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Pot Lucky: Salad Palooza Edition

Pot Lucky: Salad Palooza Edition

Charred Peach with Candied Bacon and Chevre

Oh my! Oh my! Oh my! The Salad Palooza is the mother of all Pot Luckys! What a feast! What a gathering! What fierce women bound together by emulsified vinaigrettes! Ok, there were other things to unite over and celebrate. And this GNO (Girls Night Out) took things to a whole next level. My pal and blog bestie Stacie pulled out all the stops gathering up the gals for a gorgeous summer night at her lakeside cottage. The only call to action was salads – home-made, of course – and to try and not bring duplicates. Sign Up Genius makes it easy to keep track of choices made and helps weed out repeats. Above is Amey’s yumster Charred Peaches & Onions, with watercress, candied bacon and chevre. So good!

Avocado & Tomato Salad + Mexican Street Corn

Avocado & Tomato Salad with Almonds and a Tarragon Balsamic; Gourmet Mexican Street Corn Salad.

Pot Luckys, for those readers that are new, are my answer to the dreaded pot luck. The emphasis is on the Lucky. Menus are curated around a theme and the goal is to avoid the Velveeta cube with frilly pick. Don’t think you are fooling anyone by topping that cube with a chunk of Slim Jim. That does NOT make it special. I’m on to you. I know, I know not everyone that you want (HAVE?) to invite cooks, so there are definitely jobs for them, too….How much wine CAN you carry? Do my dishes – yes, please. Set up? Break Down? Keep my drink cold? Yes, Yes, and Yes.

In addition to the main theme – salads this time – there is always room for an app or two, a signature drink and of course dessert. How much do you love these cheese wafers below? Someone does:) They remind me of Christmas parties, warm from the oven. I have a real soft spot for them.  

hors d\'oeuvre; deviled eggs, olives, cheese wafers

We’ve done about a dozen Pot Luckys so far with a good list of more to come. Some of my favorites include fajitas, soup exchange, sliders, and a nautical theme. For details on how to host your own, link here. Depending on the party (8 kinds of meatloaf and 6 flavors of soup), you can plan on leftovers for your freezer. But for other themes, like salad palooza, you can expect the flowers to get licked right off the dish, with nothing but amazing memories to take away.  

Salads for Days

Salads: beet + super foods salad + Greek pasta

Beet, Orange and Goat Cheese Salad; Wonder Woman Super Foods Salad (vegan); Greek Pasta Salad. 

That middle salad in the large wooden bowl is mine. In case you missed the curried avocado dressing, I’m sharing it again below. This dressing can do just about anything – it’s a real workhorse. But keep scrolling – there are alot more great salad ideas below the recipe!

Salad Savior

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Curried Avo Dressing in a food processor bowl on burlap

Pot Lucky: Salad Palooza – Curried Avo Dressing


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups 1x

Description

This is the kind of dressing you can slather on anything and everything. It is a game changer for a quiet romaine and it balances out the earthiness of a strong bitter green like kale. Slap it on a sammy, add it to a salad jar, or dunk your veggies in it. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water, or as needed

Instructions

In a small sauté pan, toast the cumin, coriander and turmeric for about one minute, until fragrant.

With the motor running, drop the garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Turn off and add the avocados, pulsing a few times to a chunky puree. Add the vinegar, toasted spices, salt and peppers and pulse several times until combined.

With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until smooth, adding water as needed to desired consistency.

Notes

Makes 2 1/2 cups. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.

This dressing is designed for a hearty green and grain salad, so is aggressively seasoned. If you want to use this creamy green goodness in a more delicate dish, cut back on the spices and garlic a bit.

If you don’t have white balsamic, use another mildly flavored and light colored vinegar, like rice vinegar.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Dressing
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: salad, salad dressing

Meanwhile back at the party, the fun continues….

Deconstructed: Cobb Salad - rows of avocado, bacon hard boiled eggs, cucumber, chicken, tomatoes, blue cheese

Word must have gotten out that Cobb is one of my favorites – avocado, bacon, blue cheese, cucumbers, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, spinach – what could be bad? 

You will be amazed how creative guests can be when challenged to pull out all the stops. At least I was – once again! I have been to many a party where there were three or four versions of crunchy pea salad or watermelon & feta, but nothing close to overlap occurred here. In lieu of Sign Up Genius, Stacie set up a private facebook page and made a few suggestions, and then guests weighed in on what they had in mind. It really sparked the imagination. Farmers’ Market finds reigned supreme.

Salads: 7 layer + potato+ pasta zucchini

Penne with Chicken, Zucchini, Tomatoes and Corn; Red Skin Potato Salad with Prosciutto; 7 layer Salad.

And bacon – you can never go wrong with bacon. Lest you think these were some girly spa salads, look again. While my salad was vegan, it was hearty and robust and chock-full of plant-based protein, while still feeling indulgent. The variety of colors, textures, flavors and aromas across the buffet was extraordinary. 

