Don’t serve the same old salads at your Fourth of July celebrations, find ones with a twist that’s tasty, nutritious and tangy.
Sun-Dried Tomato Macaroni Salad
16 ounces dried small pasta (such as elbow or farfalle)
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls (very small balls)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta and spread on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
While the pasta cooks, prepare the dressing. In a blender, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, salt, pepper, brown sugar, mayonnaise and yogurt. Blend until smooth, then set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the dressing with the cooled pasta, bell pepper, fennel, mozzarella and herbs. For best flavor, cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Sweet Potato, Grilled Corn And Black Bean Salad With Spicy Cilantro Dressing
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 clove garlic
1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup seasoned rice vinegar
4 ears corn, husked
15 1/2-ounce can black beans, drained
4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
Heat the grill to medium.
In a medium saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam until just tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the garlic, chipotle, shallot, cilantro and vinegar. Puree until smooth. Taste, then season with salt. When the potatoes are done, pour half of the dressing over them, then toss well. Set aside to cool.
While the potatoes cool, prepare the corn. Mist the corn with cooking spray, then grill, turning often, until the ears are lightly browned in spots on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill and set aside to cool until easily handled. Cut the kernels from the cobs. To do this, one at a time stand each ear on its wide end, then carefully saw down the length of the cob on all sides. You should have at least 2 cups of kernels.
Stir the corn kernels, beans and scallions into the potatoes, adding additional dressing as desired. Taste, then adjust seasoning.
Basil-Oregano White and Black Bean Salad
4 to 6 servings
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves (1/2 ounce), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh oregano leaves (1/8 ounce)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked, no-salt-added black beans
1 1/2 cups cooked, no-salt-added navy beans
Combine the oil and garlic in a small saute pan over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to cook but not brown the garlic; remove from the heat.
While the garlic-oil mixture is cooling, combine it with the vinegar, basil, oregano and sugar in a mini food processor or blender. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
Combine the dressing with the black beans and navy beans, mixing well to thoroughly coat. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve at room temperature.
The Washington Post
Mini Cherry Phyllo Pie
For the filling:
1 pound sweet cherries, pitted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
For the phyllo shells:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons slivered or sliced almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 sheets phyllo dough
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 small scoops frozen yogurt (optional)
Heat the oven to 350 F.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high, combine the cherries, sugar, lemon zest and juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the cherries in a stream, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat. Let the filling cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a spice grinder, small blender or the small bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds with the sugar and cinnamon until finely chopped but not pulverized. Transfer to a small bowl.
Fold the stack of phyllo sheets in half, then fold it in half again and trim off the edges (reserving the trimmings), to produce a stack of 32 squares, each 4 1/2-inches across.
Lay one phyllo square on a work surface, then use a pastry brush to lightly dab the square with a little of the melted butter. Sprinkle a teaspoon of the almond mixture on top, then set a second square over it. Brush the second square with a little more butter and sprinkle with another teaspoon of almond sugar.
Set a third square on top of the second at a 45 degree angle, forming an 8-pointed star. Top with one last square, brushing it lightly with butter. Drape the stack of phyllo over one cup of an overturned muffin pan. Mist the stack with cooking spray. Repeat this layering process to form another 7 stacks, also setting them over the muffin cups. Reserve a little of the almond mixture and butter.
Lay the phyllo trimmings flat and brush them with the remaining butter. Sprinkle them with the remaining almond mixture, then transfer them to a small baking pan.
Bake the phyllo shells and the scraps on the oven’s middle shelf until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
To serve, spoon the cherry filling into the shells, then top with the crispy scraps and the frozen yogurt, if using.