Broccoli Salad with Pumpkin Seeds


Broccoli salad with raisins and toasted pumpkin seeds in yogurt vinaigrette feels like an Indian summer dish. In NYC the buzz has been that summer is over. Yet the last few days have felt a surge of warmth again, and it feels like I’m holding onto the last humid hints of summertime. I have learned that cooking in a tiny NYC kitchen requires diligence and planning. When I used to blog in Miami I bought ingredients on a whim and had ample storage space for them too. Now when I cook I aim to use up all of the ingredients purchased before I venture out to buy more and more.


When broccoli is raw it can be bold like a radish- very crisp and with a slight bitter tang to its tiny floral cruciferous heads. For me the smell of cooking broccoli is slightly sulfuric and almost garlicky. Since I am ever so lazy and despise doing dishes I decided to make a one bowl salad- which means I’d be eating the broccoli raw- no extra pots for me to wash. After making a few of my favorite recipes I had some odd ingredients waiting to be tossed together to make this healthy and crunchy broccoli salad.

fresh-lemon fresh-scallion

I wanted a no-fuss recipe so I chopped the broccoli head up into little green florets that resembled a broken bouquet on my cutting board. The tangy yogurt vinaigrette, sweet raisins, and salty pumpkin seeds softened the sharp vegetable-like quality of the broccoli as it marinated in the fridge and became tender. This broccoli salad is a perfect summertime ‘last hurrah’ side dish or picnic salad. As they’ve been saying, winter is coming, and fall dishes await, but for now I’ll enjoy these last few days of a New York summer.


Broccoli Salad with Pumpkin Seeds in Yogurt Vinaigrette

  • 4 oz. low fat green yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh tarragon
  • ½ large shallot diced
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 head broccoli large stalked removed
  • ½ cup toasted and salted pumpkin seeds

Whisk together the first 6 ingredients to make the tangy yogurt dressing. Add the chopped fresh tarragon, stalks removed, and the finely diced shallot. Whisk the ingredients together again and add the raisins. Allow the raisins to plump up in the dressing while you chop the broccoli.

whisk-the-tangy-yogurt-vinaiagrette add-the-scallions

mix-in-the-raisins chop-the-broccoli-stalks

Remove the large stalk and discard. Cut off the broccoli florets from their stalks and set aside. Cube the remaining broccoli stalks and toss in the bowl with the dressing. Cut the broccoli florets down to small bite size pieces. Add the rest of the broccoli into the salad dressing and stir well. Place in a container with a fitted lid or seal securely with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

mix-the-ingredients brocoli-salad-upclose

Allow the crunchy broccoli salad to marinate in the dressing and soak up all of the delicious flavors for at least 2 hours before serving chilled or at room temperature. The broccoli will soften and become more flavorful. This salad serves around 4 and would be perfect for a fall picnic or light lunch side dish.

Healthy Chicken Salad

chicken-sal upclose-chicken-salad

Healthy chicken salad is wonderful on toasted multigrain or baguette, served over a green salad, in a wrap, or on crisp celery stalks. There is nothing like a fresh and healthy chicken salad. I love chicken salads, but I generally shy away from ordering them or making them because they are usually loaded with globs of mayonnaise. This is a recipe I have been thinking about for a while, and I was inspired by my favorite local bakery Chocolate Fashion.


This bakery is seriously divine. The celebrated chef, Georges Berger, is renowned for his pastry skills both locally and nationally. Not only is this South Florida French bakery charming and welcoming, but the delicious daily lunch specials, homemade sandwiches and salads, and picture perfect pastries make this local spot a real Coral Gables gem.


Poached chicken in mirepoix and herbs tastes wonderful tossed in my tangy tarragon lemon vinaigrette with crunchy apple, celery, roasted red peppers, and walnut. This recipe is perfect year-round with audible crunch and bright flavors.


