Tag Archives: Salad Recipe

Can’t Beet This Salad! It’s Too Good To Beet-true!

Happy Monday Gang!  I’m still truckin on this fitness journey and six-week #fasterwaytofatloss boot-camp.  This morning began day one of week two in this carb cycling, intermittent fasting, HIIT training (still not sure what that means but ok?), heavy lifting, speed burst training, and  insulin manipulation cycle…thanks to the fitness gem and mastermind @amandatress. “HELP ME!”  Just kidding!  I actually feel great, I notice I  already have more energy, I am getting the workouts completed in the morning (and I AM NOT a morning person), I have zero hunger pains, cravings, and I  think I am losing weight. (part of this boot camp is to not weigh or measure until the end) I whisper this mantra daily….”Progress not Perfection!” but boy, will I be stoked at the end of this six-week journey if I have shed those lbs and lost inches!

It is November 14th and I just had a moment today realizing that Thanksgiving is nearly a week away! November is notoriously known for pilgrims, Tom turkey, and pumpkin pie but did you also know it is American Diabetes month? One of my best friends was recently diagnosed with type-1 diabetes and several of my family members are type two.  I wanted to share with you a recipe that has not only been great and filling for my fitness journey but is also beneficial for anyone with diabetes.

It is the peak of beet season here  in Bluegrass and I love heading to our local coop and seeing all the varieties and vibrant colors of beets. What better salad to enjoy the cool breeze and rust orange leaves than this Roasted Beet salad.  Beets are highly nutritious and are a diabetes-friendly root vegetable.  Certain unique pigment antioxidants in the root as well as in its top greens have found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke; lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects. Beets are low in calories, containing just 43 calories per 100-gram serving. They are high in levels of antioxidants which mop up damaging molecules called free radicals that can harm blood vessels. They are also high in phytonutrients called betalains, which help reduce inflammation. They also contain no cholesterol and very small amounts of fat.

And for those of you working on those macros…Each 100 gram serving of raw beet contains:

  • 9.96 grams of carbohydrates, made up of 7.96 grams of sugar and 2.0 grams of dietary fiber
  • 1.68 grams of protein

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Walnuts, Apple Slices, and Honey White Wine Vinaigrette 

Serves 4-6

For the Beets

  • 1 bunch medium beets (about 3)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Salad

  • 10 ounces mixed greens (I like a blend of frisee, radicchio and mesclun)
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (I also prefer them toasted for more flavor)
  • 1 granny smith apples, cored and sliced 

For the Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1½ tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
  • 1½ tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1½ tablespoons minced garlic 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons avocado oil


For the beets:
Preheat oven to 425°F.  Wipe or scrub beets clean then trim stems down to one-inch (leave “tails” on). Place beets on a large piece of foil; drizzle with olive oil, then wrap foil around them to form a neat packet. Roast directly on rack in middle of the oven until tender, about 45 min-1 hour. Test for doneness by piercing the largest beet with a knife. If it enters easily, it’s done. Unwrap beets and let sit until cool enough to handle. Use your hands or a paring knife to peel skin, then cut into ½-inch dice (I usually do this right on the aluminum foil but you can also use a stain-proof cutting board or plate). Set aside.

For the vinaigrette: 
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey,  mustard, red wine vinegar, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly add the oil in a steady stream. (Alternatively, add all your ingredients to a jar, cover with lid, and shake vigorously to blend.) Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

For the salad: 
Place the greens in a large bowl, drizzle with about half of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add as much of the remaining vinaigrette as desired and toss again. Divide greens onto plates, then sprinkle with beets, walnuts, green apple slices, and goat cheese. (The reason you don’t just mix it all together in a salad bowl is that the beets would cause the whole salad to turn pink.) Serve immediately.





Spring Time = Salad Time

Who is ready for spring?  I think it’s safe to say, we have had our fair share of snow and cold weather this year in the bluegrass, and enough is enough!  Spring is one of the most beautiful times of year in Kentucky.  With horse racing season and the trees and flowers all in bloom. I can hardly wait to get my hands dirty in the garden and plant some kale and fresh salad greens.   Spring just makes me think of lighter fare like salads (to be brutally honest, it also makes me think about pool season on the horizon and how many lbs I need to drop before I slide on the ole bikini.)

When building a salad you need to think taste and texture.  Our tongue and palette is divided into compartments with taste buds specifically targeted to salty, sour, sweet, and spicy.  When I build a salad, I always keep these four flavor components in mind and try to have something to represent each.  Texture is also extremely important. Crunchy, creamy, crisp, smooth, etc. all combined will add to the enjoyment of a well composed salad.

This spring salad will be sure to please all of your taste buds this season with a delightful combination of fennel, orange segments, goat cheese, and almonds.


Mixed Green Salad with Fennel and Orange Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed and sliced thin
  • 2 oranges, 1 peeled and cut into segments, and 1 reserved for juice
  • 1/2 cup of organic raspberries
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups organic mixed greens
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • Toasted almond slices


Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup hazelnut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Slice the salad ingredients and add to a large bowl.

Chef Tip:  I find it best to fix each individual salad in small bowls or on salad plates to ensure that each serving has an adequate amount of each ingredient.  If you mix it all together in a large bowl you end up digging for all the good stuff at the bottom. 

Combine the remaining vinaigrette ingredients, except the oil, into a medium glass or non reactive bowl.

While whisking, slowly add in the oil in a thin steady stream until the oil is evenly incorporated/emulsified.

Season with salt and pepper, toss with the salad ingredients, and serve!








