Summer Dinner Party

Over the weekend, Funk and I had Jess and Tim over for a simple summer dinner party before going to a farewell party for Corinne, who is leaving Boston today for San Francisco. We’ll miss you, Corinne! I was inspired by some recipes I saw in Health Magazine to make for dinner: one for Warm Black Bean and Orange Salad and one for a Mediterranean Pasta Salad. I modified both recipes to make them my own.

Warm Black Bean and Orange Salad:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 orange (to use for zest, juice, and orange segments)
1 bag arugula
2T olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat 2T olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add ground cumin. (I used high heat the first time and had to dump out sizzling burnt cumin). After a minute, squeeze juice from ½ of the orange in the pan, and add black beans.

2. Cook the black beans for 2-3 minutes and place them on a bed of arugula.

3. Use remaining orange half and cut it up into segments. Place orange pieces on the beans.

4. Garnish with orange zest. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm – the beans will slightly wilt the arugula.

Note: Next time I’d use 2 oranges – one for the juice and zest, and the other to have more orange slices to add to the salad.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad:

1 bag spiral whole wheat pasta, cooked and cooled according to package directions
1 bag frozen peas, defrosted
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into small pieces
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into small pieces
1 jar hearts of palm, drained and sliced into small rounds
1 package soy mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
½ cup olive oil
juice and zest from one lemon
fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1. Make a dressing by whisking together the olive oil and juice from one lemon. Pour 2/3 of the dressing on the pasta; save remaining dressing to pour on before service.

2. Combine frozen peas, artichokes, roasted red peppers, hearts of palm, and soy mozzarella in a bowl, and add to pasta. Mix to combine ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh parsley. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before serving. 

This made enough for the 4 of us, leftover dinner the next day, plus a big container I gave to Funk’s grandma to enjoy. It’s a filling dish to make that’ll last you the whole week and makes a great leftover lunch. I loved how such simple ingredients tasted together. There’s something to be said about using fresh ingredients, like whole lemon and fresh parsley. 

Jess and Tim brought over a fresh salad with sliced yellow beets, strawberries, and a balsamic vinaigrette. We also munched on baby carrots and sugar snap peas with Trader Joe’s chickpea-guacamole (amazing) and sipped on cucumber water inspired by the spa in Arizona.


  1. Posted June 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    yummy! and TJ’s chickpea guacamole sounds pretty tasty two!
    you guys looks great!

  2. Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Muah! Love you guys! But, you won’t be getting rid of me anytime soon! Once bonded by nutrition and good friendship … always bonded xoxo

  3. Posted June 24, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I loveee that gaucamole hummus! I just got my hands on some last time I went – I’m glad you found my blog, I’m loving yours (:

    Those recipes look AWESOME by the way

  4. Janel
    Posted June 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much Alycia!

  5. Posted June 24, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I wish I had taken a photo of my salad too! You two look so cute 🙂 I’m definitely going to make these recipes throughout the summer! Yum. Thanks for sharing.

One Trackback

  1. By Roasted Artichokes on April 26, 2011 at 11:49 am

    […] mounds of artichoke hearts. I love them. As a pizza topper, dip enhancement, or accompaniment to a pasta salad, artichokes add a toothsome bite to many meals. I remember a few years ago when I had an amazing […]

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