Archive for the 'Salads' Category



Memphis Mustard Slaw

Down in Memphis, we prefer a tangy mustard cole slaw with our barbeque rather than the traditional mayonnaise variety.

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous Ribs makes the best in town.  To me, their slaw should be just as “World Famous” as their ribs! Their tangy mustard dressing is perfectly balanced by a hint of vinegar. This slaw’s bold flavors perfectly compliment their legendary dry ribs.

When I was writing my cook book Simply Salads, I knew I needed to include a version of my hometown’s famous slaw.  I couldn’t get the secret recipe from the Vergos family … but I did learn that the base is good old French’s® Yellow Mustard. Nick Vergos told me that the Rendezvous has been using only that mustard since day one.

So with that tip as my start, I started playing around with the recipe.  After a few trials (and errors!), I am happy to say that my bright yellow slaw is pretty close to what’s serve at the Rendezvous.  Sometimes, I even give it a dash of the Rendezvous’ Dry Rub Seasoning just like they do at the restaurant.

So whether you are grilling ribs or chicken at your next barbecue, consider whipping up a batch of this tangy Memphis Mustard Slaw.

Enjoy!

Memphis Mustard Cole Slaw
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the dressing:
1/4 cup French’s® yellow mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ cups sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 bag (16 ounces) Classic Cole Slaw blend
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons celery seed
Hot sauce, to taste

For the dressing:
In small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
In a large salad bowl toss together the slaw, green bell pepper, and celery seed.  Add the dressing to taste and gently toss until well combined. Season with the hot sauce to taste.

Watermelon and Arugula Salad

I don’t think any fruit says summer and back-yard barbecues like watermelon. I love, my kids love it … a juicy, refreshing slice of watermelon is just hands-down a quintessential favorite.

Most people only think of serving watermelons sliced  … but one of my favorite ways to enjoy this juicy treat is in a salad.  I just love the whole “savory versus sweet” thing that goes on when you match ripe, sweet fruits with savory ingredients.

For this salad, I toss watermelon with spicy arugula. I find that a flavorful green like arugula provides a great contrast to the sweet fruit.  (Spinach would be a good substitute if you can’t find arugula.)

In the South, we like to salt our watermelon slices. (Don’t make a face if you haven’t tried it!) The piquancy of the salt actually enhances the melon’s sweetness.  To get that same experience in this salad, I add crumbled Feta cheese.  This salty cheese works the same way Kosher salt would on a cold slice of watermelon. Yum!

So for the next time you buy a watermelon … think salad rather than slices.

Enjoy!

Watermelon and Arugula Salad
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 small watermelon, seeded, rind removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package (5 ounces) Baby Arugula salad blend
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

For the vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and red wine vinegar.  Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

In a large salad bowl toss the salad blend, watermelon, feta cheese, and pine nuts. Add the vinaigrette to taste and gently toss.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Tip:  Add fresh mint leaves for an interesting zing to this refreshing salad.

Honey-Lime Corn Slaw

This is one of my favorite go-to summer slaws.  The sweet corn paired with the honey lime vinaigrette makes for a light and refreshing side. 

If fresh corn is not available, substitute frozen corn kernels.  Frozen corn kernels have a fresher taste and crunchier texture than the canned variety.

Enjoy!

Honey-Lime Corn Slaw
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

This light and piquant slaw is the perfect accompaniment for Southwest-flavored chicken and meats.  I also like to use it to garnish fish tacos.

For the Honey-Lime Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 bag (10 ounce) Angel Hair Cole Slaw
3 ears fresh corn, shucked
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Honey-Lime Vinaigrette:
In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, honey, and oil until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
Place ears of corn in a medium-size pot of boiling salted water.  Cook until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Drain, rinse with cold water to stop cooking, and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Using a small knife, carefully slice kernels off the cob; discard cobs.  Place kernels in a large salad bowl.

Add the slaw, red bell peppers, scallions, and cilantro and toss.

Add the honey-lime dressing to taste and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 side salads

Cooking Tip: To avoid flying kernels, stand cob upright in the bottom of a deep bowl.  Carefully slice corn off into the bowl.

BBQ Chicken Salad

When I was on Martha Stewart Living’s Everyday Food Radio Program today talking to host Betsy Karetnick talking about Summertime Salad Suppers, this tasty salad came to mind. 

