Tag Archives: Salads

We made two batches of Black Bean and Mango Salad last week. We finished the first one really quickly, so quickly that I did not feel satisfied that I had eaten enough of it. Within a day or so, I was back at it making more.

The first batch of Black Bean and Mango Salad was eaten as a side with chicken, then again for lunch as a burrito filling. I prefered it as a side, Chris seemed to like it better in a burrito. Figures. We know that he loves burritos in any form and favors foods that do not require him to use plates or silverware.

We ate the second batch of Black Bean and Mango Salad in its first two incarnations and also used it as a salsa with guacamole. The possibilities are endless. I have a feeling that we will be making this stuff often!

Adapted from Branny Boils Over.


  • 2 cups black beans
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 cup diced sweet white onion


  • Dice mango, avocado, and onion.
  • Combine with drained black beans.
  • Season with salt and chili powder.
  • Mix in lime juice and cilantro.
  • We are some right away, but it was much better after it was left to marinate for a few hours.

Serves ~ 4
Calories ~ 213, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 32 g, Protein 8 g

Mango on Foodista

Update on “Mission Clean Out Duke’s Refrigerator”:

  • Dairy
    • 4 cups plain yogurt 3 cups plain yogurt
    • 8 cups cottage cheese 4 cups cottage cheese
    • 1 gallon of milk (well, most of it anyway)
    • 12 oz queso fresco
    • 1.25 cups sour cream
  • Fruits and Vegetables
    • 1 jalapeño
    • 3/4 of a green pepper
    • 1 bag scallions 1/2 bag scallions
    • 1/2 head cabbage
    • 1/2 lb. baby spinach
    • 5 apples 4 apples
    • 4 bananas 2 bananas
    • 1.5 cucumbers 1 cucumber
    • 2 plum tomatoes 1 plum tomato
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro
    • 2 avocados 1.5 avocados
    • 2 onions
    • 2 sweet potatoes
    • 1 bunch parsley (was not counted in original inventory) 1/2 bunch parsley

Chris and I both liked this meal. I am not sure if he was so hungry that he did not notice the raw tomatoes, if it tasted so good that the tomatoes did not matter, or what was going on, but he did not even mention them. Normally he calls them out and then make the ‘tomato face’. I’ll just roll with it.

This was a tasty and refreshing meal on a hot day (especially if you have broken air conditioning like we do). We both thought we would like to have it again, even not during refrigerator clean out week. If we had used Greek yogurt (or strained our yogurt to thicken it) this would be pretty good stuffed into a pita as well.


  • 1 cup (140 g dry) lentils
  • 1 cup yogurt (I used nonfat.)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 medium scallions, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar


  • Cook lentils according to instructions on package. Drain well and chill.
  • Combine yogurt and tahini.
  • Gently stir in cucumber, tomato, parsley, and scallions.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve lentils topped with yogurt mixture and a few splashes of white balsamic vinegar.

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 317, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 49 g, Protein ~ 21 g

After deciding to make samkeh harrah for dinner tonight, I needed to come up with a good side dish to go with it. I also needed to use up the giant head of cabbage that has been staring out of my refrigerator at me for days saying “Eat me soon, I will only wilt more and become less desirable from here.”

I bought the cabbage with the intention to make kimchi while Chris was out of town so he did not have to smell it. Chris has traumatic childhood memories of kimchi with its distinct aroma and his dislike for this Korean staple still lingers.

My childhood did not involve kimchi at all, let alone enough to develop a hatred for it, so perhaps that is why I was willing to try it out during a layover in Seoul a few years ago. I loved the unique flavor and I have been wanting to make it myself ever since.

Anyway, back to the dish at hand. Chris will be back any minute and this will be much more suitable as leftovers for him than the kimchi would have been.

Salatet Malfoof is a Middle Eastern take on cole slaw. We are not huge fans of mayonnaise based slaws at Duke’s House, but Chris and I both love a good vinegar slaw. This slaw with strong citrus flavors tops even the best vinegar slaw.


  • 1/2 head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 cup olives


  • Thoroughly combine garlic and salt.
  • Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and mint to the garlic mixture.
  • Mix well.
  • Combine the vegetables with the lemon and oil dressing.
  • Toss well, then chill.
  • Top with olives and mint before serving. (Optional.)

