Salad and me, perfect together?
July 1, 2010 6:05 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend your favorite non-salad salads!

Last night I made and ate Smitten Kitchen's carrot salad, and realized that I could love salads if only leafy greens weren't involved.

Salads that I like:
- the above carrot salad
- tabbouleh
- Israeli salad
- Niçoise salad

Things that shall not be considered:
- potato/egg/pasta salad
- anything green and leafy
- super-mayonnaisey salads

I'd prefer to keep the salads vegetable-centric, and having meat/cheese/grains act as a condiment. Ideally, I'd like to make the salads in advance.

I've seen this thread, but that concentrated on more traditional green salads.
posted by punchtothehead to Food & Drink (63 answers total) 316 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Search for Mark Bittman's 2009 article on 100 summer salads. I had a party last year using only those recipes, and none were a green salad. My favorite--and everyone else's--was peaches, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and lemon juice & olive oil. Can sub oranges or mangos or any sweet fleshy fruit for the peaches.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 6:11 AM on July 1, 2010 [15 favorites]

Avocado, mango, mussels or other seafood, dressed in a sour cream dressing with lime zest and juice and a tiny bit of tabasco.
Unbelievably yummy.
posted by emilyw at 6:17 AM on July 1, 2010

OP: Awesome question.

ImproviseOrDie, you have just fed me for the next six months.
posted by valkyryn at 6:18 AM on July 1, 2010

I've made several of the salads from Mark Bittman's NY times article from last summer, 101 Simple Salads for the Season. I've made these and loved them:

21: Cucumber, avocado, mirin and soy sauce
41: Avocado salad mixed with stuff and served back in their shells
45: Artichoke hearts w/ cherry tomatoes, lemon, and feta
59: Seared tuna w/capers, olives, tomatoes, parsley
79: Steak, kale, olives, and sherry vinegar
Many of the noodle-based salads (84-90)
posted by bibliowench at 6:18 AM on July 1, 2010 [8 favorites]

I'll be watching this thread with interest, since i'm also a non-leafy salad lover. But i should probably contribute too, no?

- Watermelon/feta salad (with thinly sliced onion, slivered mint leaves, a bit of olive oil)
- tomatoes, asparagus or green beans, almonds, raisins
- and here's the link to the mark bittman article
posted by Kololo at 6:21 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Pea, feta and mint salad.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:24 AM on July 1, 2010

This salad from the Pioneer Woman is really fantastic.
posted by something something at 6:28 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

1 container of Trader Joe's Roasted Corn Salsa and 1 can of rinsed black beans.
posted by Elsie at 6:28 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Albanian Salad!
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:30 AM on July 1, 2010

My friend Bill made a good one for a bbq we had - julienned beets and turnips, and he made a light berry vinaigrette to put on it.
posted by lizbunny at 6:31 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cubes of:
Red Onion

seasoned with fresh basil & basamic vinaigrette
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:33 AM on July 1, 2010

Broccoli and Bacon Salad

Not my personal favorite but it is a real crowd-pleaser
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:35 AM on July 1, 2010

Response by poster: Oh man, I have a feeling this is going to end up as one of those threads where every answer is marked best answer. You all are amazing.
posted by punchtothehead at 6:36 AM on July 1, 2010

Best answer: David Lebovitz has good salads with very little lettuce.
posted by stereo at 6:36 AM on July 1, 2010

Corn & Bean Salad

16ish oz bag of frozen corn, thawed
15ish oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
8ish oz jar of salsa of your choice
cumin, salt, pepper, and chopped cilantro to taste

Tomatoes, basil, good mozzarella, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle balsamic on top for extra goodness. Can be super pretty and fancy (evenly cut slices of tomato and cheese layered flat with basil leaves between them, like a spread out deck of delicious cards and drizzled) or really casual (chop, toss, eat).

posted by vytae at 6:39 AM on July 1, 2010

Put in bowl:
1 can rinsed black beans
1 can corn

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp each cumin, ground black pepper, chili powder

Add to bowl. Totally delicious.
posted by devinemissk at 6:39 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Teresa Neilsen Hayden's Peppered Nectarine Salad is *amazing*. I planted a nectarine tree for this.

