of egg salad that used avocado. Let’s just say – delish! I tried to keep it to myself but my husband kept stealing it from. It could be great on some toast but I ate it on some gluten-free crackers and was definitely full afterwards. It was super easy and would be great for picnics, which we seem to be doing most every day for lunch right now. I will be making this again – as soon as I get to the store to buy more avocados! 🙂

Avocado Egg Salad

Avocado Egg Salad

Recipe adapted from

3 hard boiled eggs
1 ripe avocado
1 Tbsp. plain whole fat Greek yogurt
1/2 – 1 tsp. Dijon mustard (depending on your flavor preferences… be sure to check the label to make sure it is g/f)
a squirt of lemon juice
sea salt/pepper to taste

Peel hard boiled eggs and chop. Remove pit and peel of avocado and mash. Combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Eat immediately, or refrigerate until you are read to enjoy.

Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Tonight, a rare occurrence… TWO 10 out of 10 husband ratings for our meal!!!  I made this delicious salad but knew that there was a pretty good chance that the little guys in my house would probably not eat much of it.  So, I decided to make a nutritious green smoothie to go with the meal. Both the smoothie and the salad were AMAZING and in my humble opinion you need to make both!!!  🙂  They are so good for you.

I also love that the vegetables in this meal were all raw.  Did you know that raw vegetables provide more nutrients, will keep you fuller longer, and will provide you with more energy?  It takes 30% of our energy to digest a raw food meal but 60% of our energy to digest a cooked meal!  A meal like this will provide all kinds of great energy, protein, nutrients, and keep you full!  Awesome!

Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Recipe adapted from Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, available through Maximized Living (I am not affiliated with them, just like the  book!)

4 Tbsp. gluten-free organic soy sauce or tamari, divided
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 Tbsp. dark sesame oil, divided
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 Napa cabbage, cut into thin slices
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin slices
1 c. shredded carrot (or about 1-2 large carrots, shredded)
2 chicken breasts
3-4 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds

In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, and fresh ginger. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Pour remaining 2 Tbsp. soy sauce on top and let sit for about 15 minutes. In a medium skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Do not let the pan get to hot or the oil will smoke and become rancid. Place chicken in pan and cook until no longer pink. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, bell pepper, and carrots. Add chicken, dressing, and hemp seeds. Toss well to combine and enjoy cold!

(I put all of mine together minus the chicken at nap time today and didn’t cook/toss the chicken in until right before dinner so the salad sat for probably 3-4 hours before we ate it and it tasted great. I am sure it would be tasty freshly tossed as well but it is nice to have something you can make ahead of time.)

Husband Rating: 10 out of 10

Food for thought: Some nice additions to this might be some red cabbage or some raw almond slivers.  But, that is my musings… my husband thought I was crazy to suggest changing any part of it when I told him my thoughts.  🙂

This could easily stand alone as a vegetarian dish if you were looking for a nice side salad for a picnic.  Just leave out the chicken!  It would be yummy either way!

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

One of my favorite summer recipes is the Chickpea and Bulgar Salad. But, now I can no longer enjoy bulger due to my gluten intolerance. So, a revamp of that recipe was in order. The dressing is still the same but I mixed up the ingredients and came up with a combination that is delightful and easily as delicious as the original recipe. I ate it as my lunch today but it could also serve well as a side dish.



Quinoa Chickpea Salad

1 c. tri-color quinoa
2 c. vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
1/2 c. cucumber slices
1/4 c. sundried tomatoes, dry-packed and soaked to rehydrate
1/4 c. sliced kalamata olives
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. cubed fresh mozzarella cheese
1/2 red onion, finely diced

1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. olive oil


In a small sauce pan, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and then add to boiling broth. Cover and reduce heat, simmering for about 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine remaining salad ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Toss dressing with salad ingredients. Enjoy! (This salad tastes even better the second or third day if you have leftovers that last that long! Just give it a quick stir to redistribute any dressing that may have settled to the bottom.)

