Side Dishes

Fall Fruit Salad

Fall Fruit Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I can’t believe it’s already late September! Time goes by way too quickly for my liking, but at least it’s Friday so I’m not really complaining. I had a completely different recipe scheduled to share today, but then I made this Fall Fruit Salad and it was so good I decided it needed to be shared here on Lemon & Mocha.

Fall Fruit Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

As soon as fall hits, everyone is all about the pumpkins and apples, myself definitely included. As great as those flavors are, there’s so many other seasonal fall fruits that often get ignored. I’m here to bring their gorgeous selves to the center stage with this Early Fall Fruit Salad. I’m including the ‘early’ because most of these fruits are in season right now and won’t be in just a week or two. It’s hard to keep up with all the seasonal fruits and vegetables going in and out of the stores! Just a few weeks ago I wanted to buy some fresh cherries, but seemingly overnight they had all disappeared from the produce shelves. So take advantage of these juicy fruits while you can!

Fall Fruit Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I mixed together blackberries, plums, figs and strawberries. I find that fall fruits and berries aren’t as sweet as most summer fruits so I’ve added a little maple syrup to sweeten them up. You’re going to want to use a bold maple syrup for that extra depth of flavor. I used an infused maple syrup, which you can read about in my Instagram post. I also added some lime juice and fresh mint, which really brings the whole fruit salad together.

Fall Fruit Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

This fruit salad did not last long in our house. Matt opted to eat it as is, while I scooped mine over fluffy pancakes – so good! Another reason I love this fruit salad is having fruit prepped and ready in the fridge makes us much more inclined to reach for them as snacks during the week.

Fall Fruit Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

There’s a little bit of time left while some of these fruits are still in season so we’ll definitely be back to the store soon to make some more Fall Fruit Salad. I hope you all enjoy and have a great weekend!

Fall Fruit Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Fall Fruit Salad
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces blackberries
  • 8 ounces strawberries, sliced
  • 2 ripe plums, cored and sliced
  • 8 figs, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon whole fresh mint leaves
Directions
  1. Combine the fruit in a serving bowl. Pour the maple syrup and lime juice over top. Gently toss to combine. Top with the fresh mint leaves; if they are large cut them in half.

 

Three Bean & Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Three Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

There’s still plenty of time for barbecues and this Three Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Salad is the perfect side dish. I didn’t grow up with bean salad on the dinner table and I had never really given the dish much thought before. However, a couple months ago, Matt and I were grabbing dinner at Whole Foods. We live right by one so this is a common occurrence for us; it’s too hard to go in there and shop without getting dinner! I usually put together something from the salad bar. I’m not big on salads, but I throw in all the toppings and sides they have without any lettuce on the bottom. Anyone else do this or am I the only weird one?

Three Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, I put in some of this four bean salad they had along with some multi-colored roasted cauliflower (among probably ten other things). When we sat down to eat, I couldn’t get enough of the bean salad and roasted cauliflower combination.

Three Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I decided to make my own version when we had some family come stay with us. I found Cookie and Kate’s bean salad recipe and decided to tweak a few things. The salad got rave reviews! It is crunchy, well-balanced and has just the right amount of acidity. All the fresh chopped parsley brightens it up as well. My Aunt liked it so much that she made it while we were down at the beach!

Three Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Shortly after making it for my family, I decided I wanted to make it again, but this time with the roasted cauliflower like my Whole Foods salad bar meal. I found some rainbow cauliflower in the frozen section of Trader Joe’s and thought the colors of the purple cauliflower would pop really well. I had never roasted frozen cauliflower before, but it came out perfect.

Three Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

So after a bit of tweaking, below is my favorite version of this refreshing Three Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Salad. It makes a lot so definitely make sure you’re going to have some hungry eaters!

Three Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Three Bean & Roasted Cauliflower Salad
 
Yield: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ small red onion, minced
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil then place on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper then roast for 20 minutes. Set aside to let cool.
  2. In a large serving bowl or mixing bowl, combine the roasted cauliflower, kidney beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, red onion, cucumber red bell pepper and parsley.
  3. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour over the beans and cauliflower and gently toss to combine.
Notes
I like to peel my chickpeas even though it takes a while. If you wish to peel them, simply pop them out of their skins after you’ve rinsed them.

