Greek Picnic Salad Or How to Get More Feta in Your Life

Hand over my heart as I tell you this, no carb has ever passed my lips that I didn’t love. Bread, pasta, rice—I love them all. That’s why this Greek Picnic Salad gets me excited because it’s not really a traditional green salad but rather a carb salad. Yeah baby, now we’re talking.

Greek Picnic Salad, Spinach, Garlic

I love this Greek Picnic Salad because the rice and chick peas make  it satisfying enough to be a meal on it’s own. It’s also perfect served as a side with grilled meats and fish in the summer, and as the name suggests it’s ideal for picnics. What more could you want in a salad so carb-o-licious? Unless I told you that it’s loaded with cheese! Feta, to be exact. Two whole cups of crumbly, salty goodness is mixed in this bad boy and you’re going to love it. Unless you’re a non-dairy, carb-hater and in that case we can’t be friends so mosey along.

Greek Picnic Salad, toss together in a large skillet and serve at room temperature

Feel free to use wild rice if you’d like in this salad, and although I haven’t done it yet, I believe orzo would be an excellent alternative as well. Mmmm, more carbs. The original recipe from Cooking Light called for sun dried tomatoes that you have to hydrate yourself. You may want to do this too, but frankly I love sun dried tomatoes packed in oil; they’re much more flavourful. I also increased the quantity of sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts because life’s too short to skimp on something so delicious.

Greek Picnic Salad

Greek Picnic Salad
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  1. 2 cups uncooked white rice
  2. 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and chopped
  3. 1 bag of of pre-washed spinach
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 2 cups of feta cheese, crumbled
  6. 1/2 cup of sliced kalamata olives
  7. 1 tsp dried oregano
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1/2 tsp pepper
  10. 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  11. 4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  12. Lemon wedges, optional
  1. Cook rice according to package directions and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Heat 2 tsps of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and garlic and cook until spinach wilts. Remove skillet from heat and add rice, tomatoes, feta and remaining ingredients. Drizzle with 2 tsps extra-virgin olive oil and combine all ingredients together.
  3. Serve at room temperature with lemon wedges on the side if desired.
Adapted from Cooking Light Greek-Style Picnic Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light Greek-Style Picnic Salad
Life In Pleasantville
Greek PIcnic Salad

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Greek Chicken Salad – Bring on Summer

Last year, I started a second job at a coffee shop and it was heaven — all the coffee I could dream of, right at my fingertips! The problem was, along with a ready supply of caffeine, there were tempting, sugary treats emitting their siren call all day long, too. Juggling two jobs wasn’t that difficult, but it wreaked havoc on my diet. Running from one place to another with so much unhealthy food nearby was a surefire recipe for disaster. When you’re busy and tired, it’s just easier to reach for something convenient that’s quick than something that’s good, or at least better for you.

greek chicken salad, lemon thyme chicken

I recently resolved to get back to healthier eating and a way to kick start things was to buy a pile of vegetables, and then to peel, slice, shred, or chop it all so it would be sitting in the fridge waiting for me to throw together at a moment’s notice. This Greek Chicken Salad is the result of past recipes I’ve created and checking to see what I happened to have in the fridge, which is usually how all the best recipes come about. You must try this Greek Chicken Salad! Not only does it make a great lunch or a light dinner, but once the weather heats up and the stores (or your garden) are piled high with ripe, juicy tomatoes, the salad will go from great to amazing. 

Begin by making a batch of lemon thyme chicken and setting it aside. The chicken can be used separately in a pasta salad, eaten with potatoes and steamed veggies for supper, or — of course— for today’s star: the Greek Chicken Salad.