Easy Salad Dressings (and a detox update)

Several people have asked me how my sugar detox is going so I thought I would share an update.  I am currently on day 14 of 21. I have had two slip-ups in the last two weeks.  One was enjoying a few bites of a dessert a friend made when we had them over for dinner (a homemade cheesecake and it was sooooo good.)  The other was some Vietnamese food at a baby shower at our neighbors house.  I am pretty sure I had some sugar but not sure as it was all homemade, traditional Vietnamese food and several items were desserts.  I only tried a bite or two of each item offered but of course didn’t want to be rude and not eat at all.  Good relations with our neighbors take precedence over this!  I have decided though to add one day for each slip-up onto the end of the detox in order to really feel like I accomplished the full 21 days.

It hasn’t been as hard as I thought initially it would be.  Because I had already gone gluten-free, many of the “no” items were already out of my diet.  I have missed fruit the most and probably second most would be using soy sauce to make marinades and stir fry.  I definitely don’t miss the grains like I thought I would and really enjoy the fact that I am eating so many veggies throughout the day.  I look at my plate for all meals and if there is nothing green on it, wonder what is wrong!  I think that is amazing.

I had some headaches initially and definitely had some mood swings.  But, those have abated and I am feeling more energetic than I was even a week ago.  I have not lost weight as many do on this detox but that isn’t why I did it so that is neither here nor there for me.  I am amazed at how my taste buds have changed.  Food that I previously would have thought bitter or sour now take on a whole new sweet delicious flavor.  A great example of that for me is plain Greek yogurt.  I thought it was barely palatable, much like eating a bowl of sour cream, when this started.  Now, I find it is a great breakfast – add some nuts, cinnamon, and good quality vanilla extract and I love it!!!

What do I hope to accomplish through this and after this? Well, I see this as a lifestyle change.  I do want to continue having veggies at every meal.  I do want to limit the carbs I eat as well as really any sugar.  I will be adding fruit back into my diet but probably not in the vast quantities that I was eating before.  I don’t want to go back to having that daily chocolate or carb crave that I notice in the mid to late afternoons. I am also very aware of how I am feeding my whole family.  I think that overall cutting sugar from our meals is important – it is often and unnecessary addition.  For example, at dinner now we often will have two veggies for sides rather than a heavy carb.  For lunch, the boys and I focus on our proteins, fruit/veggies, and a bit of dairy.  Overall this has been a good change!

Now, for the recipe that I alluded to in the title.  I have come to the conclusion that I will never buy dressing from the store again.  We always had half or quarter used salad dressings leftover in the fridge that would get thrown away- so wasteful.  And, it is so simple to make and tastes so delicious.  An easy rule of thumb for dressings is two to three parts oil to one part acid (vinegar, lemon juice, etc.).  From there you add your own seasonings to taste.  Here is my current favorite!


Lemon Basil Salad Dressing

juice of one lemon

6 Tbsp. olive oil

1-2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped

salt/pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and seal tightly.  Shake well to combine and enjoy. Remember that with this dressing, less is more.  The dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.  Make sure to bring it to room temperature before shaking and using.

Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado Salad

I am testing out some sugar-free recipes in preparation for my detox coming up in a few weeks.  I found a similar version to this one and adjusted it to my personal preferences.  I really liked it and was impressed with how my kids responded.  My three-year old said, “Let’s eat this for dinner every night!!!”  Yay!  Will do!  🙂

By the way, this recipe includes my favorite simple recipe for a balsamic vinaigrette.  It is simple, needs only 5 or 6 ingredients (I used shallots in this recipe but they are definitely not necessary – I only use them if I have them) and it is our favorite go-to dressing.

Chicken, Bacon adn Avocado Salad

Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado Salad

Recipe adapted from

2 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
fresh cracked pepper
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 bunch kale
sea salt
2 avocados, sliced
4-6 slices cooked bacon, broken into pieces
1 green apple, diced
1/2 c. pine nuts

Dressing ingredients:
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
sea salt/pepper


Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Rub onto both sides of chicken with seasonings. In a skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Place chicken breasts in pan and cook about 6-8 minutes per side until no longer pink in the middle.

Meanwhile, rinse kale and dry. Remove stems and cut into smaller pieces. Place kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with a small amount of salt (1 tsp. or less). Gently massage salt into the kale until it begins to turn a darker green and become fragrant. This will make the kale more tender.

In a small skillet, toast pine nuts over medium-low heat until golden. Stir occasionally.

To prepare the dressing, simply place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until oil and vinegar are combined.

When everything is prepared, assemble the salad – kale, chicken, bacon, avocado, apples and pine nuts. Top with salad dressing and enjoy!

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