Salads: Beef + Broccoli + Spinach & Pistachio

Steak & Goat Cheese Salad: Broccoli & Bacon Salad; Spinach, Pistachios, & Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries, Blueberries & Cranberries.

Go ahead and admit it: you are just a little jealous that the egss in the salad below were just laid. AmIRite? 

Salads: apple slaw + egg + chicken & grapes

Apple Cole Slaw; Farm Fresh (no really – straight from the hen house) Egg Salad; Grapes & Pecans.

five ladies who lunch, sitting on the porch looking at the lake

Thanks to Stacie for hosting and recruiting so many wonderful women who know how to spin a salad. 

Three salads: grape salad + zucchini noodles + shrimp salad

Chicken Salad with Grapes & Pecans; Greek Zoodle Salad; Mediterranean Shrimp Salad with Artichoke Hearts.

Did you see a salad here that you’d like to try? If so, leave a comment below and I’d be happy to bring more of these recipes to life. Did you know I used to create recipes for CNN and Burt Wolf interviewing chefs around the globe?  I’d watch the 60-second edited video and create a tasty recipe that matched all the action. Shhh – top secret. I’ve already said too much.

With pretty much all 19 bowls licked clean, blueberry pie sent us out and on our merry way. I’ll be dreaming about this feast for summers to come. Many thanks to all that made this night so special. 

Six smiling ladies after eating so much salad

That glow is just a reflection from this sunset. I swear it!

sunset over spring lake, Michigan

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2018. All rights reserved.

 

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Wonder Woman/Superman Superfood Salad

Wonder Woman/Superman Superfood Salad

Curried Avo Dressing on Superfood Salad in a wooden bowl with serversAre you still coming off that turkey coma from last week? Did you feast yourself silly?? Be honest – how many slices of pie did you do? This year we have the rare gift of an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So here’s a dish that will ramp up your detox, so you have plenty of time to retox later. I bring you the Wonder Woman Superfood Salad. Or is it the SuperMAN Superfood Salad? Up to you.

Those who know me know that I am about as far away from being vegan as you can get. Indiana, people. We like our beef corn-fed. Sugar steak. Brats. Pork tenderloin sandwich (smashed and fried to within an inch of its – or my – life). Seriously, if you don’t know what that is, click on the link to see a photo. The damn thing is twice the size of the bun.

Vegan, not so much. But there’s something you may not know. I pretty much stick to plant-based protein for the first two meals of each and every day. Along the way (and thanks to Lyn-Genet), I have found that getting protein from seeds, nuts, and vegetables (broccoli!!!) gives me more energy than a big ole turkey sandwich on white bread. No more post-lunch slugging around. A plant-based dinner is not so far-fetched; it’s free-will choosing to venture to a vegan restaurant that’s outside my zone. Luckily wiser minds prevailed and the good people at Mambo Sprouts hosted a lovely dinner a few months back at Zest Kitchen in Salt Lake City. Shout out to Celiac and the Beast, Just Crumbs, Tea and All Its Splendor, and Delicious Table, among others who made the meal so special.

Superfood Salad – The Green Machine

This superfood salad is somewhat loosely based on the dinner I had that night.  And with all the beautiful winter greens in the market now and feeling the need to clean up my act before I do it again, this seems to be the perfect time to hit you with it and get you jamming on my superfood wavelength. Consider this an un-recipe. I don’t give proportions because you can do that. You also are not remotely locked in to all – or even any – of the ingredients I list. So please don’t be daunted by the long string of ingredients below. They are all chef’s choice. Being the overachiever that I am, I may have used all those things listed (I did!) in one salad. Don’t judge. To be fair, I was filling a salad bowl the size of a hula hoop and serving about 30.

One of my favorite dark leafy greens is Tuscan kale. You may also know it as lacinato. Or dino. Or dinosaur. Or black. Or cavolo nero. It goes by so many names. A few years ago, recipes called for you to massage it with salt, but the way I see it…I don’t get salt scrubs and there’s no way my kale is getting better treatment than I. Just sayin’. As with all coarse greens, I stack them (having removed any tough ribs), roll tightly, and cut into the thinnest ribbons. This keeps you from getting a big bite of woody, tough greens.

Power Greens Superfood: lacinato kale, curly kale, microgreens and herbs

So many of the fancier greens now are available in baby style. Check out this gorgeous baby kale I found at the winter farmers’ market. It needs nothing more than a quick rinse and a turn in the salad spinner. Dark leafy greens are all high in nutrients, but are especially rich in Vitamin K, iron and calcium, essential for building healthy bones. Eating these greens raw maintains the high levels of all nutrients.
Market Greens, Baby Kale

Adding Crunch

Once you have picked your greens for the base, play around with what I call the chunkies. Grated vegetables that add contrast in color, texture and taste. I used grated carrots, turnips, purple cabbage, some steamed and chopped broccolini, and avocados. Ultimately it will all get tossed together, but it’s nice to present it composed so you can show off all the wonderful choices you have made, at least when it comes to salads.