Greek Chicken Salad, salad in a bowl

Greek Chicken Salad
Serves 4
Lemon herb chicken, salty feta and crunchy vegetables make a fantastic light salad perfect for lunch or dinner.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 4 chicken breast halves
  2. 1 lemon
  3. 12 thyme sprigs, approximately
  4. salt and pepper to taste
  5. olive oil
  6. 1 head of Romaine lettuce, shredded or ripped into bite sized pieces
  7. 3 tomatoes, chopped (or use a pint of cherry tomatoes)
  8. 1 sweet bell pepper, cored and chopped
  9. 1/2 English cucumber, seeds removed with a spoon and sliced into moons
  10. 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  11. 250 g feta cheese
For the chicken
  1. Lay the chicken out on your cutting board on top of a piece of waxed paper or cling film. Lay another piece of wax paper or cling film over top.
  2. Using a rolling pin, pound the chicken breasts until they are about the same thickness. Remove the top layer of waxed paper or cling film.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, then the fresh thyme. Zest the lemon over top, tapping as you go to make the lemon zest fall onto the meat. Drizzle the chicken with about 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  4. Heat a heavy frypan and add about another 2 tbsp olive oil. When it's good and hot, place the chicken in the pan, thyme and lemon side up. Let the chicken cook, sizzling away until the meat has browned before flipping and cooking the other side. Cook until the meat is no longer pink in the middle. You may need to do this in batches.
  5. Remove the cooked chicken to a plate to cool to room temperature. When the chicken has cooled, slice thinly.
For the salad
  1. To make individual salads, place a handful of Romaine into a bowl. Top with tomatoes, cucumber and peppers. Add about 1/2 of a chicken breast, then 2-3 tbsp of crumbled feta and some sliced olives.
  2. Serve the salad immediately with your favourite dressing. We love President's Choice roasted garlic vinaigrette
  1. The chicken can be made up to a day ahead of time.
Life In Pleasantville
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Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad For Garlic Lovers

I am a garlic lover. I mean – onions are fine, and shallots are even better – but if you’re looking for the star of the allium family, it’s garlic. Especially roasted garlic, because it mellows dramatically while roasting and develops a sweet flavour. While this recipe for Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad doesn’t call for as much garlic as my Roasted Garlic Soup, it still uses a whole head of garlic. Do not be afraid. The garlic here is not at all overwhelming. It’s likely that once you’ve tried it you’ll never go back to plain old boring regular Caesar salad again.

Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad

If you’ve never roasted garlic before, it’s incredibly easy. My favourite way to roast garlic is wrapped in tin foil with a little olive oil in a moderate oven. Too hot and the garlic burns and becomes bitter; too low and your dessert is ready before the salad.  You can find complete instructions here, and trust me when I say if you’ve never spread roasted garlic on a fresh, warm baguette, you haven’t lived. How it’s not on more bucket lists I’ll never know. For the purposes of this recipe you’ll need to roast one full head. Once the garlic has cooled after being removed from the oven use a small cocktail fork or lobster pick to remove cloves from skin.

This salad is perfect served with just about any meal because garlic makes a great accompaniment to so many flavors. I love it as a side with spaghetti but it can be easily turned into a main course by adding grilled chicken or steak cut on the diagonal, and served on top.

This dressing will last in your refrigerator for up to a week – or so they say; ours gets devoured by day two, tops.

Be sure to eat this salad with fellow garlic lovers, because you don’t want to be the sole person in the room who didn’t eat garlic.

Bonus: Vampire safety shield. You’re welcome.

Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad
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For the dressing
  1. 1 head of roasted garlic
  2. 1 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  4. 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  5. 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  6. 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  7. 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  8. 1/2 sea salt
  9. 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  10. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Salad
  1. 8 slices bacon, cut into 1" pieces
  2. 4 romaine hearts, washed, dried thoroughly, torn into bite-size pieces
  3. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. To make dressing, place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Puree until smooth. With motor running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream to form thick, emulsified dressing. Transfer to airtight container. Refrigerate up to one week.
  2. Cook bacon, using method of your choice (oven, stovetop) until brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel and tear into 1" pieces.
  3. In a large salad bowl, toss romaine with enough dressing to coat lightly. Top with cheese and bacon.
Life In Pleasantville
Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad

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Curry Potato Salad with Sweet Peas

I love potato salad. To me it’s not just a side for picnics, it’s a meal. Through the school year, I routinely make potato salad to cover school and work lunches. So when Patak’s asked me to try a recipe from their amazing online cookbook Smoke & Spice, I jumped at the opportunity to make their Samosa Inspired Potato Salad. To me, it’s a Creamy Curry Potato Salad with Sweet Peas and the taste is absolutely mind-blowing.

