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Your favorite cold salad recipe

I am so tired of my three standard cold salad recipes... macaroni salad, potato salad and italian pasta salad. I am going over to my in-laws this weekend and would like to bring a cold salad to go with our cookout (typical burger and hot dogs). It would be really great to hear about your cold salad recipes...especially one made with some type of pasta.

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  1. A few days ago I made an accompaniment for grilled pork chops that consisted of diced radishes, cherry tomatoes halved, minced small Bermuda onion, a good handful of minced Italian parsley. Dressing: EVOO, Chianti vinegar, S & P. Cilantro is also good in this relish, and the relish is tasty on burgers as well.
    Last night the little which was left over was included into a salad of red bibb lettuce, with chopped cucumbers and additional tomatoes and radishes.

    1. http://southernfood.about.com/od/broc...

      I have been making a recipe extremely similar to this for about 20 years now! The only difference in mine is that I either mix-in, or at least top-with, sharply grated cheddar cheese.

      You will love this recipe. It is so yummy!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Tehama

        That's the salad my DIL wanted me to make for their wedding reception. Unfortunately, hy husband hates broccoli. I think it's a great salad.
        I also like three bean salad with lots of sliced onions.

        1. re: Tehama

          I add cheese too - and substitute either Craisins or dried cherries for the raisins

        2. Couscous salad. I just made this up last night. The ingredients I threw in were:
          1 cup (dry) whole wheat couscous
          1 can chickpeas
          1 diced zucchini
          3 diced plum tomatoes
          4 chopped scallions
          EVOO, balsamic, S&P, italian seasoning

          serve room temp, it was excellent and SO easy to make. Plus, you can obviously throw in whatever veggies you have. You could also add feta, olives, and/or capers.

          Try it out!

          1. This orzo salad is delicious. It's been mentioned often on chowhound.
            I also love my mother's cucumber salad: Cucumbers peeled and very, very thinly sliced. Add thinly sliced red onion, make a thin dressing of mayo, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss and let sit at least an hour before serving. Reminds me of summer whenever I have it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mschow

              I was going to suggest that very one: Orzo with Everything. I love that salad. I could eat it all in one sitting. (Plus, it makes a lot.)

            2. No pasta in this one, but I got rave reviews on this recipe for a green bean and bulgur salad from Cooking Light:

              To make it extra-pretty, I used a half-and-half mix of green beans and wax beans. The recipe calls for walnut oil, which isn't always available in your run-of-the-mill supermarket - just sub with a mild olive oil or grapeseed (which is what I used).

              1. Instead of pasta in this dish, wild rice is used. It is delicious and always a hit at a party. I got this recipe from the Rosso and Lukins Silver Palate cookbook and I have been making it for over 15 years. They call it "Nutted Wild Rice" (p. 345) but I think a more fitting name is "Orange-Mint Wild Rice and Pecan Salad". Its easy and you won't be disappointed with this one, I promise. I have never served this and had leftovers.

                1 cup raw wild rice
                51/2 cups chicken stock
                1 cup shelled pecan halves (pine nuts work well too, and I always toast the nuts first, on a cookie sheet in the oven or in a skillet on the stove top)
                1 cup yellow raisins (I use dried currents instead since I like them better)
                grated rind of large orange
                1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (I go heavier on this)
                4 scallions thinly sliced
                1/4 cup olive oil
                1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
                salt and frech ground pepper to taste

                Rinse rice well with cold water in strainer and place it in a heavy saucepan. Add stock and bring it to a rapid boil. Stir, adjust heat to simmer, and cook uncovered for about 45 mins. (but check in 30 since I might be done at that point--make sure rice is cooked but still kind of chewy, not mushy). Drain the cooked rice into a strainer and transfer it to a large bowl. Add all of the other ingredients to the rice in the bowl and toss well (I actually whisk together the oil, OJ, mint, S& P and pour it into the rice then toss). Let the salad stand for 2 hours to let the flavors soak into the rice. Serve at room temp (I also serve it cooled and its good). Enjoy!

