Category Archives: salad

Avocado Garbanzo Sammiches

Oh glorious garbanzo, how I love you.  You make fabulous dips and spreads, delicious soups and curries, and the most spectacular sammich salads.  When I saw you pairing up with avocado, oh my.  Swoon.  A huge thanks to Amuse Your Bouche for introducing the two of you.  ❤

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Run to your pantry and fridge!  Your mouth will be so happy.  🙂

ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 TBSP lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste–I added this at the last minute–yum!
  • pita pockets and tomato for serving

Skin and pit your avocado and place it in a bowl with the drained chickpeas.  Mash them together with a fork or potato masher.  Leave a few “half” garbanzos for a nice texture.

mash chickpeas and avocado

Stir in green onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, and garlic powder.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

add cilantro onion lime

Spread inside a pita, add a few tomato slices (I like roma tomatoes) and lunch is served!  I enjoy this sammich even when it’s cold outside.

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The creaminess of the avocado pairs nicely with the meatiness of the garbanzos and is perfectly punctuated by the onion and cilantro.  Lime brings the freshness and prevents the avocado from browning.  Leftovers can be safely stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for a day or two.

If you’re like me and enjoy a chickpea salad, you might also want to try my Curried Chickpea Salad Sammiches.  Yum!

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Filed under Garden produce, lunch, recipe, salad, vegan, Vegetarian

Barb’s Pesto

My neighbor Barb is one of the reasons I’m vegan.  She and her family have been low-fat vegan for a while and finally convinced Michael and I to give it a try.  We did, we’re more healthy, we love it!  Low-fat vegan cooking is a whole new beastie, when you’re used to olive oil and cheese and eggs.  Barb is my go-to girl when I have questions like, “but how do you saute?”  I love basil and make pesto every summer to preserve that lovely summery flavor all winter.  But pesto has cheese.  And oil.  So, I went to Barb with a “but how do you…” question and of course, she had the answer.  So yummy, so fresh.  And an added bonus–no nuts!  Barb’s allergic to tree nuts, so naturally, she makes her pesto without them.  How could it be yummy without oil and cheese and nuts?!  See for yourself:

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Here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients

  • 8-12 cloves of garlic, depending on the size and how much you like garlic, minced
  • juice of 2 limes (2/3 cup)
  • juice of 1 lemon (1/2 cup)
  • garlic salt to taste, or just regular salt–again, depends on your garlic tolerances  🙂
  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen corn, thawed
  • black pepper to taste
  • enough fresh basil to fill your processor

Place everything in the bowl of a food processor with the chopping blade in place.

all in the processor

Process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.

process til smooth

To freeze for later, place 1/2 cup pesto into containers–I use snack size ziplocs and then place them into a labelled freezer bag.

package to freeze

Or, enjoy right away:  on pasta, with crackers, with veggies, on a yummy garden-fresh tomato….

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What do you like to eat pesto with?

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Filed under Canning and preserving, dairy-free, dinner, food gifts, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Curried Chickpea Salad Sammiches

Last weekend, we were at a wedding up in a beautiful, flower-filled meadow.  Some 20 degrees cooler than the valley floor, it was still a warm day.  A light lunch of veggies and chicken salad sandwiches were served before the cake, and being vegan, I abstained from the sandwich.  Sigh.  How I love a good chicken salad sandwich.  My friend Barb, who is also vegan, was there and she told me she’d heard of making “chicken salad” using chickpeas.  Well!  Chickpeas are my fav and go great with curry, so I started thinking about how I’d make that all come together in a satisfyingly yummy summer sammich.  Oh, I am one happy, happy vegan!

