Posts tagged salad
Caprese Pesto Salad
Fresh and Balanced Kat Marris

I love any recipe that can act as a two for one! This recipe fits that requirement in the most delicious way possible!

This recipe is both the perfect cookout or pitch in side dish AND a lovely meal prep lunch! WINNER!!!

Make the recipe as is and bring to your next cookout or BBQ for a show stopping side dish. Then save some leftover grilled chicken, ribs or whatever you have on hand and add it to the salad for a delicious lunch to take to work!!

The salty olives, mellow mozzarella and tangy tomatoes all work together so well on a bed of crisp zucchini noodles. The final addition of bright and herby pesto really takes it over the edge!

Have fun with the olives as well! I kept it simple with Kalamata, but feel free to go crazy at the olive bar and add green, black, stuffed or any other olive that catches your eye!!!


Pesto Caprese Zoodles .jpg

Caprese Pesto Salad

Makes 6 servings


1 cup pitted kalamata olives

2 cups mozzarella pearls

3 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

3 tablespoons homemade or store bought pesto

1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

5-6 medium zucchini, spiralized

Salt and pepper to taste


In a large bowl, gently stir together olives, mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto. Add in zucchini noodles and gently toss to combine. Top with chopped basil.

Chinese Chicken Salad
Chinese Chicken Salad-Fresh and Balanced

When I was a kid, I had a salad that I ordered at Applebee's every time my family went. I felt very grown up and sophisticated ordering from the adult menu, no chicken nuggets for me! I always stated my order proudly and couldn't wait to dive into a bowl of what I thought was a very exotic and adventurous Chinese chicken salad. 

I loved everything about that salad! It was crunchy, bright and a balance of sweet and salty that I couldn't get enough of! When the summer temperatures start to climb, I always get a craving for this cool and crunchy salad. 

Sadly, as an adult I learned that the salad I used to order had as many calories as a cheeseburger. So I set out to create a salad that would take care of my craving, but stay on the light side!

The real secret to this salad is to make your own dressing. A bottled dressing works in a pinch, but take an extra minute to whip out this sweet, salty, spicy and savory dressing! 


Chinese Chicken Salad-Fresh and Balanced

Chinese Chicken Salad

Makes 6 servings


For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (caramel brown in color)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


For the Salad:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 chicken breasts cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 can (15 oz) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds 
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Dressing will save in the fridge for 5 days. 

In a large bowl, toss all salad ingredients except lime wedges together. Evenly distribute salad between six plates and drizzle with one tablespoon of dressing. Serve each salad with a wedge of lime to be squeezed over salad before eating. 


Savory Shredded Cabbage and Beef

I am quickly starting to love using my slow cooker as part of my meal prep! I have been using it to help prep dinners. This week I used the slow cooker to create the most tender, melt in your mouth shredded beef. The cabbage, thyme and bacon blend together to create a flavor that is savory, without being heavy. The secret to this recipe is to line the bottom and sides of the slow cooker with bacon. It prevents the beef from drying out and adds a lovely flavor. 

I used a three pound chuck roast and it lasted for three dinners! I made shredded beef tacos, served it with roasted veggies and put it on a salad!! It seriously cuts my dinner time cooking down to almost nothing. 

Do you have a favorite slow cooker recipe that you meal prep? If not, give this a try and you might have found one :) 


Savory Shredded Cabbage and Beef

Makes 6 servings


  • 10 bacon strips 
  • 3 pound chuck roast 
  • 1 package shredded coleslaw mix ( make sure it has cabbage and carrots)
  • 1 red onion, sliced 
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 cup beef broth or water 


Line the bottom of the slow cooker with bacon strips. Add all other ingredients and cook on low for 7 hours. Shred and use however you would like! 






Winter Quinoa and Kale Salad

Winter always seems to be a bit of a hard time to eat salads. I don't know whether it's the cold temps or the grey skies, but I struggle to eat salads in the winter! I always end up ditching my salad for a hot bowl of soup or a heavy sandwich. However, after a week of vacation where I basically turned into a human vacuum, I was actually craving veggies and salad! So I whipped up this easy, hearty winter salad. 

I enjoyed eating this salad so much that I meal prepped it for two weeks in a row! The wintery squash paired with the filling quinoa tricked my tastebuds into thinking I was not eating a salad. The cranberries and apple add a sweet zing and the walnuts add a slightly bitter taste that prevents the sweet notes from overpowering the salad. I didn't go crazy with the dressing, just a simple drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar does the trick! 



Winter Quinoa and Kale Salad

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 2 cups spiralized butternut squash (save time and buy them spiralized at the grocery) 
  • 8 cups baby kale/arugual mix 
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries 
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small pot on your stove, add quinoa, water and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until water is absorbed by the quinoa (about 10 min). Remove from heat and set aside. 

Place spiralized butternut squash on an ungreased baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 10 minutes until noodles are soft. Set aside. 

In four plastic prep containers or plates, evenly divide kale/arugula mix. Top with cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, apple, cranberries, nuts and finish with a drizzle of vinegar. Easily saves for 3-4 days in the fridge.