Elote Salad

This delicious elote salad turns Mexican street corn into a salad! It’s creamy, smoky, salty, and absolutely irresistible. Our favorite…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This delicious elote salad turns Mexican street corn into a salad! It’s creamy, smoky, salty, and absolutely irresistible.

Elote salad

Our favorite summer side dish over here? Elote, aka Mexican grilled corn. The smoky sweet corn kernels slathered in an irresistibly sauce is the epitome of the season for us. So here’s another fabulous way to eat the same flavors: this Elote Corn Salad! It’s absolutely irresistible, pairing grilled corn with a tangy sauce and bursts of salty cheese. Don’t want to fire up the grill? There’s a shortcut method, too.

What is elote?

Elote, aka Mexican street corn, is grilled corn slathered in a creamy sauce of sour cream, mayonnaise, and chili powder, and sprinkled with cheese. It’s a popular snack served by street vendors in Mexico. Of course, it’s the very best on the street in Mexico or cities that have a strong Mexican heritage to their cuisine: there’s nothing like it!

This elote salad is a spin on the popular side dish that uses all the flavor of elote. But you’ll cut the corn kernels off the cob, making it into a free form corn salad. It’s essentially the same as esquites, a version of elote served in a cup by Mexican street vendors.

Ingredients in elote salad

This elote salad is easy to make: the only part that requires any sort of technique is cooking the corn. See the methods below! Otherwise, all you’ll need is:

  • Corn on the cob (or frozen corn, see below)
  • Green onion
  • Cilantro
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lime juice
  • Cotija cheese, queso fresco, or feta cheese
  • Spices: Chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and kosher salt
Elote corn salad

Find Cotija cheese or queso fresco (feta is a substitute!)

If you can, look for Cotija cheese for this recipe! It’s the traditional Mexican style of cheese that’s use in elote. Here’s a bit more about it and a few substitutes:

  • Cotija cheese is a Mexican cow’s milk cheese: it’s white with a dry texture and a very salty flavor. You can buy it fresh or aged, but it’s usually easiest to find fresh at the grocery.
  • Queso fresco means fresh cheese in Spanish and is another Mexican cow’s milk cheese. It works as a stand in for Cotija, but it’s much less salty. You may want to add a little salt to recipes if you use this substitute.
  • Feta cheese is a Greek cheese that has a similar crumbly texture to Cotija, and it’s easy to find at the store. It’s similar in saltiness to Cotija as well.

5 ways to cook the corn

This elote salad is delicious no matter how you cook the corn! Mix mayo, lime, and spices into pretty much anything and it will taste delicious (really). Here are our top methods for cooking corn for this recipe:

  • Grilled: Elote salad is at its best with grilled corn! Try this Perfect Grilled Corn.
  • Roasted: Roasted corn is delicious and easy. Try Roasted Corn.
  • Boiled: The standard way to cook corn? Boiled. Try Boiled Corn on the Cob.
  • Sauteed: You can use fresh or frozen corn kernels for this recipe too! Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet, then add the corn kernels and cook 3 to 4 minutes until bright yellow and tender.
  • Smoked: If you have a smoker, this is the way to go! Try Smoked Corn.

That’s it! We hope you love this elote salad recipe. It’s the perfect summer side dish for a grilled dinner! Let us know in the comments below what you think.

Elote salad

More corn salad recipes

There are so many more ways to make a corn salad! Once you’ve tried this elote salad, we recommend the following:

This elote corn salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Elote Salad


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This delicious elote salad turns Mexican street corn into a salad! It’s creamy, smoky, salty, and absolutely irresistible.


