sides and salads Archive

Buckwheat Soba Salad with Snow Peas and Radishes

Did you know that the word ‘soba’ is the Japanese name for ‘buckwheat’?

And did you know that buckwheat isn’t really wheat at all?

In fact, buckwheat comes from an entirely different botanical family. Buckwheat is actually in the same family as sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb.

You learn something new everyday! I think this information is amazing. Who knew that buckwheat was related to rhubarb?! (I certainly did not!)

As for the recipe? It’s light, it’s seasonal, and it’s perfect for picnics, BBQ’s, and weeknight dinners in the backyard.

Buckwheat Soba Salad with Snow Peas and Radishes


  • 1 package of buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 6-8 radishes, sliced thinly
  • Sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons Ponzu (or lemon/lime juice)
  • 1.5 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup (or brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar


  1. Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Once cooked, rinse with cold water and chill until use.
  2. Mix together soy sauce, ponzu (or citrus), sesame oil, agave, and rice vinegar. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. (I personally like a lot of citrus, so I used ponzu and lime juice.)
  3. Toss together the noodles, snow peas, sliced radishes, and green onions. Drizzle the soy dressing over the salad, and toss to coat. Be careful not over-do it on the sauce (this salad’s beauty is in it’s lightness and simplicity). Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve chilled.


I’m in a bit of a salad phase. Blame it on the hot weather or blame it on the abundance of greens in my garden — whatever the reason may be, I’ve been craving and consuming a lot of salad.

Tis the season, I suppose.

For this reason, I decided to post a round up of my favorite spring and summer salads. Here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorites.


asparagus arugula feta salad


apple fennel celery salad




avocado slaw




Basil Watermelon Salad by Rosemarried


blackberry grnbean2




Farro and Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon

I’ve been in a fog for nearly a week now. My nose is stuffed up, my throat is sore, and my head aches. I’m not sure if this is a cold, a sinus infection, allergies, or a combination of all three. Whatever it is, it isn’t particularly enjoyable.

I’ve had the hardest time writing this post, simply because food simply doesn’t sound good. I can’t taste anything and I can’t smell anything. It’s all a little bit pathetic.

I made this salad before I got sick — back in the good ole days when I could taste and smell and enjoy. It was bright and lemony and full of the flavors of spring. It was lovely.

I’m sure I’ll feel better in no time, and that food will taste good again. For now, I’ll have to live vicariously through all of you. If you happen to make this dish, I just ask that you take a moment and savor it.

Enjoy the flavors of spring for me, please. :)

Farro and Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon

Serving Size: 4 as a


  • 2 cups cooked farro
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (or more) hazelnut or olive oil
  • The juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1.5 teaspoons minced chives
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. First, cook the asparagus. Bring a medium or large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, trim the woody ends off the asparagus. Cut asparagus into 1″-2″ pieces. When the water comes to a boil, place asparagus pieces in the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from boiling water and plunge into an ice bath (or rinse with cold water). Drain asparagus, pat dry, and set aside.
  2. To make the dressing — mix together lemon juice, olive oil (or hazelnut oil), chives, salt, and pepper. Toss the farro, asparagus, and hazelnuts together in a shallow bowl. Pour dressing over the farro mixture, and stir to coat. Gently stir in goat cheese crumbles and lemon zest. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.


Adapted from The Kitchn

Roasted Potates with Peas, Pesto, and Chives

It is precisely this time of year that I find myself in a pesto rut. It’s just that there are so many wonderful green things that exist in the world right now: basil, chives, spring onions, kale, arugula, spinach, nettles, and more. And my absolute favorite thing to do with spring greens is to make pesto. (Please see examples: A, B, and C)

But it’s easy to get into a pesto rut, to make the same pesto-ish dish over and over again. My typical pesto meal usually looks a little something like this: I boil some pasta. I toss pasta with fresh pesto. I eat said pesto pasta. If I’m feeling particularly creative, I’ll throw in some asparagus or sun dried tomatoes.