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Next time I make this, I’m doubling the recipe; it’s that yummy and crave-able.

ingredients

  • 1 (15oz) can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2-3 TBSP vegan mayo
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews or peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped apple
  • splash of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Drain the chickpeas and place into a food processor.  Pulse about 10 times to break up the beans, you want chunks, not hummus.

pulse chickpeas

Place the chickpeas and everything except salt and pepper into a bowl.

everything in the bowl

Stir until well combined.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.  Add more curry and/or mayo if you like, or another splash of lemon juice to make it more spreadable.

stir til blended

Spread a bit more mayo on some yummy whole grain bread, add lettuce, and pile on the chickpea salad!  So yummy!

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Chicken-schmicken.  I’ve got a new favorite summer sammich!  This salad is better the next day, and is delish all on its own, or wrapped in a lettuce leaf or tortilla, or inside a pita pocket.

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, lunch, recipe, salad, side dish, snack, Vegetarian

Middle Eastern Feast

Fattoush, Falafel and Hummus!  Oh my!  Oh yummy!

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I bought garbanzo flour a while ago for some reason…don’t remember what the original plan was, but since, I’ve used it in spicy black bean burgers (yum!) and when I did, noticed a recipe for falafel on the side of the package.  Then I found a recipe for fattoush, a chopped Middle Eastern salad, in a magazine.  I always have chick peas in the pantry, so a feast was hatched!

the feast

The ingredient list is somewhat lengthy, but has everything you need for the entire fattoush, falafel and hummus feast:

ingredients

For the Fattoush:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 TBSP white wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 sp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 6 cups chopped romaine ( I used baby greens from my garden)
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into half-moons
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

For the Falafel:

  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes (or 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp round coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup hot water

For the Hummus:

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained, reserve the liquid from one can
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp chili powder ( I used chipotle powder for the heat and the smokiness)

For serving:

  • pita breads, warmed

Start with the salad.  Place the greens in a large bowl.  Prepare the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and mint; add them to the greens and toss.  Whisk the dressing together in a pourable container like a measuring cup: olive oil, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Set aside to dress just before serving.

set salad and dressing aside

Now the falafel patties.  Mix the dry ingredients (garbanzo flour, salt, baking soda, cumin, coriander, garlic and onion powders) in a medium bowl.

mix dry ingredients

Add lemon juice and hot water, stir until combined and let rest for 10 minutes.

add wet and let rest

While the batter rests, make the hummus.  Combine all the ingredients (garbanzos, garlic, lemon juice, chili powder) in a food processor except the bean liquid.  Process until smooth, add enough bean liquid to achieve the texture you like, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place in a bowl, garnish with chopped parsley and set aside.

hummus

Back to the falafel.  Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Drop batter by tablespoons into the pan and flatten slightly.  Work in batches–the pan I used was big enough to only have two batches–about 14 patties total.

drop by tbsp and flatten

I used a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop–makes this process even easier!

use a cokie scoop

Turn, cooking each side to a pretty golden brown.

fry til golden on both sides

Heat pitas in the microwave, toaster, or grill them (yummy!).  Cut into wedges.

Dress the fattoush and assemble the rest of the feast.

the feast

Eat each thing separately, or dip the pita wedges in the hummus, or open the wedges and spread with hummus, adding a falafel patty and make little sandwiches….or any combination.  Go with your yum.

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I cut the salad ingredients in half and ended up using only part of the halved dressing.  Flavor the hummus to your liking–wasabi (thanks, Chris!) is awesome, smoked paprika gives a milder heat, roasted red pepper is classic.

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, recipe, salad, Vegetarian

Greens and Garbanzos Pasta Salad

There I was.  On the treadmill watching Food Network.  Kind of ironic, exercising while watching people prepare and eat lots of yummy foods.  Especially so with the abundance of butter, cheese, eggs and meat being served up whilst I have become vegan.  Giada to the rescue!  I caught a “Meat-free Monday” episode!  Yay!  Giada was making this pasta salad to serve cold or room temperature at a block party.  Her version uses oil to saute and is served with cheese, but I’m here to tell ya, totally yummy without either!  Michael thinks it’s as good as the house favorite goulash; high praise indeed!

