This salad is a great side or it eats like a meal too. It miiiight not be the most picturesque but I couldn’t not share it. Think crunchy purple cabbage and carrots with peanut sauce and some shredded chicken- or skip the chicken. Either way, it is great and so fast.
Cabbage & Carrot Slaw with Peanut Sauce
Ingredients: (for ~4-5 as sides, or ~2 as a meal)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 inch grated ginger
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
2 large carrots, shredded
~1 cup roasted chicken, shredded (optional)
Shake the sauce together in a jar (or whisk together in a bowl) the soy sauce, peanut butter, ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Refrigerate until serving or make and serve.
Mix the cabbage and the carrot.
Drizzle in the peanut sauce and mix well. Add in the chicken – if using- and stir gently.
I loved this! Know that brown sauce – like peanut sauce – is not beautiful but so tasty. We had it with sesame noodles and edamame- that’s on the regular rotation here. This slaw was great for a crunch and for the peanut flavor. My 5-year-old pb lover liked it and ate a bunch. My ~2-year-old pb lover only ate a little.
There you have it, my salads without lettuce:
this cabbage and carrot slaw with peanut sauce
Watermelon Mint Salad
Peach, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
All these lettuce-less salad series will not be exclusively with fruit, but this was too good not to come next. Also, we bought a whole watermelon and the kids are just not as into it as other fruit so finding all the ways to use it was necessary. I chopped it up really finely to use the salad as a relish/topping, but it would be great on the side!
Watermelon Mint Salad
Ingredients: (for 4 as a side, for 6 as a topping)
1 cup watermelon
~10 mint leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Chop the watermelon, cucumber, shallot, and mint and add to a bowl.
Add in the olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice plus some salt and pepper and chili powder. Stir well and chill until serving.
This salad is so fresh and light and flavorful. It could be spiced up with jalapenos or other peppers. It would be great as salsa with chips too or in larger pieces as a side. We had it on top of grilled chicken this time.
July brings us a lettuce-less salad series! Lettuce is often my least fav part of salad and my kids are not so into lettuce- maybe for the texture? This salad is all summer with peach, fresh mozzarella, tomato, and cucumber with balsamic reduction. When I say peach, I often mean nectarine but you do you. This was a hit for all of us! It may have turned Mr. J onto nectarines!
Peach, Mozzarella & Tomato Salad
Ingredients: (for 4)
1 8 oz fresh mozzarella ball
1 cup grape tomatoes
2/3 of a cucumber
1 tablespoon balsamic reduction
Chop the peach, mozzarella, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Mix and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
If making it ahead of time, chop only the peach, tomatoes and cucumbers. Then chop the mozzarella and drizzle just before serving. Mini mozzarella balls would work well for this too!
The flavors and textures here are so perfect for summer. We ate it as a side with dinner and all of us loved it- we’re very into nectarines right now! I bought balsamic reduction since we’ll eat it a lot this summer and it just makes life a little easier but it is also so simple to make. Just bring balsamic vinegar to a boil and simmer for ~10 minutes until thickened. Then cool before using. That’s an easier way to have a smaller amount too.
I have a few more lettuce-less salads coming. Stay tuned!
Fruit in salad instantly elevates the salad. I wanted to uplevel the traditional spinach/strawberry/poppy seed salad by adding some cute tiny bowtie pasta and avocado. I used this balsamic fig dressing from Trader Joe’s but think shaking up some fig jam with some balsamic vinegar together in a jar would do the same thing!
Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad
Ingredients: (serves 2)
1 1/2 cups mini bow tie pasta
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
2 tablespoons fig balsamic dressing (or 1 tbs fig jam and 1 tbs balsamic whisked together)
Boil the pasta, cook, drain, and let cool.
Mix together the spinach, pasta, strawberries, avocado, pasta, and poppy seeds. Mix gently.
Add in the dressing and mix again.
This was a fun one! We thought red onion would have been tasty in here too. I allllmost swapped the poppy seeds for everything bagel seasoning but didn’t in the end. Some shredded chicken would add some protein to turn this into a substantial meal. Spinach is pretty delicate so keep the dressing separate until serving.
