Quantcast

Main-Dish Summer Salads


July 22, 2011

Patricia Wells shares a trio of summer salads that shine in the main course role!

By: Monica Storch, Managing Editor of Macaroni Kid EATS!
top image
Patricia Wells, "Salad As A Meal"

On those hot summer days when you just don't feel like firing up your oven, a salad makes a perfect main course alternative.  And with the bountiful crop of fresh fruits and vegetables available in the summer months, there really are so many fantastic salad combinations from which to choose.  If you need some salad inspiration, look no further than Salad As A Meal: Healthy Main Dish Salads for Every Season, the new cookbook from Culinary legend Patricia Wells.  Salad As A Meal is not only beautifully illustrated, it's also chock-full of simple and delectable recipes for salads, soups, breads and accompaniments.  Patricia Wells generously has agreed to share a few recipes from the book with Macaroni Kid, and I couldn't be happier!  The recipes that follow all showcase some of summer's most outstanding ingredients and all use the same Yogurt & Lemon Dressing, so you can make a big batch of dressing over the weekend and try out these recipes all week long.  Enjoy!

Special thanks to Patricia Wells for sharing these recipes, all of which are taken from Salad As a Meal: Healthy Main Dish Salads for Every Season.

Corn, Bacon, Feta, Tomato & Avocado Salad
4 Servings

Ingredients:
2 1/2 ounces smoked bacon, rind removed, cut into 1/4" cubes (3/4 cup)
2 ears fresh corn, shucked
4 ripe multicolored heirloom tomatoes, cored, quartered & chopped
2 ounces imported Greek feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled & cubed
2 small spring onions or scallions, white part only, trimmed, peeled & cut into thin rings
Yogurt & Lemon Dressing (recipe follows)
Coarse, freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1.  In a large, dry skillet, brown the bacon over moderate heat until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to absorb the fat.  Blot the top of the bacon with paper towels as well.
2.  Cut off the fat ends of the ears of corn, stand the ears on the flat end, and use a chef's knife to cut off the corn kernels.  Place the kernels in a large bowl.
3.  Add the tomatoes, bacon, feta, avocado and spring onions to the corn.  Toss with just enough dressing to coat the ingredients lightly and evenly.  Season generously with pepper and serve.

Cantaloupe, Tomato, Goat Cheese, Cucumber & Onion Salad
4 Servings

Ingredients:
1 small, ripe cantaloupe melon, halved, seeded, cut into small wedges, and rind removed
2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
4 ounces firm goat's milk cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
1 small cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 small spring onions or scallions, white part only, trimmed, peeled and cut into thin rings
Yogurt & Lemon Dressing (recipe follows)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, cut into a chiffonade
Coarse, freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
In a large shallow bowl, combine the melon, tomatoes, goat cheese, cucumber and onions.  Toss with just enough dressing to coat the ingredients lightly and evenly.  Shower with the herbs and season generously with pepper.  Serve.

Crab, Avocado & Quinoa Salad with Technicolor Tomatoes
6 Servings

Ingredients:
3 cups water, homemade chicken stock or homemade vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 pound (2 cups) fresh cooked lump crabmeat
1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cubed
Yogurt & Lemon Dressing (recipe follows)
2 cups mixed red, yellow and green cherry or pear tomatoes, halved

Directions:
1.  In a large saucepan, bring the water or stock to a boil over high heat.  Add the salt, quinoa and bay leaves.  Bring back to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and translucent, about 15 minutes.  (When quinoa is perfectly tender, each grain bursts, sporting a tiny white sprout).  Drain any remaining liquid and return the quinoa to the pan.  Cover the pan with a clean dish towel, replace the lid, and let it sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.  Fluff.  Let cool. 
2.  Place the cooled quinoa in a large, shallow bowl.  Add the crabmeat, tarragon, mint and avocado.  Toss with just enough dressing to coat the ingredients lightly and evenly.  In another bowl, toss the tomatoes with just enough dressing to coat them lightly and evenly as well.
3.  Mound the quinoa salad on the plates.  (Alternatively, place a 4-inch mold at one edge of each plate and spoon a portion of the salad into the mold, pressing down lightly.  Remove the mold.)  Arrange the tomatoes alongside the quinoa salad, and serve.

Yogurt & Lemon Dressing
Makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients:
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt (recipe follows) or fine sea salt

Directions:
In a small jar with a lid, combine the yogurt, lemon juice and salt.  Cover with the lid and shake to blend.  Taste for seasoning.  The dressing can be used immediately.  (Store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  Shake to blend again before using.)

Lemon Zest Salt
Makes 2 Tablespoons

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, preferably organic
1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Directions:
Combine the lemon zest and salt in a spice grinder, and grind to a fine powder.  Transfer to a small jar and close with a lid.  (Store, sealed in the jar, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  After that, the lemon flavor will begin to fade)


More of this week's stories


Cool Down with Refreshing Summer Beverages

Cool Down with Refreshing Summer Beverages

Cold, refreshing beverages are a key component of any summer get-together. Our friends at Eight O'Clock Coffee have compiled a lit of summer beverage tips (and a bonus dessert tip) sure to keep you and your guests cool at your ...

Read more »

A Duo of Summer Crumbles from Jennifer Perillo

A Duo of Summer Crumbles from Jennifer Perillo

Nothing says summer more than a heaping bowl of fruit cobbler, crisp or crumble topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's like a little slice of heaven in bowl, and a sure hit for any summer dinner party. ...

Read more »

Summer Entertaining Issue!

Welcome back to Macaroni Kid EATS! I hope everyone's been having a fantastic summer and that you've been finding some innovative ways to stay cool (if you have any tips, please do pass them along because it's been brutally hot ...

Read more »

From a Jar:  Williams-Sonoma Braising Sauce

From a Jar: Williams-Sonoma Braising Sauce

My 3-year-old daughter Sadie may not be keen on veggies, but she sure does like her chicken. From nuggets (organic, of course -no need to phone Jamie Oliver) to drumsticks (she calls them "bone chicken") to cutlets and more, Sadie ...

Read more »

Summer Appetizers & Cocktails from Loews Hotels

No summer soiree would be complete without an array of tasty appetizers and refreshing cocktails. Nobody knows this better than the folks at Loews Hotels, who have put together a Summer of Loews promotion featuring special menus that capture all ...

Read more »

Serena Norr's Summer Soups

Serena Norr's Summer Soups

Special thanks to my dear friend and stellar food writer Serena Norr for contributing these delicious recipes for chilled summer soups. Serena has an entire website devoted to soup recipes. If you're a soup lover like I am, you must ...

Read more »

Flash-Grilled Skirt Steak in Tortillas

Flash-Grilled Skirt Steak in Tortillas

Colonial Williamsburg may be one of America's oldest and most historic spots, but Executive Chef Rhys Lewis of the Williamsburg Lodge has brought the area's culinary scene squarely into modern times with his innovative cooking. In the Lodge Restaurant's open ...

Read more »

In Season:  Zucchini

In Season: Zucchini

Take a peek into any summer garden and you're bound to find an abundance of zucchini and other summer squash. This versatile veggie is perfect for family meals, as it can really be incorporated into anything. I grate zucchini and ...

Read more »