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The Perfect Summer Dinner

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When the summer weather blew in, it instilled in me a renewed desire for salads.  Something about salad just screams SUMMER!

I can completely understand why many people think salads are boring; have you seen the salads they offer at popular fast-food chains, or even at some fancy steakhouses?  Sorry, but a few pieces of tasteless iceberg topped with anemic tomatoes and watery Italian dressing does not a yummy meal make.  (Don’t get me wrong; it is better than nothing.  I’m happy they’re at least making an effort.)


Thanks to the above specimen and his friends, I used to think I hated salads.  But that was before my horizons expanded with the discovery that a salad has so much more potential than simply iceberg and dressing.  For example, you can mix up the greens!  Chard, kale, arugula, kohlrabi, bok choy, collards… the possibilities are endless.  And who says you must go with the standard oil-n-vinegar dressing? Get creative—hummus, soup, peanut sauce, smashed berries, mayo, ketchup, or salsa all make terrific salad toppers.

You can even forgo the dressing altogether, opting to top your salad greens with leftovers.


Above, a salad topped with: Fall’s Favorite Curry.

And who says cooked veggies can’t be included in a salad?


Live up to your potential, salads!  Be all that you can be!


Now about that perfect summer meal…

Colonel Mustard, in the Kitchen, with the Knife

What was your favorite board game as a child?  Clue definitely topped my list (along with Monopoly!).  I even read all the chapter books. (Yes, there are Clue books.) I always insisted on being the nefarious Miss Scarlett.


*Insert evil laugh here*

Every time I use mustard, I think about Colonel Mustard from that game.  And for this particular salad, Mr. Mustard’s friends—Mr. Green Greens, Mr. Plum eggplant burger, and Miss Scarlett peppers came to help solve the following mystery: How can such a simple salad taste so good? Therefore, last night’s dinner is dedicated to Colonel Mustard and the rest of the Clue gang.

Monster Mustard Salad

  • 1 cooked veggie burger of choice
  • huge handfuls of mixed greens and ripped-up Swiss Chard
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality mustard
  • Girl-Meets-Grill peppers

Put all the greens in a bowl, grill the peppers, crumble the burger, drizzle on the mustard, then mix away! Serves one.

Chocolate-Covered Mustard-Covered Meal of the Day

Dinner fit for a burger queen:


(Colonel Mustard Salad with Mr. Green Greens, Miss Scarlett Peppers, and Mr. Plum Eggplant Burger, accompanied by fresh strawberries and two slices of toast blanketed in peanut butter.)


Close up of the salad monster, before I stirred in the mustard. But when I attempted to mix it, I discovered this salad was just *too* big. It left me no choice; I had to get out…

The Big Kahuna salad bowl!


I could eat a salad every day for the entire summer and not get bored.

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. broccolihut says:

    I am a total salad nut–I eat at least one a day.
    -I love including cooked veggies, especially roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts!
    -burger salads are amazing! I like to use the Amy’s Bistro burger and add lots of onions & summer squash along with “artful” drizzles of organic ketchup & mustard. I will def have to try your mustard sauce next time though!

  2. MarathonVal says:

    I love salmon-topped salads!!! They are such a fabulous source of lean protein, while still being low-cal! Also avocado rocks any salad, obviously 😉

    I also accidentally bought some turnip greens that I have no idea what to do with… any suggestions would be welcome, since you are a genius when it comes to this type of thing!

  3. Nora says:

    It looks liek you crowned your bowl with a wreath! hahah

  4. Erin says:

    Haha, I also loved Clue and was always Miss Scarlet. And I read those books!! I forgot about them. They were strange even then.
    I love love salads and eat them allll the time. But I hate those boring things that people think are salads. My Dad always comments on how lovely and tasty my salads are. I’m glad I’ve opened his horizons.
    I add anything and everything to salads. My favorite green is either spinach or kale…depends on my mood. I think avocado is the perfect topper, especially as guac. But hummus and salsa are also delish.

  5. Whit says:

    I love spinach and boston lettuce in my salads. YUM!

  6. runandrejoice says:

    Guacamoleeee! The ULTIMATE topper. With a splash of salsa, it’s hard to beat!

  7. t says:

    Mustard has become one of my favorite ingredients to play around with. That salad looks fab!