The Barefoot Contessa's Provencal Potato Salad is also worth a try. I tend to make it with more green beans than potatoes, especially now, when they're a-plentyful in the garden.
posted by libraryhead at 6:41 AM on July 1, 2010

Best answer: Here are 4 salads I make a lot. The first 3 are borrowed from my own comment on this thread about non-lame salads. These should all have salt and pepper added.

1. Fennel + red pepper + radicchio, all sliced narrowly. Dress with olive oil + real lemon juice.

2. Mix cantaloupe and strawberries with green olives and feta cheese for an unusual sweet/sour combo. Dress with a vinaigrette. (I got the inspiration from this Flickr photo.)

3. Minced ginger + minced garlic + chick peas + diced beets (canned) + thinly sliced carrots. Dressing: sesame oil + soy sauce + sweet and sour sauce.

4. Chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion. (Peel the cucumbers, scoop out all the seeds, then chop them into cubes.) Dress with vinaigrette. Optional: feta or bleu cheese, walnuts. Personally, I would add chopped fresh parsley to this, but I assume you wouldn't want to.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:42 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Waldorf Salad

So so so good.
posted by resiny at 6:42 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

This classic, beet-based Russian salad, called Vinegret, sounds like it could work for you. It contains potatoes, but it is not potato-based. The recipe I linked is the truest I've found to what I'm familiar with, but I include pickled cabbage in mine. It sounds crazy, but give it a chance--this salad is addicting.
posted by litnerd at 6:49 AM on July 1, 2010

One that I love is Sicilian Salad from Field of Greens (though I've seen close variants under other names):

Broil or grill a couple of red or yellow bell peppers (cored, seeded, sliced into flattest chunks possible) until the skin blackens. Put them in a covered bowl to continue gently steam-cooking.

Cut several Japanese eggplants (the long skinny kind) on the diagonal into slices about 1/2 to 3/4" thick, and brush them with olive oil. Put them under the broiler or on the grill, turning once, until browned and tender. Peel 15-20 garlic cloves, toss them in olive oil, broil/grill them likewise.

Peel the blackened skin off the cooled peppers, and slice them into thick strips, saving all juices (plus juice in the bottom of the cooling bowl). Combine with eggplant and garlic. Add some chopped kalamata olives. Toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and lots of chopped basil.
posted by Kat Allison at 6:54 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also from Smitten Kitchen, the Eggplant Barley Salad is a crowd-pleaser.
posted by coryinabox at 6:55 AM on July 1, 2010

I'm remembering some I've made that aren't from the Bittman article:

Grilled zucchini, a crapload of parsley, some mint, and lemon juice and olive oil.

Roasted butternut squash, blue cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds tossed in enough butter to hold some cayenne pepper on them. Toss with lemon juice & olive oil and serve at room temp. I put this with greens, but you wouldn't have to.

This is more of a snack or appetizer than a salad, but everyone raves about it. I call it Watermelon Stonehenge, but I didn't invent the recipe:
Cut watermelon into longish pieces that can stand on end. Coat with a mixture of good, freshly grated parmiggiano-reggiano (NOT the powdery crap from the green can), chopped fresh mint leaves, and salt and pepper.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 6:56 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Cucumber, snap pea, and radish salad
Gourmet magazine, I think
Serves 4-6

1/2 lb. sugar snap peas, trimmed (and cut in half vertically if large)
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise
1 lb radishes
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Cook the snap peas in boiling salted water for ~30 seconds, just until they brighten. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Cut cuke and radishes into half-moon shapes. Toss peas, cuke, and radishes with the vinegars and salt and pepper to taste, then top with the toasted sesame seeds and mix to combine.

