Food & Drink

Season for enjoying salads is heating up

Quick-pickled onions and celery add big flavor to this potato salad.
Quick-pickled onions and celery add big flavor to this potato salad. Bryan Gardner

These salads are just the ticket for a picnic or backyard barbecue: Easily made ahead and transported, they’re loaded with seasonal vegetables and flavorful herbs — and light on fats.

For more recipes and additional tips, visit www.marthastewart.com. Questions or comments should be sent to askmartha@marthastewart.com.

Pasta salad with peas and summer beans

Citrusy and cilantro-packed, this dish pairs well with grilled chicken or tuna.

Serves 8

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 8 ounces wax beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 6 ounces frozen peas (1  1/4 cups)
  •  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh juice
  • 1 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water 6 minutes. Add beans; cook until pasta and beans are al dente, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add peas and immediately drain. Run cold water over pasta and vegetables until completely cool; drain and transfer to a large bowl.

2. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring often until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lime zest and juice (it may splatter). Add dressing and  3/4 teaspoon salt to pasta bowl; season with pepper. Toss with cilantro. Serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 day.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 203 calories, 7 grams fat, 30 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, no cholesterol, 37 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 31 percent of calories from fat.

Potato salad with quick-pickled onions and celery

A nod to cool, pure Nordic flavors, this is great with salmon or steak.

Serves 8

  • 3 pounds red new potatoes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  •  1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  •  1/4 cup light agave syrup
  •  1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  •  3/4 cup packed fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  •  1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with 2 inches of water; season with salt. Bring to a boil; cook until easily pierced with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, agave, 2 teaspoons salt,  1/4 teaspoon pepper, celery seeds and dill. Add celery and onion. Quarter potatoes and add to bowl along with oil; toss to coat. Serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 day.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 218 calories, 7 grams fat, 37 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, no cholesterol, 29 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 28 percent of calories from fat.

Chopped-vegetable tabbouleh

Try this bright, lemony dish with Middle Eastern-accented chicken or lamb.

Serves 8

  •  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup bulgur
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into  1/4 -inch pieces
  •  1/2 bulb fennel, cored and cut into  1/4 -inch pieces
  • 1 English cucumber, halved and cut into  1/4 -inch pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  •  1/2 cup packed fresh mint, chopped

1. In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add bulgur and allspice; stir until toasted, 2 minutes. Stir in 1  1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce to low and cook until bulgur is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely in a large bowl.

2. Add vegetables, tomatoes, lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Stir in parsley and mint. Serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 day.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 148 calories, 7 grams fat, 20 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, no cholesterol, 20 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 41 percent of calories from fat.

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