  8. Your salads look great! I love salads. And you are right, they don’t need to be boring…

    I keep going back to spinach… As far as dressing goes, I have been adding ripe, smashed avocados to my vinaigrette with lots of lemon/lime juice, and everyone likes it.

  9. Shelby says:

    The salads look AMAZING! Making me hungry!

    And sorry but I was ALWAYS Ms. Scarlet!!!

  10. Kiersten says:

    I’ve been eating so many salads lately. I like adding cooked broccoli, beans, and olives to my salads. And I love using salsa (heated up a little) as my dressing.

    My favorite salad green is spinach, but my favorite cooked green is kale. A combination of raw spinach and leftover cooked kale makes a really tasty salad!

  11. Anne K. says:

    Your salads look delicious! I’m such a huge salad fan, and I always have them in serving bowls. Haha! My favorite toppings are Trader Joe’s Beef-less strips and Annie’s Island Marinade. Soooo good! I’m also a fan of Amy’s bistro burgers crumbled on salads 🙂 My favorite green is a romaine and spinach mix.

  12. Spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, avocados never fail me.

  13. Emily says:

    Love your huge salad…yeah for breaking out the big kahuna salad bowl! I agree that often restaurants have boring salads. I always love making my own since I can include more of what I like and less of what I don’t.

    Spinach is my fave green, and hot sauce + hummus is my favorite dressing (weird, I know).

  14. Guac in a salad is awesome!! I also really like a little bit of dried fruit, or some kind of savory piece, like a “burger” – something that adds a little oomph!

  15. I always had to be Miss Scarlett too! Have you seen the new Clue? My friend Greg has it, and it’s all weird now. They’ve added new rules and stuff…bleh. I prefer old school.

    As for salad greens, I’m a crunchy gal so I prefer romaine heart or (gasp!) iceberg. Yep, I know iceberg is tasteless and not-as-nutrient-rich but I like it. I do not like arugala or raw kale in a salad (good in a smoothie though!).

    On dressing, when I buy the storebought kind, I like Organicsville Non-Dairy Ranch, but for homemade, I like Maple-Dijon (a little maple, a little Dijon, and a dash of oil and vinegar) or Vegan Russian (veganaise, ketchup, and apple cider vinegar).

  16. SweetKaroline says:

    I love spinach or even better a spinach/romaine mix!

    and it definitely needs something filling and substantial thrown in like a leftover lentil ball or a veggie burger

    plus don’t forget dried fruit and a sprinkle of toasted nuts!

    i usually stick to a simple balsamic dressing. i wish i could get into the avocado based dressings but i’m not there yet:)

  17. Maria says:

    I totally agree—salads can be so boring sometimes, but if you jazz it up, they can turn out to be fabulous. I crave salads often too and never get bored!

    My favorite green is definitely crunchy sweet romaine. I love to add hummus, BBQ sauce, peach salsa, kabocha, avocado, and beets to salads. Mmmm. Oh, and burgers (usually sunshine) are fabulous too 😀

  18. Kristie says:

    SO many restaurant salads are complete crap. I don’t know the last time I had a GOOD restaurant salad. Then again, I don’t often go to restaurants.

    But it’s oh so easy to make such an amazing salad at home, why even bother venturing out! I love putting pretty much ANY meal or leftover over a giant bed of spinach.

    Clue was one of my favourite games too! As well as Guess Who. And… Candy Land? Haha. I don’t remember what other games I played!

    I’m such a mustard junkie though, I really wish we had that kind around here! I eat some mustard variation virtually every single day. I just sit with some raw veg and a bottle of mustard and get snacking. Mmmmm.

  19. Don’t forget the blended barley…well, duh. 🙂

    I think the Maranatha brand is my favorite almond butter…dare I say better than Trader Joe’s? I think so. Never had their PB. I shall try it soon.

    All salads should go in Ginormous bowls – it’s the only way to do it, and don’t even get me started on the typical salads served at restaurants. Although, I do have to say the grilled veggie salad from CA Pizza Kitchen is pretty kick-ass.

    My favorite green is spinach, and my favorite salad ingredient is avocado. 🙂

    Happy Weekend Katie!

  20. Brittany says:

    I loved the Clue chapter books–I thought I was the only one I knew that liked them!

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