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Turn over new leaf with lettuce-free salads

July 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ceasar, Chinese chicken, and Cobb are all salads containing lettuce and loads of other goodies. But can you really call it a salad if you don't use any lettuce? The answer is definitely yes.

Beyond romaine, spinach, arugula and other greens there are loads of summer seasonal produce that you can put on your plate.

"Salad's fun, and leaf is great, but there are much more nutritional vegetables around to, you know, taste better," said Yuta Tsunoda , president of M Café.

Tsunoda showed us just how fabulous leaf-free can be with things like his Julienne cut zucchini salad with pesto, an Indian chick pea potato salad with Masala sauce or even a Greek salad with cucumber, tomato and a smattering of feta.

Jonathan Rollo of Green Leaf Gourmet Chopshop also found ways to re-invent the salad staple.

He makes a three-bean salad with garbanzo, black beans, edamame, a little bit of basil, lemon juice and olive oil.

"It's super healthy, high in protein, and easy to make," said Rollo. "You'll see today between the colors and the combinations, you can put a piece of chicken or a piece of salmon on top of this and it would be a great dish."

Rollo also dreamed up a yam salad with goat cheese, beets, cucumbers and a little green onion for a variety of taste and texture.

Locanda del Lago's Nizzarda Fresca Salad by Chef Walter El Nagar-Cestrone is a sassy take on a traditional French Nicoise using some cooked and some raw produce and mashing the egg to use in the dressing.

If these don't make your mouth water, check your own crisper - chances are you'll see some palate-pleasing produce to concoct for your own creation. If you're out of ideas, Rollo suggests checking out the farmers' market.

"Usually if you go to the local farmers' market you can go see what is in right now and utilize those vegetables for salads," said Rollo.

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