Give me your salads, just leave the greens at home
April 30, 2022 4:24 PM   Subscribe

My personal recipe catalog is sorely lacking in salads. The one problem: I don't like lettuce/arugula/whatever spring mix is/kale/etc. Creamy potato salads? Love it! Tangy pasta salads? Absolutely! Fresh veggie salads? You know it! Sweet fruit salads? Sounds great! A delicious caesar salad? Sorry, not for me. If you can call it a salad and the main ingredient isn't a leafy green, I want to try it. So if you have a favorite greens-free salad recipe you can share, I'd love to try it.
posted by noneuclidean to Food & Drink (55 answers total) 100 users marked this as a favorite
My partner and I made this roast cabbage and cauliflower salad last night and it was quite great.
posted by itesser at 4:34 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

This bright-colored salad/slaw is delicious. Use any proportions of veggies that you like.

Put these raw veggies in the food processor:
Red bell pepper
Yellow bell pepper
Baby carrots
Purple carrots
Red onion
Fresh dill
lemon juice (don't skimp)
Olive oil or toasted sesame oil for extra layer of flavor
Toss and add:
Crumbled feta cheese

Extra good with toasted pita.
posted by nantucket at 4:37 PM on April 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

Apple, melon (cantaloup, fragrant melon / Korean melon, honeydew, canary), berries, jack-fruit or lychees, mint or basil is my go-to fruit salad. Shaking the apples in a container with 10ml of lime juice keeps them from turning brown and tastes good. Add a bit of honey if you want it sweeter.

Imitation crab salad is stretching the definition of salad. I really like something similar to this recipe but with a hearty shake of Old Bay. I usually add a lot more veggies: celery, sprouts, quickly boiled soy, snow peas, whatever's at hand.
posted by eotvos at 4:39 PM on April 30, 2022 [3 favorites]

If you have a Trader Joe's near you, here's an easy lentil salad we eat a couple times a month. You can add avocado, cucumbers, shredded carrots, etc as desired and I've removed the cheese for vegan friends.

1 Pack of TJ's pre-prepared lentils, 1 tub TJ's bruschetta mix, 1 tub TJ's feta crumbles. Mix together in big salad bowl and enjoy cold or at room temp!

We also really enjoy this quinoa salad (again, easily adaptable to your taste and the contents of your fridge. I always add feta and kalamata olives).
posted by Otis the Lion at 4:43 PM on April 30, 2022 [3 favorites]

I suggest focusing on making your own dressings and giving in to dressing leaves as well as potatoes. Highly recommend adding roast squash and boiled then grilled smashed potatoes to long stem broccoli and rocket. Just a dab of hot English mustard. It's worth it.
posted by parmanparman at 4:43 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Here's a salad I posted on Instructables and that's free of leafy greens:
Pink Salad.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:46 PM on April 30, 2022

in large bowl, mix several cobs or one bag of sweet corn kernels; 1.5 cups black beans (=1 can); additional crunchy veggies (e.g., bell peps) or pickled veggies optional (e.g., pickled red onions); dice large fresh tomato or several cherry; cube 1 large avocado; mince as much cilantro as you like

dress with vinaigrette -- 3 maybe 4 medium limes; tablespoon cayenne; tablespoon cumin; tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle of kosher salt; clove of garlic, minced -- adjust to taste

chill, serve as salad or salsa
posted by zeee at 4:54 PM on April 30, 2022 [4 favorites]

If you like cucumber: Smashed Cucumber Salad.
A proper Greek salad doesn’t have lettuce in it: Greek salad.
posted by cabingirl at 5:00 PM on April 30, 2022 [5 favorites]

A simple but favorite salad: shredded red cabbage, toasted pine nuts, goat cheese crumbles, balsamic & olive oil, salt & pepper. Delish.
posted by sleepingwithcats at 5:07 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

As I read this, I happened to be watching Sesame Street, specifically the Monster Foodies segment with Cookie Monster and Gonger, and they were making a roasted beet and watermelon salad.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:10 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Crunchy broccoli salad is delicious (this is close to the recipe I have - mine doesn’t call for bacon, but that would probably be tasty)
posted by Kriesa at 5:10 PM on April 30, 2022 [3 favorites]

Roasted red pepper, capers, garlic, and anchovies in balsamic vinegar is pretty tried and true.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:11 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Fresh corn salad (once it’s corn season)
posted by Kriesa at 5:13 PM on April 30, 2022

Texas caviar” is a bean salad I make often.
posted by Kriesa at 5:16 PM on April 30, 2022 [3 favorites]

quinoa salad. Bean salad. Texas caviar. Watermelon, red onion and feta salad.
posted by ellerhodes at 5:17 PM on April 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

Greek horiataki salad with whatever you like of cucumbers, tomatoes, raw bell pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, feta, oregano, olive oil, salt. I like this in big chunks.

