There’s no doubt about it: When you sit down at your favorite steakhouse, you’re likely focused on little else but a hunk of meaty, savory beef. But while the steak may be the star of the show, a few things will surely round out the meal: a crisp martini, a cool salad and hearty potato side dishes. All of these timeless eats and drinks made appearances on this morning’s brand-new Steakhouse Favorites episode of The Kitchen, which means that tonight just turned into steak night. Read on below to learn two reinvented takes on steakhouse salads: the wedge and a garlicky Caesar.
Salad has come a long way — or maybe we’re the ones who have. While the words “finish your salad” followed many of us from meal to meal as children, we’ve thankfully grown out of our resistance to everything green, and our love for a big, hearty, leafy salad has grown massively since then. But, even if you love a good salad, odds are you haven’t eaten it for three square meals a day — until now, that is.
If the shift to warmer temperatures outside has you craving all manner of cool, light eats inside, then look no further than a simple salad — but not just an everyday green salad. In addition to fresh, leafy greens, try adding other good-for-you picks, like hearty grains, beans or quinoa, a protein-packed superfood.
That’s right: salads that kids will love. That kids do love. We have four small fry at my place, and believe it or not, they’re totally becoming salad converts. These recipes are the reasons why.
Take it from the chefs in Food Network Kitchen: When it comes to salad, “Layered is the new chopped.” And when it comes to building a satisfying bowl of greens, it’s all about keeping you interested in what’s on your plate — or, in this case, what’s in the bowl. Think beyond lettuce and dressing — but don’t lose sight of them — and add bright pops of colorful ingredients, add-ins with plenty of texture, and a mix of fruit and vegetables. To keep the visual appeal in play, try layering all of the ingredients to show off each one’s distinct look.
Stacked with a whopping seven ingredients, not including the Dijon-laced vinaigrette, Food Network Kitchen’s Winter Layered Salad with Beets and Brussels Sprouts offers the best in seasonal fare, including juicy pink grapefruits, as well as hearty pearled barley to keep you full. “We love the tender-chewy barley, but it can be swapped out for your favorite whole grain, like brown rice or quinoa,” the chefs in Food Network Kitchen note. They add, however, “Don’t skip the walnuts — the toasty-nutty little guys are our favorite part.”
Kale salads are on menus everywhere these everywhere these days — and for good reason. This hearty green is packed with good-for-you nutrients and plays well with other flavors and textures, making it a go-to salad base, since it will be complemented by the other ingredients you add.
While everyday salads of just kale and dressing are a good place to start, in her recipe for Farro and Kale Salad Giada De Laurentiis dresses up the greens — she opts for the Tuscan variety of kale — with Italian-inspired tastes to create an easy yet elegant salad that’s satisfying enough to enjoy for dinner. Chopped walnuts add a welcome crunchy texture, while farro, an Italian grain like wheat, and dried cherries add a chewy bite. Mix up a citrus-laced vinaigrette to round out the flavors, and just before serving add crumbled goat cheese; you won’t want to pass up that creamy tang.
Head to any large grocery store chain and you’ll likely find an imported supply of warm-weather produce, even in the dead of winter. But once cooler weather settles in, you won’t find any of your favorite summertime crops at the local farmers market, and certainly not in your own garden. In the battle of fresh versus imported, fresh always wins, so savor in-season produce at every opportunity before the bountiful supply of corn, tomatoes and zucchini runs dry until next year. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, turn to fresh, seasonal salads as a way to showcase the season’s bounty. Here are five fruits and vegetables you can’t miss, and a few salad recipes to help you make the most of each.
Sure, it’s possible to purchase avocados year-round, but the vibrant green fruit seems most at home in fresh summer salads. For creaminess and light, airy texture, the chefs at Food Network Kitchen include ripe Hass avocados in their mealworthy Crab and Avocado Salad (pictured at top). For a festive end-of-summer side salad, try Bobby Flay’s Crunchy Avocado Salad loaded with blue corn tortilla chips and aromatic spices, like cumin and paprika.
While store-bought dressings and vinaigrettes are surely convenient, most are packed with sugar and sodium; the homemade stuff is quick to mix up, so stick with a recipe the next time you toss a salad. On this morning’s episode of The Kitchen, the cast introduced three bold — and fuss-free — salad dressings that can be ready in mere minutes. Start with Geoffrey Zakarian’s Base Vinaigrette (pictured above). Once you master that simple combination of red wine vinegar, shallots and oil, you can either serve that mixture on its own, like GZ does with arugula, or you can add more ingredients to create a brand-new dressing with rich tastes and textures.
Grills don’t need to be reserved just for burgers and hot dogs this summer. Give ingredients like fruit and veggies a quick char, and you’ll find that salads and side dishes get a delicious bonus in texture and flavor. In Giada De Laurentiis’ Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella (pictured above), she grills up bread and artichokes — hearty ingredients that will make a meatless salad satisfying — as the stars of her Italian dish.
Perhaps the best part about this salad is that it’s ready to eat in just 16 minutes. Take Giada’s lead and use whole-wheat bread or any day-old variety that you have on hand. The “staleness” will actually give the salad a nice additional crunch. First, drizzle the cubed bread and frozen artichokes with olive oil and grill until golden brown. Giada adds tomatoes, black olives and basil for extra freshness and a beautiful contrast in color. The final layer: a simple vinaigrette. Whisk together extra virgin olive oil with white wine vinegar and then toss with the salad mixture until combined.
With Memorial Day officially behind us, summer has (unofficially) kicked off. If this season is all about striving for easy, stress-free days, then there’s perhaps no simpler dish to make than a fresh salad. You could opt for a classic preparation of fresh greens, veggies and your favorite dressing, but in true Barefoot Contessa fashion, Ina Garten takes the traditional to the next level in her Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad (pictured above), featuring a craveable combination of peppery greens and juicy seasonal fruit.
Since watermelon is a sweet fruit, Ina balances out those natural sugars with plenty of savory tastes in the other ingredients: The olive oil-based dressing features a duo of bright citruses, plus minced shallots for a subtle bite, while crumbly feta cheese rounds out the salad with hefty richness and welcome tang. For an added burst of freshness, Ina mixes in fragrant mint leaves, which complement the fruit and the arugula alike. Click the play button on the video above to watch her make the salad.