Fresh greens with tomato and onion salad

Salad: Summer’s Star

Salad is often categorized as a side dish. Especially September through May. But come Summer, salad becomes the headliner; the star of the show. And it’s a well-earned designation, too. Add a little protein and you’ve got a full meal. Toss in some fruit and you’ve dialed things up on the nutrition scale.
As I write, it’s a very cool day in Southern California where I live. But I know this will not last. I love a big salad in the summer that combines grains, fruits, vegetables and even meats in one dish. It’s the perfect way to use up chicken or steak left from last night’s barbecue, or even that piece of grilled salmon or seafood. Add whole grain rolls or breadsticks on the side, and dinner’s on the table.Here, for your consideration, are three of my all-time favorite summer salads. Enjoy!

Asian Chicken Salad

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 head iceberg lettuce, rinsed, dried, and chopped
4 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 15-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
Crispy Chow Mein noodles

Prepare the dressing 30 minutes ahead of time by mixing together the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, vegetable oil and rice vinegar in a salad dressing carafe.

In a large bowl combine the iceberg lettuce, chicken, green onions, sesame seeds and oranges. Let chill about 10 minutes. Just before serving add the noodles. Pour the dressing over the top of the salad, toss, and serve immediately. Serves: 6.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion

10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1 quart strawberries—cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered

In a medium bowl, add sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Whisk together, cover, and chill for one hour.

In a large bowl, add the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving. Serves: 4.

Ham and Melon Salad

1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey

2 cups dry rotini pasta (or substitute any similar pasta)
2 cups cubed cooked ham
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 ripe cantaloupe, cut into cubes or balls (may substitute with honeydew)
lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried

Cook pasta as directed on package and drain well. While pasta is cooking, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice and honey in large bowl and mix to blend well. Fold in hot pasta, ham, celery and red onion. Gently stir in cantaloupe and chill. Serve on beds of lettuce. Serves: 6.

Did you try out any of these recipes? Share your comments below.

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