Summer Squash Salad

Summer Squash Salad

I have been growing a lot of zucchini but bored of grilling them all the time! After recently visiting my favorite neighborhood restaurant - five leaves - I was inspired to make this simple salad with a new way to eat summer squash RAW!

What’s so great about this salad is that it’s fresh, simple, fast, and can be made in one bowl! Each bite needs a little feta and pistachio for that silky crunchy texture. Make this salad for lunch, or as a side with your grilled protein!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 cup arugula

  • 1 green zucchini

  • 1 yellow summer squash

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 lemon, squeezed

  • salt & pepper

  • 1/4 cup marinated olives, chopped

  • chopped pistachio for garnish

  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Using a mandolin, slice green zucchini directly on top of the bed of arugula.

  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the sides of summer squash on top of the vegetables again.

  3. Drizzle olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and toss the vegetables together and season them with salt and pepper.

  4. Finish the salad with chopped olives, pistachio, and crumbled feta.

Labneh 2 Ways

Labneh 2 Ways

I truly have a relationship with labneh and this is me taking it to the next level! Summer season is my favorite produce season. Eating tomatoes and peaches raw is the best way to enjoy there natural fresh and juicy flavors. I combined my two favorite things into easy summer dishes.

You can make this when a friend is coming over to nibble on, as a quick snack or lunch! To bring the savory labneh to the next level you can add some prosciutto or sopressata for that extra salty meaty bite. For the sweet labneh you can shave some chocolate, or drizzle some nut butter or chocolate hazelnut spread to add a richer chocolate bite.

Look up times to your local farmers market and make the best of summer’s finest produce. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Total Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

FOR SAVORY

  • 1 cup labneh

  • 2-3 tomatoes, preferably ripe from farmer’s market

  • 1 cucumber, sliced in circles

  • 1 tbsp za’atar

  • 4-5 marinated olives, chopped in lengthwise

  • Drizzle of olive oil

FOR SWEET

  • 1 cup labneh

  • 1 peach, sliced in chunks

  • 1 dark plum, sliced in chunks

  • 1 apricot, sliced in chunks

  • a few raspberries and blackberries

  • Drizzle of honey & granola

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Spread labneh on a platter.

  2. For savory, arrange all the ingredients on labneh-spread platter. Finish it with a drizzle of olive oil.

  3. For sweet, arrange all the ingredients on labneh-spread platter. Finish it with a drizzle of honey and granola.

Almond & Cucumber Gazpacho

Almond & Cucumber Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables, and it’s a perfect way to capture all flavors, especially during the summer season. This chilled soup is a great way to get the meal started. Use any leftover vegetable as a starter!

Marcona almonds add creamy, rich texture to the soup, and cucumber provides a refreshing flavor foundation to this ideal, summer dish. People often add breadcrumbs to thicken the blend, but you can substitute them with more almonds to achieve the same consistency.

Make this ahead and let it chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours so that the flavors develop.

This recipe is inspired by Food & Wine’s Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho

Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 large garlic cloves

  • 2 large seedless English cucumbers, cut into 1-inch dice

  • 1 cup Marcona almonds

  • 5 scallions

  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • 1/4 cup EVOO

  • 2 lemons, squeezed

  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a blender, add all the ingredients and blend them together until very smooth. Transfer the soup to a large container and season it with salt. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 24 hours.

  2. To serve, stir the chilled gazpacho, then pour it in shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with chopped cucumber, Aleppo pepper, or a dollop of greek yogurt and finish it with a drizzle of olive oil.

Whole Roasted Halloumi with Tomatoes on the Vine

Whole Roasted Halloumi with Tomatoes on the Vine

I grew up eating seared halloumi like it’s my version of grilled cheese. I’ve noticed that halloumi has been getting a lot of attention lately, seeing it pop up on different menus everywhere. But, I was still shocked to find out that so many people have never heard of my favorite cheese, aka RuPaul!

For those who don’t know what halloumi is, it’s a brined semi-hard cheese, mixed with goat and sheep milk, that doesn’t melt, which makes it super versatile - you can fry, sear, and grill it. The taste of halloumi completely changes after it gets cooked. The salty flavors get more intense, and there is a contrast between a crispy outside and salty, creamy inside.

Since it’s tomato season, I added tomatoes on the vine to add an extra burst of flavors. Such a simple way of preparing side dishes for summer parties, and I hope this dish gets you addicted to halloumi even more!

