Salad Help

Steven Harper PiziksThis past week, I made a menu that came out heavy on the meat.  We had ribs, ham, hamburgers, and chicken.  It wasn’t on purpose–I just wasn’t paying attention.

Maksim, my youngest, asked about some vegetarian dishes, and I said I can easily make some.  And my husband Darwin said some salads as a supper main dish would be good.  (By “salad” he means “tossed salad,” not “chicken salad.”)

I’m not an experienced salad maker, really, but now that spring has arrived, we’ll have greens and other good stuff available.  A light supper of salad and bread and maybe a little cheese would be really good.

But I need good salad recipes. Something that goes beyond lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes tossed together with dressing.

So I’m throwing it open here.  I know you veggie people are lurking.  What are your favorite salad recipes?  Hit us up!

–Steven Harper Piziks

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Danny Large



Salad Help — 16 Comments

  1. A quick’n’easy salad I often make is chickpeas and shredded carrots with mango pickle as a dressing. You can add walnuts or raisins if you want.

    I haven’t made this one in a while, but sliced apple, celery, walnuts, a squeeze of lemon juice and a dollop of sour cream work well together. Or if you’d prefer not to use sour cream, substitute a bit of dijon mustard and some honey.

    A third idea: cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, red onions, and arugula flavoured with juice from a Seville orange. If you can’t get Seville (bitter) oranges, you can probably substitute a mixture of lemon juice, orange juice, and orange zest.

    I’m sorry for offering lists of ingredients rather than recipes, but that’s how I cook — especially salads. Unless I’m baking, my measurement system ranges from “pinch” through “smidge” to “dollop”. 🙂

    I hope that helps!

  2. One of my favorite salads, and one my father became addicted to when I introduced him to it:

    – baby spinach
    – chopped pecans
    – dried cranberries
    – fresh blueberries (the smaller the better!)
    – crumbled soft goat cheese
    Cindy’s Kitchen Raspberry-Nectar Vinaigrette

    The hardest part about this, anymore, is tracking down the salad dressing; but it’s what makes it work, in my opinion. You could substitute any raspberry dressing, but I find others overly sweet.

  3. When pea pods are available, I’m really partial to a salad of pea pods (not snow pea pods but their chunkier cousins), red or green or yellow bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes, all cut up into 1/2-1″ pieces, tossed with a fairly light balsamic vinaigrette (2/3 good olive oil, 1/3 good balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, some minced garlic, dried herbs–I like thyme and maybe a dab of oregano, but it’s really between you and your tastebuds). This makes a nice, chunky, colorful salad that is high on crunch and flavor.

    Maybe I’ll make some for dinner tonight…

  4. I love creating meal salads – but I have to admit that I don’t do it often enough.

    Here’s my variant (proportions to serve one – easy to increase for more people):
    A Double Handful Mixed Salad Greens
    1 Small Apple, sliced or 3-5 Strawberries, sliced
    4-6 Cherry Tomatoes, halved or 1 Roma Tomato, sliced
    1-2 Mushrooms, sliced
    ½ A Red, Yellow, Orange or Green Pepper
    1 Hard-boiled Egg, sliced
    Cubes of Cheddar or Grated Parmesan Cheese
    Dried Cranberries

    Salad dressing is what I call “Jam Jar”
    Olive Oil
    Balsamic Vinegar
    Red Wine Vinegar
    Lemon Juice
    Maple Syrup
    Grainy or Old Fashioned Mustard

    All measured by eye in a 250 ml jam jar and adjusted until it tastes right. I like it sweeter, my husband prefers the dressing to be sharper.

  5. What I love about salads is how much variation you can make on a basic theme. I like to use spinach as the base for mine, and I’m known to put in some kale and chard from time to time. (My farmer’s market sometimes has baby kale, which is not as tough as the later ones.) I often include broccoli — just the florets, cut small. When they’re in season, heirloom tomatoes are a must. I’ve used mangoes when I couldn’t get good tomatoes and they are outstanding. Avocados — chopped — are great as well.

    In making a salad a meal, I’ve added cooked quinoa. Mix it in as if it were croutons — you don’t want too much of it. Cooked beans, particularly chick peas, are a good way to add protein, as are tuna, chicken, other meat — all bite size. Cheese of all kinds. I am personally fond of good blue cheese.

    As for dressing: Use good olive oil and either good vinegar or a lime or lemon. My favorite proportion is two parts oil to one part vinegar (or lime or lemon), but some people like a three-to-one ratio. I prefer lime to all the others, but it’s not always available.

    To dress the salad: put all the greens and any meat or cheese in the bowl and mix it up. Then toss it with the oil until it’s thoroughly coated. Then add the vinegar or lime and toss it again. I add any salt and pepper to taste at this point, with another toss.

    I learned this at my mother’s knee and I still refuse to buy packaged salad dressing. Doing with with blue cheese makes a much better blue cheese dressing than the blended kinds.

