Nothing says summer to me like salads. Any kind of salad will do, whether hot, cold, raw or cooked, I pretty much want them all during the summer. As much as I love them, they can become tedious and dull if they are always prepared the same way with the same ingredients. Here are some salad recipes that may liven up your meal times!
Salad – by Melana Hiatt
As the snow falls outside adding to the already monstrously deep accumulation I paw through seeds catalogs and wistfully dream. I dream of spring and freshly turned black earth and I can almost taste the fresh produce that will come along shortly after. Images of crisp orbs of radishes, tangy leaf lettuce, deep and hearty spinach’s and peppery mustard greens tease my imagination and frustrate my gardening soul as I watch yet more snow fall.
To stave off my February bouts of “Green Hungry” I tend to eat as many green salads as humanly possible. This from a person that thinks nothing of a freshly picked salad for breakfast. 🙂 Yeah, I am a total green freak and though I am a meat eater I will pick vegetable over meat any day.
Anyway, I thought I might share a salad with you today and pass along some of my inventive salads for you to try out. As with all my cooking anything handy is likely to go into the conglomeration as I search for a balance of flavors and colors.
The base for most of my salads in the winter is leaf lettuce and spinach greens. During the summer months I add mustard greens which I grow myself and a wide variety of wild greens. No matter what greens I use everything is hand torn and tossed to combine the subtle hues of green color and tastes. Possible greens are: Iceberg lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, cress, Arugula, Kyowa Mizuno, sorrel, chickweed and other such greens. Seeds for these are obtainable from Johnny’s though almost all vegetable seed sources are starting to carry a wider variety of seeds for greens.
I generally top this green combination with a variety of vegetables such as yellow summer squash slices, baby carrots, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, fresh radish slices (or crisp immature radish seed pods) or anything that is handy. Like I have said each salad is created depending on what cannot run faster than me.
Edible flowers often accompany a spring salad so as the weather warms feel free to add a bit of Johnny-jump-up blooms, nasturtium blooms and leaves, mustard blooms, tulips petals, rose petals, calendula petals and the like. As always make extra sure your flowers are not sprayed with any sort of pesticide and you will be good to go.
As it is February and flower blooms would be a hard item to acquire right now I turn often to canned items for my salads. Things like my ever beloved artichoke hearts, palm hearts, pearl onions, green and black olives, baby corn, capers, Nopalitos (cactus) will all find themselves at one time or another tossed into a salad.
Fruits like avocado, tomato, papaya, apples and mango will sometimes accent a salad but never in such a quantity that they become the salad.
Don’t forget sprouts as well. Most health food stores carry a wide variety of sprout items for you to grow at home and my personal favorites are broccoli and radish but there are also many types of bean and green sprouts to try out. Each has a different flavor and I like the radish, mustard and broccoli sprouts for the fresh peppery flavor they lend to a green salad.
Herbs make a nice addition to green salads as well and often I add the fresh growth tips of mint, spearmint, basil, borage, oregano, lemon balm, chive leaf and bloom and parsley to my salads. None of these are used in any great quantity but are all delightful in a tossed salad.
What dressing to use over such a salad creation is a matter of personal taste. I generally make a light vinaigrette for my salads but recently it cam to my attention that papaya seed was edible and makes a great dressing. After located papaya here in Quebec (no small task in itself) I played around with several recipes I found on the web and my favorite thus far is from Family Travel.
Papaya Seed Dressing
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cups salad oil
- 2 tbsp papaya seeds
- 1/2 cup shopped macadamia nuts
- 1/2 onion, minced
In a blender, mix salt, sugar, mustard and vinegar. Add oil gradually with blender running. Remove to a serving bowl. In blender, blend together papaya seeds, macadamia nuts and onion. Stir into oil and vinegar mixture. Best served chilled over any type of tossed greens. Serves 6 or more.
* I use red raspberry or chive bloom vinegar in my recipe. When your chives are in bloom take several of the blooms and put them in a clear jar, cover with white vinegar, cover, and stand in a dark cupboard for about a week. After a week strain out the plant material and you will have pinkish vinegar with a mild onion flavor. Salt-n-Pepper has an easy and basic red raspberry vinegar recipe.
