Category Archives: Side Dish

Hearts Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette


I can’t remember where I originally saw this recipe but it’s delicious! I love the fresh flavors and the white balsamic vinaigrette adds a tangy sweetness that works so nicely with the strawberries and greens. It’s a perfect salad as a side dish or starter for a date night, or any night! You could even add some grilled chicken and have it for lunch.

When making the dressing I used a good olive oil to give it a rich flavor but I also used a grape seed oil. I saw Tyler Florence¬†(he’s my favorite!) do this on one of his cooking shows. Olive oil is great in dressings but the grape seed oil lightens it up and makes the dressing less heavy. I get my hearts of palm and artichoke hearts at Trader Joe’s. They come in a jar instead of a can and I find that they stay fresher that way. They’re not floppy or mushy.


1 qt. fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved
1 can/jar hearts of palm, halved and sliced
1 can/jar artichokes hearts, patted dry and halved
salad mix, such as baby greens or arugula

White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


Vegetable Tian


I was looking for a vegetable recipe that kept the flavors simple and really let the vegetables shine. I love this recipe because it has zucchini, tomatoes, AND potatoes! This recipe is great for the winter because the tomatoes condense and develop their flavors so you don’t need to wait for summer ripe tomatoes for this one. It’s also super easy and delicious and is a great side dish. I served this dish with roasted chicken but it would be great with any meat.

The original recipe calls for onions at the base of the dish but I omitted them to simplify the dish. All you need is some veggies, olive oil, parmesan cheese, thyme, salt and pepper. Layer, season, pop it in the oven and enjoy!

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 zucchini
3 large roma tomatoes
2 russet potatoes
3 springs thyme
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the vegetables uniformly and layer in a shallow casserole dish. Remove thyme leaves from the stems and sprinkle over the veggies. Drizzle the olive oil over the veggies and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook for 35 minutes. Remove foil and top with parmesan cheese. Bake for another 25-30 minutes or until top is browned.

Source: For The Love Of Cooking

Kale and Sunflower Seed Pesto


Recently, my family had a little get together post-holidays. I was looking for something to make that was a little bit on the healthier side. I came across this recipe on and thought it was a great presentation with the cute little red pepper star cut outs and it turns out it was delicious too! It was a big hit at the party.

It’s delicious left over and is a perfect dish for friends with nut allergies since you use sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts or walnuts. It’s also a great way to get some green into your diet!


1 large bunch kale, any variety (about 8 cups chopped)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 cloves raw garlic, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Blanch kale in boiling water for about 1 minutes, then rinse in cold water immediately.

Process all ingredients in food processor until well blended.

I served mine mixed with small rigatoni pasta and roasted red peppers. I cut small stars using a cookie cutter to place on the top. I chopped the scraps and mixed them in with the pesto and pasta.

Source: Apron Strings Blog