Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad

   

It’s been over a month since my last post, which means I have all kinds of things I can talk about this time around. A little while back Jah presented me with 3 seats to a local cheese-making class with The Dallas Mozzarella Co.  Jah and I brought my friend Leanna and we had a great time making fresh ricotta, mozzarella, oaxaca, and a fresh olive stuffed mozzarella roll. Of course with all of that unbelievably fresh cheese in my fridge, how could I resist making something like this beautiful tomato asparagus panzanella salad?

 Before I delve too much into the details of salad making (not that this salad has many – it’s so simple), I thought I’d talk a little about springtime in Texas. The telltale sign of spring is when the bluebonnets carpet the landscape. Not wanting to miss one of the prime spots for this surreal display of color, I drove out to Ennis, TX with my friend Chris to be able to photograph the fields at sunrise. Needless to say it was a worthwhile adventure!

Ennis Bluebonnets

After enjoying the brisk air (ok I was freezing ) we hopped back in the car and roamed the country side looking for more lovely photo ops. Along the way we stopped and snacked on the moist double chocolate zucchini muffins I packed for the trip (a recipe I’ll definitely have to share later). We saw deer, rabbits, horses, longhorn cattle, and even a grumpy minidonk! After a brief detour into a local winery we found a gorgeous field blanketed with bright red Indian paintbrush and had to get a shot.

Ennis Indian Paintbrush

Texas has a bit of a reputation for being a large expanse of dessert… essentially the prototype for every old western ever made. Believe it or not there is green stuff here too! 

But enough about all of that. You’re here for juicy, ripe tomatoes, aren’t cha? Me too, man… me too.

Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad

Panzanella is an Italian salad made with bits of bread, often as a means to use that day old loaf you’ve got sitting around. With such simple ingredients quality is really going to make a difference, so make sure to get the best tomatoes you can find. I love to mix varieties for a more colorful presentation, plus it adds a little complexity to the overall flavor. I make this style of salad fairly often whenever I’m preparing food for a large group of people, because it is so easy to multiply out to serve more. 

Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad

Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad
Serves 6
A simple Itaian salad tossed with cubes of toasted day old bread.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 small Italian baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. 1 1/2 pounds of mixed tomatoes, chopped (or about 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved)
  3. 1 bundle fresh asparagus, tough ends removed and cut into bite sized pieces
  4. 6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  5. 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  6. 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Toss bread cubes with about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt. Bake at 425 for about 8 minutes until nice and toasty. Keep an eye on them as oven temps may vary. I give them a shake in the pan about halfway through.
  2. Combine olive oil, tomatoes, asparagus, fresh basil, and mozzarella in a large bowl and toss well to coat. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. A few minutes prior to serving combine the tomato mixture with the toasted bread crumbs.
Calories
  1. Calorie count for this dish will vary a bit since the measurements are thrown together rather loosely. I find it often falls between 320-370 per serving whenever I make it.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad


Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad

   

So it’s been almost 3 weeks since I made my last post, but not without good reason! Of course the holidays have a way of absorbing up all of your free time, but that’s not the real excuse. I’m sure that by looking around this page a bit (at least if you’re familiar with my blog from before) you can notice that I have a new awesome site design! For Christmas my boyfriend began this project as one of his gifts to me and when I saw the preview of what was in store by the time it was done, I nearly exploded with excitement. He put a ton of his free time into seeing it through and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Once I realized the new design was incoming I really wanted to wait to make a new post. I have a few more recipes lined up as a result of the mini hiatus (including roasted cauliflower soup and limoncello), but I knew that my first post of 2014 had  to be something healthy. This is, after all, the one time of the year that the human race unanimously decides to improve their well being (at least for a couple of weeks until someone caves and shows up at the office with donuts).

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad 

A while back someone commented on how much they enjoyed looking through my blog. She pointed out that she particularly loved the Mediterranean influence she often sees in my recipes. I thought, “Wow… I guess I do have a tendency to cook with lemon, chickpeas, parsley, etc…” And who wouldn’t? The fresh flavors so commonly associated with Mediterranean food are incredible. This salad brings some of those influences together into one filling dish for under 350 calories. There is protein. There is fiber. There is nutrient dense broccoli. It’s definitely a recipe to ring in the new year and kick start your healthier eating habits.

