Recipes for interesting, low-calorie vegetarian salads
September 19, 2019 10:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm an adventurous eater, and love food from all over the world. Please recommend some recipes for interesting, low-calorie vegetarian salads.

I'm a huge fan of international cuisine : Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, Spanish, Italian, Greek, French, Middle Eastern, Indian, Himalayan, Peruvian, Mexican, and many others. I also enjoy being introduced to dishes and cuisines I've never tried before! I love food of all spice levels, from mild to hot, so I'm definitely not afraid of a little fire. I also enjoy tastes that aren't always popular in the US : salty/sweet combinations, umami, "fishy" fishes, etc.

I live in NYC, so I do have access to nice things like Chinese grocery stores. I'm not afraid to spend a reasonable amount of time on preparation, but I am a busy professional, so I probably won't have time for dishes that require a WHOLE LOT of prep work.

Generally looking for vegetarian salads, but I guess I'm not opposed to maybe putting in a little seafood in on occasion -- so feel free to recommend salads that could benefit from a little seafood. But definitely no canned tuna or salmon. Also, not a huge fan of mayo-based salads.
posted by panama joe to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also, if you know of any blogs, websites, or cookbooks I'd enjoy, please feel free to recommend!
posted by panama joe at 10:04 AM on September 19, 2019

I've been dying to try this one Roasted Vegetable and Bean salad
posted by Ftsqg at 11:32 AM on September 19, 2019

Healthy vegetarian recipes under 300 calories--do a CTRL-F for "salad." There are quite a few tasty looking ones in there.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:51 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

I love this one: tofu, bean sprouts, peanuts - comes in at 480 calories per serving but you could probably reduce that by exploring alternatives to the oils used in preparation. Shanghai Tofu and Peanut Salad.
posted by rekrap at 11:55 AM on September 19, 2019

Congratulations! You are today's lucky winner of the "person I link the Moosewood Daily Special to"!

But seriously - this book is nothing but soups and salads, with some main-dish sized and some side-dish sized, and a lot of them are meant to complement each other. They do have some seafood salads, but not too much canned stuff if memory serves, and they are very low on mayonnaise (or they may even suggest you make it yourself, and will give instructions). The salads come from a variety of cuisines and are an absolute outright orgy of ingredients. And you'll find all levels of prep work in here - from fiddly stuff to "dump things into a pot and cook" or "dump things into a bowl and toss". Their recipe for Sichuan peanut noodles is my go-to, as are a couple of their pasta salads.

That is the cookbook I recommend more than any other in here, and for good reason.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:07 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is not a recipe as such but it's a neat way to make a base for a whole range of salads. It's what I call the couscous salad trick. It goes like this:
- put couscous in a bowl, together with the same volume in boiling water
- wait for couscous to soak up all the water
- add frozen peas (almost the same volume as the couscous now has)
- mix
Now the couscous is defrosting your peas and the peas are cooling your couscous. Give it a few minutes and add your other ingredients, such as fresh chopped vegetables, olives, feta. Add a dressing of your choice, toss and enjoy.
Very fast and tasty result.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:24 PM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

I like the website Budget Bytes. She does include meat in some recipes, but also includes notes about how to make any given recipe vegetarian or vegan.

Archive of salad recipes on Budget Bytes

And here's a list she compiled of 19 Refrigerator Salads on her site.
posted by warble at 2:20 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ooh! If you're looking for interesting ingredients and flavor combinations, I loooove Heidi Swanson's recipes on 101cookbooks!
posted by JuliaIglesias at 4:43 PM on September 19, 2019

I absolutely loved a fermented tea leaf salad that I had at a Burmese restaurant. I believe Burma Superstar in San Francisco put out a cookbook with a recipe but here is one from the New York Times. I guess the shrimp powder makes it not quite vegetarian but you could probably leave that out. It is a delicious and exciting salad but I can't get the tea leaves where I live - you probably can.
posted by epanalepsis at 4:59 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

You need to meet Yotan Ottolenghi. His books are really inspiring, and you can find his recipes at the NYTimes and at The Guardian. Actually, I find I'm using all of The Guardian's food section more and more, it's very good.
posted by mumimor at 8:21 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I agree 101 Cookbooks is a great resource for salads. Also, a few years ago someone here recommended the Samurai Salads cookbook, which is really good - not sure about low cal specifically, but you can eliminate any of the higher carb or calorie ingredients as needed - the recipes are all unique and diverse. Smitten Kitchen is another blog with great veg friendly salad recipes - this barley/roasted eggplant and roasted zuchinni salad was amazing.
posted by j810c at 10:05 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

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