> Family > Kosher Recipes

Salads for the Main Course

December 21, 2014 | by Lauren Stacy Berdy

Add some excitement to your salad palate!

Excerpted from Remaining Kosher Volume Two: A Cookbook for All with a Hechsher in Their Heart. Click here to see the eBook at Apple. Or visit:

These salad recipes have one thing in common: they are all wonderful main courses.

Playful textures and flavors abound.

In the first salad, Thai rice noodles, soft and slippery, weave through crisp assorted vegetables. A whole salmon fillet is tied into a seasoned roast. The cool noodle vegetable salad is served with the warm roasted salmon. The sweet and sour dressing adds its spark.

The next salad has batons of raw beets play against batons of cooked rich brisket. Green peppercorns add their unique heat and mingle among all the ingredients.

A classic vinaigrette handily corrals this cow girl salad together.

The final salad is a playful vegetable trifle that has many attributes. It sits pretty. The layers can be assembled a few days before. It contains many textures and flavors. There is no right or wrong here. The fun is making it your own.

A Roast of Salmon with Vegetable Noodle Salad

with Hot Sweet and Sour Tamarind Vinaigrette

A Roast of Salmon with Vegetable Noodle Salad

This is so easy! This recipe shows how to cut and tie a whole salmon fillet into a tidy roast that slices so very nicely. Think company! Invite some friends/family!

By all means, season and cook individual portions of salmon if that serves your purposes.

This salad is all about textures: vary the salad with your own vegetable choices.

Tamarind is the only ingredient that some of you might find out of reach. Its dark, shiny pulp is used in the vinaigrette. Tamarind’s souring properties are legend: it’s the sour in the sweet and sour here. Once you learn how to use tamarind, your cupboards might never be without it.

Find tamarind in most Indian, Mexican, Asian grocers.

I enjoy this salmon hot on a cold salad. You ought to try it this way.

Yield: 4-6 servings
Special Equipment: tweezers, butcher’s string, bowl, saucepan, colander, kitchen towel

Roasted Salmon Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. whole salmon fillet: skinned and boned
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme: washed, checked, dried and picked
  • zest of 1 grated lemon
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 head bok choy: sliced, washed, checked and dried
  • 1 medium kohlrabi: peeled, sliced into sticks
  • 4 cups baby spinach: washed, checked and dried
  • 1 cup carrots: store bought matchsticks
  • ½ cup Pascal celery (with leaves): washed and checked
  • ¼ cup ginger: cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup green onion: washed, checked and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro: washed and checked, dried and torn
  • 1½ cups broccoli flowerets: washed and checked
  • ½ cup sugar snaps, stemmed
  • 1 cup peapods, stemmed
  • 4 oz. rice noodles (wide or thin)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Prepare 1 recipe Hot Sweet and Sour Tamarind Dressing (recipe follows)

To prepare a salmon roast:

Use tweezers to remove any remaining bones by plucking them out from the salmon filet. If you do not have designated fish tweezers, wash household tweezers with soap and water. Then place them in water to cover and boil them: two minutes will do. Cool.

Cut (4) six inch pieces of butcher’s string.

Mix the thyme, lemon, salt and pepper with three tablespoons olive oil.

Rub the surface of the salmon with ¾ of the seasoning.

To form roast: Cut the fillet lengthwise in three equal pieces. Keep the widest fillet piece skin-side-down on the cutting board: this will become the bottom of the roast. Pick up the remaining pieces and hold them lengthwise side-by-side, then lay them down centered on the bottom salmon piece. It’s OK if there is an “overhang.”

Around the length of the salmon, tie off four evenly spaced loops of butcher’s twine- (not too tight- its salmon!)

Season the entire roast with the remaining spice mix.

At this point, the prepared salmon can be bagged and refrigerated for a couple of days.

To assemble the salad: Prime the vegetables. Get out a large bowl.

Separate and trim the bok choy greens from stems. Roll the greens into “cigars” and slice into ½” pieces. Slice the stems. Toss all in bowl.

Cut the tough skin off the kohlrabi. Slice the trimmed white interior into ½ rounds. Cut each round into sticks. Toss into the bowl.

The lighter, tender celery “heart” is what this recipe uses: the heart has leaves attached to its stalks. Slice on a 45º diagonal. Toss into the bowl.

Slice the green onions on a 45º diagonal. Toss into the bowl.

By hand, tear the cilantro leaves. Toss in the bowl.

