New Spin On Salads

Salads are taking star billing at restaurants and dinner tables across the country. Once considered only an accompaniment to sandwiches, soups or entrées, salads have become year-round main dish meals offering versatility, convenience and great flavor.

Americans are seeking meals that are satisfying, nutritious and simple to prepare. Main dish salads fit the bill. No longer restricted to iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and onion slices, American salad bowls are being pushed to new limits with innovative combinations of ingredients. Whether incorporating fresh produce or day-old leftovers, an endless number of salad creations can result.

Salads featuring pasta, rice, potatoes or vegetables as the base ingredient-instead of lettuce- are also becoming family favorites. According to Jones Dairy Farm President Philip Jones, the use of unexpected ingredients, such as breakfast sausage or Canadian bacon, can provide a new taste sensation when paired with the right combination of other ingredients. Savory salads can also be an excellent way to sneak healthful ingredients into the diet-such as fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains.

"Main dish salads offer a positive meal solution for families leading time-crunched, on-the-go lifestyles," said Jones. "With minimal prep time and flexibility of ingredients, salads are often as much fun to make as they are satisfying to eat."

Sausage and Roasted

Vegetable Salad

Makes 4 servings

2 medium zucchini or yellow squash (or 1 of each), sliced 1/2-inch thick

2 red or yellow bell peppers (or 1 of each), cut into 1-inch chunks

4 large shallots, peeled, quartered lengthwise

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 package (7 oz.) Jones All Natural Golden Brown sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

4 large radicchio leaves or red leaf lettuce leaves

Optional garnishes: chopped fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 425°F. Arrange zucchini, peppers and shallots in a single layer on a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture over vegetables; toss well to coat. Bake 10 minutes.

Add sausage to pan; toss with vegetables. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and sausage is hot. Spoon mixture into radicchio leaves; garnish as desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Adding precooked breakfast sausage to a salad is a flavorful way to incorporate protein.

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About The Author, Wendy Mitchell
A number of creative main dish salad recipes are available at www.jonesdairyfarm.com.