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Salads w/o lettuce?

So, apparently I had a REALLY good Thanksgiving weekend (yumming it up in Vegas) and I'd like to get a jump start on some slimming down. I figure if I don't call it a New Year's Resolution maybe I'll stick with it. I know you all have some good recipes up your sleeves, so I'm looking for a good lunch salad.

Something simple, but balanced and filling. I'm not a huge fan of lettuce, so I'm hoping to find something non-lettuce. I make a tasty bulghar wheat salad with tomatoes, chickpeas, cucumber, garlic and lemon, but I can't eat that every day.

I like to bring lunch to work with me, preferably in only one or two containers to make it easier. There's a fridge and microwave in the break room, although salads are something I envision as not needing to be heated.

Any suggestions? It doesn't have to be a recipe, per se, but perhaps some inspiration with the ingredients?

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  1. i make a salad in the summer time with grape tomatoes that i halve and chop up some dill to put on top. then, i sautee pine nuts in olive oil (maybe not too diet friendly but DELICIOUS) and add those, then salt and pepper and mix all together. UGH. delicious. Good with some goat cheese, or cottage cheese or whatever else you want to eat with it. Its like a condiment.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tal

      It never occurred to me to use cottage cheese as a base. Tomatoes and pine nuts sounds pretty tasty.

    2. This is a list of non lettuce salads from a local deli:

      Potato Salad
      Green Bean Salad
      Greek Pasta
      Pesto Pasta
      Thai Chicken Pasta
      Tuna Cheddar Pasta
      Orzo Pasta
      Fruit Salad
      Chinese Cabbage Salad
      Broccoli Salad
      Spinach Salad

      This is a list of their "lettuce" salads:
      Seafood Salad
      Chicken Salad
      Caesar Salad w/ Grilled Chicken
      Chinese Salad

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alan408

        I was trying to stay away from pasta-laden "salads" and ones that might be full of mayo (potato, broccoli, etc). I mean, they taste good, but all that tasty stuff usually isn't healthy!

      2. Check out the bagged lettuce section of your favorite supermarket...you will find shredded carrots, broccoli slaw, shredded cabbage...good alternatives to lettuce.

        1. As a REAL quick and REAL easy summer side dish: I mix a can (or 2 depending on your taste) of rinsed chickpeas, a can of rinsed black beans, and a can of Italian style diced tomatoes. A bit of vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and you're finished. The longer it sits the better. Of course if you're looking to "fancify" it, add some fresh herbs or doctor as you see fit.

          1 Reply
          1. re: HaagenDazs

            This sounds a lot like my italian friend's beautiful bean salad. chick peas, black beans, chopped red onions, garlic, celery salt, oregano, S&P, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Absolutely the best!

          2. I like to make a salad w/ cukes/radishes/oranges. Another option is cukes/tomatoes/feta, with a zatar seasoning.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MMRuth

              The cucumber/radish salad is also good with shaved fennel in lieu of or in addition to the oranges. Fresh dill is a good addition. And smoked salmon for protein.

            2. Cold cooked barley makes a nice change as a salad base, and keeps all week in the fridge ready to go. It is good combined with cooked vegetables chilled and dressed, but it is also good to toss a handful onto lettuce or spinach leaves to add some fiber. I once made a refreshing salad from a diet book that had barley dressed with a little olive oil and lemon juice and combined with diced apple and mint.

              1. some salads that my roommates and I frequently make:
                -green beans with red onion, chickpeas, red kidney beans, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper
                -couscous or quinoa with tomatoes, cukes, feta, chickpeas (same dressing as above)
                -shredded carrots with raisins (same dressing as above! it seems to work with just about everything!)

                1. I am in love with the celery salad from Dec. Saveur. It is simply chopped celery and celery leaves with a vinaigrette dressing but I'm sure you could use anything you like. It was light and refreshing and kind of a revelation. It is in their article on Christmas in Provence.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Candy

                    Oh, that celery salad did look really good! Will have to try it.

