Advertisement

Big salad recipes for easy weeknight dinners

A plate of salad with sliced radish and cheese
Big bowls of salad, teeming with vegetables and fruits and cheese, are ideal for easy end-of-summer cooking.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Share

After sitting down to dinner at a friend’s house a couple of days ago, I was confronted with something I hadn’t seen in a month: a big leafy green salad. Because of traveling on the East Coast, and eating out so much, I had forgotten the homey joys of a giant bowl packed with salad greens, various chopped vegetables and fruit, some cheese, nuts and seeds, etc. I promptly stuffed large forkfuls in my mouth, relishing the crunch of the lettuce spines while the bracing vinaigrette stung the corners of my lips. It was as good a welcome back to California as I can imagine.

To keep riding that salad high, I’ll be making riffs on substantial dinner salads all week, starting with this Chopped Pear Salad With Buttermilk Dressing that’s packed with fat cubes of pear and Gruyère cheese and topped with walnuts and sprouts. It’s based on a salad I had in Big Sur many years ago and think about often for how it felt cozy and refreshing at the same time. It’s perfect this time of year.

I revere Christian Reynoso’s Red Cabbage and Date Salad With Preserved Lemon and Pistachios in much the same way. The crunchy red cabbage feels grounding and bright while the dates and pistachios give the salad plenty of heft. Dates are in season in the markets now, so buy a few of the dozen or so varieties available and play around with them in this salad.

And David Tanis has a pair of salads that are on rotation particularly this week. His Radish Salad With Lime and Parmesan is ideal topped with any protein you like — grilled chicken, fish or shrimp all work great — or topped simply with some toasted nuts. And while it’s slightly early in the season, I love his Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad With Bitter Lettuces as a template for a salad made with radicchio. Use apples or pears instead of persimmons for now and keep it in your back pocket for whenever you want a simple but sustaining salad to make you feel right at home.

Advertisement

Chopped Pear Salad With Buttermilk Dressing

I prefer a firmer-when-ripe, not-so-mealy pear for this salad, like a Comice or, if you can find them, Warren pears from Frog Hollow Farms; their texture and aroma stand up the best to the cheese, walnuts and creamy dressing. Try the dressing without garlic first and then add it if you want it. It gives the dressing a Caesar-y feeling that can compete with the other flavors of the salad.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

A salad of butter lettuce with pear and Gruyere cheese
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Red Cabbage and Date Salad With Preserved Lemon and Pistachios

Dates get the slaw/salad treatment here, adding slivers of sweet and soft to the crunch and savoriness of this dish. This goes great with pork chops, braised chicken or warm flatbread and labneh.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

Overhead view of three plates with a slaw-like salad on a cutting board, with salad tossers next to them
(Rebecca Peloquin / For The Times)

Enjoying this newsletter?

Consider becoming a Times subscriber.

Radish Salad With Lime and Parmesan

It’s nice to make salads out of things you normally wouldn’t, like this one that’s mostly radishes. This is great on its own or served with a piece of roast chicken.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

Advertisement

A white plate of salad greens topped with thinly slided radishes and white cheese
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad With Bitter Lettuces

This salad has a nice combination of sweet and bitter, my favorite flavor pairing. If you don’t have lettuce, the fruit is a great salad in and of itself with a few mint leaves added. It would be great with some slivered fennel too.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

A white plate with a salad of red and white lettuce leaves, persimmon chunks and pomegranate seeds
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Have a cooking question?

Email us.

Advertisement