When you get one of those summer days when it is just too hot to cook, and we get a lot of them here in Texas, you really need a few family friendly, main dish salad recipes.
To keep things easy, make extra chicken and beef when you are grilling on the weekend and store in the refrigerator in a storage bag. When you are ready to make your salad, it is all ready to toss right in.
This cool classic is versatile â€“add what you love and leave out what you donâ€™t. Serves 6-8
- 1 head of lettuce, torn in bite sized pieces
- 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning or grilled chicken
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Chopped bell peppers
- Corn kernels
- Chopped tomatoes
- Diced avocado
- Grated cheese
- Sour cream
- Cilantro, chopped
- Tortilla chips
- Place the lettuce on a large platter.
- Add the vegetable ingredients that you prefer.
- Add the meat on top of that.
- Top each serving with a scoop of sour cream, salsa, grated cheese, and cilantro.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
A chilly salad with a little bit of everything. Serves 6-8
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- 1/2 cup chopped black olives
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
- 2 hardboiled eggs chopped
- 1/2 lb. bacon, crumbled
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup broken corn chips
- 1/2 cup diced avocado
- 1/2 cup diced tomato
- 1/2 cup diced cucumber
- 1/2 cup diced cheese
- 1 chipotle in adobo, finely chopped – optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup lettuce chopped
- About 1/2 cup Ranch Dressing
- Mix everything together gently.
- Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
- Check flavor and add salt and pepper as needed.
Chicken Macaroni Salad
Old fashioned macaroni salad with some extra punch.
- 1 lb. Â elbow macaroni
- 1 lb. grilled chicken breast, cubed
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. mustard
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1 cup choppedÂ red bell pepper
- 1 -2 jalapenos, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1 cup salad olives, drained
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Pour in macaroni and cook until very tender.
- Drain completely.
- Combine mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Put macaroni, chicken, celery, carrot, onion, peppers, and olives in a large bowl.
- Pour mayonnaise mixture over and combine gently.
- Chill overnight. Add a little more dressing if necessary before serving.
Blacked-eyed Pea Salad
A unique, vegetarian salad that will please the budget. Serves 6-8
- 6 cups cooked black eyed peas
- 1 yellow pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 3 cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped coarsely
- 1 tsp. dried chipotle or ancho powder
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (more to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine salad ingredients.
- Combine vinaigrette ingredients.
- Shake well and pour over salad.
- Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour.
This unusual pasta salad has a slightly Oriental twist. Serves 6 â€“8
- 1 lb. orzo, cooked
- 1 lb. grilled shrimp or chicken
- 4 cups steamed green beans
- 1 purple onion chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 1 tbs sesame seed oil
- 1 cup hulled, roasted sunflower seeds
Ginger Lime Dressing
- 3 tbs sesame oil
- 2 tbs Ume Plum Vinegar or rice vinegar
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- One garlic clove grated
- 3 tbs honey
- Juice and grated rind of 1/2 lime
- Salt and pepper
- Mix the vegetables, meat, and orzo.
- Heat the sesame oil in a small pan over medium high.
- Add the sunflower seeds and stir rapidly until browned
- Add to the orzo mixture and stir well.
- Mix the ingredients for the dressing and pour over orzo mixture.
- Stir gently to mix.
- Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
photo credits: Marye Audet