Sommersalaten Bitte Schön!
April 27, 2009 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Your favorite summer salads, please! All variations and ingredients welcome. Bonus for anything that uses white asparagus.

Summer's finally here and I'm trying to beef up the vegetable content in my diet (sorry, bad pun) and not spending too much time doing the proverbial slaving over a hot stove. What are your favorite salads that are also a meal? I eat every kind of fish and flesh so if that's part of the recipe it's fine by me.

And the bonus is for the use of asparagus. The white stuff is a special thing in the German springtime and I want to figure out some fun ways to use it.

Thanks saladeers!
posted by foxy_hedgehog to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 82 users marked this as a favorite
You might find some ideas here.

I'll second my suggestion of Insalata Caprese.
posted by fire&wings at 10:19 AM on April 27, 2009

Have you tried going to the food aggregator, tastespotting and doing a search for salad or white asparagus? It gives you wonderful pictures of tasty food.

Recipes I like:
From 101 cookbooks, a chickpea salad which can have lots more crunchy veggies added to it.

A carrot salad that does not involve raisins from Epicurious. I ignore the remaining two of the trio of salads and just make the carrots.

Apparently I like carrot salads, so here's another one, this time a Moroccan carrot salad from Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook.
posted by sciencegeek at 10:29 AM on April 27, 2009

I've made this Farro Salad with Asparagus and Snap Peas many times. Yummy and healthy! I bet you could use white asparagus, too.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:30 AM on April 27, 2009

In your search for things to do with white asparagus, it's worth noting that white asparagus is just green asparagus that never sees the sun-- seriously. The taste difference is fairly negligible, so you can substitute at will.
posted by dersins at 10:43 AM on April 27, 2009

My favorite from last summer: a salad of green beans, kalamata olives, and grape tomatoes. I don't use measurements below, but we're talking probably 1 pound of beans and a total of 1/4 to 1/3 cup of olive mixture.

Blanche green beans in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, until they turn bright green. (That's the only part that requires heat.) Plunge into ice water.

In a food processor or blender, mix up some pitted kalamata olives, lemon zest, EVOO, a touch of dijon mustard, and fresh thyme leaves. Salt & pepper to taste.

Toss beans with olive mixture and grape tomatoes. Serve immediately. If you want to make a big batch to use for multiple meals/leftovers, keep the olive mixture separate from beans & tomatoes until just before serving.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:55 AM on April 27, 2009

Chez Piggy Carrot Salad À La Jirik
This salad — named after its creator Tomas Jirik — has been in the Chez Piggy repertoire since day one.

1 lb carrots, peeled & grated
3/4 cups chopped fresh parseley
1/2 medium red onion, diced


Scant 1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine carrots, parsley and onion, and set aside. Mix lemon juice, oil and garlic together in a large bowl. Season with sald and pepper to taste. Add dressing to salad and toss.
Variations I try include using some or all papaya instead of carrot, adding thinly sliced green chillies and also cooling it in the fridge for an hour or two first before mixing the ingredients.

My other favourite is cucumber salad, which is just thinly sliced cucumber, cream/sour cream or yogurt, a bit of lemon, a bit of garlic, dill and a bit of course salt.
posted by furtive at 11:05 AM on April 27, 2009

German Würst Salad
"This is a German meat salad that is really easy to prepare. Bologna, pickles, tomatoes and chives in a charming vinaigrette dressing."


* 1 (3 pound) German bologna block
* 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh chives
* 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 tomato, thinly sliced
* 4 Polskie Ogorki (Polish Dill Pickles)
* 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1. Slice the bologna into 1/4 inch thick slices, and then into 1/4 inch strips going down the entire length of the block. It should look like big spaghetti. Place in a serving bowl.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar and oil. Stir in the garlic, onion, tomato, chives and parsley. Slice the pickles lengthwise into spears, and add them to the dressing. Pour over the bologna, and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Serve cold.
I grew up on this as a kid. Used to think my mom made it up out of her head until I found other examples on a trip to Munich and lots of recipes online.
posted by furtive at 11:07 AM on April 27, 2009

"The taste difference is fairly negligible"

Oh the heresy! ok it is still asparagus but the taste is a lot nicer, and indeed for the ones they grow in Germany especially.

