Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula & Apple

This arugula goat cheese salad is simple but a symphony of flavor! Apples, pecans and balsamic dressing make perfection on a plate. I don’t know about you, but we’re always in search of the perfect back pocket salad. You know, the one that’s easy enough to whip up on moments notice? The one that takes little effort but delivers massive flavor? Here’s one that’s on our new favorite back pocket concept: the Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Apples! It’s simple and comes together quickly, but my does it deliver on flavor! The crunch of the apples, creamy goat cheese, and fluffy arugula are the ideal pair for the tangy sweet dressing. We couldn’t stop eating this one! It’s a riff on some of our other salads, but it might be the best of the lot. Ingredients in this arugula goat cheese salad Goat cheese is one of our favorite ingredients for a salad, because it adds a creamy richness to every bite! Here are the elements that come together to make this salad a symphony of flavor: Goat cheese: Soft goat cheese or chevre is best here, though you can use the pre-packaged crumbles as well Baby arugula: Make […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This arugula goat cheese salad is simple but a symphony of flavor! Apples, pecans and balsamic dressing make perfection on a plate.

Goat Cheese Salad

I don’t know about you, but we’re always in search of the perfect back pocket salad. You know, the one that’s easy enough to whip up on moments notice? The one that takes little effort but delivers massive flavor? Here’s one that’s on our new favorite back pocket concept: the Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Apples! It’s simple and comes together quickly, but my does it deliver on flavor! The crunch of the apples, creamy goat cheese, and fluffy arugula are the ideal pair for the tangy sweet dressing. We couldn’t stop eating this one! It’s a riff on some of our other salads, but it might be the best of the lot.

Ingredients in this arugula goat cheese salad

Goat cheese is one of our favorite ingredients for a salad, because it adds a creamy richness to every bite! Here are the elements that come together to make this salad a symphony of flavor:

  • Goat cheese: Soft goat cheese or chevre is best here, though you can use the pre-packaged crumbles as well
  • Baby arugula: Make sure to get baby arugula; standard arugula is much too spicy
  • Apple: A crisp red apple is best, though you can use a Granny Smith as well
  • Shallot: A shallot is a milder version of a red onion, and completes the flavor
  • Pecans: Substitute in any nut you’d like, or see below on how to step up the flavor
  • Balsamic dressing: This creamy balsamic dressing is our go-to, but you can use others too (see below)
Arugula goat cheese salad

Best salad dressing, and a few alternatives

Our favorite vinaigrette for this goat cheese salad is our Creamy Balsamic Dressing. It’s got just the right sweet tart flavor and creamy, emulsified texture. All you need is balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and olive oil: and it comes together in a breeze! Memorize it and you’ll have a dressing for all of your future salads; it’s our best loved salad dressings in this house!

But looking to mix it up? There are a few other vinaigrettes we love that pair with a goat cheese salad. Here’s what we’d recommend:

Step up the pecans: toast them or glaze them!

Want to make this salad really pop? When we’re making this goat cheese salad with arugula on a weeknight, we use plain nuts. But for entertaining, there are two ways to really make this salad sparkle:

  • Toast the nuts. A quick toast in the oven or in a skillet makes a huge difference: it really brings out the nutty flavor. Try Toasted Pecans, Toasted Walnuts or Toasted Almonds.
  • Glaze the nuts. Even better: make Glazed Pecans! Throw them in a pan with maple syrup and caramelize them: when they dry, they’ll be sweet and crunchy on the outside. Also try Glazed Walnuts.
Balsamic dressing

Variations on this goat cheese salad

There are infinite variations on this goat cheese salad with arugula: just swap in different fruits, veggies, or nuts to make variations of all kinds! Here are a few options:

  • Use different nuts, like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios
  • Make a pear goat cheese salad with sliced pears
  • Make a beet goat cheese salad with roasted beets (it’s easiest with pre-cooked packaged beets from the store, or roast your own)
  • Use berries instead, like blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries
  • Swap fruit for veggies, like carrots (raw or roasted) or roasted sweet potatoes
  • Use different leafy greens, like baby mixed greens, spinach, or shaved Brussels sprouts

You readers always have the best ideas! So let us know the ways you’ve customized this salad.

Goat Cheese Salad

Goat cheese vs cows cheese

Did you know goat cheese is slightly healthier than a standard cow’s cheese, like Parmesan or mozzarella? Here’s a little breakdown on how it compares (source: Prevention):

  • More vitamins and minerals than cow’s cheese. Goat’s milk is richer in essential nutrients than cow’s milk. It has more vitamin A & B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Slightly less calories than cow’s cheese. Goat cheese has just 75 calories per ounce—less than cow cheeses like mozzarella (85 calories), Swiss (108 calories), and cheddar (115 calories).
  • May be easier to digest. Goat cheese has less lactose than cow’s milk and a slightly different protein structure, so people who are lactose intolerant many times can digest goat cheese.

