Asparagus, Avocado, Basil Salad

My friend Christina brought this salad to a party last weekend and I begged for the recipe.  It’s just so good!  She made the paleo diet version (no quinoa), but I added the quinoa to make it a bit more substantial (for a light lunch)– either way it’s quite tasty.



  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (or so) pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup quinoa (optional)
  • mint leaves, handful (optional)


  1. Cook the quinoa as per package directions (I like the pasta-type method, pot of boiling water, 15 minutes, drain and done).  Set aside to cool (spread on a baking sheet).
  2. Steam asparagus for 5 to 7 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Mix together in a large bowl all the ingredients.  Enjoy!

Lentils in Oregano Oil with Tomatoes

This recipe is filling and easy.  It is a great at home lunch (I can’t broil tomatoes at work, I don’t know about you) and it is certainly healthy.

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • tomatoes (2 or 3 small or medium, more if you are using cherry tomatoes)
  • fresh dill (just a sprinkling)

Oregano-Flavored Olive Oil

  1. Put approximately 1 tsp of fresh oregano is a mortar and pestle.  Add 1/4 tsp sea salt.  Smash and grind.
  2. Gradually work in 2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the best you have on hand).
  3. Work in 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (or a bit more if you like lemon flavoring as much as me).

Avocado and Lentil Salad

  1. Cook the lentils (1 part lentils to 2 parts water for cooking).
  2. Toss some olive oil, salt, and pepper on the tomatoes and pop into the broiler (I use the toaster oven broiler for this) on an aluminum foil lined tray.  Depending on size, the tomatoes will be ready in 1o – 15 minutes.  The skin should start to shrivel and they should be fragrant and juicy.
  3. Combine 1 cup of cooked lentils with 2 Tbsp of the flavored olive oil, season to taste.
  4. Chop the tomato and add (juice and all) to the lentils.
  5. Sprinkle fresh dill over the top (dried is not a good substitute; skip if fresh dill is not available).

Hearty Farro with Tomatoes (One Pot Dish)

DSCF0004Thank you Smitten Kitchen for this delicious and easy recipe.  Smitten Kitchen does a far better job than me describing and photographing (plus inventing– or at least heavily borrowing and re-working) this recipe, but here are the bones of it for my own record (and this recipe is a keeper!).


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup semi-pearled farro
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 9 ounces tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or less if you don’t want that zing)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • a few fresh basil leaves


  1. Soak farro in medium pot with water while preparing everything else.  As you prepare, add ingredients to the pot.
  2. Slice onion, garlic, tomatoes, and add salt and red pepper. Add oil. Mix. Turn burner on to high and set timer for 30 minutes. When the pot begins to boil, reduce to simmer.
  3. Stir it up (check for done-ness), sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.

This recipe makes enough for two as a meal or four as a side. For my WW friends, the whole pot is 12 points, so half is 6pts, and if you divide by four, 3pts. It’s super easy, filling, and tasty. Great for a weeknight.

Grilled Zucchini & Tomato Salad

This recipe (which I’ve halved to serve 3) is courtesy of the truly fabulous cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.


  • 4 zucchini
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chili, seeded and chopped (if you don’t want the spice, leave this out)
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp juice of lemon
  • 1/2 Tbsp molasses (the cookbook calls for date syrup, you may also substitute maple syrup)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp mint, chopped
  • 1/3 oz (or a bit more) chopped flat-leaf parsely
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF and heat griddle pan over high heat.
  2. Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise and halve the tomatoes. Brush cut sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the zucchini and tomatoes on the heated griddle plan, cut side down for about 5 minutes (do in batches and work toward a nice char).
  4. Place vegetables in a roasting pan and roast for about 20 minutes (until zucchini are very tender).
  5. Allow veggies to cool enough to work with, then coarsely chop them and allow to drain in a colander for 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, chile, lemon zest and juice, and molasses in a large bowl. Add the vegetables, walnuts, mint, and parsley. Stir, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Note: The flavors in the dish are quite good, but the appearance is not. The yogurt/molasses mix covers the salad in a beige cream that is not quite suitable for fancy dinner presentation.  I like this for a healthy lunch, but I wouldn’t bring in to a potluck.