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Head out to your garden or local produce section for a big ol’ bunch of greens and a few other things:

ingredients

  • 1 pound of small pasta  (I used whole wheat “gnocchi”)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup veggie broth
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz Swiss chard, about 2 bunches  (I used rainbow chard, because it’s pretty!)
  • 12 oz spinach, either baby spinach in a package or leaf spinach  (Remove stems if spinach is large)
  • 1 (15oz) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as directed, reserving pasta water.

The pretty stems of chard are tough, so remove them after you wash each leaf.  To do this, fold the leaf in half and tear the stem off.

remove chard stem

Add some veggie broth to a large, deep skillet and place over medium heat.  Rough chop chard leaves and spinach.  Add to the pan along with the garlic.  Saute to wilt, adding more veggie broth as needed.

saute greens and garlic

Add tomatoes and garbanzos.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

add tomatoes and garbanzos

Reduce heat to low.  Add pasta, lemon zest and juice.

add pasta and zest

Stir to combine, adding pasta water to thin as needed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

mix with pasta water and lemon juice

Dish yourself up a bowl and enjoy!

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Warm, comfort food-esque, healthy, fat-free, vegan and yummy!  Meaty garbanzos, savory greens and brightly acidic tomatoes, brightened further with lemon.  I made a “parmesan” from 1/3 cup cashews and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast whirred up in a food processor to sprinkle over the top.  Just the thing.  Yum-yum-yummy hot, especially with it being so cold outside.  I’ve sampled a few bites of cold pasta, while waiting for a portion to reheat for lunch the next day.  Yum!  This pasta salad will be super yummy served cold when summer gets here.

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I confess to being a bit overwhelmed and at the same time underwhelmed with the prospect of going vegan.  Not any more!  I’m finding lots and lots of yummy recipes like this that can be easily adapted.  I feel happier, healthier, have more energy and (!) I’m losing weight.  I hope you’ll follow along on my yummy vegan journey.

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, Potluck, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Zucchini Salad

Yup.  Another zucchini recipe.  If you garden and plant this very productive squash you’re probably thankful for another way to use it, possibly even excited!  If you don’t garden you might not understand the excitement, but you will love, love, love this salad: 

My favorite food blog (besides this one!) is A Full Measure of Happiness, written by a fabulous chica with food tastes very similar to my own.  ( I highly recommend you visit and subscribe!)  She posted this recipe for Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Salad and I knew I had to try it.  Being out of propane for the grill, I tweaked it a bit to make it work for the moment, but I think the ribbons are so beautiful, I plan to make it that way soon!  Mine turned out rather pretty and was uber-yummy!

  • 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash (or 2 zucchini), cut into quarter moons
  • handful of parsley, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted (Lauren used walnuts.  I think pine nuts would be yummy as well!)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp grated parmesan cheese
  • sprinkle of garlic powder (or 1/2 clove, minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Toast the pecans in a dry skillet, stirring occasionally, until you start to smell them.  Remove from heat and set aside for the moment.

Saute squash in half of the olive oil until tender and browned just a bit.

Add the rest of the olive oil and lemon juice, stir to coat, and place in a bowl.

Add garlic, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. Toss together.

Add parsley and pecans.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Toss together to evenly distribute all ingredients.  Look at the pretty salad you just created!

Serve as a side dish or as a luncheon salad.  It is equally delicious warm, room temperature or cold, and is now one of my favorite ways to eat zucchini!  Yummy!  I used a couple small to medium sized squash, but you could make use of the big ones that get away from you if you seed them first. 

The leftovers held their texture well, so I’m thinking this would be an excellent potluck, picnic or camping cook-out sort of salad!  Yup, I could see sitting around the campfire enjoying a nice serving along with a glass of crisp and cold white wine….how ’bout you?!

