Quinoa, lentil, vegetable and more: 11 lettuce-free salads

Love salad but tired of all those greens? Now you can have your salads lettuce-free with recipes revolving around quinoa, lentils, garbanzo beans, seasonal vegetables and more with these ideas, ready in an hour or less:

Shaved asparagus with mushrooms and Parmesan crumble: Shaved asparagus spears are tossed with thinly sliced mushrooms and walnuts in a bright vinaigrette in this simple salad, topped with crumbled Parmesan crisps. A perfect dish whether you're planning for company or a simple meal with the family.


Shaved fennel salad with smoked salmon: Shaved fennel is tossed with a light lemon dressing, the salad served alongside smoked salmon in this simple but colorful salad, ready in minutes.

Chickpea salad with chorizo: Whether you call them garbanzo beans or chickpeas, if you're a fan, you won't get a much better chance to enjoy them than this refreshingly bright salad, one of our Top 10 Recipes from 2011. Marinate chickpeas in a blend of lemon juice, olive oil and salt, then toss them with some Spanish chorizo, tomatoes and a little garlic, green onion, parsley and bell pepper. Marinate the beans first thing in the morning, then assemble the salad in the last few minutes before you sit down to eat. It makes a colorful side or a perfect light meal.

Curried chickpeas: The curry blend in this recipe gives an otherwise simple salad wonderful depth and robust flavor. Coriander and cumin lend fragrant earthiness, with a little cayenne pepper added for a hint of heat. The caramelized onions add richness, and the cilantro and lemon juice brighten the salad nicely, distinguishing the flavors. You can make it in advance; this is one salad that improves with chilling time.

Cool rice and cucumber salad: When we want to bring out the best in rice, cook it like pasta in a big pot of water. As Food columnist Russ Parsons notes, this makes for grains that are light and separate, not sticking or clumped together. For a refreshing salad idea, toss the cooled grains with cucumber and a bright, tangy dressing. Yes, there is lettuce, but only for garnish, and that's optional. The dish can be made ahead of time and chilled until ready to serve.

Huckleberry's roasted carrots with avocado: Roasted carrots are tossed with fresh avocado, with rich flavors including earthy cumin, fresh cilantro and lemon juice. Colorful, bright and refreshing, this is a great summer dish that you can make ahead of time if you're planning for company.

Quinoa salad with grilled corn, tomatoes and cilantro: Combine quinoa with corn, tomatoes, chile, green onions and a touch of salt. Toss in a light dressing of lime juice, oil, garlic and cumin for a refreshing dish that comes together in just 1 hour.

Shell pasta salad with lemon zest: Sweet cherry tomatoes and vibrant zucchini strips lend bright colors to this pasta salad, and the fresh lemon zest adds a nice zing. The pasta salad comes together in minutes, the flavors rounded out with fresh chopped basil and rich Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Quinoa lentil salad with tomatoes: Nutty quinoa, French lentils, fresh mint and parsley, a little garlic and some bright tomatoes make a perfect salad, whether you're looking for a light main course or flexible side dish. (And if you don't tell, your guests probably won't even suspect that it's vegetarian!)

BLD's fresh vegetable salad: BLD tosses its homemade dressing -- fresh, lightly herbal, sweetened with a touch of honey and with just the right amount of tang -- with a wonderfully bright and colorful salad of crunchy fresh corn, edamame, roasted bell peppers and green beans, along with diced avocado and toasted cashews. It tops the salad with fresh sprouts and a drizzle of nutty hemp seeds.

Garbanzo and fresh vegetable salad: When you're looking to add heft to a dish, beans are always a great choice. They add depth and substance, a richness you might find with the addition of meat, but they're perfect for vegetarian diets. Garbanzos are great for adding nutty notes, here tossed with fresh vegetables and a bright lemon vinaigrette. You can find the recipe below.


Total time: 25 minutes, plus 1 hour standing | Serves 8

2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups diced yellow squash
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 bunches watercress

Toss together garbanzo beans, celery, cucumber, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, green onions and parsley in bowl. Combine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Pour over vegetables. Add salt and pepper and toss to coat. Let salad stand about one hour to marinate. To serve, arrange watercress on plate or platter and spoon salad on top.


Each serving: 172 calories; 790 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 31 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 2.48 grams fiber.

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