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Salad: A Thread of Appreciation

There's nothing like a good salad.

I had pineapple upside down cake for breakfast today. It was delicious, but quite sweet and rich and by the time lunch rolled around, I was craving something crispy and tangy and not too heavy. So I made myself a salad:

romaine lettuce
chopped parsley
grated carrot
a nice, thick piece of smoked salmon, shredded
crumbled goat cheese
honey-mustard vinaigrette

Simple and quick and absolutely delicious. How about everyone else? What salads do you love?

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  1. I have a salad every day Monday thru Friday. Standard salad - lettuce, mini tomatoes, peppers, carrots and some sort of protein. I also like the Parisienne salad kit - comes with a packet of dried cranberries/nuts, cheese & white balsamic dressing. Usually mix some of that lettuce mix with regular romaine for my salads....

    1. Absolutely, I crave salads; either greens or fruit salad. A day without and I'm out of sorts.

      Today's salad was wrapped in rice paper: romaine, thai mint, grated carrot, rice noodles, shrimp, scallion and pickled ginger. Tomorrow I'm having a cobb salad.

      6 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        I was just thinking today that a salad my son makes would be really good for when I have friends over on Boxing Day - chopped raddichio, endive, toasted hazlenuts, scattering of pomegranate seeds.

        1. re: Athena

          Sounds delicious, Athena! Do you use a dressing or lemons over it?

          1. re: HillJ

            @HillJ - lemon juice and walnut oil

        2. re: HillJ

          RE: HillJ

          Love the salad idea in rice paper!! Sounds great!! I have rice paper too.....hmmmm....

          1. re: jenscats5

            Yeah, those rice papers are so handy and I love the idea of having a salad on the go (in hand) when I'm running late.

        3. I always think salad tastes better when someone else makes it.

          I like whole meal salads, have them a lot. Protein, greens, nuts, fruits.

          2 Replies
          1. re: laliz

            See I always think a drink (cocktail) tastes better when someone else is making it! My bartending skills need work!

            1. re: HillJ

              And any sandwich made by someone else tastes better too,
              with a cocktail and a salad would be ideal!

          2. I also take salad to work most days for lunch....I have found some artisan baby heads of lettuces (they come 6 baby heads to a package) at BJ's which are great. I usually just chop up some of that, add shredded carrots, sliced onion, sometimes cucumber, sometimes olives, sometimes roasted red peppers, usually some type of protein (often grilled chicken) and about an oz of some type of reduced fat cheese...often feta....sometimes a chopped apple or some dried cranberries this time of year...in season i added raspberries. I've also been buying some of the salad topper things like glazed pecans or walnuts, and sometimes wonton noodles or tortilla strips, and just sprinkling a tiny bit on top for variety. I usually use one of the following reduced fat dressings....Wish Bone Asian Sesame Ginger, or Asiago Parmesan Balsamic, Ken's Raspberry Walnut Viniagrette, or there is some refrigerated yogurt bleu cheese dressing that I like as well. It's an easy, one dish, complete work lunch. Sometimes I have soup with it. We have salad at dinner most nights as well.

            1. I am currently addicted to raw kale, black olive and parmesan salad with sherry vinaigrette.

              I am eagerly awaiting grapefruit season because I love them in salads with avocados.

              2 Replies
              1. re: magiesmom

                $1.00/per grapefruit here in NJ and $1/each for avocados....but add in crabmeat and super thinly sliced lime and I'm all over it!

                1. re: HillJ

                  How odd, here in Toronto avocados are easily $1.50 year-round but I picked up grapefruit for 50 cents the other day.

                  I was going to start a winter salad thread. Winter peppers and tomatoes don't do much for me but I do eat baby spinach-based salads year round. This time of year I like it with sundried tomatoes and chickpeas (optional feta, fennel, etc). I also love clementines and kalamata olives - although not a huge olive fan generally, this sweet and salty combo is amazing (fennel, red onion, cucumber etc can also be added to this of course). I'm experimenting with pomegranate seeds but haven't found a great combo yet, although with citrus and a yogurt-based honey dijon dressing my kids are happy.

              2. BBL, I also recommend (if you haven't already) roasted fruit or veggie salads. Roasted ahead of time and tossed with a bit of balsamic and bread squares makes a nice room temp salad.

                Some of the fruits & veggies I roast for salads include zukes, corn, eggplant, peppers, onions, tomatoes, leeks, carrots, plantains, pineapple and pears. With a few slices of cheese, this makes a nice lunch.

                1 Reply
                1. re: HillJ

                  This does sound amazing. Hmm. I have an assortment of half-used veggies and even part of a pineapple so perhaps I'll do this for lunch tomorrow or to have with dinner tonight.

                2. Tonight my dinner was a salad, pretty simple but delicious. A mix of baby greens and herbs, grape tomatoes, red onion, goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Drizzled a sundried tomato balsamic vinaigrette and fresh ground black pepper.

