Nordic Salad with Smoked Salmon and Lemon-Dill Dressing

Nordic Salad with Smoked Salmon and Lemon-Dill Dressing

This nordic salad with smoked salmon and lemon-dill dressing was inspired by an upcoming trip to Iceland! Embrace the nordic diet trend with this salad that packs tons of common nordic ingredients and flavor into a fresh salad bowl - hard boiled egg, root vegetables, dill, peppery radish and a bright lemon-dill oil dressing. 

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Beet, Radish and Avocado Salad

This beet, radish and avocado salad is a simple and colorful side salad for entertaining! Add chickpeas or tuna in olive oil to make a main dish. 

Guys, I promise I'm not sharing this recipe the day after Thanksgiving because I think you need to have a salad. Seriously, go have some stuffing for breakfast! If I was home with a fridge full of leftovers, that's what I'd be doing before spending the day making turkey soup!

I made this salad last week for cookbook club and thought it was too easy and tasty not to share. Have you ever heard of a cookbook club? The premise is so fun, I don't know why the trend died back in the day.

A friend of mine decided to start a one after reading this article. The premise is simple - pick a cookbook, the host makes the main and the other attendees make the appetizers, cocktails and sides.

What's great is that for the time it takes to prepare one dish, you get to try as many dishes as there are attendees. Perfect for those cookbooks where you want to try everything in it. Plus, since it all comes from the same cookbook, everything pairs well together.

For our first cookbook club, we chose Clean Slate. Kind of a perfect choice the week before Thanksgiving. It's a cookbook I already own and cook from pretty regularly, so I was excited when all the dishes at the party were ones I hadn't tried before. Some of the highlights were spinach pie, a sweet potato, farro and dill salad, and chicken paillards with squash and spinach, and the yummiest chocolate bark.


Beet, Radish and Avocado Salad

Serves: 6


  • 3 medium beets
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 7 ounces arugula
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap beets loosely in aluminum foil and place in the hot oven. Roast 45-60 minutes until tender.
  2. Remove from oven and set aside to cool in the foil. Once cool enough to handle, rub the skin off the beets and discard. Thinly slice.
  3. Divide arugula evenly between salad plates. Top with beet slices, radish, avocado, and goat cheese. Whisk vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad.

More colorful salads for entertaining: 

Dark Cherry and Crispy Proscuitto Salad
Dark Cherry and Crispy Proscuitto Salad
Balsamic Roasted Peach and Fig Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Balsamic Roasted Peach and Fig Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Citrus and Arugula Salad with Fennel
Citrus and Arugula Salad with Fennel

Food Rx: Red Velvet Smoothie

This vibrantly hued red velvet smoothie can help boost your endurance during a workout, thanks to a surprise ingredient - beets! 

A couple months ago, I committed to my friends, family and the entire internet to running a half marathon next year. As someone who hasn't run more than 3 miles since high school, this was either a powerful, exciting and inspiring commitment that will show me what I'm really made of....or a totally boneheaded move. Only time will tell.

As I've started to wean myself back into running, I've been trying to eat a runner too, getting plenty of healthy carbs before my runs, increasing my protein intake a bit and including more endurance boosting foods in my diet.

One of those endurance boosting foods? Beets! I know, a smoothie isn't exactly the place you'd expect to see beets, or want to see beets for that matter. But trust me on this one, chocolate and beets are a natural pair (please see these chocolate beet cupcakes). Plus, both work together to improve endurance and blood flow to muscles during your workout. Head over the Healthy Aperture blog for the recipe to make this red velvet smoothie with beets!

Collard Green Salad with Cornbread Croutons, Beets & Buttermilk Dressing

This collard green salad with cornbread croutons, beets, black-eyed peas, and probiotic rich buttermilk dressing is proof Southern food is more than fried chicken and biscuits! 

I've got a special treat in store for you today - a guest post from my lovely dietetic intern, Sallie Vaughn. We spent a few days together where she got a glimpse into the crazy life of a private practice dietitian/food blogger and a look at all the different career options for dietitians.

When we first met (after my 130 lb Saint Bernard was done pretending to be a lap dog), we chatted about her career goals. She told me as someone who grew up in a small town, she was passionate about people in rural areas live healthier lives. She then told me all about her grandma, or Grom as she calls her, and even shared an article she once wrote all about the healthy lessons she learned from her. Grom sounds like the epitome of a Southern grandma! At ninety years old (I think I got that right - apologies to Grom if I aged you!), she credits her health to savoring food with the family she loves. That's certainly something I can get behind! The dishes she cooked are a great example of how real traditional Southern food can promote health, a fact I love to share with my South Carolina clientele!

Alas, I'll turn it over to Sallie!

