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Easy but different salad ingredients?

HaagenDazs Jan 27, 2009 12:29 PM

Does anyone have any favorite salad ingredients they like to put in/on salads to bulk them up? Something easy for quick weeknight meals? I'm looking for things that are super easy to prep and widely available, but maybe not as common as a cucumber or tomato. Things like hearts of palm come to mind off the top of my head.

Any suggestions?

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  1. LNG212 Jan 27, 2009 12:36 PM

    I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing you are looking for ... but it's DH's favorite salad. Toss greens (bitter-ish greens like frise, arugula, etc. work best) with a dressing made of 1 TBS cider vinegar, 1 TBS rice vinegar, 2 tsp honey, 2 TBS olive oil (plus minced shallots optional). On top, put pears prepared by -- peeling/coring/slicing 3 bosc pears, cooking them in 1 1/2 TBS butter and 1 TBS brown sugar for about 5 minutes. Put pears on top of dressed greens, sprinkle with gorgonzola crumbled up and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

    I'm not sure it really qualifies as "bulking up" but the cheese and nuts make it a bit more substantial. The sweetness of the fruit plus the sharpness of the greens makes for a different type of salad, we think.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LNG212
      HaagenDazs Jan 27, 2009 12:43 PM

      Yeah, that's the kind of thing. I'm just looking for something to add substance instead of just sticking with the normal refrigerated, "cafeteria style" salad one might envision if they thought of a bland salad.

      We're doing a large salad for dinner tonight, that's why I was asking. Thanks!

      1. re: LNG212
        operagirl Jan 27, 2009 07:15 PM

        That sounds wonderful. I think I'll try it this week!

      2. j
        jzerocsk Jan 27, 2009 12:41 PM

        Fennel...I love fennel....

        4 Replies
        1. re: jzerocsk
          c
          cleopatra999 Jan 27, 2009 12:49 PM

          sunchokes aka jerusalem artichoke are great and crisp and very health, just peel and dice or slice. I think that they have a specific season as I don't see them all the time. I also like jicama root, but don't use it as often as the sunchoke, I think b/c they are quite large. Jicama is easy to get at any supermarket, sunchokes I am not so sure of. i pick mine up at an organic store.

          to add bulk I add things like raw pepitas, hulled raw sunflower seeds or whole hemp seeds, flax seeds or flax meal are good as well.

          I also add sprouted beans. I can purchase a mix of sprouted beans with garbanzo, lentil, mung, pea, they are delicious and add a really nice crunch to a salad they are also very filling.

          If I am having a salad as a meal I like to add a grain to it such as brown rice or quinoa.

          I love salads and eat them almost every day, often 2x/day.

          1. re: cleopatra999
            goodhealthgourmet Jan 27, 2009 05:44 PM

            i love sunchokes, but they can be tricky for a lot of people when eaten raw due to the high inulin content, which can sometimes lead to gastric distress.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              c
              cleopatra999 Jan 27, 2009 07:08 PM

              good to know....thanks. I have been trying to track that lately...perhaps this is my culprit!

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                operagirl Jan 27, 2009 07:18 PM

                Ah yes, I once ate a substantial serving of sunchoke gratin, and was not so happy afterward. TMI? Maybe. But they are indeed dangerous when cooked, as well!

          2. l
            lexpatti Jan 27, 2009 12:44 PM

            I love salads and make them different all the time, inspired by what I have or what I see in the store: corn, beans, red cabbage, zuchinni, fennel, leeks, artichoke hearts, edamame, Love Love love hearts of palm wrapped in prochutto then sliced into discs, red onion, radishes, peppers (red, orange, yellow), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celery - love the crunch of celery. Sometimes nuts, cheeses and herbs (basil, calantro, dill). sometimes meats or shellfish, roasted red pepper, olives, pickles cut up. OMG, I could go on - summer squash, ohhhh mushrooms of course. My salads are never the same and people do comment on my salads! Sometimes simple with only three or 4 ingrediants, sometimes a lot more - love color so that sometimes drives me. I always make more then I expect because I do get carried away. Same with the dressings, I like to play with ingrediants for the dressing.

            1. h
              HillJ Jan 27, 2009 12:44 PM

              HaagenDazs, maybe a chef salad? Add slices of viriginia ham, white turkey, swiss cheese, avacado, black olives, boiled egg....quickly becomes a cobb salad...but these inclusions will bulk up & satisfy the salad to more of an entree.

              1. t
                Toronto Fastfoodie Jan 27, 2009 12:56 PM

                4 things: candied pecans, arugula, granny smith apples, and blue cheese all with a maple mustard vinagarette. Add some fresh french bread and you got yourself a meal.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie
                  h
                  HillJ Jan 27, 2009 12:59 PM

                  Oh Toronto Ff, I'm all over that combo this week. Great idea.

                  1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie
                    LNG212 Jan 27, 2009 02:00 PM

                    That sounds similar to what I posted above. But it's different enough too. I'll have to give it a try and see if DH likes that combination as well. Always good to have variation.

