Salads don't have to be ho hum affairs made only with lettuce, bottled dressing, and a few token pieces of bland tomato. Salad can be the star of a meal and feature robust grains and starchy vegetables, in addition to meats, beans, eggs, and flavorful cheeses.
Roasting veggies for salads is the perfect cooking method as roasting intensifies the flavors. Who needs bland-tasting hothouse tomatoes in a salad when you can be creative with root cellar veggies and delicious combinations of spices, herbs, and vinegars. Try one of these beautiful and flavor-packed salads for lunch or dinner.
Farro Blueberry Salad
1 cup farro, soaked overnight, drained*
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups blueberries
1 small cucumber, diced small
1 stalk celery, diced small
1 small red onion, diced small
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped fine
¼ cup chopped parsley
3 tablespooons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Place farro in a large saucepan, add 3 cups water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Combine vegetables and cooked farro in a salad bowl.
- Whisk together the vinegar, oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add to farro mixture and toss gently.
*We recommend soaking farro overnight before cooking to reduce the phytic acid, which is prevalent in all grains.
Buckwheat, Tuna and Artichoke Salad
From Great Grains
1 cup kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cups water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon tarragon
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers or green olives, sliced
¼ teaspoon pepper 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained
¼ pound mushrooms, sliced
1-7 oz can water packed tuna, drained and flaked
- In a medium sauce pan, bring the 2 cups of water and ½ teaspoon of salt to a boil. Pour in the buckwheat, stirring to separate the grains, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes until water is absorbed and the grains are tender. Place in a large serving bowl and cool.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking together the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, tarragon, onions, capers, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and tuna to the buckwheat. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until coated.
Lentil Salad with Bacon
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 cup brown lentils
2 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
6 cups arugula or baby lettuce
- Bring lentils and water to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook until lentils are tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
- Add onion and carrots to bacon fat in skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, 15 minutes. Add garlic, and cook another 2 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, Dijon, oil, salt, and pepper.
- Combine lettuce and 1/3 of the dressing in another bowl; toss to coat. Add lentils, onion mixture, tomatoes, and bacon to bowl with remaining dressing; toss to coat. To serve, divide lettuce among salad plates and top with lentil salad.
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
2 carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick on the diagonal
1 pint Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
12 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea salt and pepper
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon apple cider
1 small head red leaf lettuce or Boston lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (1 ounce)
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots, Brussels sprouts, garlic, and onion with 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender and browned, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing once.
- In a serving bowl, whisk together vinegar, cider, and remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Add lettuce, and toss. Top with roasted vegetables, goat cheese and pine nuts.
The Easiest Bean & Grain Salad on the Planet
by Mark Bittman
Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, diced small
Salt and black pepper
4 cups cooked or canned beans, drained, or cooked grains, or a combination
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Whisk together in a large bowl the lemon juice, oil, onion, salt and pepper. Add the beans, grains, and vegetables and toss until coated. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Grain suggestions: long-grain brown rice, barley, farro, quinoa, kasha, cracked wheat
Bean suggestions: black-eyed peas, black beans, lentils, pinto beans, red beans, kidney beans
Optional additions: chopped, roasted red pepper, edamames, artichoke hearts, toasted nuts
Instead of lemon juice: white balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar
More Salad Topper Ideas
- sliced meat
- roasted red peppers
- maple glazed nuts
- toasted sunflower seeds
- dried cranberries
- cubed, smoked cheese
- pomegranate seeds
- chopped prosciutto or ham
- roasted garlic cloves
- a dollop of hummus
- cubed smoked tofu