NB: this makes a largish amount of salad, and it doesn't keep well, so adjust amounts accordingly if you're only feeding one or two people
posted by Janta at 6:57 AM on July 1, 2010

Maple-glazed green bean salad with crushed pine nuts, p. 124 of Vegan Yum Yum
posted by lucy.verdad at 7:06 AM on July 1, 2010

Mash up 2 cloves garlic with about 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mix with 1/4 cup olive oil and juice of half a lemon or lime. Put that on anything and mix. I use whatever I have on hand, usually something like quinoa (cooked), cucumbers, tomatoes, spring onions, a few leaves of mint. Or just lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers, chickpeas.
posted by sa3z at 7:10 AM on July 1, 2010

Best answer: I can't let this question pass without mentioning gado-gado. Here is it how it goes. You basically boil the veggies that you like, or just soak them in hot water. A few green beans, taugé (bean sprouts), maybe some thinly cut cabbage. let them cool.
Some slices of cucumber, a hard boiled egg and if you like - for me this is the kicker - some cubes of lontong. Sticky rice, boiled in a bag, cooled and cubed. Make a plate with your favorite arrangement (everything cool or room temperature) and spoon over some piping hot and spicy peanut sauce. For me this is the ultimate summer salad/meal.
There are many variations to this meal. In our household this dish would be impossible to serve without some deep fried cubes of tofu. If I'm in the right mood, i will fry some tempeh as well. Of course you can add some prawn crackers or emping, fried onions also work. In other words: go crazy. You will probably have a difficult time finding lontong, if you don't have an Indonesian toko around. But if you do: buy them.
Being a big, big meat man myself, I have to say: you won't miss it. If you want more info: google gado2.
posted by ouke at 7:12 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

And another one:

Blanched, room-temp green beans and grape or cherry tomatoes. Top these with a mixture of (do this in a food processor or blender) kalamata olives, fresh thyme leaves, a bit of dijon mustard, a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 7:12 AM on July 1, 2010

And I know you said no potato salads, but I hate potato salads and sweet potatoes but I love this sweet potato salad. It's worth trying, because it's a great vehicle for whatever veggies you want to throw in with it.
posted by sa3z at 7:14 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Fantastic question!

Most of the salad recipes on 101 Cookbooks are grain-based, or otherwise meet your criteria.
posted by apricot at 7:27 AM on July 1, 2010

My favorite random things to throw into a salad (some mentioned above in recipes):

* Avocado
* Palmitos ("Hearts of Palm")
* Sliced bamboo shoots (The real chinese ones, not the rectangular planks)
* Roasted red peppers
* Marcona almonds (I get them from Trader Joe's)
* Artichoke hearts
* Small cubes of cheese (Fresh mozzarella, cheddar, feta...)
* Anchovies
* Sardines
* Cold soba noodles
* Cucumber cubes
* Celery, sliced

Feel free to mix and match. I generally dress with just a little sushi vinegar or a squeeze of lemon. If I'm not using something packed in olive oil, I may add a drop of that, too.

One more thing - In late July and August, you do NOT want to miss out on heirloom tomatoes, usually available via a farmer's market. It's a wonderful treat, and doesn't need much added to it to make a great tomato salad. I usually just pair it up with some fresh mozzarella and basil, and call it a meal.
posted by Citrus at 7:51 AM on July 1, 2010

Caprese has cheese as one component, but it's classic and so simple and delicious.

Fennel and mushroom salads abound via Alice Waters, Fields of Greens, Orangette, etc. Pretty much use fennel sliced (or parcook and shock it if you want to soften its anise-y edges flavor-wise), mushrooms, a lemony vinaigrette, and shavings of Parmesan. Fennel is out of this world good with pears and dried fruit like cranberries too, by the way. OMG.

