As the summer heat continues to drag into September, I wanted to take advantage of the abundant fresh summer vegetables and combine them with Indian basmati rice to create a cool Summer Rice Salad. It is hearty enough to be an entrée but is healthy enough that I would not feel guilty about having seconds. This salad is absolutely loaded with fresh vegetables. I selected carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and spinach to give the recipe a lot of color and textures.

Summer Rice Salad

This easy to make Summer Rice Salad combines healthy vegetables and fragrant basmati rice with a light dressing. Delicious for any meal.

This recipe is very easy to make. First, the rice is cooked with a few whole Indian spices to add flavor to the rice. Next, I cook the onion in spiced oil just until it turns translucent and loses the overpowering raw onion flavor. When the rice and onion have cooled I simply combine them together with the chopped vegetables. The Summer Rice Salad is simply dressed in a cumin flavored vinaigrette just before it is served.

The best part about my Summer Rice Salad recipe is its flexibility. Additional vegetables can be added or different ones substituted to suit your preferences. To make this recipe even easier and quicker, use leftover rice from another dish. It won’t have the flavor of the spiced rice but it will save you quite a bit of time.

My recipe for Spiced Asparagus Wraps is new take on salads and Indian dosas. The traditional recipe for Masala Dosas is made with a rice pancake filled rich mashed potatoes. They are often served at weekend brunches at Indian restaurants around the country. They are incredibly delicious but heavy and loaded with calories.

Spiced Asparagus Wrap

Spiced Asparagus Wraps combine asparagus salad dressed in an Indian inspired vinaigrette that is served in traditional India dosas, rice pancakes.

This recipe was inspired by one created by Cristeta Comerford, the White House chef. With her healthy approach to eating, she prepared whole wheat crêpes filled with a shaved broccoli salad. I was immediately inspired to create something similar so Spiced Asparagus Wraps was created.

The recipe for the asparagus salad was easy to conceptualize. Blanched asparagus is combined with a few other healthy vegetables, including tomatoes, onion and edamame are lightly dressed with a garam masala vinaigrette.

Making the batter for the dosas is a time consuming process; it takes about 48 hours. The first step is to combine the rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds, then soak them in water overnight. The next day the water is drained off and the mixture is ground to a paste with the consistency of pancake batter. After the batter ferments over a second night, the dosas are ready to cook. It takes about 6 to 7 minutes to make each one. The recipe does require a bit of preplanning.

The salad is served wrapped in a dosa that is lightly seasoned with red chile and cumin. When I cook this version, I use a nonstick pan and use cooking spray to coat the pan. The dosas are lighter and much less oily.

Depending on the size of the dosas, the recipe for Spiced Asparagus Wraps can serve 6 to 8 people. The Spiced Asparagus Wraps can be served for lunch or dinner and should be, in my opinion, eaten with a knife and fork. It is less messy that way.

Enjoy!

Earlier this year I created a savory quinoa recipe as a side dish prepared with onions and garlic and tempered with Indian spiced oil. This time I am sharing a really simple recipe for a salad that uses quinoa as the main ingredient.

After the quinoa is cooked, I add fresh vegetables for their bright colors and contrasting textures to it, including: healthy edamame, sliced grape tomatoes, chopped red onion and sliced green onions. The salad is lightly dressed with a cumin vinaigrette.

This Quinoa Vinaigrette Salad recipe, when chilled, is perfect for lunch when served on your favorite greens or as a side salad at dinner. I like to take it to potluck meals and picnics since it can be served at room temperature as well.

I originally made this Sweet Corn Salad to accompany the Vegetable Napoleons recipe that I posted last week. It pairs very well with it but, in all honesty, it was too much food for me to eat comfortably at one meal. I swapped it out with a simple Creamy Mint Chutney for a hint of flavor and a bright green color.

Sweet Corn Salad

Sweet Corn Salad

Sweet Corn Salad is a tangy mixture of blanched fresh sweet corn, diced tomato and diced red onion. A small minced green chile is added for a flavor boost. The salad is finished with a vinaigrette made with cumin and garnished with black sesame seeds.

Served cold, this recipe can be used as a relish to accompany any meal or served as a salad.

Beets are often used in Indian cooking. Perhaps the best known uses for them in Indian recipes are in cutlets, curries and side dishes, called thoran. I like the creamy, earthy flavor of beets and think that their color adds interest to recipes. Also, beets are very high in nutrients and are considered to be good cancer fighters.

