STYLE

Beet and goat cheese pasta, pad Thai salad, 3-bean salad perfect for picnics

05/28/2012 12:36 EDT | Updated 07/28/2012 05:12 EDT
Nothing beats going on a picnic on a hot day. Here are some delicious and easy-to-make salads that are suitable for toting.

Beet and Goat Cheese Pasta Salad

This colourful salad is a great addition to a picnic meal as a side or as the main course. Balsamic reduction is a bottled product found in better grocery stores.

250 g (1/2 lb) dried fusilli pasta

500 g (1 lb) red beets, cut in half if large

50 ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar

60 ml (4 tbsp) lemon juice, divided

2 crushed garlic cloves, divided

60 ml (4 tbsp) fresh dill, divided

1 dried chili pepper, crumbled

90 ml (6 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil

30 ml (2 tbsp) balsamic reduction (syrup)

2 ml (1/2 tsp) Dijon-style mustard

100 g (3 1/2 oz) goat cheese

In a large pot, cook pasta in boiling salted water. Add beets and cook until tender. (This will make the pasta a lovely pink colour.) Drain, separate beets and pasta and set aside.

When beets have cooled enough to handle, peel and cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) cubes and return to pasta.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove, 30 ml (2 tbsp) dill and chili pepper and pour over warm pasta and beets. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients except goat cheese. Pour over pasta and beets and mix well. Crumble goat cheese on top.

Makes 4 main or 8 side servings.

Source: "The New Granville Island Market Cookbook" by Carol Jensson and Judie Glick (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2012).

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Easy Pad Thai Salad

The noodles, chicken and vegetables in this salad make it a natural as a tasty main course for a picnic.

250 g (8 oz) medium-width rice vermicelli noodles

75 ml (1/3 cup) fresh lime juice

50 ml (1/4 cup) each ketchup and canola oil

30 ml (2 tbsp) soy sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) granulated sugar

750 ml (3 cups) cooked chicken breast, sliced into strips

500 ml (2 cups) bean sprouts

250 ml (1 cup) each thinly sliced carrot, celery and red pepper

50 ml (1/4 cup) each chopped fresh cilantro leaves, green onion and chopped peanuts (optional)

Lime wedges

Soak noodles for 5 minutes in enough boiling water to cover. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool; drain well. Meanwhile, whisk lime juice with ketchup, oil, soy sauce and sugar.

Toss drained noodles with chicken, bean sprouts, carrot, celery and red pepper. Add dressing and toss to coat. Toss cilantro with green onion and peanuts, if using; sprinkle over salad just before serving. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tip: Use sodium-reduced soy sauce to trim some of the sodium from the dressing.

Source: Janes Family Foods, makeeverydayeasy.com

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Three-Bean Salad

This salad can be made with fresh, cooked beans but is easier and just as good made with canned beans. It should be made at least a day ahead so that the flavours blend and is great for a picnic.

2 cans (each 625 g/20 oz) green beans, drained

2 cans (625 g/20 oz) yellow beans, drained

1 can (425 ml/15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 medium onions, cut into rings

1 large green pepper, cut into strips

Dressing

250 ml (1 cup) white sugar

250 ml (1 cup) vinegar

125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) salt

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) pepper

In a bowl (preferably one with a lid), combine salad ingredients.

In a large jar with a lid, combine dressing ingredients and take turns with family members vigorously shaking contents until sugar is completely dissolved and the oil and vinegar are really well mixed.

Pour dressing over beans and stir together thoroughly. Place lid on bowl or seal with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a day.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Source: Susan Greer (old family recipe).

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version misspelled the surname of Carol Jensson, co-author of "The New Granville Island Market Cookbook," in the source line of the first recipe.

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