July 29, 2009

Salad Bar

Last night I came up with a super-quick and easy dinner. I call it "Salad Bar." It was a big hit with my husband, so we'll be incorporating this one into the standbys, especially during the summer.

When you want a light meal and prefer not to turn on the oven, try this. The best part is that it's ready in less than 10 minutes. I wish I would have thought to take a photo of it all laid out because it also makes a nice presentation. But I didn't even think about it for a blog post until AFTER it was such a success.

I had a really fresh head of red-leaf butter lettuce from our CSA, which I washed and "spinned" and tore up and placed in pretty salad bowls. Then I put several "toppings" in various little serving bowls: cherry tomatoes from our plants, sliced red onion, chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, slivered basil, crumbled feta, gorgonzola, capers, and chopped olives. The freshly roasted beets were just for me. You can get creative here and use whatever you have in the house.

I placed all the little bowls with a couple of salad dressing choices on our table, and voila! A delicious summer meal. I think I'm lucky to have a husband who considers that a meal like I do. It's a great option when you've had a big lunch or date shakes in the middle of the day, like we did.

What are your favorite light summer meals? We'd all love to hear about easy choices, especially ones that don't require turning on the oven. Please leave your ideas and suggestions in the Comments section.


cherie said...

This sounds great! I do this, but with sandwiches, especially when I have my nieces and little cousin over- much easier than writing down 6 different sandwich preferences.

Could you share your recipe for roasted beets? I just bought some fresh beets but don't know what to do with them.
Thank you!!!
Great blog!

Angela said...

Cherie- Roasted beets couldn't be easier! I put them in a 400 degree oven, covered and with a little water at the bottom for about 40 minutes for smaller beets or up to an hour for larger beets. I use a corningware type of container with a glass lid. Turn them once while they're in there and they're done when you can poke a knife or fork through them. After the cool, the skins will peel right off. I love to keep them in the refrigerator for salads or just to slice and eat. My husband hates them.

Oh- and the greens are my absolute favorite greens. You can saute them with just a little olive oil and they're delicious. I roast the beets with just a few inches of the top left on (after you cut off the greens).

rmlrhonda said...

I just discovered your blog and am really intrigued by the year without spending challenge. It will be fun following your progress.

leigh @ compactbydesign said...

Angela, love the salad bar idea! And the mid-day date shakes sound pretty fabulous too!

Elizabeth said...

What a great idea. I also wanted to share our sneaky work-around on food waste: we feed it to our 6 chickens! Who turn it into delicious eggs and a compost ingredient.

Kate said...

Summer salads are great. My friend brought over gazpacho tonight: tomatoes, parsley, onion, cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper - all blended up.

It was delicious!

Alea said...

I do this with most of our salads including Taco salad and Asian Chicken Salad, so that nobody leaves something they don't like in a little pile on their plates.

Angela said...

rmlrhonda- So glad you found the blog- thanks for commenting!

leigh- We were out in the desert so we stopped at Hadley's for date-banana shakes- they're delicious.

Elizabeth- Yes, it sounds like people with chickens waste nothing! Growing up with dogs and cats, we never wasted much either, but there were some vegetables they didn't like. They love avocados!

Kate- fresh gazpacho sounds amazing.

Alea- That's a good idea when you're feeding a family. I can't believe I'd never thought of this simple idea before.

Thanks everyone for coming by and commenting!

tammy said...

Angela you are lucky to have a guy that thinks salad is a meal (LOL).
I love the idea and your "salad bar" is a great way to use up leftovers!
I was thinking about The Compact last night and wondering how Compactors buy plants for gardens. They don't buy anything new....does that include plants or are plants considered potential food?
Angela, you should SAVE the seeds from all this delicious veggie bounty and start a small garden!

Stacey said...

Hi Angela! Just a moment, but I had to laugh when I read this post - I had just had an impromptu salad bar of my own the day before. A friend called and asked me to join her for lunch, I saw all the produce from my CSA and my garden and invited her over. We also fried up two of our backyard- chicken-eggs and called it a "breakfast salad" - it was delicious and so quick and easy and my friend was so grateful for the meal and that we didn't have to go out! Lots of good summer fun!