Cook's Illustrated did a spread on composed salads like this--they did a radish and orange, Mediterranean olive and feta, pear and cranberry (the aforementioned!), and apple and...g'ah, I forget what else was in the apple one. But I tried them all and they were all marvelous. They did use the crispy part of Romaine hearts sliced up, IIRC, but you could always omit that if you wanted to (though the end result is way more like celery pieces, crunchy and not "leafy greens" tasting).

Bean salads like Tuscan cannellini and tuna come to mind. Or mango and black bean. Fattoush (pita bread and tomato salad), as you already mentioned tabbouleh. Panzanella which is a lot like fattoush--old ciabatta or other chewy country bread, tomatoes, capers, a dressing, fresh herbs, yum yum.

Orangette has some on her site. Early Summer Composed Salad, I recall--it has a bit of tangy arugula, but you could forgo that (though the bitterness is a great complement). It has super ripe delicious summer melon, cheese, and cold cuts of your favorite meat (for her and me, it's soppressata mmm). I realize you didn't want meat and cheese-focused ones though...she mentions Balthazar's salad which is more parcooked veggies like a caponata di verdure almost than leafy greens, we're talking asparagus and things. Oh oh! And she provides Martha Stewart's recipe for Warm Corn Salad with Green Beans, Radishes, and Thyme--a total winner in summertime. It involves freshly shucked summer corn, tender green beans, and everything is oh so slightly enriched with a light bit of olive oil IIRC. Sweet and slightly warm and screams summer. So good. There's also Nigella's red seasonal salad, which has Thai flavors, shredded chicken, and radicchio or red cabbage I think. That's super tasty but might not be what you had in mind, I realize...

Mollie Katzen has a delish recipe for orange, jicama, and fennel salad in The Moosewood Cookbook. You could probably sniff around for it online. If not you can MeMail me...

My memory is there is an excellent salad in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook along these longs that involves carefully cut oranges (she subscribes to the "remove all pith and skin from the segments with a paring knife" school) and avocado. It also had some lettuce though, but you could omit that. Cook's Illustrated has a similar version with pepitas.

Tofu or crumbled queso fresco marinated in vinaigrette over fresh veggies would, I bet, taste divine.
posted by ifjuly at 7:53 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My favorite cucumber salad is basically just sliced cucumbers and sushi-vinager, with optional paper-thin onion slices or sesame seeds. Keeps well, too, in my opinion; it's a different salad when the cucumbers are crisp ("serve immediately") vs. when it's all steeped together like very mild pickles, and the cucumber slices are softer and more scoopable, but I like them both.
posted by aimedwander at 7:58 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Beet salad. Roasted peeled and sliced beets with grapefruit supremes. Dress w/ a citrus vinaigrette. You can also top it with nuts (walnuts are good here) or chevre.
Tomato salad. Just tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette. If you want to go crazy, you can add some herbs, or shave some parmesan, romano, or even manchego on it.
Cucumber salad. Lots of ways to dress this, but I enjoy them Mexican style, with just a little salt, lime juice, and a touch of cayenne.
posted by Gilbert at 8:10 AM on July 1, 2010

Best answer: Seconding panzanella. Yum! Insalata Caprese, of course, as alluded to by Citrus.

Roasted beets, sliced, with some thinly shaved red onion, orange supremes, and walnut vinaigrette. Add some bits of goat cheese for extra nom.

Potato salad (sssh, bear with me here!) tossed with a vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise, served warm.

Seaweed, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and lightly blanched kale. Maybe a little chili if you like.

Thinly shaved fennel, supremes of orange and grapefruit, thinly shaved red onion, good olive oil. Adding charred endive to this is also nice.

Water chestnuts and... well, and anything really, but I like chickpeas, really amazing textural contrast.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:10 AM on July 1, 2010

Best answer: This is the easiest salad that you don't think is going to be amazing and yet it's totally amazing.

