Strawberry Poppy Seed Kale Salad

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I often think of Kale as a winter vegetable- imagining it with warm roasted sweet potatoes, in kale chip form, and sautéed with a little agave and lemon (all of which are recipes that can be found linked below!). However, paired with this refreshing lemon poppyseed dressing, fresh avocado, and ripe strawberries, this winter vegetable can be transformed into a beautiful light and refreshing summer salad.

I have several kale recipes on this blog, however have never simply tried creating a toss salad with kale. Not sure what I have been doing with my life, but I can promise you, that a kale toss salad will not disappoint! I was very pleased with the result.

Thus, for entertaining, potlucks, or simply for the sake of your health- mix things up. Give this salad a try! Your body will thank you for those dark greens, and your stomach will thank you for the delicious flavor!

And if you’re interested in some other Kale recipes, check out these delicious options below! Veg out, it’s good for you.

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and use your hands to massage the leaves until the leaves are softer and darker in color.
  2. Top with strawberries, avocado, almonds, and feta cheese- toss gently.
  3. In a small separate jar, combine the dressing ingredients and shake until well mixed.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Two Peas and Their Pod
  • To make vegan, substitute in another vegan form of cheese, or simply omit the feta cheese!
  • If you like this salad, check out these other ‘A Rented Kitchen’ recipes! (Recipe links found below!)

Greek Vegetable Salad with Lemon Balsamic Dressing

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Sometimes, when it’s summer and you have a sweet tooth the size of the Dominican Republic, you just want to eat ice cream all the time.

Then, sometimes, when it’s summer and you eat ice cream all the time, you realize that’s disgusting and start making a lot of salads.

……

I would like to introduce you to one of my new favorite salads- the beautiful Greek Veggie Salad.

Speaking from experience, I know that it is easy for salads to become mundane or habitual, which does not encourage one to enjoy salads as regularly as one ought to. However, this salad is stunningly colorful, full of flavor, and as fresh as can be. Therefore, give it a try! Put down the ice cream, at least for today, and bring some healthy diversity to the table with this dish.

Happy Summer Eating 🙂

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Salad Ingredients:

  • Artichokes
  • Heaping ¼ cup Black olives
  • 2 Cups Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium Cucumber, quartered (do not have to remove the skin)
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Green
  • 1 yellow pepper- each cut into bite size pieces
  • ¼ Red onion- diced
  • 8 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh dill

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoon White rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon White (or dark) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 2 teaspoon Minced dry garlic
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt

Directions:

  1. Rinse the vegetables (to remove any dirt or pesticides).
  2. Cut all of the vegetables, other than the avocado, into bite size pieces.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the vegetables in a large bowl.
  4. Crumble the feta into the vegetables, and top with sliced avocado and chopped fresh dill.
  5. Serve chilled and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Vegan? Omit the cheese, or replace with your desired vegan alternative!
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious and healthy options from ‘A Rented Kitchen!’ (Recipe links found below):

Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

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I have an internship now. As a senior in college, my professors want their students to know what it feels like to be working out in the real world.  Thus, I went and spent too much money buying some business-casual clothes (as compared to my norm of oversized sweaters and cotton everything!), and got to work!

What I did not realize about having an internship from 9-2 three days a week, is that similar to high school, I had to pack a lunch. What?!

This process has been the most comedic of all, because I somehow manage to forget almost every single morning, and end up packing a bizarre assortment of random foods. For example, a few weeks ago I took those vegetarian homemade pigs in a blanket to work with fruit snacks and pretzels- real professional, I know.

This absolutely fantastic salad was made in an attempt to have something nutritious and delicious, that doesn’t make me look like I have the eating habits of an 8 year old as well. You win some, you lose some.

So here’s my advice: Whether or not you are considering making this dish for your family dinner, a potluck, or your lunch at work- Do IT! This salad is absolutely addicting. You’re welcome in advance.

Happy cooking!

Love, a rented kitchen.

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Salad Ingredients

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1-2 cups shredded red cabbage (depending on how much crunch you like! I went with 2!)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup diced green onions
  • ½ cup cashew halves or peanuts (honey-roasted is good)
  • Optional: 1 cup edamame or chickpeas
  • Fresh lime, for a bit of tang

Dressing Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup  peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 3 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (use agave if vegan)
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Water to thin (if necessary)

Directions:

  1. Quinoa: Prepare the quinoa by rinsing the quinoa with cold water in a mesh strainer.  Then, add 1 ½ cups water to the quinoa in a medium sized saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 15- 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Then, fluff with a fork, remove from heat, and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, while the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing.  Microwave the peanut butter and honey (or agave) in a microwave safe bowl for 20 seconds.
  3. Add the ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and olive oil to the peanut butter, and stir until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the dressing to the quinoa, and then fold in the red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro.
  5. Top with cashews or peanuts and green onions.
  6. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lime wedges!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Monique from Ambitious Kitchen
  • If you want a thinner dressing, add about teaspoon of water and/or oil to the dressing mix!
  • One perk to this recipe- the quinoa absorbs the flavors of the dressing and tastes even more flavorful after a few hours/days! So go ahead, make your dinner in advance, you over achiever.
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from ‘a rented kitchen’! Check below for the recipes!