Poached Chicken Breasts inspired by Martha Stewart:

  • 2 Split Chicken Breasts bone-in and skin-on
  • 1 celery stalk quartered
  • 1 medium carrot quartered
  • ½ a small onion
  • Small bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a pot and add enough water to cover the ingredients by an inch. Bring to a gentle boil/simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low cooking for about 15-18 minutes. I ended up turning the chicken breasts upside down so the thick part could cook through. Place the chicken in a Pyrex dish, and strain the remaining liquid over the breasts. This will keep them moist as they cool.


Homemade Chicken Salad:

  • 1 celery stalk finely diced
  • 1 apple diced
  • ½ small onion finely diced
  • 1 roasted red pepper packed in water; diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts chopped into ‘chips’

Tarragon Lemon Vinaigrette:

Dice the celery, apple, onion, red pepper, and walnuts while the chicken is cooling and set aside. Toast the walnuts in the oven and allow them to cool. In a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, tarragon, finely chopped onion, Worcestershire, brown mustard, and salt and pepper. I like to whisk the onions with the dressing so they can soften up and take on the wonderful flavors of the dressing and reduce their pungent raw flavor which some find offensive (I personally love raw onions!). Feel free to taste the dressing and adjust any flavors as needed to suit your palate. Remember cooking is about enjoying things the way you like them, and only you know what you like!


Now skin and debone the cooled poached chicken breasts, and dice evenly. Put the kitchen in the bowl with the tarragon lemon vinaigrette, and add the celery, apple, walnuts, and red peppers and toss well in the dressing. Serve the homemade chicken salad over greens or on toasted multigrain or baguette.


Hint: If serving on a multigrain roll or baguette scoop both the top and bottom buns so the healthy chicken salad will fit nicely inside and not fall out of the bun between bites!    

Maple Thyme Roasted Carrots


Maple thyme roasted carrots are healthy and incredibly easy to make. Rainbow organic carrots make a brilliant visual impact, but they are a little more expensive than the common orange varietal. Purple, white, yellow, or orange all of the carrots taste the same. The purple carrots with their sunburst orange-yellow centers are my favorite, followed by the pale yellow carrots in close second.

maple-roasted-carrots maple-syrup

Carrots don’t really need to be all dolled up with maple and butter because they taste damn good when simply roasted. The carrots will caramelize in the oven and become extremely tender. The unpeeled carrots look wonderfully rustic with their skins browning and wrinkling from the hot oven. The maple butter glaze enhances the natural sweetness of the caramelized roasted carrots while the thyme gives an earthy and savory taste.

dressed-raw-carrots horizontal-carrots

I made simple thyme roasted carrots for a potluck this past weekend, which seemed to baffle my friend Lindsay. She scrunched up her nose and said, “Why on earth would you bring carrots to a potluck?!” Needless to say the thyme roasted carrots were a hit! Lindsay even asked me for the recipe and proceeded to make them the following day at home! Maple thyme roasted carrots are sweet, delicious, healthy, and super easy to make. Roast away friends and load up on your vitamins!


Maple Thyme Roasted Carrots

8-10 carrots orange or rainbow
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 2 extra for garnish
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon real maple syrup

Preheat your oven to 400F. Cut off the long carrot greens and discard or save for a fresh salad. Scrub the carrots clean and pat them dry. You don’t have to peel the carrots- I think the natural texture makes the dish look more rustic. Cut your carrots diagonally in half or in thirds if they are larger. Make sure to cut the carrots in the same direction to make plating easier. You can leave the carrots whole as well, but I like the way they look broken up on the plate like a jigsaw puzzle.

raw-carrots-color olive-oil-carrots

Brush the carrots with the olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and then sprinkle fresh thyme leaves on top. To easily remove the tiny thyme leaves run your fingers down the length of the sprig in the opposite direction of the growth and they will come right off.

vertical-dressed-carrots roasted-carrots

Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until tender. I placed the pat of butter in a small ramekin and placed it on top of the hot oven so it would naturally melt from the oven’s heat. Stir in the tablespoon of real maple syrup and brush over the roasted carrots. You can certainly make this recipe minus the maple butter glaze, but it is quite tasty on thyme roasted carrots and worth a try. This recipe makes enough for 2-4 depending on how much they love veggies! Serve the maple thyme roasted carrots with any dinner or lunch- they are sure to impress your guests.