Grate the ginger on a large hole over the bowl with the collected ingredient.

Put 4 cups of water and a teaspoon of kosher into a saucepan. Bring to a boil.

Put 3 cups of ice into another bowl, along with 3 cups cold water. Set near the stove. Lay out a kitchen towel there, too.

Boil the broccoli for two minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove. Dunk the flowerets immediately into the ice water.

Cook the peapods and sugar snaps. As soon as they turn bright green, drain into a colander. Place into the ice water.

Use a colander to drain out the vegetables from cold water. Discard any ice.

Use the kitchen towel to blot the vegetables. Place into the vegetable bowl.

To prepare the noodles: Boil the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain. Cool with cold water. Toss with a tablespoon vegetable oil. Set aside.

You may refrigerate all the vegetables and noodles once they have been prepared.

Use the noodles within a day.

Cooking the salmon:

Preheat an oven (convection if available): to 450 ºF.

Prepare a foil lined sheet pan. Place salmon roast (or seasoned portions) on sheet pan.

The salmon roast cooks for about 25 minutes (depends on thickness). Individual salmon pieces need about 15 minutes.

As in a meat roast, place let the cooked salmon “rest” on cutting board for 10 minutes before using scissors to cut off the strings.

Toss the salad ingredients into the same bowl with the noodles and ½ cup to ¾ of sweet and sour vinaigrette.

Pour the rest of the sweet and sour vinaigrette into another smaller bowl.


Bring the salad, warm salmon and vinaigrette to the table. I like to eat this dish from a bowl.

Hot Sweet and Sour Tamarind Dressing

This dressing is a joy. I like the play of sweet and sour, and this is an especially playful dressing that winks at you. It’s a burst of flavor.

The souring agent is a couple of fat pinches of tamarind that is used all over the world for this purpose.

Tamarind: do you know it? It comes from the inside tamarind pods that hang on a tamarind tree. Isn’t life magical? It is increasingly found in neighborhood grocers.

Hot Sweet and Sour Tamarind Dressing

Tamarind needs to be seeded: see method below.

Do you know about lemon grass? Used widely in Thai cuisine, specialty stores usually stock tamarind, but it is increasingly found in the neighborhood stores as well.

Maybe lemon grass is losing its exotic pulse. Happily it has already gained popularity as a wonderful addition to our seasoning choices. It has its very own, pronounced lemony taste that nothing else duplicates.

There is not anything else in this recipe that you won’t recognize.

Remember, chili blooms upon sitting.

  • 2 pinches of tamarind pulp: each the size of a golf ball, soaked
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup tap water
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 inch piece of ginger: peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 stalk lemon grass: peeled and roughly chopped (see method below)
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice


Prepare the tamarind: place the balls of tamarind in a bowl. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water over both pieces. Flatten the tamarind down into the water. Set aside for 15 minutes.

With your hands, work the tamarind for 1-2 minutes to from a paste. Push all the paste through a wire strainer: this will remove any seeds and fiber (discard).

Set aside the paste, which is now fully prepped for recipe.

Prepare the lemongrass: detach the whitish bulb-like base (5-6 inches down from the top stalks). Discard the top stalks.

Peel the tough, greenish, first few outer layers on bulb until you get to the tender, whiter core middle. Once peeled, place the peeled bulb in front of you on cutting board. Use the bottom of a frying pan to bang the bulb and smash flat, then cut into smaller pieces.

Prime the other ingredients: pour the vinegar, water into the standing blender. Add in the brown sugar, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, salt and tamarind pulp. Liquefy for 15 seconds. Pour the contents into a saucepan. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Allow the contents to stand and infuse for another 30 minutes. Strain into a bowl. Cool.

Add in a good pinch of chili- know your comfort level! Chili “blooms” upon sitting.

Stir in the lime juice. The dressing should be deeply flavorful with a good balance of sweet and sour.

Cowgirl Brisket Salad with Green Peppercorns

with Classic French Vinaigrette Dressing

Cowgirl Brisket Salad with Green Peppercorns

I have made this playful salad using fat sticks of leftover cooked brisket, raw beet sticks, raw mushrooms, sliced dill pickles, red onions and tender celery heart (the part with leaves).

And I use mischievous green peppercorns that announce themselves when chewed. Not as hot as freshly prepared horseradish, but your mouth will know it each time they are chewed. Green peppercorns are the green immature children who grow up to become black peppercorns. They are easily found freeze-dried in the supermarket’s spice section. All you will have to do is boil them in a brine to soften, and that’s easy.