                1. I love West Indies salads in the summertime. Lump crab, minced white onion, apple cider vinegar, ice water & salt & pepper to taste. Sometimes I use the fake crab (GASP!!) instead of the lump, shallots instead of the white onion, garlic wine vinegar or champagne vinegar instead of the apple cider vinegar. But ice water, salt & pepper are a must.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: sheilal

                    This sounds really interesting. Could you give me an idea of the proportions of ingredients? Also, I have everything on hand except for the specified vinegars. Do you think red wine would be an OK sub. or should I go out and ge the appple cider?

                    1. re: ArikaDawn

                      I would not sub red wine for the vinegar. That's really what gives the salad it's pop. The salad almost has a pickled flavor to it. Some members of my family like it after it's melded together for a few hours, but I love the crunch of the onion, the tartness of the vinegar and sweetness of the crab so much, that I can't usually wait for long.

                      It's from a great Junior league cookbook. When I get home from work, I'll look it up for you & post.

                      1. re: sheilal

                        Thanks so much Sheila. I am always looking for recipes like this one and have been in a rut lately just constantly making my same old vinegar slaw or thunder and lightning. Can't wait to try it.

                        1. re: sheilal

                          West Indies Salad

                          1 lb. lump crabmeat
                          4 oz. oil
                          4 oz. ice water
                          3 oz. cider vinegar
                          1 med onion, chopped fine
                          salt & pepper to taste

                          Toss lightly, taking care not to break the crabmeat lumps
                          marinte overnight
                          stir occasionally to marinate evenly
                          drain before serving, & serve cold


                          1. re: sheilal

                            I made it this afternoon and it was a big hit! I will definitely be making this again. It was nice and refreshing for lunch on a SUPER hot FL day. Thanks!

                    2. I love this mediterranean lentil and couscous salad from epicurious. It alwasy gets comments when I bring it to a party, the flavors are familiar yet new. The arugula, mint and tomatoes are so wondeful in the summer.


                      1. i know this isn't a pasta inclusive option, but i've recently been making this shrimp with avocado-sesame sauce and it's just fantastic. kind of a twist on a shrimp salad. i think you can use the avocado-sesame dressing on israeli couscous or orzo and it would be super-tasty! essentially, it's an avocado, mashed and mixed with a few tablespoon of tahini, some lemon juice, a clove of garlic, and a little water to thin it. taste-wise, it's much greater than the sum of its parts.

                        i just posted the recipe and a whole spiel about it on my blog.


                        5 Replies
                        1. re: funkymonkey

                          this looks great...i'm anxious to try it. And...btw, I love reading your blog...it's one of my favorites. You are such a talented, entertaining writer...and a good cook, too! Thanks for the continued reading entertainment and ideas.

                          1. re: THenderson

                            thank you so much! that means the world to me!

                            1. re: funkymonkey

                              I second that! After reading THenderson's post, I checked out your blog too! What an amazing writer you are! Comical and enchanting!

                              1. re: funkymonkey

                                I agree, though I shan't ever forgive you for being the nudge that got me to pick up a bag of Oogie's Smoked Gouda. Talk about addictive.

                                1. re: ArikaDawn

                                  oh my goodness! i love you all. it's BEYOND gratifying to know that people are actually reading what i'm a-writin'!

                          2. I like a pea salad, but not that gloppy stuff with all the mayo and eggs and canned peas. What I do is this: I thaw out a bag of frozen peas (if you can get that many fresh ones, do it that way, but they're not always readily available) and mix with them a little onion, thinly sliced radishes, dill weed, and a combination of mayo and plain yogurt. Sometimes a little horseradish if I'm feeling frisky. Mix and taste till it makes you happy.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: revsharkie

                              Dill + peas = heaven. I'm going to have to give this a try!

                              ...now here's hoping local farmer's market will have some fresh peas on Saturday, since I scarfed down last week's batch in a single sitting.