Broccoli and Brussels slaw

Segmented oranges with sliced fennel, olives and red pepper flakes.
posted by vunder at 5:22 PM on April 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

Two I love from Smitten Kitchen: smashed chickpea salad (I actually prefer the chickpeas unsmashed but you do you) and her pasta salad with roasted tomatoes, which, as far as I'm concerned, is the only pasta salad worth a damn.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:24 PM on April 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

Som tam phonlamai (omit the papaya for easier preparation, if you like).
posted by praemunire at 5:29 PM on April 30, 2022

Waldorf-ish Salad
Cut apples into bite-sized pieces, add chopped celery, walnuts and yogurt. Maybe a tiny bit of cinnamon to taste.

Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

Try making fresh coleslaw with finely shredded cabbage and any good dressing. Or Asian-inspired coleslaw. There are tons of recipes, some with crunchy additions.
posted by theora55 at 5:48 PM on April 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

Italian bread salad: loaf of bread cut into cubes and toasted, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh mozzarella, vinaigrette. Let marinate at least half an hour and up to four hours.

Lots of recipes online if you want exact measurements.
posted by FencingGal at 5:52 PM on April 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

A place I get lunch at does a salad with sweet potatoes, beetroot, courgettes and some edamame and a bit of quinoa. I like to add some protein like a hard boiled egg or some feta and some light vinaigrette. The veg is very lightly steamed or sautéed and still has crunch so it all feels very fresh and has a lot of texture.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:16 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Cucumber, tomato and avocado salad. Lots of recipes online, I think the simple ones with just oil and vinegar are best.
posted by credulous at 6:17 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

The Hellenic Republic’s Cypriot grain salad is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I make it with the following substitutions: bulgur instead of freekah, chopped pistachios instead of pine nuts, pomegranate molasses instead of honey. Go heavy on the fresh herbs. SO FRICKING GOOD
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 6:23 PM on April 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

Watermelon & feta salad is good. Here's one version.
posted by NotLost at 6:30 PM on April 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

If you have a Trader Joe's near you, here's an easy lentil salad we eat a couple times a month.

I was coming in to post that. It's so good! I add cucumbers for crunch.
posted by jgirl at 6:37 PM on April 30, 2022

Wrong time of year, but I love Smitten Kitchen's Winter Fruit Salad. (I leave out the anise.)
posted by radioamy at 6:53 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Watermelon feta salad is really good. Just chop up seedless watermelon, crumble in feta, and julienne some mint. Drizzle with good balsamic vinegar or glaze (my local fancy grocery store has an amazing fig balsamic vinegar).
posted by radioamy at 6:56 PM on April 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

I love sliced cucumber with sunflower seeds, raisins, and bleu cheese dressing.
posted by theotherdurassister at 7:10 PM on April 30, 2022

Vietnamese papaya salad
Vietnamese pomelo and shrimp salad
Vietnamese water spinach stem salad (it’s not like spinach)
Burmese tea leaf salad (use cabbage as bed)
Burmese green tomato salad
Sichuan smashed cucumber salad
Indian Kachumber salad
Salad niçoise (no lettuce)
Esquites - Mexican corn salad
Three sisters salad
Shaved salad
Not just watermelon but other types of melon (balled?) make for good salad ingredients too
posted by eyeball at 7:17 PM on April 30, 2022 [4 favorites]

Edit window closed but meant to add that the Vietnamese salad (goi) can also use green mango instead of papaya

Also, typo — it’s salade niçoise
posted by eyeball at 7:27 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Fencing Gal mentioned Italian bread salad. This is also known as panzanella, and I can vouch for its deliciousness.
posted by NotLost at 7:41 PM on April 30, 2022

Also also, pasta salad makes me think of cold noodle salads — plenty of variations; soba works well too
posted by eyeball at 7:41 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Summer Salad

Canned chickpeas
Halved cherry or grape tomatoes, or diced big tomatoes
Diced cucumbers
Chopped red onion
A few black olives
Chopped boiled egg
Crumbled feta or blue cheese
Maybe a handful of cooked brown rice or small pasta, or not, to taste
Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tastes better if you let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:07 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

I make a thing that started life as the basic dilly creamy cucumber salad, but I like it with additional thing or two in it. I've made it with garbanzo or white beans, potato chunks, croutons or toasted stale pita bits, or halved grape tomatoes. I don't always love red onion, but if the salad's going to sit for a few days it does mellow up so nice in the dressing and cucumber water that drains off.

