Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Salad Days

On hot summer days, one of the few things that sounds good for dinner (besides ice cream, of course) is a dinner salad.

And considering we've had more than our fair share of hot summer days lately, we've been having LOTS of salads for dinner. Here are three recent new favorites I've an attempt to bring back "Recipe Wednesday".

Greek-Style Picnic Salad

Greek Style Picnic Salad...the flavors here are wonderful. I added sliced flank steak, to make it a one-dish meal. When I make it again, I will probably use more spinach and less order to please my husband, who prefers not to eat much rice. But I thought it was amazing and delicious just as written! Perfect to take to a summer potluck!

2 cups uncooked white rice
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed without oil)
1.5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
8 cups spinach (8 0z)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups feta cheese, crumbled (8 oz)
1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 15 oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
10 lemon wedges

1. Cook rice. Cool to room temperature and set aside.
2. Combine water and tomatoes in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes until soft. Drain and cut in 1" pieces.
3. Heat 1.5 tsp. oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add spinach and garlic and saute until spinach wilts. Combine rice, tomatoes, spinach, cheese and next 5 ingredients (through the chickpeas.) Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle with nuts and serve with lemon.

Mixed Salad with Vanilla Pear Vinaigrette

While cooking this, I couldn't help but think of lunchtime and an old colleague of mine from the high school where we taught together. There were a few school lunches that the teachers liked...and my friend Dawn loved to get pears on the side, particularly for the pear juice. I think she would have liked this recipe!

Mixed Salad with Vanilla Pear Vinaigrette

4 grilled chicken breasts, sliced
1 cup vertically sliced red onion
2 10 oz packages Mediterranean style salad (I substituted European blend)
1 small avocado, cubed
10-15 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
2/3 cup Vanilla Pear Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Combine first five ingredients together in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss well. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Vanilla Pear Vinaigrette
1 (15 oz) can pear halves in juice
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. vanilla
dash of ground red pepper (optional)

Drain pears, RESERVING 1/3 cup pear juice. Combine all ingredients plus the reserved juice in a blender and process until smooth. Place in covered container and chill well before serving.

Yields: 2 cups

Stone Fruit Salad with Toasted Almonds

This one has been in my file for a long time. And it was worth the wait. Definitely a summer salad, given the stone fruit ingredients, so make it soon! This would be delicious for a ladies lunch or shower, but our whole family enjoyed it as well. I added grilled sliced chicken to the salad to make it a dinner salad. A perfect addition, if I do say so myself.

Stone Fruit Salad

1 cup riesling wine
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. almond oil or olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
8 cups mixed salad greens
3 plums, sliced
2 nectarines, peeled and sliced
2 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 apricots, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup pitted fresh cherries, halved
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted

1. Heat wine in a medium saucepan over med-high heat until reduced to 2 Tbsp. (About 10 took me closer to 30 min. but I used a very small saucepan.) Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Chill
2. In a large bowl, toss the salad greens and fruit together with the dressing. Sprinkle with goat cheese and almonds and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

I hope you enjoy these...I wish I could give proper credit for these...but I think it's likely that they're originally from Southern Living and Cooking Light, though I've put my own twist on each of them.

1 comment:

Christa said...

Lots of yumminess here! I'll be writing these down and making them SOON!!


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