Caspian-Style Green Salt Salad

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“Green salt” salad doesn’t translate very well, but that’s exactly what it is. Dalar, or namak sabz (“green salt” in Farsi), is an herb-and-salt condiment from Gilan province in northern Iran. I didn’t grow up with this, but rather, I came across a recipe and adapted it to my taste. Blended with olive oil and tossed with Persian cucumbers and crisp apples, it makes a tart and refreshing salad that goes well with any Iranian meal.

Caspian green salt salad

Ingredients:

1 cup mint leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 Fuji apples, diced into 1-inch cubes
4 Persian cucumbers, diced into 1-inch cubes

1. Transfer all of the herbs to a food processor and pulse a few times to chop. Add the salt and process until you have a grainy mixture. Add the pepper, lime juice and olive oil and puree.

2. In a large bowl, combine the apples, cucumbers, and dressing and toss well. Adjust seasoning to taste by adding more lime juice or salt.

Baby Arugula Salad with Date and Citrus Dressing

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I’ve been experimenting with more Middle Eastern flavors in my cooking lately and this salad is a riff on California meets Iran. What’s more Californian than arugula and citrus and what’s more Iranian than dates, mint, and pistachios?

I was iffy on how well citrus and dates would pair in a dressing the first time I made this, but the results were stellar. A little bit sweet, a little bit sour, you’ll want seconds of this salad.

Baby arugula salad with date and citrus dressing

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1 cup mandarins, peeled and segments cut in half
1/2 cup pitted dates, thinly sliced, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 Belgian endives, sliced
6 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons mint leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup toasted pistachios
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1 cup)

1. Whisk together olive oil, sherry vinegar, orange juice, shallot, and 1 tablespoon dates. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Place mandarins and remaining dates in a large bowl. Reserve and set aside 6 tablespoons vinaigrette. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over mandarin mixture, and, using your hands, pull dates apart into individual slices. Add endives, arugula, parsley, mint, and remaining vinaigrette; toss to coat.

3. To serve, garnish with pistachios and shaved Parmesan cheese.

Broccoli Caesar Salad

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Caesar salad recipes are a dime a dozen but I crave this one because it’s lighter and crunchier than your standard Caesar. Plus, it’s perfect for the winter when there’s not much in season save cruciferous vegetables.

Broccoli Caesar salad

Ingredients:

2 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 head of broccoli (about 1 pound)
1/4 head of cabbage, thinly sliced (optional)
Finely grated lemon zest, for serving
Black pepper, for serving

1. Using the side of a heavy knife, mash anchovies and garlic on a cutting board until a paste forms. Transfer paste to a large bowl and whisk in lemon juice, mustard, and salt to taste. Add mayonnaise and whisk until smooth. Gradually add oil, whisking until emulsified. Stir in grated Parmesan.

2. Trim woody ends from broccoli stems, preserving the stem. Peel thick stems to expose tender inner cores and thinly slice. Cut off florets and break into bite-size pieces. Add to bowl with dressing. Add cabbage, if using, to bowl with broccoli. Toss until broccoli and cabbage are combined and evenly coated with dressing. Let sit at least 10 minutes.

3. Top salad with more Parmesan, some lemon zest, and pepper.

Som Tam with Green Beans

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Salty, sour, and a little bit sweet, this Thai-inspired salad is a pinch to make and goes perfectly with all manner of grilled meats (or even on its own, really). I tried many variations of long bean salads in Chiang Mai a couple of years ago and the peanut and lime-flecked ones similar to this one remain my favorite.

Som tam with green beans

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 anchovy, minced
1 bird chile, minced
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pound green beans or long beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths

1. Place the garlic, salt, peanuts, anchovy, chile, and sugar in a food processor and process to a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and stir in the lime juice and fish sauce. Add the chopped tomatoes and green beans, mix, and serve.

Radicchio and Arugula Salad

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This simple salad is my new go-to when the weather starts getting chilly: it hits all the right notes: savory, earthy, and bitter, with a hit of acidity to boot. Hearty radicchio adds heft and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese makes this salad go faster than you’d expect.

Make a double portion of this one and thank me later.

Radicchio and arugula salad

Ingredients:

3 cups arugula
1 radicchio, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons olive oil
Salt
Pepper

1. In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, radicchio, and Parmesan cheese. Dress with vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Lightly toss again and serve with a little bit of extra grated Parmesan cheese on top.