Hi! I am Sallie Vaughan, a dietetic intern through South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to write a guest blog post for Rachael. I am soooo excited to share my story with everyone! My blog posts talks about growing up as a child surrounded by southern food and how easy it can be to incorporate traditional southern food into everyday, healthy dishes!

Some of the best memories I can remember as a child were spent sitting around my grandmother’s kitchen table. No matter if it were after church or on a holiday, my grandmother would have a home-cooked meal ready for anyone eager to come to her house. Her kitchen often smelled of warm cornbread right out the oven. On a snowy day, you could find snow ice cream in her freezer and vegetable soup on her stovetop. Homemade chex mix and chocolate covered peanuts would sit in the living room for folks to nibble at before dinner was ready. When it was time to eat, an entire spread of food covered her kitchen table. Nobody was allowed to dig in until she blessed the food!

Gron, as we call her, has a passion for cooking and entertaining family and friends. Her house is where family gathers for all holidays and celebrations. It is rare to find cousins, uncles, and aunts all together without the presence of her good, southern cooking. If you ask anybody in the town, they could tell you how much her chocolate meringue pie is to die for. And I bet they have been invited over to her house for a meal, too! Nobody is a stranger to Gron.

I was the lucky granddaughter, though, because I lived right next door to her for 18 years! When it was just Daddy and I at home while Mama was out of town, we didn’t have to think twice about who was cooking us dinner. We just waited by the house phone until Gron called to invite us over. “Y’all hungry?” she would ask, “well come on over”.

Her kitchen table is where many stories were shared and laughs were heard. It is where we sat for hours upon hours stuffing our face until we couldn’t take another bite. It is where we gathered as one big family. And lastly, it is where my love for food and family originated. It’s no surprise to me that I am pursing a career that revolves around food. Perhaps I could blame Gron for that or thank her. I’ll go with the latter.

Since I grew up on southern food, I know how much of a bad reputation it can get. But, believe it or not, a traditional southern cuisine has great amount of benefits. Unfortunately, you can’t expect to get these benefits from cooking with loads of bacon grease and butter. You can, however, use simple substitutions to make southern food healthy.

Southern Collard Green Salad
Southern Collard Green Salad

Rachael and I spent a day together and created a healthy, southern dish that incorporated many of my grandmother’s favorite ingredients. We created a salad that included collard greens as the base and topped it with beets and black -eyed peas. We used cornbread for croutons and drizzled the salad with buttermilk dressing. Everything was made from scratch - Yum Yum! I told you southern food could be healthy!

Beets were my favorite in this salad because of all the memories I can attach it to. Gron always served beets and I was never a fan as a child. My daddy would lean over and say “you know beets make your eyes pretty, that’s why I’m so pretty”. As a nutrition student, I now know that he mixed up the health benefits of beets and carrots, but beets do have amazing benefits. They contain immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber to keep you full, and potassium/magnesium for nerves, muscles, and organ function.

The other ingredients in our salad offered many rewards, too!

COLLARDS // Provide huge antioxidant benefits. Excellent source of Vitamin K for anti-inflammatory and omega-3 fatty acids.

BLACK EYED PEAS // Our protein source of the salad. High levels of fiber and iron.

CORNBREAD // Corn meal is actually a whole grain! Whole grain=fiber! Calcium, iron, magnesium, B-vitamins, and the list goes on. Rachael and I replaced sugar for honey in the recipe!

BUTTERMILK // Doesn’t contain all the extra fat in store-bought dressings. Buttermilk provides probiotics, healthy bacteria for your gut. Provides calcium, phosphorus, and even protein.

I enjoyed spending the day with Rachael and reminiscing on my childhood. Who knew southern food could be so healthy. The key is cooking from scratch and knowing exactly what is in your food. In today’s world, everyone is so busy and often grab fast food or warm up a frozen meal in the microwave. Instead of eating together at the dinner table, many families sit in front of the television. Food has a huge impact on fueling our body, but it also brings people together for happiness. Just think of all the stories I would have missed out on without Gron’s kitchen table.

Sallie, best wishes to you in all that you do! You are smart and passionate, a surefire recipe for success! Wherever life takes you, I know you'll be inspiring others!

Crispy Cornbread Croutons


  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ cups organic buttermilk
  • Olive oil spray


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, egg, buttermilk and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Whisk wet ingredients into dry until combined.
  3. When oven is hot, place 1 tablespoon olive oil in an 8-inch cast iron skillet and place skillet in the oven for a minute to warm. Pour batter into hot skillet and place it in the oven. Bake 15 minutes until cornbread is golden and edges have pulled away from the skillet. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. When cool enough to handle, remove cornbread from the oven and cut into cubes. Spray with olive oil and bake 10 minutes until toasted.