This goat cheese salad with arugula recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Arugula Goat Cheese Salad

Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula & Apple


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This arugula goat cheese salad is simple but a symphony of flavor! Apples, pecans and balsamic dressing make perfection on a plate.


Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Balsamic Dressing (or Citrus Salad Dressing or Dijon Dressing)
  • 1 crisp apple
  • 1 shallot
  • 5 ounces (8 cups) baby arugula (not standard arugula*)
  • 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped (toasted or glazed, if desired)
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre), crumbled
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, make the dressing.
  2. Thinly slice the apple and shallot.
  3. Place the greens on a plate. Top with the sliced shallot, apple, pecans, and crumbles of soft goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing and top with a sprinkle of sea salt.

Notes

*Standard arugula has much too spicy of a flavor; look for the small baby arugula leaves like you see in the photo. It comes packaged in the produce section near the greens, or may be available at your local farmer’s market. 

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Salad
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Arugula goat cheese salad

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Classic Wedge Salad

There’s something about the wedge salad that satisfies every time! This recipe breaks down all the elements of this classic side dish. Classic is classic for a reason, and the classic wedge salad does not disappoint. Every time we serve it, people ooo and ahh. Because it really is perfection: the crunch of iceberg lettuce against the creamy, savory blue cheese dressing just makes sense. Not to mention it looks stunning! There’s a reason this salad has been impressing us all for 100 years. It’s our favorite to serve with a grilled dinner or sheet pan salmon and asparagus. How do we make it? Here are all the classic elements: and of course, we’ve put our spin on it. What’s in a wedge salad? The first recipe for an iceberg lettuce wedge salad was printed in 1916 in the book Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes by Marion Harris Neil. It was called “Lettuce Salad with Roquefort Dressing” and calls for smothering lettuce hearts with a creamy blue cheese dressing and hard boiled egg whites cut into rings. Not quite what the salad looks like today! In the 1950’s, the wedge salad took on the blue cheese crumbles and bacon […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

There’s something about the wedge salad that satisfies every time! This recipe breaks down all the elements of this classic side dish.

Wedge salad

Classic is classic for a reason, and the classic wedge salad does not disappoint. Every time we serve it, people ooo and ahh. Because it really is perfection: the crunch of iceberg lettuce against the creamy, savory blue cheese dressing just makes sense. Not to mention it looks stunning! There’s a reason this salad has been impressing us all for 100 years. It’s our favorite to serve with a grilled dinner or sheet pan salmon and asparagus. How do we make it? Here are all the classic elements: and of course, we’ve put our spin on it.

What’s in a wedge salad?

The first recipe for an iceberg lettuce wedge salad was printed in 1916 in the book Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes by Marion Harris Neil. It was called “Lettuce Salad with Roquefort Dressing” and calls for smothering lettuce hearts with a creamy blue cheese dressing and hard boiled egg whites cut into rings. Not quite what the salad looks like today!

In the 1950’s, the wedge salad took on the blue cheese crumbles and bacon bits that are traditional in today’s salad. By the 1970’s, it became popular at steakhouses where it still is today. Most restaurants and chefs these days like to put their own creative touches on wedge salads (which we’ll cover below). The basic elements of a classic wedge salad are:

  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Blue cheese dressing
  • Tomatoes
  • Chives
  • Bacon
Wedge salad recipe

Try smoky breadcrumbs in place of bacon!

For our spin on the classic wedge salad, we’ve created an innovation instead of the traditional bacon: smoky bread crumbs! You can use breadcrumbs to add the crunchy element that bacon provides, and season them to add a hint of the smokiness of bacon. It’s a fun way to get creative with your wedge salad (and makes it vegetarian). You’ll simply toast the breadcrumbs in a skillet with olive oil and spices until they’re golden, about 3 minutes. Here are the spices you’ll need:

  • Smoked paprika: Also labeled as pimentón at the grocery store, it’s a smoked version of sweet paprika and adds a hint of smoke to everything it touches. It’s worth seeking out here! (Use leftovers for all these smoked paprika recipes.)
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt

A fresh spin on blue cheese dressing

This wedge salad uses our favorite blue cheese dressing recipe: classic with a modern spin! Here are a few of the features of this dressing that makes it a go-to:

  • Uses Greek yogurt! Combining the standard mayonnaise with Greek yogurt helps to reduce the calories but still keeps the deliciously creamy texture.
  • Easy to whisk up. This one takes just a few minutes to make! You’ll mash the blue cheese crumbles with a bit of vinegar, then mix it together with the yogurt, mayo and spices.
Wedge salad

