Crispy Chickpea & Beet Farro Salad

Happy Weekend! I realized I forgot to put up the recipe for this delish salad that I made earlier this week… sorry to all of you who have been anxiously hitting refresh on my page every 30 seconds since Monday night.

Alas, here it is!

I should add that this recipe made about 43x more than I had expected… whoops. It’s a bad habit of mine. Feel free to cut the recipe in half or freeze a bunch for later. We will be eating this salad for weeks! In wraps, sandwiches, smoothies, cereal…

Crispy Chickpea & Beet Farro Salad
Crispy Chickpea & Beet Farro Salad

Served with this incredible fresh cedar plank salmon from my father-in-law’s business, Land & Sea. All I added was a little Rub with Love (<< leftover from our honeymoon to Seattle 4 years ago! that stuff is the BEST) and a squeeze of fresh lemon. It was raining so we had to cook these in the oven- just make sure to turn off your smoke alarm for a few mins during cooking as the cedar plank makes it a bit smoky!

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Crispy Chickpea & Beet Farro Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 24
Crispy chickpeas, grated carrots and broccoli, and fresh, roasted beets give this salad its great combination of colors… farro and lentils add a welcome chewiness!
Ingredients
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sliced bella mushrooms
  • 6 beets
  • ½ red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp greek seasoning (optional)
  • 4-5 large carrots
  • 1 head each broccoli and cauliflower, separated into stalks and florets
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley (about ½ cup)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes)
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup farro, cooked to package directions
  • ½ cup dry lentils
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup goat cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook farro and lentils according to package directions until al dente, about 12 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Cut off stalks and tails of beets and wrap lightly in foil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, mushrooms, onion, olive oil, garlic, garlic powder, and seasoning. Spread on a large sheet pan and cook at the same time as the beets, 40-60 mins until beets are fork tender. In the final 20 minutes of cooking, add broccoli and cauliflower florets to sheet pan and return to oven for 10 more minutes until tender. Remove from oven and cool.
  4. When beets are cool enough to handle, rub gently with paper towels to remove outer skins. Slice thinly.
  5. In a food processor using the slicing setting, grate carrots and broccoli stalks (not florets). Scrape into a large bowl. In the same processor using the multipurpose blade, add parsley, lemon juice, and tomatoes. Pulse until roughly chopped- about 2-3 pulses.
  6. Sitr parsley mixture into the shredded carrots and broccoli. Add beets, roasted vegetables, raisins and green onions.
  7. In food processor, combine dressing ingredients: both vinegars, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Process on low, drizzling in 1 tbsp additional olive oil.
  8. While still warm, add the farro/lentils to the salad. Top with goat cheese and toss to combine.

I love all the colors in this salad! I think using fresh beets makes it a done deal, as their juice adds a little extra color throughout the salad when you toss it up. Lovely!

I love how the goat cheese gets all melty if you add it when the beets and grains are still a little warm… the creaminess is perfect!

Crispy Chickpea & Beet Farro Salad
Crispy Chickpea & Beet Farro Salad

Have a great weekend!

Peachy Green Summer Salad Stew

Confession: I did not mean for this to be a stew.

Peachy Green Summer Salad Stew
Peachy Green Summer Salad Stew

Hello! How was your weekend? I’m here to share with you an almost “Claire-Fails” worthy recipe. Except that my almost “fail” turned into a gigantic WIN!

It all started when I got a new blender a few weeks ago. Ever since I got my Oster Versa, I have been blending everything in sight. Daily green smoothies, PB&B milkshakes, and lately, salad dressing!

Occasionally I make stuffed mushrooms using this filling, which requires pulsing a few times in the food processor to chop up the veggies and herbs before stuffing the mushrooms. Usually I add chickpeas just at the end to chop them up a bit and make them go a little further in the mixture. Same thing with a blender, right?

Not so much.

What I imagined to be a nice chunky dressing with some chopped-up tomatoes and chickpeas became, well, soup. Maybe it was because the mouth of the blender is smaller and doesn’t incorporate as well during the pulsing? Either way, I ended up with a less-than-appetizing looking salad.

