Stella’s Sprout Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

This is a deceptively simple salad with complementary flavors: the nuttiness of the Brussels sprouts and pecans, balanced with the tanginess of the cheese and light, bright notes from the lemon juice.

And it’s so easy!

Great as a snack or as a side.  I often serve it as a first course, paired with my Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine.

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed and peeled as necessary
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small skillet, toss pecans over medium high heat for a few minutes until they are lightly toasted, but not blackened. Sit aside in a small bowl.

2. Shred sprouts either on a mandoline or by hand (I did the latter this time). You want thin slivers of bright green sprouts.

3. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve immediately as a fresh, cool salad. Add more cheese as garnish and drizzle with warm bacon dressing (below) if desired. It’s also perfectly delicious without dressing.

This slaw will keep for a day or so in the refrigerator, but is best fresh.

Serves 4.


Warm Bacon Dressing
1 Tbsp bacon grease
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp horseradish sauce
dash black pepper

1. In a small skillet, warm bacon grease over low heat. Stir in vinegar, sugar, and horseradish and cook for a minute or two. Add bacon, stir, and pour into container or directly onto salad.


Stella’s Raw Kale and Feta Salad

Continuing our feta theme this week, check out this easy, healthy, sweet-and-tart, delicious raw salad.

For the salad
1 head of kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 pear, chopped
2/3 cup feta chesse
1/3 cup crushed pecans (or walnuts)
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Mix in a bowl and top with dressing to taste. Enough for two servings.

Stella’s Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
juice of half a lemon
a few turns of freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pour all ingredients into a measuring cup or glass and stir thoroughly with a fork. Alternatively, pour all ingredients into a bottle, cap, and shake vigorously before serving. If you have any vinaigrette left over, you can store it in the bottle in the refrigerator for two or three days.

Stella’s Grilled Shrimp and Tuna Salad

Another quick but restaurant-worthy weeknight meal, ready to eat in under 15 minutes! It’s certainly not gourmet, but it tasted like the type of salad I’d pay $10 for in a local cafe, and, with a hearty helping of seafood and heaps of mixed greens as a base, covered all my nutritional bases.

I used frozen shrimp, canned tuna, commercial salsa, canned olives, and my handy George Foreman Grill (I did say weeknight meal).

1 cup frozen shrimp (about 10 medium shrimp)
6 oz. can of albacore tuna
2 oz. can sliced black olives
1 avocado
1/2 cup goat cheese
2-3 Tbsp chunky roasted chipotle salsa
splash of fresh lime juice
~3 cups mixed salad leaves

For the shrimp marinade
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp hot sauce (I used Tiger Sauce, leftover from a recent camping trip)

1. While grill is heating up, defrost shrimp in microwave for about 3 minutes. Thoroughly douse with marinade until each piece is lightly covered; set aside.

2. Toss salad leaves into a medium to large bowl. Drain tuna and olives and scoop out on top.

3. Grill shrimp for approximately 4 minutes, until nicely grilled. If using an indoor grill, this should result in well done but not overcooked shrimp. Toss warm shrimp into salad bowl.

4. Slice and dice avocado and add to bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice, then add cheese and a big spoonful of salsa.

Serve immediately. Makes enough for one full-meal salad.

Grilled Chicken and Mushroom Kale Salad

I threw this together using some leftovers from my Chicken and Mushroom Enmoladas, but you could vary the ingredients based on what you have at hand. This made a delicious salad.

1 cup grilled chicken
1 cup grilled portabello mushrooms
1 head fresh kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup crushed pecans
honey mustard dressing, to taste

1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients but dressing. Stir thoroughly with salad tongs or hands.

2. Serve in individual bowls, topped with desired amount of dressing.

Makes about four servings.