July 6, 2010

Summer Salad Suppers

We've been enjoying some fantastic salads this summer and I thought I'd share the pictures and recipes with my cooking-minded family and friends. One of our favorite natural grocery stores in Colorado served a three-salad plate, and that was a frequent treat for our Saturday lunch. They always had such interesting salad choices, many grain or rice based, and many vegetarian. I decided to get out some of our vegetarian style cookbooks and make those kinds of salads this summer - but I do admit that we will sometimes add some grilled chicken or shrimp to these salads! If they seem complicated at first glance, hang in there because it's worth a couple of extra steps! Under these pictures, I put a link to the recipe on the recipe page for each salad.

This is the Watermelon Salad that we had in Hawaii last year. It's from a well known restaurant, and even though I don't have their recipe, we made a list of the ingredients and got as close as we could. We love this, and even though it takes people by surprise, they have all enjoyed it.

This Pear Salad has been one of our daughter's favorite salads for some time now. We tried it out for the first time a number of years ago on some died-in-the-wool Mainers and they loved it! This photo shows the addition of fresh black raspberries, which we don't always have available, but it's a wonderful compliment if you have them. In the fall, we especially like this salad with ripe red pears - mmmmm...

This a Greek Pasta Salad that follows a basic recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook, and I made several changes and additions. Along with The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, these are two of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks. Each one is so inventive and each has excellent "from scratch" recipes. In this Greek salad, I used the olives as garnish on top, but the rich olive taste will permeate the salad more if you mix them in and let it sit for a while. With the pasta and chickpea combination, this is hearty and satisfying on it's own, but would be a good side dish as well. This is made to be served with feta cheese, which I passed separately to suit each person's preference.

Finally is this Fruited Rice and Lentil Salad with chicken. It too was inspired by a recipe in Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook. Of course, their recipe does not call for chicken! This has a fantastic dressing that pulls together the flavors of the rice and lentils with the fruit and chicken in a great way. Served with some French bread and a glass of Chardonnay, this is a complete meal and would be so easy for a sophisticated picnic!

Hope you're enjoying your summer and all the fresh fruit and veggies available!

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