APPETIZERS/ MAINS/ SIDES

What to Make Right Now: A Salad Round Up

Hello and welcome! In an email newsletter earlier this week, I rounded up several of the salad recipes we have featured on Djalali Cooks over the last year. It got me thinking that while certain salads feel more appropriate at certain times of the year, we can actually enjoy most salads any time of year with simple swaps, substituting frozen for fresh, or roasting the veg. Let’s revisit salad recipes that are just as great now as they are in spring and summer. It’s a Salad Round Up, today on Djalali Cooks.

Antipasto Salad

Antipasto salad is great any time of the year. I first saw this recipe on Bon Appétit as a summer salad that called for fresh basil. I went to two different grocery stores on two different islands and there was no basil to be found! So I have swapped the basil for fresh flat leaf parsley, and I think it works out just fine. I also mixed things up a bit by using two different kinds of salami; one spicy and one mild.

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Carrot and Feta Salad

I featured this salad as part of a surf and turf Valentine’s Day dinner. It’s so simple, dressed in a tangy/sweet orange juice dressing; with great texture and color from purple and orange carrot ribbons, creamy feta and crunchy roasted pistachios.

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Asparagus Salad with Eggs

This Italian salad features spring asparagus, but since we steam the fresh asparagus and then plunge the lightly steamed asparagus into an ice bath, I think it can work perfectly well with off season asparagus. In the US, we can typically find asparagus year-round, though its peak season is April. While the salad is served cold, the tender steamed asparagus with the hard boiled eggs is a wonderful vegetable side.

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Easy Chicken Salad For Two

I often make up a quick chicken salad with chicken leftovers, even if it’s only enough for one or two sandwiches. It’s just such an easy way to give the leftover chicken a new lease on life. And by this point of chicken leftovers, I am ready for something different. I don’t know about you, but I usually have a little bit of many things leftover in the fridge; like just a few pepperoncini peppers left in a jar, or a single scallion; how about two sad little celery ribs, unused fennel fronds, anyone? A little chicken salad is the perfect way to use up these small bits of leftovers.

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Apple Fennel Salad

The apple fennel salad is also very simple. It’s a light and crunchy salad; the sweetness from the apples and the anise-flavored freshness of the fennel blend perfectly with the bright tang of lemon and apple cider vinegar. It really is a nice compliment to any meat dish you might be serving. I originally featured this recipe with stuffed pork tenderloin, and it would be great with a beef roast like brisket, or a roast chicken.

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Esquites – Mexican Street Corn Salad

It’s hard to beat the impressive presentation of Elotes, the Mexican Street Corn dipped in a creamy sauce of mayonnaise, Cotija cheese and lime, flecked with red chili powder. But Esquites takes all the street corn flavors and tosses them in a bowl, with charred corn-off-the-cob. For this recipe, we char the cut corn kernels in a pan on the stovetop, so go ahead and thaw a bag of frozen corn for Esquites! There is no reason not to enjoy this salad along side tacos or enchiladas all winter long!

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Panzanella Salad with Ricotta

This quintessential summer salad makes the Salad Round Up because, hear me out: we think of this as summer’s last indulgence – the ripest, juiciest tomatoes and fresh basil. And we’re not wrong, but if you’re square in the midst of winter doldrums, this salad can be a great pick me up. When tomatoes at the supermarket are less than appealing, consider going for cherry or grape tomatoes, which are usually better in winter than their full size cousins. Also, maybe give those cherry tomatoes a little roasting in the oven to bring our their sweetness. It’s a little different without fresh juicy tomatoes, but juicy roasted tomatoes bring a whole other flavor profile to this salad.

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German Potato Salad

This appeared as a perfect cookout side dish, which it totally is. But it’s also great now. It’s served warm or at room temperature and since potatoes are on the main stage in this salad, it’s a perfect side for any roast you might be making for your main. It’s as appropriate along side roast chicken, beef or pork as it is along side grilled sausages, burgers and barbecue.

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Cobb Salad

A salad of epic proportion; the Cobb Salad has bacon, rotisserie chicken, avocado, eggs, tomatoes and gorgonzola. Dressed in a simple red wine vinaigrette. We love a big salad at the Djalali House, sometimes it’s just for convenience. But other times, like this time, we are pulling out all the stops. A gorgeous main dish salad, this one might be at the top of my Salad Round up list!