Basic vinaigrette consists of 3/4 to 1 cup of olive oil and 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar. Simple as that. From here you add herbs and spices to suit your tastes. I generally add basil, parsley, chives, garlic powder, salt and pepper, shake well and let set in the fridge for a few hours before use. Use dried herbs to avoid mold but if you plan to use all the vinaigrette in a few days or with that one meal experiment with fresh herbs, finely minced garlic, leeks or onion, bell pepper or other items you have handy. A fresh mint vinaigrette is wonderful and consists of finely minced mint leaves and a dash of salt with freshly ground black pepper. Yum.
Most of all have fun. Remember my motto, there is never a disaster in the kitchen only gourmet compost. 🙂
Sharon’s Bergamot Salad
- wood salad bowl
- clove of garlic
- 1 medium lettuce
- 1 teaspoon young bergamot leaves
- 3 bergamot flower heads
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 1 tablspoon herb vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- unrefined sea
- salt, pepper to taste
- a pinch of sugar
Wash lettuce and dry thoroughly, place in fridge to cool and crisp. Rub a wood bowl with a clove of garlic. Place in torn lettuce leaves, bergamot leaves and sliced hard boiled
eggs. Add french dressing. Toss well . Tear the blossoms into the salad, toss again and serve.
Sharon – Apsley Acers – Ontario
Wild Rice Salad With Cranberries
Tumbleweed, Pinto Bean, And Wild Rice Salad
Yield: 6 servings
- 3/4 c Dried pinto beans
- 1 1/2 c Tumbleweed greens or curly endive, or fennel tops
- 1 1/2 c Cooked wild rice
- 3/4 c Sunflower oil
- 3 tb Herb flavored red wine vinegar
- 2 tb Chopped fresh chives
- 2 sm Garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/4 ts Black pepper
- 1/8 ts Salt
- Chive blossoms for garnish
Soak the beans overnight in water to cover. In the morning, drain the beans, rinse them under cold running water, and place them in a saucepan with fresh water to cover. Bring
to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer several hours until the beans are soft and the skins begin to split. Add water when necessary to keep the beans from
drying, and stir occasionally to prevent them from burning and sticking. Remove from the heat, drain, and allow to cool. In a bowl, toss together the greens, beans and rice.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes. In a blender, combine the oil, vinegar, chives, garlic, pepper, and salt. Blend at high speed until the chives and
garlic are finely pureed. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss, and garnish with chive blossoms.
This Recipe was printed from iChef.com (c) 2001 The Internet Chef, All rights Reserved. For more recipes visit our site: http://www.ichef.com
Source: Wild Greens and Salads, by Christopher Nyerges, 1982
- 3 c. very young dandelion greens
- 3 c. chickweed
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 hard boiled egg, sliced
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. peanut oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Taste the dandelion leaves before you gather them for salad. They become bitter quickly, so unless you’re collecting the very youngest spring growth, you may prefer using the
dandelion greens cooked. If the leaves are not yet bitter, collect about 3 cups of the leaves. Collect about 3 cups of chickweed leaves also. Rinse the leaves. Tear them into
bite size pieces, and put them all into your salad bowl. Add the diced onion, the hard- boiled egg slices, and season with oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the salad well and serve this “spring tonic” as a lunch or dinner salad. Serves about five.
Green Bean Salad
Date: Thu Jan 6, 2000 0:09pm
This is a delicious salad my mother made for every holiday. She always called it Green Bean Salad but my boys always called it pea salad and they even asked me if I would make
it this Christmas just past.
Now you have to sort of convert this for yourself since my mom canned just about everything it was originally written in pints.
- 2 pints French cut green beans
- 1 pint peas
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 oz pimento (canned)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 cup oil
- 1 Tbsp. Paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix in large bowl, cover and let set overnight then drain and serve. Note: She used whatever vinegar was closest to her…LOL
This is something we eat several times a week while the season lasts, and never get quite enough of:
Serves Two, increase recipe as needed for more portions
- 1 quart early spring dandelion leaves, washed and torn
- 2 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces*
- 2 inch square piece of blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 tsp. wine or cider vinegar
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook the bacon until the way you like bacon (crumbly, or still somewhat soft)* Remove to drain on paper towels, leaving fat in pan. Arrange dandelion leaves in bowls or on
plates. Drizzle hot bacon fat over the leaves. Sprinkle on bacon and blue cheese. Sprinkle with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.
*Vegetarians can skip the bacon and use extra virgin olive oil that has been heated (you want the leaves to wilt slightly). If fish is okay with your diet, add a few drops of
Worcestershire sauce (contains anchovies).