Recipe adapted from Cookie + Kate.

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I am a little addicted to this Sweet Potato Salad. This inspiration came from the restaurant chain Not Your Average Joe’s. I’m not sure if you have one in your state, but we have a few here in Massachusetts and Matt and I are hooked. Last summer they had a limited time barbecue menu and one of the sides was a sweet potato salad. When I asked our waitress about the special sides she started raving about the sweet potato salad so I figured I would give it a shot.

Sweet Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

It was amazing! It was incredibly flavorful, a little tangy, a little sweet and I couldn’t stop eating it! The next day at work I started telling people that they had to go and order it because it was that good. This summer I haven’t seen it back on their menu yet so I set out to recreate the recipe. Just like the one I had at Not Your Average Joe’s, I couldn’t stop eating this potato salad!

Sweet Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I knew the base of the dressing wasn’t all mayonnaise since it had a rich tanginess to it, so I added some buttermilk. The mustard seeds give it a great crunch and the celery salt and smoked paprika bring a ton of flavor. I added in hard boiled eggs and scallions because I remembered them from the original dish and I love both those ingredients in my potato salads. I don’t like spicy food so I put in the teeniest tiniest pinch of chili powder, but you can definitely add more if you want a bit of a kick in your salad.

Sweet Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

One of my favorite parts of this Sweet Potato Salad is that it tastes even better the next day making it the perfect make ahead side dish for 4th of July, potlucks and summer barbecues. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and enjoy this Sweet Potato Salad!

Sweet Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sweet Potato Salad
 
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch of chili powder, optional
Directions
  1. Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a large sauce pan then cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt to the water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through. Drain the potatoes, rinse with cold water, then let drain until dry. Place in a large mixing bowl and let cool. Once cool add the chopped hard boiled eggs and sliced scallions.
  2. Mix together the dressing. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, parsley, Dijon, mustard seeds, celery salt, smoked paprika and chili powder, if using. Pour over the potatoes and carefully stir until coated. Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Give it a stir before serving. It tastes even better the next day.
Notes
If you don't want to buy buttermilk you can make your own with regular milk. Put a little less than a teaspoon of lemon juice (or vinegar, but I like to use lemon juice) in a measuring cup then fill with milk until you reach ¼ cup. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.

 

Watermelon Caprese Salad

Watermelon Caprese Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tomorrow is the first day of summer! I’m posting one of my favorite summer dishes to celebrate – Watermelon Caprese Salad. Even though caprese salad is incredibly simple, when it’s made with fresh peak-season tomatoes it is complete summer perfection. Layers of sweet tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and fresh basil are drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, syrupy balsamic glaze and thick granules of sea salt.

Watermelon Caprese Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The only addition I’ve ever tasted that has somehow been even better than the classic is juicy watermelon slices. I first had this combination during the summer five years ago with my parents at a restaurant out in Colorado. I even have a picture! Here it is below. Matt had just gotten me my first “real” camera that spring for our trip to Seattle so I was putting it to good use taking pictures of all our dishes.

Watermelon Caprese Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

It was a special on the menu that night and even though their summer caprese had figs, heirloom tomatoes and burrata, the real standout was the watermelon. Diane and I could not believe how much the crisp sweet watermelon brought to the dish.

Watermelon Caprese Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Later that summer we were at our annual family beach week and my aunt was making a caprese salad with some tomatoes she got at the farm stand. Diane suggested that we put some watermelon slices on it like the dish we had in Colorado; just like that we officially converted to religious Watermelon Caprese Salad makers and we haven’t looked back since! Watermelon individually pairs well with all the components of a caprese salad and makes the salad even more refreshing and summery.

Watermelon Caprese Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since there’s only a few ingredients you want them to really shine so make sure you buy the best watermelon, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil your farmer’s market or grocery store has to offer. I promise once you try this version it will be your new summer go-to! Enjoy and happy summer everyone!

