Cantaloupe and… what?? Yes, cantaloupe can go beyond its reputation as a bowl of fruit fixings. Before eliminating meat from my diet, one of my favorite appetizers was cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto. So simple and the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Good news – non-meat eaters can revel in the beauty of cantaloupe’s versatility too!
In this dish, I’ve paired cantaloupe with tomatoes (while yes, still a fruit, not as alarmingly sweet) and my secret ingredient – sesame seeds. A little salt + pepper to finish off and before you know it, you have the perfect little refreshing bite to satiate your appetizer-longing dinner mates.
We eat with our eyes too, you know, so the pretty pops of color are just another reason to love this summery salad!
Cherry Tomato (12 oz)
Black Sesame Seeds (1 tbsp)
Miso (2 tbsp)
Mirin (2 tbsp)
Honey (1 tbsp)
Salt + Pepper
Cut the cantaloupe in half, remove the seeds, and scoop out melon balls. Place the melon balls into a salad bowl.
Quarter the cherry tomatoes and add to the cantaloupe.
Finely chop up the scallion and add to the cantaloupe and cherry tomatoes. Toss together.
Toss in the black sesame seeds and season with salt + pepper.
Pour the mirin into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.
Add to the mirin the miso and honey. Whisk together until combined. Pour into the salad bowl and mix in with the cantaloupe and tomatoes.
Potato salads are often an after-thought. “I’ll have the… potato salad on the side.” “Hunnie, we’re late to the picnic. Did you remember to throw in the potato salad?” In this case, I’ve made it the star because with the right ingredients, it certainly deserves to be. I really played up the sweet and savory by introducing a bucket of fun ingredients. I’ve also kept it healthy by using sweet potatoes and omitting mayo. By roasting and cooking some of the vegetables, you’re able to “inject” more flavor into the ingredients and elevate them from 2-dimensional facades to 3-dimensional delights. As with any salad, given the right thought and care, a good potato salad can rock the party. Rock on.
Sweet Potato (1)
Red Onion (1)
Swiss Chard Stems (7-10)
Poblano Pepper (1)
Black Beans (12 oz)
Broccoli Stems (2)
Garlic Clove (1)
Mint (2 tbsp)
Cilantro (1 tbsp)
Cranberries (1/3 cup)
Maple Syrup (1 tbsp)
Dijon Mustard (1 tbsp)
Pickle Juice (1 tbsp)
Soy Sauce (1 tsp)
Smoke House Seasoning (1 tbsp)
Vegetable Broth (1/2 cup)
Salt + Pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Roast the sweet potato, skin on, until cooked tender. Remove from oven when cooked and set aside to cool.
Halve and thinly slice up the red onion and broccoli stem. Thinly chop the swiss chard stems.
De-seed and thinly slice the poblano pepper.
Finely julienne the scallions and mint. Roughly chop up the garlic.
Get a pan going over low heat with olive oil and add the scallions and mint.
Raise the heat to medium and add the red onion, broccoli stems, swiss chard stems, poblano peppers, and garlic. Season with salt + pepper.
Add the pickle juice, maple syrup, soy sauce, dijon mustard and toss together until well combined.
Transfer the pan contents to a large bowl.
Bring the same pan back up to medium-low and add the black beans (drained well).
Grate in lime zest, add the smoke house seasoning, and then squeeze in the lime juice. Season with salt + pepper as necessary.
Do a fine, rough chop on the cilantro and throw it into the pan.
Pour in the vegetable broth, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Peel and cube the sweet potato and add to the large bowl. Toss with the other vegetables.
Throw in the cranberries and toss.
“Fluff” the black beans and them to the salad bowl as well and make sure all ingredients are combined.
Let the salad sit for a good 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Summer may be nearing its official end, but fresh vegetables are still abound. This dinner is quintessential fresh and can even be made ahead of time. You can also clean out your fridge with pretty much any fresh ingredient. Feel free to substitute the shrimp with shredded chicken or beef or omit all together for you vegetarians. I used soy wrappers as the whole food alternative to rice paper and soba noodles as the alternative to vermicelli noodles (which are healthy but generally come from white rice). What a great homage to fresh veggies before you start oven-roasting and baking them away for months and months to come.
Red Bell Pepper
Basil (or Cilantro or Mint)
Fresh Water Shrimp
Crushed Red Pepper
Salt + Pepper
Finely julienne the cucumber (seeds removed), carrot (peeled), red bell pepper, mango (peeled), scallions, and green beans.
Whisk two eggs with a dash of soy sauce and pinch of sugar. In a rectangular egg pan, cook the eggs over low heat. Once the eggs have cooked, set aside and let it cool. When the egg has cooked, slice up into thin strips.
Peel and devein the shrimp. Marinade with oil, honey, crushed red pepper, and crushed garlic. Season with salt + pepper and grated ginger.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water up to a boil for the soba. Cook the soba noodles and then drain. Soba cooks much quicker than other pastas so watch them carefully. A little TLC goes a long way when cooking any noodle.
Cook the shrimp on a grill or in a sauté pan. This will only take a few minutes per side.
In the same pot you cooked the soba or in a wok, get some oil going. Add the shiitake and half of the chopped scallions and green beans. Season with a dash of soy sauce and cooking sake (or rice wine vinegar). Add back the soba noodles and continue to toss so all ingredients combine and don’t stick to the pot/wok.
Plating: Plate all the julienned veggies on a large plate. Serve the shrimp in smaller bowls and top with some scallions. Top the soba with seaweed and grated ginger. Fill soy wrappers with the veggies and shrimp. Make a side sauce for the fresh rolls (either a sweeter soy/honey sauce OR a simpler soy sauce).
I have always been a bit skeptical about watermelon in a salad. With watermelon abound in the summertime, I had to give it a go. This dish took all but 10 minutes to put together and truly is the most refreshing salad I have had in a long time. The sweetness of the watermelon marries well with the salty feta. The watermelon pops visually in your salad, acts almost like a vegetable, and thanks to its water content – brings you a healthy salad that even fills you up!
Salt + Pepper
In a large salad bowl, whisk together some lemon juice, olive oil, salt + pepper.
Peel and devein your shrimp. Season with salt + pepper. Get a pan going with olive oil and finely chopped garlic. Cook the shrimp and then set aside to cool.
Quarter some cherry tomatoes, julienne some basil, cube some watermelon, feta cheese and add it to the salad bowl. Throw together gently with the dressing.