I use a mandoline to slice the raw beets so that I could form uniformly sized sticks. Use the safety holder or a pot holder if going that route. They protect your hand and you can slice faster and safely.

There is a miniature OU brined pickle that I just love, made by Mt. Olive: use these pickles if you find them. They are crunchy perfect and so cute- they will just need to get drained and tossed into the mix, no slicing!

No green peppercorns? Just a few turns of the peppermill will add some zing.

Personally, I think this salad is worth buying a piece of raw brisket, cooking it simply for this recipe. But I am partial.

Yield: 6 servings
Special Equipment: small saucepan with lid, pot if cooking brisket, mandoline (optional), bowls

  • 4 tablespoons green peppercorns
  • brine for the freeze dried peppercorns:
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pickling salt or kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white sugar
  • 2½ lbs. brisket: cooked, “trimmed”
  • 1 large beet, peeled
  • 2 cups small dill pickles (Mt. Olive brand is perfect!)
  • (1) 6 oz. box white mushrooms: washed, checked and dried
  • 1 large seasonal red onion (or sweet seasonal onion, or mild white), sliced
  • 2 cups celery heart (and its leaves): washed, checked and slice

Prepare Classic Vinaigrette:

To brine peppercorns: Use a small saucepan with a well-fitting lid. Pour all the ingredients into the saucepan and cover. Over low heat, bring to the lightest of boils, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cook for about an hour with the lid in place.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the contents steep, covered, for another hour.

Pour the entire contents into a container or jar. The peppercorns can be used immediately, or stored in the pantry (they do not need refrigeration). Reserve 2 tablespoons for the recipe.

Salad Method

Toss the two tablespoons of peppercorns into the bowl.

Scrape off any sauce from your pre-made brisket.

Cut the brisket into fat sticks. Toss into the bowl.

Peel the beet. Slice into ½” rounds, then cut into fat sticks. Place the sticks in another separate bowl.

Open the miniature pickles packaging, drain and toss into the bowl. Alternately, thinly slice larger dill pickles.

Slice the mushrooms into ½” thick pieces.

Place the red onion, root side down on cutting board. First cut the onion in half, top to bottom. Place the cut face down on cutting board, then cut each half into half-moons. Toss into bowl.

Tear away the dark stalks of the celery (save and use for another purpose). You want the heart- the lighter tender stalks. Wash check and slice up leaves, stalks and all. Toss into the bowl.

Toss all the ingredients (except the beets) together with one cup of vinaigrette. This salad should be wet: add more vinaigrette as needed. Salt and fresh pepper to taste.


When you are ready to serve, toss the beets with a couple of tablespoons of vinaigrette.

Get out a serving platter and begin layering the salad: first a layer of salad and then a layer of beets. Continue until everything all the ingredients have been layered. Just remember, beets “bleed’ when tossed in with the other ingredients.

No green peppercorns? Finish with few turns of the peppermill, a delicious alternative.

This salad can be all made the day before if you keep the beets separately and toss with vinaigrette a few hours before serving.

This recipe is best eaten at room temperature. Brisket doesn’t like being eaten too cold.

Classic French Vinaigrette Dressing

This is an everyday light dressing that can be used on your salad greens or drizzled on warm cooked meat or fish. This Vinaigrette is emulsified by the mustard and will give just enough coverage that enables the tossed ingredients to shine through.

You know how restaurant waiters ask “do you want some fresh pepper?” There is a reason: fresh ground pepper shakes up the conversation amongst ingredients. Pepper is the cheerleader.

Once this dressing is made, I keep it on the kitchen counter and use it up, then happily make some more.

Remember to throw a few fat shallots into the shopping cart.

Yield: 1½ cups
Special Equipment: one 16 oz. clean lidded jar

  • ½ cup of vinegar of choice
  • optional: use ½ cup fresh lemon juice minus 3 tablespoons
  • 1 large shallot: peeled and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1½ cups extra virgin olive oil

Clean a 2 cup capacity wide mouth jar.

Pour the vinegar (or lemon juice) into the jar. Add in the sliced shallots.

Smash the garlic clove using the back of a knife. Plop it in. Add in the salt and pepper.

Screw the lid on and shake for 5 seconds. Add in the mustard. Pour in the oil. Screw the lid on and shake for 10 seconds.

