Rick's Recipes: Salad Days

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Photo via Flickr / Cindy Shebley.

As the weather gets warmer you’re going to want to spend less time hanging around the stove, much less turn on an oven. Entrée salads are a great option this time of year, they’re easy to make and as a bonus, can be healthier than a meat and potatoes dish. Here are a few of my favorite recipes to try, all of which serve two as an entrée, four as a side salad. Before you begin, a couple of tips:

Keep a spray bottle of a solution of 3-1 water-vinegar solution in your fridge. Spray your veggies (including pre-bagged salad greens) with this solution, just before preparation then drain in a colander. Vinegar as natural microbial agents in it that help kill bacteria. You can also soak berries in the same solution remove, shake dry and let dry on paper towels before refrigerating. The rinse will help keep the berries fresh for up to a week in the fridge. No more moldy strawberries. Just make certain to let the berries dry completely before storing them in their containers (which you have rinsed out before reusing). And no, there’s no residual vinegar state.

 

Asparagus & Feta Salad

Roast the asparagus a day or two beforehand when you have the oven on. It will in the refrigerator if wrapped in plastic.

 

Ingredients

1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

Sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

4 cups lettuce leaves

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place asparagus in a large bowl.

Drizzle olive oil over asparagus and season with garlic salt and Parmesan cheese; toss well.

Remove asparagus from olive oil mixture, reserve whatever is left in the bowl

Transfer asparagus to a baking sheet.

Bake asparagus in until asparagus are tender, about 15-20 minutes, depending on size of asparagus.

Tear lettuce into the bowl used for asparagus.

Add vinegar and toss until leaves are coated.

Top with tomatoes, feta cheese, and asparagus, toss before serving

 

Thanksgiving Salad

This dish gives you a taste of the holidays; yet remains a light supper.

 

Ingredients

4 cups cubed, cooked turkey breast

1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon paprika

1 ½ cups dried cranberries

½ cup chopped celery

2 green onions, chopped

½ cup minced green bell pepper

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1 baked sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 cup cornbread stuffing croutons

sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise with paprika.

Fold in dried cranberries, celery, bell pepper, onion, turkey and optional pecans.

Add sweet potato and crouton, season to taste.

Chill minimum of 1 hour or overnight, serve in lettuce cups or over spinach leaves. Garnish with seedless grapes if desired.

 

Antipasto Pasta Salad

Use a pasta with a lot of surface in relation to its size; such as radiatori or fusilli, or a bowl shaped one such as shells or orecchiette, to hold the dressing. (Use your own Italian salad dressing or bottled, I won’t tell).

 

Ingredients

16 ounces pasta, cooked according to package instructions

8 ounces small, fresh mozzarella balls, halved

4 ounces salami or pepperoni, cubed

2 cups arugula or baby spinach

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped

½ cup pitted black olives, sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions

In a large bowl, toss together cooled pasta, mozzarella, salami pepperoni, greens, tomatoes, artichokes, and olives. Pour 1 cup Italian dressing over salad, toss to mix. Taste and season as needed, tossing again if necessary. Refrigerate, covered, for at least one hour (best if left overnight), allow to come to room temperature before serving.

 

Curried Shrimp Salad

Perfect on a sandwich or in a lettuce wrap!

 

Ingredients

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup Greek yogurt

1 lb. cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp (tails removed)

1/4 red onion, minced

1 stalk celery, minced

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

 

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest onion and celery.

Add curry, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Add pepper flakes if you prefer a spicy dish.

Add cooked shrimp and toss to combine. Serve over lettuce.

 

BLT Salad

Choose your favorite dressing to dress the salad, the original recipe calls for ranch, but I prefer blue cheese.

 

Ingredients

1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions

3 slices bacon, chopped

1/2 cup shredded romaine lettuce

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup salad dressing

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions

Cook bacon until crispy, drain and set aside.

Chop bacon and shred lettuce.

In a large bowl, place cooled pasta, add bacon, lettuce, tomato to a large serving bowl. Toss with salad dressing.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

 

Steak Taco Salad

This is great served in a tortilla bowl, or even as a nacho topping!

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 lb. steak (such as flank)

1 package Taco Seasoning

¼ cup olive oil

Juice of 2 small limes

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1 head romaine, chopped

1 cup corn kernels

1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream

2 green onions, sliced

 

Directions

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil.

Rub steak with taco seasoning.

Add to hot skillet and sear until desired doneness, flipping once.

Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and oregano.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Mix cream and green onions.

In a large bowl, add romaine, corn, black beans and tomatoes, toss.

Slice steak against the grain and place slices on top of salad.

Top with dollops of crema.


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