                    My favorite non-lettuce winter salad bases include:
                    thinly-shaved fennel
                    julienned celery root
                    shaved brussels sprouts

                    Toss-ins that can be combined in a number of ways w/ the above:
                    roasted beets
                    citrus (oranges, blood oranges, clementines, etc)
                    various nuts

                    And for protein: Dungeness crab!

                  2. Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm definitely trying these out. And since it's been warm and sunny lately (crazy S. CA weather), I'll just pretend it's still summer with nice cool salads.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: leanneabe

                      A traditional Nicoise Salad (not the americanized one with seared rare tuna) with Genoa brand canned tuna in olive oil (tastes terrible with tuna in water...tuna in olive oil is king), hard boiled egg, red or yukon potato, chick peas, and whatever else you like...absolutely delicious! It's great with or without rommaine lettuce. Works great with watercress as well.

                      Rachel Ray's, "curry in a hurry chicken salad", made with yogurt instead of mayo, mango chutney, smoked almonds, etc...yumm-o!

                    2. The problem right now is that it's winter so you won't get a lot of good fresh produce like tomatoes. I like to roast veggies with olive oil and seasonings, add some balsamic vinegar and have it cold. Cauliflower is really good like that (surprised me). I do it w/ Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn, add cumin and have a cold salad the next day. Broccoli slaw is easy and lasts--you can put the dressing on early and let it meld. I add everything to that--chickpeas, dates, spanish onions, sesame seeds, edamame, etc.

                      1. tomato,cuke,onion and feta cheese with a nice bit of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice for that s california dreaming (also a bit of oregano)

                        1. Slice thin a large bunch of radishes. Add half dozen finely chopped scallions, white and green parts, freshly ground black pepper and coarse sea salt (e.g., Maldon). Stir in enough unflavored low-fat yogurt to coat (probably a little more than a small container).

                          1. I don't if you like radicchio or not or if it's too lettuce-y, but I really liked this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec... You could probably leave the radicchio out and go heavy on the green beans and it would still be good. The vinaigrette is excellent.

                            Also, Eating Well has a ton of salad recipes and they are usually pretty grain-happy too. http://www.eatingwell.com/

                            1. Thinking of green beans, a really tasty main dish salad is green beans, shallots, bay shrimp in a tomato viniagrette. Green beans will discolor after longer exposure to vinegar, keep the dressing separate until a half hour or so before eating.

                              Shrimp is incredibly low in calories.

                              1. Being of Slavic descent, I must bring up beet salad.

                                Searching http://www.foodieview.com, one finds 492 recipes...

                                1. I find that beets made a good salad base as do sugar snap peas. I like the snap peas with raw muchrooms, chopped raw cauliflower (pretty tasteless), some sort of sprout or cress, and a bit of blue cheese. The beets go into a salad with fresh salad and avocado, don't laugh, it is really tasty.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: JudiAU

                                    I like beets... do you use them raw in the salads or do you cook them first?

                                    1. re: leanneabe

                                      Raw beets are great in salads. Also, pickled beets of course.

                                      A good broccoli/cauliflower salad includes chopped red pepper, thinly sliced red onion, fresh lemon juice, fresh garlic, S&P and maybe even a couple kalamata olives.

                                      Quinoa is also a good base for grainy salads - you can get it in most larger supermarkets these days, but for sure in a health/whole food store. You can use it in place of rice or pasta and it has a high protein content so it doesn't spike your blood sugar as much as other grains.

                                  2. How about a wilted spinach salad.

                                    Fresh Mushrooms
                                    Red Onion
                                    Turkey Bacon
                                    Chopped Egg White or Whole Egg
                                    and Warm Vinegarette Dressing

                                    You can microwave dressing and pour on salad when ready to eat.

                                    Also, maybe a cold soba noodle (buckwheat)salad with chopped cucumber, scallion, shredded chicken and an asian vinagrette dressing.

                                    1. You make me happy.

                                      I hate lettuce in salads, well not hate (I'll eat it), but I'm completely finished with the idea of some lettuce with dressing on it being called a salad.