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 134, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 17 g, Protein ~ 4 g

After our race on Saturday, I convinced Chris that it was a good idea to go to Trader Joe’s. TJ’s is a long way from our house, so it is a pretty rare occurence. I wanted to see if their quinoa was cheaper than the quinoa at our weird hippie grocery store. It was slightly cheaper, not enough to warrant a drive that far anytime soon. I was also super excited to get more white balsamic vinegar because I have a lot better luck eating salads and keeping my clothing stain free with white balsamic than I do with its stain causing brown counterpart.

Of course, after buying months worth of quinoa, I could not wait to go home and make our favorite new quinoa dish. Sadly, it just didn’t do the trick for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is very tasty, but I think we may have eaten it too many times in the last few weeks.

Like clockwork, a new quinoa based recipe arrived on the scene. Thankfully, this one also included avocados, which I must use five of before they go bad. I modified the recipe slightly from its original state, hopefully for the better.

Adapted from Fine Cooking and


  • 30 g (about 1/4 cup) raisins
  • 30 g (about 1/4 cup) craisins
  • 1 cup (dry) quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 16 g (about 1/8 cup) almond slivers


  • In a medium bowl, soak the raisins and craisins in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a small pan, combine 2 cups of water, 1 cup of quinoa, and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the water has been absorbed.
  • In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Cut up avocado and scallions.
  • After the quinoa has finished cooking, combine quinoa, the vinaigrette, rasins, craisins, avocado, almond slivers, and scallions. Toss until thoroughly mixed.
  • Serve warm or cold.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 348, Fat ~ 15 g, Carbohydrates ~ 50 g, Protein ~ 8 g

This stuff rocks! After my kale and quinoa disaster a few weeks ago, I would never have guessed that the same two main ingredients could take on such a different life. I have proven myself wrong. I based this recipe on a dish from EatDrinkBetter and my own standard asian salad dressing recipe. My kale is steamed because I wanted to make the texture blend with the quinoa better and I wanted the moist, warm ingredients to soften the nori. It turned out great! Not only was this easy to make, but it is one of the tastiest and most unusual dishes that I have made in a while.


  • 1 cup quinoa, dry
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped and de-stemmed
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 5 thin slices ginger root
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 sheet nori
  • 1 avocado, skinned and pitted
  • Very Teri, queso fresco, and scallions optional (for garnish)


  • Mix a dressing of rice vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame seeds and vinegar. Allow this to sit while cooking. Remove ginger slices before dressing the salad.
  • Combine 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa in a small pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes or until water has been absorbed.
  • While quinoa is cooking, chop and de-stem one bunch of kale. Steam and drain kale.
  • While kale is steaming, peel and chop cucumber, avocado, and nori.
  • Combine kale, quinoa, cucumber, avocado, nori, and dressing (with ginger removed).
  • Chill before serving.
  • I garnished mine with Very Teri, queso fresco, and scallions.

Servings ~ 6
Calories ~ 230, Fat ~ 8 g, Carbohydrates ~ 36 g, Protein ~ 8 g

Our trip to Peru inspired me to try some South American cooking. We had some amazing food in Peru, and that is not even considering the fact that most of it was carried up and prepared on the Inca Trail by Chaskis. This dish is not necessarily Peruvian, but it contains many of the ingredients that are commonly found in my “Inca Trail Cookbook” that I purchased in Aguas Calientes. Sadly, I don’t know that I will ever do much cooking directly from the book because a lot of the techniques and ingredients it includes are not easily/properly translated to English.

Unfortunately, this is another dish that tastes way better than the photograph looks. I think there is a common theme here, maybe the photographer. Anyway, here you have it, Lentil Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Queso Fresco.


  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of each)
  • 1/2 cup lentils (70 g dry)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (or the juice of 1 lime)
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese (about 2 oz)


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Peel and cube sweet potatoes, chop onion.
  • Toss the cubed sweet potatoes and the chopped red onion with 1 tbsp olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Place vegetables in a roasting pan and roast, gently stirring every 10 minutes or so, until potatoes are tender.  Mine took about 40 minutes total.
  • While potatoes are roasting, bring the lentils to a boil in about 2 cups of water.
  • Simmer lentils gently until tender, about 25 minutes.
  • Drain lentils well, and let cool completely.
  • Place lentils in a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and the juice of one lime.
  • Stir in the sweet potatoes and onions, roasted red pepper, and queso fresco, and gently toss to mix.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 268, Fat ~ 10 g, Carbohydrates ~ 36 g, Protein ~ 10 g

I really enjoyed this dish, but next time I might change it just a bit. I will double the amount of balsamic vinegar but make a balsamic reduction before I mix it into the dressing. I was hoping to have a little bit sweeter (and less acidic) of a flavor and I think that would do the trick.

