Cookout season is in full swing. And with it, cold salads, a personal favorite. There are so many varieties out there, from coleslaw, to macaroni, to cold bean salads I thought it would be a good place to start the summer cookout season.
The featured recipe tonight is from a neighborhood cookout we had last week. I was very busy, so I had to throw together something quick. I went with a basic macaroni salad, but with a few tricks to keep it fresh and flavorful, instead of soggy and bland as some can be.
Before that, here are a few other cold salads:
JeffreyW has a traditional coleslaw recipe (and slideshow) here.
I’ve made a Caribbean Orange-Mango Coleslaw for several summer cookouts. Recipe here.
I adapted a Giada De Laurentiis, recipe for Italian Lentil Salad here.
That’s just a start. I’ll probably follow-up in a while with some veggie cold salads. But until then, what’s on your summer plate this weekend? What are some of your favorite cold salads? What’s your go-to dish when you’re invited to a cookout? Hit the comments and share your ideas.
And finally, the featured recipe (pictured above).
Quick and Easy Macaroni Salad
- 1/2 cup creamy Italian dressing (I like Newman’s Own)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
Blend together well and refrigerate until ready to mix in.
- 16 oz box favorite pasta
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp crushed dried basil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 oz shredded carrots
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz cubed mild cheese (I used a marbled colby/jack)
Bring water to a boil, add 1 tsp salt and pasta. Cook until al dente (firm to tooth). Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Do not drain well, allow macaroni to stay wet, remove to bowl. Immediately add garlic, spices, celery seed, and let sit for 5 minutes. As the pasta absorbs the remaining water, it absorbs all the flavors. Next stir in carrots, celery, cheese and tomatoes. Save tossing with the dressing until 5-10 minutes before serving. This keeps the pasta from absorbing all of it and becoming mushy and flavorless, but still gives it enough time to meld the flavors together.
Continuing with the today’s theme, Blood Oranges.
If you miss the short season or can’t find any locally when they are in season, you can substitute half navel oranges and half ruby red grapefruit for a nice sweet-tang. Alternately you can use all navel oranges and it will work fine. Toss a few red raspberries in the mix and you’ll have a great flavor combo.
Here’s a recipe that I adapted from somewhere or other. I substituted a lot of ingredients to match my flavor palette, you should feel free to do the same. The dressing would work well over spinach or other greens, as well as the cabbages listed.
Blood Orange Coleslaw
- 6 tbsps fresh blood orange juice
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp honey (more as desired)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 finely sliced red onion (try using the mandoline or slicing blade on a box grater for a pretty effect)
- 1 large head of savoy cabbage, finely sliced, or 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 blood orange, peeled, sectioned and chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans (opt)
Prepare dressing in advance: Whisk juice, vinegar, and honey in bowl. Whisk in oil, then mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a covered glass container.
Toss onion, cabbages, bell pepper and oranges in large bowl. Just before serving, shake dressing well and pour over vegetables; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with pecans. Serves 4-6
This recipe takes advantage of what’s available from the garden these days. Substitute raspberries, peaches or plums if you like.
Chicken and Rice Wraps
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup cooked brown or wild rice
- 4 large tortillas (flavored ok)
- 1/4 cup Raspberry Dressing
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- Fresh mint
Mix together chicken, spinach, strawberries, pecans and rice. Mix together dressing ingredients, toss with chicken mixture. Let sit 15 minutes or more. Roll 1/4 of mixture in each tortilla.
A friend dropped off about 5 lbs of apples Thursday. She was expecting more from her CSA delivery that night, so I got the leftover bounty. What to do, what to do. So far I’ve made two batches of apple crisp to share. But I was looking for something that wasn’t sweet. Then I thought about apple slaw. Looked at several recipes and came up with this (basically taking the favorite ingredients from about 4 different recipes):
Apple and Raisin Slaw
- 3 cups chopped cabbage (I prefer green)
- 3 apples, cored and finely chopped
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in large bowl, let sit for 1/2 hour to overnight for best flavor.
And then I saw this recipe and I think I will try it next:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 celery ribs, cut into matchsticks
- 4 apples, of different varieties, cored and cut into matchsticks
Stir together mayonnaise, ginger, and vinegar. Add celery and apples and gently toss to coat.