Savory Salads


This season, add a little panache to your menu with select mixed greens, elegant toppings, and nutrition galore.  Yes, we’re talking about the wonderful world of savory salads.  You don’t have to be on a stringent diet to elect a plate of greenery as your meal of choice.  In fact, Cotton Candy Magazine’s contributing food editor Chef Evelyn Paul gives us an array of scrumptious choices that highlights the art of salad.


Radicchio, Fennel and Apple Salad

Servings 6-8


6 tbsp fresh lemon juice

3 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tart green apple, unpeeled

1 large fennel bulbs with tops

1 radicchio, thinly sliced (3 cups)

1 cup of raisins


Combine lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil.

Cut apples in half, then core. Slice thinly or julienne. Add to dressing, stirring to coat. Set aside.

Trim stems from fennel bulbs; set aside some of the fronds for garnish. Cut fennel in half lengthwise and cut into thin slices. Add fennel, sliced radicchio and raisins to apple mixture and toss to combine. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds and serve.

Black-Eyed Peas, Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprout Salad

Servings: 4-6


Black-eyed Peas

1 cup dried black-eyed peas

4 cups water

1/2 medium onion

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp salt

Butternut Squash

1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubes seeded peeled butternut squash (about 6 ounces)

3 tbsp water

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small garlic clove, minced

Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts

3 tbsp olive oil

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh green onions

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

(Click the photos below.)

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For peas:

Place peas in large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by three inches. Let peas soak for two hours. Drain peas and then return to same pan. Add four cups water, onion, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover partially, and simmer until peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Discard onion and bay leaf. Drain. Transfer peas to rimmed baking sheet to cool. (Can be prepared a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)

For butternut squash:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Arrange butternut squash in single layer in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons water and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender when pierced, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add garlic; stir to coat. Cool.

For Brussels sprouts:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and let cool.

For salad:

Whisk oil and white wine vinegar in bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Combine all remaining ingredients and cooked  peas in large bowl. Add dressing and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Add butternut squash and Brussels sprouts and toss. (Can be made 2 hours in advance. Let stand at room temperature.

Escarole Bacon and Blue Cheese Salad

Servings: 6


1 head of escarole, torn into large bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)

2 bacon slices

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp sherry vinegar

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

¼ cup blue cheese, coarsely crumbled


Divide escarole among six salad bowls. Cook bacon in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain; reserve skillet with bacon drippings. Finely chop bacon; set aside.

Whisk olive oil and vinegar in small bowl to blend. Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add olive oil mixture and whisk just until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette over escarole. Sprinkle with eggs, blue cheese, and bacon.

Warm Spaghetti Squash Tomato and Olive Salad

Servings:  6


1 spaghetti squash

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

3 tbsp black olives, sliced (basically the entire small can)

3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper

Pierce a spaghetti squash several times with a fork.  Place in one to two cups of water in a crock pot. Cover. Cook on low for six to eight hours or high for  three to four hours. Carefully remove the squash from crock pot. Let it cool enough to handle. Empty the water from crock pot.

While the squash is cooling, heat oil in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Sauté onion until tender, but still firm. Add the garlic and stir. Turn off heat. Slice the squash in half, seed it, and use a fork to shred the strands from the squash and return the strands to crock pot. Add the onion, garlic and oil mixture. Add the tomatoes and olives and toss so that they become warm, but make sure the halved tomato pieces retain their shape. Add cheese and basil. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Serve warm.

Spinach, Apricot Salad with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions

Servings: 6

1/2 cup dried apricots

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

Kosher salt

Coarse pepper

1 lb fresh spinach

2 oz soft crumbled goat cheese


For the apricots:

Place apricots in a small bowl and cover with boiling water; let stand for about 5 minutes.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels.  Cut into small pieces (optional).

For the toasted walnuts:

Place walnuts in preheated 350° oven for eight to ten minutes. Watch carefully, as they do burn easily. Set aside.

For the caramelized onions:

3        tablespoons olive oil

2    tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

2    pounds onions. thinly sliced

2    teaspoons sugar

Salt and pepper


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the sugar and cook, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes then set aside to cool.

For the salad:

Whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.

Add spinach to bowl with vinaigrette and toss to combine.  Add apricots, walnuts and caramelized onions.  Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Cotton Candy Magazine®