This slaw screams SUMMER. All caps screaming! At first it was whispering summer, but I tweaked it and then the flavor was really pumped up. I put the slaw onto fish tacos but will make again just as a side slaw. It would be great with pulled pork or burgers- on them or alongside them! It has an ideal mix of creaminess and brightness.
12 oz (bag) shredded cabbage/broccoli slaw
1/3 cup mayo
1/4 cup lemonade
1 teaspoon lemonade drink powder mix
1 teaspoon lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon
Mix & enjoy!
I used a single serving lemonade mix, like what to mix into a 16-oz bottle. One teaspoon of the powder went into the slaw then I mixed the rest with ~10 oz of water to make (strong) lemonade to add some into the slaw. The lemon juice served as my acid where I’d normally use vinegar. The lemonade mix sweetened where sugar would normally be.
The little guy ate his slaw separately from his taco, but Mr. J and I put it right on it. We don’t make tons of fish at home but frozen breaded fish pieces are super quick and are a crowd-pleaser inside a taco!
This salad lunch has all. the. things. After the buffalo chicken nachos, we were due for something healthier and summery, right? Balance is the name of the game.
It has a grain to be really filling and some greens for freshness and fruit for a pop of summer. I’m not enthused about meal-salads with just a bunch of greens. An hour later I’d be hungry. I made a batch of farro to also use in a dinner and it could easily swap with brown rice, cracked wheat, lentils, quinoa, or whatever you like/have leftover! Swap the greens for your favorite too, the arugula just holds up so well.
This salad works great as a meal – mine was lunch, or it’d be a great side or even a snack for those times you’re starving and know you’d like to make a good choice.
Farro & Arugula Salad with Summer Fruits
Ingredients: (for 1 meal or 2 sides)
3/4 cup prepared farro (or grain of your choosing)
1/2 cup blueberries
2 cups arugula (or greens of your choosing)
~2-3 slices of watermelon
2-3 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing (I used my fav Italian Dressing)
Chop the watermelon into bite size pieces and the arugula just once through.
Mix the farro, arugula, blueberries, and dressing to coat, then lightly toss in the watermelon.
This has great balance. I used allllll the arugula I had or I would have loaded in more. This was so fresh and actually filling. With so few ingredients this one is a winner to me. I’d pack this for lunch at work, keeping the watermelon & dressing separate until actually eating. I really wanted radishes in here but I didn’t find any at the grocery store and my farmer’s market is just opening. That super crunch would be great! I purposely went meatless but I can’t help but think grilled chicken would go well too!
Winter doesn’t scream salad because a) nothing locally is in season here in New England b) it isn’t warm & comforting like winter food and c) aren’t we wearing chunky knit sweaters for a reason? However, hitting a bunch of food groups in one dish makes me feel accomplished and there’s nothing more grown up for my lunch than arugula salad – compared to eating the crust of somebody’s pb & fluff sandwich while doing something else. This is a home lunch, or a dinner! I do not condone warming fish at the office. Nope. I bring you this salad with juicy shrimp, peppery arugula and pear to inch us towards the local produce that will be, once the seasons change and because we all deserve a restaurant-quality salad at home.
Veg, fruit, nuts, and fish -all in one dish? Yesss! Plus, my dressing hack takes zero brainpower and is ohh-so-perfect!
Winter Salad with Shrimp, Arugula & Pear
Ingredients: (for 1)
~4 large shrimp (~4 per person depending on med/lg/jumbo or swap with salmon/etc)
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups arugula
1/2 pear, chopped
1 tablespoon Italian Dressing
1 tablespoon Honey Mustard Dressing
In a completely dry pan, toast the walnuts over medium-low heat, being careful not to let them burn – about 3-5 minutes.
Peal & de-vein the shrimp. Then heat a small pan to medium heat with the butter. Sear the shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side until pink and just cooked through. Remove promptly from the heat and set to the side.
Mix together the arugula, toasted walnuts, pear and shrimp.
In a small jar (or in a bowl with a whisk) shake together the two dressings.
Toss the salad in the dressing.