In this recipe for Roasted Beet Salad with Cumin Dressing, I use both golden and red beets for their vibrant color and texture and roast them in the oven until they are tender. To save my kitchen from becoming stained red, I merely cut off the leaves and stems from the beets before roasting them. Removing the skins after they are done and have cooled is the easiest method since they slide right off the beet.

Golden beets are much easier to work with as they do not bleed like their messy cousins. Their flavor is subtler than that of red beets.

In this recipe, I dip the raw beets in spiced oil to give them some flavor while they roast. I place them in separate aluminum foil packages to keep the red juices from the golden beets.

Once they are cooled and peeled, I simply cut them into bite-sized cubes.

Preparing the salad is easy. Simply place a generous amount of red and golden beet cubes on top of a plate of fresh spinach. I add bits of fresh mango to add a flavor contrast.

The Beet Salad is topped with Cumin Dressing which complements the subtleties of the salad and makes the flavors pop.

Try this recipe, your family and friends with thank you!

During the last days of summer, I am finding that I don’t want to prepare a lot of complicated recipes that heat up my kitchen. My family and I want to eat something quick and easy but no one wants to compromise on flavor.

Spicy Shrimp Salad

This delicious shrimp salad recipe is served in a richly spiced dressing. Perfect as a salad or on a naan as a sandwich.

This Spiced Shrimp Salad Recipe uses cooked small or medium-sized shrimp that can easily be eaten in one bite. I mix them in a large bowl with all of the spices, a bit of mayonnaise and some lime juice for the dressing.

This shrimp salad can be served as a sandwich on fresh naans that have been cut in half with a crisp lettuce leaf. It can also be served on top of a plate of fresh lettuce and garnished with lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

With the temperatures reaching 100 degrees in Texas I wanted to prepare a light and easy recipe that is hearty enough to be served at lunch as well as at dinner. The Romaine Salad with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette includes some of my favorite vegetables plus chickpeas for protein. The dressing, however, is the best part of the entire recipe.

Romaine Salad with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette

Romaine Salad with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette

I roast some red bell peppers in the oven to sweeten and concentrate their flavors. In addition, I lightly fry the shallot and garlic to mellow and sweeten them as well.

All of the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette ingredients are placed in a food processor or blender and processed until smooth and creamy. The dressing is simply seasoned with a bit of ground cumin and red chile powder. I use a small amount of chile for its flavor and not to add heat.

The bell peppers give the dressing body and intensity that most vinaigrettes do not have. It is a rich dressing that is healthy with all of the nutrition from the peppers, including fiber, vitamins C and B6, and antioxidants.

To complete the salad, I chopped a head of romaine lettuce and a handful of cilantro, then added slices of red onion, tomatoes and cucumbers to a large salad bowl. After tossing in a few handfuls of freshly cooked chickpeas, I dressed my garden-fresh salad with the vinaigrette. Add a fresh baguette or naan, and dinner is ready!

I also used my recipe for Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette as a dip for carrot and celery sticks because I couldn’t resist the flavor of the dressing. It makes a great dip!

One of the best surprises in Indian cooking is the recipe for Kachumbar. The word is derived from the Hindi word kacha, which mean raw. It is a side dish, a chopped salad, made of fresh vegetables with a simple, light dressing. Originating with the Moghuls, this dish was made with onion and cucumber then served with kebabs. Today it is made with tomato, onion, cucumber, green chile and cilantro. In my mind, it compares with Pico de Gallo, which is popular with TexMex cuisine and has become a staple at many meals.

Kachumbar recipe

Traditional Kachumbar made with chopped fresh vegetables is delicious with any meal.

I love the recipe for Kachumbar since it is so light and healthy as well as easy to make. I like varying the ingredients by adding chopped radishes, jicama, green onions, carrots and cooked chickpeas to vary the flavor and texture. This recipe can be customized to suit your palate; I have even seen versions that have been sweetened with bits of mango. Kachumbar is served with any curry dish especially hot ones since it is very soothing to the palate but it also pairs well with rice dishes and biryanis. Of course, like most contemporary cuisine, it can be eaten with anything you like. I substitute it for TexMex Pico de Gallo and serve it with nacho chips. For and easy and tasty lunch, I serve a quarter cup of it poured over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce or a few spoonfuls in a leaf of Belgian endive.

