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Seven Main Dish Salad Recipes for Cool Suppers

Lettuce can start to be in short supply during the heat of the summer. We’re already to that point, except for the places that we have sown lettuce to be shaded.

Between tomato plants, under melon vines, or even under a homemade shade set up made of cedar branches; lettuce can be a part of the hot summer menu if we give them some cool shade.

A large, main-dish salad is a great option for these hot summer nights. Taco salads are very common for us, and made our list, but they can get a little old. So I have been trying to think up different flavor combinations in the hopes of keeping things interesting, while still green.

Some of them are so delicious, I don’t know why I’d ever get in a salad rut again.

Taco Salad

This is the most obvious and most frequently eaten in our home. Throw together your greens, onions, fresh cilantro, ground beef seasoned with cumin and garlic, cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, salsa, beans, or anything else you might eat on a taco.

Greek Salad

Combine your greens with any of the following: red (or other) onions, cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, olives, chicken/ground beef/lamb. Toss with a vinaigrette made of olive oil, red wine vinegar (or lemon juice), minced garlic, and dried oregano.

Caesar Salad

This is my current favorite. Combine your greens with Parmesan cheese, any extra veggies, and a protein. Toss with a nourishing Caesar salad dressing.

Fruit, Nut, & Cheese Salad

Our local health food store carries a version of this and it is possibly my favorite salad of all time. Top your greens with protein (if desired), chopped onion, fruit, chopped nuts, and chunks of cheese. Great combinations include dried cherries with almonds and blue cheese, dried apricots with feta and almonds, fresh apples with cheddar and walnuts, and fresh pears with blue cheese and walnuts. Dress with a simple vinaigrette or our favorite cultured dairy-based blue cheese dressing (found in Simple Food {for spring}).

Cobb Salad

I’m not sure how “authentic” this is but I combine greens with chicken, cooked bacon, onions, other veggies, and maybe some avocado and toss with our favorite homemade ranch dressing made using cultured dairy (found in Simple Food {for spring}).

For a quick, but not quite as accurate take on ranch, combine any mixture of cultured dairy and/or mayonnaise with parsley, garlic, lemon, and sea salt to taste.

Asian Chicken Salad

Combine greens with chopped chicken, chopped almonds, chopped cabbage, and chopped green onions. Toss in a vinaigrette made with lime juice, olive or sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.

Salad Nicoise

Top your greens with canned or fresh tuna, steamed potatoes & green beans, hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if you’re wild & crazy). Toss with a simple vinaigrette.

Of course, as peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes come into play there will be more of those crunchy delights and less leafy greens. Either way, the flavors of these salads turn fresh vegetables into a delicious and interesting meal.

What’s your favorite way to eat a main-dish salad?

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