Cucumber and Cashew Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

Cucumber and Cashew Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

Sometimes less is more, as is the case with this salad. Made with sweet grape tomatoes, crunchy cashews, crisp and refreshing cucumbers, tangy honey goat cheese, fresh ground lemon pepper seasonings and a fig balsamic drizzle. You can use whatever balsamic vinegar you can get your hands on, but a sweeter, lighter balsamic works best for this salad. (Make it vegan by omitting the goat cheese!)

What you will need:
cucumber
grape or cherry tomatoes
honey goat cheese (or any type of goat cheese, really)
cashews
lemon pepper sea salt grinder
balsamic vinegar

Slice the cucumbers and quarter them. Slice the grape tomatoes in half and place both ingredients on a plate or in a bowl. Add crumbled goat cheese and cashews, give the lemon pepper grinder a few twists and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve outdoors on a humid summer’s day with an ice cold martini.

Advertisements

Cucumber Cups- Vegan with Roasted Corn Salad and Vegetarian with Goat Cheese and Pickled Beets

Cucumber Cups- Vegan with Roasted Corn Salad and Vegetarian with Goat Cheese and Pickled Beets

This is actually a recipe for two different types cucumber cups; one is vegetarian with goat cheese, pickled beets, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, celery and arugula. The other is vegan with a corn salad made of Tofutti cream cheese, roasted corn, purple sweet peppers, red onion, celery and heirloom tomatoes. Cucumber cups make great finger food for parties and gatherings. I will admit, these are a little time consuming to make, but so worth it. All of the ingredients can be prepped the night before, just make sure to keep the salad separate from the cucumbers. Otherwise, you’ll end up with watered down, soggy cucumbers (gross!). One cucumber will make about 10 cups. this recipe is for 20.

What you will need:
a mandolin slicer and a melon baler (if you don’t have either, a knife will work just fine.)

Vegetarian Cucumber Cups with Goat Cheese:
1 large cucumber
1 1/2 c arugula
1 jar of sliced, pickled beets
about half a package of small heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
fresh dill
fresh parsley
2 oz goat cheese
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Cut cucumbers to about 3/4- 1 inch thick (you won’t want them any larger than that. It’ll make them harder to eat as finger food. Ask me how I know). Use a melon baler or knife to hollow out the cucumber bowl, making sure to take as much cucumber off of the sides of the bowl, while still keeping the bottom in tact (this is also very important. the thicker the sides of the cucumber, the harder it will be to eat).

Then, in a salad bowl, combine arugula, dill, parsley, goat cheese, red onion, celery and balsamic vinegar and and mix until everything is coated in goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. Place into cucumber cups and top with a pickled beet slice and heirloom tomato halves. Arrange on a plate and serve.

Vegan Cucumber Cups with Roasted Corn Salad:
1 cucumber
2 ears of sweet corn
2 spoonfuls of Tufutti cream cheese (about 1/3 of the package)
1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced with a mandolin
about half a package of small heirloom tomatoes, cut into 4ths
fresh dill
juice of half a lemon
a tsp or less of extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and roast both ears of corn for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. While the corn is roasting, prep your cucumbers as explained in the recipe above.

In a salad bowl, combine Tufutti cream cheese, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and mix. Then, add sweet pepper, celery, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, and dill. Once the corn has cooled, remove the kernels with a knife and mix all of the ingredients together. Fill cucumber cups, arrange on a plate and serve.

Smoked Fresh Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Smoked Fresh Mozzarella Caprese Salad The use of fresh herbs, locally grown tomatoes and smokey fresh mozzarella make this salad simple yet very flavorful. Using smoked mozzarella adds a little bit of a twist to this classic salad.

What you will need:

2 locally grown beef steak tomatoes

1 1/2 oz fresh basil leaves

3/4 lb. smoked mozzarella

1/4 red onion

1/2 cucumber

2 garlic cloves

1/2 can garbanzo beans (left over from my last blog post)

fresh dill

fresh parsley

1 part extra virgin olive oil

2 parts balsamic vinegar

Slice tomatoes and smoked mozzarella into large chunks. Cut the cucumber into slices, then into fourths, then slice the red onion into very thin ribbons. You can rip some of the larger basil leaves in half, but you’ll want to keep them mostly whole. Throw all ingredients into a serving bowl with chopped parsley, garlic and dill and add the garbanzo beans as well.  Drizzle with one part extra virgin olive oil to two parts balsamic vinegar and enjoy!

Goat Cheese, Chick Pea, Basil and Mixed Baby Greens Salad

Goat Cheese, Chick Pea,  Basil and Mixed Baby Greens Salad

This salad packs a whole lot of flavor with hummus and balsamic vinegar as the dressing. I used mostly organic, locally grown veggies for this salad for the best flavor (and the least amount of chemical pesticides!)

What you will need:

Tomato
Cucumber
Chick peas (canned is fine)
Goat cheese
Hummus (i used red pepper hummus)
Whole, fresh basil leaves
Mixed baby greens (i went with kale, swiss chard, arugula, and spinach)
Olive oil (optional, but not necessary. the hummus will have a lot of oil in it)

Start by slicing your cucumber and tomato, then layering your plate with baby mixed greens and basil. Add your cucumber, tomato, chick peas and goat cheese. Then add hummus and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and you’re done!

This salad is also great with red onion and all sorts of other fresh herbs mixed in. I used what I had on hand today and it turned out great.

Chilled Blueberry, Banana and Mint Soup

Chilled Blueberry, Banana and Mint Soup

Experimenting and having fun with food is what I love to do. I rarely follow a recipe exactly how it’s written and I encourage you to do the same with this recipe!

What you will need:

A food processor
1lb. blueberries
1 large banana (you can always use 2, or 3, or however many you’d like)
1/4 c almond milk (or milk, or soy milk)
1/8 c brown sugar
1/8 c balsamic vinegar or to taste
mint leaves (about 7)
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
cinnamon to taste
salt to taste

Toppings:
chia seeds
goat cheese
mint to garnish

Chop the banana into sections and throw all ingredients into the food processor and blend. Let the soup chill for at least an hour before pouring into bowls, then top with chia seeds, goat cheese and mint leaves and serve! Perfect as an after dinner dessert or a mid-day treat to enjoy with friends.

This recipe can be made vegan by leaving out the goat cheese. Other possible toppings include french vanilla yogurt, granola, or whole blueberries. See what ideas you can come up with!