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Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Inspiring But Not As Practical As I Hoped

    I like the idea of having salad as a main dish and this cookbook boasts more than 150 recipes for light and healthy meals. With a focus on fresh ingredients and French cuisine, along with beautiful color photographs (although many are not of the recipes themselves), one can't help but be inspired. The section on salad dressings offers good recipes to make salads taste even fresher. There is also a section of breads and soups which always go well with salad.

    The challenge with this cookbook is that while the concept of salad is simple, some of the recipes aren't. Some call for specialty ingredients that are not easily found in a local grocery store, and can be expensive. However, cooks with average cooking experience like me or who don't live in an area with year-round farmer's markets offering fresh produce can probably improvise. It is also assumed that the reader knows what certain cooking and French terms mean. At times I got the feeling that I would do fine with this cookbook if I lived in France, had access to a farm for my own fresh produce, meat, and eggs; lived close to the sea where I could buy the catch of the day, and if I attended culinary school. Even though we're just talking salads here, I felt at times that the author was writing with her own culinary peers in mind, not the average cook or someone like me from the midwest with limited access to the kinds of foods she suggests.

    The author seems to love raw fish, something I avoid completely, so that eliminated several recipes for me unless I decide to try them with cooked fish. I don't have access to fresh fish markets even if I did eat raw seafood. I found a few recipes to try such as the Greek Salad (p. 79) but I don't have access to heirloom tomatoes or uncured black olives that I need to brine myself so I substituted grocery store tomatoes and canned olives. Other recipes call for things such as zucchini blossoms and fresh capers that you cure yourself which are great if you happen to be growing your own zucchini and can pluck the blossoms, or have a caper bush in your backyard.

    This book is gourmet in its approach and many recipes aren't necessarily budget-friendly, aren't necessarily simple, and finding some ingredients may be a challenge. The color photos are gorgeous although many of them aren't of the recipes themselves.

    I really wanted to love this book because I do like the concept of healthy salads as a main meal. It just wasn't as practical as I hoped but to its credit, there are some recipes the average cook can enjoy and the beauty of the book does inspire. For that reason I gave it a hesitant four stars instead of three.

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review but the opinion of it is my own and was not solicited nor was a positive review required.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Great Book!

    I was very impressed with this book, both for the quality of recipes, illustrations and photographs, and the organization. There were a great variety of salad meals to choose from along with some tempting appetizers and sides to accompany them. I got a kick out of the author referring to soups as "liquid salads" and loved her array of fine soup recipes. Wells also reminds us that salads don't have to consist of just greens as she lays out a spread before us that is delightful. The recipes are easy to follow and the book details equipment you will need to create these meals. You will find so many choices it will be hard to decide where to start.

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    Posted April 15, 2011

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    Posted July 8, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2011

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