Satisfying Salads: Zesty Southwestern Black Bean


Salads are not for rabbits or desperate dieters. If done right, they are a healthy, filling, nutritionally-generous meal (or side) you won’t regret.

To date, I’ve features these protein- and fiber-packed recipes:

The Sesame Steak Salad

The Garden of Eden Salad

If Asian-inspired beef and veggies isn’t for you and neither is fruit-cheese-and-nut combos–or perhaps you prefer a meat-free option (?)–then try a little Zesty Southwestern Black Bean Salad.image

This is the salad I make when I’m at home and can’t pull myself away from work for long. It’s sort of the kitchen-sink recipe I go to when time is limited. Why?

Because I always have these ingredients in my fridge and pantry, can dump them on top of a bed of lettuce at the drop of the hat, and the protein and fiber in the beans and veggies assures me I won’t be aching for a more filling meal as I work through the rest of my afternoon. The zesty dressing gives it a little bite that keeps my tastebuds happy, too.

Try it!


2 cups Romaine lettuce

1/4 cup black beansimage

dash of cumin

dash of chili powder

dash of red pepper flakes

1 small Roma tomato and a few slices of onion sauteed


1/4 cup canned tomatoes and green chiles

1 oz. Newman’s Own Southwestern Ranch (or something comparable)


Toss all ingredients until dressing coats the salad leaves. Or if you’re like me and prefer layers in your salad instead of a mix, start with salad base, and then top with beans, sprinkle seasonings on top, veggies, and finally drizzle dressing on top.


Sesame Steak Salad


Women in my life are always complaining about salads. They don’t like them. They leave them feeling hungry an hour later. They’re not worth the hassle of makingSAM_5859

My goodness. If I had a penny for every time I heard that, I could buy a lot of salads. And most of those salads would probably be the Thai Chopped Chicken Salad at St. Louis Bread Co. or Panera to those not from St. Louis.

And I’d give a lot more than a penny to hear a man long for a salad. When pigs fly…

Ever on my mission to spread some helpful advice, I give the sad salad Sallies (and Sams) of the world one word of advice: protein.

Protein keeps you full. It helps you build muscle and powers you through the day. SAM_5864

And if you add protein to your salads, you will enjoy them more and stay fuller longer.

When I threw together this Sesame Steak Salad the other day, I meant to add edamame–an excellent source of protein–and completely forgot. I wish I had, so if you’re considering following this recipe and have some on hand, it would be a great addition!


1.5 cups Romaine lettuce

3 oz. sliced steakSAM_5863

1/2 red pepper, sliced lengthwise

a few red onions, chopped or lengthwise slices

1 t sesame seeds

radishes and chopped cabbage to garnish (although the cabbage makes for a nice crispy crunch if you need that and want to avoid fried wonton strips)


-It’s a salad, so: lettuce first, veggies next, protein on top, sprinkle sesame seeds on top, and toss in dressing of your choice. If you’re taking this to work, you’ll want to add the dressing later so the salad doesn’t get soggy.

And in choosing a salad dressing, choose a good one. I love Newman’s Own Sesame-Ginger dressing. So good, good for you, and does good by giving proceeds to charity.

Mandarin-Edamame Salad


You always know it is potluck season when you see me posting recipes for groups. This could be easily made into single-serving recipe though, just cut everything back. Use your best judgment.SAM_5482

I was reading around on a bunch of foodie sites I found on about edamame salads. I still have a lot of shelled edamame leftover from my nutrition study, and wanted to incorporate it into this group recipe.

The funny thing was that I gave up. With salads, you can follow an exact recipe or—as anyone can read in my culinary philosophies & such—you can do a little guess work and create something you like even better. Don’t get caught up in the tiny differences. Just go with your gut. Trust what you know about flavor pairings and you’ll surprise yourself.

That’s what I did this time. I knew ginger and sesame flavors are often paired with mandarin oranges or edamame. You don’t see both together often. Overwhelming?photo (1)

Hardly. My co-workers didn’t think so either. They raved about how much they liked my salad. Part of me wonders if it was the bright contrasts in colors. I’m still a firm believer that eating is 50% visual.

But part of me thinks it was the surprise of the beans with the fruit. Americans don’t see that much, but I think edamame can be bland and so the mandarins perked it up, plus some crunch red onions and sweet red peppers for pizazz.

Hope you like it as much as my co-workers did!


1 large or 3 small heads of romaine lettuce

½ cup red onion, sliced into strips

½ cup fresh mandarin oranges

½ cup shelled edamame

½ red pepper, sliced into strips

Newman’s Own Ginger Sesame Dressing

Optional: sprinkling of sesame seedsSAM_5479


Prepare lettuce as you normally would and place in large glass bowl.

Around the rim of the bowl, sprinkle the onions and the red peppers evenly.

In the center, add the edamame and then the oranges.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you’re using those. And at this point you can drizzle the dressing on, but I wanted to be kind to fellow potluckers like myself who hate with salads are drenched in dressing. That’s gross and inconsiderate, not to mention unnecessary, really. So I left it off and let them add as they liked. I know some people, like my step-dad, like their salads drenched, while others, like myself, do not. I always let guests choose because if I go light on the dressing, I know I’ll leave some wanting more.

You can toss the salad once you’re there, but again, presentation is key. I waited, was the first one to serve and so I tossed in front of them. Maintaining the pretty contrast in colors only heightened the experience, I’m sure.

Sweet & Spicy Cucumber Salad

The perfect salad for lunch or as a healthy addition to any dinner entree. If you want a fresh, crisp twist on your regular lettuce-and-vinaigrette routine, I’d recommend this one.

Notice that my cucumbers look more like flowers? If you want a similar effect, just press a cookie cutter over your sliced cucumber rounds for the same effect.

Why bother with this step?

Creative food is always more fun to eat.


1/2 cucumber, sliced into thin rounds

sliced veggies of choice (I used diced tomatoes and sliced radishes)

2 t chipotle or harissa oil

2 t red wine vinegar

1/2 t Worcestershire sauce

pinch of crushed garlic

1 t or less stevia

seasonings to taste: black pepper, salt (although you can easily omit this one without losing any flavor)


-In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, except veggies. Mix well.

-Add sliced cucumber and veggies of choice. Toss and serve chilled.