Creamy feta vinaigrette

This is Week #33 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

I'm not gonna lie. This week has been a tough one and it has left my head spinning. So tough that even food blogging is a challenge for me, which is saying a lot because cooking and blogging about food happens to be one of my favorite things in the world. So I was pleased to see an easy recipe on my challenge list for this week. Easy and delicious...even better! Once I made it, I kind of fell in love. I want to put this dressing on everything! And now I'm encouraged to make more of my own salad dressings. Who needs Paul Newman?! 

In a food processor, add:

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)

2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Pulse until smooth and season with kosher salt and pepper.

Drizzle over a salad or grilled veggies. I can imagine this to be delicious drizzled over just about anything. It is one tasty, creamy little dressing.

Spicy Chickpea Salad Recipe

Combine fresh tasty vegetables with chickpeas in a protein packed salad. Each crunchy bite offers a scrumptious filling salad, side dish or filler to a wrap. This colorful salad that brings summer to life in any season!

Fresh-ingredient salads rock. They're pretty and fresh and tasty and versatile. My husband and I make a killer fresh salad that rivals this one, and I'll share it before summer arrives. By the way, where is summer? We got teased with a bit of warm weather last week, so now the cold and snow and freezing rain are even harder to swallow. I'm not convinced that summer will ever welcome us into her warm embrace.

This colorful salad helps me to believe that it might happen, though. It makes me think of lunches outside with my boys as we sit barefoot on the grass, wiping beads of sweat from our foreheads. Mmmmmmmm.

Back to my cold reality known as Minnesota.

If you, too, enjoy tricking yourself into believing it is summer when it is in fact not, make this salad! My family loved it and the entire batch was gone within 24 hours, despite the lack of warm weather.


A salad that will make a healthy choice delicious and unforgettable!

STEP 1 -

Drain 2 cans of chickpeas and place them in a medium bowl.

STEP 2 -

Add 1 tomato diced, 1/2 cup diced cucumber, half of a small red onion diced and half of a seeded jalapeno minced. Pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Squeeze two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in and mix in 1 teaspoon ground cumin with a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper. If you like to mix things up, add in 1 teaspoon dried mango powder!

STEP 3 -

You can chill the salad in the refrigerator for an hour or serve it room temperature. Enjoy!

Kitchen Tips: If you want to go fresh and do as the recipe suggests, soak 1 cup of dried chickpeas in water overnight. Drain the chickpeas and bring to a boil in a large saucepan in 4 inches of water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2 hours, or until chickpeas are tender.

The first thing we did upon making this was throw it onto a piece of flatbread with sliced turkey and black pepper. It’s a great way to make an easy meal and stay healthy - it was delicious!

A piece of lettuce would have added a nice crunch, but that had probably been juiced, as well.

No mayo needed! It made a delicious, healthy dinner wrap.

The next day for lunch, I used it as a topping for my boring baked chicken and cottage cheese. And I ate the last of it with crackers for a snack.

I can think of about 100 other things I'd like to put it in and on and in between. Or, I wouldn't mind eating it straight from the container while having a picnic lunch with my family, the beating sun making the tops of our heads hot.

Ahhhhh, a girl can dream.


spicy chickpea salad

A colorful salad that brings summer alive in any season!

Contributed by Megan Porta from

Published Mar 23, 2011

Print Friendly and PDF

Serves: 4

Total time: 2 hr 15 min plus overnight soaking



  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (about 5 oz), soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 tomato, cut into ½-inch dice
  • ½ cup diced cucumber (1/2 inch)
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • ½ jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mango powder, optional
  1. In a large saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 4 inches of water. Bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 hours; drain.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the tomato, cucumber, red onion, jalapeno, olive oil, vegetable oil, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper and mango powder. Add the chickpeas and season with salt. Serve the chickpea salad at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Orange-Avocado Mixed Greens Salad Recipe

This salad makes sharing oh so difficult! Tangy, Zesty and so yummy!

This is a newly-found recipe that looked delicious when I first saw a photo of it. I do love a good salad. Check out my Avocado Berry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette for another favorite. I did notice that the serving size was "6," so I thought it might last for our entire family for a few nights. Well, I kind of ate the entire thing in one sitting. All by myself. So, I will keep the serving size as "6," but if you really enjoy eating, and salads in particular, you can make that serving size a "1" like I did.

Toss together in a large bowl:

8 cups torn mixed salad greens

1 avocado, sliced

1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

1/2 small red onion, sliced


Divide mixed salad ingredients amongst plates (or plate) and top with Italian or vinaigrette dressing.

Do I even need to tell you that I loved it? I didn't think so.

Orange-Avocado Mixed Greens Salad

This salad makes sharing oh so difficult! Tangy, zesty and so yummy!

Contributed by Megan Porta from

Published Nov 06, 2010

Print Friendly and PDF

Serves: 6

Total time: 10 min



  • 8 cups mixed salad greens, torn
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
  • ½ small red onion, sliced
  1. Combine mixed greens, avocado, oranges and onion in a large bowl and toss together. Serve with Italian or balsamic salad dressing.

Basic Green Salad Recipe

Keeping it simple with all green vegetables like celery, apples, cucumber and avocado. For the love of veggies; this salad is to die for!

Here is a quick disclaimer before you read: I am not a super fancy cook, and I love a lot of very simple yet flavorful recipes.

Ok, now that your expectations aren't too high you may continue!

For me, eating vegetables is effortless. No, it is beyond effortless. It is enjoyable! I love veggies more than almost any other food. While I do realize this is bizarre, I am thankful for it. I can eat healthy foods and truly enjoy them. Don't get me wrong, I have many desires for greasy, fattening, sugary foods, as well. I would eat Taco Bell every day if my health and the size of my thighs weren't constantly on my mind.

After all of that gushing about The Vegetable, it might be easy to understand why I adore salads. I have a large collection of salad recipes (that mostly reside in my head) that I am excited to share on this blog!


This particular salad is one that my mom used to make for me a lot. I loved it to pieces back when I went through a can of hairspray a week and I love it to pieces now.

Fill two salad plates/bowls with washed, fresh, chopped lettuce. Split between them:

One green apple, sliced

One small cucumber, peeled and sliced

Two stalks of celery, chopped

One avocado, peeled and chopped

I have also been known to add:

One pear, chopped

A handful of capers

A handful of green olives, sliced

Anything green! Broccoli, snap peas, artichoke hearts, green onions. Go crazy!

I do love a good hearty ranch dressing to top off my salads, but sometimes its flavor is overpowering. That's not such a good thing for strange people like me who like to taste their vegetables. My all-time favorite dressing is salad vinegar. It isn't loaded with calories like most dressings, and I love how it tastes. I'm not really sure how other people feel about using it as a salad dressing, but for me, it greatly enhances the flavor of the veggies. Another good option that I discovered last winter is Ken's Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette. It is reasonably low in fat and calories and it is delicious!