With the grilled chicken, black bean & corn salsa, and sliced avocados, this salad satisfies as a main course without being too heavy.  It is the perfect summer time meal!

I like to make the black bean & corn salsa and the buttermilk dressing in advance, so when dinner time comes around…I can just sit on my back porch and enjoy the summer evening while my chicken is grilling.

Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Black Bean and Corn Salsa
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

Cowboys look out! This salad combines the best of the Southwest all in one dish.

For the Black Bean and Corn Salsa:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, cooked as per package directions, drained, and cooled
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3/4 cup your favorite BBQ Sauce
1 bag (12 ounces) American or Romaine salad blend
2 ripe avocados, halved, pit removed, peeled, and thinly sliced
2 cups tortilla chips

For the Black Bean and Corn Salsa:
Combine the black beans, corn, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, oil, vinegar, and cayenne in a medium-size mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day in advance.

For the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing:
In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, thyme, and chives.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the salad:
Place the chicken breasts in a large bowl and coat with BBQ sauce.  Cover and marinate in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat a clean grill to medium-high.  Season the marinated chicken with salt and pepper.  Grill until no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes.

Divide the salad blend equally among the individual plates.  Drizzle with the dressing to taste.  Arrange on top a generous spoonful of the black bean and corn salsa, the sliced avocados, tortilla chips, and a chicken breast.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 dinner salads.

Cooking Tip:  The black bean and corn slaw is such a versatile…and tasty… condiment.  Serve as a dip with chips, serve it with fajitas, or bring it to a barbecue as a side dish.

Creamy Broccoli Slaw

Coleslaw without the cabbage?

Yes! It can be done…and be quite tasty!

Almost any vegetable can be used to make a delicious slaw.

Shredded carrots and broccoli might be the most popular alternative to cabbage. But vegetables such as jicama, celery root, kohlrabi, and even kale also make perfect bases for delicious slaws.

I joke about this … but the person who decided to shred and bag broccoli stems as a slaw is a genius!  Almost too tough and fibrous to eat, broccoli stems transform into a crunchy treat when shredded.  What a great use of healthy leftovers!

My Creamy Broccoli Slaw is a play on the sweet broccoli and raisin salad served at delis.  The original version is made with broccoli florets that need to be blanched before tossing with the other ingredients.  I skip that step by simply reaching for a pre-shredded bag of broccoli slaw mix.  It’s healthy, delicious, and someone else has done the prep work for me!

Enjoy!

Creamy Broccoli Slaw
From my cookbook Simply Salads

For the dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

For the slaw:
1 bag (16 ounces) Broccoli Cole Slaw blend
1/2 pound bacon (about 10 slices), cooked, drained on paper towels, cooled, and crumbled
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the dressing:             

In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, and champagne vinegar until sugar has dissolved. 

For the salad:

Place the slaw, bacon, onion, raisins, and sunflower seeds in a large salad bowl. Toss the slaw mix with the dressing, to taste, until well coated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 side salads.

Cooking Tip: Champagne vinegar has a light and mild flavor perfect for dressing a delicately flavored salad.  White wine vinegar is a good, but not quite as mild, substitute.

Variation: Omit the bacon for a vegetarian version.

Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds

This is of my favorite salads.  It has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. I could wax poetic about how each element of the combination … the sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the lettuces, saltiness from the cheese, and crunch from the nuts … compliments the others.  But I will spare you the rhetoric and just tell you in plain terms … it’s darn good!

The Blush Wine Vinaigrette is my homemade version of Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette.  When I was writing my cookbook Simply Salads, I took some of my favorite store-bought dressings and did my best to imitate them. At times my kitchen resembled a strange sort of vinegar and oil laboratory! Some attempts worked; others didn’t.  But I am proud to say that I may even like my homemade version of this dressing better than the original. It’s brighter in flavor (thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice), has no preservatives or MSG, and costs so much less than the bottled original.

Hope this becomes one of your favorite salad combos too!

Enjoy!

Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds
From my cookbook Simply Salads

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 bag (8 ounces) Mediterranean salad blend
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup red grapes, halved
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (preferably Maytag)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.  Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

In a large salad bowl toss together the salad blend, strawberries, grapes, scallions, almond slices, and crumbled blue cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Cooking Tip:  Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients.  Try substituting spinach or using green grapes or dried cranberries. Goat cheese is also a nice substitute for the blue cheese.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

I love peanut butter!

