Cucumber-Avocado Salad with Greek Yogurt Chimichurri Dressing

So Chicago has been hot.. and by hot, I mean HOT. Humid, sticky, shut all your windows, close all your doors, and sit in front of the AC unit, hot. Ordinarily, the crazy heat doesn’t keep me from cooking, baking, broiling even in my non-air conditioned apartment (Case in point: I made these cabbage roll-ups yesterday), but I’ve been melting and looking for a cool meal for lunch. Don’t judge me for posting a salad recipe.. this one is really good!!

Chimichurri is an Argentinian green sauce often used for grilled meats and consists of fresh herbs, chile, garlic, shallots, olive oil, and some wine vinegar. It’s a summertime staple apparently and has been all over the food blogs lately. It sounded so tasty and I had to give it a shot.

The other night, I shredded some chicken, topped it with fresh avocado slices and drizzled on the homemade chimichurri for dinner. Yum!  Then I took the leftover chicken and doused it in the rest of the chimichurri because hello? Can you really go wrong here? I think not.

chicken sandwich

This afternoon, I whipped up a delicious salad that is so easy, you could probably master it with your eyes closed (Not recommended though, it involves knives). Smitten Kitchen inspired meal!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Cucumber-Avocado Salad with Greek Yogurt Chimichurri Dressing
1 Ripe Avocado, peeled and diced
1-2 Cucumbers, diced into bite-size pieces
1 c. Chopped Romaine Lettuce (Adds for a heartier bite)
Lime Juice; half a lime or more to taste
1/4 c. Chimichurri Sauce
1-2 T. Greek Yogurt
1/2 c. Shredded Chimichurri Chicken, if that’s your jam. Or just dice up your favorite protein! I bet it would be tasty with chimichurri tofu!

Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 c. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Shallot, finely chopped
1 Serrano Pepper, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 c. Cilantro, minced
1/4 c. Parsley, minced
1 T. Dried Oregano
3/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Pepper Flakes and Salt to taste

To start, make your chimichurri sauce. Combine red wine vinegar [can substitute with white wine vinegar], garlic, shallot, pinch of salt and serrano chile in a medium bowl and let stand for 8-10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, parsley, and oregano. Gradually whisk in the olive oil (Fork is best!). Some people like to blend all the ingredients together with a processor, but I like the rustic look better. Totally up to you!


This chimichurri sauce can be a great thing on it’s own. Marinate meats and other proteins. Or use it like a condiment! In this case, I turned it into a salad dressing with just a couple stir-ins of lime juice and greek yogurt!

Combine cucumber, avocado, and chopped lettuce in a bowl. Mix together the chimichurri, lime and greek yogurt, adjusting levels to taste. Slowly fold in the dressing with the ingredients. Top with your favorite protein or eat it as it is! This salad is refreshing, a little spicy, and perfect for a humid hot day! Pop it in a jar and you’re off!


Happy Eating & Keep Cool!



An Update + Tasty Lunch

Hi all,

We are terribly sorry that in the whirlwind that is the summer, we have not had the opportunity to update our blog.

Francisco graduated from college!! Whee! For the past month-ish, he has been living in New York City under a Publishing Fellowship at NYU. He just finished his program and now is on the job hunt with a beautiful resumé ready to go!

Mimi finished her first year of graduate school! With straight A’s, too! For the past month, she has been working at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, a residential treatment facility in Hyde Park for Youth. She absolutely loves her job and is revving up to start her second year field placement in August working in a Middle School and a Junior High School in the Northern Suburbs!

Francisco recently came home to Chicago for a little while and of course, Mimi picked him up from the airport to make this delicious meal!

Francisco assembled this GORGEOUS cheese and cracker platter:


It includes: Crackers, Seedy Wheat Bread, Honey Goat Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Dried Cherries and Apricots, Slice Almonds, Homemade Jam

Then together, we produced this delicious salad: Image

The highlights include: Sautéed Butternut Squash, Mango Balsamic Glaze, and Golden Raisins.

We are doing well and eating well (to the best of our ability!) We will cook together (or on our own) very very soon!

As this post is being made, Francisco is conjuring up a “dream recipe” to share with you all!

Off to be more productive!


Mimi and Francisco

Triple-A Couscous Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Asparagus, Arugula, and Artichokes comprise the Triple A’s in this delicious couscous dish! I threw this together tonight and it is one of the most tasty meals! I made it extra winey because that’s how I like it, but feel free to tinker around with those measurements!

