HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Sensational salads?

I've been pouring over lots of threads and googling my fingers numb, but thought I'd throw it out there--what exciting salads are you making/seeing these days?

I'm attending a grill party Saturday and would like to take something different, both in taste and appearance. Maybe a Moroccan salad with fruit or nuts? I like the idea of using quinoa or red or black rice or something too, but that's not a requirement.

My choices of (traditional) greens is somewhat limited in Denmark and have only some bibb, spinach, and romaine in my own garden, but it's becoming all the rage to use garden "weeds" (e.g. stinging nettles), so that might be an option. I also have fresh strawberries from my garden. Tomatoes are just becoming to ripen, so I can probably count on a few of them as well.

Ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I have a recipe that my famiily just calls The Salad, as in "Great! You made The Salad!"
    The ingredient list is a bit long, but it's easy and absolutely fabulous. Make the vinagrette right after the bulgar so the flavours can blend while you make the rest. It also gets better with time once assembled so it's a perfect make ahead.

    Dressing:
    1 medium shallot finely chopped
    1 medium clove garlic minced
    3 Tbsp chopped parsley
    3 Tbsp chopped chives
    3 Tbsp cilantro chopped
    1 tsp basil
    1 Tbsp Dijon
    3 Tbsp lemon juice
    3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    3/4 cup olive oil
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper

    1 1/2 cups cracked wheat (bulgar)
    2 1/2 cups boiling water
    Pour water over bulgar and let sit for one hour. Wring out in tea towel.

    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1/2 cup chopped English cucumber
    3/4 cup chopped radish
    3/4 cup chopped carrot
    3?4 cup fresh corn sliced off the cob NOT cooked! (about 2 ears)
    Stir all the veggies into the cooked bulgar and then stir in vinagrette. Extremely colourful and flavourful.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dianne0712

      This sounds really nice--I'd probably have to find an alternative to the corn, but the rest is doable and I like the idea of using bulgar.

      Other ideas?

      1. re: Transplant_DK

        I have used frozen corn thawed but not cooked and it works fine.

        1. re: Transplant_DK

          One of my other favourites is a copy of a chain restaurant's Sonoma Valley salad - mesculin, red pepper, goat cheese (they use feta) topped with cashews, peanuts, sunflower seed, pumpkin seeds and raisins with a sweet onion dressing (they use honey citrus dressing) They also use tomatoes, but since I despise tomatoes more than anything in the world (sorry. Did I get a little emphatic there?) I leave them out.

      2. Do you want it to be more starch based, like couscous/pasta/quinoa/potatoes/bread or greens based? Any meat or seafood?

        2 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          Probably not meat or seafood since it's a bring your own meat for the grill get-together and I have no idea what other will have, but I'm open for either starch based or greens based. I mostly just want something wonderful and different.

          1. re: Transplant_DK

            That helps. I love this salad, toasted israeli couscous with summer vegetables.

            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...

            I don't use the recipe as is but play w/ what I have. I've added everything from feta/pine nuts/cranberries/roasted corn (Trader Joe's frozen is so good)/haricot verts, used home made chicken stock, fresh red/orange peppers, etc. The base is what's important--the toasted israeli couscous and the dressing (which I've also played w/ and used citrus juices, apple cider vinegar, other acids).

            Isreali couscous can be new for a lot of people and is so good.

        2. Planet Barbeque has several interesting salads; have a look at ingredients on EYB and if something appeals, I am happy to paraphrase:

          http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/1...

          2 Replies
          1. re: herby

            Not quite sure how to use EYB even though I set up an account ages ago, but will do a bit of surfing for their recipes. I also have another Steven Raichlen cookbook so will see if there is something there. I'll let you know if I need a recipe from it, thanks!

            1. re: Transplant_DK

              To check the recipes in a book, just go to the "library" and selelect the book you are interested in (click on the link in my post). Now you can scroll down the recipes that in the book and look at a list of ingredients to see what appeals. There is also new "search this book" feature but I have not used it before.

              I made grilled pepper salad from Planet BBQ tonight and it was yummy.

          2. I like the Moroccan. I do one with quinoa that has diced red pepper, currants, chopped dried apricots, and orange segments with an orange juice, cumin and honey vinaigrette. You could probably cut the spinach into ribbons and it would keep and blend in. Almonds or pistachios are nice in it, too.

            Or, with the strawberries, I could see spinach, quinoa, goat cheese, strawberries, thin sliced red onions, candied nuts and a poppyseed vinaigrette being great.

            4 Replies
            1. re: katecm

              I like the sound of both--do you just boil the quinoa for them, or do you toast as I've seen in some recipes? Oranges are pretty dastardly this time of year, but I could still make the dressing with some decent purchased juice.

              I don't think candied nuts are sold here, but that sounds like a wonderful addition. Wondering if I am up to candying nuts for a salad!

              1. re: Transplant_DK

                I boil the quinoa, though I bet if you toasted it first you'd get great flavor.

                And definitely candy your own! Make a big batch and put them in an air-tight container. They'll keep for a while for delicious snacking.

              2. re: katecm

                I had a salad the other day that surprised me. It had walnuts on top which I had assumed were candied but they weren't. They were salted, with big grains of Kosher salt, and made quite an impression with each bite, especially when you are expecting the same old sweet nut.

                1. re: katecm

                  +1 on katecm's idea; just this week I have been making pseudo/morrocan salads - perhaps more persian - but with arugula, currants plumped in good sherry vinegar, toasted pine nuts, nectarine, 1/2 dried apricots (dried, but still plump and soft); strong sherry vinegar/orange/OO/Zatar dressing.. this would be great stirred into couscous or bulgur. Perhaps with roasted cherry tomatoes and some preserved lemon peel?

                2. My go-to salad. Alternate slices of fresh mozzarella, VERY ripe tomatos, thinly sliced red onion (optional), fresh basil, black olives, capers (optional), oil and balsamic vinegar, s& p to taste.

                  1. I had an amazing Thai beef salad last night that would also be great without the beef- especially if you're serving it along side grilled meats. The dressing had a great balance of salty/ sweet/ spicy. The chilis, mint, fish sauce, & lime juice was a very nice, bright, welcome change from more common salad tastes.

                    1. I made this recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh a few days ago. It's a perfect light course for hot summer days.

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                      1. Thai Green papaya salad also comes to mind; tomatoes, green papaya shreds, shredded carrots, sometimes cabbage, green beans or long beans( I use green beans, as easier to get just a few). A nice tart lime/fish sauce dressing with just a bit of spice heat - and topped with chopped toasted peanuts?

                        This can really get the appetite going, and can be made ahead. Even wilted leftovers are VERY tasty for a day or so afterwards.....

                        http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201...