Janine Gilbertson's Granite Kitchen: Start the season with fresh tastes and textures coming into their own

By JANINE GILBERTSON May 23. 2017 8:50PM
Red potato and chive salad features honey mustard vinaigrette dressing. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Since Memorial Day weekend is almost here, I thought I would share a few different salads I’ve been infatuated with lately.

If you have guests to entertain or you’re going to a cookout and plan to bring a dish to share, these salads will stand out from the crowd — in the best way possible.

I love making salads: green salads, pasta salads, potato salads, you name it. I love chopping up the vegetables in different ways (I especially like a small dice for pasta salads) and experimenting with different dressings.

When it comes to eating salads, in particular those made with rich greens such as spinach, and tossed with loads of chopped vegetables, I love the nutritional density in each bite and the fact that you can fill up and feel good about all the nourishing food you’re eating.

A hard-boiled egg adds a little protein, so on a hot day, a spinach and egg salad can provide a healthy, easy dinner.

Today’s potato salad with chive and honey mustard dressing is absolutely delicious. After I made it, I was lucky to have a bowl left to use for a picture. My teenagers got wind of its existence and couldn’t resist a little bite, which apparently turned into a generous serving. The boys claimed they couldn’t help themselves because the dressing was “crazy good.”

When I was shopping for ingredients for the pasta salad, my original intention was to add green peas. But when I started searching the frozen section for the peas, it got complicated because there are so many choices in the frozen vegetable arena these days. You can get vegetables in assorted prepared sauces, riced, grilled, and on and on. The search for uncomplicated, simple peas was taking longer than I wanted, so instead I grabbed a bag of edamame, which turned out to be an excellent alternative.

Another great addition to pasta salad, especially if you intend to make it a meal, is salami. Slice or chop it up into small pieces and toss it in with the vegetables and some feta and parmesan, and it will add great flavor and texture.

With strawberries and red onions in the mix, this spinach and egg salad looks as good as it tastes. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Spinach Salad with Egg and Tzatziki Dressing

10 oz bag fresh spinach

1 tbsp truffle-infused olive oil (or plain olive oil if you prefer)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup carrot, grated

1/8 cup purple onion, sliced

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 eggs, hard boiled

1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

3 tbsp storebought Tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt) dressing

1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Croutons for garnish, if desired

Add the spinach to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with Kosher salt and set aside for about 5 minutes.

Add the carrot, purple onion, celery, and strawberries and toss to combine.

Plate the salad, then pile the chopped egg and parmesan on top, and drizzle with the dressing. Garnish with croutons before serving, if desired.

Red potato, egg and chive salad features honey dijon vinaigrette dressing. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Red Potato, Egg and Chive Salad

5 lb bag of red potatoes, chopped to bite size

2 1/2 tsp salt, divided

5 eggs, hard boiled and chopped

3-4 stalks fresh celery, chopped

1 bunch fresh chives

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup honey dijon ground mustard

1 cup relish

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp black pepper

Add the potatoes and 1 tsp of the salt to a large pot of water and set over medium-high heat to boil. Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender, then drain and rinse with cool water. Drain well.

Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool and dry for about an hour.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Add the mayonnaise, mustard, relish, remaining salt, vinegar and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk well to combine.

Remove cooled potatoes from the fridge and add the eggs, chive and dressing. Toss gently to coat potatoes.

Bow tie pasta vegetable salad with edamame beans. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Bow Tie Pasta Vegetable Salad with Edamame Beans

1 lb box bowtie pasta

15 oz can garbanzo beans

1 cup edamame beans

1 carrot, shredded

1 small summer squash, finely chopped

1/2 lb sliced salami, chopped

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup fresh grape tomatoes, sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved


1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp white balsamic coconut vinegar

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tbsp honey

Prepare the pasta according to package directions, then drain and cool.

In a large bowl, add the pasta and all of the salad ingredients and mix well.

In a separate bowl, add the vinegars, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil and whisk well to combine.

Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss well.


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