Food & Drink

Satisfying salads forcool summer dinners

From Bee news services

This lemon orzo-veggie salad with chicken can be stretched even more by doubling pasta, vegetables and dressing ingredients.
This lemon orzo-veggie salad with chicken can be stretched even more by doubling pasta, vegetables and dressing ingredients. (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer

When the weather is sweltering, we want a meal that is both refreshing and satisfying.

The shrimp and snow pea salad here fills the bill:. It’s cool and crisp, with crunchy, bright green snow peas, napa cabbage, peppery radishes and chilled shrimp, all doused in a lip-smacking ginger-sesame dressing and sprinkled with nutty sesame seeds.

One chopped chicken breast can go a long way in a pasta salad filled with vegetables. If you like, switch out the orzo with quinoa, bulghur or brown rice.

Precooked chicken also works with mango in a salad featuring Chinese noodles. Substitute ripe peaches or nectarines for the mango if you prefer.

Serve any of these as a main course for a light dinner, for lunch or in smaller portions as a first course.

Shrimp and snow pea salad with sesame

From dietitian and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.

12 ounces (4 cups) snow peas, strings removed

1 1/4 pounds medium (41-50 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 head small napa cabbage, coarsely chopped (4 cups)

3 red radishes, thinly sliced into half-moons (3/4 cup)

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup plain rice vinegar

2 tablespoons canola oil (may substitute other neutral-tasting oil)

1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger root

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (see note below)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with cool water and ice cubes.

Add the snow peas to the pot; cook for 30 seconds or just until the snow peas turn a brighter green, then use a large slotted spoon or Chinese skimmer to transfer them to the ice-water bath. Let them cool for 30 seconds, then drain and pat dry. Add more ice and cool water to the bowl. Let the pot of water return to a boil.

Add the shrimp to the pot; once the water returns to a boil again, cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes or until just opaque. Drain, and immediately transfer them to the ice-water bath to cool. Drain and pat dry.

Cut each shrimp in half horizontally (creating 2 thin halves), placing them in a mixing bowl as you work. Trim the ends from the snow peas, then cut the peas on the diagonal into 1/2-inch diamond shapes; add them to the bowl along with the cabbage, radishes and scallions.

Whisk together the vinegar, canola oil, toasted sesame oil, ginger and salt in a liquid measuring cup until emulsified. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly.

Just before serving, sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and toss until evenly distributed.

NOTE: Toast the sesame seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan as needed to prevent scorching.

Per serving (based on 6): 210 calories, 22 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 150 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar

Serves 4 to 6

Chinese mango and chicken salad

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1/4 pound fresh or dried Chinese noodles

10 ounces roasted or rotisserie boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 cup shredded cabbage

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1 cup washed, ready-to-eat Romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces

1 cup mango cubes

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

2 scallions, sliced

2 tablespoons roasted, unsalted peanuts

Place a medium saucepan filled with water on to boil over high heat.

Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and sesame oil and set aside.

When water comes to a boil, add the noodles. Boil 2 minutes and drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Mix chicken, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, noodles, mango and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss well. Divide between two plates and sprinkle the scallions and peanuts on top.

Per serving: 669 calories (31 percent from fat), 22.8 g fat (4.1 g saturated, 9.1 g monounsaturated), 173 mg cholesterol, 54.6 g protein, 64.4 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 791 mg sodium.

Serves 2

Lemon orzo-veggie salad with chicken

The recipe can be stretched by doubling pasta, vegetables and dressing ingredients. Recipe adapted from "Cooking Light The Complete Quick Cook," by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (Oxmoor House).

3/4 cup uncooked orzo

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon honey

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken breast

1/2 cup diced cucumber

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper, seeds and stems removed

1/3 cup thinkly sliced green onions, about 2 onions

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain and place in a large bowl.

Combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, honey and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring to fully combine. Drizzle dressing over orzo; toss to coat. Add chicken, cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions and dill. Toss to gently combine. Divide among four plates and top with cheese.

Serves 4