July 28, 2011 at 8:33 a.m.

Refreshing salads to beat the heat

Refreshing salads to beat the heat
Refreshing salads to beat the heat

What to do about recipes for today's column. It didn't take very long to figure it out. It's been hot, right? And downright steamy in fact...which leads me to salads. When I was growing up, a vegetable salad was made using iceberg or loose leaf lettuce. The loose leaf came from the garden in the spring and early summer when the ground was cool and the iceberg from the grocery store all year. And yes, of course, leaf lettuce can be found in the produce dept. all year. These days one can make a salad out of almost any kind of lettuce, veggie or fruit and that's what we're looking at today. A variety of salads.

We are hearing much about "green" these days. So, how about a refreshing...

AMBROSIA GREEN SALAD

5 c. greens (spinach, romaine, boston, etc.) torn into bite size pieces

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1/4 c. flaked coconut

1-11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained, chilled

1-8 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained, chilled

1/3 c. undiluted frozen orange juice, thawed

In a serving bowl, combine all ingredients, except o.j. When ready to serve, drizzle o.j. over salad and toss gently.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: If you wish, you can use a bottled fruit dressing such as a raspberry vinaigrette or a creamy poppy seed dressing. The raspberry dressing is delicious.

+++++

TORTELLINI, BROCCOLI AND BACON SALAD

1 pkg. cheese-filled tortellini (found in the dairy section)

2 c. broccoli flowerets

1 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half or 1 c. grape tomatoes

1 T. snipped fresh chives

1/2 c. coleslaw dressing

1/2 lb. bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled

2 T. sunflower nuts - optional

Cook and drain tortellini as directed on package. Rinse with cold water and drain.

Mix together tortellini and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Just before serving, stir in bacon. Sprinkle with nuts.

Makes 4-5 servings.

Note: If you wish, you can use chopped pecans as a garnish.

+++++

VEGETABLE PARMESAN TOSS

1 c. each, broccoli flowerets

2 c. cauliflowerets

1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

1 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing

3 T. grated Parmesan cheese

2 T. sugar

1/2 t. dried basil leaves

6 c. lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

1 c. onion-and-garlic flavored croutons

1/4 c. sliced almonds

5 strips bacon, cooked crisp, drained and crumbled

Combine broccoli, cauliflower and onion in large bowl. In a small bowl, combine next 4 ingredients; add to veggies. Toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Just before serving, add croutons and almonds, garnish with bacon.

Makes 10 (1 c.) servings.

+++++

TROPICAL FRUIT AND SPINACH SALAD

Candied Almonds (below)

4 c. bite-size pieces baby spinach leaves

1 c. sliced strawberries

1 large mango, peeled and sliced (12 slices)

2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced

1/2 c. creamy poppyseed dressing - recipe follows

Make candied almonds; set aside. Divide spinach among 4 plates. Arrange berries, mango and kiwi fruit on spinach. Sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with dressing.

Makes 4 servings.

CANDIED ALMONDS

1/4 c. slivered almonds, coarsely chopped

1T. + 1 t. sugar

Cook nuts and sugar in a small frying pan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is melted and nuts are coated and golden brown. Remove from pan quickly onto waxed paper, separating clumps with two forks. Cool completely.

+++++

CREAMY POPPY SEED DRESSING

3/4 c. mayo or salad dressing

1/3 c. sugar or honey

2 T. cider vinegar

2 t. poppy seed

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl with wire whisk. Store covered in refrigerator. Makes about 1 c. dressing.

Note: This is a very good dressing to serve over any type of fruit or greens.

TFD: The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star...unless you're into astronomy.

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