A lemony cucumber salad is the perfect antidote to a brutally hot day. And, with July nearly here, the temperature (at least in NY) is forecast to soar well into the 90s! This salad is cool, refreshing, and you don’t have to cook anything. It’s also ready in about five minutes. So, it’s great when you have a bad case of the hungries and don’t want to wait a long time to eat (look further down the page for tips on making this a full meal).
I made my cucumber salad with romaine lettuce, English cucumber (the long seedless kind), fresh lemon juice, and dill. If you use the English cucumber, you don’t have to peel it; which is a welcome extra shortcut. I used dried dill, but fresh is even better, if you have some.
On the other hand, if you would rather have a meal that’s a bit heartier, toss in some sort of extra protein. You could add a sliced hardboiled egg, a bit of crumbled feta or goat cheese, or even shredded leftover chicken. With the protein, the recipe as written is enough for lunch. If you want to have it for dinner, double the quantities of everything.
Ever get stumped by what to do with leftover steak? Steaks aren’t sold for one person, generally. The portions are too big! It’s not enough for another steak dinner, and too much to toss without guilt.
You could make a steak sandwich, or try something a bit different and toss it into a steak salad. Add some veggies, goat cheese, and a homemade red wine vinaigrette and you’ve got a delicious dinner without any cooking. Cold leftover steak salad is the perfect solution for hot summer days when the thought of turning on the stove is too much to bear.
This recipe is inspired by a steak salad on Food Network. I liked the basic idea, but wasn’t about to buy three kinds of greens, extra red onions, or bleu cheese (since bleu cheese and I don’t get along). I used just one kind of lettuce (green leaf) instead and swapped the bleu cheese for herbed goat cheese.
This is best with leftover steak (since it’s already cold), but you can pan fry a small piece if you want and let it rest (or chill in the fridge) while you do something else. Use the rest for a steak sandwich or in a stir fry.
Anyone else here a starch fiend (waits and looks for raised hands)? I just love potato salad, but I’m not that crazy about the usual heavy versions loaded with mayo. This Dijon mustard vinaigrette potato salad is different. It’s French, for one thing, which means there’s no mayo in it. Instead, it has olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard for a bit of bite.
It’s really easy to make, without a lot of fussing. You can eat it warm out of the pan, at room temperature, or chilled. Since there’s no mayonnaise, it also travels well if you’re going on a picnic or to a barbecue (make more!).
The best part? No peeling (oh, the scandal)! That makes the prep time faster. And, you get more vitamins too.
Oh, the humble potato. It’s not so humble after William Sonoma finishes with it. And their potato salads have artichokes, feta cheese, or red bell pepper. (There’s also recipes for fries, and roasted fingerling potatoes). One reviewer said she got it from the library – but her family wouldn’t let her return the book! So, rather than risk a giant fine, she bought a copy.
Potato salad with seafood, pesto, nicoise, and tarragon and lamb. Lots of delicious combinations you may have never thought of.
More Potato Salad Recipes Without Mayo
German potato salad – Bacon, vinegar, and onions give this potato salad a nice tang. Italian potato salad – Lots of garlic (don’t kiss anyone after you eat it), and a few simple ingredients. Best served at room temperature. Greek potato salad – Made with feta cheese, parsley, and onion (no mayonnaise in sight). Herb Potato Salad – Recipe from Ina Garten with tarragon and wine.
Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette Potato Salad Substitutions and Variations
add a hard boiled egg
mix up your potatoes (try it with some red potatoes)
I spotted this white bean salad with sun dried tomatoes when I was shopping. It sounded delicious: beans, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, spinach. Healthy and tasty!
The price was a bit of a turn off though: $8.00 a pound?! For beans? Nope. I had dry beans at home, but it was too hot to start cooking them. So, I trotted over to the canned beans section. Instead of $8.00 a pound, I got a whole can of beans for 88 cents (on sale!). Score!
The rest was easy (and no cooking needed on a hot day).
Just soak the sun dried tomatoes, pour the beans into a bowl, roughly chop the spinach, chop some onion, and let it sit for a while to let the flavor develop.
Chopped Israeli salad isn’t quite what you might assume. It doesn’t have lettuce or carrots. It’s not even eaten when you’d expect. Israeli salad isn’t for lunch or dinner. Instead people eat it for breakfast with eggs, hummus, pita bread, fish, and olives. Not being much of a standard American breakfast person, I approve!
Of course, all of those things make a great lunch too, especially on a hot day whenyou don’t want to get anywhere near a stove or an oven. I adapted this recipe from a comment on Tori Avery’s web site.
She had a recipe for Israeli salad, and a commenter, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, pointed out that there’s a Persian version called “salad e-shirazi.”
She said it calls for red onion and parsley (neither of which I had). However, I did decide to follow her suggestion and use lime juice instead of lemon juice and add mint.
Make sure to use either Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers (rather than the standard kind). The Persian (or mini) cucumbers are shorter and thinner than standard cucumbers and usually sold in sealed packages. The English (or hothouse) cucumbers are the long, skinny ones individually wrapped in plastic wrap.
