Pesto Roasted Potato Salad

I’m always on the hunt for new side dishes to make for picnics and this one was a unique twist on a traditional salad. I’m not a fan of potato salad, so I rarely make it, but when I saw this recipe, it was one that I knew I would like. It’s different and wasn’t a big hit at my son’s birthday party, but breaking traditions with family doesn’t always go as planned.

Roasting the potatoes made a big difference and I loved that the recipe was made without mayo. Plus you can’t go wrong with using pesto and avocado! When I made this, I skipped the step of boiling the potatoes and will do that the next time I make this salad. Our potatoes were a little more crunchy then soft and there were a few complaints. Oh well. Regardless, definitely give this recipe a try for your next summer picnic!
Pesto Roasted Potato Salad | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

3 cups Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
Handful of fresh chives, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 avocado
½ cup fresh basil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 – 4 splashes of hot sauce
Salt & fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Boil the cubed potatoes in salted water for 5 to 8 minutes until they are partially cooked. They should be able to be pricked with a fork, but not fully cooked. Drain and transfer to a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium pan, toast the walnuts. Transfer ½ cup of the toasted walnuts into a food processor. Add in the garlic, avocado, basil, lemon juice and hot sauce. Process until the pesto is smooth and creamy.

In a large bowl, toss together the roasted potatoes, diced red onion, chives and remaining ½ cup of walnuts. Add about ¾ of the pesto to the potatoes and stir to coat. Add more pesto if you want the salad to be wetter. The remaining pesto is great to top with pasta or as condiment on a sandwich.

Source: Ceara’s Kitchen

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Kale Salad with Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette

Happy New Year! One of my goals for this year is to eliminate as much processed food as possible and this salad is a great start. I made it for lunch on Christmas Day and it was so good! It’s a nice break from all the heavy food usually adorning our dinner table, plus it takes delicious. It’s a quick and easy salad to make. I had everything prepped and ready to take to my mom’s, where I made the dressing.

A tip when you make this salad it to massage the kale helps to take it from bitter and tough to sweet and silky. It’s super easy and takes about five minutes. You’ll notice the texture changes and it becomes darker green.

Kale Salad with Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
half a lemon, zest and juice
1 bunch of kale, very thinly slice
1/4 cup sliced almonds

In a large bowl, massage the kale with one tablespoon of olive oil and salt for a few minutes until it becomes tender. Set aside. In a large saute pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the shallots and saute for five minutes or until tender and cooked through. Saute the garlic for one minute and then add in the cranberries, red wine vinegar, honey, lemon juice and zest. Stir to combine and turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the prepared kale and top with the almonds. It would be great to throw in a few crumbles of blue cheese.

Source: Gimme Some Oven

Wild Rice Butternut Squash Salad

Are you planning your menu for Thanksgiving? It looks like I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year, so I’m excited to try a few new recipes in addition to our family favorites. This is one of the dishes I’m planning to make. It’s refreshing and the flavors scream fall. Both my husband and I loved it, the kids weren’t sold on it, but I’m going to make it anyway.

Do you experiment with new dishes for holidays or stick with your family favorites? Share your Thanksgiving sides with me! I’m always looking for new ideas.

2 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped butternut squash
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced kale, lightly massaged
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
3 cups cooked wild rice, warm

Dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat the cubed butternut squash with the olive oil and spread over a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 25 minutes until the squash is fork tender.

While the squash is roasting, combine all the dressing ingredients together and mix with an immersion blender.

In a bowl, combine the kale, cranberries and basil. Toss in the warm rice and roasted squash to slightly wilt the kale. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed. This salad should be served at room temperature.

Source: Heart Beet Kitchen 

Chickpea, Tomato and Cucumber Quinoa Salad

We had a little taste of summer a couple weeks ago and when that happens, I try to spend the least amount of time in the kitchen! Luckily for me, we finally bought a grill this year and my husband has been doing a lot of cooking…which gives me a little break in the kitchen. Grated, I do love cooking, but there are days when one child is hanging on your leg and the other is asking you 500 questions…cooking is next-to-impossible.

This salad was one of those sides that I could throw together, while Ross made BBQ chicken legs and thighs on the grill. It was a super light salad and perfect for summer picnics, especially since it’s mayo free. I know I’ll be making it many more times this summer!

1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced english cucumber
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
juice of 1 1/2 limes
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients right before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If preparing ahead of time, keep in refrigerator until ready to eat. 
Source: Skinnytaste