Don’t get me wrong, pesto pasta is delicious. It’s just not particularly exciting.

Last week, however, I had an inspired idea. I decided to roast some baby potatoes and afterwards, I tossed the warm potatoes with basil almond pesto, peas, mint, and chives. This dish, though somewhat humble and unassuming, was a breath of fresh air. It was exactly what I needed to get me out of my pesto rut. It was hearty and rustic, and a little bit unexpected.

Potatoes and pesto. Who knew it was a match made in heaven?

Roasted Potates with Peas, Pesto, and Chives


  • 1 pound baby yellow or white potatoes
  • 1/2 cup (shelled) peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup of pesto (Any pesto will do, just use your favorite pesto recipe!)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 405 degrees F.
  2. Wash the potatoes and pat dry. Slice potatoes in half, and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. (I like to ensure that some of the potatoes lay flat side up, and some flat side down, to ensure a varied level of textures and browned edges.)
  3. Roast the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender and starting to brown along the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  4. If using frozen peas, remove the peas from the freezer and run under warm water until they are thawed. Gently pat dry and set aside. If using fresh peas, steam the peas for 3-5 minutes or until they are tender, but not mushy.
  5. Place the roasted potatoes into a large bowl. Toss with pesto, peas, chives, and mint. Taste, and add salt & pepper if necessary. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the potatoes prior to serving. Serve warm (but the leftovers are delicious when eaten cold!).

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Hazelnuts and Meyer Lemon

Fun fact: did you know that the Caesar salad originated in Mexico? An Italian immigrant named Caesar Cardini moved to Tijuana in the 1920’s and opened a few restaurants. It is rumored that he invented the now-famous salad one evening when he ran out of his usual salad dressing ingredients and was forced to make up a salad dressing on the spot. The salad was a huge hit, and its popularity quickly spread to the United States. Nowadays, you can find Caesar salads on menus across the country, from high end restaurants to fast food chains.

So, there’s your history lesson for the day!

What I would like to do today is re-write a little bit of culinary history. I would like to reclaim the Caesar salad. Don’t get me wrong: I love a good Caesar. I love it when the lettuce is fresh and crisp, when the dressing is made from scratch (and with love!). I love the salty brine of the anchovies. The crunch of the croutons. The bite of the garlic.

But let’s be honest… when was the last time you had a good Caesar salad? Caesar salads have devolved into convenience store food; pre-packaged in plastic containers filled with with rubbery white chicken (complete with fake char marks!), soggy croutons, and wilted lettuce. Most modern-day Caesar’s resemble nothing of Cardini’s 1920’s invention.

As for my version of the Caesar, it is also a far cry from Cardini’s original recipe. My version is vegan, which means it contains no eggs or anchovies. While I love a classic Caesar dressing, there’s something about the vegan version that I adore. It actually tastes like Caesar dressing – it’s creamy, briny, peppery, and garlicky. The key to this dressing is the capers (and the caper brine), as they add that certain fishy/briny element that we all know and love in a classic Caesar.

This dressing is really simple to make, it’s flavorful, and it’s healthy. And since I want to start my new year off on the right foot, I thought I’d share this recipe with you all. I’ve been making a version of this dressing for years, but in the past I’ve made it with olive oil, almonds, and romaine lettuce. I decided to class up the recipe a little, and make it with dinosaur kale, hazelnuts, Meyer lemons, and hazelnut oil. I couldn’t be happier with the results, it’s a delightful winter salad.

One last funny tidbit, and then I’ll post the recipe. I must confess, I added some roast chicken to the salad. It completely negated the veganness of it, but oh well. It was delicious. That’s the best thing about this salad, there’s a lot of wiggle room. You can change and edit it as you see fit.