Watermelon Caprese Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Watermelon Caprese Salad
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ of a seedless watermelon, sliced into pieces roughly the same size and thickness of the tomato slices
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, preferably sea salt or kosher salt
  • Balsamic glaze (see note)
Directions
  1. Layer the caprese salad. I like to do a tomato slice, topped with a mozzarella slice, topped with a watermelon slice, then finally topped with a basil leaf. I usually plan on 2 stacks like this per person, depending on how many other sides there will be. Arrange the stacks so they are layered over one another.
  2. When you are ready to serve, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Sprinkle the salt over top then serve.
Notes
You can find balsamic glaze at the grocery store - Trader Joe's has a great one. If you want to make your own: combine ½ cup good quality balsamic vinegar with 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. The glaze should be thick and syrupy. Let cool before serving. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 

Summer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata

Summer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m starting my 4th of July recipe posts early so that you can have lots of delicious backyard barbecue inspiration ready to go. Also, summer barbecue season is in full swing and is it really a barbecue if there isn’t pasta salad? I love cooking seasonally so I wanted to pack as many seasonal veggies as I could into this Summer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata. We have red bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, green beans, corn and arugula – like I said, all the veggies!

Summer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata  |  Lemon & Mocha

The best part is that all the vegetables, except the arugula, are roasted, which concentrates their flavor and sweetness. It also gives them a nice caramelization taking your pasta salad to the next level. And if you want to be at the top level then you have to toss your pasta salad with a lemony pesto and creamy burrata cheese! How amazing does that sound? If you’ve never had burrata it’s basically mozzarella’s cooler sibling and is soft on the inside. You can find in the grocery store near the fresh mozzarella, but if you can’t find any you could substitute fresh mozzarella or even goat cheese.

Summer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pasta salads tend to either fall in the creamy macaroni category or the Italian dressing camp, so I love switching it up and using the pesto to dress and flavor the pasta and veggies. I tried to keep this as simple as possible by roasting everything at the same temperature for the same amount of time.

Summer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata  |  Lemon & Mocha

While making this recipe I also discovered my new favorite way to make corn! I love grilled corn, but it takes a fair amount of prep work, while boiling corn seems to take forever and doesn’t add any flavor. Baking corn is the way to go! I shucked the corn, lightly drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper then wrapped in aluminum foil before popping in the oven along with the other vegetables. The corn came out tender and full of flavor.

Summer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you are looking for other pasta salad ideas, Diane’s Orzo Pasta Salad is another favorite of mine! How do you like your pasta salad? Are you team creamy macaroni, team Italian dressing, or something completely different?

Summer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata  |  Lemon & Mocha

Summer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata
 
Yield: 10-12 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound short pasta
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup halved green beans
  • 1 ear corn
  • 2 cups arugula
  • ¾ cup pesto
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ lemon, zested and juiced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 6 ounces burrata
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prep the veggies. Cut the red pepper into a large dice. Cut thick rounds of the yellow squash and zucchini then quarter. Place the cut red pepper, cut yellow squash, cut zucchini, tomatoes and cut green beans on a full sheet pan (18”x 26”) then lightly drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat then season with salt and pepper. Spread out the veggies so they aren’t overlapped or on top of each other. Remove the husk and silk from the ear of corn. Get a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the corn in then place the ear of corn in the center slightly turning up the edges. Lightly drizzle with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Tightly wrap the ear of corn. Place the baking sheet and the wrapped corn on the middle rack of your oven and let cook for 25 minutes, or until the veggies are nicely roasted. Set aside.
  3. While the vegetables are roasted, boil the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. Once cooked, rinse with cold water and strain. Once cooled slightly and dry, put in a large mixing bowl. When the cooked vegetables have slightly cooled add them to the mixing bowl, using a sharp knife to carefully cut the kernels of corn off the ear.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together together the pesto, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and some fresh ground pepper. Pour over the pasta and the vegetables. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper according to taste. Place in the serving dish. Top with the burrata, breaking off chunks to spread on top.