Don’t like blue cheese? A few options

Blue cheese is a strong flavor, and we know several people in our immediate circle who aren’t fans. You too? You can mix things up in the wedge salad and use a different salad dressing. Then top with feta cheese crumbles! Here are a few ideas for alternate dressings:

  • Ranch dressing: Try our best Ranch Dressing! It also uses Greek yogurt. You can even add a little smoked paprika to make Smoky Ranch.
  • Feta dressing: Simply make the blue cheese dressing below but use feta cheese instead of blue cheese.
  • Thousand island: Who doesn’t love Thousand Island? It’s not classic for a wedge salad, but still tasty!
Wedge salad

Cutting the wedges in wedge salad

Last up: there are a few things to note when you cut an iceberg head for your wedge salad! Here are a few notes and things to look for:

  • Look for a small to medium iceberg head. Some iceberg lettuce heads you can find at the store are massive! Small to medium makes the best wedge.
  • Remove the outer leaves first. The outer leaves can be dirty and sometimes are damaged. Pull them all off first!
  • Cut into 4 for a small head or 6 for large. If all you can find is a very large iceberg head, you can cut it into 6 wedges. This will make it more manageable on a plate!

Mains to pair with wedge salad…it’s totally versatile!

The classic wedge salad is one of the most versatile salads we know. It goes with nearly anything. Here are some our favorite ways to pair it with a meal…that’s not steak:

More classic salads

Love the wedge? You’ll love these super classic salads too:

This wedge salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Wedge salad

Classic Wedge Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

There’s something about that classic wedge salad recipe! Crisp iceberg and creamy blue cheese dressing is a match made in heaven.


Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 recipe Blue Cheese Dressing*
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 4 sundried tomatoes, chopped)
  • 2 chives, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
  • Smoky breadcrumbs, for the garnish (1 handful crushed potato chips or crumbled bacon)

For the smoky breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko (or homemade breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Make the Blue Cheese Dressing
  2. Make the smoky breadcrumbs, if using: Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix the panko with the smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and kosher salt. Add them to the skillet and toast, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a bowl. 
  3. Remove the outer leaves of the iceberg head, then slice it into wedges (4 for a small head, 6 for a large head). Prep the chives and tomatoes.
  4. To serve. place a wedge on a plate. Top with dressing, tomatoes, chives, blue cheese crumbles, and smoky breadcrumbs. Serve immediately. 

Notes

*Not a blue cheese lover? Make our Ranch Dressing and add 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika for a smoky flair. Then top with crumbled feta cheese. 

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Salad

Keywords: Wedge salad, wedge salad recipe

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

lemon potatoes

Is this a good place to admit that I almost never ate potatoes growing up? I tell my Russian husband this and he’s baffled. Mashed? No. Roasted? No. Fries, only at restaurants. Tater tots, from the freezer on a too-rare occasion. Baked p…

Is this a good place to admit that I almost never ate potatoes growing up? I tell my Russian husband this and he’s baffled. Mashed? No. Roasted? No. Fries, only at restaurants. Tater tots, from the freezer on a too-rare occasion. Baked potatoes were definitely a dinner menu item and I don’t think anyone had anything against potatoes, just not a strong pull towards them. Needless to say, if the archives here are any indication, my kids will not be saying the same. And yet despite the gratins, the crispy crumbled, the melting, the brown butter mash, the kugel, twice-baked and the Anna, I still crave potatoes in ways I have yet finetuned a recipe for, and this brought me to a surge of lemon potato studies over the winter.

all you will needchunky wedgesready to roastadd broth and lemon juice

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Lemony Broiled Asparagus

Broiled asparagus is a fast, easy and delicious way to cook this green vegetable! Throw it in the broiler and cook until charred and tender. Here’s a genius ways to cook this green vegetable to charred and tender without even preheating your oven. Yes, it’s our new favorite way to make it: Broiled Asparagus! Just throw it in the broiler with a few lemon wheels, and it comes out just like roasted asparagus…but even better. Once spring comes along, these beautiful green spears are everywhere. Now that we’ve tried it, we think this is the best way to cook them. Throw them alongside pistachio crusted salmon for a lovely dinner, or baked eggs for a special brunch. Here’s how to make this easy asparagus recipe! How to make broiled asparagus: basic method You don’t even need a recipe for broiled asparagus. Once you’ve tried it once, memorize the principles and make it over and over! All you need to know is the basic cook time and seasoning. Here’s how to broil asparagus: Trim the ends of the asparagus. More on how to cut asparagus is below. Line a baking sheet with foil. This makes for easy cleanup. Add the asparagus, […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Broiled asparagus is a fast, easy and delicious way to cook this green vegetable! Throw it in the broiler and cook until charred and tender.

