Pascale’s Kitchen: My go-to salads (& 1 dessert)

This week, I've handpicked four easy recipes. All of them call for a small number of ingredients and can be prepared quickly. 

 Lettuce salad with cashew, cheese, and cranberries. (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Lettuce salad with cashew, cheese, and cranberries.
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Sometimes, when you’re planning to make a meal for guests or for your family and you’re tired of preparing the same things, all you need is one impressive dish to bring on the compliments. 

I love collecting and stashing away this exact type of recipe, to be retrieved when I want something a little different from my regular dishes – even when I don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to make each part of the meal special. Moreover, these are the recipes that I love to forward to friends and acquaintances who ask if I can share recipes that aren’t just more of the humdrum but something quick and easy that has strong colors, textures, or flavors that differentiate it from all the rest. 

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This week, I’ve handpicked four recipes that aptly fit into this category. All of them call for a small number of ingredients and can be prepared quickly. 

The first recipe is for a lettuce salad with cashew cheese and cranberries, literally one of the easiest salads I’ve ever come up with. Make sure to prepare it close to serving time, and only add the dressing just before placing the bowl on the table, so that the lettuce leaves remain fresh and crisp. The combination of the lettuce, cashews, cheese, and cranberries is a winning mix of sweet and tart. 

The second recipe is for a rich and colorful bulgur and herb salad, which could also be just as easily categorized as a side dish. Either way, you won’t have to spend much time in the kitchen to prepare this dish. For a nice twist, you can add dried fruits and nuts if you want it to be a little more festive. Another option is to add slices of fresh fruit, such as plums, grapes, or apricots. And as far as the nuts are concerned, you can dig through your pantry shelves and use any nuts you come up with. Just make sure you maintain a balance between the sour and sweet flavors. This time, I decided to add baby mozzarella balls, which I absolutely adore. 

 Bulgur and herb salad. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Bulgur and herb salad. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

The third recipe is for eggplant slices with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. This is an easy recipe that always garners lots of compliments when I place it on the table. I like to have some pomegranate seeds on hand for salads, so I try to keep a box of them in my freezer. If you don’t happen to have any, though, you can use any type of berry. 

Just moments before serving this salad, I recommend heating the eggplant slices and then matching them with the cold cheese slices. If you don’t want to fry the eggplant slices, you can arrange them on a pan, spray them with oil, and bake them until they turn golden brown. 

I love to end each festive meal with something sweet. This week, I am bringing you an easy recipe for lemon mascarpone mousse, which has two layers. You can prepare it in individual glasses or in one large bowl from which you can serve everyone. 

Lettuce salad with cashew cheese and cranberries

Makes 6-8 servings.

  • 200 gr. Salanova lettuce
  • 100 gr. baby spinach leaves
  • 100 gr. cress seeds
  • 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped 
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped 
  • Leaves from 20 sprigs of mint, chopped or whole
  • Leaves from 10 sprigs of basil, chopped or whole
  • ¾ cup cashews, pecans, almonds, or walnuts
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • 1 container (250 gr.) Tzfat cheese with nigella seeds, cut into medium-size cubes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 Tbsp. oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Rinse and dry the lettuce leaves well. (It’s important to dry the leaves well, or you won’t achieve the ultimate texture for the salad.) 

Place all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the cheese, lemon, oil, salt, and pepper, then mix well. Just before serving, add the cheese, lemon, oil, salt, and pepper, then mix well again. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 40 minutesStatus: Dairy

Bulgur and herb salad

Makes 4-6 servings. 

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 cup bulgur, soaked in water for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • ¾ cup scallion, finely chopped 
  • ¾ cup hazelnuts, ground
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cucumber, cut into small pieces
  • 1 container of baby mozzarella balls


  • Mint leaves or scallion pieces

Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion until it becomes translucent. Transfer the bulgur to a bowl, then add the fried onion on top. 

Add the peppers, scallions, onion, nuts, herbs, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then add the tomatoes and cucumbers. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the mozzarella balls on top and sprinkle with mint leaves or scallion pieces. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 20 minutesStatus: Dairy

 Eggplant slices with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds  (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Eggplant slices with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds  (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Eggplant slices with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds 

Makes 6-8 servings.

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced and salted
  • 1 log of Sainte Maure goat cheese, sliced into the same number of pieces as eggplant pieces
  • Handful of pomegranate seeds, nuts, or pitted cherries
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil


  • Mint leaves

Fry the eggplant slices in hot oil on both sides until browned. Transfer them to paper towels.

Just before serving, heat the eggplant slices a little, then arrange them on a serving plate. Put one slice of cheese on each eggplant piece, then add the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle a little olive oil on top.

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 30 minutesStatus: Dairy

 Lemon mascarpone mousse (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Lemon mascarpone mousse (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Lemon mascarpone mousse

Makes 8 servings.

Lemon cream:

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup (150 gr.) sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 50 gr. butter, cubed


  • 250 gr. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup (50 gr.) sugar
  • 1 cup sweet cream

To prepare the layer of lemon cream: Add the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice to an oven-proof bowl. Beat well, then heat the bowl over a bain-marie on your stovetop. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Mix well, then let the mixture cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container, and place it in the fridge. 

To the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a flat edge beater attachment, add the mascarpone cheese and the vanilla and mix for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. 

Next, attach the balloon whisk to the mixer and beat the sweet cream with the sugar until the cream is firm. Fold the cream gently into the cheese mixture until smooth. 

Transfer the cheese mixture to a pastry bag and cut off a little corner of the bag. Squeeze out a layer of mousse into the center of the glass serving dish. Alternatively, you can spoon in the mousse, but make sure not to get any on the sides of the glass.

Next, transfer the lemon cream to a pastry bag and squeeze a layer on top of the cheese layer. If you have any leftover lemon cream, you can freeze it for use another time, to be used on top of ice cream, cake, or crepes. 

Store the mousse in the fridge until serving. 

Level of difficulty: MediumTime: 40 minutesStatus: Dairy

Translated by Hannah Hochner.