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Home & Garden

Dining In: Create a hearty salad

recipes by Karen Diefendorf
Springtime really is here--even though some days are more "springlike" than others. And spring meals classically center around salads. Try one or more of these to enjoy the light green of the season.

Tuna Cracked Wheat Salad
   2 1/2 c. water
   1 pkg. (8 oz.) wheat pilaf mix
   1/4 c. lemon juice
   1/4 c. olive oil
   2 cans (6 1/2 or 7-oz. each) tuna packed in water
   1 cucumber, pared, seeded, and diced
   1/2 c. diced carrot
   1/3 c. sliced green onions
   1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
   1 tomato, chopped
   1/2 c. pitted and sliced ripe olives
   1/2 cup chopped parsley
   1/4 tsp. salt
   Salad greens
   In medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add pilaf mix; reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and oil. Let stand at room temperature until cool. Stir in remaining ingredients except greens. Cover and chill several hours. Turn into bowl lined with salad greens and serve with yogurt dressing (below). Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Yogurt dressing
   2 8-oz. containers plain yogurt
   4 tsp. chopped fresh mint or 1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
   1/4 tsp. Tabasco pepper sauce
   In small bowl, combine all ingredients; chill. Makes 2 cups.

Veal-Barley Salad
   1 pound veal leg cutlets, cut 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick
   1 c. fresh asparagus pieces (1-1/4-inch pieces)
   2 c. warm cooked barley
   1/4 c. jarred roasted red pepper strips
   Romaine or bibb lettuce
   2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
   1-1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
   3/4 tsp. dried basil leaves
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1/4 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
   Pound veal cutlets to 1/8-inch thickness, if necessary. Stack veal; cut into 1x1-inch pieces. Set aside. In small bowl, combine dressing ingredients; set aside. In large nonstick skillet, heat small amount of water to boiling. Add asparagus; cook about 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. With slotted spoon, remove asparagus to large bowl; set aside. Pour off water from skillet. In same skillet, heat 1 teaspoon dressing over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1/2 the veal and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface is no longer pink (do not overcook).
   Remove veal. Repeat with remaining veal and additional 1 teaspoon dressing. Add veal and barley to asparagus. Add pepper strips and remaining dressing to barley mixture; toss to coat. Serve immediately over lettuce. Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1/4 of recipe). Per serving: 304 calories; 32g protein; 22g carbohydrate; 9g fat; 2.0mg iron; 240mg sodium; 91mg cholesterol.

Saffron Rice Salad
   2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
   1 tsp. olive oil
   2 drops hot pepper sauce
   1 clove garlic, minced
   1/4 tsp. ground pepper
   2-1/2 cooked rice at room temperature (cooked in chicken broth and 1/8 tsp. saffron--ground turmeric may be substituted for saffron)
   1/2 c. diced red pepper
   1/2 c. diced green pepper
   1/4 c. sliced green onions
   1/4 c. cup sliced ripe olives
   Lettuce leaves
   Combine vinegar, oil, pepper sauce, garlic, and pepper in large bowl. Add rice, peppers, onions, and olives; toss. Serve on lettuce. Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 182 calories, 4g protein, 4g fat, 32g carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 0mg cholesterol, and 874mg sodium.

Warm Oriental Mushroom and Shrimp Salad
   2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
   8 oz. fresh white mushrooms, halved (about 2 cups)
   1 c. fresh green beans, cut in halves
   1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger or 1 tsp. ground ginger
   1 tsp. minced garlic
   8 oz. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
   Rice wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
   1 c. cherry tomato halves
   2 c. lightly-packed bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
   In large skillet or wok, heat oil until hot. Add mushrooms, green beans, ginger, and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are just pink, about 1 minute. Stir in vinaigrette along with cherry tomatoes; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils, about 2 minutes. Serve over lettuce. Yield: 4 portions.

Rice wine vinaigrette
   1/4 cup water
   2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
   1 tsp. each sugar and cornstarch.
   Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.

Fresh Vegetable-Pasta Salad
   2 c. uncooked rotini pasta
   2/3 cup Italian nonfat dressing
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1/8 tsp. instant minced garlic
   1 tsp. sugar
   1 c. thinly sliced fresh zucchini
   1 c. chopped fresh broccoli
   1/2 c. thinly sliced, quartered red onion
   1 c. quartered cherry tomatoes
   1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
   1/4 c. finely shredded, reduced-fat, low moisture mozzarella cheese
   In 2-quart glass casserole, microwave 5 cups water at high (100%) until boiling. Add rotini. Microwave at high 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse, and set aside. Measure dressing, salt, garlic, sugar, zucchini, broccoli, and onion into glass casserole or bowl. Microwave at high 3 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender. Cool slightly. Combine noodles, cooled vegetables, and dressing, tomatoes, and mushrooms in serving bowl. Chill. At serving time, sprinkle with cheese. Eight servings. Per serving: Calories 106, Protein 4g, Fat 1g, Cholesterol 1g, Carbohydrates 20g, Sodium 281mg.

Microwave New Potato Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes plus chilling.
   2 pounds new (red skinned) potatoes, cut into quarters (about 6 cups)
   1/3 c. water
   1 c. salad dressing
   1/2 c. each chopped onion, celery slices, chopped sweet pickle, chopped red or green pepper
   1 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
   1/2 tsp. each celery seed, salt
   Combine potatoes and water in 2-quart glass casserole; cover. Microwave on high 14 to 16 minutes or until tender, stirring after 7 minutes. Drain. In large bowl, stir together remaining ingredients. Add potatoes; mix lightly. Chill. Makes 6 servings.

Southwest Salad
   1 16-oz. can kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
   1 c. frozen corn, thawed
   1 c. green or red sweet pepper, chopped
   1 c. tomato, chopped
   1/4-3/4 cup red onion, chopped
   1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
   4 Tbsp. cider (or other) vinegar
   1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
   1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
   1/8 tsp. sugar
   Dash of salt (optional)
   Combine all the vegetables in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, chili powder, sugar, and salt (if using it). Pour over the vegetable mixture. Cover and chili for at least a half hour so the flavors will blend. Can be refrigerated for 1-2 days ahead if desired. Stir before serving.