Whether in a dessert, paired with chocolate (Mr. Reese’s was  genius in my book), in a PB & J sandwich, I just can’t resist it. (I have to admit most often I just eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar!)

When most people think of peanut butter, they think of dessert or the classic children’s sandwich, but did you know that peanut butter is absolutely wonderful in savory dishes?

When I was writing my book Simply Salads, one of the first dressings that came to mind was a peanut dressing I had once enjoyed at a restaurant.  

The cloyingly sweet peanut butter makes a delicious sauce when paired with Asian-cuisine staples such soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and fresh ginger. 

Peanut sauce is also very versatile. In addition to a salad dressing, I often use it as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp, or as a dipping sauce for veggies, spring rolls or chicken satays.

Which peanut butter to use?  I developed this recipe using good old Jiff creamy peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter works fine as well; the sauce will just not be as smooth. If you want to use natural or freshly-ground peanut butter, you may want to add a little extra honey.

So … Peanut butter lovers beware.  The dressing in this colorful and tasty salad is addictive.

Enjoy!

Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
From Simpy Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the Peanut Dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1/2 cup Peanut Dressing
1/2 cup fresh snow peas
1 bag (5 ounces) Spring Mix salad blend
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a traditional grater
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
2 limes, quartered, for garnish

For the Peanut Dressing:
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, canola oil, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Add snow peas and cook until vibrant green and crisp tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain the peas and immerse in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain again and place in a large salad bowl.

Add the salad blend, chicken, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts and toss. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss to coat. Garnish with lime wedges.  Serve immediately.

Tip: To save time, pick up a roasted rotisserie chicken at your local grocery for this recipe. The meat will be fresh, juicy, and flavorful. 

Makes 4 dinner salads

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts & Citrus Vinaigrette

Beets are one of those things that I used to always turn my nose up at.  Well…to be honest…that’s putting it mildly.  I’d say for the first thirty-something years of my life, they would have been listed at the top of my “Yuck!” list.  “Why would anyone want to eat those slimy canned red things that seemed to just languish on the salad bar?” was my sentiment.

Then one day…it all changed.

I was at my favorite NYC restaurant (Balthazar) and when my salad arrived, there were beets!  How I missed that on the description I have no idea.  I would have never ordered anything with beets!   

My friend laughed at me as I forked through the lettuce leaves like a picky toddler.  She dared me to eat a beet and, never one to turn down a food challenge, I took a bite. 

I am sure there was a look of shock on my face.  What I tasted was nothing like the beets I had eaten so long ago in my high school cafeteria.  These little red slices were sweet, earthy, and … surprisingly delicious. 

Since that fateful day, I have become a huge fan of fresh roasted beets.  (I still won’t touch the canned variety!) The simple process of roasting these little orbs brings out their almost candy-like sweetness.  Just wrap them in foil, pop them in the oven, and 45 minutes to an hour later…you have a delicious treat.

Give beets a try in this Roasted Beet Salad from my cookbook Simply Salads.  The orangey citrus vinaigrette complements the beet’s sweetness and the tangy goat cheese adds a nice contrast.

Enjoy!

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts, and Citrus Vinaigrette

Makes 4 dinner salads or 6 appetizer salads   

Roasting beets brings out their natural sweet and earthy flavor. They will taste nothing like the canned beets that you find in the self serve salad bar.

For the Citrus Vinaigrette:

1/2 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

1/2 pound small to medium beets, stems trimmed and scrubbed
1 bag (5 ounces) Sweet Baby Greens salad blend
1 log (4 ounces) fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup candied walnuts 

For the Citrus Vinaigrette:

In small bowl whisk together the shallots, lemon juice, orange juice, orange zest, Dijon mustard, and oil until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil. Place the foil packet on a baking sheet and bake until the tip of a sharp knife easily slides through the beets, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool. Once cool enough to handle, use paper towels to peel the beets. Cut into quarters.

Divide the salad blend equally among the plates.  Top with the beets and then drizzle with the vinaigrette to taste.  Crumble the goat cheese on top and garnish with candied walnuts.


Jennifer Chandler

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