They’re easier to cut up and you don’t have to peel them! Also, the standard cukes tend to be more bitter.
I cut everything up, mixed it together, and left it out on the counter for a couple of hours (there’s nothing to spoil quickly) so that the flavors would blend.Also, if you put tomatoes in the fridge, they start to lose their flavor.
You can serve this salad with the pita and etc. I mentioned above for a light meal or as a side dish with a sandwich or some eggs. You can make plain scrambled eggs, a frittata, or keep the Persian theme going and serve it with Persian eggs. I added about 1/4 C of eggplant I had left over (recipe here and it’s even for one person).
There’s no picture of the eggs because I was hungry and started eating before I remembered to take one!
You can squeeze the lime with your hands, but it’s a bit messy. It’s much easier (and neater) to use a reamer instead. And since it’s made by Oxo, it’s comfortable to use. Tip: Leave the fruit out to get to room temperature (or zap it in the microwave for 5 seconds). It will juice more easily.
You can use a sharp knife to cut up your salad, but it’s even easier with a salad chopper. The double blades chop the salad, veggies, cheese, etc into tiny little pieces. And it takes a lot less effort. Just rock your hand back and forth.
It’s too hot to do much cooking, but this Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad doesn’t require too much time standing over the stove. You only have to boil the egg and the potato. You can use leftover chicken if you have it, or grab a rotisserie chicken from the market.
I call it (in my head) Fairway Market salad, because that’s where I got the idea. It’s pretty flexible, but the constants (at least for me), are the chicken, spinach (and/or mixed greens), boiled potato, and hard boiled egg.
You can change it to suit your own tastes or whatever you have in the fridge.
Since it was too hot to roast a chicken, I got a rotisserie chicken and used that for my salad. If you want it vegetarian, or don’t have a cooked chicken, you can leave it out. On a cooler day, make an extra chicken thigh and season it with lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I adapted the salad dressing recipe from Ina Gartner.
Spinach Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
A healthy, summery salad, full of veggies. This is flexible, so add different vegetables, nuts, bacon, or cheese to suit your taste (and what's in your fridge).
One to two large handfuls mixed greens and/or spinach leaves (washed thoroughly and patted dry)
One large egg
One small potato
1/4 cucumber, sliced
4-5 grape tomatoes, sliced in half (or one small beefsteak tomato, sliced in wedges)
1-2 slices prosciutto or cooked bacon (optional)
3-4 sugar snap peas (string removed and cut up into chunks)
1/3 C shredded cooked chicken
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp chopped garlic
2 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
Cut the potato into chunks, and add them to a small pan filled with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes.
While the potato is cooking, fill a small enamel pan with water and add the egg. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes (use the longer time if the egg is right out of the fridge). Remove the egg, and rinse it under cold running water to stop the cooking process and make it easier to peel.
When the potato cubes are done, strain them, and rinse under cold water (so you don't have a hot potato in your cold salad).
Now, add the greens, cucumber, tomatoes, bacon or prosciutto, snap peas, and whatever other veggies you like, to a large bowl. Add the chicken.
Mix together the mustard, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Gradually add the olive oil, stirring with a whisk or a fork so that it blends together.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it.
If you're lazy, you can cook the potato and the egg in the same pan. Remove the egg after 10-12 minutes of simmering. Let the potato cook another 10 minutes. This way, there's only one pan to wash instead of two.
Substitutions and Variations for Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad
Make the dressing with lemon juice instead of vinegar
Add some whole or sliced almonds
Top with grated parmesan or manchego cheese
Cook a couple of slices of bacon and crumble them over the top
As colorful as it is tasty, this Asian chicken salad with cabbage proved to be an inspired invention. I was sick and didn’t feel like cooking much, plus I could hardly taste anything. This colorful, spicy salad helped improve my appetite. It looked pretty (with the cabbage, peppers, and carrots), and I could taste it! It was also a good way to keep using up the giant cabbage I got from FreshDirect.
The dressing is straight from a recipe I found online in The New York Times recipe section. I don’t like a lot of dressing, so this made about 4 servings of dressing for me. Your mileage may vary.
This chicken salad is pretty easy to make, and you can quickly make the Asian dressing in advance if you like.
Before I got sick I had defrosted a chicken thigh that I had to use up, so I just seasoned that with ginger, garlic, a bit of soy sauce, and some sriracha. Then all I had to do was pop it in the oven for an hour. Easy!
The recipe would work just fine with leftover rotisserie chicken, or even some leftover Chinese pork.
If you don’t want meat, you could add cold noodles, ramen noodles, slivered almonds, or extra veggies.
A slightly spicy, bright, and colorful asian chicken salad that's hard to resist (even when you're sick).
1/4 C red cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, cut in chunks, or shredded
4-5 mini bell peppers, top removed, and sliced
1/8 (about an inch or two) seedless cucumber
1 chicken leg or thigh
1 garlic clove, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
3 T rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
5 T canola oil
2 T sesame oil
Season the chicken and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Remove and let sit until it is cool enough to handle.
Prepare the veggies and mix them together in a large bowl.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a mini-chopper and pulsing until all the ingredients are chopped up and mixed together.
