Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hot Weather Salad

Man, we are having a heat spell! I am on the coast and feeling it, but I feel so sorry for my friends and family 30 miles inland who are just baking in this heat!

Anyway, the last thing I want to do today is cook...with heat, anyway. I looked through my vegetable bins and decided that a couple of salads fit the bill for tonight. But not green salad. We eat green salads almost everyday in the lunches we make for toting to work. We got some beautful kale last week in our SLO Veg box and I think I still have some. The star salads will be Kale salad and a Quinoa salad. I saw the Quinoa salad on Pioneer Woman's post this morning and I knew it would be something my hubby would love. I googled some kale salad recipes and found one with a yogurt/mayonnaise base that sounded perfect. All I needed was a nice red onion, so I planned to pick one up from the store when I ran into town today.
Two salads paired with olives, a pickle and baguette slices, plus an assortment of salami, makes a great hot weather meal. I really liked the kale salad--it had just the right touch of sweetness.

Earlier in the day, I cooked the quinoa in my rice cooker. I wanted to get that out of the way before it got too hot. After it was cooked, I put it in the refrigerator to cool completely. Then I checked on all my other ingredients for both salads: Greek yogurt, check; raisins, check; mayonnaise, check; fresh basil, check, olive oil, check, balsamic vinegar, check. I guess I will need to stop at Trader Joe's to get some mozzarella balls, "ciliegine" I think they are called, and some cherry tomatoes. I would substitute pumpkins seeds for the sunflower seeds. So cheese balls, tomatoes and a red onion.

I went ahead and soaked the kale in water, then spun it dry in my salad spinner. I gave it a rough chop and called it good. The seeds and raisins go in last, so that is all the prep work I could do until I bring home that red onion.

I woke Taylor up and told him to get ready so I could give him a ride in to school. Its nice when classes don't start until 11:00 am. Make late-night video-game life so much more manageable. I packed up some things to drop off at my storage unit and headed to town. Some of it was Taylor's grandmother's china dishes, so I made sure to point out the boxes to him. Someday he would be unpacking this stuff with his future spouse as they set up a household. Along the way I also dropped off items for the Thrift Store as we are downsizing and I need to clear things out. What the heck, I might go through the car wash while I am in town, too.

So off I went to town, dropping off the kid, leaving stuff at the Thrift Store and storage units, through the car wash and on to TJs. I love that store. first thing they do is give you a bite of some gourmet cheese as you walk in the door. Today it was Gruyere. But I was on a mission for mozzarella balls, so down the aisle I went. I found some nice Heirloom cherry tomatoes in a variety of colors, all in one package, so that was perfect. Maybe a nice baguette to serve alongside, too. We had received a gluten-free baguette from Edna's Bakery in our box last week, but it was so fresh and delicious, it didn't last one night in our house, so I need more! I checked out the salami assortments and found a tray with three different kinds in it...hub would love that! Some more cheese slices, some eggs, coconut milk, pasta and vitamins...that should do it.

I got home with all my stuff, and guess what? I forgot to get a red onion! I had to make a quick trip down to the local Mexican market, where I made a beeline for the produce and picked out a couple of huge red onions. Gheeesh! Must be the heat.


Here is Pioneer Woman's quinoa salad recipe: 
Description Tomato, basil, and mozzarella are glorious together. Throw in quinoa and a simple vinaigrette and they’re heavenly!


  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Red Quinoa
  • 4 cups Water
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 cup Red Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
  • 1 cup Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
  • 8 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, Cut Into Small Cubes
  • 24 whole Basil Leaves (chiffonade)


Combine olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper in a jar. Put on the lid and shake vigorously. Set aside.
Prepare the quinoa by bringing 4 cups of water to a boil, then adding the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Pour quinoa out onto a baking sheet and spread into a single layer to cool quickly.
Once the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, throw into a large bowl and toss in the tomatoes and mozzarella. Stir gently while adding 2/3 of the dressing. Stir in the basil. After everything is incorporated, give it a taste; add more dressing if it needs it, or reserve the rest of the dressing for another use. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
NOTE: It’s best to make this at least a couple of hours ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days; the mozzarella slightly softens as time passes, but it’s still delicious!


I found a nice recipe for Kale salad on

Kale Salad



  1. Mix kale, red onion, and raisins in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice together in a bowl; pour over the kale mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the salad and toss to serve.

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