Summer dining

A while ago I declared my intention to make lots of salads for quick and easy dinners on the go during baseball and t-ball season.

Last week, I decided it was time to get serious about vegetables before a muffin intervention was staged, so I trawled through the relevant Pinterest board (you’d want to stay well away from this one) and polled my Facebook friends for things to do with cabbage. It’s been going pretty well.

So without further ado, let me tell you about my salads and other vegetably deliciousness. Some of these are entire meals, and others are crying out to accompany a steak, or a chop, or something you threw on the grill, if you’re of the mind to throw things on grills.

Sesame noodles

This is from an ancient Rachel Ray 30-Minute Meals book, but I can’t find it exactly as written online anywhere, so I’ll put it here. It’s always a success. For enough noodles and veg for two people, this is how I make the sauce. Scale as needed. Mix together the following, and then toss all the ingredients in it:

1/8 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated
1/2 small clove garlic, minced
Pinch cayenne pepper (or more depending on how spicy you like it)

If you don’t have tahini you can use smooth peanut butter and it’ll be sort of satay-y, but still delicious. You can throw in any vegetables and protein you like, really, though chicken strips or tofu, with red peppers, spring onions, zucchini, tiny broccoli florets, mange tout (that’s snow peas in America), and bean sprouts are all good ideas. You can use plain old spaghetti for the noodles or something more Asian – whatever you’ve got. You can eat them hot or put them in the fridge and take them somewhere for lunch the next day. You can make them spicy or mild. They go down a treat with crowds.

Cabbage and sugar snaps with sesame miso dressing

cabbage salad

This is from the Smitten Kitchen book, which adorns my bookshelf and should be used more. Many other people have kindly reproduced the recipe on their websites, so I’m linking you to one of those rather than wade into the murky waters of recipe copyright myself. I didn’t have an radishes, and didn’t miss them; though it did take me a while to track down miso paste. I finally found it in our local organic supermarket. I now have a huge tub of it, but apparently it keeps forever. And I’ll certainly be making this again.

Carrot salad with chickpeas and tahini dressing

Carrot salad and a breaded chicken finger

Sorry it’s all so orange; we ate it with homemade chicken nuggets because Mabel likes those

This is from Smitten Kitchen again. You don’t have to have the parsley or the pistachios, or even the chickpeas in a pinch or if you can’t face turning on the oven. Just carrots and the dressing make a toothsome mouthful, but the whole thing is a wonder to behold. And practically an entire meal, what with all that protein in the pulses, right? (Use your food processor to shred the carrots, unless you really enjoy the pain.)


falafel and tzatziki with tomato in a pita pocketNot a salad, I admit. But if you like falafel, it turns out it’s really simple to make at home. Eat them hot, stir some grated cucumber and a little garlic into some yogurt, pile it all into a pita pocket with some sliced tomato and lettuce if you have any (we didn’t, but we didn’t care).

Lentil salad with feta and chickpeas and a tahini dressing

I can see a theme emerging here. I like chickpeas. (Or garbanzos, as they were when I first met them, in Spain.) And I always have a jar of tahini in the fridge, mostly for the sesame noodles. This lentil salad is fiddly and has a lot of different elements, but it is the most astounding thing, when you finally come to eat it.

Broccoli slaw with craisins and buttermilk ranch dressing

I discovered this last year and I’ve already over-indulged again this summer. I never thought much of raw broccoli before, but this one works.

Salade nicoise

The version I make is from How To Eat, Nigella Lawson’s very first book. She makes it with fresh tuna, and I do sometimes too, but often I just use a couple of chicken breasts, sauted and sliced. Otherwise, you need boiled potatoes, sliced; cherry tomatoes, quartered; green beans, boiled to al dente; and a few hard-boiled eggs, also quartered. Toss it all with some salad leaves – lettuce, spinach, whatever you’ve got. Douse the whole thing in a garlicky viniagrette and stuff it in your mouth. B really likes this. I think it’s the potatoes.

Quinoa and kale salad with walnuts, craisins, and feta 

This is an old favourite that I’ve linked to before. It’s the recipe that made me like kale, and still one of the only things I know how to do with quinoa. It’s great warm or chilled, for dinner or lunch, on its own or as a side.


Two bowls of bibimbap

I turned the eggs over for a few seconds; that’s why they’re not bright yellow. Still runny, though.

This one’s not a salad, but it’s a really handy quick dinner, so I’m putting it here. This is not the real thing, it’s the Irish Times hack found here: but in case, like me, you’ve used up your ten articles for the week, let me give you a quick run down:

1. Cook some rice.
2. Sauté some vegetables: tonight I have carrot, peppers, cabbage, broccolini (fancy!), and scallions. And a few cubes of tofu.
3. Stir in two tablespoons of soy sauce and two tablespoons of sriracha or chilli sauce. I’m using a jar of chilli garlic sauce that says something about Viet Nam on it. It looks molto autentico, if you get me.
4. For each person, put rice in a bowl, followed by the veg, and a fried egg on top. The bowl is vital, because the runny egg yolk has to get all over everything.
5. Scoff. Beware, it’s spicy!

My only trouble has been that these are all so yummy it’s hard to leave any for lunch the next day, never mind hoping that one might stretch to two dinners. Must buy more veggies.

Do you have any favourite summer dinners or salads to recommend to me?

11 thoughts on “Summer dining

  1. Helen O'Keeffe

    Broccoli I?!? Exotic!
    Some lovely recipes I’ll definitely try. Falafel was my pregnancy craving and a favourite lunchtime treat. I might actually trade a child, kidney or other non-essential item for falafel at some point.

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  3. Deb

    Some brilliant recipes there, gonna have to try a few! Bibimbap is one of my all time faces but never tried it at home, I may have to now! 🙂

    1. Maud Post author

      It probably helps if you haven’t had the real thing too recently, or ever; this is only a faint imitation of the deliciousness of real Korean food. But it’s a quick and tasty dinner so I don’t care.

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  5. Emily

    Oh the broccoli slaw… or should I just say the dressing… two days of it now, and looking forward to it again tomorrow! The carrot and chickpea one will also get an airing tomorrow. Really great recipes, will be bookmarking the lot!

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