                                      1. I'm with you, lettuce=gross, and no nutritional value. Here' my most favorite salad, pretty healthy too. I eat a salad at lunch everyday and many days I just eat spinach greens or mache with sunflower seeds and light Italian dressing with lemon. When I am bored or we are having people over for dinner, we make this:
                                        Spinach or mixed field greens
                                        Walnuts (superfood)
                                        Dried cranberries (so good for you!)
                                        Light raspberry vinaigrette (Newman's Own makes a yummy one)
                                        Sliced apples (yum!)
                                        Brie (okay, so it's not totally healthy but the brie is SO good, we all need a little fat, right?)

                                        If I'm feeling guilty I leave out the brie, but overall delicious salad and pretty healthy. I got the idea from a restaurant in the town I grew up in and they call it a Winter's Night Salad. My husband just calls it Fancy Salad. Very tasty!

                                        1. In cold weather months, I am aways making a red cabbage & carrot slaw with scallions, pepitas, feta, dried cranberry & (if it's acting as a whole meal) chickpeas. Toss with light mustard vinagrette. Delish.

                                          1. You are all amazing! I'm seriously printing out this list and going through all these ideas one by one (because they all sound very tasty and interesting).

                                            Thank you!

                                            1. I like to prepare this low cal cucumber salad handed down from my Hungarian grandmother. I take 4 cucumbers and slice them paper thin in my salad shooter, then take one white onion and slice it the same way. Soak both in a brine of kosher salt for 15-30 mins. Rinse well to get the salt out. Add one cup water, 1/2 cup white vinegar and 25 lil packets of equal. Then add 1-2 tablespoons of white pepper and stir together. Serve the salad with a lil bit of the juice. It's so good and very low cal.

                                              1. Fresh fruit salad combos are healthy, freshing and there is always at least five fruits in season.

                                                Right now we've been enjoys poms, pineapples, pears, apples

                                                If you like dressings a yogurt and honey drizzle is great!

                                                1. Quinoa is perhaps the most nutritious of all grains (full of vitamins and fiber), cooks in about 20 minutes and can be made into an excellent and delicious salad. Cook the quinoa as directed and then add some fresh cut herbs and your favorite vinaigrette and you will have an easy and nutritious salad that will get better overnight in the refrigerator.

                                                  Another excellent and healthy choice for salads are soy beans (edamame). You can buy them shelled in the produce section of most grocery stores. Add some other fresh cut veggies, a light vinaigrette and you will be in salad heaven!

                                                  1. i would love a copy of this celery salad everyone is talking about...i tried a search, but no luck...

                                                      1. Cooked wild rice, chopped celery, pecans, craisins and a fruity vinegar dressing makes a nice refreshing salad and it's pretty.

                                                        1. http://food.sunset.com/sunset/recipef...

                                                          Here's a tasty salad of fennel, oranges, and green olives. When this was served to me the cook added a dash of tabasco to the oil & s&p, then drizzled that over all. Delicious.

                                                          1. *Celery with homemade pico de gallo - addicting and so low fat
                                                            *Orzo with dried cherry, fresh basil,fresh italian parsley pine nut, brocolli and grape tomatoes and red onion with balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil
                                                            *Strawberry, Pear , Pecans and Spinach salad with balsamic vinegar and oil.

                                                            *Fresh bell pepers stuffed with couscous salad with and roasted peppers and red onion and fresh italian parsley.

                                                            1. You might want to look into experimenting with different lettuces-- you might actually find one you like. The only one with zero taste and zero nutrional value is iceberg. The rest can run the gamut from bitter (arugula, romaine, etc) to sweet (red leaf). The deeper the color, the more nutritional value.

                                                              1. Here are a couple more that I like:

                                                                Chop up baby bok choy, red pepper, green onions and toss with toasted sesame seeds and slivered almonds. Some people also add dried ramen noodles. Dressing is made of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Really simple, flavourful, crunchy.

                                                                I also like to mix quinoa with tuna (I like the Italian kind in olive oil), avocado, green onions and grape tomatoes. I usually toss with mixed greens but you could skip these if you don't want any greens. You could also add roasted artichoke. Season and dresss with olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest.