Broiled asparagus

Here’s a genius ways to cook this green vegetable to charred and tender without even preheating your oven. Yes, it’s our new favorite way to make it: Broiled Asparagus! Just throw it in the broiler with a few lemon wheels, and it comes out just like roasted asparagus…but even better. Once spring comes along, these beautiful green spears are everywhere. Now that we’ve tried it, we think this is the best way to cook them. Throw them alongside pistachio crusted salmon for a lovely dinner, or baked eggs for a special brunch. Here’s how to make this easy asparagus recipe!

How to make broiled asparagus: basic method

You don’t even need a recipe for broiled asparagus. Once you’ve tried it once, memorize the principles and make it over and over! All you need to know is the basic cook time and seasoning. Here’s how to broil asparagus:

  • Trim the ends of the asparagus. More on how to cut asparagus is below.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil. This makes for easy cleanup.
  • Add the asparagus, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Quantities are in the recipe below.
  • Add 4 lemon wheels right to the tray. This infuses lemon flavor as the asparagus cooks.
  • Broil 3 minutes, stir, then 2 to 3 minutes more. Cook until the thickest parts of the asparagus are tender when pierced with a fork. Easy as that!
Broiled asparagus recipe

How to trim asparagus…the right way

Have you been snapping off the ends of your asparagus? Not only does it take longer to trim that way: it removes some of the edible part of the vegetable! This tasty veggie requires trimming before you cook it to remove the tough ends. Here’s the quickest way to cut asparagus:

  • Line up the asparagus facing the same way. Grab a large chef’s knife.
  • Cut off right where the green part turns to white. You can do about half a 1 pound bunch at once. It takes literally 1 minute!

Ways to serve easy broiled asparagus

We love asparagus for its flavor, but almost even more so for its looks! (Is that superficial?) Asparagus makes a plate of anything look better. Here are our top ways to serve it:

Broiled asparagus

More ways to cook asparagus

We’ve tried all the ways to cook asparagus…and this is one of our favorite methods! If you’re looking for more, here are our top easy ways to prep this tasty spring vegetable:

Asparagus nutrition

Lastly…want another reason to eat asparagus? It’s ridiculously good for you. Here are a few of the top health benefits of this veggie:

  • It’s a great source of fiber: 1 cup of cooked asparagus has 4 grams of fiber. (Source)
  • It’s relatively high in protein for a green vegetable: 1 cup also has 4 grams protein. (Source) That’s a similar level to broccoli and potatoes.
  • It can aid in eye and hair health and it has potential anti-aging properties! Who knew. (Source)

This broiled asparagus recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Broiled asparagus

Broiled Asparagus (Fast & Easy!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Broiled asparagus is a fast, easy and delicious way to cook this green vegetable! Throw it in the broiler and cook until charred and tender. 


Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional; omit for vegan)

Instructions

  1. Preheat a broiler to high.
  2. Cut off the tough bottom ends of the asparagus. Add the asparagus stalks to a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, and add the kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. 
  3. Thinly slice 4 lemon wheels from the lemon, then add them right on the baking sheet. 
  4. Broil 3 minutes. Remove the tray and stir. Then broil 2 to 3 minutes more, until the spears are tender when pierced by a fork at the thickest part. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese (optional) and serve. 
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Broiled
  • Cuisine: Vegetables

Keywords: Broiled asparagus, broiled asparagus recipe, how to broil asparagus, easy asparagus recipe

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Creamy Mushroom Risotto

You’ll want to make this mushroom risotto recipe again and again! It’s irresistibly creamy, flavored with wine and Parmesan cheese. Here’s a deliciously creamy, cozy recipe that’s ideal in any season: Mushroom Risotto! This one is full of robust earthy flavor and the best canvas for any type of mushroom you have on hand. Throw them together with Parmesan cheese, white wine and if you like, a homemade mushroom broth. You won’t believe the silky, irresistible flavors! We made this one to celebrate spring with a combo of baby bella and baby shiitake mushrooms, and we couldn’t stop sneaking bites from the pan. What’s in mushroom risotto? Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish that’s made using short grain rice and broth. When I first started learning about home cooking, I thought risotto was a product from a box marked “risotto”. Nope! All you need is short grain arborio rice, which plumps up and becomes creamy when you cook it with liquid. You’ll need a handful of simple ingredients for this mushroom risotto. The flavors are crisp and pure. Here’s what you’ll need: White arborio rice: a short-grain Italian rice used for making risotto Mushrooms: a variety of types is nice; […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

You’ll want to make this mushroom risotto recipe again and again! It’s irresistibly creamy, flavored with wine and Parmesan cheese.

