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Jun 4, 2009 05:53 PM

Favorite summer salads (beyond trad. pasta)

Weather cooperating, looks like our family will spend most of our summer weekends outdoors or running around. I'd love to have an array of summer grain salad recipes that we can carry around in our cooler, and that make the better part of a meal. I'm happy to hear about great pasta salads, but also very interested in other grains and combos.

So what are some of your favorites?

Here are two of our family standbys:

Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

We also really enjoy a broccoli and rice salad with raisins from "Quick Vegetarian Pleasures."

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    1. nice thread...the other day at work i demoed a quinoa salad w/ mini pearl grape tomatoes, fresh organic basil & feta w/ mediterranean herbs. add some evoo, salt to the boiling water, fresh ground pepper & you're all set. such a simple salad, and people really liked it. the other demo lady did a quinoa fruit salad that was really good as well, w/ sliced apples, raisins, slivered almonds, lime juice, salt, cinnamon & some orange or lemon zest. nice & refreshing, and something different, which is always welcome. i had never cooked quinoa, and it really is such a great and versatile grain that's easy to incorporate into your diet.

      1. Tabbouleh. Everybody has his/her own preferences here. I only make it when I can get fresh mint. Soak the bulgur for half an hour while chopping lots of parsley, mint, and scallions, (cucumber and tomato optional), then press all water out of the bulgur, combine with the chopped stuff, add real lemon juice, olive oil, salt to taste. A summertime staple; an article of faith.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Querencia

          The kids love this straight out of the garden in the summer, stacked:

          tomato slice
          mozzarella slice
          basil leaf
          drizzle with worstershire
          sprinkle with black pepper & oregano

          1. re: Querencia

            and for those of us who can't eat wheat, quinoa is a terrific stand-in for the bulgur in tabbouleh.

          2. Thickly sliced watermelon (rind cut off) with thinly sliced (or crumbled) feta. Sprinkle with chopped fresh mint and a drizzle of extra-virgin.

            Also, when melons are around...
            Scallop, Bacon & Honeydew Salad

            And for whole grain option (I second the tabbouleh, awesome

            1. Mozarella and tomato slices in marinated balsamic vinaigrette layered with basil.

              Version 2, dredge the tomatoes in bread crumbs and then pan sear and top the the mozz and basil and drizzle with some extra vinaigrette.

              Cucumber and sour cream with dill (old fashioned but I still love it.

              Roasted corn, black bean, onion, cilantro, tomato and avacado and hot peppers

              Grilled romaine chopped with olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh gorgonzola, grilled onions and artichokes with a light lemon vinaigrette

              Grilled zuchinni, summer squash, crimini, egg plant and cabbage with a sweet honey balsamic dressing and tangy pecorino romano.

              Any couscous salad is wonderful.

              Watermelon, cantelope, mint with a balsamic dressing

              Orzo with mandarine oranges, cilantro, toasted almonds, water chesnuts, golden raisins, scallions, etc.

              And I didn't even touch seafood ...


              Let me know if you want any recipes.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kchurchill5

                Grilled zuchinni, summer squash, crimini, egg plant and cabbage with a sweet honey balsamic dressing and tangy pecorino romano.

                Can I please get the recipe

                1. re: drewb123

                  Sure. It is very basic and very easy. It can be served warm, rrom temp or cooled. I love it. I go to the Farmers market every Sat am and always get the fresh veggies. FL we are blessed with fresh veggies and a market every sat year round. I would be lost without it. Some months are better than others but I was always looking at ways to make use of all the fresh veggies.

                  Now I admit, I will give directions for the grilling or even roasting if you can not grill and the dressing, but use what you have available. Sometimes I have more of one veggie and none of another. So it is your discretion. But these are my favorites.

                  I cut everything pretty uniform, about 1/2" thick. I want to get good grill marks. Once grilled you can cut into uniform pieces. The cabbage I cut in slices. I coat everything with a brush on both sides, olive oil that has been infused with red pepper flakes and garlic oil. This is a key to me. I just heat some olive oil on the stove with some red pepper flakes and a couple of smashed (not chopped or minced, just smashed) garlic. Just heat for 10 minutes on the stove top. The flavor will infuse in the oil. Then I salt and pepper and sprinkle with Italian seasoning on both sides. Nothing more. I have a real nice seasoning I make with my own herbs, but basically any good Italian seasoning will work just fine. Then heat up the grill even a inside grill pan is fine. Grill all the veggies. Once grilled cut everything in nice bite size pieces, not too small. Cut in the cabbage into shreds and add to the salad for some texture.

                  Dressing: 4 tablespoons balsamic, 5 tablespoons evoo, 1 small shallot fine diced, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon (IF THAT) go light of dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, s/p to taste and then to finish it off 1/8 cup fresh basil just rough chopped,

                  Now the topping. I top the salad with some simple croutons or basically just some baguettes I toasted cut in cubes and then mixed with a little evoo, parm, and some herbs and then baked until crunchy. Nothing fancy. If you have good fresh home made or even store bough croutons, by all means use those. I just crunch them up a bit to add a little texture to the salad on the top with the cheese. Some fresh Pecorino Romano is great lightly greated over the top when finished.

                  SO ... put all the veggies in the bowl and toss with the vinegar. Use as much vinegar as needed, what you do need can be used for a great salad. It all depends on how many veggies you use. Toss well, top with the croutons and some grated pecorino romano. Serve warm which is great, room temp or even chilled. Can't loose
                  The dressing I make the day before or morning before, gets only better. the croutons, my one grocer has some fresh ones and the bakery I usually get which are great and inexpensive but by all means use what ever you have. This is all about fresh veggies and a simple vinaigrette.

                  NOTE: I made the veggies once the day ahead then I made the vinaigrette but I heated that and poured over the room temp veggies. It also worked great for a go to guick salad for a party. Everything in advance but still great flavor.