Blue Barn Arugula Salad

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

So, this is my recreation of a salad I’ve never eaten, from a restaurant I have never been to, but have talked about going to a lot. Blue Barn is a deli in San Francisco that has a creative menu with a local and organic focus. I think every time I have gone to visit my friends in San Francisco we have discussed going there and even attempted to go twice, but every single time something thwarts our plans. Since so many attempts have been made to get to this restaurant I have looked over their menu many times and every time this salad stood out to me.

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

After my last trip to San Francisco and another failed visit to the restaurant, I decided to attempt my own version. I have absolutely no idea how close or accurate an interpretation this is of the Blue Barn original, but damned if I can, it was absolutely delicious!

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

I did make a couple minor changes. Instead of sun-dried tomatoes, I used oven roasted roma tomatoes and instead of grilled balsamic onions, I again used oven roasted balsamic onions (I used this recipe, minus the sugar). For the crispy chickpeas, I made garlic and paprika roasted chickpeas (using this recipe). They were delicious and the leftovers made for a great snack later in the week.

Now, I will admit, there are a lot of parts to this salad and most of them have to be prepared individually ahead of time, which is kind of a major pain, but since I knew I would like all the ingredients in the salad, I didn’t mind taking the extra time and effort to prepare everything. Plus, you’ll have a lot of leftovers of the individual ingredients, so they are perfect for other salads during the week, adding to other meals (the roasted tomatoes and balsamic onions were heavenly with a turkey burger), or as snacks.

Blue Barn Arugula Salad


For the Vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
  • 1 large handful mixed greens
  • 1 large handfuls arugula
  • 1 ounce grated manchego
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 Tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 whole roasted roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup roasted balsamic onions
  • 1/3 cup roasted chickpeas


For the Vinaigrette:
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
For the Salad:
  1. Prepare all the ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Add freshly ground pepper to taste and serve.


Fiesta Bean Salad

Fiesta Bean Salad

It’s that time of year again… Fiesta! I haven’t blogged for a couple months, but I’m now in my final stretch living in California (for a while at least), so I figure I might as well enjoy and share as much of the Golden State as I can! Fiesta is a truly unique Santa Barbara tradition. Officially 90 years strong as of this Wednesday. It’s a unique blend of culture, history, food, music, dance and booze. Basically the world’s best combination in my opinion. This week I’m going to share some of my favorite, both new and old, Mexican inspired recipes.

Fiesta Bean Salad

I love this salad! It’s fast and easy. Light and fresh. And it makes a perfect alternative side dish to a Mexican meal instead of traditional black or pinto bean dishes. I had originally planned on serving this as a side dish with tequila lime chicken, but I was so hungry for lunch that I decided to skip the rest of the meal and just dig in. Excellent decision. If you wanted to add some more bulk to the salad, some chopped romaine would be great. If I had some cilantro on hand (my plants have refused to last longer than 5 days this summer!) or corn kernels (I can’t eat whole corn, but if you can), I know both would have made the best addition.

Fiesta Bean Salad
Adapted from Skinnytaste.

  • 2+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounce canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1/2 jicama, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 ounces queso fresco (or feta), crumbled
  1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, lime juice, oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt.
  2. Add the black beans, chickpeas, tomato, onion and jicama. When ready to eat, gently mix in avocado, sprinkle with queso fresco and serve right away.



Veggie Protenia Salad

Veggie Proteina Salad

I’ve recently discovered Red Brick Pizza. They have amazing gluten-free pizza. It’s quite a luxury to go to a pizza parlor and have a real, wood-fired pizza straight out of the oven. I have watched them like a hawk every time I have been and they take so many precautions when preparing a gluten-free pizza (I would also recommend going for a very early lunch when they first open to avoid further cross contamination risks). Every employee I have interacted with has known exactly what ‘gluten-free’ is and what is and isn’t safe on their menu (in extreme detail; I was very impressed). So far my favorites only pizzas I’ve tried are the Hawaiian (the addition of cashews is quite amazing) and the Prosciutto, Mushrooms and Arugula (a drizzle of balsamic and a dash of red pepper flakes; fantastic). Unfortunately, the closest restaurant is 35 miles away, which means I only get to go on the rare Target trip I make (yes, our closest Target is also 35 miles away, I live in a desolate hole), but between Target and pizza, it makes any trip almost as exciting as going to Disneyland.

