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Need a new salad!

I am tasked with the salad course on Thanksgiving (Canadian) this weekend. I tend to bring the same kinds, candied nuts, fruit and greens. Looking for a change up.

Here is my husband's laundry list of dislikes:
strong cheeses

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  1. Maybe a Cobb with a mild goat cheese?

    2 Replies
    1. re: inaplasticcup

      I find cobb salads a bit heavy with a big meal (too much meat for me).

      1. re: inaplasticcup

        yay you're back!!

        p.s. I love your blog, especially the one about tofu for a tofu hater

      2. I made this last weekend and it is marvelous. My salad had romaine, bacon bits, green onions, and shredded hard boiled egg


        Serves: 6
        • 3 tomatoes, peeled seeded and finely chopped
        • 1/3 cup tomato juice
        • 1 garlic clove, crushed
        • 2 scallions, finely chopped
        • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
        • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
        • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
        • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
        • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
        • 1/2 cup olive oil
        • salt and pepper
        1. combine all ingredients in medium bowl.
        2. chill for 1 hour.
        3. Serve over a garden fresh salad

        2 Replies
        1. re: laliz

          Interesting, would it matter that our tomatoes are not very good where I live?

          1. re: cleopatra999

            I think that might be nice done with roasted pepper instead of tomato. I'm seeing some glorious peppers at the farmer's market now. Or oven roast some nicer hothouse tomatoes?

        2. Some of my favourites are tko'd by dh's dislikes--watermelon feta salad, or this "picnic caviar" http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe... How about a brussel sprout slaw? http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          1 Reply
          1. re: maplesugar

            Oops, forgot brussel sprouts on the dislike list LOL!

          2. Mixed greens, thinly sliced red and green apples, red and green grapes (halved the long way), celery, red onion, with a tangy walnut/orange dressing (made in a mini-food processor so that the walnuts get pulverized to make a "creamy" dressing. Okay, so it still has the fruit and greens you were trying to avoid, but it's absolutely delicious, and very light, which counters a heavy Thanksgiving dinner.

            Or, a purple cabbage slaw with slivered almonds, shredded carrot, some mandarin orange, scallions, maybe some sunflower nuts, all in a tangy dressing.

            I've never made this, but I've seen similar combos in cookbooks: slices of grapefruit and/or orange mixed with slices of avocado, drizzled with a spicy dressing (I've seen chili oil as an ingredient in the dressing, but I can't remember what else was in the dressing recipe - some of the juice squeezed out of the citrus membranes, maybe?). I've always been intrigued by it, but not willing to buy a bottle of chili oil for one recipe.

            "Israeli salad": diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, diced green peppers, finely chopped parsley tossed in a light lemon vinaigrette (or even just in a little bit of lemon juice, no other ingredients). For more bulk, add in a little bit of bulgur if desired, or make a veggie-heavy tabbouleh.

            1 Reply
            1. re: asf78

              .....and avocado and grapefruit. I knew the list of his seemed short!

              I like the sound of the first salad with walnut dressing, might be different enough. Not in the mood for a cabbage slaw, feels like we have had a lot because of all the bbqs.

              watermelon salad is yummy! but is it too summery? something I could do to make it more fall? Unfortunately the caviar salad has beans in it.

              Perhaps this is why I end up with the same salads all the time!! I appreciate the effort here.

            2. I made a green salad that included Persimmons one year and it was a big hit and very pretty. (Since you live in BC, I would not recommend tomatoes for your salad since they're not likely to have much flavor at that time of year.)

              1. My favorite fall salad -- which would work really well for Thanksgiving -- is an arugula and spinach blend, topped with warm french lentils, oven-roasted pieces of squash or pumpkin (seasoned with either paprika and cinnamon or ras al hanout), and crumbled mild goat cheese. You can also add toasted nuts. Topped with a vinegrette. I think this was an old Bon Appetit recipe...

                7 Replies
                1. re: anakalia

                  This is similar to my suggestion. You can use blue in place of goat cheese too.

                  1. re: anakalia

                    anakalia- Your favorite fall salad sounds really good to me. Is it this one?

                    For cleo999 - it also reminded me about this tasty salad from Ina Garten,

                    While it does have dried cranberries in it, I'm pretty sure I have used dried Montmorency cherries in this too. I also sometimes add or sub spinach for the arugula to change it up.

                    1. re: souvenir

                      You can also use Pomegrante seeds for the same hit of red and tartness.

                      1. re: souvenir

                        I REALLY like the sound of the Ina Garten one, thank you! Very autumn feeling. The lentil one would have to be without the lentils (all legumes are out).

                        1. re: cleopatra999

                          You are very welcome!

                          My suggestion is to try a dry run with it and see what you and your husband think.

                          I'm glad I read your post. I'm not sure why I haven't done it for Thanksgiving before, but now I'm planning to put it on the menu this year.

