Looking for a fast dinner option? Nothing beats salad. Mix and match based on a favorite ingredient, complementing with what you have in the fridge and/or cupboards. Check out these salad ideas that come together in an hour or less.
The first recipe is a perfect way to use up leftover salmon, and also works well with other leftover fish -- or even chicken -- just change up the herbs as desired to suit your taste. For this version, flake grilled salmon over a salad of steamed red potatoes, avocado and watercress and toss with a simply seasoned lemon and olive oil-based dressing. It takes only about 40 minutes to prepare.
Salads are a great way to clean out leftovers you have on hand. Take some greens, add a little of this or that, and get creative. You can pick up a few ingredients, like a roast or rotisserie chicken, from the store, or find ways to use the leftovers in the fridge. For a quick dinner salad that's saved me on many a weeknight, check out this recipe for mixed greens with chicken, goat cheese and pecans below.
If you love a good salad, dinner doesn't get much better than this tricolore salad from Nancy Silverton. A simple yet colorful blend of nicely assertive lettuces (arugula, frisée and endive), the salad is tossed with a homemade anchovy dressing and topped with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GRILLED SALMON SALAD WITH POTATOES AND DILL
Active work time: 40 minutes * Total preparation time: 1 hour
12 baby red boiling potatoes
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound grilled salmon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large bunch watercress
Place the potatoes in a saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, and reduce the heat so the water just simmers. Cook the potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and run them under cold water until cool enough to handle.
While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the shallot, mustard, sugar, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Add pepper to taste.
Cut the potatoes into thin slices and place in a large salad bowl. Use a fork to flake the salmon into bite-size pieces. Add to the salad bowl along with the dill and avocado. Cut off and discard the tough stems of the watercress. Coarsely chop the rest and add to the salad bowl. Gently toss the salad with the dressing. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Serve immediately.
4 main-course servings. Each serving: 484 calories; 438 mg sodium; 54 mg cholesterol; 35 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 22 grams protein; 3.48 grams fiber.
MIXED GREENS WITH CHICKEN, GOAT CHEESE AND PECANS
Total time: 25 minutes
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 prepared rotisserie chicken, warm or at room temperature
9 cups loosely packed spinach
6 cups arugula
3 cups torn dandelion greens
1/2 red onion, sliced lengthwise into very thin strips
1 cup brined olives, such as niçoise or kalamata
1/3 cup capers
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the pecans with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 10 to 14 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
2. While the nuts are toasting, prepare the dressing: In a medium bowl, place the remaining one-half cup oil. Whisk in the sherry vinegar, then the mustard. Whisk in the thyme, oregano, one-half teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust as desired. This makes about 1 cup vinaigrette.
3. Remove the legs and breasts from the chicken. Chop the chicken into coarse cubes and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, arugula and dandelion greens. Toss in the red onion, olives and capers, then dress with one-half cup of dressing. Toss the salad, adding additional dressing as desired. Toss in the cubed chicken.
5. Divide the salad between 4 plates. Crumble the goat cheese in large chunks over the salads, then sprinkle over the pecans. Serve immediately.
Each of 8 servings: 469 calories; 30 grams protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 37 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 81 mg. cholesterol; 697 mg. sodium.
SALAD WITH PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO AND ANCHOVY DRESSING
Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: Four as a starter; two as a main course
5 anchovy fillets (preferably salt-packed), rinsed (backbones removed if salt-packed)
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, purée the anchovies, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube to create an emulsion. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if desired. This makes a generous one-half cup dressing; use the dressing or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
Salad and assembly
6 loosely packed cups arugula
5 packed cups frisée (leaves torn from the heads)
3 red Belgian endive, core removed and discarded leaves pulled from the core (you can substitute 4 cups torn radicchio leaves)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. In a large wide-mouth bowl, combine the arugula, frisée and endive. Sprinkle with one-half teaspoon salt or to taste, and toss gently with your hands to distribute the salt evenly. Drizzle one-half cup of the dressing and sprinkle over one-fourth cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, tossing gently with your hands to coat the lettuce leaves with the dressing. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, dressing or lemon juice if desired.
2. Pile the salad on a large plate or divide it among 4 individual plates. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of the Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top and serve.
Each of 4 servings: 376 calories; 8 grams protein; 20 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams fiber; 31 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 608 mg sodium.