  6. This is a pantry salad to make in the winter or when you don’t have time to go out for fresh stuff. Keep on hand a bottle of real good Italian dressing, a bag of rotini, and a bag of frozen mixed veg that in my neck of the woods is called ‘Fiesta Mix’ (white beans and kidney beans, broccoli and Italian beans at least). Boil up lots of water (at least 3 or 4 quarts) to cook rotini, 8 ounces (more if you are not the veg freak I am). Put the veg STILL FROZEN into a large colander. When the pasta is done, dump the whole pot of pasta and hot water over the veg in the colander–the hot water will thaw the veg and the frozen veg will cool down the pasta. While it is still warm, put it in a bowl and add about a quarter of a cup of the dressing. You will need more, but the amount will vary–pasta should be wet but there should not be a puddle on the bottom, so add a little at a time until you get a feel for how much you like. If you want to get fancy, grate a bit of Parmesan or myzithra on top or even add cubes of ham or sausage. Your kids should be able to make this themselves, it is so easy.

  7. Not a salad recipe, but a tangential observation regarding the menu.

    I tend to prefer soups to salads, unless the weather is hot, because I really crave something hot for dinner/supper, as it helps me feel that my stomach is full and contented.
    Soups are easy to make ahead with most kinds of vegetables, or combinations thereof. Either a simple and light clear bouillon with chopped vegetables (or mushrooms and herbs), or light tomato-vegetable soup; or a more thick and sturdy soup where you puree most of the vegetables after cooking (or let them cook themselves to mush like in traditional splitpea soup), or you can thicken the soup by adding some diced potatoes in with the vegetables.

    If you find someone in your family really wants something hot for dinner too, you could make a pot of vegetable soup for starters, to be followed by the salad and bread. Or put a little pesto on the bread, and some grated cheese, and then toast it before serving it with the salad.

    Starting with a good homemade vegetable soup (not a cream soup, if anyone is lactose intolerant or watching their calories; and not the overly salted canned or packaged ones) is a good way to increase the daily intake of vegetables. It lets people feel full and contented with smaller portions of the main course, if you’re trying to watch your weight and your wallet, too. It can be made ahead and if you make a large pot it will serve for starters for several days.

    • If you have enough room in your garden to grow Lavas, it’s very useful for flavouring soup without too much salt; it gives a similar flavour to Worcester sauce. In summer it’s a large plant, it can grow to half a yard wide and nearly two yards high, but in winter the aboveground plant disappears.

  8. I love a main meal salad! One we do quite a lot is a bowlful of baby spinach leaves and halved cherry tomatoes, then we fry slices of chorizo until crisp, add a can of drained lentils and deglaze the pan with some balsamic vinegar and pour over the leaves.

  9. Well, this is not exactly a salad, but that’s how I think of it, as a liquid salad. Gazpacho. You need really ripe tomatoes, so if you can’t find them, grab some grape tomatoes for chunks of tomatoes, and buy a box of Parmalot crushed or chopped tomatoes. You can use kirby cucumbers or the long silverish English cucumbers wrapped in plastic. If you have to use the ordinary gigantic cucumbers, make sure you peel them first. You want roughly equal amounts of those. Then you add chopped red onion, fresh dill, colored bell peppers, (and hot peppers if you like them — I use a little Tabasco sauce myself), ground dried rosemary, and anything else you like, such as avocado, cooked corn kernels (sliced off the corn cob or canned or frozen as you like), more fresh herbs. You thin it with vinegar and about a quarter cup of olive oil, till it’s liquid but still thick, and if you want, you can serve it with sour cream or lowfat Greek yogurt, and serve. I like it with pumperknickel bread and cheddar cheese, but YMMV.

    It’s the best way I know of in the summer for me to eat veggies. In the winter, I go for bean soup or vegetable soup.

    • Whoops! Just realized that I didn’t point out that the only thing you need to cook or have cooked is the corn. Everything else is fresh, and you keep this in the fridge. You, now that I think of it, add cooked beets. Basically whatever you like, and you want roughly half the amount of other vegetables as tomato and cucumber.

      Which means this makes a lot of soup.

  10. You’ve all got me salivating! Salad – a way of life, I think. A bowl full of fresh greens, throw in some other veg, in season, raw or lightly cooked, some protien: cheese, meat, fowl, fish (even canned tuna), starch: cooked beans, grains, bread (Google bread salad….).
    Look into the “bowl” trend of eating – grains, vegs, protiens, all together in a bowl, with sauce.
    Then, there’s something I do to help consume & also preserve vegetables: marinate them.
    I get fresh veggies, carrotts, beans, peas, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, hearty greens, like Italian kale, & steam them individually (except mushrooms – you can leave them raw – the vinegar “cooks” them), put them all in a container, & cover with a good vinaigrette (I use Paul Newman caesar or Greek dressing).
    Batches of veggies can last me a couple of months, nice as a side with protien &/or starch.