Category Archives: Salads

Crab Caprese salad

Crab Caprese salad

Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil are a classic Italian combination, as in Margherita pizza (and my Margherita frittata) and in Caprese salad. This is my take on that salad.

I wanted to add some meat or seafood and went with crab. My market sells, in the seafood case, cooked crab leg clusters that have crab legs about 8 to 10 inches long. I decided to go with those rather than getting fresh or canned crab meat in order to get actual pieces of crab leg to put on the salad. I only added about 2 ounces of crab (maybe even a little less) as the mozzarella provided plenty of additional substance for the salad. You could use crab meat instead.

For tomatoes, Trader Joe’s has those nice mini heirloom tomatoes which I used here, cut in half. Larger tomatoes, sliced, as typically used for Caprese salad would be an equally good option.

The standard Caprese salad does not include lettuce. I like lettuce. Also, larger tomatoe slices can be nicely arranged on the plate, while putting the small tomatoes down on the plain plate would look a little bare.

Then came the question of how to dress the salad. When I first had the idea of doing this salad with crab, I immediately thought about a lemon vinaigrette, as lemon juice always complements seafood nicely. But in looking at recipes online for Caprese salad, a common instruction was to only use olive oil, as vinegar would not go with the mozzarella (though there were several Caprese salad recipes featuring a balsamic reduction). I came up with a two-step compromise. I composed the salad with everything but the mozzarella. I made a vinaigrette using half the lemon juice I would normally use (1 teaspoon of lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of oil rather than 2 teaspoons, the standard 3-to–1 ratio). I put this on the salad and it gave a very subtle lemon flavor without being acidic. I then added the mozzarella and some whole basil leaves and spooned a little more olive oil over those. I think this worked well and accomplished what I had set out to do.

Crab Caprese salad

baby lettuce
mozzarella cheese
basil, torn into pieces with some whole leaves for the top

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Arrange lettuce, tomatoes, crab, and the torn basil pieces on the plate. Whisk or shake in a small jar 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Pour over the salad. Put the mozzarella and whole basil leaves on the salad. Spoon the remaining olive oil on the mozzarella and the basil leaves.

Beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and chicken

Beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and chicken

This is my take on a classic salad. The combination of ingredients is hardly original, though I haven’t seen chicken added to make it a main-course salad. I liked the dressing I came up with, a vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar, honey, and a generous amount of Dijon mustard. I think it went well here and I plan on making it for other salads. One note: I have absolutely decided that for any vinaigrette that includes honey, putting the ingredients in a jar and shaking to combine is the only way to go. Especially with the small quantity involved for a salad for one, trying to whisk the ingredients together is just too difficult.

A few other comments: I don’t give a quantity for the number of beets to use because they vary so much in size. I happened to get quite small ones and used three, but with some very large beets one would be more than enough. The same goes for how to cut the beets for the salad. With my small beets, cutting them into wedges gave pieces that were a good size and looked nice. But a large beet would have to either be diced or sliced and then the slices cut into wedges. Likewise, the length of time required for roasting will obviously depend on the size.

For the walnuts, I used the plain toasted shelled walnuts. If you like candied nuts, go ahead, but that’s not my thing. Also, I suggest going with the “whole” walnuts, not the chopped. I used the quotes because numbers of the pieces were broken, which was fine. Indeed, I broke the whole pieces in half for the salad. But I think this is better than the smaller chopped pieces.

Beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and chicken

olive oil

spring mix lettuce
cooked chicken breast, in bite-sized pieces
goat cheese

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F for roasting the beets. (If you have an uncooked chicken breast, you can bake it at the same time.) Wash the beets and cut off most of the stems, leaving about an inch. Place the beets on a sheet of foil (I used 2 layers), sprinkle on a little olive oil and a bit of salt and roll the beets in the oil to coat. Wrap the foil tightly and put the beets in the oven. The beets are done when a knife goes in easily when you pierce a beet. You can do this through the foil without unwrapping and just put them back in the oven if they need more time. The small beets I had were done in 45 minutes. Larger beets could take an hour.

After taking the beets out of the oven, wait until the beets are cool enough to handle. Cut off the top and bottom of each beet. Remove the skins. It may work to use paper towels to rub the skins off, or you may have to use a knife to peel. I would suggest doing this right over the foil package and using disposable gloves–everything is going to get very red! Cut the beets into bite-sized pieces for the salad, doing this on a papper plate, a piece of parchment paper, or something else disposable rather than staining your cutting board.

I would suggest having this done an hour or two before you make the salad, leaving the beets and chicken out at room temperature.

Assemble the salad, putting the beets, chicken, and walnuts on the lettuce. Shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, and pepper. Pour over the salad. Add small pieces of goat cheese.

Mushroom truffle salad

Mushroom truffle salad

This was directly inspired by my mushroom truffle frittata. I am essentially substituting the lettuce for the eggs and adding chicken to make it a main course salad. I am using plain chicken breast, at room temperature, putting it off to the side, and topping with the vinaigrette along with the lettuce. The goal is for the hot mushrooms to be the star of the salad, with the chicken playing a supporting role.

Mushroom truffle salad

1–1/4 cup shitake mushrooms (caps), sliced
1–1/4 cup crimini mushrooms (caps), sliced
vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon truffle oil

cooked chicken breast, sliced, at room temperature
baby romaine lettuce
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled or in small pieces, depending on consistency

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon truffle oil

Cook the mushrooms in oil over medium heat at least 10 minutes until nicely browned.

