Salad Days are here….again. But this time, spring’s tender lettuce isn’t taking center stage. Because it’s moderately warm here in the Maritime Northwest (and, I gather, roughly as hot the 6th circle of Hell elsewhere in the U.S.) I want to cook and eat cold food, and entree salads fits the bill perfectly.
Here’s a few of the lettuce-free salads I’ve been making with garden produce and pantry basics.
Pasta with Tuna, Green Onion and Lemon Basil with Garlic Dressing
This is a very loose variation on an old family staple I used to eat a lot as a kid. My mom called it “Tuna Noodle Casserole” and made it with fried chow mein noodles from a bag, canned tuna and cream of mushroom soup. My father, for what should be obvious reasons, called it “cheap, disgusting food.” I can hear him now: “Cheap, disgusting food for dinner again tonight, dear?” he’d ask cheerfully. Despite the nickname, it was a comfort food hit at my childhood home.
Pasta with Canned Tuna and various rotating seasonings and additions gives me a cheap, portable, kid-friendly meal and transports me back to those childhood flavors, sans cream of mushroom soup. The lemon basil goes especially well with the briney tuna flavor.
Having cold entree salads ready to go makes it simple for Homebrew Husband to take a lunch into work, and makes it a breeze for me to take the kids out for summer picnic shenanigans. Just pop some salads and fruit (we just went blueberry picking, can you tell?) in a picnic container and go.
Speaking of picnic containers, our best friends gave us this stacking picnic/lunch box container as a gift after they (apparently) saw it featured as one of Oprah’s favorite things. Oprah was right; it’s fantastic. If you need a snazzy gift for a friend who also enjoys picnic shenanigans here’s a cool idea.