Harvest Salad with Fruit, Herbs, and Goat Cheese

salad

This time last year: Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal (2014)

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Never have I ever truly craved a salad. I wish that was my life, but sadly, it is not. Chocolate, bread, coffee? Yes. I crave those every day. Salad? Mmmmm not so much.

However, a few weeks ago my dear friend Rachel invited me over to her house for lunch, and we whipped this salad together. The combination of goat cheese, fresh herbs, fruit, and colorful vegetables made for one of the most refreshing meals I’ve had all season! Thus for the first time, I was truly craving salad!

As the last glimpses of summer slip away, I had to dig up this recipe and enjoy the incredible combination of fruit and vegetables! No surprise- it was just as good as I had remembered it, and I am going to be enjoying it all week long!

If you’re not a huge salad person, give this a try. If you’re a huge salad person, you’re welcome for just changing your life.

Life should be colorful. Life should be healthy. Food should taste like this.

Dig in 🙂

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Salad Ingredients:

  • 4-8 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh basil and parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 ears grilled corn, kernels removed from the cob (or one can of corn- no sodium added)
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • ¾ cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 peach, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup mixed toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), pecans, walnuts, and/or pistachios
  • 1 avocado, pitted + chopped
  • 4-6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ -1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, basil, parsley, thyme, corn, tomatoes, red pepper, blackberries, peach, jalapeno, and nuts.
  2. In a separate mason jar or small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients until fully combined.
  3. Top the salad off with avocado and goat cheese, toss once more, and serve with dressing on the side or drizzled over top. Enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Want to add more protein? Try warming up 16 ounces of chickpeas and throwing those into the mix! They are an excellent healthy source of protein!
  • Source: Half Baked Harvest
  • Like this salad? Try these other healthy and seasonal dishes from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links below photos):

Strawberry Caprese Salad

caprese

This time last year: Marinated and Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Almonds & Goat Cheese (2013)

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It is hard to believe summer is coming to a close! This happens to me every year. One day I’m perusing my cook books- picking out recipes that are in season with the summer heat, and the next second it’s fall and I’ve still got strawberry and watermelon recipes to post! Woops.

This recipe, a delicious variation on the classic tomato and mozzarella caprese salad, is a perfect summer side dish. The fact that it is served room temperature or chilled makes it ideal for that summer heat, and the addition of strawberries and walnuts makes it a creative crowd pleaser!

It may not be quite time for pumpkin and cider, but time is flying before our eyes. So, while the nights are still long, give this dish a try, in honor of summer. I promise you will not regret it.

Come back soon!

xo A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rinsed, sliced strawberries
  • 1 bunch chopped basil
  • 1 cup bocconcini (mozzarella balls)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sea Salt (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Combine the strawberries, basil, mozzarella, and walnuts in a bowl. Toss gently.
  2. In a separate dish or jar, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt to taste.
  3. Drizzle the strawberry salad with the dressing and serve!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Edible San Fransisco
  • Store chilled
  • Like this recipe? Try these other scrumptious and healthy dishes from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links found below:)

Roasted Cauliflower, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quiche with Quinoa Crust

Quiche

This time last year: Therapy Cookies (AKA Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Sea Salt Bites) (2013)

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It may not be surprising to you, but one of the most common reasons people find my blog, is in a pursuit for gluten free recipes! There are a lot of recipes that I make intentionally vegetarian, but unintentionally gluten free, which is a win-win for everyone! However, because I have noticed the trend for increased gluten free searches, I have tried to start making more intentionally gluten free recipes, seeking out ways I can cut out flour when possible.

For example, this last year I shared a Berry Quinoa Salad with Honey Citrus Dressing, Flourless Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes, and a Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust! All gluten free, and all incredibly delicious!

When I stumbled upon this recipe I thought it would be a perfect recipe to try for my gluten free quiche friends, and I was right! At first I was worried that a quinoa crust would crumble and fall apart as soon as you cut it, however the crust held together amazingly well! We had no trouble cutting or serving the quiche, and the quinoa packed in tons of additional protein and nutrients, a value you do not get with a simple flour crust.

In other words- you should try this recipe, because it’s awesome, incredibly delicious, healthy, gluten free, and it has goat cheese! What more could you want?

And if you are in the market for other gluten free recipes, make sure you check out the Gluten Free section under my recipe page! There is a whole lot of love and flavor to go around!

Come back soon!