As amazing as the pizzas are, and they are fantastic, I have absolutely fallen in love with the Veggie Proteina Salad. I never could have dreamed up a more perfect salad, but lucky I don’t have to try anymore, Red Brick has figured it out for me.

From the Red Brick Pizza website:

napa mix, artichoke hearts, red & green peppers, mushrooms, onions, kalamata olives, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, mozzarella, croutons, choice of dressing

Obviously to make it gluten-free, don’t get the croutons. I also leave off the corn, but keep everything else. The salad is so flavorful and so delicious and so easy to make at home, so that’s exactly what I did. I’ve made it at home several times now and every time it’s been fantastic. At the restaurant, I’ve only tried the salad with balsamic vinaigrette, but at home I’ve tried it both with balsamic and ranch dressing. I really can’t decide which is better. Unfortunately in the pictured version here, I forgot to add the cheese, it definitely wasn’t missed. I have to say that in my homemade version I usually use Monterey jack or white cheddar. I just find them tastier, but the cheese isn’t needed at all.

A little more on Red Brick. They also have gluten-free beer and ciders on tap. There are also gluten-free dessert options as well. Gelato and gelato truffles seem to be the main gluten-free dessert options, but last time I went they also offered gluten-free ice cream sandwiches made with GF chocolate chip cookies and gelato. They all look amazing, but between salad and pizza and dessert, I have to prioritize and pizza always wins in my book.

Veggie Protenia Salad


  • MIx of cabbage and lettuce (I used green cabbage and romaine lettuce)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 8-10 button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 large tomato (or a pint of cherry tomatoes), diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional) (recommend white cheddar or monterey jack)
  • choice of dressing (recommend balsamic vinaigrette or ranch)


  1. Place cabbage and lettuce in a large bowl.
  2. Add in all other ingredients but dressing.
  3. Toss to mix together.
  4. Add dressing of choice and toss again to coat.
  5. Serve immediately.

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

My wonderful friend Zack sent me this recipe last week and told me to “stop what I was doing and make this”. Zack and I have fairly similar palates, so I had a feeling that I would like this salad. I didn’t just like this salad, I loved it. I have yet to find a combination of cilantro and lime that I dislike, so I might not be the most neutral judge, but this salad was pretty close to perfect. Chickpeas make a really great neutral base, which allows the other flavors to really shine through.

I ended up accidentally doubling recipe. I was trying to use up some use it or lose it spinach, which ended up being way more than the originally suggested four cups. It turned out to be a fortunate accident since I had leftovers for days. I upped the amount of garlic and took it easier on the olive oil. I also omitted the sugar the original recipe called for, but that’s just a personal preference. I never add sugar to any type of dressing.

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad


Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad
From Heather’s Dish.

  • 4 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 loosely packed cups fresh spinach
  • 1 onion, chopped diced
  • juice from 8 limes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (about loosely packed cup)
  • 4 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3/4 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. Chop the spinach very finely (feel free to use a food processor and pulse 3-4 times). Add the chickpeas, onion, and spinach to a large bowl.
  2. In the same food processor add the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, garlic, chili powder, and olive oil. Blend until it comes together into a dressing, about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Pour over the chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least 15 minutes on the counter (or overnight in the fridge) to let the flavors get friend.

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

I am kind of , sort of, totally obsessed with anything salt and vinegar flavored, well the vinegar part mainly. I love vinegar. Most people probably think of potato chips when they hear the combination, but there are endless possibilities to what you can salt and vinegar. These chickpeas have become one of my favorite snacks. They not only have the tart and crunchy thing going on like salt and vinegar chips, but they are obviously much healthier and pack in a lot of protein. I think they are perfect for a snack on the go, but they are also really good on salads. They make the perfect gluten-free alternative to croutons and still give you a nice flavorful, crunch.

If you really like the flavor of vinegar, I would highly recommend allowing the chickpeas to sit for a longer amount of time once they are done boiling in the vinegar. I find that after 30 minutes there is only a subtle vinegar flavor, but after an hour they are nice and tart and the vinegar taste really comes.

Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas (from Oh She Glows)

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper. Take chickpeas and vinegar and place in a medium sized pot. Add a dash of sea salt. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let sit in pot for 30-60 minutes, depending on desired vinegar-ness.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F. Carefully drain chickpeas. Place on lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Massage with fingers until fully coated. Roast for 45 minutes, flipping once half way through. Keep a careful eye on them after 35 minutes of cooking to ensure they don’t burn. The goal here is crispy and golden chickpeas, not black.

