Broccoli and White Beans with Goat Cheese and Lemon Dressing

If you’d asked seven-year old me how I often I’d eat broccoli as an adult, I’d have probably put the number at about “never”. Poor, deluded seven-year old me. It turns out I eat broccoli (and its relatives) all the time.

I love this salad. It has roasted broccoli (fact: all vegetables are better roasted), beans, cheese, and a lemony dressing. It’s basically a summer salad that happens to be filling, delicious, and vegetarian if you omit the anchovies (plus, ahem, gluten free!).

Strawberry, Kale, and Buckwheat Salad

This salad is great for parties, weeknight meals, or hot summer evenings. Buckwheat adds great flavor, especially since it’s dressed in a lemony sauce. I love that the whole thing is on the table in under thirty minutes — while the buckwheat cooks, you can prepare the strawberries.

I make this salad without cheese for a vegan option. If you like cheese — and it will add a salty component to the dish — ricotta is great. Feta works. Even blue cheeses are lovely. I also love to add toasted nuts or seeds, like pumpkin, to the dish for some crunch.

Note: start testing the buckwheat for doneness about twelve minutes into the simmer. You want the grains to be firm, not mushy. That way they hold their shape and add texture to this salad.

Wilted Kale Salad with Vinaigrette and Preserved Lemons

I love kale. Of course, I love all leafy greens…give me chard, and I’m yours for life! I have a friend who makes an amazing kale salad with a pucker-your-mouth lemon vinaigrette. You know the dressing is intense when I think the amount of lemon is just, exactly, perfectly right.

Her salad inspired mine. I wilted the kale so it wasn’t so tough. Then I made a light vinaigrette to complement the kale. Finally, because lemon and kale are perfect together, I added a bit of preserved lemon. The salty, lemony flavor makes this dish!

Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

There are certain times of year when I crave this salad. Sometimes it’s due to the hot weather and a desire for the cold, crisp crunch of iceberg lettuce. Sometimes it’s because I want to indulge in the absolute creamy, salty flavor of the dressing. Sometimes…it’s both.

I love serving this salad at barbecues because it’s easy to make for a crowd. It’s also the perfect accompaniment to a well-cooked steak. And, of course, the blue cheese dressing can be used on other types of salad.

I know there is some concern in the gluten-free community about whether or not blue cheese is gluten-free. Generally, these cheese are safe to eat. For your information, I discuss this issue and list blue cheeses that are gluten-free here (and a few that are not) here.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

I’ll be honest: I was never a huge fan of tabbouleh. I think it was my body’s way or warning me away from foods that made me sick because all the components of tabbouleh are delicious on their own. Which makes this gluten-free tabbouleh just about perfect…and a bit addictive.

Serve it with homemade falafel. Or bring as a side salad to a party.

Grilled Romaine Halves with Caesar Dressing

During the summer, it’s natural to throw everything on the grill, and salads are no exception. Sure, you can do fantastic grilled veggie salads tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Or you can impress your guests with this unexpected grilled Romaine salad.

Just brush the cut halves of Romaine heads with a bit of olive oil (I have a lemon-flavored oil I use for this) and grill for a few minutes on each side while your meat is resting.

The traditional Caesar dressing can be made in the blender or food processor (or by hand if you’re feeling energetic). Don’t skip the anchovies — they add incredible flavor and nobody (but you) will know they’re there.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try this with Iceberg lettuce to make a very different kind of wedge salad.

Miso-Sesame Salad Dressing

Despite the fact that two strong flavors are used in this dressing, it doesn’t overpower salads (though I do advising keeping the salad simple). I always have miso in my refrigerator, so this comes together in a few minutes. While I like cheese on my salad as much as the next person, I think it doesn’t work with this dressing — plus it increases the saltiness a bit too much.

While I’ve never encountered miso that isn’t gluten-free, do check labels carefully!

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