July 15, 2013

Dinner-size salad


On a hot night when I don't feel like cooking, a salad for supper is very appealing. The ingredients are flexible — I can add whatever I happen to have in the refrigerator. Salad greens (or other greens like kale or cabbage) are usually on my ingredient list for the base, but the night this salad was made, our fridge was sadly lacking in green things. A quick trip to Whole Foods for a box of salad mix solved the problem, and I was able to use up pantry items for the remaining ingredients.

In addition to the salad mix, the bowl contained four shredded carrots. a cucumber thinly sliced on the diagonal, halved grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and toasted chickpeas. Because the salad mix contained so many different greens like spinach, chard, frisse, romaine, red and green leaf lettuce, etc., it seemed much more complex than you'd think with the few extras I added.


The chickpeas were from a can — rinsed and drained well. They were toasted in a hot wok in a small amount of olive oil until they began to develop dark spots. The heat was turned off and the chickpeas were tossed with a good sprinkle of smoked Spanish paprika, a grind of pink salt (from Costco) and about a teaspoon of liquid smoke.

The dressing was made from tahini and umeboshi plum paste, similar to this one, but without lemon and sweetener, and with the addition of several finely shredded basil leaves from my garden. (I don't measure the ingredients when I make the dressing so I'm not sure exactly how much I made. Probably more than in the recipe.) It was a LOT of salad but we ate it all, and it was exactly the refreshing, yet filling, dinner I was craving. I meant to sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds, but that will have to wait until next time. Do you ever have "just a salad" for supper? What are your favorite ingredients?

35 comments:

  1. Those toasted chickpeas sound delicious! I love a good dinner salad, especially in the summer.

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    1. I have to say that the chickpeas really made the salad special. I like have a warm item in an otherwise cold dish — makes it more interesting.

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  2. Oh, yes, we have salads for dinner often. I love to have bunches of topping to appeal to the younger set at home. I have been craving salads for some time, but for some reason, I haven't bought any of the goods for them. Must change that.

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    1. In California you have access to the best salad ingredients year round. I love the farmers markets there but they always make me jealous. Last time I was in the Bay area I saw an unfamiliar avocado — I couldn't even recognize it as an avocado! So many choices ...

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  3. Absolutely! I love salad for dinner. It's something we opt for several times a week, especially this time of year. I love the way that you toast your chickpeas! I always use the oven and roast them, but it would be nice to have a hot weather alternative. I'll give that a shot!

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    1. Roasted chickpeas are great, but toasting them in a wok is so easy, and it doesn't heat up the house. Plus, I like to add flavors and toss, and it's easier to do that when I use the wok.

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  4. Gorgeous salad! Yes, we have salad as the main dish every night (a la Joel Fuhrman). We like romaine lettuce or spinach with avocado, cut up oranges or tomatoes, pecans or sunflower seeds, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

    On other nights, we have denser salads served on lettuce, like pea salad, Waldorf, etc.

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    1. Thanks! I love sunflower seeds in salads but I always seem to forget about them. I'll have to move them to the front of the pantry shelf so I see them as I'm reaching for the pumpkin seeds.

      We had a salad last night that contained raw peas — very interesting addition.

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  5. i love fun, complex salads, those chick peas sound amazing!

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    1. I love chickpeas — I have to remember to eat other kinds of beans. They're so perfect in salads, though.

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  6. I've been craving salads a lot lately. This heat is wicked!

    Love chickpeas in salads, too. They're such a great addition. My other favorite ingredients are edamame & raw sunflower seeds.

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    1. We're in Wisconsin this week and it's a lot hotter here, but not nearly as bad as last year when it was 104. Salads are very appealing in the heat.

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  7. This is pretty much the only thing I ever eat for dinner. Love roasted chickpeas but I never really think to add them to salads. Fancy footwork with the cucumber there!
    Pumpkin seeds would have been wonderful. Usually I like to add sunflower seeds and avocado. Pea shoots are great when in season too, and I used to like throwing in raw corn.
    Ugh! So perfect!

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    1. I like my cucumbers sliced thin and pretty. :) I think I may have eaten too many avocados in the recent past because lately I've been avoiding them, but they are so good in salads. I'll have to try adding raw corn, though usually it's leftover cooked corn that gets added.