I love them best boiled (or steamed) and then in a pan (or oven) with butter and eggs... and parmesan sprinkled over it. Or just rolled up in ham, hmm. Or asparagus risotto... I've never done actual salads with them, but here's one that sounds nice for summer (it's in German, I assume from your location that's ok) - lots more more here
posted by bitteschoen at 11:08 AM on April 27, 2009

Here are our two favorite summer salads:

Salad with Roast Chicken & Goat cheese:

1 Roast chicken from supermarket
1 tart apple or pear diced
1/2 c dried cranberries or cherries
1 bag of baby greens
3 oz cinnamon & cranberry goat cheese (see your specialty cheese case. We've also used Stilton with blueberries--any tangy cheese with fruity overtones)
Honey mustard dressing (see recipe below)

Dump the greens into a large bowl. Add everything but the chicken and goat cheese. Pick the chicken (discarding skin) and toss in as much as you'd like (if you use the whole chicken it will be a LOT of chicken, but we've done that up on occasion and it's yummy). Add salad dressing and toss. Crumble in cheese either on top of the whole salad or in individual bowls after salad is in them.

Honey mustard dressing (amounts approximate, I kind of throw everything in there and adjust as necessary):

1 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp of your favorite vinegar (I like using raspberry for this)
3 tbsp good olive oil

Serve with a nice baguette and European style butter.


This one requires a little cooking, but it's worth it!! You can cook this in the evening after it cools down a little and then serve the following night (and then lunch, and then dinner again)

Cold Peanut chicken & noodles

1 Roast chicken from the supermarket OR 2-3 grilled chicken breasts (cooled down and cut up)
1 lb spaghetti (or whatever you like)
1 cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 bunch asparagus
3 carrots

1/2 c peanut butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 chopped scallions
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger

Start with the sauce. Cook garlic, ginger and scallions in vegetable oil over medium high heat until fragrant (about a minute). Add the rest of ingredients except water. Once mixture is bubbly, add a little water in to get it to a smooth consistency (a little thinner than pancake batter, but not too runny). Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Put water on to boil for the pasta. While it's heating up, prep the vegetables. Carrots, red peppers and cucumbers should be julienned (cut into thin strips). Set the cucumbers aside. Asparagus can be quartered, snap peas left whole.

Once the water is boiling, drop in the pasta and cook according to package directions. A minute before the pasta is done, throw in all the veggies except for the cucumbers. (You can also do the blanching separately, but that's too much trouble for me.) When the pasta is done, dump everything into a colander and run cold water over it to stop the cooking and cool it down.

Put pasta, veggies (including cucumbers), and chicken in a large bowl. Dump sauce over and mix well. Chill in refrigerator overnight. Or if you don't plan ahead well or are impatient, stick bowl in freezer for 45 minutes.

posted by Kimberly at 11:10 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

Baby spinach, avocado, sushi ginger, dressed with olive oli, balsamic and a hint of sesame oil, topped with black and white sesame seeds. I sometimes substitute pear slices for the avocado to excellent effect.
posted by Jode at 11:24 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've linked to Eating Well so many times, people are going to think that I work there, but, really, I cook recipes from their magazines and cookbooks at least twice a week.

They have a page with a few of their salad recipes listed here.

Here are three that have asparagus, but it's the green kind. (And I can personally recommned that last one. Yum!).

I've tried these and really enjoyed them:

Mache and Chicken Salad with Honey-Tahini dressing

Baby Beet Greens with Spicy Mediterranean Vinaigrette
Romaine Salad with Chicken, Apricots, and Mint
posted by amarynth at 11:26 AM on April 27, 2009

Here's a recipe I stole from my other half for Salsa Cruda:

- 1/2 doz. ripe, sweet tomatoes, plum are good - a pinch of sugar improves the taste if the tomatoes aren't quite sweet enough.
- A small handful of finely chopped coriander leaves. (don't bother with the stalks)
- A very finally smashed and chopped garlic clove.
- A chopped bell pepper, choice of colour down to preference. Red are sweeter than green for example. I like a mixture of the two, i.e. half of each.
- A finely chopped fresh red chilli pepper with the seeds taken out.
- A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- The juice of half a lime, I've cheated by using a teaspoon or two of really good white wine vinegar instead and it was fine.
- Half an onion finely chopped, I like red but regular will do.
- Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix it all up, cover and leave to one side for an hour or so for the flavours to mingle.