Curry Potato Salad

You’ll love the sweet and mildly spicy taste of this salad and while I think it’s perfect on it’s own, it’s also a perfect side for chicken, fish or beef off the grill.

Once again Patak’s has shocked me with the versatility of their sauces and pastes. A year ago when I first stepped into this role as a Patak’s Mom Brand Ambassador I couldn’t have imagined how many ways I would mix a little India into my life. From wraps to pizza and now this Curry Potato Salad, I have become deliciously aware of how many ways Indian flavours can be mixed with traditional dishes to create a whole new taste experience.

Curry Potato Salad

Now at the end of our term, I’m a little sad to be moving on from our Patak’s partnership, it’s been such a great year working with a really great company. Thank you to Patak’s for including me on this journey to Mix in a Little India, you can be sure I’ll continue to do just that.

Curry Potato Salad with Sweet Peas
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  1. 5 tbsps Patak's Mild Curry Paste
  2. 5 tbsp mayonnaise
  3. 2 tbsp paprika
  4. 10 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  5. 2 cups of onions, chopped fine
  6. 2 cups of frozen sweet peas
  7. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Boil potatoes in a medium-sized pot. When the potatoes are tender, drain and cut into quarters. Place them aside in a mixing bowl to cool.
  2. Add the oil to a medium-high heat pan and then add the onion, slowing adding in the Patak's Mild Curry Paste releasing the full flavours and aroma of the paste.
  3. Add the sweet peas after five minutes and let cook for three minutes or until peas are cooked through. Remove from the heat and let the paste mixture cool.
  4. Mix the paste mixture with the mayonnaise, paprika, and the potatoes and serve at room temperature or chilled.
Life In Pleasantville

Disclosure:I am part of the Patak’s Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada andI receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Apple Bacon Spinach Salad

bacon spinach salad

I can just about guarantee we’re not going to be gifted with an Indian Summer this year; I can smell fall in the air already. The trees have begun to turn colours here and there, and while we had a *SURPRISE* hot couple of days finally, in the evening the temperatures are chilly. School starts next week, and apple season in Ontario begins right shortly. 

Apples are a staple at my house. I’m more of a citrus gal, myself, but my family are hardcore apple fans. Every year we’ll plow through a giant pile of apples. I’ll make apple butter, apple sauce, slice and freeze them for pies, spend weeks dehydrating apple rings for snacks and homemade instant apple-cinnamon oatmeal. And then of course, we’ll consume a second giant pile fresh.

Preferably when they’re straight from the orchard.

Spinach Salad with Apple Bacon and Maple Viniagrette

 One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned as a food blogger is how bacon’s popularity with just about everybody is second only to its versatility. I have paired bacon with some amazing stuff including chocolate, vodka, coffee, and maple syrup. Yes, bacon goes awesome with sweet stuff. Who knew?

Apples and maple syrup? Bacon got ‘dis.

Bacon contains the magic of what the Japanese call umami: the taste of savory. It’s that mouth-watering, rich meaty flavour that stimulates the back of the throat and mouth that makes everybody crazy for more. 

Apple bacon spinach salad

Who says you have to serve a boring, store-bought Greek or garden salad at your end-of-season BBQs?  This fast-prep, lovely little spinach side-salad is topped with crisp tart apples, bacon, mushrooms, and caramelized onions. It’s dressed with a bold sweet-tart apple cider vinegar and maple syrup vinaigrette. It’s a whisper of fall, the fun of summer, and a flavour roundhouse kick to the face. 

 Best of all, it comes together in under 15 minutes. 