Composed Superfood Salad of daikon, cabbage, shredded carrots, microgreens, lentils, quinoa, kale, broccolini

Power of Protein

Giving up on meat doesn’t mean going protein-free. Did you know that pumpkin seeds have about 9 grams of protein per ounce? That’s only a small handful. And hemp hearts are slightly higher – 10 grams per ounce. Those are the mainstays of my daytime meals, along with some sunflower seeds, chia and flax. Sometimes I add lentils or quinoa to the salad. Both require cooking – pretty fast – and both bring additional protein.

Assembling Superfood Salad; avocado, microgreens, shredded carrots, hemp hearts, caviar lentils
And I love microgreens. These jewels have been popping up in restaurants in recent years as a delicate garnish to sandwiches, salads and entrees. But in fact they are not so delicate when it comes to flavor and nutrition. Their nutritional value is about five times higher than their older sisters, and the flavor they deliver is quite concentrated. Have you ever tried a radish microgreen? Wowza! In the lifecycle of greens, microgreens come between sprouts and baby leaves or baby vegetables. Give them a whirl next time you see them.
Micro Sprouts

Curried Avo Dressing

Because there are a lot of textures in this salad, I wanted a creamy dressing to pull it together. And because many of the ingredients are a bit earthy, I wanted a bright flavor profile in that dressing. Avocado brings the creamy, and curried spices – cumin, coriander, and turmeric – bring the bright flavors, with an underlying earthiness that matches up with the greens. Because this dressing was made for a lot of hearty, sometimes bitter greens, I did not use a light hand in the flagrant flavor department. If you want to use this dressing on a lighter dish – say a chicken salad – you might want to cut back on the garlic and red pepper flakes. Then again, the full flavor version in the recipe below might turn your chicken salad into something pretty special. This is the best curried avo dressing around. Toasting the spices first brings depth of flavor and makes this dressing sing. 

Don’t limit it to a green salad – veggie dipper, sandwich slather, pita topper, fish sauce-r. Go! Now!

Creamy Curried Avocado Dressing in a food processor work bowl on burlap

To add a little pop of sweetness to balance the full flavored dressing, I threw in a handful of golden raisins. It is a nice little surprise for the old tastebuds.

Lots of Superfood Protein: quinoa and pumpkin seeds on avocado

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Curried Avo Dressing with Super Greens: arugula, cabbage, shredded carrots with hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds

Wonder Woman Superfood Salad with Curried Avocado Dressing


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Yield: Chef's Choice

Description

This superfood salad with creamy dreamy curried avo dressing will make you feel good about every decision you have ever made. It’s mean, it’s green, it’s vegan, and it’s chock-full of protein. But forget all that, it’s super delicious and oh so satisfying. 

 

Ingredients

Scale

Greens

  • Tuscan kale (aka lacinato, dino, cavolo nero or black kale), cut in thin ribbons
  • Rainbow chard, sliced
  • Baby kale
  • Spinach, chopped
  • Arugula, torn
  • Watercress
  • Pea shoots

Veggies

  • Grated carrots
  • Grated turnips
  • Grated radishes
  • Purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Steamed broccolini, chopped
  • Avocado, chopped

Plant-based Proteins

  • Quinoa, cooked according to package
  • Beluga lentils, cooked according to package
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp hearts
  • Chia

Toppings

  • Golden raisins
  • Microgreens

Curried Avocado Dressing

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water, or as needed

Instructions

Make the Dressing:

In a small sauté pan, toast the cumin, coriander and turmeric for about one minute, until fragrant.

With the motor running, drop the garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Turn off and add the avocados, pulsing a few times to a chunky puree. Add the vinegar, toasted spices, salt and peppers and pulse several times until combined.

With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until smooth, adding water as needed to desired consistency.

Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container until ready to use. 

Assemble the Salad:

Combine any or all of the ingredients listed, arranging colorfully in a large serving bowl. 

Drizzle with the curried avocado dressing and toss to coat the vegetables. 

Notes

Makes 2 1/2 cups dressing. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.

This dressing is designed for a hearty green and grain salad so is aggressively seasoned. If you want to use this creamy green goodness in a more delicate dish, cut back on the spices and garlic a bit.

If you don’t have white balsamic, use another mildly flavored and light colored vinegar, like rice vinegar.

Curried Avo Dressing is wonderful as veggie dip, a sandwich spread, fajita topper, potato salad dressing and so much more.

  • Category: Entree, Salad
  • Cuisine: Vegan

How powered up are you now? I promise if you dive right in to the Wonder Woman Superfood Salad, you will feel good about every decision you’ve ever made.

Dressing the Superfoods with creamy avocado curried dressing

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2017. All rights reserved.

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