Yesterday for dinner, I served a 3 Bean Salad. My salad was from a can but it was quite good and nice and cool. It made me think of other salads that have no lettuce. It seemed a category worth exploring for cool summer eating.
I have a recipe I haven't made in quite a few years. It is made up of fresh green beans steamed but still quite crisp. One the beans are cooled, add diced tomato and make up a vinaigrette to dress the salad. Chill.
Of course, there are several variations on potato salad. I like the sort I grew up with which I prefer to serve warm, but a woman I know use to make a cold potato salad that was pretty and full of vegetables. Her recipe included grated carrots and bell peppers. Her potatoes were sliced and not diced and she did not have hard boiled eggs in her recipe but I've seen plenty online which include sliced hard boiled eggs.
Chik-Filet just announced they were dropping two items from their menu: chicken salad and carrot raisin salad. Carrot Raisin salad is something I really enjoy. Mama's never had pineapple in it but I've had some variations that did. It's fairly inexpensive to make and goes well with a cold salad plate or as part of a hot meal.
I had this Ramen Noodle salad at a group gathering.
I took some only to be polite but was pleasantly surprised that it was really good! It has dry ramen noodles, cabbage and mandarin oranges with almonds and a nice dressing. I'm going to get Ramen noodles, something I haven't had in the house since the kids left home and make this salad. I think it would be an excellent side with a piece of grilled steak or roasted chicken.
Caprese salad is a popular salad to serve and I think it's delicious. Sliced tomatoes and sliced fresh mozzarella with basil leaves and a balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top. It's that simple but so pretty and fresh.
While I was looking at recipes this evening, I found a caprese salad that used Watermelon slices instead of the tomatoes. That might be interesting to try.
John has had me make a cucumber and onion salad each summer. I make a light simple syrup and add that with vinegar to a jar that I've stuffed with white onion slices and sliced cucumbers. Personally it's a bit tart for my tastes. I do not do well with things that have a really sharp vinegar taste but John just loves it.
I'm going to try him with a German Cucumber Salad recipe I've just found. Thin sliced cucumbers are tossed with a dressing of dill weed, salt, pepper and sour cream. I expect he will like it, but I'm sure he'll remind me of the salad he likes best!
At a little Greek restaurant we've been served a lovely cucumber and tomato salad with feta cheese. It's dressed with a lemon vinaigrette dressing that has a touch of oregano. It's really nice and makes a great topping for a stuffed pita sandwich, as well. Recipes online include olives and/or chopped green peppers as well in this chunky nice salad.
A couple of summers ago I had a recipe for a watermelon and feta cheese salad that I topped with pistachio nuts. Epicurious website recommends using only a good few grinds of black pepper and perhaps red pepper flakes over the feta and melon. I added the pistachio nuts because I had them on hand at the time. It was a hit at my luncheon that day and I don't know why I haven't served it again, except that we haven't yet purchased a watermelon this summer.
Something Mama made often in summers and one recipe I'd like to revive for us, is an English Pea Salad. Mama used canned drained English peas, added in a chopped hard boiled egg, tiny diced bits of cheddar cheese, a little grated onion and then dressed the salad with pickle relish and mayonnaise. This is nice in a lettuce cup but you can also use the mixture to fill a red bell pepper half or to stuff a tomato. I'd like to try it with thawed frozen peas since I never have canned English peas on hand.
A salad I made last summer that took John by surprise was Panzanella. It's easy enough. Chunks of fresh tomato with stale cubes of bread (I use our homemade croutons), tossed with a simple olive oil and vinegar drizzle, salt and pepper. John was convinced I'd lost my mind and it couldn't possibly taste good but he did try and found he liked it.
These are just a few of the ideas I had as I was working on ideas for cool side dishes today. I hope some of them appeal to you enough to give them a try.