Roasted Beet Salad

As simple as this roasted beet salad is, it is packed full of great flavors. The roasted beets have such a wonderful sweetness to them. The balsamic vinegar and oil dressing really quiets all that sweetness. Last, the tang of Feta cheese finishes it all off perfectly. As soon as I took my first bite I grabbed my phone and added this recipe to my Thanksgiving meal to-do list. Of course, you can make this salad any time of the year, but I can definitely see it quickly becoming a holiday favorite.
Roasted Beet SaladI keep a spreadsheet on Google docs for any menu ideas that hit me. That way, no matter where I am at, I can make a note about a recipe that might be good to make in the future. Like this roasted beet salad, which I just added to my Thanksgiving menu!

For something a little different, try smoked beets. Wow, are they also great smoked! Also make my spiralized roasted pickled beets.

Roasted Beet Salad

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 medium beets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • 4 ounces Feta cheese crumbled
  • 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Trim the stem ends of the beets so they can sit flat on a pan.
  • Rub beets in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place on a baking sheet in the oven for 1 hour or until just getting tender.
  • Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.
  • Peel the beets then slice thin.
  • Line a serving platter with the lettuce.
  • Add beet slices.
  • Crumble cheese over the beets.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of olive oil and drizzle over the beets.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

I grew up on my mom’s creamy cucumber salad. I ate so much it’s a wonder that my hair isn’t green. My favorite part? The creamy dressing that’s left in the bottom of the bowl after you finish off the cucumbers. I’d drink that stuff right up.

I still love my mom’s creamy cucumber salad. I recently bought a spiralizer, so I figured that was a great opportunity to give it a whirl. In just seconds you get these different-looking cucumber noodles… or coodles… Hey, they’re fun!

Creamy Cucumber SaladAlthough this salad is best with fresh dill, I usually use dry unless I can pick some fresh from our garden. I also add a bit more than the recipe calls for since I really like the combination of dill and mayonnaise. It’s very similar to Ranch dressing in flavor. I also make a version of this salad without the ‘creamy’.

Also try my creamy dill broccoli slaw!

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 -8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons dry dill weed about a teaspoon of fresh, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 4 medium cucumbers peeled and sliced
  • 3 green onions chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, dill and salt. Mix well.
  • Add the cucumbers and onions. Toss.
  • Cover and chill at least one hour before serving.

Roasted Beet and Dill Cucumber Salad

You could’ve just knocked me over with a feather. Silly me, having low expectations for a salad with roasted beets, dill and cucumber. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This salad is fantastic. It’s almost exactly like my favorite, my mom’s creamy cucumber salad, with the addition of roasted beets.

Roasted Beet and Dill Cucumber SaladThis roasted beet and dill cucumber salad is a great fall dish, and would be perfect served with a Thanksgiving turkey. I love the creaminess of the dressing with the cool crisp cucumbers, followed by that great earthy beet flavor, with a hint of sweetness from roasting them.

Also try my roasted vegetable stuffed mushrooms.

Roasted Beet and Dill Cucumber Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beets trimmed Try and get beets that are roughly all the same size. Smaller beets will cook faster.
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill for high-heat direct cooking. You want to get your grill to 450 F or higher. Alternatively, you can roast the beets in the oven set to 450 F.
  • Place the beets on a large piece of aluminum foil.
  • Add the ice and seal the foil tightly.
  • Place over direct heat and cook for 45 minutes or until the beets are fairly tender when poked with a knife or skewer.
  • Remove beets from grill and carefully open the foil.
  • Let cool slightly then remove the skin from the beets and slice.
  • Place beets in a medium bowl with the oil, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine.
  • In another bowl, gently combine the cucumber, remaining 2 teaspoons of vinegar, sour cream, dill, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve by placing beets on a dish, then add the cucumbers on top.

Easy Spiral Zucchini Salad

I recently picked up a spiral slicer. Spiralizer, as I call it. You can take pretty much any large vegetable and turn it into something fun to eat. My favorite veggies to spiralize so far are cucumbers and zucchinis. Heck, I didn’t really even like zucchinis until now. Easy spiral zucchini salad made a believer out of me!