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Hazelnuts and Meyer Lemon


  • Salad ingredients:
  • 1 large bunch Dinosaur Kale (also called Black Kale or Lacinato Kale)
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Optional salad ingredients:
  • Red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • Carrots, sliced thinly
  • Meyer lemon zest
  • Garlic croutons
  • Protein: Tempeh, Tofu, Grilled salmon, chicken, etc.
  • For the vegan Caesar dressing:
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3/4 cup silken tofu
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil (or olive oil)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers
  • 4 teaspoons caper brine
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the dressing, first pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until they are finely ground (1 minute or so).
  2. Add in the silken tofu, lemon juice, capers, caper brine, garlic, salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar. Process until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
  3. While the food processor is on, slowly pour in the hazelnut (or olive) oil, until the dressing is thick and creamy. (Note: There is no need to worry about the dressing being completely ‘smooth’. I happen to like the nutty texture, so I blend until it reaches the texture I like. There is a lot of flexibility with this dressing, just make it how you like it!)
  4. Once you have mixed the dressing, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add in salt and a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper. If the dressing doesn’t taste briny enough, add in a bit more of the caper brine. Set aside.
  5. To assemble the salad, slice the kale into thin strips with a sharp knife. Toss the kale with the dressing and any other ingredients (carrots, bell pepper, croutons, protein, etc.). If the dressing is too thick, feel free to dilute with a bit of water or more oil.
  6. Sprinkle the salad with remaining hazelnuts and capers, and season with a few grinds of black pepper.
  7. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. If you are not serving the salad immediately, I recommend squeezing a bit of fresh lemon over the salad prior to serving. If you have extra dressing, it will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnut Romesco

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and yet I find myself thinking about what it means to be truly thankful.

It’s just so easy to get bogged down in the details of everyday life, to get lost in the mundane. I get too caught up in it all.

And I just need to stop. I need to take a deep breath and look around me.

I have so much.

I have been given so much.

I need to work on being grateful for all that I have, and all that I’ve been given.

I need to work on being content.

Thanksgiving is a good starting point, a day dedicated to feasting and family and thankfulness. It is a wonderful reminder that I am really, truly blessed.

As I enter the holiday season, I want to retain a spirit of gratitude. I can’t say it will be easy, but I’m going to do my best.

In any case, I hope that your Thanksgiving was lovely. (I cannot believe it was a week ago! Where did the time go?) I made these Brussels sprouts as part of our Thanksgiving meal and thought I should share them with you all.

(They are so good, it’s a little bit silly.)


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnut Romesco


  • 1-2 lbs Brussels sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Red bell peppers
  • 2 dried Ancho chilies or 1 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 3/4 cups roasted hazelnuts
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 piece of crusty white bread
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Lightly grease a baking sheet (or line it with foil or a Silpat).
  2. Remove the outer leaves of the sprouts. With a sharp knife, cut off the bottom of the sprouts (the ‘stem’) and slice each in half.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the sliced sprouts with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Once the sprouts are lightly coated, spread in an even layer on the baking sheet.Roast sprouts in the oven until lightly browned and fork tender (but still slightly firm!), about 15-20 minutes.
  5. To make the romesco sauce: Cut crust off bread and brush with olive oil. Either toast in the oven or in a skillet until golden brown and crisp.
  6. *If you decided to make/use ancho chili paste as opposed to chili powder, please do the following: To make paste, pour boiling water over 2 dried ancho chili pods. Allow to soak in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Remove pods from water and puree, adding a little extra water to make a paste.
  7. In a food processor, combine hazelnuts, garlic, toasted bread, salt, and spices. Mix until a dry paste forms. Add chili paste, roasted red peppers, tomato paste, vinegar, and olive oil until a smooth paste forms. Add extra olive oil if you would like a thinner consistency. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
  8. The romesco sauce can be made a day or two ahead of time and stored for later use. Romesco is best enjoyed at room temperature.
  9. Once the Brussels sprouts are roasted, serve while warm with a healthy dollop of romesco sauce. You could also toss your Brussels sprouts in the romesco sauce!
  10. Enjoy.

Potato and Celery Root Mash with Horseradish

Oh my goodness, it’s Thanksgivingtimes.

