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May 26, 2008 07:47 PM

Spectacular Salad needed!

I'm relying on all you great cooks out there for some help. I need a fabulous, spectacular salad for a brunch/early lunch. Having gained a slight reputation as a good cook, I aim to please my guests with something new and exciting each time I entertain. I already have some ideas but need an interesting salad. Nothing with meat/chicken/fish due to dietary restrictions. Something more sophisticated than a pasta salad or potato salad. And preferably something served cold that can be (at least partly) prepared in advance.

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  1. check out quinoa salads, on this site or food netowrk or epicurious...great grain, different, super healthy and easy to cook.

    1. What about a caprese salad? It is all in the presentation, too. If you had a long, narrow dish, you could alternate sliced tomatoes, buffalo mozarella and basil leaves and then drizzled with balsamic reduction. Buy the best buffalo mozarella and heirloom tomatoes.

      Another simple salad that I made and thought was great, is simply sliced heirloom tomatoes drizzled with a housemade tamarind dressing.

      1. This is my take on a pretty famous Aussie Asian fusion salad (made famous by "Mr Chang's" noodles)

        1 pkt (100 gm) Fried Noodles (Egg Noodles fried in vegetable oil)
        1/2 to 1 Wombok (Chinese Cabbage) – finely shredded
        6 spring onions – finely chopped
        100 gm toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts (1/2 to 1 cup)

        1/2 cup castor sugar
        1/4 cup white vinegar
        1 tblspn soy sauce
        1/2 cup olive oil
        2 tspns sesame oil

        Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar, shake well and leave until the sugar is dissolved.
        In a bowl, combine all the salad ingredients and add enough dressing to suit your taste – more or less depending how much you like throughout the salad. Mix well and serve immediately.

        If you leave it too long the noodles will go soggy.

        I prep everything and add the noodles just before serving.

        And just a note.. all the above measurements are Australian Metric. You might need to convert.

        1 Reply
        1. re: purple goddess

          And here's something using a lot of the same ingredients given to me by someone here in the U.S.:

          Oriental Cabbage Salad

          2-16oz. packages of cabbage slaw (or broccoli slaw, or one of each)
          2 packages beef-flavored ramen noodles
          1 cup toasted slivered almonds
          1 cup sunflower seeds
          2 bunches scallions, sliced

          1/3 cup sesame oil
          ½ cup vegetable oil
          ½ cup sugar
          ½ cup white wine vinegar
          Noodle flavoring
          Salt and pepper to taste

          Boil noodles without flavor and toss with cabbage, nuts and scallions.

          Mix all dressing ingredients together, then toss with salad.

        2. The Silver Palate's Rice and Vegetable salad is pretty darn good, and a bit different. The name is so humdrum, it doesn't do justice to the salad. It's a rice salad served at room temperature, composed of cooked white rice, very thinly sliced red and green peppers, diced red onion and shallots, peas, black olives (which I always omit) currants or golden raisins, scallions, and fair amount of chopped dill and parsley, tossed together in a red wine-dijon vinaigrette. Whenever I've taken this to dinner parties, people always scarf up all the leftovers to take home themselves. You can find the recipe at either of these two links:

          The recipe will yield eight to ten servings, according to the book, however, since it starts with eight cups of cooked rice, I think eight to ten would result in very generous servings, and my experience is 15 or more servings is more like it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: janniecooks

            I just saw what looked like a great salad on the food network last night. It was from French Food by Laura Calder. I haven't made it myself as yet, but sure plan to. It was du puey lentils, goat cheese and walnuts in a vinegarette. If you google food network you will find it there. If not, let me know if you want it.

            1. re: janniecooks

              Another vote for this one. A friend served it with orzo instead of rice, and I have made it that way several times. Always a great success.

            2. I always make a wild rice salad for potlucks that is a huge hit; has apricots, pinenuts and tarragon vinegar. I use a mix of wild and white rice. It's originally from Bon Appetit, but I found this link which is the same recipe