Nitpicky Salad Needs
December 4, 2012 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Looking for interesting salad recipes, with three high-maintenance caveats.

I read through a lot of the other "salad" posts, of which there are many, but had a hard time finding much that met my (very nitpicky) criteria.

1) Vegan recipes
2) Does not contain peppers of any sort (any color, any type, sweet peppers, hot peppers, none of them - I'm deathly allergic)
3) Have ingredients which also lend themselves to being tossed with pasta (my general mode is to make a salad and pasta for dinner and I prefer the ease of using basically the same stuff in each)

I'm also definitely interested in unusual ingredients or unusual flavour pairings.

An example would be the following:
Shaved fennel, shaved apples, baby arugula, and walnuts, tossed with a shallot vinaigrette - and everything except the apples can also be wilted in a saute pan and tossed with olive oil over pasta.

There are many vegetables I'm not a fan of, but I'm trying to branch out, so all ideas are welcome. The more interesting, the better.

posted by dotgirl to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favorite combos is vegan:

baby arugula, kale, raddichio, roasted sweet potato (in little squares), pumpkin seeds served with a vinaigrette made of orange juice, olive oil, sesame oil and some rice vinegar. It would probably be delicious on soba noodles.
posted by Milau at 5:20 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Grated carrots, scallions, raisins, maybe some sunflower seeds, and orzo pasta, all tossed in a dressing of rice wine vinegar and sesame oil with a little sugar added. Maybe a little ginger. You could probably add the usual Asian accoutrements like tofu and all that.
posted by Madamina at 5:28 PM on December 4, 2012

Nuts/seeds and dry fruits go great with salad and I recently found out they're also delicious in pasta!
posted by RandyWalker at 5:29 PM on December 4, 2012

I make this all the time in the summer: Lemon arugula potato salad - if you diced up the potatoes small enough and maybe doubled the dressing you could toss it with pasta. I'm not sure I would though.
posted by lyssabee at 5:29 PM on December 4, 2012

This is going to sound weird but I really like to heat up some fat-free refried beans and toss them with a cold salad with usual ingredients. Something about the combination of temperatures pushes my buttons.
posted by mckenney at 5:31 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Marinated artichoke hearts (or hearts of palm), olives, cherry tomatoes, and avocado. All cut into similar sizes. Delicious as an antipasti or to mix in with pasta (hot, OR cold, as a pasta salad).
posted by mudpuppie at 5:53 PM on December 4, 2012

Cooked cold beets, apricots, almond slices, and spinach is a favorite of mine. Usually with mayo/vegannaise and horseradish.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:00 PM on December 4, 2012

Baby spinach + mushrooms. Dressing: crushed raw garlic, sesame oil, a bit of honey, salt+pepper. Medium tofu and soy sauce are possible variations.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 6:08 PM on December 4, 2012

I've been doing variations on a grain-and-greens salad base lately. For the grain I'm using farro, simmered in water with some salt until tender but still pleasantly chewy, then drained well. For the greens, last time I did a massaged kale salad (chiffonade your kale, then anoint it with equal parts olive oil and lemon juice — about 1-2 tsp of each per large bunch kale — plus a generous pinch of sea salt, massaged for at least 5 minutes until the kale becomes a much darker green and the texture is soft enough not to feel like penance when you try to chew it). Mix those together and they make a base on which many different combos can be put.

Last time I topped it with some Delicata squash which I'd tossed with olive oil and harissa powder before roasting, a peeled clementine, some pomegranate arils, and a lemon-based vinaigrette into which I'd blended some Moroccan-style preserved lemon. Very tasty — the heartiness of the grains and kale contrasted with the lighter nature of the clementine and pomegranate, and the deep-sweet-smoky tones of the harissa-roasted Delicata were set off nicely by the tartness of the pomegranate and the dressing — and colorful.

The range of possible grains and greens and toppings is extensive. I want to try quinoa next. That'll probably be nicer with a more delicate green than kale, I think.

