Roasted Vegetable and Spiced Chickpea Salad

Good morning!

Man, do I have a salad recipe for you. I think that if I were to ever have a restaurant, this salad would probably be on the menu. It’s interesting, it has a ton of flavor, it has all of your food groups, it’s incredibly healthy, and the various textures keeps each bite tasting a little different.


I made this while I was at my parents house in CT yesterday. I was craving a big salad for lunch, but was also really cold in my house (my parents keep the house freezing), so I decided to add some warm vegetables on top.


I started with a base of chopped romaine, cucumbers, and baby tomatoes.


I then laid out chopped sweet potatoes on a pan and drizzled them with a tiny bit of olive oil and salt. I kept them very simple.


For the mushrooms, I added them to a large bowl and covered them in balsamic vinegar. I mixed it all up with my hands to make sure the ‘shrooms were covered in vinegar, and then laid them out next to the sweet potatoes on a baking tray. Added Salt and Pepper.


For the chickpeas, I laid out a can of them on another baking tray, added salt, chipotle chil powder, chili powder and nutmeg. I taste tested them until they were spicy enough.

I then popped both trays into a 450 degree oven (chickpeas on one tray, mushrooms/sweet potatoes on another). After about 10 minutes, everything was cooked through and crispy.


I assembled everything and added sliced almonds and drizzles of more balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard as a dressing.

So there you have it… a quick and easy spruced up salad. Who said salads have to be boring?

How do you spruce up your salads? What are your favorite ingredients to include?

Roasted Vegetable and Spiced Chickpea Salad

(serves 1)

These are all rough measurements:

  • about a 1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • small container of whole mushrooms
  • 2-3 cups of romaine
  • handful of baby tomatoes
  • 1/3 cucumber
  • 2 T slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Spices: whatever you’d like to use for the chickpeas- I used chipotle chili powder, salt, chili powder, and nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Add balsamic vinegar to mushrooms in a large bowl. Mix well, then lay out mushrooms on a foil lined baking sheet. Add S&P. Add sweet potato chunks to baking sheet. Drizzle sweet potato with a little olive oil and salt.

3. For the chickpeas: rinse and drain, then lay out on a foil lined baking sheet. Add a sprinkle of olive oil, salt, and spices (start with just a dash of each and then add more based on how spicy you want it).

4. Add everything to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until mushrooms and potatoes are cooked through and chickpeas are crispy.

5. Combine romaine, tomatoes and cucumbers. Top with roasted vegetables and chickpeas. Top with slivered almonds. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top, or dressing of your choice.


Massaged Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

I really wish I could make this salad for every single one of you. As someone who is mildly obsessed with vegetables and their benefits, I would practically pay you to let me feed this to you.

It is one of the healthiest (and in my opinion- most delicious) things you will find on this blog, and it is a heck of a way to kick off the New Year. This salad is LOADED with things that are good for you, and I made it in a way that you will want to eat the entire bowl in one sitting. Even if you think you don’t like Kale!


Caramelized onions add a sweetness factor, avocado is hearty with lots of healthy fats, salted sunflower seeds add a punch of flavor and crunch, and a creamy tahini dressing brings it all together. If you’re not familiar with tahini, it is just pureed sesame seeds. It goes into hummus, so it resembles that type of flavor. You can pick it up at any grocery store and it comes in a jar similar to that of peanut butter.

I even “massaged” the kale leaves to break down their tough exterior. By massaging the leaves, it breaks down their tough cellulose structure, making the kale softer, less bitter, and easier to digest.

And…. this entire salad comes together in 15 minutes. Not to mention you can store it in your fridge and eat it 3 or 4 times during the week.

So let’s get started. First of all, get your red onion cranking. You want to let the onions cook for the entire time you are putting the salad together (about 15 minutes) so that they get nice and soft. Simple coat a pan with some EVOO, slice your onions super thin, and add them to the pan. Move them around every few minutes so that they don’t burn, and cook over medium heat.


Now, let’s get the Kale going. I bought one bunch of Kale at the grocery store for about $2. Rip the leaves off the stems, and using your hands, just break the leaves into bite sized pieces. Add it all to a strainer and rinse. Transfer to a large salad bowl.


Now let’s do the dressing. Mix 1 tablespoon tahini with 2 tablespoons water and a half tablespoon of EVOO. Mix in a small dressing bowl.

Are you ready to massage!??!


Make sure your hands are clean, pour the dressing over the kale, and just spend two or three minutes massaging the dressing into the kale with your hands. Press it into the leaves, and you’ll notice the leaves immediately break down and wilt a little bit. Make sure the dressing is all up in there.



Next step is to chop half an avocado. You can also use a whole avocado depending on your preference. Once that is done, you are ready to assemble.

Your onions should be done now, so add them to your kale, then top with avocado and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds.




And there you have it! One of the healthiest things you can possible cook, all dressed up with tons of flavor and a delicious dressing.

I served myself a heaping bowl of this for lunch yesterday and added a drizzle more of straight up tahini on top for a little more flavor.


I have a feeling this salad will turn into a staple in my lil’ Studio. I already can’t wait to break into the leftovers and I feel amazing eating this. I hope you give it a shot!

Massaged Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

(this makes at least 4 or 5 small servings…but I eat it as a meal so it made about 2.5 large servings for me. )

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 2 T sunflower seeds (I used roasted and salted)
  • 1 T tahini
  • 2 T water
  • 1 T olive oil (half for the pan for the onions, half for the dressing)

1. Slice onion very thin. Add to a oiled pan and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Every few minutes, just stir the onions to keep them from burning.

