Ina’s Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad


Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash

We are pretty lowkey on Christmas Day:  gifts and stocking with the kids in the morning  with lots of good coffee.  But I do like to make a good Christmas Lunch.  This year I made Roasted Carrot Salad, a Pork Tenderloin and Maya’s request: Baked Apple Pancakes.

This recipe is outstanding – from Ina Garten’s “Cooking for Jeffrey.” You can easily roast the carrots and soak the cranberries the day before and then assemble the salad in minutes.


2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut in diagonal slices 1″ wide and 2″ long
Olive Oil
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2/3 cup Craisins
2/3 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar (Ina uses sherry, but I didn’t have any.)
2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, or 1 tsp crushed garlic
6 oz. baby arugula
6 oz. feta cheese crumbles (Ina uses goat cheese, medium-diced)
2/3 cup roasted salted whole almonds (Ina uses Marcona almonds)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, toss carrots, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Dump everything onto a big sheet pan, and roast for 20 minutes. (Use two sheet pans if needed.) Toss after 10 minutes so they brown nicely all over. Remove from oven, drizzle with maple syrup, toss again and and roast for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Combine cranberries and orange juice in a small pan and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk in 3 Tbsp olive oil.

In a large bowl, toss together carrots, arugulas, craisins with all liquid, feta, vinaigrette and almonds.

Serve on a white platter. So good!

To make ahead, cook the carrots, soak the cranberries in orange juice, and make the vinaigrette in a small mason jar. Take everything out an hour before serving, so it can warm to room temperature and put salad together.  

Sanibel Summer Salad


Just before adding dressing and sesame crackers.  So good!

I first had this salad at Over Easy Cafe in Sanibel, and it’s so delicious I recreated it at home, with a few minor changes. (The original recipe includes mandarin oranges, diced red onions and chow mein noodles.) It’s become one of our favorite salads and always reminds me of sitting on the patio at Over Easy.


1 bag of mixed baby greens or 2 hearts of romaine, chopped
1 pint of strawberries, hulled and halved (Optional)
1/4 cup pecans (can used candied, but I like plain)
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup Craisins
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Sesame Crackers (Trader Joe’s has great Sesame Crackers.)
4 eggs, hardboiled, peeled and halved lengthwise

1 tsp crushed garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1-2 tsp Fish Sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To make vinaigrette, add all ingredients to a mason jar, starting with 1 tsp of the fish sauce. Close with lid and shake like crazy until well blended. Taste and add salt, pepper or fish sauce as needed.

Place greens in a large bowl. Top with everything but the crackers, eggs and vinagrette. Just before serving, toss the crackers over, add halved eggs and drizzle with vinaigrette. Delish!

Ina Garten’s Green Goddess Dressing Recipe

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa At Home

Every year at our big family potluck Christmas Eve, we choose a country and everyone brings food and drink from that country.  This year my very clever brother Ron and his wife Lisa suggested that instead of a country, we choose a time and so our focus this year was Betty Crocker.

Our Mom cooked a lot from the Betty Crocker picture cookbook, so we all grew up loving many of those recipes.  I remember being fascinated with name and story of Green Goddess Salad dressing, so that’s what I brought.  Ina has a wonderful recipe in her  cookbook and it was of course, delicious!!!


1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup chopped green onions (scallions), white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Asian Fish Sauce (Ina uses 2 tsp anchovy paste, but that’s something I’ve never used. Asian Fish sauce is basically anchovy sauce, and works pretty well, too.)
1 cup sour cream

Add all to a food processor and buzz just until blended.  It does make a lot of dressing, so you can easily halve the recipe.

It really needs nothing more than to be tossed with nice salad greens and halved grape or cherry tomatoes, but would also be great on a iceberg lettuce wedge salad.
Ina also uses it on asparagus and broccoli – which I’ve never tried but plan to do so.

Chicken, Avocado and Bread Salad

chicken avocado and bread saladCame home late from work and hadn’t really planned supper.  We had lots of great ingredients, but I just didn’t feel like cooking.  However, I pulled together an easy salad that was frankly delicious – and one I’d be glad to eat again!  I may try to find a copycat recipe for Trader Joe’s dressing, since we totally love it.  Or maybe not – it’s so easy to just pick it up.

For each serving:

Baby salad greens (or whatever lettuce or salad leaves you have on hand)
1/2 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chicken meat chunks, cooked (I buy Costco roasted chicken. Click here to see how I use it all.)
1 slice bread (I used the heel of a hearty peasant loaf, cut into 1″ pieces.)
Trader Joe’s Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette

Add a generous handful of salad greens to a bowl. Top with avocado, chicken, and bread cubes. Drizzle with Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette.

That’s it. Ridiculous, no? And yet truly delicious.

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

caprese salad

Nothing is more beautiful than tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, drizzled with a tangy, sweet balsamic vinaigrette!  And takes almost no time at all.