Ingredients

  • 6 ears corn (or 5 cups corn kernels*)
  • 1 green onion
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese, queso fresco, or feta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon each garlic powder, cumin, and kosher salt (or more salt to taste)

Instructions

  1. Cook the corn: Heat a grill to medium high heat (375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit). Shuck the corn. Use your hands to rub oil on each corn cob evenly. Place the corn directly on the grill grates and cook until it begins to blacken, then turn. Cook about 12 to 15 minutes total, until blackened on all sides. Alternative methods: Make Boiled Corn on the Cob, Roasted Corn on the Cob, or Smoked Corn on the Cob. Or for a quick fix, use 5 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels and sauté for a minute or two in butter in a medium skillet.
  2. Cut the corn off the cob: Find a bundt pan, or large rimmed baking sheet or pan. Place the corn into the hole in the bundt pan or hold the corn vertically inside the baking sheet, then use a chef’s knife to slice down and remove the corn from the cob. The sides of the pan catch the kernels that fly when cutting. See How to Cut Corn off The Cob for more.
  3. Prep the vegetables: Thinly slice the green onion. Finely chop the cilantro.
  4. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and kosher salt.
  5. Serve: Mix together the grilled corn, vegetables, and dressing. If desired, top with a sprinkle more cheese crumbles.

Notes

*For a quick fix, you can sauté 5 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet, then add the corn kernels and cook 3 to 4 minutes until bright yellow and tender.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Summer

Keywords: Elote salad, elote corn salad

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Grilled Veggie Kabobs

These grilled veggie kabobs skewer all the best vegetables and are easy to throw on the grill! They’re an ideal…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

These grilled veggie kabobs skewer all the best vegetables and are easy to throw on the grill! They’re an ideal healthy side dish.

Vegetable kabobs

Ready for the best best, easiest summer side dish? Let’s make Veggie Kabobs! Perhaps you’ve made these before without a recipe. But you’ll know, the veggies risk coming out under-seasoned and over-cooked. Here’s our best method for making veggie kabobs with a simple seasoning blend. All the best veggies come out cooked to perfection! It’s the ideal summer side dish for a grilled dinner. Let’s waste no time and get right to it.

Best vegetables for veggie kabobs

Sure, you can mostly use any veggies you want. But some veggies are not ideal here. The trick? Use veggies that all cook in a relatively similar timeframe. That means no extra hard veggies like carrots or potatoes. Here are the best vegetables for veggie kabobs:

  • Bell peppers, multi-colored for a beautiful look
  • Red onion or white onion
  • Zucchini or yellow squash (or a combination of both)
  • Mushrooms, either baby bella (cremini) or white button
  • Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

Other ideas? Pineapple adds a nice sweet and savory combination. Small 1 to 2-inch sections of corn on the cob works, and so does diced eggplant. You can use cauliflower, but we recommend steaming them first (see Grilled Cauliflower).

What to avoid? Broccoli and asparagus are too hard to skewer. Carrots and potatoes should be avoided, or parboiled. Brussels sprouts also aren’t ideal for skewers, as they take slightly longer than the above veggies.

Veggie kabobs

Tips for chopping for vegetable skewers

Once you’ve selected your veggies, here’s what to note for the skewering process:

  • Chop the vegetables into relatively similar sizes. You’ll want them to be bite-sized for easy eating once they’re grilled to perfection. Keep in mind, they’ll shrink quite a bit once they’re cooked.
  • If using wooden skewers, soak them while you’re chopping. You only need 15 to 20 minutes for soaking, which is about the time it will take to preheat the grill and chop.
  • Or, use metal skewers! We purchased some metal skewers to save us from the soak. (Worth it.)

Seasoning for veggie kabobs

How to season veggie kabobs? You can make marinated veggie kabobs, but we prefer just throwing them on the grill with olive oil and seasonings. Here’s what we’ve found makes a killer seasoning blend. Throw on equal parts of:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dried oregano
  • Smoked paprika (a smoky version of regular paprika you should be able to find at your local grocery; see more info here)
  • Kosher salt
Grilled vegetable kabobs

Or, brush with BBQ sauce or teriyaki

A variation we often take on these veggie kabobs? Brushing the veggies with a sauce! Skip the seasonings above and just go with the sauce. You’ll want to do it twice: once before they go on the grill, and then a generous slather afterwards. Here are a few sauces we’ve tried and loved:

Heat and grill time for veggie kabobs

Once you’ve cut and seasoned the veggie kabobs, throw the them on the grill! Here are the specifics on timing and heat level (or jump right to the recipe):

  • Preheat a grill to medium high heat. That’s about 375 to 450 degrees.
  • Chop and skewer the veggies and season. See the recipe below.
  • Grill on the grates for 10 to 12 minutes. Cook until charred and tender, turning every few minutes.
Vegetable skewers

Make it into a grilled meal!

