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Divas: A very versatile salad for Memorial Day

Here’s a picnic safe salad recipe to feed a crowd this holiday. Make extra as it doubles as a make-ahead lunch, dinner or side dish that stays crisp and appetizing all week. The variety of add-in possibilities are limited only by your imagination, making certain you won’t get totally sick of it the second day. Sound good?

The secret to a salad that stands the test of time is to use hearty greens, not flimsy lettuce. I’m talking green cabbage, red cabbage and kale. The salad base is very versatile and packed with fiber, vitamins and essential nutrients. But more importantly, it’s delicious.

For this holiday weekend, create the fresh, crunchy, chopped salad base then pick a recipe suggestion below and mix it all together for a voluptuous salad to accompany grilled chicken, kabobs, hamburgers or steaks.

To have salad that lasts all week long, you make the base salad then rotate your add-ins to offer flavor variations. The variety and quantity of the add-on ingredients are your preference. No more salad fatigue.

To make the salad base, chop a half head each of green and purple cabbage and a small bunch of kale to make approximately 16 cups. This combination is inexpensive to buy and won’t get wilted and slimy in two days. Another great thing about this versatile combination is you can sauté it to serve as a hot dish or add a handful to soups or casseroles.

For a week’s worth of hearty salads, make the base salad, store it undressed and separate from the other salad ingredients. For convenience later in the week, spend some free time chopping other hearty ingredients like carrots, celery, radishes and green onion so they’re ready when you are. Prepare the more delicate ingredients like tomato, avocado, red or white onion right before you want to serve the salad.

Here are some popular salad combinations to add to the base salad:

Southwestern – corn, black beans, red onion, avocado, bacon, bell peppers and tomatoes with ranch, chipotle or BBQ flavored dressings. For a main dish salad, add chopped grilled chicken.

Greek – kalamata or black olives, feta cheese, red onion, garbanzos, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper. Dress with Greek dressing. Add chicken or sliced steak for a main dish.

California Club Salad – blue cheese, bacon, chopped chicken, hardboiled egg, olives, tomatoes and avocado. Add ranch or bleu cheese dressing.

Rainbow Confetti Salad – use a food processor to finely chop raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, celery, red and green peppers, red onion and toss with your favorite dressing for a veggie bomb of a salad.

Asian Chicken Salad – chicken, carrot, green onions, chow mein noodles, cucumber, and sliced almonds or peanuts served with sesame ginger dressing.

Taco Salad – cooked ground beef seasoned with chili powder, cumin, green chilies and salsa. To the salad add cilantro, kidney beans, tomato, avocado and shredded pepper jack cheese. Dress with ranch, cilantro lime vinaigrette or chipotle dressing and top with crushed tortilla chips.

Italian – sliced pepperoni or salami, tomato, olives and cubed mozzarella cheese dressed with Italian vinaigrette.

Next time the “we’re going to eat healthy all week” syndrome kicks in you’ll be ready!

Fabulous Food contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com

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