Pascale’s Kitchen: Salads, salads & more salads

Below, you will find three of my favorite salad dressing recipes, all of which are easy to throw together, and also all keep for a while in the fridge.

 Zucchini and radish salad (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Zucchini and radish salad
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

The month of Tishrei is so hectic that by the time we get to Hol Hamoed Sukkot, I am ready to downshift and prepare quick and easy dishes. For me, that means making lots of simple salads with delicious homemade salad dressing.

It’s easy to throw together a few ingredients and still come to the table with brilliantly colorful salads that are tasty and fun to eat. After eating heavier, sweet foods during Rosh Hashanah, it’s time to switch gears and prepare nutritious and appetizing lighter dishes. I love to combine vegetables that aren’t normally found together in salads, and to make sure there are lots of contrasting colors. I also like to combine cooked vegetables with raw or steamed vegetables.

One way to cut down on prep time is to cut vegetables into large pieces. Seasoning can remain minimal, and cooking or steaming vegetables slightly can also bring out even more flavor. But I particularly love raw vegetable salads tossed with one of my favorite salad dressings.

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Sometimes, the tastiest dressing is just a little olive oil and lemon juice with a pinch of salt, or a simple vinaigrette that will keep in the fridge for an extended period of time. You can serve the same salad two days in a row and just change the dressing for a fresh flavor. 

Or you can change up your toppings, sometimes adding hard cheese, tofu, croutons, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried tomatoes, olives, hearts of palm, asparagus or any type of fruit.

Below, you will find three of my favorite salad dressing recipes, all of which are easy to throw together, and also all keep for a while in the fridge. I’ve included three salad recipes, two of which call for raw vegetables, and one which calls for sautéed vegetables.

Benny’s Wonder Bag

A specially designed plastic bag for storing vegetables and fruit in the fridge, the Wonder Bag is made of polyamide (nylon), extending the shelf life of produce by keeping unwanted moisture away. The bags have microscopic holes through which air can enter the bag, enabling fruits and vegetables to breathe.

A set of six bags and six clips costs NIS 30. 

www.benybag.com

My favorite salad dressings

Makes 3 jars.

Cilantro and lemon vinaigrette½ cup olive oilJuice from 2 lemons (or limes)2 Tbsp. garlic, crushed1½ tsp. cilantro, crushed¾ tsp. saltHoney, maple syrup or silan (optional)Balsamic vinaigrette¼ cup balsamic vinegar¼ cup olive oil1 tsp. honey1 clove of garlic, crushed¾ tsp. salt¼ tsp. pepper

Slightly sour vinaigrette1/3 cup red wine vinegar½ cup olive oilJuice from 1 lemon1 tsp. Dijon mustard with seeds2 cloves of garlic, crushed½ tsp. dried oregano or basil¼ tsp. salt¼ tsp. pepper

Add all the ingredients to a salad dressing jar and shake well. Can be stored in the fridge up to 10 days. You can add a spoonful or two of mayonnaise or tahini to dressings, according to taste.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 15 minutes.Status: Pareve.

Zucchini and radish salad

Makes 4-6 servings. 

6-7 small zucchini 5 small radishes3-4 small sweet peppers, red or orange1 medium red onion1 cup green cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved2 Tbsp. olive oil2 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juiceSalt and pepper, to taste1 tsp. oregano or zaatar ½ - ¾ cup salty cheese, grated

Cut the ends off of the zucchinis and then using a vegetable peeler, cut strips of the zucchini and place them in a large bowl. Cut the radishes into thin slices and add them to the bowl. Slice the peppers and add them to the bowl. Slice the red onion thinly and add to the bowl. Add the green tomatoes and mix gently. Transfer salad to a serving dish. Season with oil, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and pepper. Sprinkle oregano (or zaatar) and cheese on top and serve.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 30 minutes.Status: Dairy.

Fresh tomato salad

Makes 4-6 servings. 

1 basket of cherry or plum tomatoes of different colors, washed and halved2 Tbsp. capers½ - ¾ cup Kalamata olives, pitted6 anchovy fillets in oilSalt and pepper, to tasteJuice from 1 large lemon3-4 crackers or galette biscuits, broken up into large pieces

Toppings:

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil2-3 Tbsp. Parmesan curls2 Tbsp. small basil leaves

Add all the tomatoes to a serving bowl and then add the capers and olives. Arrange the anchovies on top and then add the salt, pepper and lemon juice. Mix gently and arrange the crackers around the salad. Drizzle the oil on top and add the Parmesan and basil leaves.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 10 minutes.Status: Pareve (or dairy if including Parmesan cheese).

Galette biscuits

Galette biscuits, which hail from Tunisian cuisine, are crackers made from bread dough that is rolled out super thin. Before baking the biscuits, you stretch the dough out even more and then make holes in it with the tines of a fork and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Makes 25-30 biscuits.

4 ½ cups flour, sifted1 Tbsp. fresh yeast2 tsp. oil1 ½ cups water, at room temperatureA bit of salt3 Tbsp. kosher salt

Add the flour to a large bowl. Sprinkle a little salt on top and form a well in the center. Add the yeast and gradually add the water while kneading the dough. Continue kneading until dough is well mixed. Cover and let the dough rise for 90 minutes.

Flour your work surface and roll out the dough until it’s 1-cm thick. Cut out circles or squares from the dough and then poke holes with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle kosher salt on top.

Arrange the dough pieces on a greased baking pan with space between each one.

Bake for 20 minutes in an oven that has been heated to medium heat, or until crackers turn golden brown.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 1 hour.Status: Pareve.

 Tomato and mushroom salad (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Tomato and mushroom salad (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Tomato and mushroom salad

Makes 4-6 servings.

3 Tbsp. olive oil1 red onion, chopped coarsely1 basket of small champignon mushrooms, rinsed and sliced1 large basket of different colored cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved4 cloves of garlic, crushedSalt and pepper, to taste¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)¼ cup parsley, chopped¼ cup small basil leaves (or regular sized, chopped)

Topping:

2-3 Tbsp. pine nuts, roasted

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Sauté until onion turns translucent. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and sauté for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and sauté for 1 or 2 more minutes. Remove from the flame. Sprinkle parsley and basil on top and mix. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle pine nuts on top and serve.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 15 minutes.Status: Pareve.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.