melinda’s vegetable salad with apples, bacon & honey apple vinaigrette

My grandma taught me how to make a wonderful salad last week that is perfect for autumn! She got the recipe from her friend Melinda, who she plays bridge with at the senior center every week. 🙂 This salad makes a perfect side dish, but is also hearty enough for a main course. I brought the leftovers to my writing “office” {i.e. the local library} for lunch the next day and they were terrific!

melinda salad

for the salad:
– cauliflower*
– broccoli*
– brussels sprouts*
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 1 package baby spinach
– 1 apple {we used a granny smith}
– 4 slices bacon
– 1 cup chopped walnuts
– 1 cup dried cranberries
– 1/2 cup feta cheese
* Feel free to use a combination of your favorite vegetables, and the amounts can vary of each. We used an equal amount of cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, about 2-3 cups chopped of each.

for the dressing:
– 1/4 cup apple juice
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
– 2 tbsp lemon juice
– 1 tbsp honey

1. In the oven or on the stovetop, cook the bacon until it is very crispy. Set aside.

2. Finely chop the cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Thinly slice the apple.

3. Saute the minced garlic in a bit of olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped vegetables and cook 8-10 minutes, until tender.

4. Add the sliced apple and baby spinach and cook another 2-3 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Then remove the salad from heat.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: apple juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and honey, until well combined.

6. Toss the salad with the dressing, crumbled bacon, walnuts, dried cranberries and feta cheese. Serve warm, with salt and pepper to taste.

Hope you enjoy!

creamy blended cauliflower & potato soup

Look what I got!

stick blender

Yaaaaay, a stick blender! I’ve been wanting one of these ever since I started cooking more at home and using my regular stand blender to make dishes like homemade hummus. I love my stand blender, but cleaning it out can be a pain — the stick blender appealed to me when making smaller blended dishes like personalized morning smoothies, or …

… creamy blended soups like this one!

cauliflower potato soup

As soon as I came across this recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod, I knew I had to try it out with my new immersion blender! It turned out great, and was much easier than I expected. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could use a regular stand blender to blend this soup in batches. I tweaked it slightly, omitting the cheese and adding potato and kale. Here’s my recipe:

creamy cauliflower & potato soup

– 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
– 1 russet potato, diced
– 3 tsp minced garlic
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 medium onion, diced
– 2 celery stalks, diced
– 1 cup chopped kale
– 4 cups vegetable broth
– 2 teaspoons thyme
– 1 tablespoon rosemary

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Toss cauliflower and potatoes with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, until cauliflower is golden brown.

roasted cauliflower

3. While cauliflower and potato mixture is roasting, saute onion, garlic and celery in olive oil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add vegetable broth, kale, thyme and rosemary and bring to a boil.

4. Add roasted cauliflower and potato. Simmer 20-25 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

soup

5. Using an immersion blender {or in batches in a blender/food processor}, blend the soup until it is smooth.

blending soup

6. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste, and serve warm. {Ours tasted perfect paired with these low-fat garlic cheese biscuits!}

cauliflower soup

This soup was delicious, perfect for a snowy winter night. And I love how healthy it is! Such a creamy soup, without any cream!

Anyone else loving immersion blenders and blended soups?

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if you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:
chicken & veggie stew in the crock-pot
savory pumpkin & kale stew
my favorite mashed potatoes
easy sausage, veggie & potato bake