Kick up a classic summer side dish with this quick and easy recipe for Italian Fruit Salad paired with buttery pound cake croutons.
The official first day of summer may still be a few weeks away, but I’ve decided to get a headstart on my lineup of warm weather side dishes, beginning with this fresh and flavorful Italian Fruit Salad.
The classic dish gets a welcome update thanks to a tangy balsamic dressing, but I couldn’t let the deliciousness stop there. I’ve added an indulgent twist to this summer salad in the form of toasted pound cake croutons. Intrigued? Read on for the recipe!
There are no rules when it comes to mixing and matching the components of fruit salad, so feel free to use whatever fruit you have on hand or that is nearing its peak in terms of ripeness. I’ve added blackberries to the original fruit salad recipe, however raspberries, strawberries or even pomegranate seeds would be welcome additions to pair with the fresh basil.
And this is when the dish goes from a basic fruit salad to a taste bud-bursting dessert. Cue the pound cake croutons! Here’s the setup:
- Dice your favorite homemade or store-bought pound cake into 1-inch cubes
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Once the butter has melted, add 2 cups of the croutons to the pan, tossing to combine
- Transfer the croutons to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake them at 375ºF for 8 to 10 minutes until they’re golden brown and toasted
All that’s left to do is add the croutons to the bowl of fruit, drizzle on the balsamic vinegar and honey, then toss, dish out and dig in!
Are you ready to give your fruit salad a dessert-inspired makeover? Then grab the pound cake and preheat your oven for Italian Fruit Salad.
- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste
I love making pasta salads when entertaining because it’s easy to make a lot, not too pricey, filling, and they are great at room temperature. This pasta salad recipe is nicely balanced with beans and greens, and a store-bought pesto makes it so easy! I adapted BHG’s Italian Pesto Pasta Salad recipe by adding kale and pecans.
I pull the kale off the stalks and shred them into pieces by hand. After boiling the pasta, I throw the kale in that same pot, with a bit of olive oil, and saute´ briefly until wilted and bright green. I then toss the hot pasta with the greens, canned beans and pesto.
Chopped green scallions and toasted pecans can be sprinkled over the top before serving, or mixed in, for an extra crunchy kick.
This dish is great served warm or at room temperature, and is easily made ahead.
For the full recipe, click here. I simply substituted kale and pecans for the suggested arugula and pine nuts. The dish could also be made vegan by leaving out the cheese and using a dairy-free pesto. It could easily be made with gluten-free pasta as well. Enjoy!
Delish Dish, Let's Party | Tags:
beans, canellini, dairy-free, dinner, easy, entertaining, gluten free, green onions, healthy, kale, nuts, Party, pasta, pecans, pesto, scallions, vegan, vegetarian, weeknight
My new cookbook, The Forest Feast, just came out and we are doing a GIVEAWAY!
A couple years ago, my husband and I left New York City for a cabin in the woods in Northern California. I had worked as a freelance food photographer in New York, so being in California meant starting over in a way. I decided I needed a new portfolio so I set out to create one at our new cabin, by cooking and shooting with local produce outside amongst the forest. This became my blog, The Forest Feast, and now this cookbook! The book is unique because it’s an art book/cookbook blend. The recipes are displayed visually so there’s not a lot of text to read through. Instead, my own handwriting, photography and watercolor illustrations guide you through the steps. The book features 100 vegetarian recipes that are super simple- most have fewer than 5 ingredients and are easy enough for a weeknight, yet unique enough for entertaining. For a little preview, watch my book trailer, HERE.
Below is one of my favorite recipes from the book. I make it often for dinner parties and it’s a hit! The dressing is super garlicky and the polenta “croutons” make it filling.
Photos and Recipe by Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast cookbook.
As I mentioned earlier, BHG and I are giving away a couple of copies of The Forest Feast cookbook! To enter to win one of 5 copies of The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods, tell us below: “What is your favorite way to use kale?”. For another opportunity to win, connect with Better Homes and Gardens on Twitter and re-tweet the tweet marked with the hashtag #BHGForestFeast. We’ll conduct a random drawing from the entries received to select the winners. See the official contest rules here.
Note: This contest has ended.
Our winners for the blog comments were Allie who said “Making a simple kale salad…”, Carol who loves “Kale chips,” and Alex who said “A wilted kale salad and sauteed with quinoa and sweet potato.”
Good luck and Happy Cooking!
This dish is a great one for entertaining because it can be served hot or at room temperature, and it can easily be made ahead. I love the addition of the balsamic and pine nuts – makes it feel a little different (and a little lighter!) than your average potato salad. I modified the original recipe just a little and didn’t include bell pepper, but it’s a great alternate addition. I also added an extra onion to mine because I love them so much.
