Easy dinner recipes: 3 refreshing no-cook salads in 20 minutes or less

Easy dinner recipes: 3 refreshing no-cook salads in 20 minutes or less
Recipe: Smoked chicken and cantaloupe salad (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Keep your kitchen cool tonight with these quick and simple no-cook ideas. Bright, colorful and easy to prepare, you can make these salads in just about no time.

Smoked chicken and cantaloupe salad: Arugula, shredded smoked or rotisserie chicken (use leftovers, or go for one of the pre-cooked chickens at the grocery store on your way home) and tender cubes of cantaloupe are tossed with a quick vinaigrette, making for a dish full of color, texture and great flavor. Best of all? It's ready in only 20 minutes.


California chicken salad: This chopped chicken salad also makes great use of leftover or storebought rotisserie chicken, combining the chopped meat with celery, black olives and apples. Sour cream and mayonnaise give the dressing extra richness, whisked with fresh lemon juice for extra tang. The whole thing comes together in 15 minutes, and can be chilled until ready to serve.

Cherry and apricot fruit salad: Showcase some of summer's best fruits with this colorful cherry, apricot and honeydew salad. Marinate the fruit with Muscat wine, sugar, lemon and lime juices, and fresh basil and you have another dish ready in only 15 minutes. Cover and chill until ready to serve. You can find the recipe below.


Total time: 15 minutes, plus marinating time | Serves 6

Note: From former test kitchen director Donna Deane. You can substitute a sweet white wine such as Sauternes, Barsac, Monbazillac, Muscat de Rivesaltes or Muscat de St.-Jean-de-Minervois for the Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.

    1 pound cherries, stemmed, pitted and halved
    1/2 pound apricots, halved, pitted and cut into wedges
    2 cups diced honeydew (cut into 1-inch pieces)
    1/2 cup Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 tablespoon lime juice
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 teaspoon minced basil

In a large bowl, combine the cherries, apricots and honeydew. Stir in the Muscat, then sprinkle in the sugar and add the lime juice and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Cover and let stand 30 minutes before serving so the flavors blend. Stir in the basil just before serving.

Each serving: 116 calories; 2 grams protein; 24 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 0 fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 13 mg. sodium

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