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May 7, 2012 12:18 PM

A Change from the ordinary...different salad ideas?

My family eats a lot of salads. Almost daily. However, theyre often very redundant. It will usually consist of a green (iceberg / romaine / or a baby spinach / arugula blend), some veggies (carrots, radishes, onions, sweet peppers, etc.) and some cheese (mozzarella or cheddar), along with some bacon bits and croutons. Then drenched in one of the many bottles of dressing lurking in the fridge. Occassionally, we'll toss in some craisins or some walnuts to change things up a bit.

Im looking for something different. Im not opposed to making my own dressings as long as they are quick and easy. I usually stick to a balsamic vinnaigrette or a lemon vinnaigrette. We're open to many different vegetables and greens, its just that theyre not usually on hand in our home. I dont wanna get too far off the beaten path here, lets try to keep it to a green of some sort and then some vegetables, fruits, cheeses. Quick dressing recipes are also appreciated. Just off the top of my head some ingredients that Id like to use more of are....kale, spinach, bibb lettuce, fennel, raddichio, any vegetable really, crumbly blue, feta, or goat cheese.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

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  1. Don't forget about cabbage. Try Napa, finely shredded, if the regular green and red is too strong for you. Add shredded carrots, maybe bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, scallions and a soy-rice wine vinegar-fresh ginger dressing for an Asian-style slaw. Walnuts or almonds would go here.

    Finely shredded fennel and orange sections with just oil and vinegar is also an option.

    Regular creamy coleslaw is okay, if you don't drown it in dressing. Marzetti's used to make a decent bottled coleslaw dressing, to which you could add blue cheese crumbles.

    My CSA box starts in two weeks and I'm probably going to have tons of greens for the foreseeable future! I'll be watching to see what others post here.

    Kale I find is really tough in salads, but baked kale chips are crispy and light. And you don't need anything but a little oil and salt when baking them, so it's sort of like a dry salad.

    1. Romaine, fennel, oranges or grapefruit, feta, red onion, lemon vinaigrette.

      Spinach, roasted red pepper/pimiento, goat cheese, (salami?), lemon zest, green onion, green goddess.

      Sorry, I'm having a problem linking this, but here's a green goddess and a couple other salad dressing recipes...

      1. For starters, yOu might try roasting some of the veggies. I love to roast a batch of brussels sprouts or a broccoli/cauliflower mix with some chunks of red pepper and onion in the oven (usually a half hour at 400-425 does the trick, and i mix them well with a little olive oil & salt first), and then I have 3-4 days of salad ingredients on hand. Just toss some with whatever lettuce you have on hand. Also, try mixing in a few fresh herbs. Parsley and dill are my favorites; they add a lot of flavor. Finally, i might sprinkle in a little parmesan cheese & dress the whole thing with a little homemade mustard vinaigrette.

        1 Reply
        1. re: katydid13

          I love the roasting idea. Since you say you might like to use more Gorgonzola, greens topped with gorgonzola and roast beets are amazing. The beets are fine being roasted the day before if you don't want to wait the same day.

          One of my favorite dressings is rice wine vinegar and sweet chili sauce with a splash of veg oil. I just do this with very simple salads-greens only, or greens with onions, or with onions and carrots.

          I also love avocado with orange (or grapefruit) and red onion tossed with red wine vinaigrette. Sometimes I eat that as-is, or sometimes I put it over red leaf lettuce or spinach. (Also if you toss this with quinoa it can become a meal pretty easily).

        2. Rinse some of the larger outer leaves from a head of leaf lettuce and fill them with a mixture of bamboo shoot strips, water chestnuts and bean sprouts. Toss in a few chopped cashews, roll 'em up and drizzle with a dressing made of 1/2 c. salad oil, 1/4 cup orange juice, tablespoon rice wine vinegar, pressed ginger, grated garlic, a hint of Wasabi and soy sauce.

          1. Don't forget good quality olives. I always add thin slices of onion and red peppers. What about shredded beets, garbanzo beans, sprouts, feta?

            I NEVER use bottled dressing. It's so easy to make your own dressing. First sprinkle sea salt onto the salad, then drizzle olive oil and a good quality vinegar over it (wine, balsamic, cider or rice). Toss well. When I make dressing this way I find it's imperative that the salad include either sliced onions and/or red peppers to round out the flavor. A garlic infused vinegar makes a wonderful dressing. I find the salad is better when the dressing is light, not drenched.

            Also, consider growing your own organic greens! They are sooooo much more flavorful when homegrown. You can also grow more of a variety than you could ever find in the store.