Cranberry Carrot Salad with Lemon and Honey

carrot-salad (14) 

cranberry carrot salad photo by vsimon

Do you need a super quick crunchy salad? Perfect for dinner, or a brown bag lunch?

The simplest recipes are often the best. If you are short on time and just want the recipe, skip the middle and go to the bottom of the post. That is the simplest way. You could be eating this in five minutes.

But keep reading if you want info on the ingredients.


If you buy shredded carrots, this mixes up in just a few minutes. Sweet, tart, and lively lemon flavor.

I like to keep a bag on hand. They hold up well, and are easy additions to soups, green salads, and even muffins.

Organic carrots

We can get shredded organic carrots in our market. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) website publishes a list of produce that has the highest, and lowest levels of pesticides.

The Dirty Dozen is the most likely to have high levels, and EWG recommends you by these items organic. EWG also publishes the Clean 15, produce that is least likely to have high pesticide levels. Buying organic doesn’t matter so much here.

You can print a wallet sized reference to take with you to the store. Carrots are #11 on the Dirty Dozen list.


Does a cranberry a day keep the doctor away? No, you probably need to eat  more than one. But a serving a day offers many health benefits.


I like to use organic lemons because I am using the outside, the part that would be sprayed with pesticides. Organic lemons are smaller than regular lemons, so you might need two here.

Also, organic lemons are not waxed. According the The World’s Healthiest Foods web site, sometimes the wax is mixed with casein, a protein in milk. This would be a very low amount, but might be important to know if you have a severe milk allergy.

Lemon Zest

At my house, if a dish has fresh lemon juice, it has zest too.  I never miss the happy opportunity to inhale the fresh scent of lemon zest. You can smell it across the room, but it is even better right under your nose.

A microplane makes swift work of zesting the peel. Personally, I don’t measure the zest and use all of it, from the whole lemon. As you probably can guess, I can’t get too much lemon zest.

If you are using a different tool to zest, be sure to catch just the outer yellow rind. The white pith is unpleasantly bitter.

Cranberry Carrot Salad

serves 4 metric measures
4 cups shredded carrots 360 gm
½ cup dried cranberries 75 gm
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 45 ml
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest weightless?
2 tablespoons honey 30 ml

Stir it all together until it glistens.

Serve right away if you like chewy cranberries.

Store in the fridge and serve the next day if you like plump, soft cranberries.

BTW, lemon juice is a good source of citrate. Helpful to prevent kidney stones. Maybe a lemon a day keeps the doctor away too.

PS I am changing the subject now. This is so cool! Bon Appetit magazine is holding a blogger Holiday Bake-Off. I have entered Pumpkin Custard, Hold the Dairy. Wouldn’t you love to see a gluten free, dairy free winner?

There are several categories, including cakes, pies, custards, cookies, more. If you are a blogger, add your creations at BA Holiday Bake-Off.

Everyone can vote for your favorite in each category. I would be honored to receive your vote.

Beets, please.


three kinds of beets photo by lsimon

Aren’t they lovely? I have been enjoying this photo of beets from our garden for a few months now, and I wanted to share it. Last year we grew red, Chioggia, and golden beets. A full packet of seeds for each variety. We love beets, but that is a lot of beets.

We introduced our neighbors to beets, and they liked them. I hope you like them too.

This year we found a packet of mixed seeds. The varieties were not named. They were long and skinny red ones, round red ones, bright red ones, and goldens.

The deep red ones cook up the same rich color. By themselves, the bright red ones turn grayish pink (yuck). They take on the dark red color when cooked in liquid with dark beets though. The goldens are beautiful on their own, or with a blush if roasted next to the reds.

Usually, I can only buy the dark red round beets in the grocery store. And they are very good quality.

Storing fresh beets

The very small beet leaves you see in mixed salad greens are harvested before the root develops.

The greens you get with beetroot are too strong flavored and tough for my liking. Cut off the tops, leaving a few inches of the stems intact. Compost the greens if you are able. 