                              1. re: revsharkie

                                This reminds of a rather old-fashioned classic, "3 p's salad": cooked peas, roasted peanuts, and chopped sweet pickles, mixed in whatever proportion is to your taste (usu. about 1 part peas to 1 part peanuts+pickles), and mixed with just enough mayo to coat. Other things can also be tossed in for fun (chopped onion, cubed cheese, etc.--horseradish sounds like a great idea!). Older editions of classic cookbooks (like the joy of cooking) have lots of mayo-based salad recipes, such as the once omnipresent carrots, raisins, onions, and mayo. Since these mayo-based salads have largely fallen out of fashion, reading through these recipes can be a hoot, and sometimes even inspires a trip into the kitchen :)

                                1. re: revsharkie

                                  I gave this a try on the weekend since I managed to find a stand at the market that still had a few baskets of peas left (the last ones for the season, apparently... *sniff*).

                                  I just blanched them for a minute in hot water, shocked with ice water to stop the cooking and keep them bright green, and then tossed with the rest of the ingredients above. Pure heaven! I just had to come back and say thanks for the recipe. :)

                                2. Some more good ideas on this previous post. If you've never made anything with jicama, you should give it a try. It's definitely fresh and delicious, and not quite as heavy as pasta. Good luck!


                                  1. Cookout...watermelon,feta and mint salad sounds like it might fill the bill

                                    1. A bit retro, but cartwheel pasta with pesto dressing (pesto thinned with EVOO) and halved cherry tomatoes is always well-received at cookouts.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: GretchenS

                                        I frequently do a cold pesto pasta salad- I generally boil the cheese or spinach tortellini, and add bite-size asparagus and peas in the last few minutes, drain, cool, and mix with the pesto, the cherry toms, and a bunch of finely shredded baby spinach. The spin really brings the green out.

                                        I usually freeze lumps of homemade pesto at the end of the summer, and when I use this in the salad (or really anywhere), I thin it with a splash of the pasta cooking water, instead of EVOO- it thins it out without the extra fat.

                                      2. one of my standards this time of year is a tomato-cucumber salad:

                                        Combine a couple ripe red tomatos cut into chunks with a couple cucumbers peeled & seeded, cut into chunks and a sweet white onion (Vidalia, 1015, etc.) cut into chunks (adjust amount plus or minus according to your liking for onion). Toss with some Wishbone Italian dressing (I know!! but I still think it's the best. you can make your own vinagarette if you'd prefer) and some fresh (if you have it) or dry dill. Crumble some feta cheese over. If you want to get fancy, add some pitted kalamata olives. Let the whole thing sit at room temperature for a while for flavors to blend. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the DELICIOUS juices.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: nojunk

                                          I am the queen of summer pasta salad and I've tried many recipes. Whenever there is a BBQ my friends ask me to bring my old stand-by. People always ask me for the recipe and I never tell them my secret because it is embarassing. I use Wishbone. I have found a Wishbone w/o High Fructose Corn Syrup, though, which makes me feel a tiny bit better about using it. It is Wishbone Light Country Italian, apparently it used to be called Just 2 Good.

                                        2. I recently invented a mediterraneanish salad that was supposed to be shrimp tabbouleh but since I had no tabbouleh ended up w/ brown basmati rice instead. The proportions are extremely forgiving, so just make however much you think you need. I do about 2 cups of cold cooked brown basmati rice, a good handful of diced onion, 1 small cuke peeled and diced, 1 small tomato diced, some chopped parsley or basil, whatever you've got on hand, corn kernels or peas, again whatever you have on hand, and some shrimp or whatever kind of protein you prefer. Top with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette- couple of smashed garlic cloves, some balsamic vin., some olive oil, salt and pepper. This is one of those salads where basically whatever you've got on hand that's fresh and summery is a great addition. Case in point, I just made this with chicken I had in the fridge as well as leftover scallions. Also, the corn was never an original ingredient but I happened to have some on hand the first time I made this and I now consider it essential to the salad, the sweetness it gives is awesome! (apologies for the improvisatory nature of this recipe, I'm a rather spontaneous cook)

                                          1. Whenever it gets hot outside, my mom makes a shoestring potato salad that is refreshing. Roughly, 2 cups shredded carrots, 2 cups finely chopped celery, 1-2 cups canned tuna or shredded chicken, mayo to taste. Serve with canned shoestring potatoes on top.

