Hot summer days include an abundance of summer produce from the garden, neighbor’s gardens and farmers markets. What better way to use flavorful summer produce than in stellar summer salads. It’s perfect fare for hot days when appetites wane.
Avocado and chicken salad is a unique, delicious salad. It features a delicious, subtle light green dressing of pureed avocado and mayonnaise. For vegetarians, prepare the salad without chicken and enjoy the flavorful dressing. Also, try the dressing to complement any favorite salad.
Ingredients for four servings: 1 avocado, ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, freshly ground black pepper, 3 cups diced cooked chicken, 4 celery stalks finely diced, 8-10 large butter lettuce leaves, 2 tablespoons parsley.
Preparation: Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Scoop out avocado and place in a bowl and mash with a fork until almost smooth. Blend in mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken and celery and combine thoroughly. Arrange lettuce leaves on four serving plates or shallow bowls. Next, mound the salad in the center. Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley, chopped walnuts, chopped apples or slivered almonds.
Frequently, salads feature the flavor and texture of fruit and nut combinations.
Fruit and berry salad with honey sauce is a delicious fruit salad served with either a honey sauce or a curry-honey sauce. Serves four.
Ingredients: 1 ripe mango peeled and cubed (about 1 1/2 cups), 4 cups chopped fresh pineapple, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 cup low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/4 teaspoon curry powder, optional, 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, and 1/3 cup toasted flaked coconut or sliced nuts for garnish.
Preparation: In a medium bowl, combine mango and pineapple. Toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. In a small bowl, make honey sauce by combining yogurt, honey and curry powder, optional. To serve, divide fruit among four serving plates. Sprinkle with raspberries and garnish with coconut or nuts. Serve honey sauce on the side.
Tropical chicken salad — Place 2 cups cubed cooked chicken and 1 cup chopped celery in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup mayonnaise with ½ to 1 teaspoon curry powder, depending on your taste. To start use the smaller amount of curry powder. Gradually add more curry powder until it tastes to your satisfaction. Add curried mayonnaise to the chicken mixture and mix well. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. You can make this salad the night before and then refrigerate it for serving the next day. Just prior to serving, add 1 20 ounce can drained chunk pineapple, 2 large firm sliced bananas, 1 11 ounce can drained mandarin oranges, and ½ cup flaked coconut (coconut is optional). Toss this mixture gently. Garnish with toasted almonds. Makes four to six servings.
Tropical fruit and turkey salad is a slight variation. Turkey stars as the protein element and curry is replaced by fresh ginger and different fruit.
First, combine in a large bowl the following ingredients to make the dressing: ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger. Next, stir in 2 cups cubed cooked turkey, 1 11 ounce can drained mandarin oranges, 1 cup chopped un-peeled apple, 1 cup grape halves, and 1 can 8-1/4 ounce drained pineapple chunks. Refrigerate salad mixture for at least 1 hour. Just prior to serving, garnish this flavorful salad with the crunch of ½ cup toasted almond slivers or pecan halves. Makes eight servings.
Enjoy cooling down summer’s heat with fresh, flavorful salads.