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Filed under Garden produce, Potluck, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Traditional Tabbouleh

Traditional in the Middle East, but not my tradition until recently, after the gift of a package of Bob’s Red Mill Bulgur Wheat from a friend.  I’ve been enjoying this healthy and hearty salad so much, this definitely won’t be the last time I make it.  It’s light and yet surprisingly satisfying–a perfect lunch.  I’ve expanded on the traditional recipe as I’ve gotten to know the flavors better, serving it with red and yellow pepper spears and as of today, crumbled feta!  Yummy!  But I digress….let’s get the basic tabbouleh going so you can get to know it and embellish it with flavors YOU like!

Just look at the good, healthy stuff in this salad.  I started feeling healthier just gathering the ingredients:

  • 2 cups bulgur, presoaked for an hour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley, finely minced  (FYI, the original recipe calls for 3 cups.)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seed, ground
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 3 TBSP olive oil

To presoak bulgur, place 2 cups bulgur in a bowl.  Pour 2 cups water over bulgur and let stand for one hour.

While bulgur soaks, prepare and measure parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions, and spices.

Using a wooden spoon, gently mix the soaked bulgur, tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint and spices.

Add the lemon juice and chill for and hour to blend the flavors.

Before serving, toss with olive oil.  Serve on romaine and top with cucumbers, salt and pepper.

I tried it like this, and decided peppers–yeah, peppers would be good.  And they were.  And then I thought, feta and cukes are yummy–let’s try feta.  Yummy!  The longer (within reason!) the tabbouleh hangs out in the fridge, the more the flavors blend and the yummier it is.  The bulgur has a chewy texture, giving the salad it’s heartiness.   Give tabbouleh a try, see what you would add to it, if anything!

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Filed under recipe, salad, Vegetarian

Music Fest Pitas

Years ago, I was part of a group fundraising by selling beer at a music festival.  Next to our booth was a food vendor, selling yummy, earthy, healthy vegetarian pita sandwiches.  We swapped beer for pitas, fell in love with them, and I’ve been making these pitas ever since.

Today was the start of the Colorado West Music Festival, an annual event that features school bands, choirs, and orchestras from all over the Western Slope.  Mr16 will be performing with three concert bands and two jazz bands over the next few days.  Making  Music Fest Pitas for dinner today seemed fitting, even though they contain refried beans–Mr16 doesn’t do beans.  🙂

Pick, choose, and substitute ingredients to match your taste.

 I like to get in as many colors in as possible!

  • Whole wheat pita pockets
  • green onions
  • tomato
  • yellow pepper
  • cucumber
  • broccoli sprouts
  • refried beans
  • grated cheese
  • avocado (not pictured, but so yummy)

Prepare the veggies, heat the refried beans and pitas.

Spread beans inside a pita, layer in cheese, avocado, yellow pepper, cucumber, tomato, green onions and sprouts.  Grasp firmly in two hands, take a bite.  Mmmmmm…yummy!

Healthy yumminess.  In anticipation of these pitas, I dug out my sprouting lids (yup, proof of the hippie in me!) and grew my own broccoli sprouts.  Broccoli sprouts are uber-healthy, super yummy and hard to find in a grocery store.  I also made refries from my mom’s recipe–I’ll post that soon.  Any sprouts will do of course, and hummus would be a yummy substitute for the refries.  Add veggies you like, subtract any you don’t.  Serve them assembly-line style and let each family member customize their own pita.    

On a random note, I got my new copy of Everyday Food today!  I’m looking forward to finding some more new recipes to share with my family and YOU!

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Filed under dinner, Food memories, lunch, recipe, salad, Vegetarian

Celine’s Potato Salad

My mom is famous for her potato salad–the magic lies in the dressing.  When I was a kid, Mom made the dressing in a yellow Currier and Ives mug.  It was an old mug with crackled glaze that coffee had permeated, darkening the cracks.  Mom knew exactly how much of each ingredient to put in by how it looked in the mug, and knew she had the correct proportions when the color of the dressing matched the color of the mug. 