I've also made it with spring onions and without the bell pepper for a salad with less bite.
posted by teraspawn at 11:35 AM on April 27, 2009

My new favorite salad is super simple. I eat it once a week: Spinach (or mixed greens), sliced Fuji apples, golden raisins, toasted pecans and Garlic Expressions salad dressing. I order that salad dressing by the case. It's wonderful on any summer vegetables.
posted by ColdChef at 12:29 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Greek salad is my summer favorite. Cherry tomatoes, red peppers and cucumbers, cut up. Any kind of olives you like (I use kalamata or the green ones with pimento) and feta cheese, cut into small squares. The dressing is olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and oregano to taste. I make a large container at one time and put it in the fridge; it's better after being in there a while.
posted by lemonwheel at 12:40 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Late April is summer?

Anyway, one of my favorite ways to serve asparagus I got from Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock's The Gift of Southern Cooking:

Asparagus with Cucumber Dressing

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed of woody cut ends, washed in cool water and drained

A large bowl of ice water with 3 tablespoons kosher salt stirred in, for shocking the asparagus

2 spring Vidalia onions, or 1 leek, split lengthwise, then cut very thinly crosswise and washed

The Dressing

1/4 cup white-wine or cider vinegar

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1-1/2 cups kirby cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and finely diced

1 tablespoon each finely chopped chervil, basil, chive, and parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon


Bring a gallon of water to a boil in a large saucepan. When the water is at a rolling boil, stir in 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Add the trimmed and washed asparagus, and cook 2 - 3 minutes, depending on the size and age of the asparagus. The asparagus should bend gently under its own weight when held by the cut tip, but retain a bright-green color and resist somewhat to the bite. When you have judged the asparagus to be done, use a long pair of tongs or a skimmer to transfer the cooked asparagus to the waiting ice bath, reserving the cooking liquid. It is important that the ice bath be salted as indicated; otherwise, you will rinse away the flavor of the asparagus. Leave the asparagus in the ice bath until vibrant green and completely chilled, then drain well and store refrigerated until needed (may be cooked 1 day before using).

Meanwhile, put the sliced and washed spring Vidalia or leek in a small metal bowl and ladle over 1-1/2 cups of hot water from the asparagus to wilt the onion gently and make it digestible. When it is wilted and cooled, drain well, and squeeze out all excess liquid by rolling in a tea towel and pressing firmly.

Make the dressing: Put the vinegar, salt, black pepper, and mustard in a mixing bowl, and stir to dissolve the salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Blend in the leek or onion, diced cucumbers, and herbs. Taste carefully. You may need to add more salt, since the onion and cucumbers eat up the seasonings.

To serve the salad, arrange the asparagus on a serving platter or individual plates, and spoon over the cucumber dressing. Serve immediately.
posted by trip and a half at 12:54 PM on April 27, 2009

I just made this very easy pasta salad last night:

3 cups uncooked medium-sized chunky pasta (e.g. rotini)
1 tin premium smoked tuna in oil [like this], flaked roughly with fork before adding to salad
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups minced fresh parsley [I prefer curly to flat-leafed]
salt and pepper to taste

-cook pasta and drain
-mix with other ingredients
-serve warm

I like to add uncooked fresh shelled peas from the garden when they are in season.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:57 PM on April 27, 2009

(Obviously, if you prefer white asparagus, use that instead.)
posted by trip and a half at 12:57 PM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: What a great cache of wonderful recipes! Keep 'em coming...

Late April is summer?

This week it is. Next week no one will bat an eye if we have a hailstorm.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2009

No long recipes today, but just one tip: try lemon juice instead of vinegar in your dressing. In fact, try some other neutral or nutty oils instead of extra virgin olive oil. It's nice to switch to subtler flavours in the summer, especially with something as delicate as asparagus.
posted by maudlin at 1:15 PM on April 27, 2009

I made this salad last night and it was great. I used cashews instead of peanuts and left out the cilantro since we didn't have any on hand. I added a few shredded carrots for color because I couldn't help myself. It would also be good as a spring roll filling (in rice paper rolls).
posted by rossination at 1:32 PM on April 27, 2009

My favorite (in fact, I'm eating it right now) is sushi salad. It can really be anything you like tossed with sushi rice, but my favorite combination is avocado, cucumber, and red bell pepper, with crisp tofu thrown on top. I don't have a recipe with actual quantities, but here's an approximate description of how I make it.

Cook short-grain sushi rice according to the directions. In a large bowl, toss it with seasoned rice vinegar, or with plain rice vinegar and sugar and salt to taste. Let it cool, tossing every once in a while.

If you want protein to make it a meal, I imagine it would be good with fish or chicken cooked in teriyaki or similar season. Since I'm vegetarian, I like to drain firm tofu and sautee it in a bit of peanut oil, then glaze it with soy sauce. Just cook and turn until it's golden brown on all sides, then toss soy sauce on top and let the heat do its work.

