When I received my review copy of (culinary wizard) Terry Hope Romero's newest book, Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love, I died. I died and went to glorious salad heaven.
In Salad Samurai, Romero shares 100 salads, all broken down by season. There's also a slew of various dressings and salad toppings to take your salads to the next level. With my first flip-through, I spotted easily a dozen salads I knew I needed to make right away. The second time, I went through it, I dog-eared about 30 to 40 salads that I felt would be good for dinner that night (Kimchi Black Rice with Asian Pear, Smokehouse Chickpeas 'N' Greens Salad, Gingery Beets & Lentils with Tahini and Agave Nectar, BBQ Tempeh 'N' Dilly Slaw Bowl, and Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad just to name a few). It's rare that I will cook from the same cookbook every night for a week (actually, it's never happened before) but this book, with it's gorgeous photography by V.K. Rees, is so enticing, I couldn't help myself. And the recipes make building an incredible salad so easy that I felt like I really was a samurai in the kitchen!
One of the salads I made was the Backyard Buffalo Caesar Salad. With several elements to the salad itself (buffalo tofu, croutons, a ranch dressing), I expected to be working in the kitchen for awhile. I was thrilled, however, by how simple the recipe was and how quickly it came together. It didn't hurt that the salad was pretty amazing and the first time I actually liked having croutons on a salad (these croutons, you guys... they're perfect!).
Another salad I made was the Tempeh Reubenesque Salad. I was able to use the leftover croutons from the caesar salad so again, the salad took very little time to make. Chris and I love Reuben sandwiches so this salad, piled high with sauerkraut, red cabbage, apples, tempeh bacon bits, and doused in Galapagos Island dressing made this salad our favorite that we've tried so far. We actually had it two nights in a row!
What I love most about Salad Samurai, is how simple Romero has made it for us to pull together beautiful, delicious, meal-sized salads without making it complicated. The instructions are straight to the point and so easy, I think Chris could probably follow them (he doesn't cook at all). The ingredients are ones that I keep stocked regularly. In fact, to make the Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad, all I needed to get at the store was fresh basil. I had never grilled cauliflower before and I loved how it didn't take much time for them to become tender and get beautiful grill marks. I never would've thought to add grilled cauliflower to a potato salad but with the pesto and pine nuts mixed in, it was an absolute delight. It even made a wonderful lunch the next day. Da Capo Press is being kind enough to let me share the recipe for this exquisite salad with all of you!
- 1⁄2 pound cauliflower (about 1/2 small or 1/4 medium cauliflower)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1⁄2 pound waxy yellow or white potatoes, unpeeled
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- 1⁄4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or toasted pine nuts
- 11⁄2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Remove the thick inner stem from the cauliflower, slice into thick 1-inch slabs. Preheat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Rub the cauliflower with olive oil and arrange the pieces in a single layer in the preheated pan. Grill the cauliflower until charred on the outside and crisp-tender inside, about 4 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer the cauliflower to a cutting board, chop into bite-size pieces, and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Peel and dice the potato into 1⁄2-inch pieces, transfer to a large saucepan, cover with 4 inches of cold water, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes for 6 to 8 minutes, or until almost tender.
- Stir in the peas and cook another minute. Reserve 1⁄4 cup of cooking water, then drain the potatoes and peas and rinse with cold water. Add these vegetables to the cauliflower.
- In a food processor, pulse together the pesto ingredients plus 2 tablespoons of the potato cooking water until smooth. Spoon onto the vegetables, add the nuts, and combine thoroughly.
- Cover and chill for 10 minutes to blend flavors. Serve the salad slightly chilled or at room temperature. Garnish each serving with a few nuts.
From Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014
Da Capo Press is also being so generous as to give away 2 copies of Salad Samurai to my wonderful readers! You read it right- there'll be 2 winners! The giveaway will run until 11:59 pm PST on July 7th, 2014. Please use the box below to enter.
Thank you so much to Terry Hope Romero for writing this wonderful cookbook which is sure to be a staple resource in my kitchen and to De Capo Press for letting me review it. And thank you to all of you amazing readers for stopping by!
In your opinion, what makes a salad spectacular?
Disclaimer: I was given this book to review but the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
IMHO what makes a salad spectacular is the dressing!
I love nutritional yeast on my salads!
Lots of colour and a subtle enhancing dressing
What makes a salad spectacular is fresh organic ingredients, a great combination of flavors and a dressing that compliments the ingredients.
Different textures and colors, I like the crunch of croutons but love the creaminess of beans, the dark read of beets and the bright green of broccoli, I'll throw nearly anything on hand in a salad and it is always just too good.
For me it's probably when it's all lively and vivid, multicolor, when it has lot's of different its and bits to it, seeds&nuts.. something like that :)) The one you just made looks pretty much spectacular to me 😀
In my opinion, salads are the best way to explore different combinations of flavors and food while being healthy at the same time (usually). Who doesn't love a good salad filled with tons of fresh veggies, nuts, seeds, and an awesome dressing?! It can be savory or light and fresh served as a complete meal or a side dish. Salads are my favorite!
