July 24, 2015
Lettuce and spinach aren't the only greens that work well in a salad.

Lettuce and spinach aren’t the only greens that work well in a salad.

Sometimes you just can’t seem to get out of a rut, especially when salad is involved. Many people throw lettuce in a bowl, add a few veggies (carrots, tomatoes), give it a splash of dressing and call it a day. But this can get boring, especially in the summertime when it’s hot and you don’t want to turn on the stove or oven. While attending an Austin culinary arts program, you are likely trying many foods that you wouldn’t necessary stumble upon by yourself. You’ve probably had some interesting fruits and vegetables, and even learned how to whip up a delicious sauce or vinaigrette. Use these skills to create the following inventive salads to spice up your routine:

Raw pad Thai
When a lot of people think coleslaw, droopy cabbage coated in plenty of sauce is likely what comes to mind. Fortunately, this version of the dish is nothing like that. Raw pad Thai is actually a crispy, refreshing dish that is perfect for eating on those hot summer days. Blogger The Taste Space uses carrots, cabbage, green onion and cilantro as the base for the dish. It is then seasoned with sesame and sunflower seeds, lemon juice, maple syrup and even a bit of salt. It’s super easy to put together – just cut up the veggies into thin strips and then toss them with the sauce. Top the whole meal with the seeds and you’re ready to devour this raw delight. And it’s a great dish to bring to a barbecue as a side salad.

Tomato, cucumber and avocado salad
Green Valley Kitchen put together this simple salad as a remedy to the summer heat. It’s similar to a caprese in that it contains tomatoes, herbs and cheese, but with a little bit of a twist. Instead of mozzarella, the blogger uses feta cheese. She also replaces basil with parsley, and adds avocado, cucumber and red onion. Dice all the veggies and place everything but the avocado in a bowl. Then, add the crumbled cheese and thinly chopped parsley. For a sauce, use red wine vinegar and olive oil with pepper to taste. Pour the mix over the veggies and lightly toss it before serving. Add in the avocado right before you bring the dish to the table. This prevents it from becoming smashed and keeps it fresh. If you have a garden, this dish makes great use of that plethora of tomatoes and onions that always seem to come in all at once.

Asian broccoli salad
Another vegetable that tends to grow in droves is broccoli. This green giant is often much sweeter when picked from a personal garden than the varieties you can find at your local grocery store. That’s why it’s super tasty in this Asian broccoli salad by blogger Gimme Some Oven. This salad is vegan and very easy to make. You’ll need one head of broccoli (chopped into florets), plus cooked edamame that has been shelled and sliced green onions. This is your vegetable base. The Asian part comes in with the delicious peanut sauce and sesame seed garnish. The sauce is made out of peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, honey, sesame oil, water and soy sauce. Just whip these ingredients together and then add a little water to get the consistency you’d prefer. As for the broccoli, boil the florets for thirty seconds so they are still a bit firm. Toss them in ice cold water immediately after so they stay that way. Then, drain the water and place the greens in a bowl. Add the sauce and toss. Add whole peanuts and sesame seeds to taste, and sprinkle with the green onions. You could even serve this salad atop rice noodles for a fuller dish.