These vegetable kabobs (aka skewers) are a fantastic side to round out a grilled meal. Here are a few ways to pair it!

More grilled veggies

Of course, there are lots more grilled veggies to throw on too! These vegetable skewers are part of our grilled vegetable series, which has all of our favorites:

These grilled veggie kabobs are…

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

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Vegetable kabobs

Grilled Veggie Kabobs


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These grilled veggie kabobs skewer all the best vegetables and are easy to throw on the grill! They’re an ideal healthy side dish.


Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 3 multi-colored bell peppers
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 8 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms (or button mushrooms)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon each* garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, smoked paprika, and kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees).
  2. If using wooden skewers, soak them at least 20 minutes.
  3. Chop the onion into large pieces. Cut bell peppers into chunks. Slice the zucchini into rounds 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch thick. Add the sliced veggies to a bowl with the whole mushrooms and tomatoes toss everything with the olive oil, spices, and salt.
  4. Skewer the vegetables and place each skewers on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a few more pinches kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  5. Place the skewers directly on the grill. Grill 10 to 12 minutes until tender and blackened, turning every few minutes. If desired, spritz with lemon wedges before serving.

Notes

*You can also brush the skewers generously with BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce before grilling and then after grilling.

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Grilled

Keywords: Veggie kabobs, grilled veggie kabobs, vegetable kabobs, veggie skewers, vegetable skewers, grilled vegetable skewers

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Portobello Mushroom Pizza

This portobello mushroom pizza flips the typical pizza on its head! Use the mushroom as a crust for an easy dinner or side dish. Portobello mushroom pizza sounds like mushrooms are the toppings, right? Well, meet the new best way to use portobellos on pizza: as the crust! There’s no veggie that’s not delicious with pizza on top, and mushrooms are no exception. These meaty giant fungi make the perfect personal pizza size for all your favorite toppings. Use the idea as a tasty gluten free dinner, or a fun side dish. Here’s how to pull off this trick! Basic idea for portobello mushroom pizza The concept of portobello mushroom pizza is very simple: roast the mushrooms, add the toppings, and bake until the cheese melts. But as with any recipe, there are a few helpful hints to keep in mind for the process. Brush the portbello caps with oil and spices. Get them fully covered, then sprinkle with salt. Roast at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, until nice and tender. Drain of all excess water! This is the most important part of the process. Mushrooms are full of water, and release water as they bake. Discard all […]

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

This portobello mushroom pizza flips the typical pizza on its head! Use the mushroom as a crust for an easy dinner or side dish.

Portobello Mushroom Pizza

Portobello mushroom pizza sounds like mushrooms are the toppings, right? Well, meet the new best way to use portobellos on pizza: as the crust! There’s no veggie that’s not delicious with pizza on top, and mushrooms are no exception. These meaty giant fungi make the perfect personal pizza size for all your favorite toppings. Use the idea as a tasty gluten free dinner, or a fun side dish. Here’s how to pull off this trick!

Basic idea for portobello mushroom pizza

The concept of portobello mushroom pizza is very simple: roast the mushrooms, add the toppings, and bake until the cheese melts. But as with any recipe, there are a few helpful hints to keep in mind for the process.

  • Brush the portbello caps with oil and spices. Get them fully covered, then sprinkle with salt.
  • Roast at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, until nice and tender.
  • Drain of all excess water! This is the most important part of the process. Mushrooms are full of water, and release water as they bake. Discard all of the water to avoid watery pizza.
  • Top and bake again. Just a few more minutes in the oven is all they need: just to melt the cheese!
Portobello pizza

Key to the flavor: Pecorino Romano cheese

Here’s a tip we love to use for topping any type of pizza: use Pecorino Romano cheese! Pecorino Romano cheese is an aged Italian cheese that’s similar to Parmesan, but even saltier and more savory. Trust us: this will revolutionize your pizza! Put a few sprinkles on a portobello pizza and it’s gold.