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad
Serves 4
A quick, healthy lunch inspired by the fresh flavors in Mediterranean cooking.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
13 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
13 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of pre-cooked whole grain blend (I used the red quinoa and brown rice blend by Village Harvest, which is found in the freezer section)
  2. 3 cups raw broccoli, chopped
  3. 1 can chickpeas, drained
  4. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 1/2 tablespoon water
  7. 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  11. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  12. 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Prepare grain according to package instructions. In my case I just popped it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
  2. Place broccoli in a bowl and microwave a couple of minutes until no longer raw, but still crunchy and green. I combined my broccoli with the grain to save time while heating.
  3. Whisk together olive oil, lemon, water, and spices to form the dressing.
  4. Combine all ingredients with the dressing in a large bowl and toss well to combine.
  5. Eat slightly warm as is or transfer to the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes first (my preference).
Calories
  1. 341
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad


Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Slaw

   

I feel like I’m a bit overdue for a “healthy” post, especially since I consider healthy eating to be an important part of my life. Don’t get me wrong… I still love a raunchy slice of floppy, foldable cheese pizza or a piece of decadent chocolate mousse cake, but I try to consume those things in moderation by limiting them to the weekends. On weeknights I put more effort into restricting my calories and minding my intake of fat, carbs, protein, fiber, etc. I suppose one thing that is funny about this post is that this slaw was made as part of a labor day meal which consisted of spicy vegetarian sausages stuffed into hoagie rolls with tomato sauce and melted cheese and a side of cheddar dill mashed potatoes. Aaaand I didn’t even eat the slaw. Is it ok for me to admit that? I actually don’t like cole slaw at all, but that doesn’t stop me from making it for the people that do. I relied on my boyfriend and best friend to tell me whether or not this was a worthy Gouda Monster recipe and they both agreed it was a winner. Jah even whipped up another batch for himself one night and enjoyed it just as much the second time.

 

Sweet 'n' Spicy Slaw

I used Veganaise when preparing this but you could certainly use any mayo that you prefer. Opting for a light mayonnaise will drop the calories to around 80 per serving. Of course you can always adjust the amount of heat by cutting back on the hot sauce. The creaminess of the mayo along with the sweetness of the carrots and apples cuts through some of the harshness of the spice, but people have vastly different tolerance levels for that sort of thing. If you’re concerned about it I would recommend adding the hot sauce little by little as it is always easy to add more, but once it’s in there you can’t take it out. Another substitution that would probably work fine is the use of cabbage in place of the baby bok choy. I opted for bok choy mostly because of its small size. We don’t use a lot of cabbage around here and I knew there would be a lot leftover that goes to waste. With the baby bok choy I was able to cut up almost the entire thing for the slaw and not worry about having anything leftover to wilt away in the fridge. Whatever you decide to do you’ll only be out about 10 minutes of your time for this super easy side.

Sweet 'n' Spicy Slaw

Sweet 'n' Spicy Slaw
Serves 4
A crisp slaw of carrots, green apple, and boy choy with a little bit of kick.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 granny smith apple, cut into matchsticks
  2. 1 cup shredded carrots
  3. 1 baby bok choy, julienned (I only used about 3/4 of it, leaving out the greenest part of the leaves so they wouldn’t get soggy)
  4. Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  5. 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  6. 1 teaspoon English mustard
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  10. 1 teaspoon paprika
  11. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  12. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  13. 4 tablespoons Veganaise (or other mayo of choice)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing (everything but the veggies and apple) until creamy and smooth.
  2. Fold the carrots, bok choy, and granny smith apple into the dressing until well coated.
Calories
  1. 136
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Slaw


Tomato, Mozzarella & Crouton Salad

   

My favorite salad in the history of EVER. We had friends over one night and I had to make this salad because it is one of my go-to recipes for dinner party type situations. I’m not really classy enough for a dinner party but I can do a dinner party type situation alright. This salad is amazing because it’s so easy to make with just a few ingredients, and it’s simple to double or triple depending on how many people you are serving. Or how much the people you are serving love tomatoes, because if you love tomatoes you’ll want to eat a ton of this.

 

Tomato, Mozzarella & Crouton Salad
Serves 6
This salad is a must try for any tomato lover!
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 Pints Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  2. 2 7oz Packages Bocconcini, cut into bite sized pieces
  3. ½ Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
  4. ¼ Cup + 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  5. 1 Clove Garlic, cut in half
  6. 7-8 Large Slices of Good Bread (I love Parmesan bread for this)
  7. Salt & Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Toss the cherry tomatoes, bocconcini, basil, and ¼ cup olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper according to your own tastes and toss to coat.
  3. Brush each slice of bread with remaining olive oil, rub with cut end of the garlic clove, and sprinkle with salt. Bake 10-12 minutes, until crispy.
  4. Cut toast into 1×1 inch pieces and toss with the salad just before serving.
Calories
  1. 499
Notes
  1. For a more attractive presentation and complex flavor, use different varieties (and colors) of small tomatoes.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/