4 carrots
1/3 C. salted peanuts
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T peanut oil
few drops of sesame oil

Cut the carrots up small, add all the stuff. If you can chill it for an hour or a little more the peanuts get a little soft. Serve with sesame seeds. It's a great thing to bring to potlucks. You can also garnish with some shredded beets for color.
posted by jessamyn at 8:21 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

Quinoa is awesome for pasta and couscous type salads.

Quinoa / Pepper Couscous Salad
I will leave the final measurements up to you:

* Equal amounts Quinoa and Israeli Couscous, cooked and cooled

* Red, yellow, and orange peppers diced, sprinkled with salt & black pepper, and put into the broiler 'til they start to brown

* Feta cheese

* Pesto or oil-based dressing of your choice
posted by Wossname at 8:36 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Avocado Mango Salad.

3 ripe avocados, flesh cut into blocks
1 ripe mango, flesh cut into chunks
3-4 green onions, sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

3 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. maple syrup or brown sugar
1/3 cup or less olive oil
1.2 tsp. ground cumin
2-3 tsp. tamari soy sauce (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Put all the salad ingredients, except sesame seeds, into a large bowl. Pour dressing over top and stir just enough to coat all pieces with dressing. Let salad sit for 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. Serves 6.
posted by sadtomato at 8:37 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Traditional Greek salad is only plum tomatoes, seedless cucumbers (both cut into large chunks, not thinly sliced), a little thinly sliced red onion, kalamata olives, and feta cheese (preferably Greek goat/sheep cheese if you can get it, not the American cow stuff). Dressing is olive oil, red wine vinegar, and oregano. Delicious.
posted by wondermouse at 8:40 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Earlier today I was browsing Wikipedia's List of Salads -- lots of interesting stuff there. Also: cold grain salad tips
posted by kmennie at 8:49 AM on July 1, 2010

By the way, one time I made salad with raw sliced green cabbage instead of lettuce. Think like the way cabbage is sliced for coleslaw, except maybe a little wider. Everything else was something you'd normally put in a salad, but the cabbage added an interesting zesty element and crunch to it and, best of all, didn't get soggy after a day in the fridge.
posted by wondermouse at 9:00 AM on July 1, 2010

Wheat berries! Oh man, wheat berries, delicious and healthy and filling. They had this great texture to anything.

This salad was adapted from a friend's adaptation of a restaurant's salad (got that?):

* a cup or two of cooked wheat berries
* 1-2 blood (or regular) orange, supremed
* 1 English cucumber, seeded, large dice
* red bell pepper, large dice
* 1/4 red onion, medium dice, (soaked in ice water to take away the bite)
* mint leaves from maybe 5 stalks

Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
posted by teragram at 9:13 AM on July 1, 2010

Another Orangette salad is the chick pea parsley and parmesan salad with just lemon and olive oil to dress. I am obsessed with it!
posted by Swisstine at 10:09 AM on July 1, 2010

In the summer my boyfriend and I eat this once a week, wrapped in tortillas with some cheese and cholula ("cold burritos" in our house), but it's great just as a bean salad too.

Corn, Avocado + Black Bean Salad

2 ears corn - take the kernels off
1 can black beans
1 avocado diced
1 tomato diced
1 bell pepper diced
3 (?) cloves garlic minced
1/2 (?) red onion diced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Cilantro chopped up
Juice of 1 lime
salt + pepper to taste
*add a hot pepper if you like things spicy

If you're making it in advance don't put the avocado on until you're going to serve it, otherwise it'll get mushy and gross.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 10:39 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Red grapefruit, goat cheese, and toasted pecans. Sounds weird, but is delicious.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:02 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Balela - here's one version:

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced fine
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon (or 2 TBS of bottled lemon juice)
½ cup chopped fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Salt and fresh coarse ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, mix well. Allow to sit for 15-30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 4.
posted by timepiece at 11:39 AM on July 1, 2010

Somebody brought this to a potluck and I demanded the recipe, but I'm remembering it off the top of my head now. Cubed cucumber, sprouted mung beans, unsweetened coconut flakes, mixed with a dressing of lime juice with a little bit of green curry paste. It's an amazing combination of cool and refreshing and spicy!
posted by dipolemoment at 1:18 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Great thread! So... a few that spring to mind:

Corn, black beans, and avocado with lemon and olive oil dressing, with or without tomato, and you can also add chicken or shrimp. I've also made this with black-eyed peas. Serve cold or room temp.