That’s when you call it what it is! Salad stew! Once I decided that this was going to be more like a thick green gazpacho, it became much more appealing. I decided to add a few peaches for extra sweetness, and green peas for more texture.

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Peachy Green Summer Salad Stew
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Healthy, Summer
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Call it salad, call it stew, call it what you want…
Ingredients
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 + 2 tbsp EVOO (divided)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion, minced (divided)
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2 small peaches, diced
  • goat cheese (optional)
  • zucchini shreds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add 4 cups salted water to lentils and quinoa in a large saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 13 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water immediately.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat. Add garlic, 1/4 cup red onion, and mushrooms. Cook until fork tender and remove from heat.
  3. In a blender or food processor, make the dressing by combining parsley through mustard, plus 2 tbsp of olive oil and remaining onion. Pulse on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour about half of mixture into mason jar or airtight container (can be frozen or stored in refrigerator for 3-4 weeks).
  4. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes to blender with remaining dressing. Pulse 3-4 times until chopped roughly (I like mine chunky so I made sure not to overpulse).
  5. Combine lentils, quinoa, mushroom mixture, and contents of blender to a large bowl or serving dish. Stir in peas and peaches. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve over spinach or grated zucchini with goat cheese and a little drizzle of olive oil over the top! This stew is also great with crusty bread!

Healthy, fiber-licious and lots of protein in this one. I served it over greens and zucchini noodles, with a little baked tofu for extra protein. You could eat it as a main dish like me or as a side- but you might be surprised at just how filling it is!

Happy America Week!
Happy America Week!

Fiesta Monday

Life is one big fiesta… why not eat like it?

Fiesta Salad
Fiesta Salad

Hello! How was your weekend? Ours was HOT and BUSY! Ben and I were teaching at a weekend seminar for our church’s Preparing for Marriage ministry. We met so many cool couples and had lots to talk about! In other news, I just wanted to say that my thoughts are with the victims and families of the shooting in Orlando… what a terribly hideous side of human nature. Praying that the Lord redeems every ounce of evil in this tragedy and uses it to bring this country closer to Himself.

Today I was craving Mexican.

I don’t know why, because I’ve had Mexican literally the last three days in a row. And all.the.chips. But who doesn’t love a good healthy Mexican salad?

Always down for that.

This fiesta bowl is a perfect meatless meal for Monday. I used a blend of quinoa, farro, and lentils cooked al dente and tossed with zucchini, bell pepper, red onion, and lots of canned things. Plus some fresh lemon and Mexican spices and cilantro. (I swear if any of you ever use that taco seasoning that comes in a packet I will hunt you down.)

You could serve this on its own (I like mine topped with a poached egg or some tofu, over spinach), or as a side dish with a non-vegetarian protein. Ben had it with a few slices of turkey meatloaf pizza I made earlier.

Enjoy!

Fiesta Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12-15
Life is one big fiesta! Why not eat like it?
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup each quinoa, farro, and lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 can each pinto and black beans, rinsed/drained
  • 1 can corn, rinsed
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp each cumin, coriander, garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp each chili powder and paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, combine grains and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining vegetables and spices.
  3. Drizzle in lemon juice and vinegar.
  4. Add the quinoa, farro, and lentil blend and toss to combine.
  5. Top with cilantro and additional salt and pepper to taste!
  6. Serve over greens or crusty bread, with protein of your choice!

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Happy fiesta week!

Farro Caprese Salad w/ Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette

Happy Memorial Day!

For me, Memorial Day always brings back memories of the town pool opening, our first al fresco dinner on the back deck, and licking melty fudgscicles that Dad would hand out the window as we played “Ice Cream Man.” For some reason those popsicles tasted so much better when you envisioned them being handed to you from an ice cream truck. Maybe I can get Ben to play “Ice Cream Man” with me this year.

Today it was actually a dreary, humid day here in Durham. Definitely NOT what one would hope for on a Memorial Day holiday. That’s ok- for all of you who follow me on Instagram, you know that I got my tanning time in on Saturday, when I lounged for a few hours by the pool, sipping on sun tea and catching up on Real Simple (I think I was still on April). Glorious!

