Salad Days

When warm weather comes calling, few of us get the desire to turn on the oven and spend hours in the kitchen. However, these are the days that call out for salads. Whether they are a main course or something to be enjoyed alongside a simple meal – made on the grill, perhaps – salads can make a summer meal special.

At no other time during the year are the options of fresh ingredients so varied and so perfect. A fantastic salad in winter is a true masterpiece … one in summer simply falls together from the farmers’ market!

In the spirit of the garden’s bounty that is so plentiful this and the next few months, here is a small selection of recipes to enjoy with nature’s finest!

Gourmet Tossed Green Salad

  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small cauliflower, separated into tiny flowerets
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Toss lettuce, mushrooms, cauliflower, onion, green pepper, olives and cheese. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, toss with Classic French Dressing.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 8-10 minutes, plus chilling time

Classic French Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, vegetable oil or a combination
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)

Toss together the oil, vinegar, salt, garlic, ketchup and salad dressing all together. Add to a salad and toss the salad with two folks.

  • Yields: about 1/3 cup
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Winter Fruit Salad

  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chucks in natural juices
  • 1 package (3-1/8 ounces) cook and serve vanilla pudding
  • 1 quart mixed fresh fruit chucks (apple, bananas, oranges, pears, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut
  • Whipped topping, optional

Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice. Set the pineapple aside.

In a saucepan, combine the pineapple juice and pudding mix; Cook over medium heat until thickened. Cool.

Combine the pineapple, other fruit, nuts and coconut in a large salad bowl; add the dressing and stir to coat. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with whipped topping if desired.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time

Mint Fruit Salad

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoon orange, pineapple or grapefruit juice
  • 2 cups pineapple spears, Strawberries, apple wedges, pear slices, blueberries or melon balls
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Mint leaves

Heat the water and sugar to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour the sugar syrup on the chopped mint; refrigerate for 1 hour.

Strain the mint mixture, discarding the leaves; stir in the fruit juice. Pour the mint sauce on the prepared fruit. Spoon the fruit and sauce onto lettuce leaves. Garnish with mint leaves.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time