                                                                with aHere's an easy one with

                                                                1. Oh the mention of artichoke brought this one to mind, I recently had this at a lovely restaurant.

                                                                  Artichoke, Avocado and Arugula Salad with Lemon, Capers and Olive Oil. Was just soooo good with shaved pecorino reggiano and black pepper.

                                                                  1. Grill up a bunch of vegetables, like squash, eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, beets, beans, cauliflower. All these can be cooked on your charcoal (best) grill, with a minimum amount of oil. Add garlic in the skin, then pop out when cooked. Chill all these in a big container, add whatever dressing you feel like, or not.

                                                                    Slaws made with low fat mayo.

                                                                    1. I ran a health food lunch counter (long time ago) and this salad is very good as a salad but then another day (because you can make alot and it saves nicely) saute it up and put over brown rice with grated cheese.

                                                                      Super Salad

                                                                      shaved white cabbage (or just cut at angle) You don't want it really shaved like in cole slaw
                                                                      shaved red cabbage (less then white)
                                                                      carrots - sliced thin
                                                                      caulliflour - small pieces
                                                                      broccoli - small pieces

                                                                      Sprinkle with spike seasoning, shredded chedder or monteray jack cheese, a spoon of guacomole (if you like that), a few sunflower seeds and a good hearty creamy italian dressing or your favorite.

                                                                      If you saute it for dinner sometime, just throw in a hot fry pan with a little oil, braggs liquid omino (it's like a soy sauce buy better), then pile over a good brown rice, then handful of shredded chedder or monteray jack cheese and spike seasoning.

                                                                      You'll never realize you're missing meat.

                                                                      1. Very thinly sliced fennel with a little olive oil, a little lemon juice and a few capers. Delicious.

                                                                        Also thinly sliced cucumbers - so many different cuc salads, especially good are asian salads - rice vinegar, sesame oil, a little sugar, sliced green onions.

                                                                        grape tomatoes with olives and basil.

                                                                        1. Another thing that's nice is mixing up some different root vegetables. Some, like parsnip, should be roasted. But of course sunchokes, carrots, radishes, and beets can all be eaten raw. Cut into strips and toss with some balsamic vinegar, a light olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

                                                                          You can make several different kinds of fresh, low-calorie, crunchy salads in the winter months.

                                                                          1. There a great salad made with fresh white mushrooms, steamed asparagus, and fresh avocado (cut them up as you like) and a dressing made from 3T EVOO, 1T lemon juice, 1T soy sauce.

                                                                            1. A Waldorf salad, using yogurt (honey optional) instead of mayo, and sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts, if you want to keep the calories lower.

                                                                              1. Favorite #1

                                                                                1 C frozen corn thawed ( or a can, drained)
                                                                                1 can black beans drained and rinsed
                                                                                1/2 C chopped red pepper
                                                                                1/2 C chopped green onions
                                                                                1/4 C chopped cilantro
                                                                                Mix in large bowl

                                                                                1/4 C canola oil
                                                                                1/4 C balsamic vinegar
                                                                                1 T chopped garlic
                                                                                2T brown sugar
                                                                                1 T cumin
                                                                                Heat small saucepan until sugar dissolves
                                                                                Poou over vegetables and chill for about an hour

                                                                                Favorite #2
                                                                                1 Can garbanzos, drained
                                                                                1 bunch radishes sliced
                                                                                1 bunch green onions sliced
                                                                                1/4 C chopped parsley
                                                                                Toss with favorite vinaigrette

                                                                                You can make a main dish salad out of this by adding strips of ham,salami and swiss or provalone

                                                                                1. i made a really yummy one today that was more like a side dish...

                                                                                  blanched spinach, blanched bean sprouts, sliced scallions mixed with a little soy, garlic, sesame oil, sugar and furikake(optional). you could add some surimi (imitation crab) to make it more substantial.

                                                                                  1. I love a grated raw carrot salad with mustard vinaigrette.