 

Kachumbar Recipe

Tips:

Dressing:

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon red chile powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 pinch asafetida

2 tablespoons olive oil

Vegetables:

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

1 English cucumber, finely chopped

3 radishes, finely chopped

1 Serrano chile, finely chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

 

Steps:

1. Whisk the Dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside for about an hour.

2. Combine the Vegetable ingredients in a plastic bowl. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

3. Whisk the Dressing again then pour it over the vegetables. Toss well to coat. Let the Kachumbar sit for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

Kachumbar recipe

Kachumbar served in Belgian endive boats.

Tips:

– To reduce the heat, remove the seeds and the white membrane from the chile, or use half of the chile.

– To reduce the strong flavor of the onion, place them in a bowl by them selves and sprinkle them with a bit of salt. After 10 minutes, rinse them well with cold water to remove the salt then add to the Kachumbar.

– If lime juice is not available, substitute lemon juice.

– Have fun with this recipe and create your own version.

 

 

In my home we eat salads often so I try to make them as interesting as possible. This Roasted Eggplant Salad combines some favorite roasted vegetables, eggplant and corn with healthy lentils for a complete meal. The Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette incorporates the flavor of Indian spice from the cumin with a traditional vinaigrette recipe. I used lime juice instead of lemon since they are so commonly used in India. This salad can be served as an entrée for lunch as well as at dinner.

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

 

Ingredients

1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 ear corn
1 cup cooked red kidney beans
4 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
oil
salt
pepper
Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup lime juice
1 pinch red chile flakes
1 tsp turbinado sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the eggplant pieces on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast the eggplant in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, turning the pieces over after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

3. Roast or grill the corn until lightly charred. Let cool then cut the corn from the cob.

4. In a large bowl, add the eggplant, corn, kidney beans and sliced onions. Pour some of the vinaigrette over the ingredients and mix well. Let this sit for a few minutes. Add the spinach and cilantro to the bowl. Add more dressing, to taste, and mix gently. Transfer to individual bowls and serve immediately.

Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette:

1. In a small dry skillet, roast the ground cumin and cumin seeds individually for a few minutes until the aroma rises. Set aside to cool.

2. Stir all of the vinaigrette ingredients except for the oil together in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until well mixed. Adjust the salt and pepper, to taste.

Tips:

– Serve with crusty bread.
– Substitute chopped romaine or black beans for variety.

Sprouts have been popular on well-planned salad bars for decades. I love to add both alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts to my salads and have munched on them since I was a kid.

 

These crispy little treats are popular ingredients in Indian cooking. As a matter of fact, lentils are easy to sprout at home and cook into a healthy and delicious dish. Let me tell you how simple it is to grow sprouts for a tasty snack or a dish.
 

Sprouted mung beans for Indian recipes.

Sprouted mung beans for Indian recipes.

  1. Rinse one cup of mung beans (or other lentil) to remove any debris. Put them in a large bowl and cover them completely with cool water. Soak them overnight.
  2. The next morning, pour out the water and rinse the beans several times until the water is fresh.
  3. Dampen a piece of cheesecloth or a thin kitchen towel. Wring out any excess water then place the dal on top of it. Tie the ends of the towel together and place the bundle in a large bowl. Put the bowl in a dark place for 2 to 3 days. During the winter I place it in the oven.
  4. Sprinkle a little water over the towel 2 or 3 times every day. After the third day, the sprouts should be about ½ to ¾ inch tall.
  5. Refrigerate until you are ready to use them.

 

Eating sprouts is popular around the world because nutrients and antioxidants may be concentrated in the tiny low calorie plants. 100 grams (about 3½ ounces) have:

 

100 grams 30 calories
Fat 0g
Carbs 6g
Fiber 2g
Protein 3g

 

 

Apparently the experts have not concluded the discussion on this. Some lentils may have bacteria in them naturally and eating them raw may lead to illness. Cooking will kill any bacteria and make them safe.

 

In India, mung beans are the most popular but some like fenugreek sprouts. They appear in savory as well as sweet recipes in both North India and South India. I avoid fenugreek sprouts because they are too bitter to eat. Technically, any lentil or seed can be sprouted and eaten. For example, broccoli, wheat grass, clover, alfalfa, garbanzos, etc. are common.

 

Check out my Spicy Sprout Salad for an healthy vegetarian Indian salad. It is perfect as the main item for lunch and as a side dish for dinner on a hot evening. This recipe is very easy and quick to make. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

 

Indian recipe for Spicy Sprout Salad  with mung beans.

Indian recipe for Spicy Sprout Salad with mung beans.

 

 

Mung beans are also called green gram, mung dal and moong dal. Whatever they are called, they make a tasty yet healthy snack!

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