Crawdad and Wild Green Pasta Salad
- 1 ts Chicken Bouillon Granules
- 1 c Water
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 sm Lemon Thinly Sliced
- 1 sm Onion Thinly Sliced
- 3 cl Garlic
- 1/4 ts Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 lb crawdad tails (or shrimp)
- 2 tb Olive Oil
- 1 tb White Wine Vinegar
- 1 tb Dijon Mustard
- 6 oz Uncooked Seashell Macaroni
- 1 lg Red Bell Pepper Chopped
- 1 c Frozen Peas Thawed
- 3/4 c Minced Fresh Basil
- 1/2 c Minced Purple Onion
- 1/4 c Minced Parsley
- 1/4 cup black or green olives sliced
- 1/2 c Fresh cattail shoots
- 1/2 c Bulrush shoots
- 1/2 dandelion crowns chopped
- 1/2 c Brier tendrils chopped
- 1/4 c diced morel mushrooms
Combine bouillon granules, water, white wine, lemon, orange, onion, garlic, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. bring to a boil, bring to a boil and add crawdad tails and cook
for 5 minutes. Remove crawdad tails, cool and de-vein. Strain broth mixture reserving 1/2 c of liquid. Combine reserve liquid with oil, vinegar and mustard and process until
smooth in your food processor. Cook macaroni according to directions and cool under cold water and drain. Combine macaroni with remaining ingredients and toss. Add broth
mixture, toss and serve.
- 3 c. young fresh leaves
- 1/3 c. thinly sliced sweet onion
- 1/2 c. sliced orange sections
Toss with 1/4 c. minced chives and serve with a bit of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. A bit of minced jalepeno might add a nice bite.
- 2-3 firm chicory chicons
- 4 rashers of streaky bacon fried until crispy
- 2 small tomatoes
- 6-8 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of wine or cider vinegar and/or lemon juice
- Ground black pepper and sea salt
Blanch the chicory in boiling water for 20 seconds and then run under the cold tap to cool them and stop them from cooking. Make a vinaigrette dressing by shaking in a jam-
jar the oils, garlic, vinegar and seasoning. Place the chicory in your salad bowl, top off with olives, bits of bacon, and chopped tomatoes. Dress the salad, season and serve
Cactus Salad (Ensalada De Nopalitos)
- 24 oz Sliced or diced Prickly pear cactus
- 3 T Vegetable oil
- 4 ts White wine vinegar
- 2 md Tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 ts Salt
- 1 sm Onion, chopped
- 1/4 ts Dried oregano leaves
- 2 T Snipped fresh cilantro
- Dash of pepper
This is from “Betty Crocker’s New International Cookbook”. According to the recipe, “No salad is more characteristic of Mexico than Cactus Salad. Nopal, or prickly pear cactus
paddles, are fleshy little wedges that are delicious tossed with a vinaigrette. The dressing above features aromatic cilantro. Place cactus, tomatoes, onion and cilantro in
glass or plastic bowl. Shake remaining ingredients in tightly covered jar. Pour over vegetables; toss. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve on lettuce leaves if
desired. 6 servings.
Bulghur Wheat Salad
Making the salad is easy and as with all my recipes the end result is totally up to you. Stand at your kitchen counter talking to a friend while you dice all the veggies up.
This is the most time consuming of the whole process and the idle chatter makes it far more enjoyable. After the first two ingredients everything else is optional. Just use
what you like.
- 1 cup dry bulghur wheat
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1-2 smallish yellow or green or both summer squash
- 1 bell pepper of any or all color(s)
- 1 carrot
- 1 firm red tomato
- 1 stalk celery
- 5-10 red radish
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 medium red onion
- That left over kernel corn you have setting in the fridge
- 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
- Fresh basil
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh chives or other fresh herbs (You can also use dry if you need to)
- Salt and pepper to taste (fresh cracked pepper is always best)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
- Half as much herb vinegar as you used oil (I make chive blossom vinegar each year and use that)
Place your boiling water in a large bowl and add the bulghur wheat. Set this aside.
Dice up all your veggies to about the size of a kernel of corn. I always try to add what would equal 1/4 cup at least of each veggie but you can add or subtract what suits your
tastes. Mince the garlic and fresh herbs. Again these are totally up to your particular tastes. I add what would equal a tablespoon or 2 of each but you can add dry as well, it
will just take longer for the flavors to mingle with the bulghur and veggies.