                  Since I cook for just myself, I'd love some suggestions for interesting dressings that I can prepare and keep in my trusty plastic squeeze bottles in the fridge. Please don't laugh! I normally have a "heavier" Balsamic, a lighter oil & vinegar, and a sweet/hot, think mango/habanero.

                  I absolutely adore salads!! Unfortunately, here in TX, a salad is just something to be drowned in RANCH dressing. The salad ingredients don't matter. I so always think through all of the salad ingredients and then try to figure out the perfect dressing.

                  Would love some suggestions!!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Barbara76137

                    My fav dressing is a simple combination of fresh lemon juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, dash of sugar, s&p whirled in a blender. But I experiment all the time. Staples in my pantry include walnut oil, blood orange olive oil, rice vinegar, pomm molasses, champagne vinegar. For instance, blending fresh tangerine juice into a simple oil/vinegar dressing is crisp and refreshing. I add fresh herbs to the salad greens rather than the dressing. I'm not a huge fan of mayo or creamy dressings for salads (sometimes as a spread for sandwiches) because I feel it overpowers tender greens. I love garlic but in a blended dressing a light hand is all that's needed. But more times than not I'm happy with a squeeze of fresh citrus over my salad or no dressing at all. If I'm adding fruit or nuts to the salad I don't dress it. Even cheese can be all the "added dressing" necessary to take a plain salad to another level.

                    Maybe what I'm saying is...salad dressing is over rated :)

                    1. re: HillJ

                      I agree about light-handed garlic and about adding the herbs to the salad and not the dressing! I actually add more dressing when I use cheese or fruit, however, because I love how the vinegar plays with the sweet and creamy. My dressings tend to be heavy on the acid and not so heavy on the oil, though.

                      Tangerine/oil/vinegar dressing sound wonderful.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Wonderful suggestions, HillJ. Thank you!

                    2. Another one of my favourites is something that my mom used to make for potlucks all the time when I was growing up.

                      Typical Greek salad ingredients: tomato, red onion, feta cheese (no cucumber 'cause she was allergic, but it would be perfect in there too), mixed with a lettuce of your choice and about a cup of cooked, cooled barley. Tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic and maybe a touch of oregano. Delicious!

                      I also love sliced pears and blue cheese in a green salad with a really vinegary dressing. Even better with spicy, candied pecans or walnuts.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                        That sounds delicious and I love the idea of adding barley to a Greek salad. Which opens up a whole 'nother version of salad appreciation, doesn't it. Barley, couscous, wild rice, bean, orzo pasta, quinoa, etc.

                        And salad cups using various lettuce leaves as a container for other ingredients.

                        And then there's pickled veggie salads, all the slaws (including my fav spring pea slaw).

                        oh my, BBL...

                        1. re: HillJ

                          There's this amazing curried mango quinoa salad on epicurious that I used to make all the time...

                          Well, now I'm hungry.

                          1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                            Oh my, think you can find the link to the curried mango quinoa salad ? Yum.

                              1. re: operagirl

                                Why thank you, operagirl. The "request service" @ CH is outstanding :)

                        2. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                          never thought of barley...will have to try it

                        3. Cobb
                          1905 at the Columbia
                          my death -by- garlic Caesar

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Veggo

                            death by garlic Caesar-love it! What a way to go.
                            Care to share the steps?

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I cheat a little (lot?) by starting with Paul Newman's Caesar dressing and I turbocharge it with lots of crushed garlic cloves (my customary dinner guests are like me, can't get enough garlic), anchovy paste or fork- smashed anchovies, lemon juice, pepper, and lots of coarse grated romano. I buy the bagged romaine because it has more of the heart leaves. I'm sure this is a disappointment of shortcuts, but it tastes good and frees my time for the apps, sides, and main course.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                Clever shortcut. We all make em! Thanks for sharing. I was picturing some 40 cloves of garlic.....version.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  I figure one large clove per person.

                          2. My favorite salad is one I came up with a few months back, when mangos were in profusion around these parts. It's a massaged lacinato kale salad with citrus vinaigrette, diced avocado, diced mango, toasted chopped hazelnuts. Ridiculously good combo of flavors. I can't wait 'til mangoes and avocados are at their best so I can make this again! For now, I guess I should experiment with some more winter-y kale salad combos. Maybe I'll try it with toasted sliced almonds, diced pears, currants and a curry vinaigrette? Hmmm . . .

                            1. Good post. I have a couple of friends who are at a loss as to what to do with their salad friendly veggies from their CSA during the cold months. They don't crave salad then so don't make it. I really wish they would just give me their salad makings I'd put them to good use, lol. Like you, after a day with some sort of decadent sweet treat a salad for dinner/lunch is just the ticket.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                whenever i goto a potluck, this salad of mine is always requested: its my strawberry, pecan, and gouda salad. mixed greens, sliced strawberries, shredded or diced gouda, and candied pecans ( i buy them right in the bag ) with a dressing of evoo with red wine vinegar and a teaspoon of strawberry or raspberry jelly mixed in. delicious.

