grain-free make-ahead salads?
June 30, 2014 4:51 AM   Subscribe

I love to make a huge vat of salad to eat throughout the week. I'm looking for recipes for such salads, which will stay good all week already mixed up. No pasta, please!
posted by chaiminda to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 122 users marked this as a favorite
I'll start with my current favorite kale beet salad.

2 bunches green or red kale, shredded, stems removed
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded raw beet
2/3 cup of vinegar
2/3 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of pepitas
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
1/2 cup of walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
posted by chaiminda at 4:54 AM on June 30, 2014 [8 favorites]

chopped cucumber & tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, shredded basil, little mozzarella balls, olive oil and salt and pepper and a little lemon juice.
posted by zdravo at 5:11 AM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Winter salad! Massaged kale/cabbage/etc with a sesame-type dressing. Very adaptable and keeps for ages.

Also great for bringing to potlucks/parties. I got so many recipe requests for this that I finally put it on a website:
posted by ethorson at 5:43 AM on June 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've found some great tips for making a week of salads from this article. It's for 5 sets of salad though, not one big vat.
posted by FreezBoy at 6:07 AM on June 30, 2014

I regularly make a very simple black bean salad:

*canned black beans (drained & rinsed)
*frozen corn kernels (thawed by rinsing with cold water in a strainer)
*chopped Roma tomatoes
*green onions (snipped with scissors)
*optional: cilantro (if you roll that way - I love cilantro but some people really don't like it)

Mix all that in whatever proportions you like: try 2 (15 oz.) cans of black beans, a cup of frozen corn, 2 tomatoes, and 2 green onions, to start. Throw in cilantro - I like a lot - wash it really well and snip it in with scissors.

Prep a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar (or balsamic), chili powder, cumin, and a clove or two of crushed garlic. Again, whatever proportions you like. Shake it really well.

Pour the dressing over the salad, mix it all together, and let it sit a while before eating; kept in the fridge, it only gets better through the week as the flavors really settle in. I like to double or triple this to make a really big bowl.
posted by flex at 6:12 AM on June 30, 2014

I LOVE this salad. It says winter vegetables, but it's not. You can nuke the veggies, instead of the rigamorole of blanching them to make it easier.

Silver Palate Winter Vegetable Salad
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:16 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Chickpeas are awesome for this (although I guess they're a starch? but you could easily sub any other bean here). A can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained. Add half a red onion and a jalapeno, both finely diced. A splash of olive oil, the juice of a lime or two, and a handful of chopped cilantro. Salt and pepper.

Or, a can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained. Add half a red onion and a green pepper, both sliced. A splash of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, a squirt of brown mustard. Cayenne, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cilantro optional.
posted by specialagentwebb at 6:23 AM on June 30, 2014

Red cabbage, shredded on a mandoline, grated apple and carrot, very thinly sliced fennel if you like fennel... Dress with 1/2 cup each apple cider vinegar & olive oil, plus 1/2 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 1-2 tablespoons honey)

It gets better with each passing day. Important to shred your own cabbage, bagged coleslaw mix doesn't really cut it.
posted by lizifer at 6:34 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Russian salad" is a type of mayonnaise-dressed salad of varying ingredients that keeps well. I was introduced to it in Bolivia where the core ingredients are diced potatoes, carrots, peas (all cooked) and hard-boiled egg. Elsewhere it's commonly made with some diced pickles and ham or salami as well. Beets are also a nice addition (or replacement for potatoes if you don't eat those).

Another sort of simple old-school make-ahead salad is carrot-raisin salad. I really like it with diced pineapple as well. This recipe is pretty much what I do, except I don't add any extra sugar. It can be dressed with yogurt instead to good effect.
posted by drlith at 6:37 AM on June 30, 2014

Chickpeas, chopped cucumber, red onion, dill, yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil.

Butter beans, feta, artichoke hearts, lemon juice, thyme, olive oil.

Shredded cabbage and a dressing that's basically lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and a little brown sugar. (Also some sort of hot sauce, if you're into that.) I vary the other veg, but have two defaults: one is cabbage, cucumber, peppers, green onion, and mango; the other is cucumber, green onion, carrots, bean sprouts, and avocado. This should sit in the fridge for at least a few hours before you eat it--the salt and acid will sort of cook the cabbage and other hard veg a little, so it gets soft and kinda silky. It basically continues to get better for several days in the fridge, imo. (Avocado and other proteins--chicken, tofu, whatever--go great, but should be added right before serving.)
posted by MeghanC at 7:16 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Gajar Ka Halwa is a Punjabi dessert made from carrots that might fit your specs; I bring it to picnics as a stand-in for carrot salad.
posted by XMLicious at 7:17 AM on June 30, 2014

Ooh my pantry salad!