Combine the diced veggies and herbs with the cooled bulghur, stirring it all together until well mixed. Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over the bulghur and veggies. Stir
in and cover. Let this chill for an hour or so in the fridge to allow all the flavors to mingle. The longer you let it set the better it will taste but you can always eat it
immediately if you need to or you just can’t resist digging in.
Now, if you are of the wild edible plant persuasion as I am feel free to add any of the following as well: purslane, lamb’s quarters, dandelion greens or bloom buds, chickweed,
daylily buds or tubers, sheep sorrel, Jerusalem artichoke tubers, nettles etc. Edible flowers also add a wonderful zest to this salad as well as adding vibrant color. Some
edible flowers you might consider are nasturtium, borage, tulip and rose.
No matter what the end result of your personal salad is it will always be a great hit. I have yet to meet anyone that didn’t enjoy it.
Brown Rice, Corn And Grilled Vegetable Salad
Smoky vegetables, corn and brown rice are dressed with citrus vinaigrette.
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 4 zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 1 large red onion, cut crosswise into 3 thick slices
- 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup olive oil
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 cups mesquite wood chips, soaked in cold water 1 hour (optional)
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels
- 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
Add rice to large pot of boiling salted water. Cover partially and cook until just tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well. Transfer to large bowl and cool to room
temperature, stirring occasionally.
Place zucchini and onion slices in shallow dish. Mix 1/4 cup oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce in small bowl. Pour over vegetables. Let
stand 30 minutes, turning once.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). When coals turn white, drain chips, if using, and scatter over coals. When chips begin to smoke, season onion and zucchini with salt and
pepper and place on grill. Cover and cook until tender and brown, occasionally turning and basting with marinade, about 8 minutes. Transfer to platter. Cut onion slices into
quarters. Cut zucchini crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Add onion and zucchini to rice. Mix in corn.
Whisk orange juice, lemon juice, 1/3 cup oil, 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce in medium bowl. Pour 1 cup dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve salad, passing remaining dressing separately.
- Violet leaves and/or blooms (use in moderation)
- Sheep Sorrel (use in moderation)
- Very young yarrow leaves (also in moderation)
- Chickweed greens (before bloom stage)
- Dandelion Greens (before bloom stage)
- Chicory Greens (tends to be bitter so use in moderation)
- Very young horseradish greens (peppery, use in moderation)
- Daylily tubers (washed and sliced)
- Young mallow leaves
- Mustard greens (peppery, use as much as you can stand)
- Young mint leaves if you have them
Toss salad and add additional domestic greens and veggies if desired. Feel free to add red bud blooms and tulip petals as well for color. I generally have fresh radish sprouts on hand as well for a peppery flavor, so feel free to add your own sprouts if you like.
For a salad such as this you want a light vinaigrette rather than a heavy cream dressing. Something zesty that brings out the various flavors without masking them. I usually make one up from 2 parts sunflower or olive oil, 1/2 part water and 1/2 part vinegar. Add herbs and spices of your choice such as minced garlic, parsley, fresh ground pepper, sesame seed, basil, savory, thyme and the likes. This will keep well in your refrigerator and the long it sets the fuller the flavor will be as the herbs interact with the liquids.
The vinegar you use is up to you but I prefer a good balsamic or cider vinegar to plain white vinegar. As well try to keep your herbs under 1/2 teaspoon each but go with what you like. I tend to use the “that looks good” method of measuring and haven’t yet created a bad dressing.
You can also make herbal vinegar from dandelion greens, violet greens or nettle greens. These are high vitamin vinegar perfect for salad dressings. To make a herbal vinegar place young clean, air dried, coarsely chopped herbs in a mason jar. Cover the herbs with a cider vinegar and cover the jar with plastic wrap before sealing the jar with a metal ring. (This helps prevent corrosion between the vinegar and the metal lid. Place your jar out of sunlight, shake well daily and allow to set for 2-3 weeks. The resulting vinegar is full of flavor and a great addition to the table.
*Note: Do be sure your herbs are free of water. Water tends to cause your herbs to mold and this will ruin any oils or vinegar you create. If you are extrememly concerned about possible mold using dried herbs is just fine. Just air dry your herbs for several days in a warm dark place before creating your vinegar.