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24 Jun

How Our Spectacular Salads can Lite up Your Summer

Posted in side dish, Spectacular Salads, vegetarian on 24.06.11 by Smart Ingredients

We have been having a blast demoing our 30 Spectacular Salads cookbook this summer. While 70 Meals,

One Trip to the Store, and Cook Once, Eat Twice are necessities in the kitchen, 30 Spectacular Salads is proving to be the book that brings fun and excitement!

What the book is all about is combining fresh flavors in unique combinations that pack a flavor punch without the need for excess oil or mayonnaise. In fact, there is no mayonnaise anywhere in the book, and in some of the salads, no fat whatsoever. In the case of the Black Bean Asparagus Salad, for example, it is not needed when you are using vinegar, cumin, Italian parsley and spices on top of fresh asparagus and tomatoes, and black beans.

Many people, including us, have been using this book to lighten up a

nd brighten up picnic and summer party tables. When hosting, make two or three of the easy, delicious and unique salads — such as Strawberry Caesar, Chopped Salad, Perfect Pasta Salad, Wild Rice Cranberry, just to name a few — to add a delightful array to the table.

It’s great to also make them for home. And they go a long way. You can make one salad every other day, and overlap the salads as side dishes with your main courses every night.

Many of the salad recipes including the Black Bean Asparagus Salad, Edamame Salad, and Sweet Potato Salad are available right here on our website, and all are of course in the book, (available just on our site right now, in select gift stores in IL and MI, and coming soon to and


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22 Feb

Isn’t that Sweet!

Posted in Appetizers, side dish, Spectacular Salads on 22.02.11 by Smart Ingredients

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (a consumer advocacy group), sweet potatoes are the number one vegetable in regards to health value. In their 1992 study that ranked vegetables according to their fiber content, complex carbs, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, the sweet potato soared, earning a ranking of more than 100 points (54%) over the next vegetable in line.

I like sweet potatoes, and I like these stats. And since I use a lot of potatoes in my cooking, have done a lot of experimenting with sweet potatoes these past few months. I have tried them as a substitute for traditional potatoes in many recipes, but even more so, I have experimented with them on their own. I had many successes along the way. Since the sweet potato is sweet, moist and juicy, without being enough of any of those qualities to significantly alter a recipe’s constitution, sweet potatoes are easy to add to many recipes as just an “extra” ingredient. For example in pizza dough and, pie crust.

A fan of squash and pumpkin-stuffed ravioli, I tried making a pasta stuffed with sweet potatoes. It was just ok, though I have flagged this recipe for sweet potato gnocchi to try in the near future: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage.

Following are the *big win* recipes I have created with Sweet Potatoes in the past few months:

1. Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinegar Dressing (click on link for recipe)

2. Bacon and Sweet Potato Fritters


  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and dfinely diced
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Boil sweet potatoes until tender. Mash and let cool. Crumble bacon. Combine potatoes, jalapeno and bacon. Form into 2-inch cakes. Fry in oil, turning occasionally until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

3. Sweet Potato Pizza with Goats Cheese and Olive Tapenade

  • Pizza dough
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 6 ounces goats cheese
  • 1 cup olives (combination of spanish green olives, kalamata olives and/or other olives of your choice, with pits removed).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel sweet potato, and boil until tender. Mash until smooth. Add to basic pizza dough recipe, and mix with hands to blend. Break apart and roll dough into golf ball-sized mounds. Roll out each ball with rolling pin, using extra flour if sticky. Prebake crusts for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse olives in food processor until minced. Top each crust with 2 tablespoons goats cheese, and one tablespoon olive mixture. Bake for an additional 6 minutes each.


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