Collard Green Salad with Cornbread, Beets & Buttermilk Dressing

Serves 4

Here are directions for how to roast beets. You could also purchase precooked beets or even pickled beets would be great here.


  • 1 large bunch of collards, thick stems removed and cut into thin ribbons
  • 4 medium beets, roasted or purchased precooked
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, from dry or canned
  • Cornbread croutons

Buttermilk Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together collards, beets, and black-eyed peas. Top with cornbread croutons and drizzle with buttermilk dressing.

Smoky Chipotle Beet and Quinoa Burgers

Have I found the perfect veggie burger in this smoky chipotle beet and quinoa burger? Quinoa lends a meaty texture, shredded beets give it a beef-like appearance and chipotle chilies add smoke and heat. This hearty burger will have you asking 'where's the beet?' (<--pretty proud of that one)

Indiana Jones had the Holy Grail. Moulder had "the truth." Nemo's dad had Nemo. Me, I'm searching for the perfect veggie burger. And I think I may have found it in this smoky chipotle beet and quinoa burger.

Thanks to Recipe Redux to thank for the inspiration. This month's theme is all about using smoke and spice to flavor dishes. From actual smoking techniques to bold, smoky spices and condiments, it's definitely a trend this year.

This past weekend when I was in Nashville, I had a pretty incredible falafel veggie burger at Pharmacy Burger. It had a great smoky flavor from the spices, something that's often missing from other veggie burgers. That's when I decided to do a burger for this month's challenge. I also wanted to challenge myself to create a veggie burger that was as close to a beef burger as possible.

One of my tricks for getting a ground meat texture in vegetarian dishes is using quinoa, which adds protein as well. Shredded vegetables also add to the texture and keep the burger from drying out. To make it look more like a traditional beef burger, I used beets. Maybe a little too beef like - doesn't it look like beef tartar when you slice into it?

To make it smoky, I used canned chipotles in adobo sauce, an ingredient I always keep on hand to flavor chilies, roast vegetables or sauces. Chipotles are dried jalapenos. You can purchase them canned in the Mexican aisle, packed in adobo, a smoky, spicy sauce made with tomatoes, garlic and vinegar. Since most recipes only need one or two, I store extra in the freezer until ready to use. I used two in this recipe, but if you really like it spicy,try three.

If like me, you prefer foods extra-spicy, get excited because hot foods actually have health benefits. Bring on the sweat napkin!

Spicy foods increase metabolism. I wouldn't, oh I don't know, drown a hot dog and fries in hot sauce in an attempt to undo calories, but heat does have a modest effect. One study found a 10% increase in metabolism for a few hours after eating. Another study found spicy foods increase the amount of brown fat cells, the type of fat that actually burns calories.

Capsaicin, the substance in chilies that lends heat, is also a powerful phytochemical. Although it may burn your mouth, capsaicin is frequently used for pain relief, especially for arthritis pain. In fact, capsaicin cream is frequently used to treat arthritis. The same substance has been found to help lower bad LDL cholesterol and improve blood flow, thereby reducing the risk or heart disease and lowering blood pressure.

For more spicy, smoky creations, check out the link up below. Enjoy!

Smoky Chipotle Beet and Quinoa Burgers

Makes: 8 burgers

For a gluten free version, use a whole grain gluten free bun. If you don't love the flavor of beets, try substituting shredded zucchini or squash, or even using half and half. Instead of quinoa, you could also use brown rice, millet or bulgur.



  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 lb raw beets, peeled
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 chopped chipotles in adobo, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, oat flour or other whole grain flour
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Other ingredients: 

  • 8 100% whole grain burger buns, toasted
  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Sliced red onion
  • Lettuce
  • Olive oil or vegan mayo
  • Dijon mustard
  • Pickles (fermented if possible)


  1. Bring water and quinoa to a boil on medium heat. Cover and reduce heat to simmer 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed. Keep covered and let sit 5 minutes. Remove cover, fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, shred the beets, carrots and onion with the large grates of a cheese grater or in a food processor. Toss the vegetables together in a large bowl. Add cilantro, soy sauce, chipotles, cumin and season with salt and pepper.Taste for seasoning and add more if needed.
  3. Add 4 eggs and combine. Stir in flour and combine until flour is incorporated.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Create 4 balls out of half the vegetable mixture. Drop into the skillet and press to flatten slightly. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes, then flip and cook about 5 minutes more. Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining mixture to make a total of 8 patties.
  5. Because it's difficult to cook veggie burgers all the way through without burning, I microwave mine 2-3 minutes to finish cooking and retain the crisp, browned exterior.
  6. Serve on a toasted bun with toppings and condiments as desired.