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to branch out and try new grains. I’m not a huge fan of rice, especially the brown variety, but whole grains are good for me, so I’m determined to find one that I truly like.

A few weeks ago, I bought some new (to me) grains that I had been hearing about, bulgur and quinoa. I really like the look of quinoa because it ends up looking like a lot of little curly q’s in the pot, but I haven’t mastered a quinoa dish that strikes my fancy.

Last weekend I attempted a Kale and Quinoa Gratin, which was less than stellar. Not only did it make for lousy photographs, but it ended up tasting pretty bland. It wasn’t inedible bad, but it was bad enough that I wouldn’t recommend it to someone else. As Chris put it “This stuff is pretty good if you cover it up with Sweet Baby Ray’s.” Ok, I get it. Needs more flavor. Kale and Quinoa Gratin will not be making an appearance on here until I figure out how to doctor it up adequately (for Chris’s palate and my diet). I still think the Kale and Quinoa Gratin has potential, so I will be buying kale for the second time in my life this weekend and I will attempt a do-over.

Since the Kale and Quinoa Gratin disaster, I have shelved the quinoa experiments for a few days to try my hand at making bulgur. After a cursory Google search, I decided that Taboulli was a safe bet. It turns out that I was right! The Taboulli was awesome and may go into my weekly dinner rotation. I can’t comment on whether it tastes authentic or not as it has been a long time since I have eaten Taboulli and I have certainly never eaten it paying attention to the flavors and textures with the intent to recreate it. Chris has been wanting to try a Turkish restaurant in a town nearby, maybe I will be able to sample theirs for a point of reference if and when we go.


  • 1 cup bulgur (if you don’t feel like getting or can’t find bulgur, you could probably make it with brown rice, but I like bulgur better)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced (or 1.75 cups canned tomatoes, if you are out of fresh ones)
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 3-4 scallions
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped (or 2 tbsp dried parsley if your grocery store doesn’t sell parsley – like mine)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (this was double what the original recipe called for, so proceed with caution)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (this was half what the original recipe called for and I might even reduce it by 1 tbsp next time)
  • plain nonfat yogurt (optional)


  • Cook bulgur according to the instructions on the packaging. (Mine was a 2:1 ratio of water:bulgur, dump everything into a pot and simmer until the water has been absorbed and the bulgur is tender.)
  • While the bulgur is cooking, dice tomatoes, cucumbers, and scallions and drain off excess water.
  • Combine the “dressing” of olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • When the bulgur has finished cooking, combine all ingredients and refrigerate, covered until cool.
  • Serve cold.
  • I served mine with some plain nonfat yogurt on the side.

Servings ~ 4
Calories (not including yogurt) ~ 297, Fat ~ 14 g, Carbohydrates ~ 39 g, Protein ~ 7 g

What is queso fresco, you ask? And why is the Mexican sounding cheese being served with Asian noodles? Queso fresco is the cheese of choice in Duke’s House. We are on a mission to pinch pennies in any way possible to save for a great mountain climbing expedition later this year. Queso fresco is the most economical, versatile cheese that Chris and I have happened on so far. At $2.86 for 12 ounces, it can’t be beat. Queso fresco is the only cheese on our grocery list, so I expect that it will make frequent showings here. 

After buying Soba noodles on a whim last week, it became my mission to find something good to do with them. I scoured all of my go-to cooking blogs and recipe websites and finally found something that struck my fancy. Perhaps it is due to her great photography or possibly due to my nearly flawless track record with her cooking I selected this recipe from The Way the Cookie Crumbles to base my cooking endeavor on. 


  • 12 ounces soba noodles
  • 10 ounces frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 4 scallions, chopped


  • Cook noodles and peas together until noodles are tender.
  • While noodles and peas are cooking, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, salt, and black pepper in a sealable container (you will toss the noodles and peas in it later).
  • Crumble queso fresco and chop scallions, these will be used as a garnish.
  • When the noodles and peas are finished cooking, drain and then add to the sauce mixture.
  • Toss noodles and sauce.
  • Garnish each serving with queso fresco and scallions.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 278, Carbohydrates ~ 39 g, Fat ~ 10 g, Protein ~ 11 g