Mushroom risotto

Here’s a deliciously creamy, cozy recipe that’s ideal in any season: Mushroom Risotto! This one is full of robust earthy flavor and the best canvas for any type of mushroom you have on hand. Throw them together with Parmesan cheese, white wine and if you like, a homemade mushroom broth. You won’t believe the silky, irresistible flavors! We made this one to celebrate spring with a combo of baby bella and baby shiitake mushrooms, and we couldn’t stop sneaking bites from the pan.

What’s in mushroom risotto?

Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish that’s made using short grain rice and broth. When I first started learning about home cooking, I thought risotto was a product from a box marked “risotto”. Nope! All you need is short grain arborio rice, which plumps up and becomes creamy when you cook it with liquid.

You’ll need a handful of simple ingredients for this mushroom risotto. The flavors are crisp and pure. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White arborio rice: a short-grain Italian rice used for making risotto
  • Mushrooms: a variety of types is nice; see below
  • Broth: Homemade mushroom broth is best and takes only a few extra minutes, or use vegetable broth
  • Dry white wine: wine is essential to the nuanced flavor
  • Lemon: fresh lemon pairs perfectly with asparagus
  • Parmesan cheese: brings just the right savory notes
  • Olive oil, butter, onion, garlic powder: For flavoring
Mushroom risotto recipe

Use a mix of mushrooms for best flavor

This mushroom risotto is the perfect canvas for any type of mushroom you can find! In fact, it’s an easy way to serve a variety you might not be familiar with. Alex and I have been cooking through all the types we can find at our local grocery store: and we’ve found many new favorites! We used a combination of baby bella and baby shiitake mushrooms for the risotto you see here, but there are endless variations you can try. Here are a few types of mushrooms that would work great here:

  • Baby bella (aka cremini): This variety is a baby version of the portobello and has a savory, meaty flavor
  • Button or white: The baby stage of a cremini! It has a mild flavor and is easy to find
  • Portobello: Slice up portobellos for a super meaty flavor
  • Shiitake: Their earthy flavor is perfect here; if you can find baby shiitakes you can leave on the stems
  • Oyster: This variety has a delicate and savory flavor; if you can find King Oyster mushrooms the flavor is even more meaty
  • Maitake or Hen of the Woods: this variety is feathery with a peppery finish and great in a risotto!

Other varieties you could consider if you can find them: Lion’s Mane or Beech.

Homemade mushroom broth is the star

The other key to flavor in this mushroom risotto recipe? Homemade mushroom broth! If you’re running low on time, you can substitute purchased mushroom broth or vegetable broth (see the recipe below). But we highly recommend homemade: it infuses the entire risotto with earthy, savory flavor! Here are the basic steps (or jump over to the Mushroom Broth recipe):

  • Chop fresh veggies, and grab some dried mushrooms. You’ll need both fresh and dry mushrooms: dry porcini mushrooms work best. Chop the fresh ones and add carrot and celery to the mix. Throw them in a pot with water and salt.
  • Simmer 15 minutes. That’s all you need to get great flavor! The dried porcini mushrooms add a massive amount of umami.

For the specific instructions and quantities, go to Homemade Mushroom Broth recipe.

Mushroom broth
Homemade mushroom broth adds huge flavor (and only 5 extra minutes)

The keys to making mushroom risotto

Making homemade risotto is pretty simple, though it might seem complex if you haven’t tried it before. Just cook short grain rice with broth until it becomes extraordinarily creamy! You’ll sauté your mushrooms first, then set them aside while you cook the risotto. Here are some keys to great homemade risotto:

  • Use arborio rice. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores. This variety of rice becomes plump when it’s cooked with liquid.
  • Heat the broth first. This is important. Warm broth helps it to cook into the rice right away without lowering the temperature of the food. Of course, it’s already warm when you make the homemade broth!
  • Add warm broth 2 ladles at a time and stir until rice is al dente (about 12 minutes). This process does require a bit of babysitting. Continue this process until the rice is just al dente.
  • Add Parmesan & the mushrooms. Once it’s al dente, add the Parmesan cheese and stir vigorously for 2 minutes until it’s very creamy. Add the mushrooms and serve!
Mushroom risotto

Make ahead and storage instructions

Can you make this mushroom risotto ahead? Technically you can, but risotto is best freshly made. Why? Here are a few pointers:

  • Serve it freshly made if possible. The creamy texture is best right out of the pan. Because…
  • You can store refrigerated 3 days, but it becomes less creamy. The rice soaks up a lot of the broth in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat on the stove with additional broth or Parmesan. You’ll need a little more liquid to get it back to a creamy texture. Additional Parmesan and a few pinches salt can revive the flavor.
  • Make ahead ideas: To speed up prep day of, you can make the mushroom broth in advance. You can also saute the mushrooms in advance; just refrigerate until you make it.
Mushroom risotto

