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Salads that don't involve lettuce

Give me some recipes for alternative salads....ones that don't involve lettuce.

I did a salad using cucumber slices, red onion slices and tomato slices with a vinegrette over it... I liked it.... My wife...not so much

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  1. One of my favorites is the classic Greek Salad. Cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, Kalamata olives with a lemon, oil, oregano (Greek not Italian) and garlic dressing. Add salt to taste, but the feta can bring a lot of salt to the dish, so proceed carefully.

    1. Maybe I'm longing for summer, but my mind jumped to watermelon feta salad.... Previous thread dedicated to this dish:


      1. Lord, there are 1000s. Are you interested in primarily vegetable salads, or grain-based salads as well?

        1 Reply
        1. re: tatamagouche

          You don't need recipes as much as technique. Grate virtually any firm raw vegetables into a slaw, or slice them paper-thin with a V-slicer/mandoline, and add your choice of dressing. Fresh or dried fruit can be added if you want additional sweetness, or are using a very bitter vegetable that needs balancing out. This applies whether or not the salad incorporates grains or pasta..

        2. One of my kids favorites - Fruit Salad. You can use almost anything in season. Apples, berries, melons, grapes, pineapple, etc. Toss with some whipped cream is fun as well.

          1. Pasta salad, rice salad, bread salad, roasted veggie salad.... the possibilities are endless.

            6 Replies
            1. re: linguafood

              Good call on the pasta salad. Pasta salad with Tri-color, macaroni salad, etc.

              I would love your recipe for roasted veggie salad!

              1. re: boyzoma

                You know, I don't really have a particular recipe. Frankly, I don't have a lot of recipes at all. I'm one of those cooks who just toss stuff together (like salad haha) and hope it comes out right. Most of the times, it does.

                That said, mixing some roasted zucchini, squash, snow peas, carrots, and maybe even sliced potatoes together with some olives and ricotta, with a lemon & olive oil dressing.... should do the trick. I think.

                I've turned pasta dinners into salads -- some pasta really improves when eaten lukewarm, when the flavors had a chance to mingle. Like pasta with tomatoes, tuna, capers, and artichokes, slightly on the spicy side. So much better an hour after it's cooked.

                1. re: linguafood

                  Wow, that sounds good. And since the season for fresh veggies is coming upon us, and I love to go to the Saturday Farmers Market, I think this will hit my new list to try. Thanks for the info!

              2. re: linguafood

                Yes, panzanella. A good panzanella with lots of red wine vinegar and garlic is unbeatable.

                1. re: tatamagouche

                  I love love love panzanella salads, but love it with fresh lemon juice more than the vinegar and big chunks of celery more then cukes. I did one recently with cut up potato bread (then toasted slightly). Also great with corn bread or cornbread croutons.

                  I also love a fatoosh (sp?) basically panzanella but with chopped pita bread.

                  I just did this black bean and shrimp salad:

                  I love this grilled veggie salad (made it several times):

                  1. re: lexpatti

                    My favorite salad cookbook in the world is Lettuce in Your Kitchen, Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby:
                    All main course salads, many but not all lettuce-based, and with a style that gives you the confidence to mix things up as you wish.

              3. I adore old fashioned Waldorf salad. Basic Waldorf is chopped apples, chopped celery and chopped nuts with a dressing of mayo. I vary it quite a bit though. I love a little yogurt with the mayo. I like a grated cheese topping, nutmeg on the apples, mixing pears with the apples, or adding another fruit as well. Others add raisin (ugh!) or grapes, or even grilled chicken. Also a Waldorf is great served over lettuce. For all I know it might be good served over chilled brown rice.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sueatmo

                  sueatmo: I'm one of those (ugh!) raisin-adders. Grapes, too. Waldorf salad appears, amazingly, in the Korean ban chuan (appetizer dishes) before barbecue, at least at the restaurants we frequent in Flushing, New York.

                  I do a variation on the Waldorf salad that involves Gala apples, Korean pears, celery, cucumbers and then I add a minced boiled egg, some horseradish and some lump crab meat shreds to the mayonnaise dressing. It's a meal.

                  1. re: sueatmo

                    Here's a "Waldorf" type salad I think is good with a grain built in (wheat berries):

                    Wheat berry Waldorf salad:


                  2. You could make a slaw using cabbage - if you don't want traditional mayonnaise-based dressing for it, you could do a lemon vinaigrette, or use red cabbage, shredded carrots, some julienned snow peas and dress with seasme oil and rice vinegar and a little soy sauce for an Asian slaw.

                    I also make a chunk salad by cutting, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, red and/or green peppers into chunks and tossing with a little fresh mint or cilanto, some toasted cumin seed, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice.