What’s a Pecorino substitute? Parmesan cheese is pretty close, but doesn’t have quite the magic of Pecorino. If you do decide to use it, make sure to add another pinch of salt to the top of each pizza.

More topping ideas for portobello pizza

You can use any toppings you like on portobello mushroom pizza, of course! If you have 5 minutes, our Easy Pizza Sauce is incredible delicious. Then add whatever you like! This recipe is more of a concept than a strict guide to follow. A few topping ideas to try:

  • Pepperoni or Prosciutto
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Jarred bell peppers
  • Olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Herbs like basil, oregano or thyme

Toppings to avoid? Because portobellos do have extra moisture, avoid watery toppings like fresh mozzarella cheese or burrata.

Portobello mushroom pizza

How to serve a portobello mushroom pizza

Last important thing to note: this portobello mushroom pizza is not quite a meal in itself. Whatever way you serve it, a mushroom is not nearly as filling as a traditional pizza crust. So if you’re serving this as a main dish, make sure to add some hearty, filling side dishes. You also can serve the pizzas as a side dish. Here are some ideas for ways to serve portobello pizza as a main:

More portobello recipes

Not sure about you, but we’re a little obsessed with the meaty, succulent portobello mushroom. This mighty fungus is pretty darn special. Here are a few more of our favorite portobello recipes for ideas to serve it:

Portobello pizza

This portobello pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print
Portobello Mushroom Pizza

Easy Portobello Mushroom Pizza


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

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 pizzas (4 as a side, 2 to 3 as a main)
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This portobello mushroom pizza flips the typical pizza on its head! Use the mushroom as a crust for an easy dinner or side dish.


Ingredients

  • 6 medium portobello caps (about 10 to 12 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Easy Pizza Sauce
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (highly recommended*)
  • Toppings: sliced Fresno peppers, fresh basil, other toppings as desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Clean the portobello mushrooms and remove the stems. Place the mushrooms on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet gill side up. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the oregano and garlic powder. Brush the tops and bottoms of the mushroom caps with the oil, adding a little more to the bowl of spices if it runs out. Sprinkle the kosher salt evenly divided among the mushroom caps.
  3. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the mushrooms for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Once baked, drain the caps of all of the excess liquid (this step is important: otherwise the mushrooms are much too watery).
  4. Turn down the oven heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread each cap with pizza sauce, then add mozzarella and Pecorino cheese, and desired toppings. Bake 6 to 8 minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.  

Notes

*Pecorino has the best savory, salty flavor. If you can’t find it, substitute Parmesan cheese but add a few more pinches salt. 

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: Pizza

Keywords: Portobello mushroom pizza, Portobello pizza

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

Three Bean Salad (Better Than Grandma’s!)

Here’s how to make the best three bean salad recipe: a fresh spin on Grandma’s! It’s so easy to throw together for picnics and potlucks. OK, Grandma: don’t be offended. But we’ve got an even fresher spin on that classic Bean Salad! You know, the kind that’s at picnics and potlucks long into the cicada-buzzing summer? This American classic has been gracing tables for generations, and everyone has their own take on it. Here we’ve taken the bean salad of our youth and transformed it into a fresh spin, with a little less sugar and more fresh ingredients. But it’s still an easy three bean salad that requires little more than dump and stir. Give it a try and let us know…is it actually better than Grandma’s? The anatomy of a bean salad! Bean salad is a classic American salad of canned beans marinated in a vinaigrette. It’s a staple at picnics and potlucks, because it doesn’t require refrigeration! It’s a side dish that can sit out in the heat for hours. The origin story of this classic is hazy, but it’s safe to say it originated in the 1950’s because that’s when recipes started appearing in cookbooks (per this […]

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

Here’s how to make the best three bean salad recipe: a fresh spin on Grandma’s! It’s so easy to throw together for picnics and potlucks.