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Don’t underestimate the satisfaction of a salad in winter. Our hearts might be set on warm, rich comfort food in the colder months, and salads might seem like an afterthought since they’re often served cold. But don’t let out of season veggies deter you from making a salad. Not only are the root vegetables there to roast, toast and shave, but frozen veggies are there for you too! Eat more salad! Take care and be well, everyone! xo Kelly

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  • Terry
    December 1, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Great post, your aunt and cousin are coming I am making all your recipes but there is one day I wasn’t sure of what to make. Thanks for the reminder of cobb salad. I planned Saturday as left over day but Cobb salad sounds better. Have a great Tuesday ???Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      December 1, 2021 at 11:56 am

      Sounds great, Mom! What a nice visit you will have; I am sure Grandma is excited! Talk soon, xo Kelly

  • Loya
    December 1, 2021 at 10:36 am

    These are some fantastic salad ideas for the winter months. I want to make the asparagus and egg salad tonight!
    I really enjoy your writing style as you present your cooking tips. I also enjoy you sharing your family and home with us readers.
    Wishing you a happy holiday season. Lovie

    • Kelly Djalali
      December 1, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Hello Loya, Thank you so much for tuning in! That asparagus salad is so good. A wonderful discovery that I am sure you will enjoy! Thanks so much for writing in today, it’s great to hear from you, xo Kelly

  • Mari
    December 1, 2021 at 10:39 am

    We all know I would eat salad at every meal if no one stopped me, so this salad round up is just the thing to brighten a cold almost winter day. The great thing about salads is that there really aren’t any limits to what you can do. They can be as light or as heavy as we like. There are so many pretty salads in today’s post and I would eat any and all of them, but preferably not at the same time. My mom made a really great German Potato Salad when I was growing up, and everyone loved it. My mother-in-law grew up in a German speaking home and she knew her potato salad. She made one that was different, but just as good. It’s one of my favorites, but no one can eat that every day. The other day you were talking about food memories and the emotional component of treasured family recipes, and I think that’s why no one can recreate my mother-in- law’s wonderful cooking. We can come close but we can’t duplicate them. The Asparagus Salad and Cobb Salad both look gorgeous, and whenever I make your Panzanella Salad, I always make extra so I can top the leftovers with a soft egg for a late breakfast the next day. That was your suggestion and a really good one. I remember that when we moved to the Twin Cities, there was a highly rated German family type restaurant about twenty minutes from our house. I was so excited to go there, and I ordered the German potato Salad, and was shocked when I tasted it. It was the same dreadful one that you can buy canned at a grocery store. I asked the waitress, and she smiled and said it was out of a can. We never went back there again! If my husband were still able to eat solid foods, he would love your German Potato Salad. Happy Wednesday to Kelly, Alex, Terry and salad lovers everywhere. ???

    • Kelly Djalali
      December 1, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      Hello Mari, Once a German reader told me about how she had never heard of my “German” potato salad, and that regions in Germany have their own preparations of potato salads. Which makes perfect sense to me, since we have different takes on the same thing depending on where you are in the US. I figured that what we know in America as “German” potato salad is just a generic name given to a warm potato salad without mayonnaise. When we were in Austria, we had potato salad and I wish I had taken notes, because I’d like to recreate, but I have no clear recollection of what exactly was in it, just the memory of how good it was. Oh well… Have a wonderful Wednesday! xo Kelly

  • Sandra
    December 1, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    Hi Kelly
    Thank you SO MUCH for the Southwest Black Bean Burger recipe!
    I will attempt it because it looks really tasty.
    As for today though, I’m going to use your Cobb Salad recipe – all I have to get is the gorgonzola and the chicken. Since I am buying the rotisserie chicken already done, I will be sure not to be completely short-cutty and buy a gorgonzola block, not pre-crumbled.
    Cobb Salad on an 83^ degree day works for me!
    And then…this weekend…Southwest BBB’s!
    Thank you again Kelly for helping me out. I do appreciate it.
    Take care
    Sandra

    • Kelly Djalali
      December 1, 2021 at 4:25 pm

      Hi Sandra, you’re so welcome! The Cobb salad is a great choice for today. Be sure to take a moment to let me know how the bean burgers go for you. Have a great day! xo Kelly