Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

On August 7, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus


We are on vacation in Michigan enjoying not going out for every meal, so I’ve been making quick, easy vegetarian dishes that help us enjoy vacation even more.  Eating good, healthy food helps too.  This salad is a great example of something easy to make with just a few ingredients.

This morning was the Northport Farmer’s Market where I found some great purple kale for this salad and the bread too!

Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette 
Serves 4

1 bunch purple kale
1 apple, diced into small cubes
1/2 red onion, diced into small cubes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Chop kale into thin strips and place in bowl along with the diced apple and red onion. Meanwhile heat a saute pan on medium heat with the olive oil in the pan. Add the pine nuts and sugar and let it cook for a couple minutes just before they begin to brown. Remove from heat and add to bowl with kale.

To make the dressing combine the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and maple syrup in a bowl and add the olive oil a couple tablespoons at a time whisking each time to combine.  Continue until all olive oil is added and then season with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure you are good with the mix. If too acidic, add some more olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the kale salad and mix to coat.  Serve with some fresh bread.

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Lentil Salad

On June 9, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus



If you are looking for a simple vegan salad to take to the beach or enjoy for lunch, this simple salad is sure to please.  It takes only about 20 minutes to make, most of the time is waiting for the lentils to cook.  It’s easy and full of flavor with the maple syrup that is the hidden secret in the dressing. You can also play with the ingredients if you don’t have cherries or wish to use dried instead.  Don’t worry about it. Just use what you have and enjoy!

Lentil Salad
Serves 2

1 cup green lentils, uncooked
4 cups water

1 bunch purple kale, rough chop
10 cherries, pitted and halved
10 dried apricots, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the lentils and water together by bringing to a boil and then reducing heat to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove and drain any excess liquid. You want the lentils to be firm, not soft or hard.


While the lentils simmer, heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add kale and cook for 2 minutes until soft. Then add the cherries, apricots, and carrots to the pan with the kale and cook for 3 minutes. Set vegetables aside if lentils are still cooking.


Add cooked lentils and vegetables in a bowl. Make the dressing by combining the vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking as you add it so it combines perfectly. Pour the dressing into the lentil and vegetables and stir.

Serve with bread.

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This is my first time contributing a recipe to the great #SundaySupper group organized by Isabel.  This week’s theme is Back to School Meals.  Each recipe must be easy to make in less than 30 minutes making it an easy fit for cooking at home during a school night.

Well this is something I live by as the sole cook and income in our household, so coming home after a long day of work means I need to be able to make a great dinner with little time and with so many great peaches at our Farmers’ Markets here in Southern California I decided to do a simple, yet flavorful salad.

End of Summer Grilled Peaches and Chicken Salad
Serves 4

1 lb chicken, boneless skinless breasts
2 peaches
1 bunch of green or red leaf lettuce
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat grill for cooking chicken breasts and peaches.  In a bowl place 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt and pepper mixing together then coating boneless, skinless chicken breasts with mixture.  Place chicken breasts on half of the grill. Keeping the other half of grill free for cooking peaches. Cook chicken for about 10 minutes per side being sure not to burn.

Cut some ripe but not too soft peaches into halves and remove the pits.  Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the exposed inside half of the peaches. Put them non-skin side down on the grill grates and cook for 5 minutes.

For the vinaigrette, mix 1/2 cup of olive oil, honey and balsamic. Whisk together and add some salt and pepper to taste.

Turn the peaches over and brush with small amount of honey balsamic vinaigrette blend. Turn them a couple times cooking skin and non-skin sides for a few more minutes on each side being sure not too burn. Remove from grill.

Meanwhile continue grilling chicken breasts and remove when finished.

Wash lettuce and slice chicken into smaller slices laying the peach half in the center of salad and sliced chicken to the side.  Sprinkle salad with crumbled feta cheese and drizzle honey vinaigrette dressing over salad.

Serve with slice of bread.

Hope you like it and please checkout the other recipes from the rest of the #SundaySupper food bloggers!

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Arugula Goat Cheese & Raspberry Salad

On July 15, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

I headed out to La Canada this morning to checkout their Saturday Farmer’s Market. There were several organic vendors offering all kinds of fruits and vegetables plus I found a source for fresh sourdough bread and a small producer of goat cheese spreads called Soledad Goats.  The goat cheese spread I opted for includes black pepper and added some additional flavor to the salad I made this evening.

Sorry no cooking tonight in the hotel room. Instead I opted for something quick and easy with the fresh ingredients I found.  Of course this salad would be great with chicken or quinoa or both. Enjoy!

Arugula Goat Cheese & Raspberry Salad
Serves 1

Bunch of arugula, rinsed
1 oz of goat cheese spread
10 organic raspberries, rinsed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Plate arugula and spoon out small scoops of goat cheese over salad.  Add some fresh raspberries and gently splash balsamic vinegar over salad.