Total Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole halloumi

  • 1 pound tomatoes on the vine

  • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

  • a few sprigs of thyme

  • 3 tbsp EVOO

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • scallion to garnish

  • handful of arugula to serve

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Set the oven temperature to 450F.

  2. In a parchment-lined sheet tray, add the whole halloumi. Drizzle 1 tbsp of EVOO and roast it for 5 minutes.

  3. On the same sheet tray surround the halloumi with tomatoes on the vine, crushed garlic cloves, and thyme. Drizzle the rest of EVOO and season everything with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast them for 8-10 minutes, or until the tomato skin pops and the tomato juice starts to ooze out.

  4. Serve this with a handful of greens, such as arugula. There should be plenty of garlic thyme infused olive oil from the sheet tray to drizzle on top of the green as a dressing.

Garlic-y Labneh (Labneh bi Toum)

Labneh bi Toum

Labneh: a creamy, tangy Middle Eastern yogurt strained until extra thick. It’s sort of a cross between whipped cream cheese and sour cream—but better. Lebanese people eat labneh with chips, chicken, kibbeh, fries. I shared my love of laBneh and how I used to watch my grandma making it in the kitchen, growing up on Food52. Hope you fall in love with labneh as much as I do.

PHOTO BY TY MECHAM

Total Time: 24 hrs
Makes: 1 pint

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds non-fat Greek yogurt

  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Dried mint (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Line a large strainer with cheesecloth, and set into a large bowl.

  2. In a large bowl mix the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and salt, until fully incorporated.

  3. Place the yogurt mixture in the cheesecloth, and cover it by bringing the edges of the cloth towards the middle. Let drain in the fridge for 24 hours.

  4. After 24 hours, squeeze any excess liquid and place into an airtight container, or serve immediately, garnished with olive oil and dried mint, alongside warm pita and olives.

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

I make a bomb kale pesto, whenever my friends come over that's what they ask for. Every client of mine is always asking me to add my pesto to the menu somehow. After coming up with some fun Hors D'oeuvres using the kale pesto I decided to take it simple - so I made this for dinner and it was too good I couldn't resist posting it! I hope this becomes your go to grilled cheese. The best part about the pesto is that you can make it - freeze it - use it whenever!!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 pint

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups arugula

  • 1 cup basil, with stems

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (if allergic)

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper, freshly cracked

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.    In a food processor, add arugula, basil, nutritional yeast, nut, and garlic clove. Pulse until well combined. 

2.   Add lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse while drizzling the extra virgin olive oil. Pulse for one additional minute until all combined. 

3.   Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Simple Spring Salad

 
 

Simple Spring Salad

Happy April! Is that spring that I smell? My favorite produce season is back from bundles of asparagus to crunchy snap peas. I put together this simple, fresh raw salad that is so easy to assemble, but breathtaking to look at.

Shaving asparagus is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this seasonal vegetable. Make sure to pick thick asparagus in order to make those asparagus ribbons. Just like you would peel carrots or potatoes, shave the thick asparagus from the asparagus top to bottom. Twist those asparagus ribbons for a gorgeous presentation as well. Feel free to add whatever spring vegetables that look fresh. Using fresh, spring vegetables is the key for this salad.

Serve it with a side of Za’atar crusted chicken and cucumber lemonade to have your first spring backyard dinner! Happy Spring!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of Boston lettuce, washed

  • 1/2 cup snap peas, chopped

  • 3 asparagus stems

  • 1 bunch scallions

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

  • 3 tbsp goat cheese dressing

  • 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Keeping lettuce leaves whole; pull off from the stem and place on a plate.

  2. Start layering the salad by sprinkling the snap peas and scallions.

  3. Shave the asparagus stem with a peeler and decorate the lettuce with the asparagus ribbons.

  4. Top with walnuts and serve with a side of dressing

Goat Cheese Black Pepper Dressing

 
 

Goat Cheese Black Pepper Dressing

Do you guys love goat cheese? I’ve always loved it in every form — appetizers, dipping sauce, and even marinade. Since I like goat cheese so much, I sometimes sprinkle it in my salad, but when I do it, the crumbled cheese doesn’t get distributed evenly. I want to taste goat cheese in my every bite, you know?

So, I decided to turn it into a dressing to keep its tangy, creamy flavors while making it easier to toss around my salad. By doing so, every bite has a bit of that tangy, goat cheese flavors without being clumpy. This creamy dressing will be an instant flavor boost, making any boring salad into something incredible!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1/2 quart

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 - 8oz goat cheese

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1 tbsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.