Bean Salad

OK, Grandma: don’t be offended. But we’ve got an even fresher spin on that classic Bean Salad! You know, the kind that’s at picnics and potlucks long into the cicada-buzzing summer? This American classic has been gracing tables for generations, and everyone has their own take on it. Here we’ve taken the bean salad of our youth and transformed it into a fresh spin, with a little less sugar and more fresh ingredients. But it’s still an easy three bean salad that requires little more than dump and stir. Give it a try and let us know…is it actually better than Grandma’s?

The anatomy of a bean salad!

Bean salad is a classic American salad of canned beans marinated in a vinaigrette. It’s a staple at picnics and potlucks, because it doesn’t require refrigeration! It’s a side dish that can sit out in the heat for hours. The origin story of this classic is hazy, but it’s safe to say it originated in the 1950’s because that’s when recipes started appearing in cookbooks (per this source). Either way: Alex and I have been enjoying it for our entire lives.

Bean salad recipes vary and most cooks have their own regional spin. The most common ingredients are kidney beans, green beans, and garbanzo beans (it’s often called three bean salad). Other ingredients you’ll often see are pinto beans, wax beans, and onions. It’s almost always marinated in a dressing of vinegar, oil, sugar and salt.

Bean salad recipe

How to make this three bean salad recipe

Our spin on Grandma’s three bean salad is just as easy to make as the 1950’s style classic. That means the main steps are “dump and stir:” open the bean cans and stir everything together! At the same time, we wanted to freshen up the classic by cutting back on the sugar and adding a little freshness. Here are the elements we added to this three bean salad to make a modern spin:

  • Kidney beans and pinto beans: Why no chickpeas? They can have a tough texture and don’t soak up the marinade as quickly. We prefer pinto beans in a bean salad.
  • Green and yellow beans: Use just green beans for a classic three bean salad. But we like the color contrast of adding yellow wax beans to the mix.
  • White onion and red onion: White onion is standard and has the most classic flavor. Red onion adds brightness with the lovely purple! It’s optional but makes a nice visual statement.
  • Curly parsley: The green confetti adds a fresh flavor and visual flair. Use curly parsley if you have it, but Italian also works.
  • White vinegar and olive oil: The salad where it’s appropriate to use white vinegar instead of white wine vinegar? Bean salad. (And German cucumber salad, of course.) It adds just the right astringent punch, balanced by the salt and sugar.
  • Dill and garlic powder: These spices aren’t standard, but they amp the flavors just enough.
Three bean salad

Eat immediately, or marinate at least 1 hour

You can eat your bean salad recipe right away and it’s very tasty. Or pop it in the refrigerator to let it marinate for at least 1 hour, and it’s even better. The refrigeration time really lets the flavors soak in.

The end result? This recipe has half the sugar as the standard, but it’s just as delicious! It’s got all the classic elements so you feel like you’re eating Grandma’s. We’ll be eating this for years to come.

Tip: how to slice the onions

One area where home cooks can be tripped up: how to cut the onions into slivers! The cut that looks best in this bean salad recipe is different from the standard half-moon shape. Some people call it French cut: it’s a way of making the onion slivers look attractive instead of long and floppy.

  • How to do it? It’s easiest to explain by showing you. Go to minute 1:40 of this How to Cut an Onion video!
  • The basic explanation? Cut slices from the tip to the root (instead of through the middle).

Storage info

How long does homemade bean salad last? Store it refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. Like a pickle, the flavor intensifies over time! It’s great for lunches throughout the week. Beans don’t last indefinitely refrigerated, so make sure not to leave it longer than the storage recommendation.

Three bean salad recipe

When to serve bean salad (really anytime!)

Last but not least: how to serve bean salad! We’re huge fans of this easy salad and we think it works anytime: picnics, potlucks, and meals any time of the year. It’s a great protein-packed vegan side dish, and it helps to make any vegetarian or plant-based meal more filling. It also is great for summer grilled meals. Here are a few other salads you could pair with it for a stellar summer salad spread:

This bean salad recipe is…

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

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Bean Salad

Classic Bean Salad (Better Than Grandma’s!)


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: 8
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s how to make the best three bean salad recipe: a fresh spin on Grandma’s! It’s easy to throw together for picnics and potlucks. 