Zucchini slices sauteed quickly in butter or olive oil then tossed with salt and pepper and fresh grated parmesan - super quick and easy, and very, very tasty. Serve warm, or room temp.

Trim and rapidly boil tiny baby zucchinis and toss them with sliced avocado and some delicious grated hard cheese (we usually use Greek Graviera or Kasseri) and drizzle an extra-garlicky olive oil and lemon dressing over it. (We do something like one third fresh lemon juice to two thirds virgin olive oil in a jar with a bunch of smashed garlic cloves, and let that sit for hours before we make the salad, shaking it up every now and then, then removing the garlic and shaking really well - or buzzing with a hand-held blender - before adding it to the salad.) Serve warm or room temp.

Toss cooked cranberry beans (or similar) with chopped celery, a bunch of virgin olive oil, garlic paste, fresh lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, white pepper and salt, and serve cold.

Stir fry or sautee some chopped garlic, ginger; add chopped red bell pepper to the wok; stir a bit; add broccoli florets to the pan and just before it's finished cooking add a little soy sauce. Put the mixture into a serving bowl and top with grated feta cheese. (you can also add some peanuts at the same time you add the pepper.) Eat hot or cold.

When BBQ-ing, throw an eggplant onto the grill (or you can broil it in the oven), then peel the blackened skin and chop the flesh, add garlic paste, olive oil, a little fresh lemon, some yogurt, and chopped walnuts. You can also add some chopped red bell pepper for color (especially excellent if that's also been grilled/broiled and charred), it's should be pretty creamy, served cold (or room temp), and quite wonderfully delish! Also really good without the yogurt.


slice the grilled eggplant and mix up with grilled sliced zucchini, olive oil, a bit of balsamic vinegar, fresh mint, and crumbled feta

Tuna, sliced tomatoes, black olives, and the pasta of your choice, mixed with olive oil and some crumbled feta, served cold/room temp.

posted by taz at 2:02 PM on July 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

Made this the other day- delicious!
2 mangoes, 1 large sweet onion, 1 can diced green chilis (or other chili source), .5 jicama, 1 bunch cilantro, 1 bunch mint, 3 red/orange/yellow bell peppers, zest and juice of 3 limes, olive oil (optional), salt to taste. Chop/dice everything up finely so it's about the consistency of a pico de gallo (another great "salad"). Top with toasted almonds. Can be used to top lettuce, or as more of a salsa. I had it with grilled chicken.
posted by kch at 3:18 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

You are not alone! Today at 15 Fresh Picnic Salads
posted by Swisstine at 5:27 PM on July 1, 2010

A mayo-y one, but you don't have to put much in. Super easy, and super tasty, especially if you like garlic :D

Beets: grate them up (muuuuch tastier if you boil fresh beets, but canned work in a pinch)
Walnuts: chop them up
Garlic: mince it up
Mayo: mix it up

Salt + pepper, and you're done! I just eye ball everything, but adjust ratios as desired.
posted by theRussian at 7:07 PM on July 1, 2010

Sorry for the self-link, but here's my fiancee's blog post on the grain salad we make variations of all summer.
posted by cheerwine at 9:00 AM on July 2, 2010

With avocado and loads of cilantro and a lime juice dressing, this is the best black bean salad recipe ever.
posted by marsha56 at 4:13 PM on July 2, 2010

Here's a delightful Mediterranean chickpea salad that never fails to cheer me up.

