A friend of mine told me the other day that this was the time of year when she could have salad for dinner every night.
Between farmers markets and her garden, there’s just an abundance of fresh foods out there these days.
Both of us were planning to have salad for supper that night and after work headed to a local farmers market in search of something to round out the meal.
She found a loaf of bread laced with kalamata olives and I found pretzel croissants, and just like that, we both knew that dinner easily would be on the table that night.
When I was growing up, we did have salad for dinner every night — it was on the table just as surely as the plates and forks.
Usually it was a pretty simple mix of iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion, dressed with oil and lemon juice. Sometimes it was fancied up with beets, eggs or olives, and the lemon was replaced with red wine or apple cider vinegar.
I assumed that everyone ate salad as regularly as we did. Turns out I was raised by a pair of veggie lovers, who felt their dinner wasn’t complete without some form of dressed greens.
This wasn’t the case with my husband’s family, who rarely had salads with their meals. They still aren’t big salad eaters, but my husband makes up for the rest of them.
He wants salad every night, even when I haven’t planned on it. When we were dating there were times when his refrigerator was bachelor bare, but there always seemed to be lettuce in there, so he was never totally without something for supper.
I think I could feed him grilled chicken salad three nights in a row and he wouldn’t complain. It’s one of his favorite meals.
Grilled chicken salad is great for using up leftover chicken from cookouts. The chicken can be cold, room temperature or warm when serving. I like it best at room temperature, so I typically will grill the chicken ahead of time, store it in the refrigerator, and then take it out about half an hour before eating.
Here’s the recipe as well as one for a white bean salad. Leave out the bacon to make it vegetarian friendly, or try it with some canned tuna fish flaked over the top for a change.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled
6 cups mixed salad greens or combination of favorite lettuces
1 cup fresh mixed berries, such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries (see note)
⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese, any variety
⅓ cup pecans or walnuts
2 tbsp. red onion, chopped or slivered
Salt and pepper, to taste
Arrange the salad greens on two plates. Divide the berries, cheese, nuts and onions between the two plates. Drizzle salads with the oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper, all to taste. Top each with a grilled chicken breast.
Makes 2 servings.
Note: In the fall and winter, substitute a combination of sliced Bosc pears and dried cranberries for the fresh berries. If you prefer, use a prepared balsamic vinaigrette instead of the balsamic vinegar and oil.
— Lisa Abraham
SAVORY WHITE BEAN SALAD
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. chopped fresh savory
19 oz. can white kidney or navy beans, drained and rinsed
14½ oz. can diced tomatoes, drained with ½ cup of liquid reserved
2 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
8 to 12 cups mixed salad greens
In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Stir in beans and savory. Mix in tomatoes and reserved juice. Cook and stir over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and mix in bacon bits. Arrange salad greens on 4 plates; top with bean mixture. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Makes 4 servings.
Editor’s note: For a change-up, try this salad without the bacon. Cool the bean mixture before putting it on top of the salad greens and top with flaked canned tuna fish.
— Adapted from The Beauty of Herbs, by Jessica Dorfsmith