                    And my alst favorite is to cut up grilled veggies and drizzle with balsamic and olive oil and fresh herbs if you have them. Add some fresh mozzarella or provolone too. My favorite veggies for this are yellow and green squash and red peppers.


                    1. Most of the salads we do, don't involve lettuce but use just about any decent looking veg in the shop that doesnt need cooking - peppers, celery, peppers, mushrooms, cucumber, radish, tomato, carrot, red cabbage. Usually with vinaigrette. And that's before getting into opening a tin of something to add or cooking some grains.

                      Loads of ideas on this link:
                      (I particularly like the Camargue red rice & feta - great contrast of colour, texture and taste


                      And, of coruse, if you're just trying to avoid lettuce but still want some leaf, there's always watercress.

                      1. http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/201...
                        If spinach is okay, this salad is fantastic.

                        Pea slaw, red potatoe & egg salad, shrimp is wonderful in cold veggie salads.

                        1. I like broccoli salad with raisins and shredded cheese. I also make a cornbread salad that uses kidney beans, corn, green peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes topped with ranch dressing and shredded cheese. It's always requested for summer cook outs.

                            1. Tried this Fennel, Avocado and Mint Salad last summer when I grew some fennel for the first time:
                              Tasted great!

                              1. - Black Beans, Corn, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Red Onions, Avocado, Garlic, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Lime Juice, Salt and Pepper, and Cilantro

                                - Tomatoes, Red Onion, Balsamic Vinegarette

                                - Artichoke Hearts, Hearts of Palm, Grilled Asparagus, Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli, Grilled Mushrooms, Sugar Plum Tomatoes, Blanched Green Beans

                                - Blanched Greens (collards, mustrad, kale, bok choy, spinach) chilled with chilled sauteed wild mushrooms and a soy miso vinegarette

                                - Nicoise sans lettuce...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Emme

                                  "Blanched Greens (collards, mustrad, kale, bok choy, spinach) chilled with chilled sauteed wild mushrooms and a soy miso vinegarette"

                                  wow!!! i do something very similar: blanched mustard greens and bok choy, pineapple tidbits and cashew nuts. dressing is honey, ginger juice, kikkoman and sesame oil.

                                2. I make many chick pea salad variations. Obviously, you use chick peas, but the rest varies on what's fresh. If basil's fresh, we go Italian, with red wine vinegar, roasted reds, onions, etc. If I've got some ginger, it's Asian, with rice wine vinegar, cabbage, daikon, etc. Chick peas lend themselved well to almost anything.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                    My personal favorite is shaved fennel, parmesan (good parm, not the powdery stuff), lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

                                    Mark Bittman did a 101 Summer Salads last year that was fantastic -- lots and lots of great ideas and I think many did not involve lettuce!

                                    1. re: JMJD

                                      yum, I've had your shaved fennel exactly the same but with shaved brussel sprouts - sooo good. I'lll have to try the fennel.

                                    2. re: invinotheresverde

                                      Yes, one of my fave chickpea salads is Mexican-esque and includes tomatoes, chipotles, and pepitos...

                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                          ...Except I meant pepitas, of course. Oops.

                                          Here's the recipe; don't recall where it came from—Gourmet I think?

                                          2 cans chickpeas, drained
                                          2 plum tomatoes, chopped
                                          1/2 c. chopped cilantro
                                          1/3 c. mayo
                                          1/4 c. chopped red onion
                                          2 T lime juice
                                          1 T minced chipotles in adobo
                                          1/2 t. cumin
                                          1/4 c. toasted pepitas

                                          Toss all but final ingredients together, season with S&P, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                            Yep, sounds awesome. Thanks for the recipe.

                                    3. As gg said, "Lord there are 1000s". I love especially love any salad that I can take a roll and stuff it into. One would be the Antipasto salad.
                                      I love this one and you can switch ingredients out, add some garbanzo beans, red, green and or yellow peppers, endless variations. This is perfect picnic food.
                                      Antipasto Salad
                                      1 large sweet red onion sliced into crescents
                                      3 tomatoes keep them sliced thickish they get lost if cut too small
                                      2 celery ribs (sliced small)
                                      1 or each red & green bell peppers (diced)
                                      1 cup Kalamata or black olives sliced slice in half
                                      1 cup green pimento stuffed olives (sliced in half) or omit
                                      1/4 lb. hard salami (cut into cube size cubes)
                                      1/4 lb. mortadella (cut into cube size cubes)
                                      1/4 lb. provolone (cut into cube size pieces) sometimes I use fresh mozzarella
                                      ½ cup fresh torn basil if in season – add this just before making the salad I add a little mint sometimes too
                                      ¼ cup rough chop fresh Italian parsley – add this just before making
                                      Gently toss all the above ingredients in a very large bowl.