Sides to serve with risotto

You can serve this mushroom risotto as a vegetarian main dish, or it also works as a fancy side dish for fish or meat. Usually we go vegetarian for this meal, since 45 minutes is quite a while for making a side dish. But if you’re serving it for a fancy dinner party: it’s absolutely perfect! Here are a few easy ideas for what to serve with risotto when you’re serving as a main dish:

Want more risotto recipes? Try our Asparagus RisottoButternut Squash RisottoCauliflower Risotto and Parmesan Risotto.

This mushroom risotto recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print
Mushroom risotto

Creamy Mushroom Risotto


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

You’ll want to make this mushroom risotto recipe again and again! It’s irresistibly creamy, flavored with wine and Parmesan cheese. 


Ingredients

  • 2 quarts Homemade Mushroom Broth, purchased mushroom broth, or 1 quart vegetable broth, 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms: a mix of baby bella (aka cremini), button, shiitake, portobello, oyster, or other
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups white arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay (optional but recommended)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • For serving: Zest from 1/2 lemon, freshly ground black pepper, and fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Heat the broth: Make the mushroom broth (our preferred method for best flavor) and start the 15 minute simmer. OR combine 1 quart vegetable broth, 4 cups water, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a saucepan and place it over low heat. The homemade broth only adds a few minutes to the cook time, so we highly recommend it! Simmer it while you complete Step 2, 3 and 4.
  2. Cut the vegetables: Finely mince the onion, then place it in a bowl and reserve. Slice the mushrooms (we used a mix of baby bella and baby shiitake).
  3. Saute the mushrooms: Add 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned, stirring occasionally: about 5 to 7 minutes depending on mushrooms. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, then remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Start the risotto: In the same skillet, heat the olive oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook for about 2 minutes until tender. Add the garlic powder and rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes until the rice starts to turn light brown. Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the broth: Add two ladles of the hot broth to the risotto. Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is fully absorbed, then add two more ladles of both. Cook in this same manner for about 12 minutes, adding two ladles and stirring. Then taste a grain of rice. If it’s creamy but still al dente in the center, you’re ready for the final step! If not, continue to cook and add broth for a few minutes more. (You may have some broth left over: save it for reheating leftovers.)
  6. Finish the risotto: When the rice is al dente, reduce the heat to low. Add two more ladles of broth, the Parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto. Then stir in the sautéed mushrooms. Taste and add additional kosher salt if desired. Serve topped with lemon zest, Parmesan shavings, fresh thyme, and black pepper.
  7. Storage info: Flavor is best day of. You can store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days, but the texture will become less creamy when chilled. Reheat on the stovetop and add a little extra broth and Parmesan cheese, and a few pinches salt to taste. (See Make Ahead section above for tips.)
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian-inspired

Keywords: Mushroom risotto, Mushroom risotto recipe

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Quick Broccoli and Cheese

This quick broccoli and cheese recipe is everything cozy, cheesy, and warm: in less than 10 minutes! It’s the ideal easy side dish. What’s more comforting than broccoli smothered in Parmesan and cheddar? Meet this perfect Broccoli and Cheese, aka Cheesy Broccoli. Alex whipped this up for me and one bite in, memories from childhood flooded back. “What’s in this?” I asked. Somehow it transported right me to nostalgia land! This cheesy broccoli has just the right nuanced flavor from the Parmesan and cheddar cheese, the best tender texture, and the perfect warming vibe. Even better, it’s done in under 10 minutes! It quickly became part of our regular rotation: and we’ll show you how to do it! Ingredients in this quick broccoli and cheese This broccoli and cheese recipe is designed for quick weeknights, when you need a great side dish to pair with your meal. Most nights we make this Pan Fried Broccoli, but when we’re feeling fancy we whip this one out. It’s always a hit with kids, but perhaps more so with adults. Here’s a quick run-down of the ingredients: Fresh broccoli Olive oil Kosher salt Grated Parmesan cheese: The powdery kind, not the kind that […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This quick broccoli and cheese recipe is everything cozy, cheesy, and warm: in less than 10 minutes! It’s the ideal easy side dish.

Broccoli and cheese

What’s more comforting than broccoli smothered in Parmesan and cheddar? Meet this perfect Broccoli and Cheese, aka Cheesy Broccoli. Alex whipped this up for me and one bite in, memories from childhood flooded back. “What’s in this?” I asked. Somehow it transported right me to nostalgia land! This cheesy broccoli has just the right nuanced flavor from the Parmesan and cheddar cheese, the best tender texture, and the perfect warming vibe. Even better, it’s done in under 10 minutes! It quickly became part of our regular rotation: and we’ll show you how to do it!

