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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.)

salad

Yawn.

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.

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

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

onsaladgreens

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

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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.

ms

*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:

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(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.)

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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!

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Really puts the G in ginormous.

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

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. april says:

    That dinner has my name written all over it!

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

  14. 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).

  15. 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!

  16. 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).

  17. 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:)

  18. Krista says:

    Gret salad! I love how versatile salads can be. I top mine with just about anythinfgI can find but tuna and beans have to be my fave’s

  19. 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 😀

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. Brittany says:

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

  23. Erin says:

    Clue! That game was always a BIG fave in our house.

    My fav greens are green leaf lettuce mixed with spinach. My absolute favorite mix (that I never make) would be that base plus poached pears, goat cheese, dried cherries, and spiced pecans.

    OMG drool.

  24. JB says:

    there are so many salad ingredients that i love…i couldn’t possibly choose. but i DO love dijon mustard! i usually don’t put it on top, i like to mix it INTO my dressing. yummmmy. my favorite green is probably spinach or kale. i like romaine as well, it just doesn’t pack as much of a healthy punch!

    -JB
    http://cardiovegsular.wordpress.com

  25. Meredith says:

    Spinach is definitely my favorite green. I love adding hummus to salad.

  26. Kate says:

    Your salads look great, and as always, your personality is wonderful as well. love your posts!

  27. Emily says:

    I agree! I used to hate salads as a younger kid because that is what people are exposed to if their family eats out alot (and they aren’t old enough to cook!). Such a shame because salads can be totally awesome! 😀

    My favorite board game?! I love them all, but I was a total dork a rocked Scrabble more often than not!

  28. Oh I love veggie burger salads!

    Definitely into Clue and Monopoly, probably my top two!

  29. Erin says:

    Ahhh this post had me rollin’ baby!
    I love it so much.
    That first salad certainly does look boring – all of YOURS, however, look FULL of vitamins and minerals and color! I love ’em!
    My favorite dressing as of late: mashed avocado,nooch, and braggs – ahhhhh so amazing. And I LOVE romaine and red leaf lettuce :)

  30. jrsimon56 says:

    I love this one salad my Mom makes. It has greens, walnuts, and scallions. The dressing is a vinegar/mustard base and it is ridiculous! I’ll get it from her and send it your way. I’m sure it would be good with some other greens and perhaps yellow peppers.

  31. Christina says:

    My favorite is spinach, although I do love myself some kale!

  32. Jessica says:

    Ohhh, I love salad…but only when they’re pretty and fancy. I like to put lots of roasted veggies in mine, and sometimes I use salsa instead of dressing.

    My favorite green is nice, crunchy romaine lettuce!

  33. Need I state the very obvious?! Kale + avocado :-)

  34. mmm…

    I like using dark leavy greens, spinach
    with shredded cheese, black beans, salsa, guacamole, tomatos, hot sauce, crushed guiltless gourmet nacho chips

    and if im feeling saucy…light ranch dressing 😉

  35. Luna says:

    Hello Katie! i have two questions for you: 1) can you please send me some baby spinach please ??I crave them, i live in italy and i can’t find them here now ’cause they are “spring vegetable” :( :( :( 2)can you teach me how to use chopsticks?!?Maybe a tutorial in one of your colorful posts 😀 (not so much of a joke for the 2nd question!) Seriously now, i love your blog and read it almost every morning, it’s my breakfast time amusement 😉 take care and ciao from italy

  36. Hey Luna! First of all, I love your name. Reminds me of one of my favorite songs (a Spanish song by Juanes, called “Luna”).

    Aww, I’d send you a ton of spinach if I could! But in return you’d have to send me some amazing soy gelato like the hazelnut gelato I got last time I was in Sorrento (most beautiful place in the world, by the way). You’re so lucky to live in Italy! In what part do you live? (You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, of course.)

    Ok, I’ll try and write a chopstick tutorial! I’m not sure how easy it will be to describe how to use them, though… maybe I need to stop procrastinating and finally figure out how to do a video post!

    Thanks so much for the sweet comment!

    Love,
    CCV/Katie

  37. I LOVE roasted vegetables on a bed of spinach! I am trying a new salad creation tonight…it’s mid-prep and I am so excited! 😀 Will be on blog tomorrow 😉

  38. ttfn300 says:

    fabulous salads!! and i LOVE clue :)

  39. Jules says:

    I love salad! It’s so delicious. I especially love it with chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes. And the best dressing I’ve ever had is Annie’s Goddess Dressing, which is so incredibly delicious I don’t even think I can describe it. My Dad found a recipe that recreates it almost perfectly online, so now that’s the only dressing I ever use :) The mustard looks intriguing, though. I’ll have to try it sometime…

  40. Meghan says:

    Hey! I got the eggplant burgers you posted about and found they are wayyy too salty for me! But I barely add salt to anything so maybe that’s why. Too bad, bc the nutritional info looked great…

    It sounds weird but I love putting halved red grapes on my salad. I usually use a mix of salsa, balsamic vinegar, a tiny bit of amys gingerly vinaigrette and TONS of dijon mustard. It tastes awesome with the grapes. I also use the typical stuff people already listed like steamed veggies,avocado, etc.

    Oh, and sometimes I put frozen peas on my salad and by the time i eat it they’re mostly defrosted…delicious :)

  41. Marianne says:

    We had Video Clue that me and my sister would play waaaay too often! It was hilarious. Actually, just watching the video was funny, you didn’t even need to play the game.

    My fave salad greens are red leaf lettuce, romaine, and baby spinach. Although it would be fun to add more exciting greens, I have serious issues with the bitterness of them raw.

  42. veganhomemade says:

    Giant salads! I’m thinking I might go on a plan in August where I eat a giant salad for lunch every day, so I’ve been kicking around ideas. I’m totally down with your cooked-veggies-in-salads idea too, I made my own version of a Stir Fry Salad, and just last night I had a roasted potato and fava bean salad for dinner.

    I really like any kind of greens, although I probably use baby romaine and spinach most often. For toppings, it’s really anything – from whatever raw salad worthy veggies I can find in the fridge, to something more composed like a fajita salad. And dressings…so many choices! I like a good old homemade balsamic vinaigrette, or an agave mustard, or tofu-based ranch, or just extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Dang, now I want a big salad.

  43. vegetalion says:

    That is so funny! I was always professor plum; I have a clue-based entry, too! ^_^ Awesome
    http://vegetalion.blogspot.com/2008/11/professor-plum-cake.html

  44. tdats says:

    maybe im weird, but i like ketchup on my salads :p makes it taste like a veggie burger or something haha. but im def going to have to try this colonel mustard salad!
    i LOVED clue when i was little. i always asked to play it at friends houses. and when harry potter got famous, i got the harry potter version of clue 😀 (but it’s not as good as the original, fyi 😉 )