                  2. dumpycactus Jan 27, 2009 01:05 PM

                    i can't remember the last time i've ever made a salad with lettuce!
                    cucumber + tomato, etc... for greek salad

                    i usually use jicama, kohlrabi or fennel. sometimes whatever is lying around... chickpeas. broccoli. leek. leftover roasted veg. apples, oranges, grapefruit, pears, kiwi, lychee, pomegranate. tofu. hearts of palm. bamboo shoots. water chestnuts. lotus root. daikon. beets.

                    i live on salads, since i sit too many hours in my studio and get up only for coffee.
                    yum!

                    1. lessleyellen Jan 27, 2009 01:05 PM

                      * Roast root vegetables (beets, winter squash, parsnips, carrot, potato)

                      * marinated tempeh (simmer in soysauce and ginger)

                      * canned beans (black go well with pumpkin seeds and cilantro)

                      * hard boiled or poached egg

                      * baguette sliced up, rubbed with garlic and olive oil, and toasted, for big croutons

                      * I also like to make warm spinach salads by pouring hot oil over them. Makes them seem meatier for some reason.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lessleyellen
                        z
                        zamorski Jan 27, 2009 01:28 PM

                        I like toasted pumpkin seeds (in a pumpkin oil vinaigrette, if you want). I often have duck confit (legs, gizzards) on hand, and a bit of warmed confit (or sauted gizzards) is always welcome. I also love dried cherries (Trader Joe's are the best, hands-down, and cheap as chips!). Oh, I will often cook up some tiny French lentils in some stock with a bay leaf, some thyme, whatever really--cook them until just done--not mushy. Cool, and toss with your favourite salad--they add a nice meatiness/heartiness that I like.

                      2. k
                        kobetobiko Jan 27, 2009 01:28 PM

                        I love brussels sprouts. Also sugar snap peas. and Asian pears, and avocado

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kobetobiko
                          k
                          kobetobiko Jan 27, 2009 09:23 PM

                          forgot about one: chestnuts.

                        2. s
                          spkspk Jan 27, 2009 01:36 PM

                          I sometimes add blanched broccoli and haricoverts to my salads.

                          1. scuzzo Jan 27, 2009 02:19 PM

                            I don't think anyone's mentioned corn yet.

                            Raisins, garbonzos, sunflower seeds, olives, roasted beets, peeled brocolli stems, spiced candies pecans, dried cranberries, hardboiled eggs, sprouts, peas, pea pods, black beans, pears (even canned, don't hate...), dry roasted soy beans, bacon (of course!), parmesan crisps, smoked or in the pouch salmon...mmm salads.

                            1. ipsedixit Jan 27, 2009 02:42 PM

                              tofu

                              daikon (shredded or julienned)

                              Beansprouts

                              Asian glass noodles

                              Nori

                              Eggplant

                              Jicama

                              caramelized onions

                              1. d
                                dkenworthy Jan 27, 2009 03:28 PM

                                Something really simple if you have access to Trader Joe's is to add roasted (salted if you like) shelled pistachios. They are quite tasty with a variety of dressing, and have a slightly spicy flavor. I keep a bag in the freezer to add to salads often.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dkenworthy
                                  goodhealthgourmet Jan 27, 2009 05:52 PM

                                  i don't know if they still have it, but i once picked up a bagged mix of roasted pepitas, slivered almonds & pine nuts at TJ's - it was fantastic on salad.

                                2. goodhealthgourmet Jan 27, 2009 05:48 PM

                                  most of the things i include in my salads have already been mentioned, so i'll just add a couple more:
                                  - sliced or diced roasted beets
                                  - sliced pepperoncini (aka banana peppers)

                                  and i always use several types of greens, and mix shredded red cabbage, zucchini & carrots into them.

                                  1. j
                                    jaykayen Jan 27, 2009 05:58 PM

                                    Basically, any fruits, any cheese, and any nuts can go into a salad. Any fruit and any nut can go together (though some go better, of course...) It's the cheese that takes some thinking.

                                    1. s
                                      somervilleoldtimer Jan 27, 2009 06:10 PM

                                      Beets, even just straight from the can (yes, I know) or Melissa's has vacuum-packed baby beets, but they're hard to find. Chickpeas. Toasted nuts.

                                      1. d
                                        dubedo Jan 27, 2009 06:14 PM

                                        Arugula with julienned sundried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and shaved parmigiano or pecorino in a lemon vinaigrette. This is good with grilled chicken as well.

                                        1. f
                                          Fleur Jan 27, 2009 10:56 PM

                                          In Winter, I like to add very thinly sliced Red Anjou or Fiorelli Pears and very thinly sliced Fennel to Mixed Greens with frisee.

                                          I make a Meyer Lemon and Honey Vinaigrette with EVOO and Hazelnut Oil in the bottom of my wooden salad bown. I Place the Pears and Fennel in the Vinaigrette and mix.. I place the greens on top, and toss right before serving, topping with Toasted crushed Hazelnuts..

