Pretty In Pink

A happy accident occurred in our kitchen this past weekend. And it’s one that turned out to be quite pretty. Take a look.

Beet and Couscous Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

Beet and Couscous Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

I’ll admit, when I started, I had no idea where the dish was going to end up. All I knew was that I had some big, beautiful beets and I was going to make something with them. I started by roasting the beets along with some radishes (you know how much we love those now) and then just started pulling other additions from the pantry. The result was a bright, beautiful couscous salad. The beets tinted everything a lovely shade of pink that really helps this dish pop aesthetically. The pepitas add an unexpected crunch and the caramelized shallots add a nice sweetness. I definitely recommend you give this one a try.

Roasting the beets and radishes (we made two packets that looked like this for this dish) (somethingwewhippedup.com)

Roasting the beets and radishes (we made two packets that looked like this for this dish) (somethingwewhippedup.com)

Beet and Couscous Salad

Makes about 8 servings

  • 3/4 pound beets
  • 1/2 pound radishes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup roasted pepitas
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fruity olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the beets and radishes on a piece of foil and top with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Fold the sides of the foil up and secure. Roast for 60 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool. When beets are cool to the touch, use your fingers (wear gloves to prevent staining your skin) to remove the skin and discard. Dice the beets and radishes and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, prepare Israeli couscous according to package directions. Once made, let cool to room temperature.

3. Heat a small pan over medium-low. Add the butter and let melt. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 20 minutes or until caramelized. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, roughly chop and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine the beets, radishes, Israeli couscous, shallots, pepitas, dried cranberries and the parsley or cilantro. Top with the fruity olive oil and red wine vinegar. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pretty In Pink: Beet and Couscous Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

Pretty In Pink: Beet and Couscous Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

SWWU Tip 1: I found that this salad tastes best at room temperature. If you refrigerate leftovers, just bring to temperature on the counter 30 minutes prior to serving.

SWWU Tip 2: Don’t have one of the ingredients on hand? Replace the pepitas with walnuts or almond slivers. Swap golden raisins for the dried cranberries. Use fresh min instead of cilantro or parsley. Play around a bit and have some fun. 

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Perfect Pasta Salad

A proper salad needs just the right balance of textures, flavors and colors. Sometimes this requires you to combine what seems like a million different ingredients, and other times you need just a few. Luckily, you only need a handful of classic ingredients to make the simple, flavor-filled pasta salad below.

Tortellini and String Bean Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

Tortellini and String Bean Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

The recipe I created makes enough for a crowd and is a great option to serve at a picnic or backyard barbecue. More often than not though, I have this dish on hand so I can take a tasty, refreshing lunch to the office. It travels well, tastes great chilled or at room temperature and it’s far from another boring salad or sandwich.

Tortellini and String Bean Salad

Makes about 8 servings

  • 1 pound string beans (I used a combination of green and yellow), ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 packages (about 13-ounces each) tortellini (I used tri-color cheese tortellini)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the string beans and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.

2. Bring the water back to a boil and add the tortellini. Cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey. Mix until well combined. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine the string beans, tortellini and tomatoes. Add dressing and toss to coat. Let flavors develop for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

SWWU Tip: The tasty balsamic vinaigrette used for this dish also tastes great over greens or as a dressing for chicken. 

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Summer Side Show

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but Brian was making this refreshing summer salad long before I came into the picture. It regularly makes an appearance at family get-togethers and a slimmed-down version sometimes pops up as a weeknight dinner side. If you time it just right (usually sometime in July or August) you can get all of the ingredients while they’re at their peak for freshness and flavor.

Brian's Summer Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

Brian’s Summer Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

We recently whipped up a big batch and it was gone in less than 48 hours. Yes, it’s that good. Go ahead, make some and see for yourself.

Brian’s Summer Salad

Makes about 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 ears corn, cooked and cooled
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and set aside.

3. Cut the corn from the cobs and place in a large bowl. Add the sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Top with dressing and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well to combine. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop.

SWWU Tip 1: We’ve also prepared this salad with string beans instead of sugar snap peas. Both are equally delicious. Just choose whichever one looks the freshest. 

SWWU Tip 2: This salad also makes a lovely topping for mixed greens. 

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