Apple Bacon Spinach Salad
Serves 4
A spinach salad with apple, bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and a maple vinaigrette.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 4 slices bacon
  2. 1 small red onion
  3. 5-6 mushrooms, sliced
  4. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  5. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  6. 2 crisp apples, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  7. 8 cups washed and torn spinach leaves
  1. In a medium sized frying pan, cook the bacon until it reaches desired doneness. Remove and drain.
  2. Add onion and mushrooms to the bacon drippings, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. While onions are cooking, chop the bacon and set aside, and slice apple.
  4. Once onion is done cooking, add the bacon back to the pan, add the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Boil it for 1 minute, and remove from heat to cool slightly.
  5. Plate the spinach and apple individually and spoon warm dressing over plates, or serve in a salad bowl, tossed with the dressing. Serve immediately.
Life In Pleasantville
 See you in the orchard!


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Easy Taco Salad Recipe

easy taco salad

Sometimes you feel like making a big involved meal and sometimes you just want a break. This Taco Salad recipe is a go-to around here for when I don’t want to sacrifice taste for convenience. For my final Life Made Delicious post, I thought it was worth reminding you that dinner doesn’t need to be complicated to be delicious. Old El Paso is the star of this show, so make sure you pick some up for the next night you feel like a fiesta without all the work that goes into it.

Easy Taco Salad Recipe

Old El Paso Smart Fiesta Taco Seasoning
Old El Paso Mexican Rice
1 head of romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped
1 medium jalapeno
1 small onion
small can black beans
1 lb ground beef

Cook beef according to package directions on back of seasoning mix. Start rice, and while it’s cooking saute chopped onion and jalapeno until soft. Rinse beans. Just before rice is done add onions, jalapeno and beans and cook through until beans are warm. Layer chopped lettuce in bowl, add rice, then beef on top. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, salsa, fresh cilantro and Holy Guacamole on top.

Special thanks to General Mills, Life Made Delcious and Mom Central for including me in this program for the last year. It’s been a great ride. If you’d like too see other amazing Life Made Delicious posts from the last year check out this fantastic Pinterest board with pins from some of Canada’s best bloggers. You’re guaranteed to find some recipe inspiration there for those nights when you have time to dwell in the kitchen and for the nights when you need something fast!

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Steak Salad with Blue Cheese Horseradish Dressing

Steak Salad with Blue Cheese Horseradish Dressing. Sort of just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? Probably because there is so much that’s right about this salad, like steak cooked to your liking (I like mine run through a warm room), paired with blue cheese and horseradish, both perfectly suited for steak and crisp green salad with juicy cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber and red onion. Not to mention this salad is ridiculously easy to put together AND it’s also impressive company fare.

Yeah, this Steak Salad with Blue Cheese Horseradish Dressing pretty much has it all going on. Pair it with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon, like Santa Carolina or Liberty School and it’s a party.

steak salad with blue cheese horseradish dressing

Steak Salad with Blue Cheese Horseradish Dressing

1 1/2 pounds flank steak
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsps prepared horseradish
1 tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
6 cups romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite size pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 baby cucumbers, sliced
1/2 cup red onion, sliced thinly

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish, lemon juice, blue cheese and pepper. Season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready.

Season the beef with salt and pepper and let come to room temperature. Grill the steak to your liking. Remove from heat and tent with foil to let rest for 10 minutes. Slice on the diagonal into strips.

While steak is resting, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion with the blue cheese horseradish dressing. Top with sliced steak and serve immediately. (Serves 6)

Pleasantville Note: Any steak works well with this. Flank is great steak and very budget-friendly when serving a crowd. If you really love them though, you can also try sliced beef tenderloin on top.

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Crunchy Asian Sesame Salad

Every time I make this Crunchy Asian Sesame Salad, I say to myself, “Self, why don’t you make this more often?!”. This salad is quite possibly my favourite green salad but since picking a favourite recipe is like picking a favourite child I remain firmly non-committal on the topic.

asian sesame salad

What I really love about this Crunchy Asian Sesame Salad is that it’s perfect as a side with so much. It’s great with steak or fish, and I love it all on it’s own for lunch!

