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GOOD COOKING

Salads, for a Breather

November 29, 1996|ABBY MANDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

After Thanksgiving feasting--and before the celebration meals of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa to come--all you really may be in the mood for is a salad. Paired with crusty warm bread, a main course salad tastes fresh and light while still being satisfying.

Two of the ethnic-inspired salads that follow rely on leftover turkey or chicken. Once the Thanksgiving bird is gone, there's always high-quality baked turkey breast in the deli section of grocery stores as well as roasted chicken.

The Tex-Mex turkey and rice salad and the Chinese noodle salad with turkey are spooned into lettuce leaves and rolled up to be eaten. The Greek macaroni salad with roasted vegetables and feta cheese accommodates vegetarians and can be paired with a sliced cucumber condiment salad or sliced cold turkey, ham or chicken.

Serve the salads chilled, at room temperature or slightly reheated in the microwave oven until just warmed through.

TEX-MEX TURKEY AND RICE SALAD

1 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey (or chicken)

2 cups cooked rice

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves plus more for garnish

12 to 16 Boston lettuce leaves

I prefer this salad slightly warmed--not hot--to play against the chilled lettuce leaves. Cooked shrimp would be a good substitution for the turkey or chicken. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

Mix turkey, rice, corn, celery and red pepper in 2-quart bowl.

Combine cumin, chili powder, oregano, oil, water, hot pepper sauce and cilantro in small bowl. Add to salad and toss until well combined. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Stir well before using. Adjust seasoning and hot sauce.

To serve, arrange lettuce leaves on serving platter. If desired, warm salad in microwave oven on MEDIUM power (50%) for 2 minutes. Spoon salad into center of platter. Garnish with extra cilantro leaves. Serve family-style with each person spooning salad into lettuce leaf and rolling leaf.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

288 calories; 66 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 37 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams protein; 0.72 gram fiber.

CHINESE NOODLE SALAD WITH TURKEY

3 cups shredded cooked turkey (or chicken)

1 (3 3/4-ounce) package cellophane noodles, soaked in hot water according to package instructions, about 3 cups drained

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root

4 green onions, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Chinese (toasted) sesame oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

24 to 30 Boston lettuce leaves (about 3 small heads)

This salad is made for the food processor; first, mince the garlic and ginger, which require a dry work bowl for effective mincing. Leave them in the work bowl. Then add the green onions, celery, carrots--all cut into 1-inch chunks--along with the peanuts. Chop them together, pulsing on and off, to get the coarse texture that you want here.

Toss turkey and noodles in 2-quart bowl until well mixed. Add garlic, ginger root, onions, celery, carrots, peanuts, vinegar, oil and pepper flakes and toss until well mixed and coated with dressing. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Stir well before using. Adjust seasoning (red pepper flakes).

To serve, arrange lettuce leaves on large serving platter. If desired, warm salad in microwave oven on MEDIUM power (50%) for 3 minutes. Spoon salad into center of platter. Serve family style with each person spooning salad into lettuce leaf and rolling leaf.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Each of 8 servings contains about:

327 calories; 95 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 49 grams carbohydrates; 17 grams protein; 0.58 gram fiber.

*

Platter from Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, South Pasadena.

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