                                      For the dressing, mix:
                                      1/4 cup olive oil
                                      1/4 cup red wine vinegar - or balsamic
                                      2 T water
                                      1 tsp sugar
                                      1 tsp salt
                                      1 T. dried oregano - crumbled
                                      1 t. black pepper
                                      1-2 t red pepper flakes
                                      Keep in mind depending on the size of your tomatoes, or peppers you might have to increase the oil and vinegar.
                                      Mix everything but the oil, slowly drizzle the oil to incorporate all. Let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. If your going to eat the salad right away, then make the dressing first. Then toss and dress the salad. If you want to marinate the salad, increase the the oil and vinegar to half cup each and let it marinate in the fridge overnight. Add the fresh herbs right before serving.

                                      My other favorite is a cold asian salad with a peanut sesame dressing. Let me know if you would like that one too.

                                      1. I have an abundance of Mandarins. I have been using them in a chopped salad with avocados, jicama & sweet onion with a dressing of olive oil, sherry wine vinegar and a pinch of cumin & chili powder.

                                        1. I make a simple but really delicious fresh corn, cherry tomato and basil salad with garlic and balsamic vinegar. It's only as good as the corn is sweet and the tomatoes are fresh...great for the summertime.

                                          1. I'm surprised no one mentioned Caprese salad. Sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella slices all drizzled with olive oil and topped with freshly ground black peppercorns and salt.

                                            1. Personally, I love the tomato/cucumber/onion combo, and usually have it drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

                                              On the chopped/diced vegetable route;

                                              - Thinly sliced cucumber and onion (use a mandolin or food processor), marinated in a vinegar and sugar dressing, flavoured with dill.

                                              - Bit sized pieces of baby corn, green pepper and onion, with a simple vinaigrette

                                              - Greek salad, with cucumber, onion, tomato, feta, oregano, black olives and a lemony vinaigrette.

                                              - Cucumber, onion, tomato with an Indian style yoghurt dressing; yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper.

                                              - Red pepper, green onion, blanched or raw snow peas, baby corn and celery, with an Asian vinaigrette (sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce) and sprinkled with sesame seeds. This can be done with cold noodles as well.

                                              If you throw in grains and legumes, you have have a variety of easy salads

                                              - Chickpeas, sliced celery, cucumber, tomato and onion and chopped fresh mint, and with a vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and a bit of garlic.

                                              - Diced fresh vegetables with cooked chilled couscous or millet and a fairly robust dressing.

                                              - Five bean salad, with mixed canned beans, cooked green beans, sliced onion, and an herbed vinaigrette.

                                              And for some other ideas

                                              - marinated mushroom salad; blanch white mushrooms and marinate in a vinegar based dressing, with herbs and chopped onions (and maybe some olives), and leave overnight. This is smaller in volume, but very tasty.

                                              - Eat salsa as a salad. I make pico de gallo with chopped tomatoes (peeled and seeded if you want), diced onion, cilantro, and lots of lime juice and salt. If you leave out the hot peppers, you can eat it with a spoon, and it's delicious.

                                              - Raitas as a yoghurt based salad. There's a fantastic one with coarsely grated cucumber and onion, yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic and cumin, which is delicious.

                                              - Puree it into a soup. Gazpacho is basically liquid salad, and a cold cucumber dill soup made with yoghurt is nice too.

                                              - 7 day coleslaw. It's a coleslaw with cabbage, onion and shredded carrots and green pepper, with a cooked dressing of vinegar, sugar and pickling spice.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                Along the salsa lines—the OP should consider ceviche as well.

                                              2. Shaved fennel and carrots dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and coriander is a favorite of mine. Be sure to top it with some fennel fronds.

                                                1. Creole Potato Salad
                                                  Serves: 6

                                                  Ingredients: Vegetables

                                                  • 6 hard-cooked eggs
                                                  • 2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
                                                  • 2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
                                                  • 1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
                                                  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
                                                  • 2 cups celery, thinly sliced
                                                  • - salt and pepper

                                                  Ingredients: Salad Dressing

                                                  • ¼ cup vinegar
                                                  • 3 Tablespoons water
                                                  • ½ cup vegetable oil
                                                  • 1 packet dry Good Seasons® Italian Salad dressing mix

                                                  Method: Eggs

                                                  1. Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan.
                                                  2. Add enough cold water to cover eggs with 1 inch of water.
                                                  3. Cover pan and bring just to a boil, over high heat.
                                                  4. Remove from heat and let stand about 15 minutes for large eggs. (Adjust time up or down by 3 minutes for each size larger or smaller.)
                                                  5. After 15 minutes, pour off the hot water and rapidly cool eggs by running them under cold water until completely cooled.
                                                  6. Drain and peel the eggs immediately.
                                                  7. Slice eggs about ⅛ inch thick and set aside.