Red Lentil, Chickpea & Chili Soup

Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup

This soup is so easy to make, it’s almost foolproof. It also takes next to no time at all to whip up, so it’s perfect for a fast weeknight meal. There is a bit of a kick to the soup (it’s easy to adjust to your taste), but it helps make this hearty and filling soup nice and warming, which is great for a wintry day or evening.

I thought the heat factor from the chili was just about perfect. I might even go a little crazy next time and add in some sriracha or garlic-chili sauce. You could even you fresh chiles or jalapeños in place of the chili flakes if you wanted, or use both if you are really crazy bout spice. Next time I would definitely add in some more garlic and maybe squeeze in some lemon juice before I served it, but recipe is pretty close to perfect as is.

Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup

Red Lentil, Chickpea & Chili Soup (adapted from BBC Good Food)

  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • large pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 140g/5 ounces red split lentils
  • 850ml/3.5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 ~400g can tomatoes, whole or chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas (~411g), rinsed and drained (freeze leftovers)
  • small bunch coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped (save a few leaves, to serve)
  • 4 tablespoons 0% Greek yogurt , to serve
  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, or until they start to jump around the pan and release their aromas. Add the oil and onion, and cook for 5 mins. Stir in the lentils, stock and tomatoes, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins until the lentils have softened.
  2. Whizz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until it is a rough purée, pour back into the pan and add the chickpeas. Heat gently, season well and stir in the coriander. Finish with a dollop of yogurt and coriander leaves.

Chickpeas Curry with Tomatoes & Spinach

This is a quick and easy vegan curry. It’s super tasty and you probably have the majority of the ingredients on hand already. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal and it will make your kitchen smell amazing.

After reading some of the comments on the original recipe, I used less than the original amount of liquid called for since most people seemed to find it too watery. I also substituted broth for the water just to create a bit more flavor. If you don’t have red chiles on hand or can’t find them you could easily substitute jalapeños, bell peppers or even canned chiles.

Chickpeas with Tomatoes & Spinach (from

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ finger length piece fresh root ginger, shredded
  • 2 mild red chillies , thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon tomato purée
  • 3/4 cup/200 ml low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 14-ounce/400g can chickpeas , rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 pound/200g baby spinach leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a wok and fry the onion over a medium-low heat until softened. Stir in the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook for a further 5 mins until the onions are golden and the garlic slightly toasted.
  2. Add the turmeric, garam masala, coriander and cumin, stirring over a low heat for a few secs. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and add the tomato purée, then simmer for 5 mins.
  3. Add the chickpeas to the pan and add in broth one 1/4 cup/100ml at a time. Simmer for 10 mins before stirring in the spinach to wilt.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Channa Masala, Aloo Palak and Pure Deliciousness

While living in London, I naturally developed an obsession with Indian food. Sure, I’d had Indian food before in California, in Budapest, hell, even in India, but it was never something that was on my everyday radar. Well, moving to London changed all that. The first Indian meal I remember going to in London was to Preem and Prithi for Lauren’s birthday. That meal signified the beginning of the obsession. I’ve been hard pressed to find an Indian dish that can even compare. I was close to giving up. I had resigned myself to Trader Joe’s frozen Indian meals. Not bad considering they come from a microwave, but just not good.


Yesterday, while I was in Trader Joe’s, I was looking at the Channa Masala box. Despite having purchased it many times, for some odd reason I decided to look at the ingredients. Once, I realized that I had all of these ingredients at home in already, I hatched a genius idea of making my own Indian food! Best idea I’ve had all week. Maybe even all year.

Just trust me when I say that you need to make this right now. You can thank me later.

Channa Masala (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 5 tablespoons diced tomatoes (I used canned, diced tomatoes with garlic and onions)
  • 1/2 cup broth (I used vegetable broth)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown. Add garlic. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, and turmeric. Stir until combined and cook for 30 seconds or so. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chickpeas and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the paprika, garam masala, salt, and lemon juice. Cover and cook at a simmer for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


Allo Palak (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 1/4 cup frozen spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno, diced
  • 4 small waxy potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • vegetable broth (if needed)
Boil peeled and cubed potatoes until done. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Cook spinach, garlic, onions, jalapeno, ginger until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Once soft, remove from pan, place in blender and blend into a puree.
Heat remaining butter in pan, add cumin and heat until fragrant. Add spinach mixture and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in potatoes, garam masala, coriander and a dash of broth if needed. Simmer for a few minutes to let the potatoes absorb the flavor.