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The Salad Days Are Here Again

August 08, 1996|ABBY MANDEL

You can buy salads in all kinds of places, from supermarkets to gourmet shops. But highly flavored, fresh-looking, lower fat combinations are hard to come by. By the time you've finished fine-tuning a carry-out, you might as well make it yourself.

These salad recipes dress up even the most casual summer meal. They all take advantage of the season's bounty, are amazingly easy to make and actually improve in flavor when they are made a day ahead and refrigerated.

The honey mustard farm stand slaw is full of vegetables: fresh corn, carrot, zucchini, red onion and red cabbage. It works at barbecues--from hot dogs to steak--as well as at picnics with fried chicken and cold cuts.

The two other salads are more substantial; they can be paired with meats, poultry or fish or other salads. Or serve them simply with a wedge of cheese and a crusty loaf of bread for a light summer meal.



2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, about 3 cups

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced, about 1 1/3 cups

1 cup thinly sliced carrots

1/3 cup thinly sliced small mushrooms

1/2 cup diced red onion

Toss beans, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms and onion in 3-quart mixing bowl until well mixed.


1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, about 1 1/2 ounces

1 1/2 cups loosely packed baby arugula leaves

Combine vinegar, water, oil, salt and pepper in small dish. Add to salad. Toss well. Add cheese. Gently toss until mixed. Adjust vinegar and seasoning. Can be used immediately or refrigerated overnight. If refrigerated, let stand at room temperature to lose chill.

To serve, toss well. Gently toss in arugula. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Each of 6 servings contains about:

199 calories; 274 mg sodium; 5 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 27 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 1.17 grams fiber.


Red lentils are the perfect foil for this summer salad; they are less starchy, smaller, more attractive and quicker to cook than brown or green lentils. Brown or green can, however, be substituted for the red. I prefer lentils cooked until just tender but not mushy and falling apart. Be sure to use firm cucumbers and fresh lime juice for the best texture and flavor.


1 1/2 cups red lentils (10 ounces)

2 small cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber, peeled, split lengthwise, seeded and diced, about 3 3/4 cups

1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch dice, about 1 1/4 cups

1/3 cup mint leaves, cut into thin strips

Cook lentils in boiling salted water to cover until just tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Drain. Put into 3-quart mixing bowl. You will have 3 cups cooked lentils. Add cucumbers, bell pepper and mint leaves and mix well.


1/2 tablespoon minced shallot

1/3 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon oil

2 tablespoons honey

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/4 teaspoons turmeric

1 1/4 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon salt

Cayenne pepper to taste

Combine shallot, lime juice, oil, honey, cumin, turmeric, fennel seeds, salt and pepper in small dish. Add to salad. Toss until well mixed. Adjust seasoning. Can be used immediately or refrigerated overnight. Before using, mix well, drain excess liquid, taste for seasoning.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Each of 8 servings contains about:

166 calories; 301 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 28 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams protein; 2.26 grams fiber.


Chopped radishes and/or red bell pepper can be substituted for the zucchini and sliced green onions for the red onion, but be sure to use the raw corn (it should be young and juicy) and the carrot; their crunch, color and sweetness are a definite asset. Except for the corn, all of the vegetables are chopped in the processor with the metal blade, starting with the chile and continuing through the cabbage. For the best texture, cut all large items into 1-inch chunks, chop them in small batches (no need to wash the work bowl between batches) and use the pulse function.


1 jalapen~o chile, seeded if desired and minced

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped red onion

1 cup chopped carrot

1/2 large head red cabbage, cored, coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)

1 1/2 cups corn kernels (cut from 2 ears corn)

Combine chile, zucchini, onion, carrot, cabbage and corn in 3-quart bowl. You will have about 8 cups, which will compress into 6 cups once slaw is mixed with dressing.


1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon water

2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine vinegar, oil, honey, water, mustard, thyme and salt in small dish. Add to slaw and toss well. Adjust seasoning. Can be used immediately or refrigerated overnight. Before using, mix well and adjust seasoning. Serve chilled or let stand at room temperature to lose chill.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Each of 8 servings contains about:

102 calories; 274 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 1.05 grams fiber.

* Serving bowl, pitcher and glasses from Rose Cafe, Venice.

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