White Bean Balsamic Tomato Salad, Guest Post by Renee of Magnolia Days

Jul 24, 2012 by

Today’s post is by the lovely Renee from Magnolia Days. I have the pleasure of interacting with Renee almost daily through Social Media and the various food groups that we belong to. I not only enjoy her recipes, but also her involvement  in #SundaySupper and the wonderful advice she gives me about gardening. Renee, I’ll have my indoor herb garden flourishing in no time under your wonderful guidance! Check out some of Renee’s lovely recipes! A few of my favourites are Rosemary Focaccia, German Potato Salad, and her Crumb Cake! I have a date with that Crumb Cake recipe!! 

Thank you, Renee for being so helpful to me and for guest posting today while I spend some quality time with my family in Jamaica. I appreciate you!!

Please enjoy today’s post by Renee: White Balsamic Tomato Salad


Hello! My name is Renee and it is an honor to guest post on this beautiful blog. I have been following it for a while and each post brightens my day. I wish I could be in Lyn’s kitchen when she is cooking her Jamaican cuisine. Her recent post of cornmeal pudding was over the top. Being a southerner, I have had cornmeal in many ways but never as a sweet dessert. It is a recipe I will make and I will think of Lyn and the family story she shared with it too.

The recipe I am featuring is a White Bean Balsamic Tomato Salad. By now farmers and gardeners should be harvesting tomatoes. Fortunately for my area (Atlanta) they have been available since the end of May.  There is something so wonderful about a fresh-picked tomato. We enjoy them so much I will simply slice them and serve as a side dish.  The flavorless tomatoes sold in stores do not compare.

Salads are something we eat a lot of in the summer. The chilled greens help to beat the heat. It is also a way to use the available fresh produce and not be stuck in a hot kitchen. The season’s temperatures here are in the mid to upper 90’s and with the added humidity it is stifling hot. A cool salad sounds a lot better than a big heavy warm meal.

The dressing for the salad is homemade. I prefer making my own dressings because I like the simplicity of the ingredients.  Sometimes I add more oil or vinegar or fresh herbs or whatever I am in the mood for that day. I switch out the vinegars depending on the salad. Once you make your own dressing you will find it is quite fun to experiment with all the possible variations. It is very easy to do.

The recipe can be for one or up to four salads. Use the amount of salad greens and cheese you prefer for each salad. Any leftover ingredients can be refrigerated for future use (only a few days for the tomato mixture and salad greens).


White Bean Balsamic Tomato Salad



White Bean Balsamic Tomato Salad, Guest Post by Renee of Magnolia Days
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Renee Dobbs, Magnolia days. Guest post to The Lovely Pantry
  • For the Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing:
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon (packed) brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
  • Good pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • For the salad:
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 can white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • Spring salad mix
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  1. In a blender, add mustard, brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Blend on high to combine/liquefy. Turn the blender on low and slowly pour in the olive oil. Transfer vinaigrette to a salad dressing container for serving.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette. In a ramekin (about 6 to 7-ounce size), add ¼ cup of the tomato mixture. Top the tomatoes with 1/3 cup of beans. Place the ramekin(s) in the refrigerator for ½ to 1 hour. (This will marinate the tomatoes).
  3. Spread the salad mix on a plate. Invert the ramekin onto the salad and lift off the ramekin to stack the beans and tomatoes on top. Sprinkle the salad with blue cheese crumbles. Serve with additional balsamic vinaigrette to use if more dressing is desired. Enjoy!


White Bean Balsamic Tomato Salad – Renee Dobbs, Magnolia Days

I hope you will enjoy this salad during the summer. Stay cool and fuel up on all the glorious produce of the season!




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Broiled Chicken Thighs With Pineapple-Cucumber Salad

Jun 20, 2012 by

Have you ever had a pineapple-cucumber salad? I haven’t. I saw the photo on the cover of May 2012 issue of Everyday Food. I had to try it. So I did! Such a refreshing recipe! I was certainly glad to try it. Double points for me because my son ate it all ~ and asked for more! He has excellent taste buds although they are still maturing. The original recipe called for cilantro. I’m so not a fan. I used parsley from my little herb planter that sat by the bay window in the kitchen. It felt very rewarding to use it! Now that its gone (RIP indoor herbs) I’ll have to try again. But I won’t stop until I have my own flourishing indoor herb collection.

This bright zesty salad is so easy and would be perfect for a summer barbecue or a quick side dish. The chicken was fast and flavourful – I should try it on the grill next time!

Broiled Chicken Thighs with Cucumber Pineapple Salad



Broiled Chicken Thighs With Pineapple-Cucumber Salad
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Lyn, adapted from recipe at everyday food
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 4
A light and easy dinner
  • 8 Chicken Thighs, Bone in, Skin on
  • zest and juice from 2 limes
  • 2 Tsp Chilli Powder
  • 2 Cups diced pineapple
  • 1 English Cucumber, diced (1/4 inch cubes)
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley
  • Kosher Salt & Ground Pepper
  1. Place oven rack about 4 inches from the top
  2. Heat broiler (I set mine to high)
  3. In a small bowl, combine lime zest, chilli powder and salt
  4. Season the chicken with the zesty rub
  5. On a rimmed baking tray, place chicken skin side down
  6. Broil for 5 minutes
  7. Flip so that the skin side is up, broil for 10 minutes more until the chicken is cooked through
  8. In a medium bowl, combine lime juice, pineapple, cucumber and parsley
  9. Serve the chicken with the salad

Original Recipe from Everyday Food http://www.marthastewart.com/900179/chicken-pineapple-cucumber-salad


This is the easiest rub you could ever do. Such a terrific idea for a last-minute meal.


