Whether potato, pasta or chopped, salads are essential summer eating. So here are some ideas to celebrate the delicious diversity of salads with the best recipes by the biggest names in the food world.
For chef Michael Symon, greens just aren't good enough.
"For me, a great salad is much more than just greens," said Symon, an award-winning restaurateur and Food Network Iron Chef. "It should be something that really highlights the season and the vegetables that are at their peak at that time."
AP Photos - - Chef Michael Symon, below, offered a simple summer salad inspired by what grows in his home garden and dressed with a spicy jalapeno-yogurt blend. “I know I’m going to be grilling out a lot, so I want to create a salad that goes great with a big piece of grilled meat,” he said.
Michael Symon's Summer Salad
Start to finish: 20 minutes. Serves 6.
For the dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove the seeds first for less heat)
1 tablespoon plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the salad:
2 cups arugula
1 pound assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 cup diced cucumber
4 scallions, grilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup marcona almonds, roughly chopped
2 cups of cooked faro (a grain sold alongside the rice and couscous)
To make the dressing, in a small bowl combine the garlic, jalapeno, yogurt and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the mint and parsley. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the arugula, tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, almonds and faro. Drizzle with the dressing, tossing gently to coat evenly.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 351 calories; 221 calories from fat (63 percent of total calories); 25 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrate; 11 g protein; 7 g fiber; 118 mg sodium.
Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp and Calamari
Start to finish: 30 minutes. Serves 4.
1/2 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large green papaya, peeled, seeded and julienned (unripe mango can be substituted)
1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, julienned
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, julienned
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
Fine sea salt and ground black pepper
10 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
10 ounces small calamari tubes, cleaned and sliced into rings
In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and olive oil. Add the green papaya, carrot, scallions, jalapeno, mint, cilantro, then toss to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the salad sit and marinate for at least 5 minutes.
While the salad marinates, in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then add to the skillet and sear the shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil to the skillet and return it to the heat. When the oil is very hot, add the calamari. Season with salt and pepper, then quickly toss to cook the calamari until they are just barely opaque, about 2 minutes.
Add the shrimp and calamari to the salad and gently toss to coat. Divide the salad between 4 plates and serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 337 calories; 167 calories from fat (50 percent of total calories); 19 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 291 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 28 g protein; 1 g fiber; 445 mg sodium.
Jamie Oliver's Posh Chopped Salad
Start to finish: 20 minutes. Serves 4.
1 large carrot, peeled and trimmed
1 bulb fennel
Small handful of radishes
1 head romaine lettuce
2 white Belgian endives
8 ounces smoked salmon
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Small bunch fresh dill, chopped
On a large cutting board, chop the carrot, fennel (including the greens) and radishes. Bring it all to the center of the board and continue chopping and mixing together. Add the lettuce and endive leaves and continue chopping. When everything is well chopped, assemble it in a mound at the center of the board.
Slice the salmon into small pieces and mix into the salad.
Make a well in the middle and drizzle in the olive oil, lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix up so everything gets dressed, sprinkle with some chopped dill, and serve straight from the board or in a bowl.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 202 calories; 142 calories from fat (70 percent of total calories); 16 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 9 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 8 g protein; 3 g fiber; 372 mg sodium.
The tomato packets can be prepared a few hours before you plan on grilling them. The rest of this recipe should be prepared immediately before serving.
Start to finish: 30 minutes. Serves 10.
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
Salt and ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved
1 lime, halved
3 hearts of romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
Heat a covered grill on high.
Cut 2 sections of foil about 14 inches in length. Place half of the tomatoes in the center of each piece of foil, then drizzle each with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Seal the packets by bringing the long sides of the foil up toward the center and folding the edges over a couple of times. Bring the ends up toward the center and crimp the foil shut.
Reduce the grill to medium-high, then place the tomato packets on the grill. Place the lemon and lime halves cut side down on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 5 minutes.
Drizzle olive oil over the cut sides of the romaine hearts, then season with salt and pepper. Open the grill lid and use a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel held with a pair of tongs to coat the grill grates. Place the romaine halves, cut side down, on the grill. Cook with the lid open for about 3 minutes, or until the lettuce develops grill marks.
Remove the tomato packets from the grill and open carefully (they will release steam). Place the romaine hearts on a platter and pour the tomatoes over them. Squeeze the lemon and lime halves over everything and serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 45 calories; 38 calories from fat (84 percent of total calories); 4 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrate; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 194 mg sodium.
Jacques Pepin's Warm Bean and Bacon Salad
Start to finish: 20 minutes. Serves 6.
8 ounces slab bacon or pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
6 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
Two 15 1/2-ounce can navy or other small white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place the bacon or pancetta in a medium saucepan over low heat. Saute, covered, for about 8 minutes, or until the meat has rendered much of its fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 5 seconds. Transfer the contents of the saucepan, fat and all, to large bowl.
Add the beans, salt, parsley, vinegar, oil and pepper. Mix well, then serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 372 calories; 222 calories from fat (60 percent of total calories); 25 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 26 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrate; 13 g protein; 8 g fiber; 493 mg sodium.
Patricia Well's Ginger and Sesame Chicken Salad with Glass Noodles
Start to finish: 20 minutes. Serves 4.
2 tablespoons tamari or other Japanese soy sauce
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Chinese black rice vinegar
2 plump, moist garlic cloves, peeled, halved, green germ removed, and minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3-1/2 cups (about 1 pound) cubed cooked chicken
3 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
7 ounces glass (cellophane) noodles
Fresh shiso leaves, cut into a chiffonade (or fresh cilantro leaves), for garnish
In a small jar, combine the tamari, sesame seeds, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic and ginger. Cover and shake to blend. Taste for seasoning, then set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken and half the scallions. Toss with about half of the dressing, or just enough to moisten the ingredients evenly. Taste for seasoning.
In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Do not salt the water. Add the glass noodles, swirl them in the water, and cook just until soft, about 1 minute. Drain, and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Drain again.
In a second large bowl, toss the noodles with the remaining dressing. Place the seasoned noodles on large serving plates. Scatter the cubed chicken over the noodles, then garnish with the shiso or cilantro and the remaining scallions.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 461 calories; 155 calories from fat (34 percent of total calories); 18 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 73 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 2 g fiber; 733 mg sodium.