2. While onions cook, prepare Kale. Break leaves off stems and into small bite sized pieces. Rinse and transfer to salad bowl.

3. For dressing: mix together tahini, water and 1/2 of EVOO. Stir. Add to Kale and massage into it with your fingers for 2-3 minutes.

4. Top kale with onions, avocado and sesame seeds.

5. Optional: drizzle your portion of salad with a little more tahini if you’d like some more flavor.

WIAW {12.5.2012} and some Excitement

Morning! Before I get to my What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) eats, I have some really exciting news. Last night, I finally hit publish and launched the Health Coaching page on my blog. Check it out! I will have more information about this coming in the next week or so, but in a nutshell, I’ve decided that I want to put my Health Coaching degree to full use and start coaching people on attaining a healthier relationship with food, their own bodies, and their weight. I talked about my entire Health Journey here, and my struggle with weight and emotional eating, and now want to help others free themselves of the burden this can have on their life. More to come on this! Much more.

ANYWAY, on to things equally as important… Breakfast! Thanks again to Jenn for hosting WIAW.

Rye toast, egg whites, melted American cheese. An orange, and coffee.


Must I remind you about how much I love my egg and cheeses? 😉



Lots of work was done in the morning, then a stroll through Central Park for about 45 minutes, and then Lunch.

Spinach base, chopped up cucumbers, carrots and red pepper. About a third of an avocado, 2 Black Bean Lentil Veggie Burgers, and roasted sweet potatoes. Drizzle of balsamic vinegar, truffle olive oil, and salt.


Sooo, because of the 2 hours of prep I did on Sunday, this whole salad took me literally 3 minutes to throw together! The veggies were already chopped, the burgers and the ‘taters were already cooked…this was so nice and easy! The prep really does pay off- I never would have had the patience to put this salad together if it took more than a few minutes.


So colorful 🙂

In between two of my classes, I had a little bit of a break so I found a coffee shop, VBar, down by NYU and stopped in to get a few things done. I hardly ever have a second cup of coffee, but I needed it yesterday.



Then it was off to my second class at Columbia. How pretty are the lights around their entrance gate??


Right before my 5:00 class started, I had a snack to hold me over.

A juicy pear and cheddar cheese slices.


Dinner was eaten on the late side and was also really quick and easy.

Chopped up Grilled Chicken, Whole Wheat Couscous, Sautéed Mushrooms, Slivered Almonds. Again, all things I made on Sunday during my massive prep session.


And finally, a cookie (recipe coming soon) and almond butter to finish off the night.


And that’s a wrap! Have a great Wednesday.

Roasted Carrot, Avocado and Orange Salad

Morning sunshine!

Today I bring you a very interesting salad. A salad with a twist, if you will.

Last weekend, Ken and Marc came over to cook on Friday night. Marc, being the very thoughtful guy that he is, bought me a few cookbooks for my birthday and we had talked about getting him in the kitchen to help cook one of the delicious looking recipes. if you don’t remember Marc, or do not know about his cooking skills, refer to this post. He admits that his cooking experience is limited, but hey, at least the guy was eager to learn!

I found a recipe that I thought was easy enough and looked refreshing and, most importantly, interesting. I would never have thought to make this on my own. I guess that is the point of breaking open cookbooks right?

We used this book:



April Bloomfield owns three famous restaurants in NYC- The Breslin, The John Dorey Oyster Bar (at the Ace Hotel) and The Spotted Pig. Her cookbook talks about growing up in England and her journey into the culinary scene while giving thoughtful insight into why she creates the food she does. It is a beautiful cookbook with so many good looking recipes to try out.

I like pictures of food (obviously) and naturally navigated toward a salad with a huge colorful accompanying photo. The recipe looked pretty simple, and I knew I could modify it slightly to make it even easier. Carrot, avocado and orange salad it was.

In this recipe, the star is the roasted carrots. You basically mix the carrots with some flavorful spices and roast them in the oven until soft. Then, you mix in the orange and avocado slices which have both also gotten a little special love as well.



This was perfect as a side to orange marinated chicken and couscous, and the leftovers tasted great over the next couple of days. It’s a great dish to just make a big batch of and keep in your fridge for a few days to add to lunches and dinners. Below, you’ll see that I put mine on top of some crunchy spinach and turned it into a larger salad.


My favorite part about this salad is how refreshing it is. The cold citrus paired with the hot spicy carrots and the cool, creamy avocado was a really interesting and entertaining mix.


We ended the night with some macaroons, thanks to Ken. Another successful kitchen adventure from the lil’ Studio.


Roasted Carrot, Avocado, and Orange Salad

serves 3

(adapted from recipe in A Girl and Her Pig)

  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1.5 t ground cumin
  • 1.5 t ground coriander
  • 1.5 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • about 25 baby carrots (could also use large carrots, cut up)
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon
  • 2T freshly squeezed OJ

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Pound the garlic and add a large pinch of salt. Mash garlic as fine as you can until you have as close to a paste as you can get. Add spices and olive oil. Stir well, then add carrots. Coat carrots with spices and oil.

3. Put the carrots in a large shallow baking dish. Spread any extra spices in the bowl onto the carrots. Cover the carrots with foil and cook for about 25 minutes. (We didn’t cover ours, and it took a while to cook them, but basically just cook them until soft all the way through)

4. Segment the orange while the carrots are cooking. This just means try to cut the orange segments in a way where you remove the membranes and all skin.

5. Cut up avocado length wise- try to keep the slices sturdy so they don’t get all mushy and break up. Add the lemon juice, the 2T of freshly squeezed OJ, a tablespoon or two of EVOO and a pinch of salt. Add the carrots and then the orange. Toss it all together.