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Hot salads for vegetable diversity

Hot salads for vegetable diversity

 

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:

  1. Quick. Just pull a likely combination of vegetables out of the frig and get chopping.
  2. Healthy. You can mix together all sorts of colorful and healthful vegetables.
  3. Pretty. Colorful vegetables
  4. Tasty. Many vegetables benefit from a quick sauté, which brings out flavors.
  5. Great way to use up vegetables that need to be used up.
  6. 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
  • mushrooms
  • 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

March 21, 2022
: 4
: 30 min
: 10 min
: 40 min
: easy

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.

By:

Ingredients
  • 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
Directions
  • 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

March 21, 2022
: 4
: 20 min
: 10 min
: 30 min
: easy

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.

By:

Ingredients
  • 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
Directions
  • 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.