Salads & Sandwiches

Friday Food Find: A Composed Salad: Leftovers & Pantry Accouterments

After a morning of shooting for my next three Tuesday Tip videos, I was pretty ravenous.  But needed to get my Friday Food Find post published. 

Not one to have a solid time-line (I know, I should, and am working on it!), I thought I’d just go out and find a fun restaurant with a great menu. 

As it were, and after catching up on calls, e-mails and thinking about where I would go for my FFF, I looked down at my iPhone to 2p. 

With dinner plans in the not too distant future I decided to make do with what was in my fridge and pantry.  And here’s what I came up with: A Composed Salad of Leftovers & Pantry Accouterments to “dress it”. 

I think I did a pretty good job. YOU CAN TOO! 

Have fun and know you can replace any of these ingredients with what you have in your own fridge and pantry.  The sky’s the limit…


2C mixed baby lettuces
1/2 - 1Tbsp of your favorite vinaigrette
6oz of leftover herb/lemon chicken, sliced thinly
1/4C of calamata olives, pitted
1/4C of Feta Cheese, cubed
1/4C of a bell pepper, julienne
1/4 to 1/2C of baby tomatoes, sliced (or not-up to you)
1Tbsp of leftover stove grilled lemon, minced


Place the lettuces in a small bowl.  Drizzle 1/4Tbls of vinaigrette over the lettuces and gently mix.  If the lettuces seem dry add more vinaigrette; do not overdress.  Take the dressed lettuces and pile them softly on a dinner plate.  Arrange all other ingredients the way you like.  Serve immediately and ENJOY!     

Yields 1 dinner or 2 lunch/side servings.

Pearls in Your Mouth: Mediterranean Couscous Salad

My Mediterranean Couscous Salad is a crowd pleaser!

When I first stared making it, with Israeli or pearl couscous, years ago it was very hard to find in the mainstream market. Now all you have to do is meander to the pasta and rice aisle and you’ll find it. You cook it just like pasta.  

Add a few fresh herbs and veggies along with some briny olives and tart vinaigrette, you’ll have yourself a super side dish. Here’s the recipe.


2 C pearl couscous (another name is Israeli Couscous)
¼ C chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ C chopped fresh mint leaves
¼ C chopped fresh basil leaves
½ C Calamata olives, pitted & sliced lengthwise
¼ C red bell pepper, minced
½ C green onion, thinly sliced
Zest of one medium lemon 


Bring one quart of water to a boil in a 3-quart, heavy saucepan.

Stir in couscous and simmer, uncovered, up to 10 minutes or until couscous is al dente (cooks just like pasta).

Drain couscous and transfer to medium bowl.

Pour ½ of vinaigrette (see recipe below) over warm couscous and stir to incorporate. Add parsley, mint, basil, bell pepper, olives, green onion and zest. Mix thoroughly.

Taste for flavor and texture. Add more vinaigrette if too dry. Add more salt and pepper for seasoning if necessary.

Serve. Yields 6-8 side servings. *Refrigerator storage for up to one week in a tightly sealed container.


1/4C fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ C extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Place all ingredients into a container and tightly seal. Shake vigorously until all ingredients emulsify (combine).

Everyday Garden Salad with Classic Vinaigrette

There is nothing like a super fresh green lettuce salad to accompany a hearty Fall meal. Add a vinaigrette with a mild acidic bite and you have a perfect foil that cuts through richness of stews, roasts and braised dishes.

Keep it simple and you’ll be set for every weekday meal. Here’s the recipe.


4 C of mixed green lettuce, gently torn into bite size pieces.
1/4 C of red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
1/8 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil


Fill a medium size bowl with lettuce. Set aside. In a Mason jar or small plastic container, pour red wine vinegar. Add kosher salt. Seal tightly and shake vigorously (which will dissolve the salt). Once dissolved, open and add ground black pepper and olive oil.
Again, seal tightly and shake vigorously until vinegar and oil have come together. Pour 2 Tbsp of vinaigrette over lettuce. Mix gently so that vinaigrette surrounds each piece of lettuce. Add more vinaigrette if necessary.

Place on serving platter and serve immediately. Yields 2 medium side salads.

*Sealed tightly the vinaigrette will hold for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

A Fall Side Dish Foil = Asian Slaw with Sesame Seeds

Fall has arrived in Austin, TX. As such, I’m starting to think about rich, warming braised and roasted meats and all the yummy sides to go along with them. Hence, this is a recipe for Asian Slaw with Sesame Seeds.

This side is what we call a foil; a contrast in flavors, which in turn enhances its’ mate. In basic form it is just a cabbage salad. With the addition of cilantro, Asian seasoned rice vinegar and sesame seeds, however, it adds that fresh and tart bite giving it distinction.

Here’s the recipe.


3C of package slaw mix
1/4C rough chopped cilantro
1/2C red bell pepper, julienned
1/4C green onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp white/hulled sesame seeds
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1/4C seasoned rice vinegar
1/2C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp of fresh ground pepper


In a medium bowl place slaw, cilantro, bell pepper and onion. Mix gently and set aside. In a Mason jar place all vinaigrette ingredients and cover tightly with lid.
Shake vigorously to incorporate all liquids together. Pour half of vinaigrette on slaw and mix, coating all ingredients. Add more if necessary and to taste.
Cover bowl tightly and place in refrigerator for up to 1 hour to overnight.


With a slotted spoon, spoon slaw from bowl to a decorative platter and serve. Yields 6 side servings.

*May be stored in refrigerator for up to one week.

Tomato, Basil, Aioli & Olive Bread Sandwich

Tomato season is all but over here in Texas.  We have a few months each year that produce some pretty luscious fruits. These colorful globes can be picked right from the vine and popped into the mouth. Their sun-kissed warmth, acidity and juiciness just about make any dish delightful to the eye; not too mention devoured.

This sandwich is one of my favorites.  It’s best made during tomato season and with a fresh made loaf of olive bread.  

As summer ends this is my final farewell to the Tomato, Basil, Aioli & Olive Bread Sandwich.  Until next year’s tomato harvest….


2 slices of fresh olive bread, 1/4”-1/” slices
1 Tbls of aioli (or your favorite mayo)
1 medium vine ripened tomato, sliced 1/4” thick
Pinch of salt and pepper
4 large basil leaves 


Take 1/2 of the aioli and spread evenly on one piece of bread.  Repeat process on 2nd piece of bread.  Lay each piece of bread side by side.  On one slice of bread place 3 slices of tomato so that it covers the entire piece of bread.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on tomatoes.  On top of tomato place basil leaves.  Place 2nd slice of bread on top of basil leaves.  Gently press down.  Cut sandwich down the center for 2 pieces.  Eat immediately.  Enjoy!

Yields 1 sandwich.