Ingredients

  • 15-ounce can kidney beans
  • 15-ounce can white beans or pinto beans
  • 15-ounce can green beans
  • 15-ounce can wax beans (or another 15-ounce can green beans)
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 1/4 medium red onion (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped curly parsley (or Italian parsley)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon each dried dill and garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the beans. 
  2. Thinly slice the onions into slivers (go to minute 1:40 of this How to Cut an Onion video to see how!). Finely chop the parsley. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the white vinegar, olive oil, sugar, dill, garlic, powder, and kosher salt. Add the beans, onions and parsley and stir until coated. You can eat immediately, but for best results refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the salad to marinate. Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Notes

*Use standard white vinegar, not white wine vinegar! 

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

Keywords: Bean salad, bean salad recipe, three bean salad, three bean salad recipe

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

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

Quick Black Bean and Corn Salad (5 Minutes!)

Make black bean and corn salad in 5 minutes with this genius hack, no chopping required! A quick way to get fresh food on the table. Guess what? We’ve discovered a hack to make a kickin’ fresh black bean and corn salad…in just 5 minutes, no chopping required. Sure, it’s a bit of a shortcut. But if this shortcut gets you to eat more vegetables and plant-forward meals: how could it be bad? We’ll admit: we’re wary of recipes that claim to be the easiest, best thing you’ve ever tried. But this one…let’s just say we’ve been eating it on repeat ever since! Black bean and corn salad…in 5 minutes! With all the chopping involved, many black bean and corn salads take upwards of 20 minutes to make. Your knife and cutting board are dirtied, and you end up with tomato seeds all over your counter. Of course, we’re not averse to this on the regular! But we designed this black bean and corn salad to be a quick lunch time hack, or a lightening fast appetizer for dipping with chips. Here are the secrets: 1 can black beans 1 can corn 1 cup fresh pico de gallo, aka fresh […]

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

Make black bean and corn salad in 5 minutes with this genius hack, no chopping required! A quick way to get fresh food on the table.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Guess what? We’ve discovered a hack to make a kickin’ fresh black bean and corn salad…in just 5 minutes, no chopping required. Sure, it’s a bit of a shortcut. But if this shortcut gets you to eat more vegetables and plant-forward meals: how could it be bad? We’ll admit: we’re wary of recipes that claim to be the easiest, best thing you’ve ever tried. But this one…let’s just say we’ve been eating it on repeat ever since!

Black bean and corn salad…in 5 minutes!

With all the chopping involved, many black bean and corn salads take upwards of 20 minutes to make. Your knife and cutting board are dirtied, and you end up with tomato seeds all over your counter. Of course, we’re not averse to this on the regular! But we designed this black bean and corn salad to be a quick lunch time hack, or a lightening fast appetizer for dipping with chips. Here are the secrets:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 cup fresh pico de gallo, aka fresh salsa (purchased)

It’s a true dump and stir recipe! Add a little salt and olive oil, and if you like garnish with cilantro. That’s it! No chopping. Mind blown.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

The lifesaver: purchased fresh pico de gallo (aka fresh salsa)

This black bean and corn salad is only possible because of one thing: it’s easy to find fresh pico de gallo in modern grocery stores. (This is true in American stores, at least!) You may also see it labeled as “fresh salsa” or “salsa fresca.” Pico de gallo translates to “beak of the rooster” in Spanish. It’s a type of salsa made with fresh tomatoes. The ingredients in pico de gallo include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Cumin
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice

The nice thing about using purchased pico is that you can find it in the fresh food section, already chopped up and ready to mix into your salad! The pico de gallo also helps to make a natural dressing for the salad with the acidity of the lime juice. Mix that with a drizzle of olive oil, and you’ve got a dressing!

Or, make homemade pico!

Don’t have access to fresh store-bought pico de gallo or fresh salsa? Depending on your location, you might not be able to pick up a container of this magical mixer. That’s ok: just make your own pico! The salad will take a little longer to make, of course. But it’s worth it for the flavor! Just make a half recipe of our Best Pico de Gallo recipe.

