Archive | Salads and Side Dishes

Grilled Romaine Wedge Salad

I’m really excited to have my new healthy foodie friend, Melanie Delude, guest post on the blog today. I met Melanie at Camp Blogaway back in May and we have remained blogger buddies ever since. I even had the chance to meet up with her when vacationing in New Hampshire this summer where she lives with her family. The recipe below looks amazing and I cannot wait to try it out. Enjoy ūüôā

I am so honored to be guest posting on Desert Healthy today! This is my first ever guest post, and I am very excited to share my Grilled Romaine Wedge Salad with you. I hope you love it as much as I do!

The inspiration for this salad developed while I was working on my 100 Day Project a couple months ago. Each day, for 100 days, I posted a simple and healthy recipe idea and photo to Instagram. When I agreed to do the project back in April, it sounded so daunting to have to come up with something new on a daily basis. I was pleasantly surprised that because I prepare all the food that my family eats each day, as long as I planned ahead and included lots of variety into our meals, it was relatively easy to post new material. To see more of the work from my 100 Day project, head over to Instagram and search for the hashtag #100daysofeasyhealthyrecipes.

And now, for the recipe!

Yield: 4 small servings, or 2 large servings


  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, cut lengthwise
  • ¬Ĺ of a large sweet onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 slices cooked all-natural bacon or prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup of gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil (or similar high-heat oil option)
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Step 1: Brush the romaine generously with olive oil, and season to taste with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. On a grill over medium heat, place the romaine cut side down, and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until nicely charred.

romaine 1 (1)

Step 2: Caramelize the onions until browned and softened. For great tips on creating perfect caramelized onions, check out this post by Plating Pixels.

Step 3: Plate the grilled romaine, then top with the caramelized onions, bacon or prosciutto, and gorgonzola cheese crumbles. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

romaine 2 (1)


Melanie Delude profile imageMelanie Delude writes a self-titled blog ( which is focused on her passion for providing healthy recipes for her family, including her 2 young children. Her biggest passion beyond her blog is her love of running, and she has successfully completed 3 half marathons to date, and hopes to begin training for a full marathon within the next year. Other passions include frequent travel, hiking, downhill skiing, and curling up with a good book.





Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Onions, Parmesan and Crispy Proscuitto

I love fresh seasonal asparagus and eat it as often as possible. The ability to dress it up any which way I fancy makes me feel creative, but in the end,¬†I usually just roast it and grind a little fresh pepper &¬†salt because¬†that’s all those stalks of green goodness need. However when feeling extra ambitious, I’ve also prepared¬†it as a¬†lemony asparagus & mushroom dish, the classic asparagus in risotto, asparagus with scrambled eggs & goat cheese, Hollandaise covered asparagus and Asian asparagus with sesame seeds and soy sauce.¬†This time however, I wanted to go big or go home. The mac daddy combo in my opinion is asparagus paired with the salty companion of prosciutto.¬†There is something about these flavors that just go together and it¬†makes me really happy. I had prosciutto in my fridge that I needed to use up and I had a hankering for caramelized onions after seeing a picture of this recipe¬†on Pinterest. After I let these thoughts morph together, I came up with the idea for a recipe to make roasted asparagus with caramelized onions, shaved parmesan and crumbled proscuitto. I mean, c’mon. This is no ordinary side dish.

Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Onions, Parmesan and Crispy Prosciutto Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Onions, Parmesan and Crispy Prosciutto Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Onions, Parmesan and Crispy Prosciutto

Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Onions, Parmesan and Crispy Proscuitto
  • 1 lb. of asparagus; snap the woody ends off by simply breaking them where they want to break. You may not have even sized stalks, but that's okay.
  • 4 slices of thin prosciutto
  • 1 large yellow onion; sliced vertically and thin
  • 1-2 ozs. of shaved Parmesan
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • S&P
  1. Heat a heavy saute pan on medium. Add butter and 1 TBSP of the EVOO. (save the other TBSP for later)
  2. Add the onions and saute for ten mins, turning every couple of mins.
  3. Salt onions and continue to saute. Add a TBSP of water so the onions don't dry out. Continue to saute and turn every couple of mins for the next 30 mins. If they appear to be dry, add a little more oil or water. If they look like may be starting to burn, turn down the heat to medium low. They will start to look golden and soft.
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Lay the prosciutto slices on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Line another cookie sheet with parchment paper for the asparagus. Drizzle with the remaining TBSP of EVOO and toss. Add S&P.
  3. Place both cookie sheets into the oven. Cook for ten minutes and remove.
  4. Let prosciutto cool and crumble with your hands. Plate the asparagus on a platter.
  5. Layer the asparagus with the onions, prosciutto and shaved Parmesan. Sprinkle with a touch of S&P.



Greek Couscous Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

THIS salad. THIS salad. Yea, this salad makes me happy. Anytime I can jazz up a scrumptious salad, I am left satisfied, content and feeling like I just did a good thing for myself. Salad doesn’t have to be flavorless iceberg lettuce, cold & lifeless tomatoes, sad¬†shredded¬†cheese topped by a goop of ranch dressing with mysterious ingredients. Ew. It can be full of flavor and variety every time so you’re not bored. If you add a little extra effort to making a bomb salad, you’ll actually want to eat it and you’ll look forward to different variations you can create. It’s easy. Chop, toss, eat.

The idea behind this salad was to make it Greek-ish. It’s full of organic baby spinach, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, english cucumber, couscous, fresh parsley, kalamata & green olives, avocado, artichoke hearts and feta cheese. I topped it with a light citrus vinaigrette and dinner was done. I paired it with a 5 oz. filet of grilled salmon and it was perfect. There were leftovers for lunch the next day as well.

Greek Couscous Salad with Chickpeas & Feta

Greek Couscous Salad with Chickpeas & Feta

Greek Couscous Salad with Chickpeas & Feta

Greek Couscous Salad with Chickpeas & Feta

Greek Couscous Salad with Chickpeas & Feta

Greek Couscous Salad with Chickpeas & Feta


Greek Couscous Salad with Chickpeas and Feta
  • ½ Cup of English Cucumbers, peeled & diced
  • ½ Cup of Olives, sliced
  • ½ Cup of Artichoke Hearts, sliced (store bought in a jar or can is fine, but be sure to drain them)
  • ½ Cup of Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 Avocado, diced into cubes
  • 1 Cup of Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly (allow to dry)
  • 2 Handfuls of Baby Spinach
  • ½ Cup of Couscous, cooked and cooled
  • 1-2 TBSP of Fresh Parsley, minced
  • 3 ozs. of Feta Cheese, crumbled
DRESSING - Whisk together the following in a small bowl. (this makes extra so store remainder in a mason jar and refrigerate for your next amazing salad)
  • ½ Cup of Avocado Oil (can use EVOO as well)
  • 1 TBSP of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Dash of Red Wine Vinegar
  • ½ TSP of Dijon Mustard
  • S&P to taste
  1. Lay the spinach down first in a large bowl or platter. Then add ALL of the salad ingredients.
  2. Dress the salad lightly with the homemade vinaigrette. Toss the salad until every spinach leaf and ingredient is covered in dressing.
  3. Store remaining salad dressing in a mason jar in the fridge and use for another meal. It's also great for marinades.



Marinated Mushrooms with Sautéed Kale

If you love fungi like I do, than this is a recipe that could potentially change the course of how you make mushrooms forever. I was on Pinterest this morning and came across this grilled mushroom skewer¬†recipe.¬†I immediately salivated and¬†thought about the shitake and cremini mushrooms sitting in my¬†fridge begging to be eaten.¬†The thought didn’t leave me, so when I got home I got to work in the kitchen. I knew I didn’t want to skewer anything and I had some leftover kale also begging to be eaten so I decided to fuse the kale with the shrooms. The result was fireworks in my mouth. This is the perfect side dish to anything! If you have never cooked kale before or eaten it for that matter, the key is to massage your kale with a¬†touch of¬†of extra virgin olive oil. Yes, with your hands, massage those gorgeous green leaves of deliciousness until they are¬†slightly wilted and covered¬†with EVOO. This helps break down the texture and fiber¬†so it’s edible…otherwise it feels like you’re chewing into poster board. I do this for kale that I cook as well.

I know people are sick of hearing about kale, but it really is the bomb dot com. Check out this link to read about all the health benefits as there are just too many to write in this blog post. Kale is holy. Kale is prevention. Kale is sexy. Eat it every week! Enjoy the recipe and let me know if you have any other ways you like to eat kale.



Marinated Mushrooms with Sautéed Kale
  • 1 lb. of a variety of mushrooms, sliced (I used shitake and cremini)
  • 1 bunch of curly kale, torn into pieces - (curly is my favorite kind of kale and what I use most)
  • 1 tsp. EVOO (this is for the kale massaging)

  • Marinade
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. salt & pepper (S&P)
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup of EVOO
  • 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar
  1. Throw the marinade ingredients in a small food processor or bullet and blend until smooth.
  2. In a bowl, pour the marinade over the mushrooms and mix until mushrooms are covered. Let it marinade in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, pour the tsp. of EVOO in a bowl with the kale. Toss and massage the kale until every leaf has EVOO on it and the kale feels slightly wilted. Set aside.
  4. Heat skillet to medium and then add the mushrooms. Sauté for 10 minutes until most of the liquid is gone. Stir often. (if there is still a lot of liquid, bump up the heat for a couple minutes to cook off that extra moisture)
  5. Turn down heat to medium-low. Add the kale. Stir until kale is mixed with shrooms and wilted. Appx. 5 minutes.
  6. Add a touch of seasoning and serve.



Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

I just started eating beets within the last year. I never really quite knew what they were or how to prepare them. I was confused, but now I can see clear…maybe that’s because in addition to the plethora of vitamins, minerals and nutrients (potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene and folic acid), beets can help with mental health as well. Since I typically can’t remember if I showered or not on any given day, I plan on turning up the beets to help with my mental situation…

So far I have been simply roasting them, but if anyone has any other suggestions on how to eat beets, please leave me a comment below. SIDE NOTE: Apparently beets are nature’s Viagra…who knew? I also tossed some walnuts on this salad to add an extra punch of healthy…walnuts are high in omega-3’s and antioxidants, but are often overlooked in the world of nuts. We should all be eating more walnuts. I tossed the salad with a balsamic vinegar, sprinkle of goat cheese and BAM…so delicious.

Beet Salad 4     Beet Salad 3

Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese
  • 2 medium beets, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • S&P
Salad stuff
  • Favorite Greens (I used spinach)
  • Favorite Nuts (I used walnuts)
  • Goat or Feta (I used goat)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the beets, olive oil, and S&P in a bowl until beets are coated, and arrange pieces of beet on baking sheet so that they don't touch.
  3. Roast until the beets are tender, 10 to 20 minutes. A fork inserted into a beet cube should come out easily.
  4. Once the beets cool, toss with favorite greens, favorite nuts and goat or feta cheese. Add dressing.
Beets can stain your hands so wash up right after handling.