New Twist on Salad

By Abby Cropper

I am a Purdue University graduate and currently an IUPUI dietetic intern at the Dairy & Nutrition Council in Indianapolis.

The summer months tend to bring salads to our tables.  But, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and a slice of cucumber can get pretty boring.  It’s funny the way we associate salad with lettuce.  To some people lettuce is called salad and to others salad is just lettuce in a bowl!

So, according to the dictionary, the definition of salad is:

sal·ad/ˈsaləd: a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients

To bring a new twist to the summer months, think about adding these toppings to your bed of lettuce tonight:

-green beans

-grapes

-rice

-asparagus

-capers

-potatoes

-edamame

-avocado

-couscous

-fennel

-artichokes

-hummus

Another idea is to use something other than a bed of lettuce as the main ingredient in a salad.  Instead, start with chopped, wedged, or cherry tomatoes.  The first ripe, red, juicy tomatoes are hitting the markets (just in time for Father’s Day and the Fourth of July!). Tomatoes pair well with cheese and another vegetable.  This makes for a healthy dish with calcium and other vitamins. Here are items to add to your tomato salad:

-mozzarella

-feta

-blue cheese

-cucumber

-sweet corn

-garbanzo beans

Since it is summer and we all love the fruits of the season, try grilled fruit salads.  This is a great way to add sweetness to your plate and show your guests some creativity!  Plus, men will love the fact that it came from the grill! The recipe below can be served alone or along with the main dish. The Greek yogurt in the recipe adds protein, which will help you stay satisfied longer.

Grilled Fruit Salad with Honey-Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients:

1 pineapple, cored and sliced into 8 rings

2 plums, cored and each cut into 8 wedges

Vegetable oil

¾ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup honey

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

Directions:

Preheat grill to medium.  Lightly brush fruit with oil and place on the grill.  Cook until pineapple and plums are nicely caramelized, turning once, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove to a plate.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together yogurt, honey, and mint.  Place 2 rings and 4 wedges on each plate and drizzle with dressing.  Garnish with pine nuts.

Yield:

4 servings

So, as you prepare for your meals this summer, don’t be afraid to put a new twist on salads!  There are many options out there!

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