Shrimp Rice Bowl
Add it to a shrimp rice bowl for a tasty dinner

Ways to serve this quick black bean and corn salad

What we love about this black bean and corn salad, other than being quick? It’s endlessly versatile! You can serve it for so many different occasions. This might just seem like a simple recipe: but we think it decreases the barriers between you and fresh, plant-forward eating. And for that, we think it’s a genius combination! You can make it into a lunch, dip, or healthy dinner idea like:

Black Bean and Corn Salad

More black bean recipes

What can you do with a can of black beans? Let us count the ways. Here are some of our favorite black bean recipes:

This black bean and corn salad recipe is…

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

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

Quick Black Bean and Corn Salad (5 Minutes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Make black bean and corn salad in 5 minutes with this genius hack, no chopping required! A quick way to get fresh food on the table.


Ingredients

  • 15-ounce can black beans*
  • 15-ounce can corn
  • 1 cup fresh pico de gallo, aka fresh salsa (purchased)**
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • Fresh cilantro, if desired (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the black beans. Drain the corn. In a bowl, mix them with the pico de gallo, salt, and olive oil.
  2. If desired, add torn cilantro. Serve immediately with a slotted spoon as a side salad, in a rice bowl, in tacos, or as a dip with tortilla chips.

Notes

*For a party size, double the ingredients. 

**You’ll find this packaged in the refrigerated section at your local grocery: it may be labeled pico de gallo or fresh salsa. If you can’t find it, make homemade Pico de Gallo.

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Fresh
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Black bean and corn 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.

Print
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

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

Perfect Vegan Caesar Salad

This vegan Caesar salad tastes even better than the original! It features an irresistibly creamy dressing, capers, and crunchy croutons. There’s nothing quite like a great Caesar salad. So there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be an irresistibly tasty vegan version of it in your life. Meet: our perfect Vegan Caesar Salad! Of course, we love ourselves a great classic Caesar salad. But this one comes extraordinarily close: in fact, Alex even said he liked it better than the original! It’s got an irresistibly creamy, savory vegan Caesar dressing, crunchy croutons, and salty pops of flavor from the capers. In fact, the capers are the secret to making it taste so savory and delicious, you barely notice it’s totally plant-based. Ingredients for the best vegan Caesar salad This vegan Caesar salad is a big favorite in our house: especially the salad dressing. In fact, we like making this one more than the original. Here are the elements that make it perfectly delicious: Vegan Caesar dressing: This dressing is so incredibly savory, you’ll forget there’s no mayo, Parmesan or anchovies like the real thing. Capers: Yes, capers are the key! They give a pop of savory flavor to each bite that mimics the […]

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

This vegan Caesar salad tastes even better than the original! It features an irresistibly creamy dressing, capers, and crunchy croutons.

Vegan caesar salad

There’s nothing quite like a great Caesar salad. So there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be an irresistibly tasty vegan version of it in your life. Meet: our perfect Vegan Caesar Salad! Of course, we love ourselves a great classic Caesar salad. But this one comes extraordinarily close: in fact, Alex even said he liked it better than the original! It’s got an irresistibly creamy, savory vegan Caesar dressing, crunchy croutons, and salty pops of flavor from the capers. In fact, the capers are the secret to making it taste so savory and delicious, you barely notice it’s totally plant-based.

Ingredients for the best vegan Caesar salad

This vegan Caesar salad is a big favorite in our house: especially the salad dressing. In fact, we like making this one more than the original. Here are the elements that make it perfectly delicious:

  • Vegan Caesar dressing: This dressing is so incredibly savory, you’ll forget there’s no mayo, Parmesan or anchovies like the real thing.
  • Capers: Yes, capers are the key! They give a pop of savory flavor to each bite that mimics the salty punch of Parmesan shavings.
  • Homemade croutons: If you have time, homemade croutons are crazy good. Tear the bread into uneven pieces to make fluffy, crunchy orbs.
  • Avocado & lemon zest (optional): Use avocado to add even more richness, and lemon for a zing.
  • Tuscan kale & romaine: Use a mix of greens to add variety and contrast in flavor.
Vegan caesar dressing

Secrets to homemade vegan Caesar dressing

The hardest part about making a vegan Caesar salad is…the dressing! A classic Caesar dressing relies on mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and anchovies to make an umami-packed flavor sensation. A plant-based Caesar dressing gets none of these easy shortcuts to flavor. What does it use?

