A salad is a salad is a salad. Or is it??
Warmer days go with cool tossed greens like love goes with hot kisses. But there’s more to a salad than lettuce. A bowl or a plate of “salad” can fill you up and satisfy your nutritional and sensory needs all season long — if you know how to toss A WHOLEMEAL SALAD. Here are a few bowls and plates with variations –using vegetables, greens, herbs, and various proteins— that can be the main dish (not the side dish) on all the too-hot-to-turn-on-the -oven days ahead. If you’re missing animal protein, suggestions for those too. All recipes serve 4, depending on appetites.
NUTTY GRAIN AND BEAN BOWL
1 cup whole-grain farro
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 bay leaf
Large shallot, very thinly sliced
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups lightly packed arugula
1 slightly tart apple, chopped
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
2 T freshly chopped parsley
1/4 c. toasted pecans, roughly chopped
*In a medium saucepan, combine farro, vegetable broth, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally until grain is tender and no broth remains, about 30 minutes. When cooked, transfer to a large bowl to cool.
*In the meantime in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine oil and shallots. When the shallots begin to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until shallots are golden and crisp, 15- 20 minutes. Remove shallots and drain on paper towels. Cool and salt lightly
* In a medium bowl, combine cooled olive oil with vinegar, mustard, and honey, and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
*Combine cooked farro, crispy shallots, arugula, apple, parmesan, basil, parsley, and pecans. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Non-vegetarian version: Stir in 1 cup of drained canned chunk tuna.
Variations: Use bulgur or brown rice in place of farro; omit pecans or substitute another nut; omit parsley in favor of basil (or vice versa)
ROASTED BEET, LENTIL, AND CHEDDAR TOSS-UP
1-1/2 cup lentils
1 crushed garlic clove
2 cups spinach or watercress
½ cup fresh mint or fresh dill, chopped
2 cups of red or golden cooked beets, cut into small wedges
4 ounces crumbled or cubed Gouda cheese
½ cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
Dressing: 1 crushed chopped garlic clove, 2 T apple cider vinegar, 3 T olive oil, ½ tsp. spicy mustard. Combine well.
- Combine lentils with the garlic and 4 cups of water plus a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until still slightly chewy (about 20 minutes). Drain and cool.
- Place lentils in large bowl and add beets, salad greens, and herbs. Carefully mix in dressing, then just as carefully fold in cheese (Beets can turn other ingredients pink if mixing is too vigorous). Top with toasted nuts.
Non-vegetarian: In place of beets, use a cup of mini cooked meatballs.
Variation: Use roasted purple turnips in place of beets; use parsley or thyme in place of mint/dill; use toasted sunflower seeds in place of pistachios
TOFU, KALE, AND BROWN RICE SALAD
1 cup short brown rice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 T sodium-reduced soy sauce
2 cups of Tuscan or baby kale
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups of extra firm tofu, pressed dry and cubed
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rice in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Or use a rice cooker.
* Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, and olive oil in mixing cup and transfer 2/3 of it to a larger bowl, adding in the kale, tofu, and coconut. Mix well and spread salad ingredients onto two baking sheets. Place them on two different oven racks.
*Bake for 15 minutes. Stir well and switch baking sheets. Bake 10 more minutes
* Place contents of baking sheets back into the big bowl with remaining oils, Stir in rice and serve warm or cover, refrigerate and serve chilled.
Non-Vegetarian: Toss in some shredded cooked chicken in the final step in addition to or in place of the tofu.
Variation: Substitute Savoy cabbage sliced into ribbons for the kale; add grated carrot or slivered bell pepper; use quinoa in place of rice.
SPINACH, BERRIES, AND GOAT CHEESE PLATTER SALAD
1-1/2 lb. fresh strawberries, sliced or diced
½ cup small black beans, well-drained
1 tsp. honey
½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 T balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
2-3 cups fresh mixed salad greens
*Create a bed of greens on a large platter. Carefully combine berries and beans, and spoon over leaves.
*Combine cheese, basil, vinegar, and spoon over salad, Grind salt and pepper to taste on top.
Serve with bread sticks, toasted pita halves, or crisp crackers.
Non-vegetarian version: Add cooked baby shrimp or cubes of cooked salmon.
Variation: Use green peas in place of beans and dill weed in place of basil.
CRUNCHY COLESLAW PLUS
Dressing: 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds, crushed with mortar and pestle or rolling pin, 2 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos, 1 T regular or coconut sugar, 3 T tahini, 1 T sriracha sauce or other hot sauce.
Salad: ½ of a large granny smith apple, grated, juice of 1 lemon or lime, 3 cups of finely shredded green cabbage plus 1 cup shredded purple cabbage, 2 carrots, shredded or grated, 2 sliced scallions, small bunch of cilantro chopped, (stems removed, 1-2 T water
- Combine dressing ingredients, mix well
- Prepare all dry ingredients, mix well
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Toss with additional sesame seeds or cilantro sprigs
Non-Vegetarian: Add cooked chopped shrimp or crabmeat.
Variations: Add 1 cup of sprouts or microgreens or slivered jicama for more crunch.