May Pole Day and a Fresh Salad with Pasta and Fruit

Today is May 1st, AKA May Day.

Fresh and Fruity Iceberg Salad with Pasta for May

In elementary school, this day was a big deal for the kids because they would get to participate in the May Pole Dance.  Also, by kids, I mean me.  I got to participate in the May Pole Dance along with my entire third grade class.

I think it was a whole month in advance that we started practicing.  My teacher would take a break from lesson plans a few times a week and take us outside to the field to dance with ribbons.  I can’t exactly describe how the dance went but it looked something like this. Our parents and the community got notified of the event (because 8 year olds dancing around a pole to create a ribbon braid is considered an event for a small town like mine, mmkay?).  It was also a rite of passage for children.  As a youngling in school, I saw the older kids participate and looked forward to the day that I would be so privileged to participate in the acclaimed event.

Fresh and Fruity Iceberg Salad with Pasta for May

Oh, and you might be wondering what May Day is and the meaning behind the May Pole Dance.  Honestly, I only ever participated in May Day at that elementary school of mine so I don’t know the exact history.  I believe the dance is ceremonial and dates back to really old times in England.  These days, especially in the U.S., we tend not to follow such traditionalist practices so it I think it is less common.  The dance and celebration that occur are in honor of the start of summer and the new life that it brings.  Thus, I felt it appropriate to share the story as I mention that I am so very into fresh recipes for summer!

Fresh and Fruity Iceberg Salad with Pasta for May

The warm weather has me craving chilled salads, sweet and juicy produce, and ingredients that won’t weigh me down.  I called this dish a Fresh Salad with Pasta and Fruit because that’s what it is.  It also has all of my favorite ingredients from chicken salad but without chicken 🙂 I know apples aren’t technically considered summer fruit but they’re around all year long!  Some light and crisp lettuce, plus, crunchy celery, adds to the hydrating factor of this salad.  A very important factor if you’re dealing with hot temperatures like me.  #SoCal

As always, I made this recipe based on ingredients I had in my fridge but change it up to fit your needs.  Some darker leafy greens would work nicely instead of the iceberg.  Even try dried cherries instead of fresh grapes.

Have a happy month of May!

Fresh and Fruity Iceberg Salad with for May

Fresh Salad with Pasta and Fruit
Print
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Salad
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 salad
The warm weather has me craving chilled salads, sweet and juicy produce, and ingredients that won’t weigh me down. It's kind of like a chicken salad but made vegetarian and I utilized what I had in my fridge. Feel free to change it up and sub in whatever greens you like.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of lettuce of choice (I only had iceberg but some kale, arugula, or romaine would be lovely!)
  • 3 oz of Banza penne pasta (or other short cut pasta)
  • 1 small-medium sized apple, chopped
  • 1 small stalk of celery (or half a large stalk), chopped
  • ¼ cup of red grapes, chopped in halves
  • Extras: black olives, sliced in half, and chopped pecans
  • Dressing is: 2 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup, and ¼ tsp dried tarragon.
Instructions
  1. Set a pot of water on the stovetop to boil and cook the pasta for about 10 minutes or until desired doneness.
  2. In the meantime, chop up the veggies and fruit. Add all ingredients to a serving bowl.
  3. Drain the pasta water and let pasta cool for a minute before adding to the salad.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over all ingredients and enjoy!

Quinoa Taco “Meat” Recipe

Salad with Quinoa Meat

When I was in high school, the cafeteria used to serve junk like pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, or hot dogs.  I like a slice of pizza once in a while but what I love is food that makes me feel good.  There was a limited supply of salads because the school must’ve thought no one would want to eat salads.  On the contrary, everyone would make a beeline for them right at the start of lunch (teachers included).  Every day there was a different lunchtime salad option.  Wednesdays used to be Taco Salad day.

My very favorite!

Salad with Quinoa Meat

You know the one.

It has a bed of lettuce, ground beef crumbles, tomatoes, black or pinto beans, shredded cheese, crunchy tortilla chips, and salsa.  If you order something similar at restaurants, it will probably come with some guacamole, too.  It has all of the yummy taco flavors but is totally healthy because there’s some lettuce in there, am I right?  Well, today’s quinoa taco meat recipe is inspired by my old favorite salad but completely plant-based.

I use a taco seasoning recipe from My Blessed Life which I then add to cooked quinoa, warmed up in a pan.  It provides the Mexican taco flavors but also adds a bit of protein and texture to a salad.  My favorite salad is shown in the pictures.  I like using the quinoa meat with a romaine lettuce base, cilantro, black beans, tomatoes, avocado, and a red salsa for topping.

It is so simple and find myself making this all too often!  Let me know if you give it a try.

Salad with Quinoa Meat  
Quinoa Taco "Meat" Recipe
Print
Cuisine: Vegetarina, Vegan
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 serving
An easy-to-make "meat" alternative to add some Mexican flair to any dish. It is the perfect base for beans, vegetables, or any other proteins you would like to add.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning (see notes)
Instructions
  1. There is not really a science to making the taco meat. I throw some quinoa into a pan and warm it up with the spices. Half a cup of quinoa to 1 tsp of homemade taco seasoning or store-bought should work, though adjust based on your taste for spice.
Notes
Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning via my Blessed Life
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
Simply, mix all seasoning ingredients together.

Seasoning recipe can be found at My Blessed Life.