                      2. This is one of my most requested recipes. I actually quadruple the batch of pecans and store them in the freezer. The dressing is so delicious as well. The salad recipe has a "strong cheese" but you can easily serve it on the side. I've added roasted apples or pears to this salad as well. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                        1. I bet you're tasked with it because your salads are always yummy and you make it with such care. So even if you're ready to change it up, I'd consider just modifying it with an addition or two, like diced salami, and maybe some (dare I even suggest a processed food) diced American cheese.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Niblet

                            hard to do "composed salads" for so many individuals at big dinner, but (similar to other suggestions, bed of mixed greens, peeled pear sections, crumbled blue cheese, garnish with "candied" walnuts...

                          2. How about a broccoli-cauliflower salad? Chop 1 head of each, mix with a couple of ribs of celery sliced, a can of chopped waterchestnuts, a handful of peas, 1/2 pound of fried chopped bacon (omit for vegetarian option), sunflower seeds. For the dressing, mix a cup of mayo, a few dashes of vinegar, 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan. MIx all together and chill for a few hours.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: elimcfli

                              this would be a nice change, can you think of a sub for waterchesnuts? maybe jicima if I can find it would work?

                              1. re: cleopatra999

                                Jicama would work in lieu of water chestnuts, and in lieu of peas sugar snap peas maybe? More toothsome?

                                Great salad idea!

                              1. re: jmcarthur8

                                did you mean to link back to the OP?

                                1. re: kubasd

                                  no, darn it! I think I was doing too much multitasking and copied the wrong Url. Thanks for pointing out my mistake. It was a thread on Maurice Salads from Hudson's Dept. Store, and I am inept at linking with my phone, so I can't do it now, either. Aargh.

                                  1. re: kubasd

                                    Here's the link to the Maurice Salad. It's hammy and eggy and pickley and crunchy and cheesey.


                                2. I make a fabulous side dish for Thanksgiving that involves roasted butternut squash cubes, chestnuts and sauteed kale in a black olive vinaigrette. I serve it warm, but I have eaten it cold as well and I think it's delicious either way. Would something like that qualify as a salad for your purposes?

                                  BTW, does anyone other than me find salad to be an odd addition to the Thanksgiving table? I tend to like salad (of the cold, lettuce or greens-based variety) when the weather is warm or I'm trying to eat lightly. For Thanksgiving, I want warm, comforting foods, even if some of them are a bit lighter than others. If I served a salad at Thanksgiving I would probably be left with a bowl of wilting lettuce at the end of the night!

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                    Kale and Olives are on the list....

                                    I find my family eats very heavy at Thanksgiving, lots of casseroles. I like having a salad as a balance, otherwise it just feels too heavy for me. Maybe that is why I always do the salads!

                                    1. re: cleopatra999

                                      Whoops, missed a few items on the no-no list. I would have a VERY hard time cooking for your husband!

                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                        LOL! Sometimes a challenge, I would probably eat more vegetarian meals if he liked legumes.

                                    2. re: biondanonima

                                      We like Thanksgiving to be a long, many course meal and it's always all adults at our house. So a salad is one of the courses before the main event, when there's a whole lot that goes on the table at once. I try to use autumnal flavors and colors often including a "traditional" vegetable (like squash) that might not be a part of the main meal that particular year.

                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                        We have never had salad at Thanksgiving. Even with two vegetarians it didn't make the cut. We used to do a fruit cup for the first course.

                                      2. Spinach with a warm bacon vinaigrette.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: letsindulge

                                          yummy, do you have a recipe for the vinaigrette?

                                        2. arugula or spinach or a combo, shredded raw celery root and green apple, blue or goat or cheddar cheese, toasted pecans or walnuts, add roasted green beans or not, dressing is mustard, shallot, walnut oil and lemon juice or vinegar.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Madrid

                                            Ooooooh! I forgot about raw celery root and it is perfect for this time of year. It is nice and hearty but still refreshing in a way. I think I'm going to be making your salad fro myself soon.

                                          2. A few ideas:

                                            Roasted (chilled salad): shallots and/or red onions roasted, butternut squash cubed and roasted, spinach, sundried tomatoes, reduced balsamic and olive oil, lemon zest and crispy sage... with a shaving of mild jarlsberg and chopped roasted pumpkin seeds

                                            New angle of stuffed endive leaves? goat cheese or ricotta mixed with diced onions, celery (i prefer these lightly cooked), lemon zest, crushed pistachios, almond flour, parsley and thyme with a lemon white wine vinaigrette

                                            perhaps a salad with bulgur or barley or quinoa or couscous in it?

                                            sliced hearts of palm, cooked mushrooms, sundried and /or regular tomatoes, roasted red peppers, oregano, basil, roasted garlic, lemon juice and red wine vinaigrette

                                            my favorite simple salad is spinach leaves, very thinly sliced fennel, tomatoes of some incarnation, onions and green beans roasted, generally with blackened shrimp or seared ahi, with a reduced balsamic dressing and S & P of course...

                                            1. A friend made this for us last weekend. She had all the ingredients prepped, then assembled when she arrived.
                                              it was wonderful.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: jujuthomas

                                                that one looks really yummy. Not 100% sure I can get jicama in my small town, but maybe, would have to omit the avocado though (SO no likey). Although it is easy to pick around.

