Ranch Salad with Red Potatoes and Smoky Chickpeas

While “window shopping” at a few stores this past weekend, I stumbled upon a copy of Isa Moskowitz’s new cookbook, Isa Does It. It just came out last October, but it was on clearance for $10 at the most unlikely place– T.J. Maxx, a clothing and home goods store. Isa has the best recipes and I believe I own every cookbook she’s ever written.

I’m usually not a huge salad person. I mean, salads are fine, but I’d rather have pasta or burgers or burritoes. This salad, however, from Isa’s new book, is something I’ll make again and again. You know those meals that are so good you make that sort of groaning, moaning sound as you breathe out? This is the only salad that has ever gotten that reaction out of me. Actually, it’s mostly the Avocado Ranch Dressing. Put it on everything. No. Really.

The fresh dill plays a huge roll in making this dressing so amazing. If you even try to use dried, in the (slightly altered) words of Jillian Michaels, I will come through your computer screen, break it, and beat your *** with it!

salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks and steamed for 10 minutes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked from scratch)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup cucumber, sliced into thin half-moons
12 oz romaine lettuce
handful of arugula (optional – I used mixed greens)

While you steam the potatoes, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes, until they start to brown. Shake them around every now and then so they don’t stick. Remove from the heat and add the soy sauce and liquid smoke. Set aside.

Slice your veggies and prep the lettuce, then remove the potatoes from the steamer when they’re done and immediately run them under cold water in a strainer. Set aside.

Prepare the dressing by combining all of the following ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until creamy:

2 cloves garlic
1 ripe avocado
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Fill you bowls with the lettuce, chickpeas, cucumbers, and onions and toss with a some of the dressing. If you plan on eating the entire batch in one sitting, you can toss everything together in a huge bowl and let everyone serve themselves.

Now, pray that you weren’t a hog and have some dressing left over and spread that goodness on sandwiches, grilled veggies, potato salad, or whatever your heart desires!

Carrot Spice Muffins

Like carrot cake, but much better for you. 🙂

This was adapted from Lindsay’s Nixon’s recipe in her cookbook The Happy Herbivore. I like the addition of raisins and pecans, which give some texture and make the muffins slightly more hearty. I also added a bit of ground ginger and slightly more cinnamon (because I love cinnamon!). These are great for breakfast or as a post-workout snack.

carrot muffin

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
a nicely rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large carrot, shredded (I used about 1 cup shredded carrot)
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined. Spoon the mixture into muffin tins about 3/4 full (I find this is easiest to do with an ice cream scoop that has been sprayed lightly with olive oil). You can use the paper liners if you want, but I find them unnecessary if I’m not serving them to guests.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

These are excellent split in half and spread with a little Earth Balance vegan butter while they are still warm from the oven!