Friday, June 6, 2014

Challenge #22: Weekly Salads

This week's challenge is actually going to be an on-going one, at least through the summer if not longer.  At this little place here we decided we needed to expand our salad repertoire beyond potato salad and the typical green salad of lettuce-spinach-celery-carrots.  So, we have challenged ourselves to eat salad at least once a week, and not to eat the same salad recipe two weeks in a row.  Which means there has been a whole lot of looking through the salad sections of my cookbooks.  Who knew there were so many yummy ways to make salad?

I've got a list of new salad recipes to try.  Now I'm challenging you to do the same.

For the next several months, eat at least one salad a week; preferably a salad you don't usually eat, and you can't use the same recipe two weeks in a row.

So far I have gotten the family to eat two new side salads: a yummy broccoli and bacon salad, and a surprisingly well received asparagus black bean salad.  Last night we had grilled chicken caesar salad, and will most likely have a tuna salad sometime over the weekend.  I'm dying for a nice ripe local tomato (versus the ones from the store that taste like cardboard no matter how long you let them sit on the counter to 'ripen'--I refuse to spend money on those anymore) so that I can make our favorite macaroni salad recipe, but it will probably be late July before that happens.

Salads can be main dish, side dish, dessert (remember jello salad, which I personally hate but many people love), or even a snack.  Grapes were on sale at the store this week, so we bought some and DD1 made a grape salad (grapes, vanilla yogurt, walnuts, pretzel pieces) and we've been using that as a snack.

To get you started on your salad quest, here is the recipe for the asparagus black bean salad I made earlier in the week:

Asparagus and Black Bean Salad (adapted from Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Cookbook)
makes about six 1/2 cup servings

  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1" pieces and cooked (I steamed mine)
  • about 2.5 cups cooked black beans (original recipe calls for one 16 oz can, but I rarely buy canned beans so I guesstimated, plus we like black beans)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" pieces (I bought the largest one I could find at the store--they were priced per pepper not per pound--and only used 1/2 of it for this recipe)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion (original recipe called for 1 Tbsp, but we like onions!)
  • Cilantro Dressing (see below for recipe)
Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to let flavors blend.  Serve cold.

Cilantro Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro (or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh, but I don't have fresh yet--just last week seeded it in the garden)
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced and crushed

small bowl of asparagus black bean salad
(the leftovers, lol that were my lunch on Thursday)

This salad is super quick and easy to make.  Everyone at this little place here liked it, even DH had two helpings despite his assertion that it needed more vinegar. He loves vinegar, I don't really care for an overwhelming vinegar taste, so as far as I'm concerned the recipe stands as printed above.  It is definitely a salad I will make again.

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