A salad must be crunchy. Some mush (i.e. cooked) elements are okay, as long as it's crunchy. Sour vinaigrettes are my preference over creamy dressings, to let the natural taste of the vegetables shine through.
Salad Samurai is one of my must have books of 2014! There is no denying Terry’s genius, and this coupled with Salad Power! it’s a must have. Salad makes the world go round (that, and eating out of giant bowls 🙂 )
Love color and taste that will excite me!!
A spectacular salad consists of amazing flavors and a killer dressing!!
I'm not sure as I've never been much of a salad person as the the idea of salad used to be just eating bowls of lettuce, and that was not appealing. I'm now trying to change my vision of what salads can be, so I think the answer for me is variety.
A killer salad is FILLING. Otherwise, it's just a green side salad. I like one dish meals so an entree salad is the only way to go.
A great dressing is good too. 🙂
Something warm and something crunchy!
I love a salad with lots of variety going on and a great dressing! I'm extra partial to salads containing avocado!
Having a variety of textures, flavors, and colors!
A spectacular salad has several different textures and flavors, sometimes with an unexpected ingredient. It's got to have a very tasty dressing as well. I'm pretty much always guaranteed to have hemp seeds and nutritional yeast on my salads!
Variety of textures, and filling!
Salads have to be fresh, healthy, full of flavor, and different textures!
Basil always makes salads delicious
Combining different flavours and textures in a colourful way with a zingy flavourful dressing. My go to lunch salad is chopped romaine and arugula with shredded beets and carrots topped with sauteed tofu flavoured with soy sauce and nutritional yeast. My dressing for this is a generous amount of a good balsamic vinegar and evoo.
The perfect salad is all about the dressing in my book! The Trader Joe's hummus dressing is incredible!
I think salads are the best when there are a bunch of different textures! It keeps it interesting!
for lunch, i just made a kale, roasted sweet potato, roasted beet, asparagus, tofu, hemp seed, and tahini drizzle salad.
What makes a salad spectacular for me is a great dressing. Thanks for the chance to win Terry's lovely new book!
dressing is important but I don't like anything too greasy or creamy! I've also realized how important fresh organic lettuces and veggies are! I've had salads where I have to force myself to chew through disgusting bitter kale or spinach and swearing off vegetables forever, and then I've had fresh organic spinach right from the ground that didn't even need dressing!
I think what makes a salad great is variety: variety of colors, flavors (sweet, sour, savory, salty), and textures (creamy, chewy, crispy, crunchy).
A good variety of textures.
Protein, like tempeh or tofu or even beans!
A little bit of crunch...
A spectacular salad is colorful and has hearty ingredients that fill me up! I especially love tahini dressing!
I love when my salads have flavorful fresh herbs!
The best salads are crunchy, overall. Some "mushier" ingredients are okay, like a bit of avocado, but should be mostly crisp veggies overall. Also, I like a lot of salty, crunchy bits like seeds or nuts. That's usually the best part.
That all looks awesome! A good salad to me has enough protein to be filling and a really delicious dressing. Croutons certainly don't hurt either. 🙂
I love the spicy peanut butter dressing from isa does it. That makes my salad awesome! And tempeh- love tempeh 🙂
Texture ! The more going on with a salad, the better.
Fresh Produce is paramount to any good salad or any recipe for that matter
I *love* and really require crunch in my salads, when they have a lot of flavor, that makes them the best.
Great review Kristy! I posted mine a little while ago and also made that gorgeous Pesto Cauliflower salad. You've got me really excited to try the Tempeh Reubenesque!
Being able to mix and match the veggies in a salad and still getting great results!
I think all salads need to be well balanced in terms of flavour, texture and nutrition 🙂
a yummy dressing!
cool salad with something warm on top
Thanks for this wonderful giveaway !!! I desperately want this cookbook. I'm a huge fan of any kind of salad.
What make a salad spectacular ?! Avocado, nutritional yeast and lots of different kind of greens 🙂
i really like a little 'kick' in my salad, maybe some spicy chickpeas
The perfect balance of leaves and toppings.
fresh in season ingredients.
Fresh produce from your garden! (or nearest Farmer's Market if not possible)
the dressing makes the salad!
A combination of great flavors and a yummy dressing.
I think the ingredients have to be fresh and organic when possible! Variety is also a component of a great salad, so having different toppings and textures (crunchy, smooth, and chewy) really makes the dish! Lastly, having color on your salads makes them more appetizing and a sure way to get plenty of good nutrients from the different foods. I am a salad fiend, making one pretty much daily in the summer, and I think more people need to be adventurous and realize that salads are far from boring!
Nuts! Salads are a million times better with nuts.
Robyn B | Modern Day Missus
Great review - I had never heard of this cookbook until now!
I have this strategy with salads that revolves around three key ingredients - a green, a nut/protein and a fruit. Not for every salad, but seems to do the trick when I'm in a pinch!