Rainy weather or not, Memorial Day deserves a summery spread, so here we go! I’ve been dying to lighten up a caprese pasta salad recipe for some time now, so I decided to sub farro for pasta in order to pack a healthier and heartier punch. Farro is a very dense grain, much more al dente than quinoa or couscous, which makes it a perfect alternative to pasta. Cooked to al dente, farro also holds up well when tossed with any vinaigrette (quinoa tends to suck up all the extra liquid and get mealy, in my experience).

If you’re interested in learning more about the health benefits of farro, or the nutritional breakdown of farro vs. quinoa, be sure to check out the following links:

Huffington Post: What is Farro?

Farro Nutrition Breakdown

Quinoa Nutrition Breakdown

Farro Caprese Salad w/ Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette
Farro Caprese Salad w/ Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette

I also made my own pesto because I can never bring myself to pay $8+ for a tiny can of prepared pesto that is really half olive oil. This way I can control how much oil I want to add, and experiment with a few new flavors (like lemon!). I also made this batch with roasted, salted almonds because pine nuts are way too expensive.

Homemade Lemon Pesto
Homemade Lemon Pesto

I used some of the homemade pesto in the lemon pesto vinaigrette for the salad, and saved the rest in a mason jar for future dinners. It should last about three weeks in the fridge (or for three years in the freezer, if your brain works like mine does and you know that the freezer really stops time).

When the slightly sweet, tangy pesto vinaigrette is drizzled over farro mixed with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and roasted corn, this salad cannot be beat- rainy Memorial Day or not!

Farro Caprese Salad w/ Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Summer, Healthy, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Happy Memorial Day! This farro salad is chewy and hearty, drizzled with homemade lemon pesto dressing that will not disappoint!
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup homemade lemon pesto (see recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp reserved farro liquid
  • 2 cups farro, uncooked (5 cups water)
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 12 oz. container of mozzarella balls, halved (I used bocconcini)
  • 1/4 cup basil chiffonade (leaves cut into long strips)
  • Homemade Lemon Pesto:
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted almonds (if unsalted, add 1 tsp salt)
  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan-romano cheese
Instructions
  1. Prepare farro according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, reserving a bit of the starchy cooking liquid for later.
  2. Prepare pesto: In food processor, add the garlic and almonds, and pulse until smooth. Add the basil and lemon juice and continue to process on high, scraping down sides occasionally.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, then turn speed down to low and add the pepper and cheese. Pulse a few more times until blended.
  4. Store in a mason jar for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
  5. Prepare the pesto vinaigrette: add 1/2 cup homemade pesto, balsamic vinegar, honey, and reserved farro liquid in a jar and shake vigorously.
  6. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Serve with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare the lemon pesto in food processor.
Prepare the lemon pesto in food processor.
Fresh bocconcini!
Fresh mozzarella balls!
Supper al fresco, anyone?
Supper al fresco, anyone?

Happy Memorial Day, and Happy Summer to all!

Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade

Happy Hump Day, friends! Today it felt like summer, with temps in the high 80s, and I was craving all.the.summer.veggies. I stopped by TJ’s on my way home from work and couldn’t resist picking up three different packages of tomatoes (grape, heirloom, and on the vine) with some fresh basil, ready-to-cook spinach tortellini and a prepared olive tapenade for this incredibly easy tortellini salad.

You could have made the tapenade on your own, or grown your own basil plant, or heck- made your own pasta… but no one got time for that! It was so simple to dice a few tomatoes and basil, throw the cooked tortellini and tapenade in, and squirt a little balsamic and lemon juice on top! Summer was practically licking my ankles (oh wait, that was Samoa).

Enjoy! Happy summer-dreaming!

Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade
Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade
Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade
Recipe Type: Salad, Pasta
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Italian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
You’ll be dreaming about summer all spring long, but now you don’t have to wait for tomato season to taste it!
Ingredients
  • 1 package (about 16 oz) cheese or spinach tortellini pasta
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 containers grape or on-the-vine tomatoes (I used both), diced roughly
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 container olive tapenade (I used TJ’s) or 1/2 cup diced olives
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • spinach for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prepare tortellini 2 mins less than package directions until al dente. Drain and reserve a bit of the pasta water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients except for feta. When cooled, stir in tortellini and reserved pasta water.
  3. Stir in feta and serve with spinach for a light summer salad!

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Tortellini Salad w/ Basil and Olive Tapenade

Navy Bean & Zoodle Salad w/ Lemon-Tahini Vinaigrette

I am crushing on this salad. Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant power to keep you healthy and fight off that nasty Spring cold that I got this weekend! It also makes a huge batch so you can keep enjoying it all week! Serve with tofu, fish, or a fried egg for extra protein, plus my Lemon-Tahini Vinaigrette (recipe in this post) for a creamy and slightly tangy finish.

Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows how much I love my spiralizer- I have this Paderno version from Williams-Sonoma that I was given by my MIL (read: mother-in-law) and I use it all the time. It’s amazing the way each part gets put together and then taken apart to fit into a nice snug little box! I’s a bit tough to clean, so whenever I break it out I make a TON of zoodles, coodles, broodles, squoodles, and swapoodles (sweet potato noodles).

I really like using the carrot medley because the carrots come in so many colors- purple, orange, yellow. I get it at Trader Joe’s. I also threw in some ready-to-eat beets (also TJ’s) and some other veggies with the navy beans to add a little more heft to the spiralized veggies. Sometimes I find I like the contrast of a salad with some raw and some cooked vegetables.

Navy Bean & Zoodle Salad w/ Lemon-Tahini Vinaigrette
Navy Bean & Zoodle Salad w/ Lemon-Tahini Vinaigrette

Start by preheating the oven to 400 deg and prepare your vinaigrette (leave out the tahini at this point). Then toss the broccoli, cauliflower, red onion, beans, mushrooms, and beets with about 2 tbsp of olive oil and minced garlic. Drizzle on about 2 tbsp of the vinaigrette (minus tahini) and spread on a Silpat. Bake for 30 mins and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, prepare your zoodles and coodles. Boil a large stockpot filled with ~1 cup water, then add entire bag of kale and cook till wilted. Immediately drain and shock the kale with cold water so it stays bright green. Nothing worse than brown kale (except in kale chips of course).

Toss kale, zoodles, coodles, and baked veggies in a large bowl and toss. Add tahini to remaining dressing and toss in when ready to serve.

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Navy Bean & Zoodle Salad w/ Lemon-Tahini Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
I am digging these spring colors!
Ingredients
  • For Lemon-Tahini Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder and parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes and sesame seeds (optional)
  • 3-4 tbsp tahini (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 12 oz. bag broccoli and cauliflower florets
  • 6-8 small beets, chopped, cooked and ready to eat (you can find these at TJ’s, or use canned)
  • 1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 large colored carrots
  • 3 medium zucchini squash
  • 1 large bag raw kale
  • Goat cheese or Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Prepare Lemon-Tahini Vinaigrette by whisking together all ingredients (olive oil through red pepper flakes), leaving out the tahini until later.
  3. In a large bowl, combine red onion through navy beans and drizzle with 2 tbsp vinaigrette, plus the two remaining tbsp olive oil and minced garlic. Spread on a large baking sheet lined with a Silpat and bake at 400 for 30 mins. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, spiralize your carrots and zucchini.
  5. Boil about 1 cup water in a large stockpot and add entire bag of kale. Cook until wilted, then immediately drain and shock with cold water to keep it bright green. Squeeze out excess water.
  6. Combine kale, spiralized veggies and cooked veggies in a large serving bowl. When ready to serve, add tahini to dressing in a mason jar and shake vigorously until combined. Drizzle salad with vinaigrette.
  7. Top with protein of your choice, goat cheese or Greek yogurt for extra creaminess.

I hope you enjoy these oodles of zoodles all Easter weekend and the week to come! Serve with protein of your choice and some hearty crackers or bread to sop up some of the leftover dressing.

Happy Easter!