While the mushrooms are cooking, arrange the lettuce on the plate with the chicken off to the side. Whisk or shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, and truffle oil, adding the truffle oil to taste. Pour over the lettuce and the chicken.

When the mushrooms are browned, add the truffle oil and cook one more minute. Put the mushrooms on the salad and add the goat cheese.

Chicken adobo salad

Chicken adobo salad

Chicken adobo is often called the national dish of the Phillipines. The chicken is cooked with soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. I thought this would be good for a salad.

The first recipe I found when looking for ideas online said that a distinctive aspect of adobo chicken is that the chicken is cooked in the liquid first and then browned at the end. This is just the opposite of many dishes such as chicken fricasee and coq au vin where the chicken is browned first. But other recipes did have you browning the chicken first, and still others didn’t brown at all. I decided to cook in the liquid and then finish with a quick browning under the broiler.

Then came the the question of what to do with the rest of the salad. I know nothing about Filipino cuisine, so back to Google for ideas. I found recipes for just about any kind of salad, many using familiar ingredients. I saw several recipes that combined cucumbers and carrots, both in a straight cucumber salad (with red onions) and in a slaw, with cabbage. I thought these would go well.

Vinegar is a primary ingredient for the dressings for some cucumber salads, so having the cucumber with the adobo chicken with the vinegar was a good choice. To emphasize the vinegar on the salad, I altered the proportions for my dressing, using equal amounts of oil and the soy-vinegar mixture from the chicken.

Chicken adobo salad

2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
5–6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
fresh ground pepper

spring mix lettuce and spinach
cucumber, sliced thin
carrots, sliced thin
red onion, sliced very thin

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Put the chicken thighs in a pan with the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, turning the chicken over once about half way through.

Remove the chicken thighs. Place them under the broiler for 2 or 3 minutes to brown. Then let them rest a few minutes before slicing.

Take 2 tablespoons of the soy-vinegar cooking liquid and combine with the oil for the dressing. Boil the remainder of the liquid down by at least half, until it starts to thicken, to concentrate the sauce for spooning over the chicken.

Arrange the cucumber, carrots, and onions on the lettuce and spinach. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil and soy-vinegar mixture. Spoon the dressing over the salad.

Slice the chicken. Place in the middle of the salad. Spoon the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken.

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

This is another one of my favorite pasta salads. It has the same ingredients as the artichoke and sun-dried tomato salad posted earlier, just substituting the farfalla for the lettuce. Actually, the idea for this combination came first for this pasta salad. I later adapted it to make the other salad.

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

slightly less than 1 cup farfalla
1 cup cooked chicken breast, bite-sized pieces
1/2 large can artichoke hearts, cut into quarters or sixths
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon herbs de provence
3 tablespooons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cook the farfalla as instructed on the package, drain, and rinse to cool (or cook earlier and cool in refrigerator).

Combined the ingredients and toss to mix.

Mexican salad

Mexican salad

This is my take on a very common type of salad. Salads like this are often called taco salads, but I reserve that name for salads in a tortilla bowl, or at least with some form of tortilla along with the salad.

Use the seasoning of your choice with the ground beef. I use Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming, which is salt-free. But whatever you choose, use plenty of seasoning, as the very well-seasoned ground beef gives the character to the salad.

Mexican salad

1/4–1/3 pound ground beef
taco or other southwestern-style seasoning

romaine lettuce
red and green bell pepper
black olives, sliced
red onion, sliced thin

ranch dressing
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salsa or pico de gallo
sour cream

Cook the ground beef with a generous amount of the seasoning.
Start the salad with a generous amount of romaine lettuce. Add the avocado, tomato, red and green pepper, olives, and onion. Place the ground beef in the middle. Add modest amount of ranch dressing. Top with the shredded cheese. Add dollops of salsa and sour cream.

Teriyaki chicken salad

Teriyaki chicken salad

I always like pineapple with teriyaki chicken, so that was my starting point for this salad. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for their fuller flavor, but you could certainly use a piece of chicken breast instead. For the dressing, a vinaigrette with teriyaki sauce was an obvious choice. I included honey, as I felt that the sweetness would work well with the rest of the salad.

Teriyaki chicken salad

1 or 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs, depending on size and appetite
teriyaki sauce

baby spinach
mushrooms, sliced
scallions, sliced, including plenty of the green part

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed, or 1/2 of a large clove
fresh ground pepper

Marinate chicken thighs in teriyaki sauce in a plastic bag for an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken thighs on a rack in a baking pan. Brush on bit more of the teriyaki sauce. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn on broiler and place the chicken under broiler for about 3 minutes to further brown to tops and finish cooking. Watch closely to not burn. Check that the thighs are cooked through by slicing in or reading a temperature of 160 to 165 on an instant-read thermometer. The thermometer is likely to be practical only for thicker thighs, inserted from the side into the middle. If not cooked through, you can just leave them in the oven for a few more minutes.

You want to let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing, so there is no need to start the final assembly of the salad before you take the chicken out.

Put mushrooms and scallions on the spinach, reserving some of the green parts. Whisk or shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, honey, teriyaki sauce, ginger, garlic, and fresh ground pepper. Pour over the salad. Slice the chicken thighs and place in the middle of the salad. Top the chicken with the remaining green parts of the scallions. Put chunks of pineapple on the salad.