The slicer I bought has 3 different blades, making spiral cuts from angel hair-sized to large ribbon cuts. It’s very easy to use, just cut the ends off the vegetable you’re going to use so it fits into the slicer, insert it into the device, and get to cranking. In just seconds you convert anything into spiral cuts.
Easy Spiral Zucchini SaladYou can easily convert whatever you are cutting into a single, very, very long strand. I don’t recommend this, although I’ve done it once or twice because it is rather fun. I made a 2 foot long cucumber angel hair the other day. It was cool!

Instead, though, for bite-sized pieces, I first make a cut about 1/2″ – 1″ deep lengthwise into the vegetable. This will ensure that you get great almost-full-moon shaped cuts, perfect for salads like this easy spiral zucchini salad.

My Churchill Downs butterbean and radish salad is another great spiral salad. For another great side dish, try my garlic butter zoodles with Brussels sprouts.

Easy Spiral Zucchini Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium carrot sliced (large carrots can be cut into spirals, too!)
  • Your favorite salad dressing

Instructions

  • Cut the tips off both ends of the zucchini. Slice on the spiral slicer using the 1/8" blade.
  • Toss zucchini with the tomatoes and carrot.
  • Serve with your favorite dressing.

Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad

When it comes to salads, Cobb salads are by far my favorite. It’s like having a mini salad buffet, with everything I love all on one plate. This grilled shrimp Cobb salad came out tasting as fantastic as it looked. The grilled shrimp have a really nice spicy kick. The spicy avocado dressing also has a kick, but it also has a cool, creamy consistency. The rest of the ingredients are up to you, but cold artichoke hearts are always a big hit in our house.
Grilled Shrimp Cobb SaladSince I had the grill going to cook the shrimp (I actually cooked them on cedar planks, which really adds a totally different great flavor to the shrimp), I also grilled the corn and bacon for this Cobb salad. Next time, if I have my smoker going, I’ll smoke the boiled eggs. Smoked boiled eggs are a great addition to any salad.

Also give my delicious smoked shrimp Cobb salad a try!

Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad

Course Main or Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

Your favorite Cobb salad ingredients, I used

  • Chopped red and green lettuce
  • Chilled canned artichoke hearts drained, halved
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Diced radishes
  • Boiled eggs halved
  • Chopped avocado

Instructions

  • Arrange all ingredients on a platter. Serve with dressing.

Coyote Sweet Corn

Ahhhhh, fresh corn-on-the-cob. I love it. The season is winding down here, so I grabbed a few more ears and made this wonderful Coyote sweet corn dish. The corn is the star of the show, but there are a lot of other great flavors to be found too!

I was amazed on how much of a difference sun-dried tomatoes can make to a corn dish, and just as amazed about the bread and butter pickles. I’d never thought of adding either to something like this, and boy, was I surprised. It’s a combination of richness and a little spiciness, just like I love.
Coyote Sweet CornThis is really a fantastic side dish. It looks great, smells great, and tastes beyond great. This fall and winter, when fresh corn is nowhere to be found, I’ll make it using canned  corn kernels. It won’t be quite the same but it’ll remind me of summer and that great fresh corn flavor.

Also try my candied sweet corn.

Coyote Sweet Corn

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter see note
  • 4 ears sweet corn kernels removed
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil crushed
  • 1/3 cup green onions chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded, minced
  • 1 tablespoon bread and butter pickles chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the corn and the sun-dried tomatoes and saute for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add the basil, onions, jalapeno and pickles.
  • Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.
  • Note: For extra sun-dried tomato flavor, substitute a tablespoon of the oil the tomatoes are in for the butter.

Georgia Caviar

A salad doesn’t have to be complicated to be great. A few fresh ingredients, a few canned, with a great dressing, and you have a big batch of colorful salad that is sure to impress at your next family gathering. This Georgia caviar (sounds fancier than ‘some beans with pepper and onion and black-eyed-peas salad’) has a great crispy fresh crunch, sweetness from corn, and that great black-eyed pea flavor.