4 tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 ball of fresh Mozzarella, cut into 1/4″ slices
Handful of fresh basil leaves

Vinaigrette Recipe:

3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (Costco’s is amazingly good)
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2/3 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 tsp honey
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix vinaigrette up in a mason jar, and shake well.

Layer tomatoes with Mozzarella and basil leaves on a broad serving dish, and drizzle the vinaigrette over. So good.

Romaine Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

balsamir salad

Just made this for supper tonight, and this salad was so good – a real “lick the bowl” dressing.  Maya made Ina’s Salmon using honey mustard, since we were out of Dijon and she roasted some Butternut Squash with butter, salt and pepper.  They were so delicious and had lots of bright, vivid colors on the plate. I love eating dinners like this!

3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (Costco’s is amazingly good)
2 Tbsp Olive oil1/4 tsp garlic powder
2/3 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 tsp honey
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Hearts of Romaine, chopped
4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and quartered

Mix 1st 7 ingredients in a bowl.

Put romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Add hard-boiled eggs and dressing and toss. Our eggs were still warm from boiling which was a nice counterpoint to the cool, crisp salad.

Great Warm Caprese Salad

This may have come from the Wall Street Journal, or maybe Ina Garten – can’t really remember. It’s perfect for when tomatoes are abundant, but even winter grocery store tomatoes taste great.

12 plum tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
sprinkling of garlic powder
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
8 oz. sliced mozzarella cheese
12 basil leaves, julienned (Stack all the leaves on top of one another, roll them up and cut little thin slices. They’ll form little strips of basil. Thanks, Ina!)

Set oven to 425.

Lay tomatoes cut side up in a baking dish. Blend olive oil, vinegar, garlic powder and sugar and drizzle over the tomatoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and put Mozarella cheese on top. Put back in the oven for 2 minutes to soften the cheese. Remove again, then sprinkle basil over everything. Drizzle one more time with olive oil and give it one last go with the salt and pepper. Serve warm.

So good.

Ina’s Celery & Parmesan Salad

You wouldn’t think that celery could be the star of a dish, but this salad from Ina Garten pairs crisp cool celery with the tartness of lemon, the crunch of walnuts and the salty goodness of parmesan. The dressing is good on lots of fresh vegetables – and I make this salad out of tomatoes and cucumbers when they are abundant.

Mix dressing in a big bowl:

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp shallot, minced, or a little bit of garlic, mashed
1 tsp celery seeds
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp fish sauce (from Asian market)
salt and pepper to taste

5 cups chopped celery (Usually one whole thing of celery.)
big handful of parmesan cheese
2/3 cups toasted walnuts, rough chopped.

Roast walnuts for 10 minutes in a 350 oven, or you can pan roast them for several minutes on medium high heat, shaking them constantly.

Add celery, nuts and parmesan to the dressing and toss well. Delish!

Bean, Corn & Tortilla Salad

A great vegetarian main dish salad with the crunch of Doritos, sweet bite of lettuce and veggies and a warm element of beans and corn. On July 12, 2011 Kumy rated this an A+!

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn (I love Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn)
1/4 cup medium salsa

Heat in a small saucepan until corn is softened. Remove from heat.

1 cup chopped scallions
1 ripe avocado, diced
3 plum tomatoes, cut in chunks
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp Black pepper

Toss together gently in a big bowl.

12 oz romaine or iceberg letter, cut for salad
3 cups broken “cool ranch” Doritos
3/4 cup grated pepper-jack cheese

Add lettuce to the big bowl, along with the pinto bean mixture. Top with Doritos and cheese, and toss gently. Serve with extra salsa.

Baby Kale & Carrot Salad with Citrus Dressing

baby kale and carrot saladThis one hasn’t made it into the book yet, but I’m skipping that since it was so good. Le Quartier Bakery in Omaha sells sandwiches and a side salad with Kale and carrots in a citrus dressing. I’ve been hungry for that salad for days, and bought some baby kale, and a bottle of fresh orange juice to concoct something similar.

I was thinking of making it for supper tonight. And I started to pull it together, when the usual happened. Someone drank the orange juice and I can’t really remember what else was in the salad. No matter, I googled Citrus Salad Dressing and found Ree Drummond’s recipe. I punted and made something similar and it was amazing!!!  We have had this three nights in a row, since we had lots of leftover dressing.

1 box baby kale
1 carrot, grated

Salad Dressing:

In a mason jar, add

1/8 cup water
1 1/2 Tbsp marmalade (I used Orange-Apricot Marmalade)
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 clove of garlic, grated
Splash of white wine vinegar. (Cider vinegar would be fine, too.)
2 Tbsp sour cream.

Close with a lid and shake well (violently, according to Ree.) 🙂

Dump baby kale into a nice bowl, add the grated carrot on top, and add some of the salad dressing. It was actually amazing. We practically licked the bowl!