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These salads are hearty dishes

By Jennifer Stein Barker

Issue #43 • January/February, 1997

When most people think of a salad, they first think of lettuce or fruit, but a salad may also be made of vegetables or fruit, combined with other foods like meat or grains, dressed with a savory sauce, and served cold.

These hearty carbohydrate-based salads will complement a meal that might otherwise be light on protein. They make good dishes to take to potlucks (where you never know if everyone else will bring snacks and desserts). They also make a great lunchbox addition when packaged in a small container and tucked in with a fork and napkin.

Curried rice salad

Cook the rice any time and stick it in the fridge. Then make this salad ahead for a carefree meal. This serves four as a main dish.

Curried rice salad

1-¾ cups raw brown rice
1/3 cup finely diced dried apricots
½ cup raw cashews, toasted
2 cups bok choi, sliced
½ cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup yogurt
2½ teaspoons curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
Pinch cayenne pepper
To toast cashews, spread the nuts on a pie plate or cookie sheet. Toast in a preheated 350° oven for 5-10 minutes, until lightly golden.

Cook the rice with 3½ cups water for 45 minutes. Do not stir. When the rice is done, cool in the refrigerator until well-chilled before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.

Put the apricots, cashews, and greens in a large bowl with the rice. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and pour over the rice in the large bowl. Toss all well to combine. Chill at least two hours before serving. This keeps well for two or three days.

For an elegant presentation, save out the prettiest bok choi leaves, and use a higher proportion of stems in the salad. Dress the leaves lightly with oil and vinegar, and arrange them on a shallow dish or platter with the rice salad on top of them.

Black-eyed peas with mustard dressing

A simple bean salad. Serve with lots of home-made bread.

Black-eyed peas with mustard dressing

1-½ cups uncooked black-eyed peas
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 cup sliced celery stalk
Sliced olives for garnish (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the black-eyed peas in plenty of boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Put the warm peas to soak in the dressing for 30 minutes, then add the green onions and sliced celery. Chill well. Serve on a bed of lettuce, garnished with sliced olives.

Ranch potato salad

A hearty western-style potato salad. Serves six as a side dish.

Ranch potato salad

2 lbs. waxy potatoes
1/3 cup diced cucumber
1/3 cup diced celery
¼ cup coarsely grated carrot
¼ cup sliced black olives
A few olives for garnish
¾ cup creamy herb dressing (the recipe is below)
Scrub the potatoes, and peel if desired. (I leave the peel on for more flavor.) Steam them in a steamer basket, or boil if preferred, until tender. Chill the potatoes thoroughly before combining with other ingredients. Prepare the creamy herb dressing, using two cloves of garlic. Combine the potatoes, cucumber, celery, carrot, olives, and ¾ cup dressing in a bowl. Toss to coat ingredients with dressing. Taste, and adjust amount of dressing or add salt if desired.

Creamy herb dressing

A homemade version of the thick buttermilk-and-herb dressing that is far better than store-bought. This recipe makes one cup of dressing.

Creamy herb dressing

½ cup yogurt
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon honey
1 or 2 cloves garlic (to taste), pressed
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or lemon thyme
(If you don't have fresh herbs, use approximately ¾ teaspoon dry herb for each kind.)
In a small bowl or 2-cup measure, whisk all ingredients together until well-blended. Transfer to a glass jar for storage. Chill at least an hour before using.

Oriental bulgur salad

This quick and delicious salad is a standard around our house for taking to potlucks. Use tender young bok choi or mild mustard greens. Serves four as a main dish.

Oriental bulgur salad

2 cups bulgur wheat
2 cups sliced bok choi or greens
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced thin
½ cup cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ginger root, minced finely
¼ cup dark sesame oil
¼ cup tamari
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon Tabasco
Toasted cashews as garnish
In a large bowl, cover the bulgur with boiling water and let soak 20 minutes. Taste, and if it has soaked up all the water and is still not tender, add a little more boiling water and let soak until tender. If the water will not all soak in, but remains on the bottom of the bowl, you will have to drain the bulgur in a sieve. Let cool to room temperature.

Dice the leafy part of the greens into coarse pieces, and slice the tender parts of the stems finely. Put the greens in the bowl with the bulgur. Prepare the garlic, green onions, cilantro leaves, and ginger root, and add them to the bowl.

Sauce:Combine the sesame oil, tamari, balsamic vinegar, honey, and Tabasco. Whisk well, and pour it over the bulgur and vegetables. Stir to combine thoroughly. Chill before serving.

Read More by Jennifer Stein Barker

Read More Food & Recipes Articles

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