Ingredients in this quick broccoli and cheese

This broccoli and cheese recipe is designed for quick weeknights, when you need a great side dish to pair with your meal. Most nights we make this Pan Fried Broccoli, but when we’re feeling fancy we whip this one out. It’s always a hit with kids, but perhaps more so with adults. Here’s a quick run-down of the ingredients:

  • Fresh broccoli
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: The powdery kind, not the kind that looks like sticks (that’s shredded Parmesan)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
Broccoli and cheese recipe

How to make cheesy broccoli: a few tips!

You might think that broccoli and cheese is as simple as throwing broccoli in a pan, adding cheese, and cooking. Well, it’s partially that simple! But cooking broccoli requires just a few special tips to get the right tender texture and gooey cheese. Broccoli can get dry when pan frying it, so often you’ll need a little water for cooking. Here’s what to know:

  • First, sauté the broccoli in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes. This gets it mostly cooked and a little brown.
  • Add the cheese, then 1/4 water and cover! Cook 1 minute. This both steams the broccoli and melts the cheese.

That’s it! Remove the lid and you’ve got a gooey, warm, perfectly tender pile of cheesy broccoli. Even better: you don’t have to wait to bake a casserole! it’s done in less than 10 minutes: perfect for hangry moments.

Broccoli cheese

Why it’s a healthy side dish…with cheese!

Adding cheese to vegetables is one of the oldest tricks in the book to try to get people to eat their veggies. Here’s the thing…it’s not a terrible idea! Especially when you’re not adding loads of the stuff. Here’s why this broccoli and cheese can be considered a healthy side dish:

  • You get all the fiber and Vitamin C in broccoli! 1 cup of raw broccoli has 2.3 grams of fiber (source) and 140% of your daily vitamin (source).
  • The cheese is moderate. The cheese adds 68 calories and 5 grams fat per serving. This is better than many cheese sauces that load on calories and fat.

Want to go super healthy? Try our Pan Fried Broccoli: it’s got no cheese but lots of great flavor.

Cheesy broccoli

More great broccoli recipes

Broccoli is one of the vegetables we love most in our house! We make it as a side dish all the time. But it’s great in soups, stews, stir fries, and more. Here are some more fantastic broccoli recipes:

This broccoli and cheese recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Broccoli and cheese

Quick Broccoli and Cheese (10 Minutes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This quick broccoli and cheese recipe is everything cozy, cheesy, and warm: in less than 10 minutes! It’s the ideal easy side dish.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, stem on (about 3 large heads or 6 heaping cups florets)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (the powdery kind)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Chop the broccoli into medium sized florets (leave a good amount of the stem for a nice shape; see the photo or How to Cut Broccoli).
  2. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat it on medium high heat. Add broccoli and salt. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until starting to brown, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the broccoli, followed by the cheddar cheese. Add 1/4 cup water to the bottom of the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook another 1 minute until cheese is melted and the water cooks out. Serve immediately! 
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetables

Keywords: Broccoli and cheese, broccoli cheese, cheesy broccoli

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Pomegranate Salad

This pomegranate salad is absolutely irresistible! It stars a sweet tart salad dressing and the vibrant crunch of pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate is one of the most special foods on the planet (we think). Each bright pink seed has an irresistible sweet tart pop and crunch! We love downing them by the handful, but our next favorite way to eat them? Pomegranate salad! Crunchy pomegranate seeds make a beautiful confetti over the top of leafy greens. Add tart green apple slices, toasted pecans, and goat cheese or feta crumbles, and it’s a true symphony of flavor! Pick from a few different dressing choices: our favorites are apple cider vinegar dressing or pomegranate vinaigrette. Let’s get started! Pomegranate salad ingredients There are lots of ways to make a pomegranate salad! This is our very favorite combination of flavors: but you’ll see there are endless choices! Below we’ll talk through a few of the different variations you can use. Here’s what you’ll need for this tasty and easy side dish: Pomegranate seeds: we recommend seeding them from a fresh pomegranate. See below! Shallot Granny Smith apple or pear: either are tasty: or you could use both! Pecans or walnuts Mixed greens Goat cheese […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This pomegranate salad is absolutely irresistible! It stars a sweet tart salad dressing and the vibrant crunch of pomegranate seeds.