Crunchy Asian Sesame Salad

Two large heads of green leaf lettuce (or one green/one red — you’re the boss)
1 package ramen noodles
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/3 cup cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp soya sauce
1/3 cup canola oil

About an hour ahead of putting salad together, whisk sugar, vinegar, soya sauce and oil together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and let cool. In the meantime, in a dry stainless steel pan roast sesame seeds, broken up ramen noodles (uncooked and discard flavouring) and sesame seeds over medium-heat, tossing constantly until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and let cool. Wash and spin leaf lettuce very dry. Toss lettuce and dressing together and sprinkle with crunchy mixture. Serve immediately.

Pleasantville Note: The drier your lettuce is the better. Any salad dressing you toss with it will stick to the leaves better. This makes enough for eight. Normally what I do is spread it over two days, dividing the dressing in half and setting aside for our next meal.

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Strawberry Romaine Salad

This recipe for Strawberry Romaine Salad was ripped from a magazine (sorry, no name on the page) many moons ago and thrown in the “someday” pile. Feeling guilty that I’d neglected to try it for at least 5 years (yes, that’s how many “somedays” I have) I pulled it out and gave it a whirl. All I can say is, damn, I need to get through that pile quicker. This Strawberry Romaine Salad is incredible — the perfect mix of sweet and tang and I’d say an ideal summer salad.

I know though, you want to know what’s in it for you right? I hear you. Well how about strawberries are loaded with Vitamin C and help keep wrinkles away, and red onions help reduce the risk of stomach cancer! Shut the front door! I did not know that. Also knocking my socks off — a head of romaine lettuce contains more Vitamin C than an orange. Anybody else feel like their world has shifted? This is suddenly like a super salad, except of course when we throw the mayo and sugar on but let’s call that balance and move on.

strawberry romaine salad

Strawberry Romaine Salad

2 heads romaine lettuce

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 medium-size red onion, sliced thinly

2 tbsps sesame seeds

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 milk

2 tbsps vinegar

Toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan on stovetop over medium-high heat, constantly shaking pan so they don’t burn. Set aside. Tear romaine lettuce into bite size pieces. Toss strawberries, onion and sesame seeds with lettuce in a large salad bowl. Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, milk and vinegar in a small bowl. Add to salad and toss just before serving.

Pleasantville Note: This salad makes 12 servings, so it’s definitely for a crowd. For weekday meals I cut everything in half. Place half the dressing in the refrigerator and have salad again the next day. I’ve shared the recipe exactly as written but you should know that I cut the sugar back slightly and it was fine. Also, if planning to make for a dinner party, make the dressing the day before.

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Classic Broccoli Salad

Spring is here and it’s salad time. Time for Dill Potato Salad, Green Goddess Dressing, Macaroni Salad, Chicken Salad, and this Classic Broccoli Salad which will knock your socks off.

Even those with severe vegetable phobias have been known to squeal with delight at the sight of this broccoli salad. Dibs for seconds happen before the first plate is handed out. I suspect it’s the magic ingredient bacon that does this, but really the combination of all the flavours in this salad make it divine. I have seen recipes for broccoli salad that add raisins, but I’m not a raisin lover and as such they don’t land in my salad (see below). You can however add sesame seeds for some crunch if you’d like or sliced almonds. This salad is also best if made a day ahead so that the ingredients really mix, which makes it an ideal salad for all the parties and barbecues you’ll be throwing this summer. Right?

classic broccoli salad

Classic Broccoli Salad

2 heads broccoli, washed and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 of large red onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp vinegar (white or cider)

Mix the broccoli, red onion, cheese and bacon together in a large bowl. Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar and pour over broccoli salad. Stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight. I say this serves between 8 and 10, but if you hear someone squeal with delight upon seeing it, it’ll probably be less.

broccoli salad


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