There Will Be Salad.me, every evening
I love tossed green salad. I could probably live on it. As long as there’s also bread and coffee. Vegetables are super healthful, and eating a diverse selection of vegetables maximizes the nutrient mix.
But even lovely crunchy and crisp green salads get repetitive, yet vegetables are still important. Solution to vegetable boredom: hot salad.
This isn’t some revolutionary new concept. Basically I mean a medley of sautéed vegetables. I like this idea for several reasons:
- Quick. Just pull a likely combination of vegetables out of the frig and get chopping.
- Healthy. You can mix together all sorts of colorful and healthful vegetables.
- Pretty. Colorful vegetables
- Tasty. Many vegetables benefit from a quick sauté, which brings out flavors.
- Great way to use up vegetables that need to be used up.
- Makes great leftovers. Cook up a large pan of mixed vegetables, have some with an evening meal, put the rest in the refrigerator for more meal ideas:
- Add to an omelet
- Eat them cold as a snack
- Add a soft cheese (feta, fresh mozzarella, cotija) or grated Parmesan for lunch
- Serve with cooked couscous, barley, quinoa or brown rice
In fact, the leftovers argument makes a hot salad more desirable than tossed salad. Leftover tossed salad with dressing isn’t that great a day later. The greens get wilted and mushy. You aren’t likely to use it up in an omelet or combined with a cooked grain.
The key to successful hot salad is a combination of vegetables that will sauté nicely and have complementary flavors. Some good choices are
- onion (sweet, purple, yellow), sliced
- broccoli flowerets. You can also slice the stems for added crunch
- cauliflower flowerets
- Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters
- sweet peppers, any color, sliced
- radishes, cut into quarters
- carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch wedges
- zucchini, cut into wedges or slices
- green beans, left whole
- snap peas
- corn: frozen kernels or fresh corn cut off the cob. A great way to use up leftover corn on the cob
- rutabagas? Perhaps for the adventurous palate. I’d cut into wedges and pre-cook slightly. Same would go for orange beets, which need considerably more pre-cooking.
Here are 2 ideas I used recently, based on what happened to be in my refrigerator. Both recipes are of course vegetarian.
Hot Salad #1
This vegetable combination was inspired by what I had in the refrigerator. Don't mince the vegetables into tiny pieces. You should be able to eat the pieces with a fork. Chop or slice into rather large chunks.
- 2 cups broccoli flowerets (you can also slice up the green stems)
- 1 purple carrot, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch wedges
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 2-3 cups mushrooms, sliced
- olive, canola or other neutral oil for the pan
- Step 1 Cut all the vegetables into large chunks.
- Step 2 Heat 1-2 TB oil over moderate-high heat in a large sauté pan.
- Step 3 Put all the vegetables into the pan and cook quickly, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes depending on your preferences.
- Step 4 The vegetables should deepen in color a bit, but remain crisp. Do not overcook.
This next recipe uses partially cooked sweet potato and a fresh tomato. They were sitting around and I had to use them up. The result was a brightly colored hot vegetable salad featuring the slight sweetness of corn. I look forward to making this with leftover grilled corn this summer.
Hot Corn Salad
Serve with a bean-based dish, or garnish with grated cheese for a meal. This recipe uses frozen kernel corn, but you can use fresh corn or leftover corn on the cob, sliced off. Leftovers are great in burritos with refried beans and cheese.
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
- 2 cups frozen kernel corn, slightly thawed (or cooked leftover fresh corn)
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
- corn or peanut oil
- juice of one lime
- salt and cayenne pepper to taste
- Optional: minced cilantro, minced jalapeno
- Step 1 Pre-cook the sweet potato chunks in the microwave for 5-7 minutes until just fork tender (time depends your microwave).
- Step 2 Sauté the pepper and onion in oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Step 3 Add the corn and sweet potato pieces. Cover the pan and cook until the corn is just done, 5 or more minutes.
- Step 4 Turn off the heat. Add the chopped tomato and put the cover back on to just heat the tomato pieces.
- Step 5 Mix in the lime juice and seasonings before serving.