I love this time of year, because it gives a sense of legitimacy to my everyday food nerderie. I pore over recipes on the internet and dream up fantastical dinner party menus all the time, but this is the time of year where I actually get to put my obsession to good use. I love it.

That being said, when Missy Maki asked me to join up with other Oregon food bloggers to create the “ultimate Oregon Thanksgiving” menu for her radio show, I did not hesitate one bit. I was asked to contribute two recipes: one for a dessert, and one for a potato dish.

I’m working a lot these days (yay for work! boo on my shocking lack of free time!), so I decided to include one new recipe, and one recipe that I posted last year. For the dessert, I chose to include my recipe for Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s one of my all time favorite dessert recipes and I think it’s wonderfully appropriate for Thanksgiving. It’s a little outside of the box, so you might even score a few cool points if you make this cake as opposed to the traditional pumpkin pie.

Ok, now it’s officially time to talk potatoes. Specifically, mashed potatoes.

Here’s the thing: mashed potatoes are a hallowed and revered Thanksgiving tradition. My family is realllllllllly into mashed potatoes. At one particular Thanksgiving dinner years ago, my little sister ate so many mashed potatoes that she literally crawled away from the dinner table. (To ensure that she never forgets it, we always set the giant bowl of mashed potatoes directly on her plate at Thanksgiving. The joke will never get old, even though the famed potato incident took place 20 years ago.)

However, I will say, that after eating good old-fashioned mashed potatoes for the past 20-something years, I think it might be time for a change. I don’t want to rock the boat, but I will say that the addition of celery root and horseradish to mashed potatoes is really quite spectacular. The celery root adds a certain earthiness to the dish, and the horseradish adds just the right amount of punch. It’s a win-win situation.

Before I jump into the recipe, I will note that this is not a precise recipe, by any means. Essentially, I use equal parts potatoes and celery root, and then add various other goodies until I like the taste (i.e. sour cream, butter, salt, pepper, horseradish, etc.) It’s really quite simple. However, I do recommend that you cook the potatoes and celery root separately, as I’ve found that celery root takes quite a bit longer to cook. If you cook them together, the potatoes will begin to break down and dissolve into your cooking water, while you wait for the celery root to cook fully (and you don’t want that!).

Lastly, if you’re in the Portland area, be sure to tune into KPAM 860 on Sunday morning, November 18th, from 9am-11am, to hear your favorite Oregon food bloggers talk about our ultimate Oregon Thanksgiving Menu!

And Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!


Serves 4

Note: As I mentioned before, this recipe is a simple ratio: equal parts celery root and potatoes. Other than that, feel free to change and edit according to your personal tastes. I like my potato/celery root mash to be extra creamy and spicy so I tend to be heavy handed on the sour cream and horseradish. Also, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for large groups.

1 celery root (small-medium size)
4 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons sour cream (or Greek yorgurt)
1 tablespoon butter
1 heaping tablespoon prepared horseradish
Salt & pepper to taste

Optional ingredients: If you want to make it extra celery-y, feel free to use celery salt in the place of salt. I also like to pour a little chicken stock into my potato/celery root mash, as I think it makes them might tasty.


Using a sharp knife, peel the celery root and cut into 1/2″ cubes. Place in a pot and cover with water. Place on the stove over med-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the celery root to cook until tender (could take up to 45 minutes).

After you get the celery root cooking, peel and chop the potatoes into 1/2″-1″ cubes. Place in a pot and cover with water and cook on the stovetop over med-high heat. Bring the potatoes to a boil and then reduce the heat slightly, allowing the potatoes to simmer until fork-tender. (About 20 minutes).

When the potatoes and celery root are fully cooked, drain the water out of each pot and combine the two root vegetables together into one large bowl or pot. Add in the sour cream (or Greek yogurt), horseradish, salt, pepper, and butter. Using a potato masher (or immersion blender or electric mixer), mash the vegetables and spices together, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm, with a grind of fresh pepper (or turkey gravy!).