Serve with fresh bread.

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Salad with Chicken, Chickpeas, Beans and Avocado

On September 29, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

A simple dish that is full of flavor with minimal effort

This dish has been favorite of our home all summer. It is made with simple ingredients and can easily be modified if an item or two was missed at the last market visit.

Salad with Chicken, Chickpeas, Beans and Avocado
Serves 4

1/2 lb wax beans, washed and thinly sliced
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 avocado, cut into bit-sized cubes
1/4 fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup and 1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
Small head of lettuce
Salt and pepper

In medium bowl, stir together the beans, chickpeas and avocado. In a small bowl blend the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side.  Once cooked split butterflied chicken in half. For healthier appetites, this recipe double the chicken breasts to 4.

Toss lettuce into beans, chickpeas and avocado.Place salad mixture on each plate then add chicken breast and gently spoon lemon juice dressing over salad and chicken.

Note: I’ve substituted red onions in place of beans.

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Vegan Curried Sweet Potatoes

On August 29, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Finding a new food blog full of amazing vegan (or vegetarian) recipes makes my life planning 3 to 4 vegetarian meals a week a whole lot easier. We are trying to eat half of our dinners without meat so I’ve been spending some time searching for some great recipes. I was happily surprised to find Healthy Blender Recipes.

Healthy Blender Recipes is more than just smoothies and things to do with a VitaMix blender. There are some great vegan recipes to try too which brings me to tonight’s dinner and my first recipe attempt from The Blender Girl’s blog.

I reduced the original recipe by half, since I only bought 3 sweet potatoes at the Coppell Farmer’s Market yesterday. They were beautiful sweet potatoes from a local farm near Dallas. I also had picked up some fresh lettuce at the Farmer’s Market that went well with a simple lemon and oil dressing I’ve been making.


Lemon and Oil Dressing

1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

shavings of lemon peel

Squeeze the lemon, I usually just cut a lemon in 1/3 and extract the juice. Shave the lemon with a lemon zester. Add about half of the olive oil and mix the dressing with a fork. Add remaining oil and mix. If you want, add a small dash of salt too.

Makes enough for 2 small side salads.

I reheated some rice and dished out a couple heaping spoonfuls of the vegan sweet potato main dish then added a side of salad.

For the recipe: Vegan Curried Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

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Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula

On June 1, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Continuing our tradition of moving to a more vegetarian balanced diet this recipe for Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula was a welcome addition to this quest to find good, easy to make vegetarian dishes.

What is most enjoyable about this recipe is how fast it is to make. It was literally 15 minutes from ingredients to plate. In the time it took to cook the pasta, the mustard vinaigrette dressing, washed arugula, drain cannellini beans, and crumbled goat cheese where ready and waiting for the drained pasta to complete the dish.

The pasta salad is great for a summer dinner or even for a dish to pass at a potluck or to bring to a family event. Simple, quick and enjoyable. We will definitely be making this one again as the boiling hot Dallas summer months are upon us.

For the Recipe: Martha Stewart’s Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula.


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Pear and Gorgonzola Cheese Salad Dressing

On February 23, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

I celebrated my birthday, earlier this month, at one of my favorite local restaurants – Sweet Lorraine’s in Southfield, Michigan. They make some great food that is always very fresh and sometimes very interesting. I had a mixed grill dish with couscous, lamb sausage, shrimp and chicken all in a Moroccan styled marinade. It was excellent (sorry don’t have the recipe for that.)

I did have a disappointment on my last visit. They had by far my favorite salad dressing, a Pear Gorgonzola dressing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t ordered enough so they discontinued making it. Well that got me thinking about trying to replicate their recipe. After some Googling of pear and gorgonzola salad recipes, I found a basic pear dressing recipe that I modified a bit to emulate Sweet Lorraine’s dressing.

My mother in-law was over at dinner last night when I served the dressing with some fresh greens, sliced red onions and sliced carrots. She says I should bottle it. It was amazing. A four out of four stars, according to her. Everyone else really enjoyed it too, especially odd from a bunch of people who don’t like Gorgonzola. So, even if you are anti-stinky cheese, this recipe is sweet and very tasty I’m sure you’ll find it to be one of your favorite dressings too.

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad Dressing

Makes enough for approximately 10 salads

2 canned pear halves in natural juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Separate the pear halves from their juice, keep pear juice aside. In a blender or food processor, puree the drained pear halves with the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper until very smooth and silky. You may need to adjust by adding some pear juice liquid to thin the dressing or add another drained pear to thicken the dressing. Puree to desired consistency and add Gorgonzola cheese at the last moment and pulse the blender or food processor to quickly blend into dressing. Transfer to a jar, cover and refrigerate.

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