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 11.13.27 PM

Triple-A Couscous Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes

2-3 T. Oil
1/4 – 1/2 c. Artichoke hearts, sliced in small chunks and big chunks
6-7 stalks of Asparagus, sliced
2 c. loosely packed Arugula
1 1/3 c. dried Israeli Couscous, make as directed on box
1/4 c. Sun-dried Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 White Onion, diced
1/4 c. Grated Parmesan (optional)
2-3 T. Parsley
1/2 – 1 c. Dry White Wine
Salt and Pepper to taste

Roast your asparagus whole with about 1/2 T. of Oil, salt and pepper to taste at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until tender. Once cooked, slice up into 1-2″ pieces! Cook your couscous!

Once the couscous is all cooked, keep it in the saucepan and set the stove to a low/simmer heat. Mix in your onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Cover the couscous for about 3-4 minutes so it gets all steamed up!

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 11.11.06 PMThen turn off the stove. Pour in the wine then fold in your artichokes and sliced asparagus.

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 11.12.37 PMMake sure to vary your artichoke heart sizes so that you get some real tasty bites!

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 11.12.55 PMThrow everything into a mixing bowl with the remaining olive oil and you could add here some type of wine or cider vinegar if you have! Lastly, fold in the arugula and you’re all done!

Serve hot, room temperature, or even cold! Enjoy! Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 11.13.27 PM

This dish is perfect as a side, starter salad, or a delicious summer lunch!



Roasted Beet and Carrot Quinoa Salad

I have a very deep and true love for beets. They are my absolute favorite root vegetable. I love their rich ruby red coloring and their earthy taste. They are a fantastic addition to all sorts of meals!


Today, I decided to make a roasted beet and carrot salad mixed in with quinoa, the most protein packed grain! Super rich and filling, this is a wonderful meal or side dish to share with your vegan friends!


Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad with Quinoa

1 large Beet
4 medium sized Carrots
1/2 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of Garlic, unpeeled
1 c. Quinoa (uncooked)
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 -3 sprigs of fresh Thyme
fresh Parsley for garnish


2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T. Olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel and slice the carrots and beets into 2″ uniform pieces. In a medium sized baking dish, throw in the rooty vegetables and drizzle with olive oil. Toss in the fresh thyme, the whole garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Let them roast for approx. 30 minutes – tossing occasionally.


IMG_9076In a small saucepan, caramelize the thinly sliced onions with some olive oil. Cook your quinoa to the specifications on the label. I used 1 1/2 c. of water for my 1 c. of quinoa.

Once the beets and carrots are tender, take them out and pull out your garlic cloves. Release them from their skin and mash up the garlic. Mix together the cooked quinoa, caramelized onions, mashed garlic and roasted roots.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour on top! I threw on some fresh parsley as garnish. Enjoy!


This is a delicious and colorful salad! The beets have an earthy taste that blends well with the sweetness of the carrots. Plus, this apple cider vinaigrette is one of my absolute favorites!



The Hoppin’ Johnny

I’m breaking from my foodblogging hiatus to share with you the magic of this killer peasant dish. So both years I’ve gone to the Pitchfork Music Festival, I ate this thing every day from the Wishbone stand. It’s so simple, so fresh, and so hearty that I wrote everything down and simply had to make it for myself.

AND it has a good history. The Hopping John is a West African dish popularized in Southern U.S. that many of people eat now on New Years to bring good luck and prosperity. Some said counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of wealth that they will have in the coming year. In a recovered journal from the 19th century,  Frederick Law Olmsted referred to the greatest luxury as an assemblage of peas, bacon, and peppers, referring to this dish. Granted, mine has no bacon because I am a veggie, please enjoy this yummerific filler. Also called Hoppin’ Juan, Skippin’ Jenny, or if you’re a drunk Pitchforker (me), the “Rocking Ronny.”


1 16 oz. can black eyed peas
1 c. brown or wild rice
1 c. unsalted peanuts
1 large tomato
1 large red pepper
1 c. carrots
1/2 large red onion
1/2 c. cilantro
red wine vinegar
balsamic vinegar
lemon juice

Firstly, start to cook your brown rice. If you want it to be more like an entree, do more than 1 c. rice, but this was the perfect proportion to everything else in the toss-up.

Once that’s on the stove, drain the beans and rinse them in a colander. Get all that goop off of them, if they were anything like the shitty Kroger brand that I had. On medium heat, toss the beans onto a large frying pan until they’ve dried out. When they’ve lost some of their moisture, throw on the peanuts and toss occasionally while you chop veggies.


Dice everything else—peppers, carrots, onions, tomatoes, cilantro (rough chop)—and leave it be.


Once the peanuts and beans have roasted a lil’ (they’ll both soften slightly), throw them into a casserole dish, or whatever you want to store it in. Douse them in balsamic so everything is a little coated. When the rice is done, stir that into the beans n’ nuts, then add the veggies!

Finally, throw the red wine vinegar and lemon juice on the salad. I wish I had measured, but I’m willing to guess between 2-3 T of each. Season with pepper to taste. Enjoy with pita, or better yet, a hoppy beer.


Happy Summer!