I like all the non-greens components of something like a Cobb salad, served with celery sticks or similar.

Roasted eggplant salad.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:15 PM on April 30, 2022

Mark Bittman has a bunch of non-leafy salads, my favourite is a variation on his Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw. Red cabbage, carrot, apple, spring onion with a mustard dressing. Goes well with any protein you like.
posted by harriet vane at 8:58 PM on April 30, 2022

Spiralized Raw Beet and Sweet Potato Salad
posted by BoscosMom at 9:01 PM on April 30, 2022

Asian slaw with wasabi soy dressing is super crunchy and flavorful. Red cabbage, jicama, red bell peppers, and cukes with a delightful dressing.
posted by sucre at 9:07 PM on April 30, 2022

Vietnamese lotus stem and prawn salad
Tiger salad (celery and cilantro)
Hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, asparagus, snap peas also good non-leafy salad components
For fruit, in addition to apple, peach/apricot, pear, persimmon, orange, starfruit (not necessarily all together) — with burrata/mozzarella or perhaps blue cheese
posted by eyeball at 10:56 PM on April 30, 2022

Korean Potato Salad

Cauliflower salad Ingredients:
1 small head of cauliflower, picked into small florets
1 small onion, or the whites of two spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup of mayo
1/2 cup of greek yogurt
1 tbs of dijon mustard
salt and pepper for seasoning
halved cherry tomatoes for decoration.

Combine the mayo, yogurt, mustard and onions to make a dressing. Season to taste. Let it rest for a while, then combine with the cauliflower florets. Put the mixture in a nice bowl, and decorate with the halved tomatoes.

I like my pasta salad very simple: make while the pasta is still warm, for optimum flavor. Into the warm pasta, mix olive oil, lemon juice, black olives, small, quartered ripe tomatoes and fresh basil leaves, torn into smaller pieces. Season with salt and pepper, mix well, let rest for ten minutes and serve. You can add some fresh mozzarella, but you don't have to. Try it before you diss it.
posted by mumimor at 12:58 AM on May 1, 2022

Is vignarola a salad or a stew? Never mind, just ry it!
posted by mumimor at 1:05 AM on May 1, 2022

Tuna bean salad:
a tin of tuna, a tin of beans, finely chopped onion to taste, vinaigrette. Some parsley if you have some.
I like a nice soft bean like a flageolet, but whatever you prefer. Dill or cilantro or whatever would probably be good too.

Salade Niçoise:
Green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, black olives, anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, vinaigrette, herbs. Maybe tuna. I personally would include lettuce but it’s actually more traditional without.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:22 AM on May 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

A proper Greek salad is a plate with cut up tomatoes, cucumber, onion, feta cheese, Greek olives, topped with good olive oil, served with bread. sometimes a bit of vinegar and/or herbs.

Cucumber salad - peel (I usually peel in stripes, leaving some peel) and slice cucumber. Add cider vinegar, dash of soy, drizzle of toasted sesame oil, salt, pepper.

Black bean salad: can of black beans, can of corn, can's worth of salsa, chopped onion, fresh cilantro, juice of a lime.
posted by theora55 at 6:50 AM on May 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

My simplest very quick salad: grated carrots, minced garlic, canned chickpeas. Dressing is usually just oil and vinegar but sometimes add a little tahini.
posted by mareli at 7:22 AM on May 1, 2022

One of my all-time favorite things to make when fresh corn is in season:
Black Bean and Corn Salad with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette
posted by KatlaDragon at 7:29 AM on May 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Celery salad is great. You could do it a thousand ways. I slice celery finely on the diagonal, combine with Parmesan, walnuts, vinaigrette.
posted by bluebird at 8:05 AM on May 1, 2022

There's a fruit salad I love and have been making for forever; you can use any kind of fruit, but I tend to think it's best with stone fruits in summer and a really nice ripe melon + bananas. Basically you just cut up as much fruit as you want into a big bowl, then drizzle with a "sauce" made of equal parts honey and lime juice mixed together, then finish with a tablespoon (or however much/little you want) of celery seed. Toss it all together till everything's covered. I like lots of the drizzle and lots of the celery seed, because I love the bright and warm flavor of the honey and celery seed with the tartness of the lime juice. It also really combines nicely with juices from the fruits if you keep it in the fridge for a day or two.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:59 AM on May 1, 2022

Thin zucchini ribbons dressed with just olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper, then left to marinade for a few hours in the fridge. (or just thinly sliced but that’s less visually appealing)
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:20 PM on May 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is my favorite Greek salad. It’s delicious and makes for a nice presentation. If I want to bulk it up, I add a can of chickpeas.
posted by lunasol at 12:50 PM on May 1, 2022

Fattoush (this is just the first recipe I found; there are a bunch)

Moosewood has a very nice bulgar-walnut-grape salad in the book Daily Special.
I couldn’t find the exact recipe online but this is close-ish - though I’m pretty sure the original had cuke and red pepper and did not have currents. It also had cumin and coriander, as so many Moosewood recipes did (do). You might actually appreciate the whole book, which is soups & salads. The preview on amazon shows the TOC so you can see the names of the recipes in the book.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 2:50 PM on May 1, 2022

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! I did not expect so many responses. I've already made one of the salads mentioned above (the farro salad with spiced chickpeas) and look forward to trying many more!
posted by noneuclidean at 4:39 PM on May 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Metafilter loves a good salad.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:12 AM on May 2, 2022

Shredded beet and carrot salad; also good with feta added.

My previously posted too-simple-to-be-called-a-recipe fruit salad - when peaches are in season, gather:
fresh peaches
fresh bananas
fresh strawberries
lemon juice

Slice the fruit. Try to have roughly equal amounts of each.

Add lemon juice. (The juice of one lemon for 1-2 peaches seems about right.)

Let it sit for at least an hour or two. (The lemon juice helps keep the banana and peach from browning too much.)


My previously posted recipe for cauliflower salad, with jalapenos, red bell pepper, and (ideally, I often forget) basil and ripe olives. Amazingly good, and super easy.

And my all-time favorite salad as a kid was this kidney bean salad; as an adult, I've transformed it into something more like cole slaw with kidney beans. (So: make cole slaw, add kidney beans; or, make kidney bean salad, add cabbage.)
posted by kristi at 10:01 PM on May 2, 2022

My go-to knee-jerk answer first: Moosewood Daily Special has lots of non-leafy-green salads, yadda yadda yadda. 2 Cats In The Yard links to the book above, and the bulgur/grape/walnut salad they mention is one of my favorites. Another one I've loved is a pasta salad with just pasta, blanched green beans and strips of roasted red pepper, maybe with some nuts and a vinaigrette.

There's also a tortellini salad I've made from the old Silver Palate cookbooks; I use it as more of a jumping-off point, though, since the original recipe calls for broccoli and I can't eat that. And then I realized that when it comes to can totally go free-form, so I just sort of wing it now. The best way to make it is to hit up a farmer's market or a decent supermarket produce section for "whatever's good that day", and then that goes in the bowl with some cooked-up tortellini and you finish with a mayo-based dressing. I've found that including bell pepper, carrots, and leek is always a good idea, and otherwise you can go nuts (love tomatoes? Throw some in! Did the celery look good? Add that too! Do you hate leeks? Leave 'em out!)

You can also do single-vegetable salads; kristi links to a beet and carrot salad above, but you could totally make that same recipe just with beet or just with carrot. Carrottes rapee is a very, very, very, very common French salad - at its most basic, it's just grated carrots with a vinaigrette. You can throw other stuff in if you want (some common add-ins I've heard of are raisins, orange juice, or slivered almonds), but the basic is just shredded carrots and vinaigrette. A shredded raw beet can also easily be dressed up with some vinaigrette for another salad; I also made a salad of some chopped-up cooked beets drizzled with a little oil and vinegar and that's it. Sliced cucumbers drizzled with vinegar would also work (kind of like pickles, but....not).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:06 AM on February 3

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