I grew up on black-eyed peas and I still love them. My dad is (apparently) required to have them at every meal. He grew up on them too.
Georgia CaviarI can’t say any more about this Georgia caviar. I just keep looking at the picture and thinking, ‘dang, that was a great salad’. It really was. So refreshing.

Also try my Cowboy caviar, Buffalo Cowboy caviar and summer corn salad recipes.

Georgia Caviar

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 -12 servings

Ingredients

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the salad

  • 3 15 ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained
  • 1 15 ounce can sweet corn, rinsed, drained
  • 2 green bell peppers chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

For the dressing

  • Place sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the oil.

For the salad

  • Combine all ingredients except the salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with the dressing and mix well.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Hot Dog Tomato Salad

What? Hot dogs in a fresh tomato salad? Well, that’s how my mom got me to eat tomatoes when I was a kid. I didn’t really like tomatoes then, but I was more than happy to sit down with a bowl of this hot dog tomato salad.

The key for me was to eat everything BUT the hot dogs first. This left the best part, hot dogs sitting in a great vinegary and oniony dressing. The dogs would soak up a bit of the vinegar and taste unlike any hot dog I’d ever had. Add strangely enough, I would drink up the remaining dressing. Odd, huh?
Hot Dog Tomato SaladAs much as it might sound a little odd, this is a great salad. You can leave out the hot dogs if you like, but I highly recommend adding them.

If you’re looking for a more grown-up tomato dish, try my cherry tomato salad.

Love hot dogs as much as I do? Check out my free eCookbook that is packed with tons of hot dog recipes.

Hot Dog Tomato Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 7 tomatoes sliced as you desire
  • 1 small sweet onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus more distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Hot dogs sliced (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients. Add more vinegar if you like.

Spicy Avocado Salad Dressing

I grilled up a great batch of cedar-planked spicy shrimp the other day. They were perfect in a big Cobb salad. I didn’t want a wimpy dressing to tone down the kick from the shrimp. Since avocados were in season and on sale, I grabbed a few ripe ones and made this incredibly easy spicy avocado salad dressing.
Spicy Avocado Salad DressingThis dressing is reminiscent of guacamole. In fact, it’s thick enough that you can also use it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps, or even as a dip for chips or vegetables. You can leave out the jalapeno if you like and still have a great dressing that won’t scare your non-heat-loving friends off.

I love making and eating Cobb salads, specially in the summer when there are so many great ingredients to choose from. Check out my smoked chicken Cobb and my southwestern Cobb salads. They are all great!

Spicy Avocado Salad Dressing

Course Salad Dressing
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 1/2 cups
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper seeded, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Place all but the salt and pepper into a blender and pulse until smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper and pulse a few more times.
  • If you have any leftover dressing place it in a container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly over it, contacting the dressing without any gaps. Refrigerate for up to two days.

7 Bean Salad

I love bean salads. That nice vinegar hit, crunchy vegetables, and a little sweet. And of course, lots and lots of beans. I make this 7 bean salad (which makes a big batch) and keep it on hand for days and days. It’ll keep up to two weeks, so it makes the perfect side dish for an easy lunch. Just toss some burgers or dogs on the grill and serve them up with this great salad.
7 Bean SaladThis salad is also the perfect way to use up any old cans of beans you might have in the back of the pantry. I usually stock up on canned beans before winter (they are perfect to have on hand in case of emergencies), and try to use them by the end of the following year. You can use just about any beans (or peas) that you have on hand in this salad. My scaled-back bean salad recipe is similar to this 7-bean salad but is a little easier to make. Give it a try too!

7 Bean Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12 -18 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

Beans

  • 2 cans cut green beans
  • 1 can wax beans
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black eyed peas
  • 1 can navy beans

Dressing

  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper diced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup white or red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon plus more kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus more freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Rinse all of the beans and drain well. place into a large bowl.
  • Combine the dressing ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add to the beans and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Refrigerate for 12 hours before serving. Check seasoning again.