WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Your favorite frugal summer salads

Posted June 9, 2011 2:05 a.m. EDT

Today's Thursday Thoughts is all about frugal salads. With all the great in-season produce deals and fresh veggies from your own gardens, there are so many tasty and frugal salad options.  Don't forget the additional savings because you aren't running the oven and heating up the house during the hottest months of the year.

Let's use this post to share our favorite summer salads. Thanks to jdouglas who suggested this topic in the Monday Meal plan this week!

Here are some websites with a number of great looking summer salads:

Southern Living summer salads HERE

All recipes.com summer salads HERE

Allrecipes.com Main Dish salad recipes HERE

We love pasta salad and since pasta is usually free or close to it, this is also a very frugal meal. I use either light mayo,  Italian dressing (depends on what I have on hand), or a basic oil and vinegar homemade dressing and then add veggies like chopped tomatoes, green and/or red peppers, vidalia onions or green onions, black olive slices, etc. I make it at least 3 or 4 hours before needed so it has time to get cold in the fridge before serving. When using it as more of a main dish, I add a protein like chopped chicken breast, imitation crab meat, cooked shrimp, tuna or sauteed tofu.

My favorite summer salad is Broccoli Slaw with Ramen Noodles.  If you have never had this salad, you may be raising your eyebrows at the mention of ramen noodles in a cold salad. I promise - you are in for a treat. The ramen noodles become perfectly soft in the delicious dressing and the nuts add an excellent flavor. It's ideal for a potluck or picnic, because it has no dairy products. Although the almonds are not exactly frugal, this recipe only calls for 1/3 cup.

This salad sits overnight and is eaten the next day. It takes a good 8 hours for the noodles to soak up the dressing and become nice and soft.

Broccoli Slaw with Ramen Noodles

Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 to 2/3 cup olive oil (if you like an oily dressing, use 2/3 cup oil. If you like it more dry, use ½ cup. I measure halfway between the two for my slaw)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
Seasoning packets from ramen noodles

Dry Ingredients:
1 pkg. broccoli slaw mix (found in the refrigerated packaged salad section in the produce dept.)
1/3 cup sliced, blanched almonds
1 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
2 packages beef ramen noodles (broken into small pieces – but not crushed)
1 bunch green onions sliced

Mix oil, sugar, vinegar and seasoning packets together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mix together broccoli mix, almonds, sunflower seeds, sliced green onions and ramen noodles (broken up). Add dressing to broccoli and noodles and mix well. Let stand for a few hours and toss again so all the noodles are coated with the dressing. I usually make this the night before I am serving it. When I get up in the morning, I mix it up again. A few hours later I mix it again. Just before I serve it, I mix it one more time. Serve cold and enjoy!

What are your favorite summer salads?