Summer Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

4Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

One of the best things about summer is seasonal produce. Bountiful fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. Dinners made simple and easy. I love the idea of a big, filling salad that fills you up in the best possible way. Satisfying and nourishing. I crave a vinegar-y, bright plate of greens. Sometimes it’s nice to cut the meat and hoard all the beautiful vegetables! Try this salad with other things like sliced avocado or walnuts. Or swap the kale for your favorite green. Gather outside and enjoy this plate while the sun’s going down. Summer nights are calling!


Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco


Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco


Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Total Time: 40 mins — Serves: 6 — Yields: 1-3/4 cups vinaigrette

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Organic Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3-1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic scape
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch kale
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 8 garlic scapes, blanched and shocked in ice water
  • 1/4 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • small bunch thin asparagus spears, cut into 3-inch tips
  • 1/4 cup snap peas, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • basil for garnish
  1. To make the vinaigrette, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, garlic scape and shallot in a food processor and 2 Tbsp of water. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Add 1-2 Tbsp of water if a thinner vinaigrette is preferred. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. To blanch the garlic scapes, bring a pot of water to a boil and drop in garlic scapes. Boil for 1 minute and remove with a slotted spoon. Immediately place into a bowl of ice water. This will “shock” the scapes, preserving their bright green color and mellow out the strong flavor. To assemble the salad, toss the kale, arugula, garlic scapes, radishes, tomatoes, cucumber, asparagus tips, and snap peas in a large bowl. Toss with dressing or serve on the side. Garnish with basil leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Warm Grains Arugula Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Nothing makes me happier than feeling satisfied and full after a good meal. I don’t mean that bloated, overly full feeling…I mean the good kind! After a meal that is full of wholesome things that keep hunger at bay. This salad is totally one of those meals. I am a huge arugula fan– even just coated in a little olive oil, it’s peppery and so tasty on it’s own. Coated in this avocado vinaigrette it’s on another level! The warm grains wilt the arugula a little, making each bite full of flavor and packed with protein. And, as I always say, throw on a couple of soft boiled eggs and you’ve got yourself a real meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients for Salad:

1 5 oz package of organic baby arugula

1/2 cup rainbow quinoa (yields about 1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa)

1/4 cup red lentils (yields about 2 cups cooked lentils)

2 eggs

1/8 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Avocado Vinaigrette:

1/2 ripe avocado

1/8 cup white wine vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco


Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

  1. Cook your quinoa to package instructions. Or, as a general guideline, rinse quinoa in a strainer for 2 minutes to get off the natural coating. If you skip rinsing, you risk getting a “soapy” flavor so make sure you rinse! Dry quinoa or toast lightly in a pan to dry. Add quinoa to small pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn down the heat to low and cover for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and leave covered for an extra 5-7 minutes. If you still see some water remaining after this time, put the pot back on low and allow it to soak up the remaining water. Season with a little salt and set aside.
  2. Cook your lentils to package instructions. Or, Add lentils to a pot with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook covered for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how soft you want them. For salads, I like a little firmness. 10 minutes will do it. Season with a little salt and set aside.
  3. Rinse your arugula and let dry or run through a salad spinner. Set aside.
  4. For the avocado vinaigrette, combine the avocado, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth and incorporated. With the processor running, stream in the olive oil until creamy.
  5. To bring 2 eggs to a soft boil, fill a small pot with a few inches of water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to rapid simmer and gently drop in eggs. Let simmer for 5-7 minutes. 5 minutes for barely set and 7 minutes for a more set yolk. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and run under cool water for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, add vinaigrette. Add arugula to bowl and stir to coat evenly. While still warm, mix in cooked quinoa and red lentils. Top with graded parmesan cheese. Peel soft boiled eggs and break open over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Kale + Chickpea Hummus Salad


Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Since I’ve been married (it’s already been a year and a half!) I’ve been watching Food Network on television almost solely. So I’m now quite familiar with Bobby, Alex, Scott, Ted, Giada and the bunch of them. I even got to meet a few of them in New York recently which was surreal!! Love them all. When I heard about Giada de Laurentiis’s new cookbook Happy Cooking, I knew I had to get it. She is a little Italian powerhouse. And not to mention that blinding, beautiful smile! This tasty, hardy salad is in her new book. It may look simple, and that’s because it is! Simple yet full of good-for-you ingredients and flavor. It’s basically a hummus vinaigrette coated onto fresh kale and chickpeas. It takes less than 10 minutes to whip up. Not only is it quick, but it’s seriously satisfying for a salad. Don’t let these greens fool you! And, my favorite part: make it one day and have leftovers for lunch the next day. Kale holds up really well in the refrigerator, making it ideal for this. Get your healthy on and get Giada’s new book!

Yield: 4 servings


  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 cups shredded kale
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup slivered sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • Za’atar (optional, see note below)
  1. Warm a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the sliced garlic and cook just until the garlic is fragrant. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the tahini and lemon juice. Slowly add the warmed garlic oil, whisking constantly. Add the kale, salt, chickpeas, and sun-dried tomatoes, if using, and gently toss together, bringing the dressing up from the bottom to coat everything evenly.
  3. Serve, sprinkled with za’atar*, if desired.

Notes: Za’atar is a popular Middle Easter spice blend. It’s a mixture of herbs (basil, thyme, oregano) sesame and salt. You can also buy it here.

Recipe courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis, Happy Cooking, 2015.

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco