Hot enough for you? If not now, soon enough, we know.
Since turning on the oven is out of the question, use your grill or a stovetop grill pan to cook the shrimp for the elegant salad here. Or grill zucchini and parboiled potatoes for the salad with burrata.
Cooking grains the night before (easy in a slow cooker) will give you key ingredients for the other salads. Put everything in a bowl, toss with dressing, and relax.
Avocado and rice salad
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Makes 5 cups (serves 6-8)
From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Detroit Free Press Test Kitchen.
3 cups cooked white rice or basmati rice
1/2 green bell pepper, washed, diced
4 green onions, washed, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, diced large
Salt and pepper to taste
Grape tomatoes, optional
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons favorite chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 clove garlic, peeled
In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, bell pepper, green onions and cilantro leaves. Add the avocado chunks and toss gently, taking care not to break up the avocado. Season with salt and pepper.
In a blender or food processor combine all the dressing ingredients and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Pour over the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately, garnished with grape tomatoes or refrigerate. This salad will keep in the refrigerator about 2 days without the avocados turning dark if it’s covered tightly, with plastic wrap directly on it.
Per 1/2 cup: 153 calories (53 percent from fat), 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 68 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber.
Creamy shrimp salad with radish and cucumber
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer
This recipe is super simple but still quite elegant. Blanching the radishes cuts a bit of the spice, which the piment d'Espelette more than makes up for. Recipe from “Les Marches Francais: Four Seasons of French Dishes From the Paris Markets” by Brian Defehr and Pauline Boldt (Running Press; $28)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
18 large shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1/4 teaspoon piment d’Espelette or cayenne pepper or more to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, divided
20 radishes, trimmed
7 mini-cucumbers or 1 1/2 English cucumbers
1/2 red onion
20 fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or creme fraiche
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Add shrimp, piment d’Espelette and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute until just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Bring medium pot of water to boil and blanch radishes for about 2 minutes. Drain and chill in bowl of ice. Strain radishes and slice them finely.
Slice cucumbers equally finely. Mince onion and mint leaves leaving a few leaves for garnish if desired. Place cucumbers, radishes, onion and mint in medium bowl. Add yogurt or creme fraiche, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and mix well, adding more salt if desired.
When serving, top cucumbers and radishes with the shrimp.
Big salad with grains
Time: 10 minutes
There's no true recipe for a big salad, but for this robust green meal, you will want to keep a few rules in mind. Skip the soft lettuces, which tend to get squashed in a big salad, and start with sturdier greens, like kale or escarole. Add fruits and vegetables, a protein, like a hard-boiled egg, and a starch or two. You want a total of six to eight ingredients, before toppings. Too few, and it could get boring; too many, and the bowl gets crowded and confusing.
Finish it off with a substantial dressing, like avocado, yogurt or tahini, and add a couple of toppings, like chives or chopped nuts. Serve with a side of whole-grain bread for a filling and healthy meal.
Recipe from The New York Times
2 cups sturdy salad greens, such as romaine, iceberg, escarole or kale
½ cup cooked grains, like quinoa, farro, bulgur wheat or barley
1 cup roasted vegetables, like potatoes, sweet potatoes or winter squash
¼ cup thinly sliced raw vegetables, like bell peppers, celery, carrots, fennel, mushrooms, onions, radishes, snap or snow peas, summer squash or tomatoes
¼ cup salad dressing, such as yogurt, tahini or a vinaigrette, plus more to taste
½ avocado, thinly sliced
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and halved
2 teaspoons snipped chives, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons sliced or chopped nuts, like almonds, walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts, plus more to taste
Whole-grain bread, for serving
Place greens in bottom of serving bowl. Add grains in an even layer over greens. Repeat with the roasted vegetables, then the raw vegetables.
Top with dressing, and toss gently. Fan out avocado on top on one side of bowl.
Place hard-boiled egg pieces on the side opposite the avocado. Top with chives and nuts. Serve with whole-grain bread.
Roasted zucchini, potato and burrata salad
Note: To avoid using the oven, parboil the potatoes, then cut them up and toss –along with the sliced zucchini – with the olive oil and grill until done. Cool slightly before tossing them in salad. Adapted from “Dinner Made Simple: 35 Everyday Ingredients, 350 Easy Recipes,” by the editors of Real Simple magazine.
8 ounces burrata cheese (may substitute fresh mozzarella)
2 or 3 medium zucchini (11 to 14 ounces total)
1 pound small Dutch gold or Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/4 cup pine nuts
About 12 ounces mixed greens, such as watercress or dandelion, plus mache (lamb's lettuce; about 6 cups total)
1/4 cup packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (may substitute red wine vinegar)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Let the burrata come to room temperature.
Meanwhile, trim the zucchini, then cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch-long rounds or half-cylinders. Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size.
Place the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with the salt and pepper, tossing to coat and making sure the cut sides are facing down. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. When you turn the zucchini pieces and potatoes over, they should be nicely browned on the cut sides.
While they're in the oven, toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, shaking it to avoid scorching, until they are fragrant and golden brown. Let cool.
Arrange the greens on a platter. Tear the basil leaves, letting them fall on the greens. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the roasted zucchini and potatoes and toasted pine nuts. Cut or tear the burrata, arranging dollops of the cheese around the platter.
Drizzle the salad with the vinegar and the remaining tablespoon of oil. Serve right away.