Love, a rented kitchen

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Crust Ingredients:

  • ½ cup quinoa (I used red, but any variety will do!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan, grated

Quiche Ingredients:

  • ½ medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup milk or heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.
  2. In a medium sized pot, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to sit, covered, for an additional five minutes.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, toss the cauliflower and mushrooms with the olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. Arrange in one layer on a baking sheet and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once lightly brown and slightly caramelized, remove from the heat and reduce the oven to 375˚F.
  4. Combine the cooked quinoa, one egg, and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly and press into a pie pan. Cook at 375˚F for ten minutes.
  5. Mix the cauliflower, mushrooms, eggs, milk, thyme, goat cheese, salt, and pepper, and pour into the cooked piecrust. Bake an additional 30-35 minutes at 375˚F, until the center of the quiche is set and the top is lightly browned.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • The quiche tends to cut better when the quinoa crust is cool, thus, try making this recipe in advance, allowing the quiche to cool, and then cutting, heating, and serving.
  • Source: Closet Cooking
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious recipes from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links found below)

Fried Plantains: Sweet and Salty

plantains2

This time last year: Pudding Pops (2012)

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There was this perfect little Cuban restaurant just down the street from my apartment in Richmond.

I would run by it early in the morning and smell the freshly brewed Café con Leche. My friends and I would roll into it late at night- snag a booth and split some fresh warm cornbread, a beer, and fried plantains. It was perfect.

It was there, in that tiny neighborhood corner restaurant that I learned to love fried plantains.

I have had the privilege of enjoying fried plantains prior to that Cuban restaurant, however it was the many nights in those warm booths that caused me to appreciate fried plantains in a new way- as dessert, a salty appetizer, a warm crunchy salad topper, the perfect side dish, my snack craving on the go- the list goes on, and my appreciation runs deep!

Fast forward many moons, and I am missing those warm Richmond nights with the strong sweet smell of Cuban food floating through the neighborhood. Therefore, I did the only thing my nostalgia would let me do. I decided to try my hand at this classic recipe myself.

There are a few different ways to approach plantains- sweet and salty. I tried my hand at both, and have to say- you truly can’t go wrong! So, go ahead, try your hand at both, and let me know your favorite!

You have nothing to lose, and sweet new memories to gain.

Happy snacking!

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil + more for frying as needed
  • Two large plantains
  • Freshly cracked Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Sugar

Directions:

1. Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.
2. Peel the plantains and slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the plantains to the oil, flipping occasionally, and frying 2-4 minutes- or until a golden brown color. (The longer you fry the plantains, the sweeter they are)
4. Remove the plantains from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.
For salty plantains– sprinkle the tops of each piece with a generous dose of sea salt.
For sweet plantains– combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dredge the plantain slice through the bowl until coated with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining slices.
For salty sweet plantains– dredge the plantain in the cinnamon sugar mix and then sprinkle with sea salt.
Enjoy!

 

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Notes and Tips!: 

  • Adapted from: The Food Network 
  • Ways to enjoy plantains:
    • The perfect crunchy and warm salad topping
    • Appetizer snack!
    • Serve them with whipped cream, ice cream, or drizzled with caramel sauce
    • Enjoy as a delicious side dish
    • Add them to your lunch box for a perfect office snack
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious snacks from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links found below photos)

Chipotle Orange Black Beans

beans

This time last year: Homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce with Basil, Mushrooms, and Balsamic Vinegar (2013)

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I stumbled upon this recipe while looking for a good side dish to take to a potluck, and was immediately sold. Without taking up too much of you’re time, I’ll go ahead and get to the point- it was delicious!

Here are three reasons you should try this dish:

  1. FLAVA FLAVE! This dish is jam-packed with flavor. Between the tangy orange zest, the flavor punch in the chipotle peppers, and the refreshing cilantro, your taste buds will be in heaven.
  2. Time is of the Essence! I was able to whip this recipe together in the 15 minutes I had between a class and a meeting. Yes, it is to possible to make a side dish in the time it might take you to wait in line for your drink at Starbucks. All you need is a cutting board and a frying pan and you are good to go!
  3. All-Inclusive! Sharing a meal with others? This recipe is a great dish to make because it is accessible to most everyone- vegetarian, gluten free, low fat, high protein, low cholesterol, low sugar, etc. Want to make it vegan? Simply leave the cheese on the side and let people sprinkle that on themselves.

Not convinced yet? Stop wasting time and get cooking. In fifteen minutes you will be glad you did!

More recipes heading your way soon, so come back and see me 🙂

Lots of love,

This rented kitchen

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Ingredients: 

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo (plus more to taste)
  • 1 orange, Juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled Queso Fresco

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and garlic, and sauté until soft- about four minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the beans.
  3. Once onions are cooked, add the beans to the pan and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chipotle peppers and orange zest and cook for one minute longer.
  5. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with cilantro and queso fresco. Serve and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Whole Foods Market
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe links found below):