Tag Archives: pickled onion

Simply Assembled: Mango Salad with Mint and Ginger & Kale ‘Chips’

6 Sep

On a recent trip to my hometown of Montreal, my sisters and I were inspired to make a fresh and healthy meal together after traipsing through the Atwater Market.

Using fresh ingredients and our favorite herbs and flavors, we created an amazing mango salad that needed no dressing at all.

I quickly pickled a red onion based on this recipe that I’ve made before. But to be honest, I didn’t even measure any of the ingredients or look at the recipe and proportions. We didn’t have enough rice wine vinegar so I used what we did have then topped it up with white balsamic, which I brought to a boil with some sugar, salt and pepper. I omitted the mustard seed and bay leaf because we didn’t have those either but no big deal, the onions still came out great. Once the vinegar came to a boil, I removed it from the heat and tossed in one whole red onion, sliced thinly. I let the onion sit in the vinegar cooling and pickling for about 45 minutes and then strained the pretty hot-pink slices and threw them right into the salad bowl.

It’s worth the effort because in this salad, the flavor from the pickled onions replaces the need for dressing. I think pickled onions are my new favorite ingredient. I can’t seem to stop making them and adding them to everything.

My sister came up with the idea to add grated ginger and lime zest, which brought so many layers of flavor to this colorful salad. She also chopped up the mint and cilantro extremely finely, which helped distribute the herbs evenly throughout, making sure every bite had a nice mix of each.

To assemble the salad – Mix in a large bowl:

3-4 Mangos, sliced into thin strips

Yellow, Red or Orange Pepper, sliced into thin strips

1 Pickled Red Onion, in slices

Fresh Cilantro, chopped very finely

Fresh Mint, chopped very finely

Grate a good amount of fresh ginger directly into the bowl

Add the grated zest and juice of 1 lime into the bowl and mix it all together.

We served this refreshing salad with bun-less homemade lamb burgers and oven-roasted kale ‘chips’ which you can make in a flash for one of the healthiest and tastiest side dishes ever. I always feel so good after eating kale and this is a great way to get a good dose of the healthy green.

To make the ‘chips’: (yes I know, they’re not really chips, but they’re an awesome alternative and they seriously taste amazing!)

Throw a bunch of cleaned and dried kale onto a baking sheet, brush with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Then toss into a 400-degree oven for about 5-8 minutes, until crispy. Don’t overcook the kale though, because the ‘crispier’ it gets, the more of a mess it is to eat. You just want the flowery edges to be nice and crispy and the stems to be soft and tender.

Simply Assembled: Watermelon and Feta Salad with Pickled Onions

25 Aug

Some recipes are almost non-recipes. You know, the ones that are so easy it’s really more about assembly and not so much about cooking?

I love those recipes. I’m really quite good at making them. Because the truth is, in our house Neil is the real ‘chef’ and I’m just a food-lover who likes to bring flavors and textures together in interesting ways and assemble dishes that taste and look amazing.

This is one of those dishes, but it’s not just the ease of making it that makes it so good. The flavors in this super-quick salad come together beautifully and simply, really showcasing each ingredient. And with watermelon in season, it’s the perfect time for it. Not to mention the fact that it looks great on the plate.

I can’t take any credit for this salad. I didn’t come up with the recipe (in fact, I stole it from Neil’s mom who is both a ‘chef’ like Neil and an ‘assembler’ like me) and I don’t even know where it originally came from, but it’s so uncomplicated and flavorful that I had to share it.

I made this the other night to bring to a dinner party with our friends Paul & Lisa (of The Hip and Urban Girl’s Guide) and it was a hit. It was a great prelude to Lisa’s delicious Paella and white sangria.

The salad looks great plated individually (as pictured above) but for a party, it’s just as easy to plate it on an oversized platter and let people help themselves. Just make sure not to toss this salad, it needs to be served in layers, without blending it all together. The flavors need to stand alone to work together.

Watermelon and Feta Salad with Pickled Onions

Arugula – for this salad I like the spicier wild version instead of baby arugula

Watermelon cut into chunky cubes

Feta cheese cut into chunks or crumbled – I used a firm Canadian feta

Homemade Pickled onions (recipe below)

Balsamic drizzle – I use a store-bought balsamic glaze. Definitely an ingredient worth keeping in your pantry and you can find it at most grocery stores.

Pickled red onions:

1 medium red onion, sliced

1 1/2 cups rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. sea salt

2 Tbsp. white sugar

1 Tbsp. yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp. black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

Bring all but onion to a boil over med-high heat.  Remove and stir for one minute to dissolve sugar completely.  Immediately add onion slices.  Let stand 15-20 minutes until onion is bright red.  Once cooled, store the onions in the fridge until you’re ready to top the salad. Remove the onions from the liquid but don’t rinse them off. You can remove the peppercorns with your hands as well as some of the mustard seeds, but I like to leave them in and add them to the salad along with the onions.

To assemble the salad:

Line individual plates with arugula.  Scatter watermelon pieces overtop, then the feta.  Top with a good amount of pickled onions and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

There isn’t any other dressing – the onions and the balsamic create all the flavor that you need and the feta adds that hint of salt and richness.

I love these pickled onions and will definitely make them again for other salads and to use as a condiment. They’d be great on burgers or sandwiches!

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