                              2. Salads I've eaten in the last month

                                Does not count the regular weekday salads of mixed greens, radish, bell pepper, cucumber, scallion and protein. Tossed in some craisins, garbanzos, peas, corn and blue cheese today and called it dinner

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                  DD could you ID the prepared salads in each photo pls.

                                  1. re: HillJ


                                    From left to right

                                    Mixed baby greens with grilled chicken breast, sliced strawberries, diced mango and a raspberry dressing based on a margarita.

                                    Field greens with glazed and diced pear and goat cheese

                                    Spinach salad with tomato, walnuts, jicama and an amaranth crisp with tamarind dressing

                                    Ceasar Salad with Ceasar dressing and thin crisp baguette slices drizzled with basalmico instead of croutons

                                2. romaine
                                  seedless cucumber
                                  can of Italian tuna
                                  roasted brussel sprounts
                                  roasted carrots
                                  pickled beets


                                  1. I make a "Mexican" salad with 50/50 mix, halved cocktail tomatoes (I buy the multi-colored ones), avacado, pan roasted corn, crushed chips, queso blanco, a creamy chipotle I make with 2% greek yogurt, a little mayo, buttermilk, chipotle Tabasco, lime, garic, salt and pepper. We also add a bit of salsa on top.

                                    Another favorite is roasted veggies and quinoa with tomatoes, spinach, and feta. I do a garlic Dijon vinaigrette on that one.

                                    1. Mesclun salad with a simple oil and vinegar dressing.

                                      Sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, drizzled with good quality olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

                                      A well made Caesar salad.

                                      Greek salad with cucumber, tomato, onion, feta cheese, olives and an olive-oil, vinegar and lemon dressing, with a hint of garlic and some oregano.

                                      Blanched chaoyte squash leaves with a sesame soy vinagrette.

                                      Thinly sliced onion marinated in rice vinegar, chopped orange segments, diced chinese celery and walnuts, drizzled with olive oil and a grinding of fresh black pepper.

                                      7 day coleslaw.

                                      Potato salad made with a vinagrette dressing, onion, celery, bacon.

                                      Chickpea salad with onion, celery, fresh mint, chopped tomatoes and lemon juice.

                                      Pico de gallo salsa, made without hot peppers, and eaten with a spoon.

                                      A Japanese restaurant we go to make salad of finely julienned tororo topped with a bit of sesame dressing that's really good.

                                      Sliced raw okra and cubed silken tofu, dressed with soba dipping sauce (that one's the invention of my husband, and is also very good).

                                      1. Spring greens, arugala, roasted beets, orange slices, goat cheese, candied pecans w a light lemony/citrus dressing.

                                        1. I love salads of all sorts, but lately have been on a grain/seed salad kick. Quinoa/bulgur/couscous tossed w/ a vinaigrette and roasted veggies or grape tomatoes cucs, avocado, chopped spinach, red onion/shallots, currants, feta and pumpkin/pine nuts. Yum.... throw in diced diced egg or roasted chicken and I'm a happy girl.

                                          In the summer I love bean and corn salads too. Whatever is fresh out of the garden or from the market and lots of tomatoes.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                            Oh yes on the summer-corn-bean salad!! I lived last summer on a fresh corn-black bean salad...sometimes with rice but otherwise with chopped veggies, salt, pepper, lime juice/peel and a bit of red pepper flake. Also, occasionally roasted the corn on the grill. So refreshing!

                                          2. I love a variety of salads and now that it's winter I've been thinking of making some bean and roasted red pepper combinations.

                                            During the summer I made a batch of celery seed French dressing. A little too much sugar and the old recipe includes ketchup but my husband loves it. Since I brown bag lunch every day, if there was any leftover veggies from the night before I could toss them with the dressing. Green beans plus thinly slice red onion and halves cherry tomatoes is one of my favorite combinations.

                                            My most popular salad in winter is called Winter Salad with lemon poppy seed dressing: romaine, diced apples, diced pears, shredded swiss cheese, dried cranberries, and cashews.

                                            1. I'm hooked on a couple of salads --

                                              A baby spring mix with thinly sliced pears, gorgonzola, and spiced pecans with balsamic vinaigrette.

                                              A spinach and greens mix with mango, spiced pecans, grapes, dried cranberries, and grilled chicken over a bed of cous cous with a ginger vinaigrette.

                                              In the summer, I do a salad of avocado, fresh mozz, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion drizzled with a little EVOO and balsamic, and finished with some salt and pepper.

                                              1. Last nights salad was leftover m/r steak cubed about 1", chopped Mcintosh apple, blue cheese, candied spicy pecans, spinach, avocado, 1/2'd cocktail heirloom tomatoes, and a garlic-dijon viniagrette with olive oil and white balsamic. Yum!