Fresh seasonal produce and temperatures above normal are reasons to fix a satisfying salad for dinner. Most greens are great sources of folate and of vitamin C, which promotes healthy skin and a healthy immune system. Popular salad additions, such as tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers, provide an abundance of vitamins.
Most people think of salads as a first course or a side dish served with dinner. However, by adding some great toppings like grilled steak, poached chicken, boiled eggs or cold shrimp you can take any salad and turn it into a meal. Moreover, salad doesn’t always have to be about leafy greens either — many are made with beans or grains like quinoa, bulgur, barley or farro. You can vary a salad’s flavor by changing the dressing or vinaigrette. Add some crunch to your salads by adding some fresh, raw sweet corn cut off the cob, or toasted nuts or homemade croutons. Now you have a great dinner.
Steak Salad with Blue Cheese
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. flank or skirt steak, trimmed and cut in half
- 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium red onion, sliced crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 6 oz. baby greens (6 packed cups)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare a medium-high (400°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Oil the grill grates.
In a baking dish just large enough to hold the steak, combine the Worcestershire sauce and 2 teaspoons olive oil.
Add the steak and turn to coat both sides.
Combine the vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the 1/4 cup olive oil.
Season the steak with salt and pepper and grill, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes total for medium rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.
Toss the greens, onions and tomatoes with just enough of the vinaigrette to coat lightly and divide the mixture among 4 serving plates.
Slice the steak across the grain and arrange both over the greens. Sprinkle the blue cheese over the salad, drizzle with additional dressing and serve.
Italian Rice Salad
- Garlic Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 3 cups cooked, slightly warm basmati rice (directions below)
- 1 cup chopped red, green and/or orange sweet bell pepper
- One 6 ounce jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup pitted olives, halved
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- Mixed salad greens, mesclun or torn romaine
- Fresh basil leaves
Prepare the Garlic Vinaigrette; set aside.
To cook the rice:
Place 1 cup uncooked basmati or long grain white rice in a fine mesh sieve. Run cool water over the rice for several minutes; drain well.
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to boiling. Slowly add the rice and return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from the heat and let cool about 15 minutes. Makes 3 cups.
In a large bowl, combine rice, bell pepper, artichokes, red onion, olives and capers. Stir vinaigrette and drizzle over the rice mixture; toss gently to coat.
Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Serve rice salad on a bed of salad greens and garnish with basil.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, parsley, vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, basil, oregano and garlic. Makes about 3/4 cup.
Asparagus and Shrimp Salad
- 1 pound fresh or frozen medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
- 2 tablespoons orange juice plus 1/3 cup
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
- 3-4 oranges
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 cups torn mixed salad greens
- 2 oz. sliced prosciutto
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
Remove a 1/2 teaspoon of zest from one of the oranges. Peel oranges. Working over a bowl, cut oranges into sections and dice them; reserve 2 tablespoons and 1/3 cup of the juice. (If necessary, add additional orange juice to make the 1/3 cup.)
In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to boiling. Add shrimp; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Drain in colander. Rinse with cold water; drain again and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer shrimp to a bowl. Add orange peel and the 2 tablespoons orange juice; toss gently to coat.
In a covered medium saucepan, cook asparagus in a small amount of boiling water for 4 to 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain in colander. Rinse with cold water; drain again and pat dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/3 cup orange juice, the oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine shrimp, asparagus, diced oranges, prosciutto, greens and green onions. Pour dressing over all; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.
Mediterranean Chicken Salad
- Lemon Dressing, recipe below
- 12 ounces chicken tenders
- 8 cups mixed baby greens
- One 16 ounce jar pickled mixed vegetables (giardiniera), drained and blotted dry with paper towels
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup homemade croutons (directions below)
For the croutons:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Remove crusts from 2-3 hearty country bread slices. Brush bread on both sides with olive oil. Cut bread slices up into small cubes.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 15 minutes or until browned. Let cool.
Brush 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing on the chicken tenders. Lightly sprinkle with black pepper.
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat; add chicken. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, turning once or until no pink remains. Slice chicken tenders in bite-size chunks.
In a salad bowl toss together the greens, chicken, giardiniera, olives, feta cheese and remaining dressing. Top with croutons and serve.
- 1 large clove of garlic, squeezed through a garlic press
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix together the ingredients and set aside.
Pasta Salad with Tuna and Summer Vegetables
6 main-dish servings
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lb. campanelle or fusilli pasta
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 medium yellow squash
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 large cans or pouches of tuna in water
Heat a large covered pan of salted water to boiling on high. Add pasta; cook al dente.
Trim zucchini and squash, cut into quarters lengthwise, then cut into thin slices crosswise. Slice tomatoes in half. Slice olives in half and finely chop parsley.
In a large serving bowl, whisk vinegar, oil, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; stir in tomatoes.
Drain pasta well. Add to the tomato mixture along with the tuna, zucchini, squash, olives and parsley. Toss until well mixed. Chill before serving.