Lime Zest, Chilli Powder and Salt Rub


This is the first time I’m pairing cucumbers with fruit. The lime juice gave it a nice zesty kick and everything together felt so very refreshing.


Cucumber, Pineapple and Parsley Salad


A fast summer meal! Keep this recipe in mind if you’d rather be spending time soaking up the sun, than labouring in the kitchen.


Broiled Chicken Thighs & Cucumber Pineapple Salad with Parsley


Happy Wednesday!


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Red Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Goldenberries, Edamame and a Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

May 25, 2012 by

Some women buy shoes. Others buy clothes, or even make up. I use to be one of those women. I do get the occasional urge to indulge every now and again. But my real problem is visiting my health food store. Lets face it. Some of the things I use aren’t sold at the conventional grocery stores and if they are, I end up paying more than I would at the health food store. At least, that has been my personal experience. I no longer buy quinoa from the supermarket. No way! Another thing I like about my health food store is that I learn about a new ingredient upon every single visit. If I see something that peaks my interest, all I have to do is ask about it. I really enjoy going there.

Upon my last trip, I grabbed a few items, Red Quinoa was one of them. I’ve been using the regular Quinoa for a few years now but I really wanted to try the red, even just for the colourful appeal. I imagined its rich deep red colour against something green or yellow. I was flipping through Fine Cooking’s Magazine – CookFresh Spring 2012 edition, and saw a beautiful recipe using Red Quinoa. I didn’t have all the ingredients but it inspired me to get some things together. I picked up a pack of dried Goldenberries (also known as cape gooseberries) at an event a few weeks ago and I thought this was an awesome time to experiment with them.


Red Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Goldenberries, Edamame and a Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette


Red Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Goldenberries, Edamame and a Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Lyn adapted from Fine Cooking
Prep time: 25 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 2
A gluten-free, vegetarian meal that can be ready in minutes.
  • 2 Tbsp Raisins
  • 2 Tbsp Goldenberries
  • 3 Tbsp Edamame, thawed from frozen
  • 1/2 Cup Quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Broth (or water, if you prefer)
  • 1 Large Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/8 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/8 Tsp Paprika
  • 1 Medium Avocado, pitted and cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 Scallion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  1. In a small bowl, soak the raisins and goldenberries in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a small pot, add quinoa, a pinch of salt and a cup of vegetable broth to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer until all the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes
  3. Fluff quinoa and remove from heat and allow to cool
  4. Grate zest from the lemon and combine with the juice from the lemon in a small bowl
  5. To the lemon juice, add olive oil, cumin, paprika and a pinch of salt, whisk to combine
  6. In a medium bowl, toss vinaigrette with quinoa, raisins, goldenberries, edamame, avocado and scallion.
  7. Plate and serve, enjoy.


I wish I could tell you that there was more to it than this, but just put the ingredients into a bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Plate and serve.


Red Quinoa, Avocado, Raisins, Edamame, Goldenberries, Scallions


This is an excellent way to use up left over quinoa. Regular White Quinoa can be used if you don’t have the red. It will taste just as good and look just as lovely.


Red Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Goldenberries, Edamame and a Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette


Happy Friday Friends!







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Spicy Thai Tuna & Fennel Salad

Apr 16, 2012 by

I’ve been doing a lot of eating over the past week. I think its time to slow it down and get back into my usual eating habits. I was looking through my recipes and realized that I really don’t post enough salads. That is not to say that I don’t eat salads ~I just haven’t posted. I made a dressing that I adapted from Everyday Food over a year ago. I don’t fancy store bought dressings that much. Generally I have my salad naked – sans dressing. I adore crunchy romaine with garden vegetables. But I also like warm salads that include Quinoa, Zucchini and other root vegetables.

Today’s recipe is a quick and easy, nutritious salad. I usually serve the dressing on the side so that I pour what I desire. For the Tuna, I added only to the plate because it was too spicy for my son so I could not mix it into the main bowl. I find regular tuna to be one of my least favourite things when its plain, so the Spicy Thai version is the one I prefer. It is quite spicy for me, so I don’t eat more than half a can at a time. A little goes a very long way for me. Regular tuna can certainly be substituted and you can use as much as you would like from the can. You can also choose to omit the tuna and serve the salad along with dinner. I am also using Fennel for the first time in a very long time. I forgot how much I liked it. I’m happy I was able to incorporate it in this freestyle salad. I believe the Fennel and Tuna are the unusual suspects and so, I named the salad for them :-)


Spicy Thai Tuna and Fennel Salad


Spicy Thai Tuna & Fennel Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Lyn of The Lovely Pantry
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 2
A quick salad with Spicy Thai Tuna and Fennel
  • Vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tsp Honey Mustard Dijon
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Salad:
  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce, chopped and washed
  • 2 Baby Cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 85g Can Spicy Thai Tuna (or any tuna you like)
  1. Add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a jar. Shake and set aside
  2. In a large bowl, add romaine, tomatoes, fennel and cucumbers
  3. Toss to combine
  4. Add tuna and dressing, toss to coat or serve dressing on the side, serve Tuna in individual plates


The dressing before I shook it. Not sure why, but it looked like a flower to me. I see beauty in weird places, I guess. OK, don’t stare at it! lol


Salad Dressing


I almost omitted the tuna when I saw how attractive the salad looked. Way to go tomatoes!


Tossed salad!


So here was my turning point. Do I add the Tuna? Or have it on its own, this gorgeous salad.


Fennel, Romaine, Cucumbers & Tomatoes


I added the dressing to the salad, followed by the tuna.


Spicy Thai Tuna and Fennel Salad


I feel much better about all that eating during Easter. Much better.



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