Winter Crunch Salad

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Even though it’s March, I’m still making this mixed salad of hearty winter greens spiked with savory Parmesan and crunchy seeds and apples. Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe, this salad gets better after sitting in fridge for an hour or two. I’ll be eating this well through springtime.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt
Pepper
1/2 small shallot
1 Meyer lemon
1 small garlic clove
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 bunch Tuscan kale (about ¾ pound)
5 or 6 ounces Brussels sprouts
2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated
1/2 apple, halved and thinly sliced

1. Make the vinaigrette: Finely chop shallot half and transfer to medium bowl. Juice lemon over bowl. You should have about 2 tablespoons juice. Using a microplane, finely rate garlic clove into bowl. Whisk in 2 Dijon mustard and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

2. Wash and dry kale, then pat leaves dry. Strip leaves from thick stems, discarding stems, then thinly slice leaves. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Trim knobby end of Brussels sprouts. Cut sprouts in half lengthwise, then arrange halves cut side down on board and very thinly slice. Add to bowl with kale.

4. Drizzle dressing over kale mixture; season with salt and pepper. Lightly massage and toss with your hands to coat.

5. Add cheese, apples, and sunflower seeds and toss lightly to incorporate.

Portobello Mushrooms with Pesto and Garlicky Almonds

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It’s mushroom season! Maitake, oyster, enoki, need I go on? This easy side (or vegetarian main) is a mycophile’s dream because you can adapt it to any type of large mushroom. I use portobellos but king oyster or any hearty mushroom works excellently. Served atop pesto and with crunchy almonds, you can eat this on its own or with pasta.

Portobello mushrooms with pesto and almonds

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almonds
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
6 portobellow mushrooms (about 2 pounds), trimmed, gills removed
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 1/4 cups refrigerated pesto

1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Spread almonds in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in oven until toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool.

2. Coarsely chop almonds. Place almonds, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a small bowl.

3. Score each side of the mushrooms with a 1/8-inch-deep diamond pattern. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Place mushroom halves, cap sides down, in hot oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook mushrooms, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip mushrooms and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking mushrooms until tender and golden on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove mushrooms from skillet. Return skillet to medium-high, and repeat process with remaining olive oil, mushrooms, salt, and pepper.

4. To serve, spoon pesto onto a serving platter. Top with mushroom halves and almonds.

Gazpacho Salad

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If gazpacho were a salad, this would be it. Adapted from a Food and Wine recipe, this salad is peak summer: juicy tomatoes and crisp cucumbers bound by a tangy, garlicy, and yes — tomatoey dressing.

Gazpacho salad

Ingredients:

2 English cucumbers or 5 Persian cucumbers
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed under cold water
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Peel cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, and if using English cucumbers, remove seeds. Cut cucumbers into 1/2-inch slices; set aside. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Cut tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces (about 5 cups).

2. Combine 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, lime juice, basil, garlic, and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a blender. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Season dressing with salt to taste.

3. Combine onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar in a large bowl; toss to coat. Add bell peppers, cucumber slices, remaining chopped tomatoes, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Stir in tomato dressing. Let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drizzle with oil, and season with salt to taste. Garnish with basil and serve.

Ghalayet Kousa (Sauted Zucchini)

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Sorry guys, this is a zucchini blog now. Iranian ghaliyeh kadoo, meet your Palestinian cousin, ghaleyet kousa. Just as delicious a zucchini dish, ghalayet kousa is a little mintier, a little spicier, and sans turmeric. If you love zucchini like I do, you’ll be making this easy dish all summer long.

Ghalayet kousa

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
6 zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chili, minced
1 teaspoon dried mint
Salt

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the zucchini and saute for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and let the zucchini cook down, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.

2. After about 10 minutes, add the mint and mix with the zucchini. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mutabal Kousa (Zucchini and Yogurt Dip)

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I first made this Palestinian zucchini, yogurt, and tahini dip last summer when we had way too much zucchini on our hands and didn’t know what to do with it. One bite of the creamy dip flecked with garlic, lemon, and mint, and I was hooked. So naturally, I ended up making this a hundred or so times last summer — and plan on doing the same this year, too. Like Iranian ghaliyeh kadoo, you can serve mutabal kousa with flatbread, or if you’re like me, you can eat it straight out of the bowl.

Mutabal kousa

Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil
4 or 5 zucchini, cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 serrano chili, minced
1 teaspoon dried mint
Salt
Flatbread to serve

1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute the zucchini with 1 teaspoon of salt, until golden grown. Remove from the heat.

2. Smash the zucchini in a bowl with a fork to achieve a chunky texture. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, yogurt, and salt, if needed.

3. Add the chili and dried mint and mix to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.