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Are Salads Food? This Week We’re Finding Out

These three recipes include a wide range of flavors and textures so that you can reclaim salad and turn it into an actually edible dish.
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“Salad isn’t food,” says a good friend of mine, and I kind of agree. It depends what you think of when you think of “salad.” I mean, it would be hard for almost anyone to compare raw greens to ravioli or filet mignon.

But salads don’t have to be just leafy greens. In fact, salads are great because they can bend almost completely to your imagination. I mean, nowadays there are pasta salads and filet mignon salads, so the line is kind of blurry – but in a good way. They can also pretty much fulfill your every craving. They can be hot or cold. They can be a combination of salty and sweet, or they can even be both crunchy and chewy. They’re great when you want something cool and fresh. Salads are perfect when you aren’t in the mood to turn on the oven.

So this week at NYMM we’re going to prove that salads are interesting and that they should (probably) be considered food. Throw away that box of spring mix and take a journey with me!

This week, salad is the star.

Beet and Blue Cheese Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 12-15 beets
  • ¼ cup of chopped hazelnuts
  • ½ cup of crumbled blue cheese

Instructions:

  • Leave 1-2 inches of the stems on your beets (if you bought them with the beet greens still attached). This prevents a lot of the juices from leaving the beets when you boil them.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the beets. Cook for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of each beet. You may need to remove some beets earlier than others, if they vary greatly in size. You should be able to easily puncture the beets with a knife/fork.
  • Cut beets to your desired size (I cut them each in half 3-4 times).
  • Chop the hazelnuts (I chopped each in half, once) and sprinkle over beets.
  • Crumble blue cheese over the beets and hazelnuts. I don’t mix the salad together, which means that the beets won’t color the hazelnuts and blue cheese.
  • Serve or store for 2-3 days.

Watermelon Feta Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • ½ of a large watermelon
  • 10-12 basil leaves, julienned
  • ½ cup of feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

  • Cut the watermelon in about 2-inch pieces. To do so, cut the whole watermelon in half, then one of the halves in half again. Cut along rind of the watermelon and chop to your desired size.
  • Julienne the basil leaves. To do so, stack the leaves on top of each other and roll from top to bottom as tightly as possible. Then, take your knife and finely slice from the leaves right to left side or vice versa.
  • Sprinkle basil leaves and feta cheese over the watermelon and serve or store for 2-3 days in the fridge. Don’t mix the salad because the feta cheese will get soggy.

Radish and Parsley Salad with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of radishes
  • ½-¾ cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2-3 teaspoons of dijon mustard, to taste
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper

Instructions:

  • Keep the radishes whole. If you bought them with the greens still attached, remove the greens and save for another salad, or discard them.
  • Thinly slice the radishes.
  • Put the radishes in a bowl and add the chopped parsley.
  • Whisk together the juice of one lemon, dijon mustard, olive oil, and black pepper. If you prefer, add ingredients to a sealable container and shake quickly to combine.
  • Add your vinaigrette to the salad only right before it is served; otherwise, the radishes will turn soft and lose their juice.

Photos by Josh Guirguis

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