Chop veggies of your choice - avocado, cucumber, red pepper, asparagus, carrots - into matchsticks or a medium dice. Toss with the room-temperature rice. Serve with the tofu (or fish or chicken or whatever else you want) on top.
posted by bassjump at 3:40 PM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

Here's what I've been eating constantly this spring:


-- baby spinach
-- toasted pecans (I toast them on the stove quickly while I'm cutting everything else up)
-- a few thin slices of red onion
-- sliced fresh strawberries


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder (I often mince garlic in it instead)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried mustard

I kinda eyeball the salad proportions, and can eat a good amount of strawberries on it because berries are my favorite food. The first time I made this for a dinner party, I woke up the next morning craving it and finished the rest of it.
posted by ugf at 4:48 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

O, and if I happen to have some feta, I've crumbled some of that in too and really enjoyed it.
posted by ugf at 4:50 PM on April 27, 2009

I love this one, and it's easy to sub in any vegetables that you have on hand. I usually use a bit more goat cheese than the recipe calls for, and it can be served warm or cold. It's paraphrased from Fine Cooking's Side Dish issue of 2007.

2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 lb green beans and/or asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 1/2 lb red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4-5 scallions, finely chopped, white and green parts separated
1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup crumbled goat cheese

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil and taste for seasoning.
Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and boil until just tender, about 4 minutes. Using a strainer, scoop out the beans and rinse under cold water.
Bring the water back to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl; add the white parts of the scallions and drizzle on a few teaspoons of the dressing, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly.
When ready to serve, add the green parts of the scallions, green beans, red pepper strips, and goat cheese to the potatoes. Pour the remaining dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 6 as a side dish or 4 as a light lunch.
posted by cheerwine at 5:05 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is an awesome salad. I use green asparagus, but I assume it would work with white. I also serve it with a couple of slices of fried haloumi.

Pasta Primavera

375gm pasta
350gm asparagus
150gm snowpeas
1 cup peas
200gm carrot
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 spring onions


1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon thyme

Cook the asparagus, peas, carrot and pasta until just cooked then cool. Shake dressing in jar and pour on salad.
posted by kjs4 at 5:37 PM on April 27, 2009

This one is spicy, and gets tastier if it sits in the refrigerator for a day:

Black Bean Salad

15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon minced pickled jalepeno

Mix together dressing ingredients and pour over beans, onion and bell pepper and toss. Chill for an hour or more before serving.

Serves 4
posted by zinfandel at 8:25 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:00 AM on April 28, 2009

OK, prepare to have everyone think you are the greatest cook they know.

Insalata di Cipolle al Forno (like, Roasted Onion Salad)
2 medium red onions, unpeeled
4 large eggs
8 ounces vine-ripened tomatoes
6 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon capers
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Small pinch of salt
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces premium canned tuna packed in olive oil (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 °.

2. Put the unpeeled onions on a baking sheet and bake until the onions feel tender when pinched, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

3. Put the eggs and enough water to cover in a pot and place it over high heat. When the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the eggs for 10 minutes or less, depending on how dry you like the yolk. Place the pot under cold running water to cool the eggs and stop the cooking.

4. Peel the onions and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place them in a salad bowl.

5. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and add them to the onions

6. Put the anchovies, capers, vinegar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until almost creamy. Add the olive oil and run the processor just long enough to blend it into the dressing.

7. Peel the hard-boiled eggs, cut them into wedges, and add to the salad bowl.

8. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently. If adding the tuna, drain it and toss with the salad. Serve at room temperature.

Peachy Salsa

2 cups diced peeled pitted peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup diced unpeeled English hothouse cucumber
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 teaspoon chopped canned chipotle chiles

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Stir to blend before serving.)
posted by thinkpiece at 11:58 AM on April 28, 2009

Ugf posted a similar version above, but here's my all time fav:

Strawberry Spinach Salad

toasted sliced almonds
sliced strawberries

store-bought Poppy Seed Dressing

You can't go wrong with this; it's super fast, healthy (go easy on the dressing, though) and absolutely everyone adores it.
posted by kitcat at 8:58 AM on April 29, 2009

From Bittman's 101 20-minute summer picnic recipes:

Steam or boil a bunch of asparagus; slice on the bias. Toss with orange segments, zest and juice, some olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with sesame seeds. Add little shrimp or shredded crab, lobster or chicken if you like.
posted by wyzewoman at 11:16 AM on April 29, 2009

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