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Summer salads keep things cool

By on July 3, 2008


Some days, it’s just too hot in the kitchen to use the stove. Salads are for all seasons, but some are the perfect summer side or complete-meal solution. They’re cool, refreshing and easy to toss together. You can even make them ahead at night, when the temperature is cooler. Use fresh, seasonal ingredients to make them sensational enough to bring to picnics and barbecues. What’s your favorite salad recipe?

Here are a few for you to try. Have copies of these ready to pass around.

Mock Potato Salad

1 head fresh or frozen cauliflower
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
2 slices onion, chopped
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon pickle relish
salt, pepper, garlic powder, dill to taste
paprika, to taste
parsley, optional

Cook cauliflower until tender. Drain and pat dry. Let cool and cut into small pieces. Place in a large bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients except paprika and parsley. Chill 2 hours. Before serving, sprinkle on paprika and garnish with parsley.
Serves 8

Red and Green Pasta Salad

16 ounces wagon-wheel pasta
2 bunches fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch sections
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan, fresh, grated, optional
mozzarella, shredded, optional

Cook pasta according to instructions. Add asparagus to pot with the pasta for the last 2 to 3 minutes of boiling. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add tomatoes and onion. Chill. Combine the remaining ingredients except cheese, and pour over salad when ready to serve. Sprinkle parmesan and mozzarella on top.
Serves 8

Cucumber Salad

2 cucumbers, sliced thin
1 medium red onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped

Mix cucumbers and onion together. Mix remaining ingredients together. Add to cucumber and onion. Chill and serve. — submitted by Kathy, e-mail

Fruit Surprise Salad

2 pounds green seedless grapes
2 pounds red seedless grape
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup crushed pecans or walnuts

Wash and stem grapes. Pat dry. Set aside. By hand, mix cream cheese and granulated sugar. Mix in sour cream and vanilla until combined. Stir grapes into mixture, and pour into large serving bowl.
For topping: Combine brown sugar and crushed pecans or walnuts. Sprinkle over top of grapes to cover completely. Chill overnight.
Optional: Try fresh blueberries and/or strawberries.
Serves 12

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
1 packet dry ranch dressing
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup salad dressing with 2 tablespoons vinegar

Mix together broccoli, cauliflower and dry ranch dressing. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, add chopped eggs, cheddar and salad dressing with vinegar. Mix well.
Optional: Add grated carrots. — submitted by Paulette, Tennessee

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