I Think I Believe in Paleo…

January 3rd, 2016….and we resolve to do better this year. Eat healthier, workout, balance life, and so on and so forth. Honestly, I’m already salivating for the chance to bite into a delicious cheeseburger with a side of truffle fries. But why can’t we have our fat and eat it too? The truth is you can! Seriously.. not all fat is bad and if you choose to eat your favorites in moderation you can still achieve the results you want. Right?

So where do we begin? At the first of December, I started making changes to my daily habits. The first goal was drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day. Drinking water not only helps boost your metabolism and cleanse your body of waste but also acts as an appetite suppressant. Drinking more water can also help your body stop retaining water, leading you to drop those extra pounds of water weight.

The second step is far more personal and requires some diligent research to see what works best for you and your lifestyle. I chose to eliminate “bad” complex carbohydrates and sugar from my diet with a primary focus on whole foods, chock-full of vegetables and limited quantities of pasture- raised locally-sourced meats. As a chef in Kentucky I have access to some amazing farms including Pike Valley Farm which is a certified organic farm with free range chickens, 100% grass fed beef, heritage breed pigs, and more. The quality of their meat has made a tremendous difference in my overall health. To learn more about Pike Valley visit

With just the increase in water, decrease in processed wheat and refined sugars; focusing on vegetables and local meat, I have lost 10 pounds in one month! (Let it be noted…I dropped these 10 pounds over the holidays and yes I cheated on bourbon and bacon on Christmas with ZERO reservations) No starvation diet here, no hunger pains, just results. I think I am a believer in Paleo.

This now so common household kitchen term is less complicated than it sounds. The Paleo tent is big enough to fit a host of different approaches, but the core tenets of this “caveman” eating remain the same:

  • Eat whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense, nourishing foods. Prioritize grass fed and pastured meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, and vegetables. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds in moderation.
  • Avoid foods that will harm us by causing systemic inflammation, wrecking our guts, or derailing our natural metabolic processes. Abstain from toxic, pro-inflammatory foods like gluten-containing grains, legumes, sugar, and processed foods so conveniently placed in the middle of every aisle in the grocery store. (I mean how many different boxes of cereals can there be?!) #tangint

Once slang as “the caveman diet” Paleo has certainly entered into the 21st century. Not that I can speak for the caveman, but I highly doubt they were eating roasted beets with fennel and Brussels sprouts topped with a walnut vinaigrette, or a Chinese braised pork belly with grilled bok-choy and a sesame ginger glaze. You can find an abundance of helpful resources to explain the benefits of this lifestyle along with thousands of gourmet recipes that even a novice cook can perfect. I haven’t posted a cookbook alert in over a year so I thought I would hit you with a double whammy as you start down a road towards the new and improved you of 2016.

Some of my current Paleo favorites include:

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

practical paleo

Against all Grain by Danielle Walker


And here is one of my very own recipes to get you going…
Roasted Beet and Brussel Sprout Salad with Fennel and Walnut Vinaigrette
beet and brussel sprout salad

Roasted Beet, Brussel Sprout & Fennel Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 2 large beets
  • 1-2 fennel bulbs (Fennel fronds reserved for garnish)
  • coconut oil, salt, and pepper
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • Orange Segments (optional)


  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or unfiltered raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 TBSP walnut oil

Heat the oven to 400. Cut large brussels sprouts in half, and trim any tough stems. Peel and cut the beets into large chunks (about an inch). Cut the fennel length wise and remove the bottom core and slice in 1 inch thick pieces. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss with a drizzle of melted coconut oil (roughly 2 TBSP) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned.

Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the vinaigrette. Mince the shallot and toss in a medium bowl with the next five ingredients. Whisk together and while continuing to whisk vigorously, slowly add the walnut oil to create an emulsified vinaigrette. In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the brussels sprouts, beets, and walnuts. Taste for salt and pepper, garnish with fresh fennel fronds and orange segments (optional) and serve. Can be prepared up to two days ahead of time.

Classic Caesar Salad Dressing

Caesar dressing is one of those guilty pleasures in life, but many are clueless on how to prepare it?  Yes it contains anchovies, yes it contains raw egg yolk, and yes it is absolutely sensational!  Now that we have that cleared up let’s get cooking.   This Classic Caesar Dressing from scratch is easy to make, so much better than store-bought, and will keep in your fridge for later use for up to 7 days.  Serve on top of a head of fresh grilled Romaine lettuce and homemade croutons and you are ready to go! Bon Appetit!

Classic Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 1 ½ TBSP garlic
  • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ½ TBSP lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 6 anchovies
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cups oil
  • 1 ½ TBSP water
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ Parmesan cheese

Add first eight ingredients together in a food processor. Then add egg yolks one at a time. Slowly add oil to processor, then water & extra virgin oil. Add cheese and pulse a couple of times. Voila! Homemade Caesar Dressing!

Grilled Romaine 

Cut the head of romaine lettuce in half lengthwise keeping the core in tact so it holds the lettuce together. Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat (about 450 degrees or so)  Dip the lettuce in oil and lay flat on the grill, cut side down first,  let the grill wilt the lettuce and add some nice grill marks for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and place on plate topped with fresh Caesar Salad dressing and homemade croutons.

Homemade Croutons 

For homemade croutons take a day old french baguette or village loaf and cut into 1 inch cubes (this doesn’t need to be exact, it’s just croutons)  lay out on a baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and dried italian herbs. (rosemary, thyme, oregano)  and sprinkle with garlic powder or sprinkle with about 1 TBSP of fresh minced garlic.   Place in a preheated oven at 375 degrees and toast for about 10 minutes or until the croutons are crisp and golden brown.

Check out this Video of Chef Allison and Lee Cruse with WLEX18 making this Classic Caesar Dressing.

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