                                                1. re: cleopatra999

                                                  my friend used apple the first time she made it, because she couldn't find jicama. said it was fantastic.

                                                2. re: jujuthomas

                                                  One thing I am surprised hasn't been mentioned and I hadn't thought of is beets. I love beet salads. that could be a nice change too. could add into some of the previously mentioned salads.

                                                  1. re: cleopatra999

                                                    How about a beet caprese salad on a bed of arugula? Roasted beets, thinly sliced, interspersed with sliced fresh mozzarella cheese and sprinkled with julienne basil leaves. Arrange this on a bed of arugula leaves and serve with a balsamic vinegar and good olive oil dressing. Sprinkle coarse salt and finely chopped red onion if you like.

                                                    1. re: cleopatra999

                                                      I love beets. at work they do a salad of roasted yellow and red beets with red onion and a light vinaigrette.

                                                      1. re: cleopatra999

                                                        Beets and Oranges with thinly sliced red onion and a light vinaigrette made with rice vinegar.

                                                        The very best salad is a Shuna Lydon recipe for Naked Salad:
                                                        4 Fuyu persimmons 

                                                        1-1/2 cups pomegranate seeds

                                                        1) Cut top off persimmon. Slice bottom off, being careful not to take too much fruit

                                                        2) Peel persimmons, cut four pieces off core the way you might core an apple
3) Dice persimmons into a shape slightly larger than the pomegranate seed

                                                        4) Mix pomegranate seeds and diced persimmon gently with a spatula

                                                        - This salad will keep refrigerated for about three days but is best eaten fresh.

                                                    2. A light salad we often have is slices of tomato and avocado with a few extremely thin sliced pieces of sweet onion, a vinaigrette of peanut oil, white wine vinegar, and Dijon, and a sprinkling of grey salt...a nice palate cleanser for a big Thanksgiving Meal. Another very light favorite is Bibb lettuce with hazelnut oil and raspberry vinegar.

                                                      1. Very thinly sliced fennel, peeled and sliced oranges, thinly sliced red onion, coarsely ground black pepper, salt. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice. Olives are optional! Delicious and refreshing. We go through platters of this in the fall and winter.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: pavlova

                                                          mmmm, fennel and orange, I can see that working really well together!!

                                                          1. re: cleopatra999

                                                            Which reminds me

                                                            Sauteed Shrimp, sliced Orange, and sliced Fennel, over tossed Romaine..

                                                            Video recipe start to finish, hands on.


                                                            We prefer salad tongs to toss.

                                                            1. re: cleopatra999

                                                              I love fennel and citrus - orange is good, blood orange is better, pink grapefruit is the best! I reduce the citrus juice and add a little lemon, then use that with oil to dress the salad. VERY tasty.

                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                Add some avocado to that if you want a creamy note.

                                                          2. Even though I just gave you a recipe I'll give you another one. This is defnitely my fav salad ever (uses dried cranberries and strong cheese, but you can change those or use less...the gorgonzola is not very overpowering in this recipe)...

                                                            sliced apples
                                                            sliced pears
                                                            dried cranberries
                                                            sliced red onions
                                                            spinach and mixed field greens
                                                            candied walnuts
                                                            gorgonzola cheese

                                                            Dressing...here I am running into that measuring issue again...but basicaly to taste:
                                                            walnut oil
                                                            apple cider vinegar
                                                            greek yogurt (adds a nice creaminess to it)
                                                            maple syrup
                                                            small amount of brown sugar
                                                            salt and pepper to taste

                                                            You really dont get a "strong cheese" taste from this salad, but I guess that depends on how strong your husbands dislike is. I've had it without the dried cranberries when I've been out and it's still fine.

                                                              1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                This is the first chance to say that for me, I'm not speaking for anyone else, that it would be great if the link to a recipe was proceeded by a short description of the dish. That way people can decide if they're interested in the general idea without having to go through the link first. So this one could have been "headlined" as Cheddar, Avocado, Pepper Salad with Maple-Chipotle Vinaigrette before the link. Just a thought.

                                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                                  But that would spoil the surprise. Those averse to surprise recipes probably wouldn't enjoy such a salad anyways.

                                                                  1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                    love the easy link, thank you. color me curious. always. : )

                                                              2. I love this salad. Radishes, fresh herbs, butter lettuce. Simple but great.


                                                                1. How about some kind of panzanella salad - rustic bread chunks (toasted or not), tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, vinagrette. Sorry to be vague, but I tend to use recipes as ideas. You could find lots of examples online or in your recipe books I'm sure, or I can try to be more specific. Also, chef Yotam Ottolenghi has great new salad ideas that are often light, though maybe too "adventurous" for your crowd?

                                                                  How many people will there be at the dinner? I'm sure you cater to your husband's tastes frequently; maybe a big dinner is the time for you to cook what you want and your husband can just pass on the salad? My kids hate mushrooms so if it's just us I don't use them, even though I love them. When we have people over to eat I will often take the opportunity to make marinated mushrooms (or another side using them) and the kids just don't eat them. Just a thought.