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  8. yum! I love Giant Salad (that's what we call it). We have GS for dinner twice a week, on the nights when I work late. I love the idea of making the chickpeas a little more special by panfrying them with some flavor crystals! It always makes a salad more special and more satisfying if there is a little cooked element in there. :)

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    1. Maybe I'll start planning regular giant salad nights and see how many different ways I can make a salad. There are so many possibilities! And I agree with you that one cooked item really enlivens the whole dish.

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  9. That salad looks perfect for a hot day! With all of those extra goodies in there, it's definitely more than just a "salad". :-)

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    1. Salad comes in handy when you get tired of popsicles. :)

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  10. I've been doing an end-of-the-week fridge clean-out salad on Fridays and it's a great way to finish up your produce without ever having the same thing twice. It also gives you incentive to leave leftovers throughout the week ;-)

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    1. Great idea. I hate throwing food away.

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  11. I have "just" a salad for dinner just about every single night! And for sure every single night in the summer. Right now it is 93 and super humid and sticky and gross out, and since I don't have AC, salad for dinner always sounds great :-) Last nights was kale, tomatoes, red bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms, jicama, and zucchini. Tonight I am going to use romaine as a base instead of kale. I love my salad dinners because every single one is different!

    Courtney

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    1. We're in Wisconsin right now (flew this year and went through Detroit, not Minneapolis) and you are describing our weather exactly. And no AC here, either. Your salad sounds delicious. I especially like romaine because it's so crisp and juicy. Maybe juicy isn't the right word, but you know what I mean.

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    2. I do know what you mean--that "crunch" is exactly why romaine is one of my favorite lettuces. Is it weird that I have multiple favorite lettuces?! Oh well. It is odd, I have never thought of my dinner salads as "just" a salad before your post since there are so many variations you can make. You can seriously have a different salad every single night if you want to!

      I am sorry you are suffering in this heat without AC too! It is miserable, isn't it? I hope that it cools off soon! Until it does, I see lots of huge dinner salads in your future... ;-) I hope you enjoy your time in WI!!

      Courtney

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  12. When the weather's really hot, eating anything more than a salad seems more effort than it's worth. It's always something with roasted pumpkin seeds and some kind of beans or chick peas in there. I'm trying the dressing next time round!

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    1. When it's really hot I just toss the pumpkin seeds in raw. The dressing is my favorite — just mix little umeboshi paste into tahini and add water until it's the right consistency. The umeboshi is really salty so start with a little — you can always add more to get a taste you like.

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  13. Mmm, this salad looks wicked awesome! I love the time saving trick of getting a mix at the store. Adding the chickpeas pulls it all together.

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    1. I'm willing to pay extra for the salad greens mixes because they have so many ingredients and make throwing a salad together so easy. Sometimes it's just too hot or I'm too tired to wash and sort all the greens separately — if I can even find them all.

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  14. Salads are a must in this steaminess. No cook--plus they are constantly changing depending on what I have.

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    1. Yay for ease and variety. I remember the Philly steaminess — it was intense.

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  15. I have a big salad for dinner about 5xs a week! I use lots of leafy greens and whatever herb i have at the moment, tonight had raw: corn, fennel, cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, about a half serving of leftover brown rice, dry roasted edamame, sunflower seeds and a simple basalmic dressing.
    My formula is greens + raw veggies +cooked grain+ protein +crunchy bits, really satisfying and filling without leaving me hungry in an hour (like crummy restaurant salads can!)
    Your dressing sounds so good! Would love if you measured and posted the recipe...:)
    Ttrockwood

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    1. Your formula for great salads sounds ideal. If I have leftover grains I add them but I don't miss them when i don't. Just as long as all the other parts are there!

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  16. The big ol' dinner salad is one of my favorites, especially during the summer when we have a huge variety of produce! Mine always have some sort of bean, a fruit (my favorite lately is nectarine), then a collection of whatever else we have in stock. Oh, and some noochy roasted sweet potatoes are always good too! :-)

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    1. Great idea to add roasted sweets. I think I eat all the nectarines before they can ever make it into a salad!

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