Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


May 19, 2014

Lee Ward: Building blocks for the best summer salads: 5/20/14

ASHLAND — There are keys to making a great salad. Marzetti Kitchens is willing to share some of those building blocks.

Greens: The foundation of a great salad starts with the greens. Many mixed varieties of greens come prewashed and ready to go. But, if you are up for a little experimentation, try blending fresh greens on your own — making sure to vary textures.

Veggies: Veggies add nutrition and color to a salad. It’s best to use veggies when they are at the peak of freshness and ripeness. Also, be sure to chop crunchy veggies into small bites or slices so they’re easier to chew.

Proteins: Chicken, steak or salmon make delicious additions and add a little heartiness to a salad. Proteins can also include ingredients such as chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, nuts or cheeses.

Fruits: Fruits add a lot of flavor and sweetness to your salad. Fresh strawberries, blueberries or mandarin oranges are great complements to darker greens such as spinach leaves.

Dressings: A little amount of salad dressing can go a long way. Only add about one teaspoon of dressing per person and toss well. Use lighter vinaigrettes to let the flavors of the salad come through on their own.


Here are a few of Marzetti’s salad recipes, available at marzettikitchens.com.


1⁄2 cup Simply Dressed® Balsamic Salad Dressing

1⁄2 cup pecans

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 large Granny Smith apple, diced

1⁄2 cup chopped celery

1⁄2 cup chopped dates or favorite dried fruit

2 cups chopped cabbage

4 cups mixed salad greens

1⁄4 cup peels of aged white cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place nuts on a sheet pan and bake 5 to 7 minutes or until nuts are toasted. Cool and chop.

In a large bowl, combine Simply Dressed Balsamic Salad Dressing, chicken, apples, celery, dates, pecans and salt and pepper. Add cabbage and salad greens and gently toss.

Top salad with cheese and serve.


3⁄4 cup Simply Dressed® Ginger Sesame Salad Dressing

11⁄2 pounds flank steak or flat iron steak

1 tablespoon oil

4 cups chopped napa cabbage

1 cup chopped radicchio

1 cup shredded carrots

1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1⁄2 cup slivered red onion

1⁄2 cup chopped peanuts

Prepare a grill to medium high heat. Place steak on a plate and coat with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place steak on oiled grill rack. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until desired temperature, turning once during grilling process. Remove from grill and allow meat to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

In a bowl combine Simply Dressed Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing with cabbage, radicchio, carrots, cilantro and red onions. Arrange salad mixture on a platter, top with sliced meat, sprinkle with peanuts and serve.


1⁄4 cup Marzetti® Original Slaw Dressing

2 cups red cabbage, shredded

2 cups green cabbage, shredded

1⁄2 cup white onion, thinly sliced

1⁄4 cup red or green bell peppers, or a combination

1⁄2 cup carrots, shredded

1⁄4 cup barbecue sauce

1⁄8 teaspoon hot sauce

In a mixing bowl, combine cabbage, onion, peppers and carrots. In a small bowl, mix Marzetti Original Slaw Dressing, barbecue sauce and hot sauce. Pour over vegetables and toss lightly. Serve immediately.


11⁄2 cups divided Cardini's® Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

1 package (4.8 oz.) Marzetti® Fruit and Nut Salad Accents

6 boneless-skinless chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 cups prewashed, torn mixed greens

3 ounces crumbled blue cheese

2 pears, cored and cut into slices

1 cup green or red seedless grapes, rinsed

Arrange chicken breasts in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with 1⁄2 cup Cardini’s Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing. Marinate chicken 20 minutes in refrigerator. Prepare grill to medium hot. Oil grill rack. Place marinated chicken breasts on rack and grill 5 to 7 minutes, turn chicken and finish other side. Remove meat from grill and cool slightly. Combine remaining ingredients with 1 cup remaining dressing and toss. Arrange mixture on individual plates. Slice each breast and place on top of salad.


1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup Marzetti® Original Slaw Dressing

2 cups fresh corn kernels

6 cups chopped cabbage

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1⁄4 cup minced sweet onion

1 small avocado, chopped, optional

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Place corn in a microwave bowl; add 2 tablespoons of water and microwave for 2 minutes. Allow corn to cool. In a large bowl, add Marzetti Original Slaw Dressing and the remaining ingredients and toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Salad can be assembled a few hours before serving.


1⁄2 cup Simply Dressed® Blue Cheese Salad Dressing

4 pieces pieces cooked bacon, crumbled

1 pound Brussels sprouts, leaves only (about 5 cups)

1 fennel bulb, chopped

1⁄3 cup slivered red onion

1⁄4 cup currants, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and drained

1⁄2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Trim the end off of each sprout and discard any blemished leaves. Continue to separate the outer leaves and transfer them to a bowl. (Sprout cores can be used in a mixed vegetable stir-fry).

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients with Simply Dressed Blue Cheese Dressing and gently toss. Arrange salads on individual plates and serve. This salad is best served as soon as it is assembled.


While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re

looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send email to lward@dailyindependent.com.


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