Thinly slice a red onion. Saute in olive oil on medium for about 5-8 minutes (till soft). Add two chopped cloves of garlic and a chopped up Serrano pepper (or 1/2 a Jalapeno). After another 30 seconds, empty a drained can of chick peas. Stir.

Then add half a cup of Feta. Let it get all melty but not too melty. Finally, squeeze the juice of one lemon and stir in some chopped up parsley. bliss.

Bonus: Cut up pita into strips, brush some olive oil on it and stick it in an oven till it's warm and somewhat crispy (4-5 minutes). Serve with salad.
posted by special-k at 12:42 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, a perennial summer favorite in the special-k kitchen: Mojito Salad.
posted by special-k at 12:46 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's one of my favorite salads: Drain one cup of yogurt for an hour. While it's draining, boil some beets. When the beets are cooked, peel and grate them (super easy if you have a food processor). Combine beets, yogurt, 1 finely minced garlic clove, and a splash of lemon juice. Add some minced chives if you like. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour for the flavors to meld.

This carrot salad from Chocolate & Zucchini is really tasty with smoked tofu, and fantastic with smoked trout.

I also love this Ajlouk Qura'a recipe (mashed zucchini with feta, caraway and harissa).
posted by creepygirl at 10:17 PM on July 3, 2010

The way I do the watermelon/feta/mint salad is a bit different. I cube the watermelon into bite sized pieces, and toss with feta & chopped mint. But I also add some chopped red onion, which adds a little savory-ness. And the thing that puts it over the top is one lime, zested. It totally tastes like summer.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:20 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

We had this one last night and it was delicious. Courtesy Side Dishes Creative and Simple by Deirdre Davis.

Peach and Tomato Salad with (optional but tasty) Fennel Seed-Infused Oil

1/4 cup nuts of your choice (original recipe called for hazelnuts but I used walnuts 'cause it's what we had around)
4 large ripe peaches, yellow or white, washed, pitted, and sliced into thick wedges
4 medium-large ripe tomatoes (I highly recommend heirlooms...YUM), washed, cored, and sliced into thick wedges
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, finely crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or fennel seed-infused oil (recipe follows)
Fresh parsley, fennel fronds, basil, or mint sprigs for garnish

To make the fennel seed infused-oil:
2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Crush the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle or use a blender. Add the oil and blend to mix. Pour the mixture into a jar, cover, and let it sit refrigerated for 1 or 2 days before using. Strain the oil, discard the seeds, and use right away, or keep refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.

To make the salad:
Toast the nuts: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake, shaking the pan at least once halfway through, for 10 to 15 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Alternately, you can just toast them in a small heavy nonstick pan, watching and tossing carefully to prevent them from burning. Once cool enough to handle, chop the nuts and set aside.

Toss peaches and fruit together in your serving bowl or platter, or if you're feeling fancy arrange them by alternating colors.

In a small bowl or glass jar, whisk or shake together the lemon juice, crushed fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the oil, whisking to blend and emulsify. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Spoon the dressing over the fruit, scatter the toasted nuts on top and garnish with fresh herbs.
posted by ifjuly at 3:06 PM on July 6, 2010

Response by poster: I've favorited the ones I've made so far - seriously, there wasn't a bad one in the bunch. I'll keep trying and favoriting as I go.

Thank you all so much - this made my summer so much more delicious.
posted by punchtothehead at 1:18 PM on July 27, 2010

Response by poster: Here are a few other salads that have been in heavy rotation since July.

1 fennel, sliced super thinly, mixed with an ounce of shaved Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and parsley. (This also works well for summer squash.)

2 parts roasted butternut squash chunks + 1 part caramelized onions + 1 part cheese. Optional: some sort of bean.

Asparagus dressed with a mixture of miso and tahini (pretty much anything dressed with miso and tahini, actually.)
posted by punchtothehead at 11:19 AM on May 11, 2011

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