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Main Course Salads

Since my last post about salads, I have been diving into my books searching for salads that pack a bit more heft. And there are lots to choose from!

Someone asked on Yahoo! Answer "What are the components of a main course salad?" Unfortunately, there were only 2 replies to the question and neither one, in my opinion, provide a complete picture. One was whatever takes your fancy goes into the salad bowl, the other gave a list of a rather limited list of possible salad candidates.

Apart from being able substantial, a main course salad should also be a visual candy. A riot of colours, texture and taste. The last thing any hungry diner would wish for is a huge pile of bland and limp salad tossed together from tired looking leftovers placed in front them.

To my reckoning, main course salad should be (a) hearty and filling; (b) a one-dish meal; and (c) a feel-good meal. And the components of a main course salad should include (but not limited to):

~ Greens ~
Except for maybe carrot and raisin salad, I put greens in the salad bowl, both main course and side. Isn't eating more greens the real reason behind eating a salad? Besides, looking at a big plate pile high with bright greens tells me my toilet break will be a short one. There are basically 3 main catagories of salad greens: bitter, tender and crisp. I tend to go for the neutral tasting and crisp lettuce. I've seen supermarket sell bags of salad green pre-washed. Maybe I should pick up a bag to try.

~ Meat ~
The thought of going meat-less makes me feel deprived even though I do go meat-less unconciously most weekdays during lunch. But just like breathing, it feels ardurous when you are doing it conciously. So in order for my main course salad to be a feel-good salad, I need meat in it. Grilled or roasted leftovers are prefect for the job. Alternatively, this can be replaced with mushrooms, beans or tofu.

~ Filler ~
To be promoted to a main course status, a salad must be hearty and filling on its own. I usually look at additions such as pasta, noodles, potatoes, hard boiled eggs, etc. Basically this is where the carbo loading will come in.

~ Dressing ~
Basically there are 2 broad types of dressing: creamy or vinaigrette. I am so over mayonnaise, except in potato and egg salad. The last time I was in a bit of a rush to get dinner to the table and used ready-made mayo on for my prawns and avocado salad. I fed 80% of it to the bin. There are many types of dressings out there which I am looking to explore.

I have put together a list of them to try out and hope they are good enough to share them here.

Here's a quick run-down of those that I have already tried:

Thai-style Tomato and Shrimp Salad

Chicken Salad with Mango, Avocado and Citrus dressing

Nicoise Salad

Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken and Avocado

Grilled Lemongrass Beef and Noodle Salad

Sauteed peppers with feta cheese, olives, tomatoes and cucumber dressed with lemon caper vinaigrette

Some of them may not have recipes or links to recipe included in the post. If you are interested in any of the recipes here, do drop me a line.


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