                                          1. r
                                            relizabeth Jan 28, 2009 04:25 AM

                                            Not super quick, but last night out of the only fresh veg that we have in the house we had roasted beets (cut into dice sized cubes, salt and peppered) tossed with avocado and lime juice. delicious.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: relizabeth
                                              scuzzo Jan 28, 2009 04:45 PM

                                              Sounds awesome!

                                            2. jen kalb Jan 28, 2009 04:57 AM

                                              our default salad these days includes (in addition to lettuces/arugula) thinly sliced fennel, lightly roasted nuts (walnuts, pecans or pinenuts), some kind of chicory (belgian endive, radicchio, frisee etc), and a little onion or shallot along with the olive oil and vinegar. We mix up the vinegars., but Im particularly fond of some sweet-ish spanish vinegars these days.

                                              HB eggs are a great add to salad - work well with traditional american mix-ins like shredded carrots, onion and celery - or with bacon of course, and a viniagrette.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: jen kalb
                                                MMRuth Jan 28, 2009 05:09 AM

                                                These Spanish vinegars - are they sherry vinegars, or something else? Thanks.

                                                I also like citrus with fennel and nuts.

                                                1. re: MMRuth
                                                  jen kalb Jan 28, 2009 06:54 AM

                                                  actually no - I dont really care for sherry vinegar in salad. the vinegars I have most liked recently have been a little sweet.

                                                  Montegrato makes some very expensive but good sweet vinegars - from Pedro Ximenez and Fino wines. this is one product worth paying DeSpana's prices for.
                                                  Right now I am using a sharper but still very flavorful UNIQ Moscatel Vinegar, also from Spain.
                                                  Other vinegars and similar products we enjoy are saba (sometimes with a little lemon), some balsamic condiment (similar to the tradizionale) that I brought back from Italy this year - much smoother and more flavorful than commercial balsamic, and a white balsamic infused with pear or fig, also a little sweet and fruity, that is sold by Alessio.

                                                  I find that mixing up the oils and vinegars creates variety in our salads without actually making dressings or varying the ingredients much.

                                                  roasting the nuts a bit is important. to bring out their flavor - frying them a bit in oil also is good - it also adds flavor to the oil.
                                                  I tried the trader joes pumpkin seed/almond/pine nut mix - I think its texture (the almonds) is too crude, and I really dont care for the pumpkin seeds in my salad.

                                                  1. re: jen kalb
                                                    MMRuth Jan 28, 2009 07:50 AM

                                                    Thank you. I have a lot of Saba - hadn't thought to try it in salads and will.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                                      jen kalb Jan 28, 2009 08:34 AM

                                                      just a little goes a long way.

                                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                                        LNG212 Jan 28, 2009 09:13 AM

                                                        I put saba on salads too. I especially like it when I add roasted delicata squash slices to the salad. The saba goes quite well with the delicata flavor.

                                                2. m
                                                  madwrk Jan 28, 2009 05:29 PM

                                                  From our dear old friend Julia Child --

                                                  one Tb minced shallot
                                                  2 tsp dijon or other good mustard
                                                  2 Tb lemon juice
                                                  salt & pepper
                                                  mix - then whisk in 1/2 c. olive oil

                                                  and my daily standard that I picked up somewhere years ago:
                                                  1/4 c. balsamic
                                                  3 T lemon juice (living in Mexico it is actually lime juice for me)
                                                  one minced clove garlic
                                                  dash cayenne
                                                  s & p
                                                  then whisk in 1/2 c olive oil
                                                  I keep this mixed up in a jar at all times - sometimes throw in a little mustard.

                                                  1. c
                                                    capetowngirlie Jan 28, 2009 09:41 PM

                                                    i keep two or three kinds of nuts and seeds - walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds
                                                    also dried fruits especially figs, apricots, peaches, raisons, cranberries
                                                    cheeses, goat cheese,parmigiano, feta, buffalo mozzarella,
                                                    fresh fruit - berries, apples, oranges, mandarins, pears
                                                    beans- chick peas, white kidney beans.
                                                    pickled veg - artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives, asparagus, sundried tomatoes, beets.
                                                    crispy toppings ie. fried onions (little india grocery), spicy indian channa noodles,
                                                    add rice noodles, couscous, grains, bhulgur, barley as base with salads,
                                                    ie, fine rice noodles, baby spinach, basil, mint w shrimp, julien carrots, red pepper and peanuts w ginger soy dressing
                                                    i buy deli roast chicken at SLM, canned salmon, tuna (see spiced brands) and frozen shrimp, deli roast beef ( rare sliced beef, lots of baby spinache, bit of arugula, top with fried onions, blue cheese or parmegiano with garlic dressing, a fave!).
                                                    eggs, boiled, sliced or grated, poached ie. on baguette crouton on ceasar salad w bacon

                                                    IMHO, except for the fruit of course, i can keep a lot of this on hand and am ready to toss a big salad any time

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