                                            1. My fav salad is this Asian salad.

                                              Napa cabbage
                                              Fresh mint bunch
                                              Cilantro big handful of leaves
                                              Green onions
                                              Red chili
                                              Red pepper
                                              All veggies sliced thin.

                                              Two limes squeezed
                                              Soya sauce, equal quantity to lime juice
                                              Rice wine vinegar
                                              Sesame oil
                                              Grated fresh ginger
                                              Chili oil and roasted chilis
                                              Fish sauce
                                              Grated garlic

                                              Pan roast raw sesame seeds. Top salad with hot SS seeds just before serving.

                                              Salad collapses by a third once dressing is applied.

                                              1. My favorite salad -
                                                your favorite lettece, I like romaine hearts, and boston bibb
                                                dried cranberries
                                                sliverd roasted almonds
                                                shaved red onions
                                                crumbled bacon
                                                goat cheese
                                                great with a balsalmic vinaigrette or champagne vinaigrette

                                                I also like to make homemade garlic croutons..

                                                1. I have a great summer pasta salad. It is bright, colorful, cold, and sweet and tart.
                                                  I always get rave reviews on it! I will type the recipe as given to me, but I have adapted it to whatever vegetables i like, or are in season...i like bell peppers, tomatoes, and squashes/zuch. It is whatever you want it to be.

                                                  1 package tri-color pasta
                                                  1 med cucumber chopped
                                                  1 med tomato chopped
                                                  1 med green pepper chopped
                                                  1 med red onion chopped
                                                  2 tbs minced fresh parsley

                                                  1 1/2 c sugar
                                                  1/2 c vinegar
                                                  1 tbs ground mustard
                                                  1 tsp salt
                                                  1tsp salt (optional)

                                                  Cook pasta, drain and add the veg.
                                                  In a saucepan add dressing ingredients and cookfor 10 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

                                                  If you try it, let me know how you like it...very easy!

                                                  1. This is the easiest salad and it is always well-received.
                                                    Sweet and Spicy Beans

                                                    1 can red kidney beans
                                                    1 can black beans
                                                    1 can black-eyed peas
                                                    1 can corn
                                                    1 2 oz jar diced pimentos
                                                    4 green onions, diced

                                                    Rinse and drain all canned goods and pimentos. Combine with green onions. Whisk together: 1/3 C sugar, 1/3 C red wine vinegar, 1/3 C salad oil, 1/2 t ground cayenne pepper, 1/2 t salt.

                                                    Pour dressing over bean mixture. Toss to coat, Refridgerate for 2 hrs before serving.

                                                    Note: I use larger jar of pimentos and I increase cayenne for a little more kick.


                                                    1. Black bean and corn salad
                                                      1/4 c balsamic vinegar
                                                      1/4 c cider vinegar
                                                      2 T brown sugar
                                                      11/2 t lime juice
                                                      1/2 t ground cumin
                                                      1/4 t salt
                                                      1 clove minced garlic
                                                      1 c corn ( I use a box of thawed frozen or a 14 oz. can)
                                                      1 C chopped red pepper
                                                      3/4 c chopped onion ( or green onion)
                                                      1 can black beans, rised and drained
                                                      1/3 c minced fresh cilantro or 3 T dried
                                                      1. Bring the first 7 ing. to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves
                                                      2. Combine vinegar mixture and all other ing. in a large bowl. Cover and chill.

                                                      1. Garbanzo salad

                                                        1 large can garbanzos, drained
                                                        1/2 C sliced green onions
                                                        1 cup thin sliced radishes
                                                        Combine ingredients above and toss with a vinaigrette such as
                                                        1/4 C wine vinegar
                                                        1/4 C olive oil
                                                        1 salt

                                                        I've also added slivers of ham and cheese to make this a light dinner