Once the chicken has cooled, remove the meat from the bone.
Put the veggies and chicken in a large bowl and pour the dressing over it.
I included the cooking time for the chicken in the recipe preparation notes. If you use pre-cooked chicken the whole thing will be finished in 15 minutes.
I had a big bag of mini mixed bell peppers, so I used those (they also helped make the food look more appealing) and a seedless cucumber, so that’s what I used.
You could use regular bell peppers, add snow peas, mushrooms, or regular cucumbers too. Food should be flexible, and unless it’s baking, you should adjust recipes to fit what you have or what you prefer to eat.
More Single Serving and Small Batch Cabbage, Chicken, and Asian Recipes
I use this all the time. It’s so much easier than dragging out a big food processor. And, with space at a premium, it’s a lot easier to store it too. Use it for the dressing, to chop garlic or onions, cut up potatoes, and make pesto without making a big mess.
Huy Fong, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, 17 Ounce Bottle This stuff has become so popular it’s almost a cliché, but it’s also versatile enough to use in eggs, salads, meatballs, or on chicken. Just a little bit adds a big punch of flavor, without being too spicy or too sweet.
Making chicken salad with leftover chicken certainly isn’t a new idea, but this recipe is a bit different. I usually follow (mostly) a chicken salad recipe from the The Silver Palate Cookbook which calls for sour cream, walnuts, and tarragon. Incidentally, that is one of my favorite cookbooks. I’m on my second copy, and I think I’m almost ready for a third.
The Silver Palate recipe is very good, but yesterday I felt like something different. I didn’t have all of those ingredients, but I did have some Greek yogurt, black currants and a bit of leftover red bell pepper.
It’s common to use celery in this sort of salad, but not being a big celery fan, I never have any in the fridge. I thought that the currants would add sweetness and the bell pepper would give the salad a bit more color as well as some extra sweetness and a satisfying crunch (without any celery!).
This chicken salad is a bit lighter than most chicken salads because it uses Greek yogurt instead of mayo. Much as I love rich and creamy foods, I somehow happen to prefer chicken salad that’s a little less “mayonnaisy.” The yogurt adds a bit of tanginess that contrasts with the creaminess of the mayonnaise. Use about three parts mayonnaise to one part yogurt.
It was easy, quick, tasty, and great for a hot day when I didn’t feel like cooking or fussing in the kitchen.
Summer is in full swing. It’s hot, it’s sticky, and I really wasn’t terribly motivated to cook the other day (gasp). I wanted something quick, refreshing, and truly easy to make. I looked in the fridge and saw that I had some cottage cheese, yogurt, and a container of fresh mango.
Then I remembered that there used to be a store near me that sold fresh Greek yogurt with fruit, honey, and vanilla. They had all sorts of combinations: mango, blueberry, peach, and fig. It was delicious.
Sadly. they’ve closed up and moved away from my neighborhood now, so I can’t get their yogurt without making a special trip. While I can’t recreate their yogurt exactly, I can use Fage plain yogurt instead.
Trying to recreate that yogurt salad sounded like a good idea, but I did want something just a bit more substantial than just yogurt and fruit, so I added cottage cheese as well to make a cottage cheese yogurt and fruit salad.
The proportions are about two parts cottage cheese to one part yogurt.
A quick easy meal for a hot summer day, this combines cottage cheese, yogurt, and fresh mango.
1 cup cottage cheese (I like the Axelrod chunky California style)
1/3 C plain Greek yogurt
1/4 C sliced fresh mango (or use some defrosted Trader Joe's mango chunks)
honey to taste
a dash of vanilla extract
Combine the cottage cheese and yogurt in a bowl.
Add the mango.
Drizzle the honey and vanilla extract over the fruit
If you don't have mango, it works equally well with other fruit: especially blueberries, strawberries, and peaches.
I’ve put this under “15 minute meals” but it isn’t even that much. It’s closer to five minutes. Just dump, mix, and drizzle. Easy!
Substitutions and Variations
You can, of course, use another fruit. This works with strawberries, blueberries, peaches, figs, blackberries and raspberries. Or use a combination of fruits instead. It does not work well (in my opinion) with apples or grapes.
I was so pleased with last week’s spinach and feta salad with strawberries that I decided to try another variation, this time with blueberries. Plus, the spinach and the blueberries at the market looked so fresh that I couldn’t resist buying them.
I changed the dressing from balsamic vinaigrette to a lemony vinaigrette made with olive oil, vinegar, and lemon peel. I topped it all off with a mixture of nuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds.
I bought the nut/seed combination already mixed, you can add some, or all of the ingredients, depending on what you have in your pantry, your personal taste, or whether you feel like going to the store to get anything you haven’t got handy. You definitely don’t have to add all of them!
The resulting blueberry spinach salad with feta cheese is crispy, a little salty (from the nuts), tangy from the lemon, and sweet from the blueberries.
And, it’s even red, white, and blue. It would be great for a Fourth of July picnic or party. Just throw it together ahead of time and add the dressing when it’s ready to serve. Gotta have something healthy in-between all those hot dogs!