Greens these days are looking a little sad, so I realized that a green salad couldn't possibly hold up during my Fourth of July celebration this year. We're cooking out at a friends and as much as I love hots dogs, I also want a healthy side dish with lots of green veggies. Lettuce isn't going to hold up to the heat so I decided to make my favorite types of salad, a hearty vegetable salad that won't wilt or go brown in the heat.
Vegetable salads are a staple on my weekly client menus because I can toss it all together, dressing and all, and it will stay good for days. There's no reason to pack seperate containers for the dressing when you make these salads. You simply need some type of crunchy, raw vegetable (or a combination) and punch it up with nuts, grated parmesan and your favorite dressing.
There is actually a pretty strong tradition of these types of salads in southern cooking. Who can forget the classic Broccoli Salad, made famous by Paula Deen, and typically chock full of bacon and cheddar cheese. Her recipe is even the first one that pops up if you google "Broccoli Salad." (I have a much lighter version, but that's the subject of another blog post!) Even cole slaw is a version of a vegetable salad, using sturdy cabbage in place of greens. In a lot of BBQ places, it may be the only raw green vegetable you see on the buffet.
The sky's the limit on these salads but here is one of my favorites to make for myself and also for clients. It's super crunchy with a great balance of flavors and is beautiful to boot. Take this with you on your 4th of July picnic and get in those greens!
Asparagus & Pinenut Salad
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Cut the asparagus into thin pieces on the bias. Place in a large bowl.
Add the shredded cabbage, lemon zest, green onions and toasted pine nuts.
Season with salt and pepper. Add half the lemon juice and drizzle with the olive oil.
Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice as needed.