Balsamic Mushroom and Fruit Summer Salad

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Wow summer has flown by.  Usually summer is my season with the most cooking, because I have the most free time, however this summer has been a very different story.  My last ten weeks have been entirely consumed by three summer courses, a part time job, an internship, one week as a camp counselor, a trip to the lake house, and moving into a new house.  So much for slowing down!

I know from personal experience that when life gets too busy, cooking is often one of the first things pushed aside. Instead of taking the time or energy to cook a nutritious meal, we often end up turning to junk food, microwaveable options, and eating out.  Guilty as charged.

There is hope though! This salad is something I whipped together over my lunch break this afternoon, and was so pleasantly surprised at how quickly it all came together, and how delicious it tasted, that I knew I had to share it with you.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, and I hope your August is filled with porch swings, slow evenings, ice tea, and friends.  I’m still holding out hope for that slow summer pace  🙂

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Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 large button mushrooms
  • 2 cups mixed spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup rinsed blueberries
  • 4 large strawberries, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (as desired)

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil
  • Juice from ¼ of an orange
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon agave (a little more if the balsamic is too strong for you!)

Instructions:

  1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan.  Rinse and slice the mushrooms, and add to the frying pan once hot.
  2. Sautee for one minute, then drizzle 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar over the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes, flipping occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the salad dressing ingredients in a small cup and whisk thoroughly.
  4. Toss the spinach leaves in a medium-sized bowl.  Add the sliced strawberries, blueberries, and crumbled goat cheese over the top.  Then add the warm mushrooms and top with a drizzle of dressing.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Try marinating your mushrooms in the dressing for a few hours prior to sautéing them for a fuller flavor!
  • Vegan? Leave out the goat cheese and replace it with a vegan cheese substitute if desired!
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from ‘a rented kitchen’ and make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!

Tangy Strawberry Balsamic Tempeh Sandwich (or salad!)

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A few weekends ago my cousin and I were making dinner together. She suggested a salad, I suggested tempeh, she suggested strawberries, and it was a date! Together in her kitchen we were cooking and chatting away, as I volunteered to come up with a marinade for the tempeh.

My go-to ingredient for every sauce, dip, and marinade is always Balsamic Vinegar. I love it! My brilliant cousin Bekah, however, is the one who made this marinade awesome. Bekah came up with the dazzling idea to add orange juice to the marinade, which took this tempeh from delicious and traditional to exotic, fresh, and unique! I swear, I’m never going to want to make tempeh any other way.

Since that night I’ve made this dish in both salad and sandwich form, so I thought I’d share the sandwich variation with you. Although, if you are looking for a gluten free or low carb variation, check the notes and tips section below for the salad suggestion!

Yet again, I am grateful for rented kitchens, family, time together around the table, and experiments. Bring on the strawberries, and bring on the summer.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (plus 1 Tablespoon)
  • ½ teaspoon agave
  • Generous sprinkle of sea salt
  • Sprinkle of pepper
  • 2 Buns, toasted
  • 1 block of tempeh
  • 10-20 Spinach leaves, rinsed and the stems removed
  • 5-10 Strawberries, sliced into thing pieces
  • 4 thin sandwich slices of Havarti cheese

Directions:

  1. Slice the tempeh into thin strips. (I cut the block in half, turned those halves on their ends and sliced those in two. Then I cut those 4 thin squares into 2-4 long strips each!)
  2. Combine the balsamic vinegar, orange juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil, agave, sea salt, and pepper in a shallow dish and mix well.  Add the tempeh to the dish and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Flip the tempeh pieces to allow equal soaking.
  3.  Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan. Add the tempeh pieces to the pan once the oil is hot.  Cook for 3 minutes on one side and then flip.
  4. Drizzle 1/3 of the marinade sauce over the tops of the tempeh pieces and tilt the pan to allow the sauce to slide under the tempeh pieces. As you continue to cook the tempeh and rotate it, continue to drizzle the sauce over the tempeh. This will create a caramelized exterior, darken the tempeh, and significantly increase the flavor.
  5. Once the tempeh is cooked, assemble your sandwich by placing a slice of Havarti cheese on each side of a freshly toasted bun (this helps the cheese melt!). Then stack with spinach leaves, strawberry slices, tempeh, and top with the other half of the bun. Enjoy while it’s hot!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 2 large sandwiches (potentially with a few pieces of tempeh left over!)
  • Gluten free and low carb variation: Prepare the tempeh in the same way, but serve over a spinach leaf salad. Crumble some harvarti cheese and slice up a few strawberries to throw on top, and you won’t even miss the bread! Other possible toppings: sunflower seeds and sliced purple onion.
  • Be careful when pouring the marinade into your frying pan- if your pan is too hot and you pour the marinade over the tempeh it may spit! If this happens, simply turn down the heat and wear an oven glove while you pour. I did not have a problem with this but do not want anyone to move too quickly and get burned!)
  • Source: A Rented Kitchen
  • If you like this post, check out these other delicious meals from ‘a rented kitchen!’: