Bored with salad? Bling it up a bit (4 effortless recipes that will result in a 'WOW!')
By Sharon K. Ghag
Even the best-dressed leaves can benefit from a sprinkling of nuts or seeds. Just add them right before serving so they stay nice and crunchy.
Greens served naked or barely dressed in a splash of citrus and olive oil will gain greater appeal with a shake of dried fruit or a generous serving of fresh fruit.
Meat is a great salad topper, but don't overlook beans, wheat germ, granola and canned tuna. Then there's diced or shaved cheese and green or black olives, marinated or stuffed.
Dry ramen noodles sauteed in butter and sprinkled with the accompanying spice package are a nice change of pace from croutons.
Snipped herbs chives, mint, parsley, dill come to mind add bold notes. Leftover rice or lentils, meanwhile, can be added with abandon.
Need more ideas? Pile on fresh or grilled vegetables; onions are especially delicious. If going with fresh vegetables, shredding, chopping, slicing and shaving will all add to the texture of the finished salad.
And don't overlook sprouts and shoots.
Finally, remember that it's no crime to double up on salad. Top greens with a creamy macaroni or potato salad and forgo the dressing.
GREEN SALAD WITH CORN, PEPPERS AND SMOKY RED PEPPER DRESSING
SERVES 4 to 8; dressing makes 1 cupHalf a grilled red pepper, with skin removed, and a small handful of basil produced an especially delicious dressing.
In a blender, combine the olive oil, vinegar, roasted peppers, cilantro, garlic, paprika and salt. Puree until the dressing is smooth. Pour into airtight container and refrigerate for up to five days. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, corn, red and yellow peppers and shallot and toss to combine. Add 1/2 cup dressing and gently toss everything to coat. Serve immediately. .
MARINATED CUCUMBER AND CHILI SALAD
SERVES 2 to 3
Habaneros are plentiful at Latino markets, but can be difficult to find at some supermarkets. Substitute another spicy pepper. The salad will be just as tasty. The longer the cucumbers marinate, the more tart the salad.
Place the cucumber, chili and onion in a glass bowl. Toss with olive oil, agave nectar and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate from 1 hour to up to a day before serving.
CARROT AND CITRUS SALAD
SERVES 3 to 4
The recipe calls for grapefruits and pistachios, but an abundance of backyard oranges and raisins in the pantry also made a salad that was delicious. Fresh limes are another good option when making barely dressed salads. If peppery watercress isn't available, try spinach.
In a small dry skillet over medium low heat, toast the pistachios until evenly browned, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine grapefruits, watercress, carrots and cilantro in a bowl and toss gently. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. When ready to serve, add nuts and dressing to the salad.
MIXED GREENS AND STRAWBERRY SALAD
In bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and orange juice concentrate. Add the marmalade and whisk again until combined. Refrigerate.
Reserve 4 large leaves for plating. Tear remaining leaves into bite-size pieces. Spoon 1tablespoon of dressing into the center of each of 4serving plates. Place a whole large leaf of butter lettuce off-center on the plate. Scatter a handful of torn lettuce and a handful of baby greens over the entire plate. Scatter 1/2 cup sliced strawberries and 1tablespoon of sliced almonds over the greens.
Drizzle each salad with additional tablespoon dressing and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
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To comment, please click here. © 2013, The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services
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© 2013, The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services .