Serve and enjoy!
I love the sweet pear with the peppery arugula. There is such great flavor here without becoming super complicated- which is how I normally like salads = all.the.stuff. The dressing is spot-on and would be that dressing at a restaurant you love that you can’t put your finger on what exactly it is. The Italian dressing decreases the sweetness of the honey mustard. The best Italian is this one – seriously, so perfect.
Salads for lunch can be tricky. Sometimes they’re tasty but not filling, or sometimes they’re delicious but full of the add-ons and not the healthy parts. I made this one with a tweak on the traditional Italian tuna & white bean salad by really upping the greens. Balance is the goal right now. The days often end with ice cream so starting with a green-based smoothie and lunch centered around veggies, fish, and protein seems like a good idea.
Tuna & White Bean Protein Salad (for 2 servings)
1/2 cup white beans
1 can tuna, white in water
2-3 cups arugula
Rinse beans, drain tuna, and wash and chop the tomatoes, cucumber, and greens.
Add everything to a bowl.
Mix one part Italian dressing and 1 part Creamy Caesar dressing. Then toss the salad in the dressing.
I liked the heft to the salad with the tuna and the beans with the fresh and crisp greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I often have arugula around because I love the peppery flavor, and it has a pretty long shelf-life in the fridge. The dressing gives the ideal alive, vinegar touch with the decadence of a creamy dressing too.
I only tossed half with the dressing and batched the rest up for the next day. I’m home on maternity leave and sometimes have fun in the kitchen come lunch time…other days, I’m grateful to have a no-brainer lunch ready to sneak it in before the next feeding/naptime/etc. I don’t often bring tuna to the office for lunch because of the smell-factor, but it would be a perfect dinner to have ready too. Reducing (and finely chopping) the greens would make this more like the traditional Italian one that would be great scooped onto crackers!
I could eat this one weekly. This salad has all the things: Nutty cracked wheat! Creamy avocado! Juicy peach! Peppery arugula! Crunchy pistachio! Do you know Simply Savory by Kate? You should! She made these curried pistachio and added them to a salad with peaches and avocado. Yum! I took a variation on it.
I tossed mine all together with a touch of honey mustard dressing and grilled sausages on top. LOVED it. This would be a really great use of a leftover grain. It would pack well if the nuts and peach were separate until serving.
Peach, Avocado, and Pistachio Salad (for 2-3)
1 cup cracked wheat (or lentils/farro/brown rice/Israeli couscous/quinoa/etc)
1 1/2 cup water or broth
2 sweet Italian sausage links
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons honey mustard dressing
1/3 cup pistachios
Cook the cracked wheat (or other grain) with the water or broth. (I cooked the cracked wheat that morning and refrigerated for the day.)
Grill the sausages.
Chop the peach, avocado, and arugula and mix together with the cracked wheat and dressing. Then top with the pistachios.
Slice the sausages to serve on top. Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper.
This has everything. The grain makes it a filling dinner. I liked the stronger flavor of the greens since the peach is sweet and the arugula was creamy.
This salad served to clients at work made me want to make it ASAP. I love fresh pineapple and since the little one will always eat cucumbers, it means we always have some around. My mint plants are going gang-busters so poof! This salad was born. I planned to make pulled pork int he crockpot so this was perfect alongside it! I also would definitely chop it up more and use it as a relish. Yum!
1/2 cucumber, mostly pealed
1 cup fresh pineapple
8-10 mint leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
Chop the cucumber & seed, if necessary. Chop pineapple, shallot, and mint. Add it all to a bowl.
Add in the lime juice & olive oil. Toss well.
Refrigerate until serving, or serve immediately.
I thought this was perfect with the pork. I was so glad to have something zippy and fresh. This salad was so fast to throw together. The pork cooked all day in the crockpot and it was the fastest dinner to get together. Uhh it was just. so. ideal on a hot hot hot night. The leftover pork will be frozen and probably will go inside tacos. I’d really love this cuke & pineapple all diced up as a relish on a taco or sandwich.
Seriously, make this for your next BBQ and everyone will appreciate this cool, sweet, light, refreshing salad.