                                                  Method: Potatoes

                                                  1. Cover potatoes with salted cold water by 2 inches in a 3-quart saucepan and simmer uncovered until just tender, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on size of potatoes.
                                                  2. While potatoes are simmering, chop carrots and bell pepper about ⅛ inch thick and set aside.
                                                  3. Slice celery about ⅛ inch thick and set aside.
                                                  4. Drain potatoes in a colander.
                                                  5. When potatoes are just cool enough to handle, peel and slice with a mandoline slicer 1.5 mm thick, about 1/16 inch.

                                                  Method: Salad

                                                  1. In a large bowl alternate layers, about ⅓ cup each, of chopped carrots, chopped bell pepper and sliced celery.
                                                  2. Follow with a layer of potatoes and a layer eggs.
                                                  3. Season layers to taste with salt and pepper.
                                                  4. Repeat until all vegetables are used.
                                                  5. Do not stir.
                                                  6. Mix vinegar, water and oil. Add seasoning, if using Good Seasons ® mix. Mix well.
                                                  7. Pour dressing over salad, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: speyerer

                                                    We have salad most nights with dinner. This fennel salad is one of my favorites when I get bored with greens/cukes/tomato.
                                                    It's even easier to throw together if using canned mandarin slices...

                                                  2. GREAT thread. I love vegetables and salads, but find most lettuces to be boring.

                                                    This past summer I made a nice one with halved cherry tomatoes, corn, and dill, dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil.

                                                    1. take a drained can of corn and a drained can of black beans ~~ combine
                                                      moisten with Ranch dressing (just moisten, not too much)
                                                      add sunflower kernels

                                                      easy peasy and good

                                                      canned or fresh cooked green beans w/tomatoes, dressed w/oil and vinegar

                                                      1. Orange, Fennel and Avocado Salad
                                                        Serves: 4


                                                        • 1½ Tablespoons white-wine vinegar
                                                        • ½ teaspoon salt
                                                        • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
                                                        • ¼ cup olive oil
                                                        • 1 navel orange
                                                        • 1 ¾ pound fennel bulb, stalks cut off and discarded
                                                        • 1 firm-ripe avocado

                                                        1. Whisk together vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until salt is dissolved, then add oil, whisking until combined well.
                                                        2. Cut peel, including all white pith, from orange.
                                                        3. Halve orange lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thin slices.
                                                        4. Halve fennel bulb lengthwise, then cut crosswise into very thin slices.
                                                        5. Halve, pit, and peel avocado, then cut into ½ inch pieces.
                                                        6. Toss orange, fennel, and avocado with dressing to combine.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: speyerer

                                                          Mmmm. That sounds like a really nice, refreshing salad. I gotta try that one, and hope the man digs the fennel....

                                                          1. re: speyerer

                                                            I make a similar one with grapefruit and lemon suprêmes instead of the orange and avocado - with a few small Cretan black olives and a thinly-sliced shallot or green onion. Very good with pork or duck. Love the idea of avocado with. Avocado and grapefruit on their own also make a nice salad.

                                                          2. I'm a big fan of carrot salads when I want something different. I most recently made one with shredded carrot (shredded in no time in the food processor), dried cranberries, crushed toasted hazelnuts and some chopped parsley. For dressing, I mixed up some OJ, olive oil and rice wine vinegar. Delicious and very pretty!

                                                            I also eat couscous salads all the time. Usually dried fruit, nuts and feta or blue cheese crumbles, but sometimes I go with dried or grape tomatoes, olives and artichoke hearts, maybe cuke, maybe green or red onion. I love making a lemony vinaigrette and adding lemon zest to the salad.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: LisaPA

                                                              Marinated Carrot Salad
                                                              Serves: 6


                                                              • 2 pounds carrots, thinly sliced in rounds
                                                              • 4 quarts water
                                                              • 1 Tablespoon salt
                                                              • ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
                                                              • ½ medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
                                                              • 1 10 ounce can tomato soup, undiluted
                                                              • ½ cup white vinegar
                                                              • ½ cup salad oil
                                                              • ½ cup sugar
                                                              • - Tabasco® to taste


                                                              1. Scrub carrots and slice in thin rounds.
                                                              2. Boil in salted water for 10 minutes or until crisp and drain.

                                                              Note: Do not overcook, the carrots should remain crisp.

                                                              3. Thinly slice the onion and bell pepper.
                                                              4. Gently toss the carrots, onion and bell pepper together in a large bowl.
                                                              5. Combine the tomato soup, vinegar, oil and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
                                                              6. Remove from heat and add Tabasco®.
                                                              7. Drip dressing over carrots, onions and bell pepper. Do not stir.
                                                              8. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
                                                              9. Keeps indefinitely.