Then one day…..the mug broke.  Would the potato salad ever be the same?  Turns out, yes!  We had a flavor memory of it and knew when the dressing tasted right and called to mind that old mug by its color. 

This potato salad tastes like a Memorial Day or Labor Day picnic and is fairly simple to make:

  • 6 potatoes, peeled, boiled and sliced
  • 2 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup red onion, diced  (adjust to how well you like onions)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise  (or Miracle Whip)
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard 
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel and quarter potatoes.  Boil until fork tender, drain.

Hard boil eggs, cool.   (I boil them for 5 minutes and then let them stand in the hot water for another 5 minutes.)

While potatoes and eggs are cooking, make the dressing.  Add mayo, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to a 1 cup measuring cup.

Mix with a fork until blended.  Taste it.  If it tastes too “sharp,” add a bit of sugar.  If it tastes too sweet, add a bit of vinegar.  Adjust salt and pepper to your liking.  Here is the color for it to be truly “Celine’s Potato Salad.”  The color can be adjusted with mayo (to make it lighter) or mustard (to make it more yellow).

Cool potatoes just enough to handle them.  You want them to be a bit warm when you coat them in the dressing–they’ll soak up the flavors better.  Slice potatoes into a bowl.

Dice onion and add to the bowl.

Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes and onions, stir gently to coat.

Peel and slice the eggs.  Arrange them over the top of the potato salad.  Sprinkle with paprika, cover and cool completely in the refrigerator.

Serve along side your favorite picnic fare.  It’s the perfect cool and creamy accompaniment to grilled meats.  To obtain the classic flavor, don’t change anything in the recipe.  

This yummy potato salad takes me right back to my childhood and picnics at the house for summer holidays.  I can smell the charcoal and the burgers cooking.  The perfect drink pairing–lemonade.  The perfect end to the evening–catching fireflies.  Ahhhhhhh……

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Filed under Food memories, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Marinated Steak Salad

Looking for a perfect date-night meal?  Here it is!  Super easy, impressive presentation, and mmmm-mmmmm yummy!  My friend Carol was searching my blog for something to do with a sirloin steak a few weeks back and found nothing!  I rarely eat red meat, so I had neglected recipes containing it.  Well.  Carol inspired me, I found some nice little sirloin steaks at the grocery last week and voila!  A meal that made DH say yum!

Only a few things are needed:

 Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 2 small sirloin steaks (about 8 oz each)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 2 handfuls baby arugula
  • parmesan cheese ribbons, cut using a vegetable peeler
  • dressing of your choice–a balsamic vinaigrette is perfect!
  • small handful chives, snipped into tiny pieces for garnish

You’ll also need a ziploc bag and a grill–indoor or out, grill pan or broiler.

Place an open ziploc bag in a bowl.  Add balsamic vinegar and dijon.  Whisk to combine.

Add steak, press out air and seal.  Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to overnight.  (The longer you marinate, the stronger the flavor and the more tender the meat.  Turn the bag over occasionally for even marination.  If you have a tender cut to begin with, no need for long marinating.)

Preheat your grill when you’re ready and place steaks.  Grill for 6-8 minutes per side for medium rare-medium doneness.  (If you’re grilling indoors, remember to turn your exaust fan on high!)

Remove from grill to a cutting board.  Tent with foil and let rest 3-5 minutes. 

Prepare a baby arugula salad by placing a handful of arugula on one side of a plate, adding as much chopped shallots as you like and make some big ribbons of parmesan using a vegetable peeler.

Slice the steak against the grain on a diagonal.  Use your knife to lift the steak onto the top of the arugula salad.  Top with salad dressing and chives.  Add a side dish, such as a twice-baked potato (recipe tomorrow!), and Voila!  It’s date night!

Ya gotta love it when something so pretty and so yummy is so easy!  I marinated for just 15 minutes–giving the steak just the slightest tang, but providing a coating that seared beautifully.  Yummy!

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Filed under dinner, recipe, salad