Salad Course, Of Course!

Years ago when we first began dating, it was on my sweet husband’s heart to take my late father’s smoker, which had been left out in the elements and had grown into quite a state of disrepair, and have it repaired. Through some connections at church, he got in touch with someone who could restore it to a better state than when originally purchased. Since bringing it to our house, he has also taken time to master the unique personality of this particular outdoor cooking apparatus.

In our house, not to sound too misogynistic, the grilling is left up to the Mr for the most part. I can do it; but he enjoys it and since I’m still exploring and learning that side of cooking, we can ensure an edible meal while I’m prepping the rest inside. It’s a team effort! The same can be said about the smoker. The Mr works long hours six days out of seven, so when he gets home and we know we’re grilling (or smoking) that evening, it’s nice to have a little something ready to take the edge off until dinner’s ready. Last night, when he came home I had a small, yet hardy salad ready for us to tide us over while we waited for our shrimp to smoke (more on this later).

Since I was a little girl, I’ve had what people call an “old soul.” I’ve forever been fascinated with older eras. One of the best gifts I ever received was a Crosley record player and I am thrilled that Half Price Books sells old records! One of my favorite newer cookbooks is one I found on Amazon. The Betty Crocker Lost Recipes cookbook speaks to an “old soul” like me in bringing back some older recipes in such a fun way. One such recipe is for a less-typical (devoid of any lettuces) salad called “Healthified Lemon-Broccoli Salad” (aka “Skinny Broccoli Salad”).

One of the Mr’s favorite vegetables is cauliflower. He likes broccoli too, mind you; but cauliflower is one of the top ranking, right beneath yellow squash. Remember when I told you that when a recipe calls for “x or y” I usually do 50% of “x and y”? You guessed it! That’s exactly what I did here when the recipe called for “broccoli and/or cauliflower florets”!

Even using full-fat ingredients, one person could probably tear up the entire bowl without much impact on one’s waistline. With so much fiber, bright flavor, and fresh ingredients; this made a very satisfying, gap-bridging salad to munch on before dinner was ready. The ginger, lemon, and red onion aren’t overly assertive; but they definitely brighten up this salad and make their presence known in a subtle, supportive way! As per usual, I made a few swaps/substitutions due to availability/frugality/homecook-reality.

We don’t buy light mayonnaise in our house. We don’t much buy “light” anything really. Just like using real butter, the full-fat is always more satiating anyway. So regular mayo was used since I refuse to buy light mayo for one recipe. In place of the plain Greek yogurt listed in the recipe, I opted for Icelandic Provisions’ plain skyr. It’s been on sale lately and I’ve been enjoying sampling the different varieties, so it was a simple, unobtrusive swap.

The skyr is naturally low in sugar, tart, and thick and makes a great swap in any recipe calling for yogurt. If you’re not crazy about the level of tartness in Greek yogurt, feel free to use your favorite plain yogurt in its place. Using so little, it won’t really affect the resulting dish that greatly and you’ll be more apt to try it and enjoy it! Just be mindful of the sugar content.

I’d had some small knobs of ginger leftover from last week’s Carrot-Ginger Soup so I skinned them and placed them in some airtight containers in the freezer for later use. I figured, I paid for it. Might as well save it since I know I’ll use it! And as far as soy nuts go… Listen, I’m not knocking soy nuts. I have eaten my fair share in my day, but lately they’re not easy to find and I’m not necessarily deterred by that. Good, heart-healthy toasted walnuts stood in their place and they were just as delicious and complementary!

What are some of your favorite salads to take the edge off until dinner arrives?

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