On a different note, the spinach-and-mushroom salad recipe from Cook's Illustrated is, as this blogger points out, really an excuse for the homemade croutons. OM NOM NOM croutons!
posted by Lexica at 6:20 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is a bruschetta mix that is amazing by itself as a salad, put on toasted bread or through pasta. Cut ripe tomatoes into 1cm cubes, finely chop a red onion, stir through a clove of garlic, a couple of glugs of olive oil and tear up some fresh basil leaves. Crumble a bit of feta cheese through it, season with salt and pepper and toss the lot together. Leave it to marinate for a while. It's summer heaven on a plate. Then throw it on some bread, through pasta or even add spinach leaves to it. So, so tasty.
posted by Jubey at 6:29 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

This Pasta with Butternut Squash, Pine Nuts, and Fried Sage is awesome and easily made vegan. I can also attest that it is good with sauteed spinach thrown in OR mixed in with salad (spring mix or spinach blend-- not light like mache, but the darker kinds of leaves.)

Lentil salad! Classic: with dijon, shallots, etc. More unusual: Syrian lentils. I wouldn't necessarily toss those with pasta, but they pair nicely with nutty pastas in a bit of olive oil.

Pesto salad-- toss freshly boiled and sliced up potatoes with pesto (I don't have a vegan recipe, but I know there are some great ones,) lightly steamed green beans (okay reheated frozen works fine,) and walnuts. Serve on spinach or toss with pasta.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:32 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Spring mix and/or baby romaine greens, finely chopped organic peeled carrots, high quality EVOO, no dressing. My fave salad ever, I can easily eat like three of them every day, never, never, never gets old.
posted by rainy at 6:47 PM on December 4, 2012

I know I've posted this asparagus salad recipe to a previous salad thread, but I must stress again how delicious it is. Something about the combination of flavors--sweet asparagus, bitter broccolini, tangy, nutty dressing--is amazing, and the crunchy texture would pair well with pasta. No need for the parmesan included in the recipe; I served this with the cheese on the side in a group with both vegans and omnivores, and both groups loved it.
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:39 PM on December 4, 2012

Here's a couple but they wouldn't really toss well pasta:

Celeri remoulade: silken tofu creamed with a stick blender and a couple of tablespoons of whole grain mustard. Add oil while blending for a more mayonnaise like texture. Toss it with a whole bunch of celery root shredded or matchstick cut if you're so inclined. Vegan coleslaws are easy with a similar dressing, or oil & vinegar slaws are nice too.

Shredded Beets & Carrots. I just wash them and use a cheese grater. If the carrots aren't too sweet I'll add an apple or two. Salt & pepper of course. I rarely season it beyond that.
posted by glip at 8:40 PM on December 4, 2012

A joint near me makes salad with cabbage, salad greens, avocado, kidney beans, smoked almonds, dates, and champagne vinagrette. It's pretty tasty.

This is a suggestion specifically for dressing--have you tried blending miso paste with nuts or nut butters? I started with the miso-tahini dressing (mix miso, tahini and water--that's it!) via Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The book "The Saucy Vegetarian," which was mentioned on an AskMe thread has many nice suggestions for dressings, incl. one I now routinely make that is a combo of cashews, miso, nutritional yeast, garlic and onions blended up till smooth. I put it on both pasta and salads. It's been a game changer.
posted by indognito at 5:54 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've had brussels sprouts and butternut squash paired together in both salad format and pasta format, and both are delicious. They can both easily be sauteed or roasted together. A little bit of sage or garlic works well for seasoning, or for the salad you could toss it in a simple vinagirette.

And not a full recipe, just an ingredient suggestion, but I absolutely adore thinly-sliced shallots in just about any salad, and they're also great in pastas.
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:29 PM on December 5, 2012

Tabouleh salad with a stew of rough cut root vegetables (and maybe some cauliflower), onion, garlic and crushed tomato sauce?
What goes in both are the onions, the garlic and the parsley (and maybe coriander). If you live in a sunshiny place, the tomatoes can be fresh in both dishes, too. I don't, so I use very finely cut tomatoes for the tabouleh and canned crushed tomatoes for the stew.
posted by mumimor at 2:20 PM on December 5, 2012

Along the same lines as what Lexica is saying, I made this salad with quinoa the other night and I thought it was delicious (although admittedly not pasta based).
posted by pitrified at 2:51 PM on December 5, 2012

« Older Does the world need to hear my very special story?   |   Good Sustainability Movie or DVD Titles Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.