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Laura On: My Favorite Salad Recipes

Wed, March 8, 2017

Salads always seem to be better when someone else makes them for you. Am I the only person who thinks so? Over the years I have found a few go-to salad recipes that are always crowd pleasers when hosting.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables 

This recipe is from Ina Garten and was featured on her show Barefoot Contessa {my favorite!}.  You can find the recipe and buy a copy of her book here.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and ¾- inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  •  cup of olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ pound orzo or rice shaped pasta

For the Dressing:

  • Juice of 2 lemons, about ⅓ cup
  • ⅓cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:

  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • ¼ cup toast pine nuts
  • ¾ pound  feta, ½  –inch diced (don’t crumble)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut julienne


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7-9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

My last two recipes are from the Tampa Junior League Cookbook, Tampa Treasures. You can purchase a copy of the cookbook and find more amazing recipes here

This salad was originally served at the former Tampa restaurant, Tony’s.

Tony’s Salad

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • 1 head lettuce, shredded
  • 1 medium Bermuda onion, sliced thin
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
  • ¼ pound Swiss cheese, cut into thin strips
  • ¼ pound baked ham or salami, chopped
  • 8 Greek olives
  • 8 green Spanish manzanilla olives
  • ½ pound Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • 2 teaspoons oregano

A few days before serving:

Crush garlic into semi-puree; put in jar. Cover with olive oil.

Cover Jar; store in refrigerator.

When Ready to Serve:

Rub wooden salad bowl with 1 tablespoon oil-garlic mixture. Place lettuce in bowl; with onion on top.

Next, add green pepper and celery; place tomato slices around edge of bowl. Add egg, cheese strips, ham, olives and grated cheese. Salt and pepper thoroughly. 

Drizzle oil, then wine vinegar over salad. Squeeze lime juice over all; add oregano.

Using knife and fork cut tomatoes into salad as last step, mixing down and up to get the right “shine” on the entire salad. Serve at once

Napa Cabbage- Radicchio Salad, also from the Tampa Treasures Cookbook

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 large or 2 small, heads Napa cabbage
  • 1 small head radicchio
  • 5 whole green onions, chopped
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages Ramen Noodle soup mix (any flavor)
  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 (2-ounce) package slivered almonds
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup tarragon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Early in Day: 

Tear cabbage and lettuce into small pieces; place in bowl, add green onion; refrigerate. Break noodles into small pieces; discard seasoning packets.

Heat butter in medium skillet; sauté noodles, sesame seeds and almonds until golden brown; refrigerate.

In jar mix oil, brown sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce; shake well; refrigerate.

20 minutes before serving add dressing to noodle mixture. Just before serving, toss mixture together


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