Vinaigrette Recipes

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Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Beluga Lentils and Sage-Flavored Croutons Recipe

The butternut squash risotto was such a success last week that everyone was asking for more. I've learned that it's not a great idea to repeat the same dishes too often, even when requested, because eventually everyone gets tired of them. As opposed to making another main course, I decided to prepare a fresh salad that really shows off the versatility of butternut squash.

Instead of roasting the butternut squash with cumin and saffron as I did for the risotto, I glazed it with maple and flavored it with fresh sage. Sage is one of the most prolific herbs in our garden; it literally grows like weeds. This was a great opportunity to put it to good use, and I did so on multiple occasions in this dish.

I wanted to give this salad a real Fall feel, so I made a pomegranate vinaigrette and paired it with sage-infused oil. Continuing with the theme, I topped the salad with dried cranberries and sage-flavored croutons. The crunch of the croutons provides an excellent textural foil to the soft roasted butternut squash and the crispness of the greens.

Thanksgiving is not too far off, and if you're looking for a new addition to your table, this salad is a healthy and delicious option. Enjoy!


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Falafel Salad with Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette Recipe

During our last trip to Philadelphia, Lulu and I realized how narrow the vegetarian options were in restaurants. Lulu had falafel during the entire time of our stay there.

He hasn't touched it since we got back and I thought it was time to re-introduce him to falafel. I served them in a Mediterranean-style salad along with lemon tahini vinaigrette, candied walnuts and thinly sliced kumquat preserves from last winter's harvest.


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Wild Rice and Orzo Salad with Maple Vinaigrette Recipe

This dish is really three recipes in one. I combined my wild rice, kidney bean salad and orzo pasta salad recipes together to make a light and healthy meal. The maple vinaigrette helps tie everything together.

I usually make orzo pasta salad for parties and picnics, but we've been having a heat wave here and we all felt like eating something cool. The addition of kidney beans for protein and wild rice for fiber makes the dish more of a complete meal. If you have some leftover roast chicken, you can dice or shred it and add it to the salad as well.


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Pomegranate and Mandarin Marinated Tofu Recipe

If you're wondering why I made a pomegranate and mandarin sauce, the reason is simple: I love the flavors of both fruits and I think they complement each other very well. Both have acidic notes which make them work well together.

The combination is perfect for white meats, salads and tofu. To the pomegranate and mandarin juices, I added lavender honey, sugar cane vinegar and granulated sugar. I bound the sauce with a blend of walnut and olive oil. Before serving, I added some pink peppercorns and African basil leaves. This sauce will brighten whatever dish you add it to. 


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Simple Green Bean Salad with Toasted Sliced Almonds and Pomegranate Vinaigrette Recipe

Green bean salad is probably the simplest, healthiest dish you can make. I usually serve it as a first course or as a side dish accompanying a roasted chicken or any other white meat.

As with other easy dishes, the key is to use good, fresh ingredients. I got some crisp haricots verts fins from the local market. Haricots verts fins literally means thin string beans in French; they are much more tender than regular green beans.

For an added contrast of texture, I added some toasted, sliced almonds and some coarsely chopped sun dried tomatoes to bring a tart, acidic flavor. 

What I love about this dish is that you can mix and match green beans with anything, such as wax beans (called haricots beurres in French). Just select an ingredient that will create an appealing color contrast: nuts, capers, feta cheese or even anchovies all work well.


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