Just chop everything into cubes and roast:
I picked the rosemary from our bush out back!
It was foggy while I was shooting this dish (perfect for photographing outside!), and I couldn’t resist this shot on the deck:
For the full recipe, click here. Enjoy!
Photos & lettering by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast.
I’m always on the hunt for finger-friendly appetizer inspiration, so when I came across this recipe for Artichoke Flatbread, I knew this easy, cheesy dish would be making an appearance at my next dinner party.
Sure enough, this recipe delivered big on flavor and on ease of preparation, which is critical when it comes to entertaining a room full of guests without breaking a sweat.
Flatbread, much like its culinary cousin pizza, leaves the door wide open for customization. You can keep it as simple or as complex as your palate desires. I used this recipe for Artichoke Flatbread as a starting point, but decided that it wasn’t quite warm enough yet to break out the grill. And thus, oven-toasted flatbreads all around!
I swapped peppery arugula for spinach, tossed in a few black olives, added a hearty shower of Parmesan as a garnish, and left the pizza seasonings behind in favor of a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
To cook the flatbreads in the oven, rather than on the grill, simply preheat your oven to 375ºF and then continue with the original recipe by first brushing one side of the flatbreads with olive oil and placing them on a baking sheet.
Bake the flatbreads for 5 minutes just until they’re slightly toasted, then remove them from the oven and spread them with the garlic and herb goat cheese, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. You could also use ricotta cheese mixed with chopped fresh herbs.
Next comes the fun part and is a great time to get your tiniest of taste testers involved in the making of their next meal. Scatter your choice of toppings over the goat cheese. I used marinated artichoke hearts, chopped tomatoes and sliced olives. Return the flatbreads to the oven and bake for 5 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Rather than add the greens to the flatbreads prior to baking, I topped the flatbreads with dressed arugula for additional flavor. Simply toss the arugula with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or whatever salad dressing you have on hand), then pile them high atop the toasty flatbreads.
And there you have it! All it takes is 20 minutes or less to go from a raw ingredients to this eye-popping perfection. Best of all, this recipe for Artichoke Flatbread is a great way to make the most of leftover odds and ends in the fridge and pantry. Easy and economical? Count me in!
- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste
Skillet Vegetables on Cheese Toast-an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich that is topped with colorful vegetables! This simple recipe is perfect for any meal!
Hello! It’s Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod.
If there is one thing that everyone knows about me, it’s that I love vegetables. I eat them for every meal, everyday. There are so many varieties and options with each new season and I just can’t ever get enough! Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to think of new ways to prepare my beloved veggies, which is why I was so excited about this Skillet Vegetables on Cheese Toast recipe from Better Homes and Garden. I mean, who doest love warm cheese on crusty bread? As if that wasn’t good enough, top it with some tender sautéed vegetables and I am in heaven.
I am so excited to be back for another week working with Better Homes and Garden to share another delicious veggie recipe. This recipe for skillet vegetables on cheesy toast is satisfying enough to be a meal, an appetizer or to accompany a main dish. It’s a great recipe on its own, but I added two simple ingredients that I think make it even more delicious.
I may or may not have eaten this for three meals in a row. It was dinner on the first day that I made it, and then I woke up thinking about it so I had a piece for breakfast, and since there were a few pieces still looking at me by lunch time, I indulged myself! Its only because I ate every last piece of this veggie toast that I wasn’t able to have it for any subsequent meals.
I decided to add two ingredients to the vegetable sauté. I added ½ cup of canned quartered artichoke hearts that were packed in water and ¼ cup of sliced and jarred roasted red peppers also packed in water. Buying both ingredients already prepared makes them an easy addition. The artichokes have a very mild flavor and add a smooth and creamy texture to the dish and the roasted red peppers add the perfect amount of sweet and smoky flavor to the assortment of vegetables.
After I cooked the carrots, mushrooms, garlic and onion in hot olive oil for 2-3 minutes I added 2 tablespoons of water; covered the skillet and cooked the veggies for 4 minutes. Then I removed the lid and added the artichokes and peppers to the medley and cooked them for 1 more minute on medium low heat stirring frequently until all the vegetables were heated through. All I did to enjoy these vegetables was to follow the rest of the directions, finishing with topping each toast with my warm veggies and a sprinkle of fresh chopped basil.
There are a lot of delicious ways to prepare vegetables, why not try putting them on a piece of crusty cheesy toast. This recipe will take you as little time to throw together as it will to watch it disappear. It’s a meal that you will never want to end!
For the complete recipe, go here. It’s a great recipe for Meatless Monday!