Salads are so darned versatile. They can be served in a sandwich, on the side or as the main meal. My 6 year old just correctly noted in her book about mom that her mom’s favorite food is salad. (which wasn’t nearly as funny as saying that what her dad likes to read is mail!) Here’s a few of my favorites and some tips to make them as simple as delicious.
1 . Olive Salad
Prep Time: 30 minutes, Cook time: 0 minutes
A great side salad or amazing on a ham sandwich – turns it into a New Orleans style muffaletta sandwich. Add some provolone and mozzarella cheese and some genoa salami to it and you’ll think you’re in the big easy.
– equal amounts large pimento stuffed green olives and pitted large Greek olives – chop into small pieces (for the sake of recipe, assume you use soup can sized quantity of each)
– 1 stalk celery, sliced diagonally and chopped small
– ¼ cup olive oil
– ½ jar cocktail onions, drained and chopped
– 1 T. capers
– 1 t. minced garlic
– 1 t. fresh ground pepper
– pepperocini to taste
Combine and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using.
Tip: I have a gourmet grocery near me that has one of those terrific olive bars. It has PITTED olives of different varieties as well as some combinations. I was able to use the pitted kalamatas and a green olive salad that contained the onion and celery. I then only had to add the capers, pepperocini, spices, and oil for that fab n’awlins taste.
2 . Green Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 0 minutes
So many people are carb conscious these days, you’d be surprised how fast what you consider an underwhelming salad goes. The interesting greens are all the rage but I think a mix is always best. And by the way, the standby icebery holds up better than the fancy ones for leftovers.
A salad is a great pantry cleaner. Use artichoke hearts or heats of palm, roasted red peppers, olives, garbanzo beans, black beans or corn as interesting additions to most salads (all canned!) Do something a little different with the carrots and cukes you already have in your fridge. Shred them. Speaking of shredded, shredded cheese or crumbled cheeses are simple yet substantial additions to any salad. Add some multi colored tomatoes and you have yourself quite a salad. My favorite dressing that is great for most salads-Paul Newmans olive oil vinaigrette.
3 . Creamy Cucumbers
Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 0 minutes
This little salad has an ingredient that will surprise everyone but you! The creamy texture comes from mayonnaise. My family used to make it with sour cream but then my good friend Gail suggested the mayo. It tastes just like my old recipe and the real benefit is that I always have mayo in my fridge. This is what summer tastes like to me!
2 English cucumbers – sliced (the long ones with minimal seeds)
¼ Vidalia or red onion – chopped fine
2 T. vinegar (I usually use cider because I always have it available)
2 T. mayo (or more if you like it really creamy)
salt and pepper to taste
NOTE: if you use regular cucumbers, they contain a lot more water so take the extra time to drain them for better flavor. To drain, chop up the cucumbers, sprinkle with salt, and then put something heavy on top to squeeze the water out. Wait about 4 hours. I usually use a slightly smaller bowl with water in it as the heavy item.
Want a shortcut with just a slightly different flavor? Use ranch dressing with the 2 T. of vinegar.
Cole slaw – I don’t care what anyone says, Kentucky Fried Chicken has the most universally loved cole slaw. Drive through one and BUY IT.