My favourite at the moment is japanese salad dressing (miso/soy sauce/ginger/mirin etc) with cabbage and carrot, and hemp seeds.... to die for!
What makes a salad spectacular is having really fresh, in season ingredients.
I love a 'complete meal' salad using ingredients from 2 local organic farms. Like adding beans, sometimes pasta. After having made amazing home made dressings, that's a sure thing 🙂 !
What a great cookbook! In my opinion salads need lots of add-ins and texture.
Fresh herbs and a good dressing!
The dressing makes salad spectacular. Also the crunch factor like croutons, seeds, chip strips etc.Thanks
toppings make a salad! Like fruit, goat or feta cheese, nuts... etc
Emily @ It Comes Naturally Blog
My favourite salads at the moment have a base of spiralised courgette and some sauerkraut - awesome!
Fresh produce makes a salad spectacular! Sub-par veggies and fruits are still yummy, but not quite as satisfying. Also, getting the right balance of flavors between the fruits, veggies, add-ons, and dressing....have to get the crunchy/creamy/salty/sweet/etc just right!
a variety of textures! crunchy apples, chewy dried fruit, light/crisp lettuce, chopped nuts, and an amazing dressing to bring it together.
Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent
The dressing makes a salad spectacular. I can't (and won't) eat a dry salad without dressing!
Cauliflower and pesto in a salad? I am so there!
The contents make a salad. It can be just lettuce but beautiful if the preparation is made with genuine good heartedness and nurturing!
Meg @ Niesbeetle
I always find the dressing the way to really kick the salad up a notch however, my boyfriend and his family (who aren't as fierce salad eaters as I am) believe that, if a salad looks good, it will be good. To each their own!....but I do love a pretty and colourful salad!
A spectacular salad... many colors, amazing dressing, and some great protein to really make it stick!
Full of flavor.. I love contrast sweet and savory too
It's all about the dressing
I'm going to agree with everyone else, dressing is key! Even with just the lightest drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon, the dressing is where it's at!
Add crunchy and creamy textures, colorfoul vegetables and fresh seasonning! As simple as that!
I love a salad with a kaleidoscope of crunch, color & flavor.
I ththink adding cooked foods, such as a roasted veggie or two, makes a salad both spectacular and more satisfying/filling. That, and a you have to have a slamming dressing and keep your produce seasonal!
The perfect salad contains just enough fat! I usually add this by means of avocado.
Some kind of sour-ness in the dressing: be it vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, pickles.......
I love adding seasonal fruit to salads.
I love to add fruit to salads to make them awesome!
Loads of nutrients and lots of CRUNCH!
What makes an awesome salad is, obviously, the dressing but also toppings which add great texture. I love to get a little bit of everything in each bite -- sweet, savory, crunchy, tangy, creamy, crunchy.
a spectacular salad is one that one that uses seasonal ingredients, and makes you feel full!
Balance. All salads need a combination of salty, crunchy, fatty, etc.
So I already have my copy of Salad Samurai, but I have been under the weather and haven't had a chance to make anything from it yet. Now am I am super excited! The first recipe I'm going to try is the tempeh reuben salad. OMG I love tempeh reuben sandwiches, it's genius to make a salad based on a classic sandwich. Thank you 🙂
Having the perfect bite-sized chunks of every ingredient perfectly coated with an awesome dressing makes for a great salad.
Texture, is what makes a salad spectacular, as many as possible.
Lots of different tastes and texture and a great dressing (or maybe none, if the toppings are good enough!)
Salads are great, they can be as light or as hearty as desired! I think toppings (nuts/seeds, "bacon" bits, dried fruit, croutons) and dressing really make a salad.
Bobbie | the vegan crew
What makes a salad spectacular? (1) The dressing and (2) a variety of flavors and textures.
I'm so excited about this cookbook -- thanks for the giveaway!
Lots of different texture and flavors.
Flavorful elements that are put into a salad make it spectacular such as a deliciously flavored tempeh or tofu, a grain such as quinoa, thoughtful veggies and of course a beautiful dressing to bring it all together!
Fresh produce and lots of color
TOPPINGS!!!!!! More specifically,atop the mountain of fresh veg of all varieties, I like:slivered toasted almonds, raisins, sunflower seeds, kalamata olives, fresh cilanatro leaves, avocado, and sprouts!
While I'm not usually a salad person [trying to become one bit by bit, though] a good one has that 'something something' setting it apart from plain old salad. Like this one drew me in with its pesto dressing, grilling the cauliflower instead of just steaming and the surprise inclusion of peas.
Can't be wimpy, has to be hearty with some sort of grain or bean or carb! And I always love a cashew or veganaise-based dressing...I'm a sucker for the creamy ones. Thanks Kristy! 🙂
homegrown lettuce and veg makes any and every salad spectacular (and fresh!)
Farm fresh veggies that taste sweet and juicy!
A good salad needs:
1) A bit of crunch
2) A bit of fat
3) A source of protein
4) FRESH veggies to hold it all together