  • Chickpeas AND aquafaba make it creamy! Aquafaba is the liquid inside a can of chickpeas, and it’s an amazing way to add silky texture to sauces (like avocado mayo). You can even use it for things like vegan meringues! It adds just the right silky richness to the dressing here.
  • Miso paste adds massive savory flavor. Miso is a fermented Japanese soybean paste that adds great flavor to vegan dishes. Look for yellow or white miso paste; red or brown is not recommended.
  • Dijon mustard also brings in tangy, savory flavor. Dijon is key here!
  • Garlic, lemon and oil round it out. Speaking of the oil…

Why to use a mix of olive oil and neutral oil

This vegan Caesar dressing uses a mix of olive oil and neutral oil. Why is this necessary?

  • All olive oil makes a bright yellow dressing. You can certainly use 100% olive oil in this dressing, especially if you like cooking with olive oil for health reasons. Olive oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils in the world. But it does make the color quite bright!
  • Neutral oil keeps the color closer to a Caesar dressing. It also adds a nuance to the flavor. Use grapeseed oil or organic canola or vegetable oil: anything that has a lighter color and a neutral flavor.
Vegan Caesar salad

Capers are the key!

Capers are part of the magic behind this vegan Caesar salad: because they really mimic the burst of flavor that comes from Parmesan shavings. Here’s a bit more info about this beautiful ingredient if you’ve never worked with it:

  • Capers are a berry of the caper bush that’s native to the Mediterranean. They’re round and dark green gray, about the size of a peppercorn. You’ll find them in Italian and Mediterranean recipes.
  • What do capers taste like? They have a bright, briny and salty flavor.
  • Where to find capers? Capers are served pickled, so you’ll find them in small, thin jars near the olives at the grocery store.
  • What recipes use capers? Make Roasted Eggplant Pasta, Salmon with Capers or Remoulade Sauce.
Vegan caesar salad

Variations: make it a main dish!

If you take all this time to make Caesar salad…why not turn it into a main dish meal? At least, that’s the way we think around here! We love it as a side, but it’s fun as a main dish too. Here’s how to add plant-based protein and turn it into a meal:

How would you serve it? Let us know in the comments below!

Vegan Caesar salad recipe

This vegan Caesar salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten free, omit the croutons or use gluten free bread.

Print
Vegan caesar salad

Perfect Vegan Caesar Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)

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

Description

This vegan Caesar salad tastes even better than the original! It features an irresistibly creamy dressing, capers, and crunchy croutons. 


Ingredients

For the Vegan Caesar Dressing (makes 1 cup)

  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained + 1/4 cup aquafaba (liquid from the can)
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons yellow miso paste (or any miso marked light or white*)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons neutral oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • Fresh ground black pepper

For the salad

  • 1 cup croutons, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 head romaine or 2 romaine hearts
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1 ripe avocado (optional)
  • Lemon zest (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the croutons (optional): If using, make the Homemade Croutons, tearing the bread into pieces before baking instead of slicing it into cubes. Or, use purchased croutons. 
  2. Make the dressing: Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Drain the chickpeas into a liquid measuring cup: save 1/4 cup of the liquid (aquafaba) for the dressing. In a large blender, place the garlic, chickpeas, aquafaba, lemon juice, light miso paste, Dijon mustard, olive oil, neutral oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Blend until a creamy dressing forms. Makes 1 cup; serve immediately or refrigerate up to 1 month; bring to room temperature before serving. 
  3. Prep the fresh ingredients: Chop the romaine and Tuscan kale. Chop the avocado, if using.
  4. Serve: To serve, place the greens in serving bowls and top with drained capers, avocado, croutons, lemon zest (optional), and a few tablespoons of the dressing. 

Notes

*Do not substitute brown or red miso, as the flavor is too strong and it makes the dressing too dark in color. Yellow, light or white miso is best here. 

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Vegan caesar salad

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!)


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  • 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