Combine equal parts:
Frozen edamame
Frozen corn
Chopped tomatoes (fresh or good-quality canned is fine)
Black beans or chickpeas

Toss it with a little olive oil and lemon juice (or vinaigrette of your choice, or I think I've done it with yogurt-based dressing too). It keeps for a few days in the fridge, and it seriously takes two minutes to make, most of which is locating the measuring cup (arguably optional) and opening the cans. If I'm feeling very fancy I'll add some chopped red onion or shallot.
posted by mskyle at 7:31 AM on June 30, 2014

Ridiculous corn salad:

- Shelled fresh corn, raw if it's super fresh and sweet, or blanched frozen corn
- Minced shallot or red onion
- Olive oil, salt and pepper
- Add sliced radishes, lime juice, a minced chipotle in adobo, and cilantro OR red wine vinegar, chopped red pepper, and handfuls of basil/mint

Ridiculous marinated broccoli:

- Chop a head of broccoli (add the peeled, chopped stems if you like) and toss with a couple tablespoons of red wine vinegar and salt
- Heat a ton of minced garlic and a palmful of cumin seed in three tablespoons of olive oil until the cumin seeds start to pop.
- Add a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes to the garlic and pour over the broccoli
- Salt, pepper, refrigerate.

This is one of those food mysteries where the ingredients are unassuming - even un-prepossessing - but some kind of strange alchemy happens with them and it is so absurdly good. It goes with everything and is fabulous topped with some tuna and greens for lunch, or next to basically anything for dinner.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:19 AM on June 30, 2014 [7 favorites]

recent Salad
posted by theora55 at 8:37 AM on June 30, 2014

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Red cabbage is really the only required veggie in this salad, but I've tried and enjoyed adding green cabbage, carrot, and jicama. Whatever veggies you decide to use, julienne, chop into thin strips or use a fancy mandolin to cut everything thinly.

The dressing varies but I usually do the following: rice wine vinegar OR lime juice, toasted sesame oil (don't need a ton), canola oil, fish sauce*, freshly grated ginger, red pepper flakes, and honey OR brown sugar. Whisk the dressing together and then pour over the sliced veggies. Refrigerate for as long as you can stand (it gets better the longer the veggies can sit in the dressing) or consume immediately if you are impatient.

*SECRET INGREDIENT! Smells awful, but adds a salty, umami deliciousness to the salad! If you don't have fish sauce you should really go out to the store and get some because it makes this salad. Same for the the toasted sesame oil, IMO.
posted by gumtree at 9:30 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

These all sound wonderful. I'll contribute this apple carrot slaw with curry dressing.

When I made it I had no apple, and substituted jicama. It was delicious! I imagine it would keep well in the refrigerator - mine didn't last that long.
posted by hairy terrarium at 10:15 AM on June 30, 2014

The cucumber suggestions above are great, but note that cucumber CAN get soggy and watery over a few days. You might try salting the cucumbers ahead of time, or making the rest of the salad and just adding the cucumber fresh each day.

Great question!
posted by kristi at 10:21 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, I just remembered! Cauliflower salad. You will not believe how good this is.

I never remember the olives. Plenty good without 'em.

Cauliflower Salad

1 1/3 cups salad oil (I use olive oil)
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar (I don't use the sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon basil (I keep forgetting the basil too)
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups cauliflower florets
2 serranos or jalapeno chiles, seeds and stems removed, chopped
3/4 cup pitted ripe olives, sliced
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

Combine the salad oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, basil, oregano, and garlic in a
glass jar with a lid. Shake the mixture until the sugar is dissolved and set aside.

Place the cauliflower and the jalapenos (or serranos) in a ceramic bowl. Shake the dressing again, pour it over the vegetables, toss lightly, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Before serving, add the olives, the bell pepper, and toss the mixture.
posted by kristi at 10:24 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Here's my mom's recipe for "Summer Salad":

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (low-carb alternate: 5 packets of Splenda)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp parsley

Assorted vegetables: cucumbers, celery, onion (red or white), carrots, peppers (green, red, etc.), broccoli, tomatoes, etc.

Mix dressing, whipping it together with a fork. Peel and chop veggies. Put it all together in a huge bowl with a lid. Marinate for at least 4 hours (overnight is even better) in the refrigerator, mixing occasionally (if your bowl has a lid, you can just shake the whole thing ... carefully).

I myself don't care to eat the tomatoes, but I always put at least one in, because it adds great flavor to the brine. As each day goes by, the veggies get more and more infused with the flavor -- many's the time I've enjoyed this salad for a week.
posted by themissy at 4:15 AM on July 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

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