Store roots in a plastic bag in the veggie drawer of your fridge. They will keep for a few weeks.

What to do with beets?

With a laugh, and the wave of her hand, my mother-in-law would say, “throw them away.” I say, no way.

Most often, we roast or pressure cook them. Then serve them warm or cold, plain or dressed. We cook extra, keep in the fridge, and serve for up to a week.

I have also grated them fresh on a salad. Tasty, crunchy, and very messy.

Simple Roasted Beets

Scrub the beets, leave the stem ends on, and do not peel. Put in an oven safe pan. Add about 1 cup of water and cover with foil. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes to an hour.

Small, young beets take less time. “Mature” beets take longer to soften up. Pierce the beets to the middle to make sure they are tender.

When they are tender through and through, cool them enough to handle. Slip the skins off the beets. Cut into wedges, or slices, or dice.

Pressure cooked beets

In the hot summer, I like to quickly cook beets in a pressure cooker rather than heating up the oven for an hour. Start out the same as for roasted beets. Scrub the beets, leave the stem ends on, and do not peel.

Put beets into a pressure cooker, add 1/2 to 1 cup water. Bring to pressure and cook for 10-15 minutes. Here, again, the size and age of the beets will effect how long it takes to tenderize them.

Cool cooker and release pressure. Check for tenderness. If needed, cover again, bring to pressure and cook longer. When done, drain off the water. Cool the beets and proceed as for roasted beets.

Enjoy a fall or winter salad

Layer salad greens, cooked beets, refreshing mandarin oranges, sliced sweet onions, and chopped walnuts. Top with Orange Mustard Vinaigrette.

Or try greens, golden beets, dried cranberries, sliced red onions, pecans and Crystal Dressing.

Nutritionally speaking

See the World’s Healthiest Foods site for all the goodness in beets. P.S. They are loaded with folate.

What do you do with beets?

Grilled Mediterranean Salad

We have to wait until the very end of the season for red and yellow peppers from our garden. But what a treat!! We especially love them raw, sliced for a sweet healthy snack.


grilled Mediterranean Veggie Salad photo by vsimon

But we also like them grilled. This Mediterranean Salad is just the dish to use the bounty in our garden. We use tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant here. You can buy all of these from the store of course.

Add some chickpeas and walnuts to make this a hearty vegan dish. Perfect for Meatless Mondays.

Stew transformed into salad!

I adapted a Mediterranean stew so we could enjoy a brilliant sunny day and grill on the deck. No need to be cooped up inside.

So rather than a warm and saucy stew, we had a warm and tangy grilled salad. I switched out cherry tomatoes for canned. Added sherry vinegar for a punch of flavor. And walnuts for crunch.

Sherry vinegar deserves wider use and is perfect here. But you can use other vinegars, like apple cider or balsamic.

Do not use malt vinegar or black rice vinegar. There are not gluten free. 

Grilled Mediterranean Salad

serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side

6 skinny eggplants, large dice

3 bell peppers, chopped (1 each green, yellow and red)

1 onion, chopped

1 pound cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon oil

1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained

2/3 cup kalamata olives, halved

1/3 cup sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Chives for garnish, optional

Heat grill to high.

Line a rimmed sheet pan with nonstick foil.

Put diced veggies (eggplant, peppers, onion) and cherry tomatoes on prepared pan. Toss with oil.

Grill over medium heat for about 20 minutes. You want to mostly leave the veggies alone, to caramelize. Stir only occasionally.

Watch the grill though. Some grills are very hot, and the veggies will burn quickly. If your grill is like this, stir frequently and cook for less time. You do not want veggie charcoal.

When veggies are tender and browned in places, put into a large bowl. Toss with chickpeas, kalamata olives, sherry vinegar, and rosemary.

Put salad on a serving platter and top with walnuts and chives. Or fresh rosemary sprigs if you have them. Enjoy!


veggies ready to grill photo by vsimon