Pomegranate salad

Pomegranate is one of the most special foods on the planet (we think). Each bright pink seed has an irresistible sweet tart pop and crunch! We love downing them by the handful, but our next favorite way to eat them? Pomegranate salad! Crunchy pomegranate seeds make a beautiful confetti over the top of leafy greens. Add tart green apple slices, toasted pecans, and goat cheese or feta crumbles, and it’s a true symphony of flavor! Pick from a few different dressing choices: our favorites are apple cider vinegar dressing or pomegranate vinaigrette. Let’s get started!

Pomegranate salad ingredients

There are lots of ways to make a pomegranate salad! This is our very favorite combination of flavors: but you’ll see there are endless choices! Below we’ll talk through a few of the different variations you can use. Here’s what you’ll need for this tasty and easy side dish:

  • Pomegranate seeds: we recommend seeding them from a fresh pomegranate. See below!
  • Shallot
  • Granny Smith apple or pear: either are tasty: or you could use both!
  • Pecans or walnuts
  • Mixed greens
  • Goat cheese or feta cheese crumbles (optional)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing or Pomegranate Vinaigrette (see below)
Pomegranate salad

Use pomegranate seeds from a fresh pomegranate!

These days, you can find pomegranate seeds already remove from the fruit in your local grocery. But for pomegranate salad, it’s best to buy a fresh pomegranate and cut and seed it yourself. Why? Pomegranate seeds from the fruit are much fresher. If you buy them already seeded, they only have a day or so of shelf life. We’ve even purchased some that went bad before we tried them! So a whole fruit is where it’s at. Here’s what to know:

  • Cut the pomegranate in quarters, then remove the seeds in a bowl of water. This avoids a big mess of pink splatters all over your kitchen! We’ve got a great step-by-step tutorial: go to How to Cut a Pomegranate.
  • Pomegranate seeds last up to 5 days refrigerated, but are best right away. So seed it right before you’re ready to make the salad.
Pomegranate seeds

Step it up with toasted or glazed nuts

This pomegranate salad features toasted pecans: and here’s a tip for you: always toast your nuts! It brings out the nutty flavor almost like salt brings out the flavor in savory foods. And it only takes a few minutes! You can absolutely taste the difference.

To take this salad over the top, make a batch of glazed pecans that have a sweet, crunchy exterior. It adds a new element to an already delicious salad! Here are a few ideas of the various nuts you could use:

Pomegranate salad dressing

Use one of the following pomegranate salad dressings!

There are also lots of variations when it comes dressing for this pomegranate salad! Whatever the case: homemade dressing is best. Of course if you’re in a pinch, you can absolutely use a store-bought dressing: there are many great high quality and organic salad dressings available these days. We created two different dressing options for this salad: and we have a few other ideas as well! Try the following pomegranate salad dressings:

  • Apple cider vinegar dressing: Made with vinegar, Dijon mustard and olive oil, it’s perfectly tangy!
  • Pomegranate vinaigrette: Want to double the pomegranate? Try this dressing made with pomegranate juice.
  • Balsamic vinaigrette: Full of big tangy flavor, and one of of the best homemade dressings you’ll find.
  • Pomegranate molasses plus olive oil: A great way to use this special ingredient! Dress the greens with olive oil, then drizzle with sweet tart pomegranate molasses. It’s incredible!

What to serve with pomegranate salad

This pomegranate salad is great because it’s so versatile! It’s more of a fall and winter salad since pomegranates are easiest to find in the cooler months. But since they’re becoming more available at grocery stores, you can eat it anytime! It’s perfect for holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas, or ideal for accessorizing any fall or winter dinner. Here are a few foods it pairs well with:

Pomegranate salad

Vegan variation

Want to make this pomegranate salad vegan? No problem! All you have to do is omit the cheese crumbles. You’ll barely notice the difference! Some salads need an extra savory hit from cheese, but this one works perfectly without it.

And that’s it: our perfect pomegranate salad! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

More pomegranate recipes

Pomegranate season calls for making lots of vibrant recipes with special fruit! Here are some favorite pomegranate recipes:

This pomegranate salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, omit the cheese crumbles.

Print
Pomegranate salad

Easy Pomegranate Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This pomegranate salad is absolutely irresistible! It stars a sweet tart salad dressing and the vibrant crunch of pomegranate seeds.


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Cut and seed the pomegranate
  2. Thinly slice the shallot. Thinly slice the apple (and toss it with 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar if desired to prevent browning).
  3. Toast the pecans (don’t skip: this brings out the nutty flavor). Alternatively, make glazed pecans.
  4. Make the Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing or Pomegranate Dressing. 
  5. Place the greens on a platter. Top with the pomegranate seeds, sliced shallot, toasted pecans, and goat cheese or feta cheese crumbles. Toss with the desired amount of dressing to taste. (Store the extra dressing refrigerated and warm to room temperature and whisk again before using.)

Notes

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Salad

Keywords: Pomegranate salad

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes