Salad Daze

60 New Ways to Turn Salad into Dinner

When my daughter Sarah leafed through Mighty Salads she immediately said, “Mom wants to make every recipe except the ones with mayonnaise.”  That about sums it up.  It was a salad extravaganza.


This is one of a line of cookbooks from the editors of Food52.  They use the best of their own recipes as well as those from their online community.  More heads = more inspiration.  I like salads that are salty/sweet/tangy/crispy/crunchy/chewy all at once, and they can be a meal.  Sometimes I am a little sheepish about how heavy my salad container is.  Diet food, not, but healthy food, definitely yes.  


Halibut Escabeche Taco Salad was fish with a lime, avocado and cabbage slaw, topped with crispy tortilla strips and a spicy crema.  With this technique the fish is seared and then rests in a vinegary liquid for at least 8 hours.  Or is supposed to.  This is where I tell you to read the recipe the whole way through before starting.  I started this dish a few hours before we planned to eat it, so maybe my fish was escabeche light?  We found it too acidic.  And my tortillas were greasy.  My suggestion – follow the recipe, go easy on the dressing and buy tortilla chips.  Or skip it.


Mushroom & Mixed Grains Salad with Carrot-Harissa Vinaigrette had great earthy flavour.  Farro is tossed with sautéed mushrooms and Swiss chard, shreds of ricotta salata and toasted almonds.  The vinaigrette was a winner even though we substituted orange juice for carrot juice.


Chard Salad with Garlic Breadcrumbs & Parmesan had ribbons of raw Swiss chard holding their own with Parmesan, crispy breadcrumbs, toasted almonds and pieces of salty bresaola (air dried beef) in a lemony dressing.  It was a riff on a Caesar and that flavour really came through.  My son Bram said it was good, for a salad, but that was a compliment because he doesn’t like salads.  


Charred Broccoli & Lentil Salad may be my favourite.  Lentils were folded into a smoky-sweet tahini dressing, mixed with raw carrot and lightly charred broccoli pieces and feta.  Different and I loved it.


Roasted Chickpea Salad with Za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend) was another good one.  Chickpeas were roasted in the oven with olive oil, lemon and za’atar and then folded into a lightly sautéed mixture of shredded cabbage, fennel and carrot and fresh mint.    


I couldn’t resist the mayo-free Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Walnut Vinaigrette.  Warm roasted potatoes soaked up a garlicky mustardy lemony vinaigrette, accented with fresh scallions and crunchy walnuts, and served on greens with poached eggs on top.  Loved this one too.  


I didn’t make ALL the recipes.  There are still lots left to try, and I will.  Anything that inspires you to eat more vegetables has to be a good thing, right?  


Naomi Bussin is a lawyer, mother of three and accomplished cook. Food is her favourite subject and she reads cookbooks in her spare time.


Categories: Book Review, Food & Nutrition