I like to use this dressing on everyday green salads. Just toss in cooked fish or meat to make the salad into a meal.

Vegetable Trifle

Vegetable Trifle

Here is a main course salad recipe born from the play of intuition. What else to do with too much leftover baked pita bread?

A vegetable trifle was born!

This is a suggestive recipe- the imagination is what is essential here. There are few, if any rules. Free verse is welcomed. Do you have leftover vegetables? Cook, season and by all means reimagine them!

Each stage can be premade and assembled at your leisure.

Our own trifle begins with the slow roasting of sumac-seasoned eggplant. Throw the tightly wrapped raw eggplant slices into the oven. The cooked eggplant provides the base “cake.”

Cooked chickpeas and cooked grape tomatoes nestle in the soft eggplant. Raw fennel gets sliced and steamed- its soft licorice notes pervade each bite.

A handful of softened dried currants are present in each of the layers. They will advertise their sweet and sour pop in each finished bite.

Finally, slow cooked sliced onions have shared the saucepan with cooked lemon rind, honey and vinegar, all are caramelized to round out the flavors.

I build three sets of alternating layers in a lovely glass serving bowl.

The final topping layer options are) really up to you. I use a schmear of thick yogurt (if going dairy) and a drizzle of date syrup. As I do in this recipe, I like to create a "rocky road" of pita and currants. I top the trifle with the rocky road then sprinkle with a sumac spice blend.

Yet another option, especially during Pesach: use matzo in place of the pita.

The trifle’s flavors meld upon sitting. There is an instant collective meaning created here from all the different vegetables. The final trifle is always much more than the mere sum of its parts.

This recipe hits many notes. In fact, I think this trifle is a delightful form of comfort food.

Yield: 8-10
Special Equipment: baking sheet, roasting pan, pastry brush, parchment, foil, saucepan, steamer, (disposable aluminum pie plate, if needed), potato masher, bowls, frying pan, serving bowl (glass is nice!)

Pita Ingredients

  • 5 pieces pita breads: 6 inch, whole wheat or white, cut and baked crisp

Trifle Seasoning Blend Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons sumac
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Eggplant Ingredients

  • 2 large seasonal firm “Italian” eggplant or 3 medium, peeled or 4 Japanese (long) eggplant
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Grape Tomatoes Mixture Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 container grape tomatoes
  • 1 lb. – 13 oz. canned chick peas

Onion Jam Ingredients

  • 1 large lemon, lightly peeled with a carrot peeler
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large (or 3 medium) red or white onions, sliced
  • 2 overflowing tablespoons honey
  • 1 large fennel bulb: thinly sliced, washed, checked and drained
  • 1½ cup currants, soaked in hot water


  • 12 oz. container Greek yogurt, optional (dairy)
  • ¼ cup date syrup or honey for drizzling
  • “Rocky Road:” ¼ cup crushed pita, ¼ cup currants, and remaining sumac seasoning

Preheat oven (convection if available) to 350 ºF.

Prime the ingredients: cut pita into 8 wedges. Toast on baking sheet till golden brown. Move them around while in the oven. Bake until dry- about 15-20 minutes. Make sure they are crunchy!

Seasoning Ingredients:

Combine the sumac, salt, sugar and black pepper in a bowl.

Reserve 2 tablespoons for the entire trifle. Set aside.

To cook the eggplant: peel the Italian eggplant (not necessary to peel the Japanese eggplant). Slice into ½ inch rounds. Tear off an arms-length of foil and an arms-length of parchment.

Brush the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil. Put one layer of eggplant into the roasting pan. Brush each eggplant piece with olive oil.

Sprinkle the surface of the eggplant slices with remaining spice mixture. Top with another layer and repeat.

Lay in a piece of parchment, covering the eggplant. Then seal the roasting pan tightly with foil. Cook for 1 hour in the 350 ºF oven.

The eggplant will be velvety soft. Carefully open package (steam!). Set aside to cool.

Grape Tomatoes:

Toss the grape tomatoes into a bowl with the olive oil and a teaspoon of spice mixture, roll them about in the spice. Tear off an arms-length piece of foil. Wrap and seal the grape tomatoes.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool. Open.

Add to the drained chickpeas. Gently mix. Set aside.

Onion Jam:

Put the peeled lemon zest into a small saucepan. Cover with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil. Drain, repeat this twice. Takes away the lemon peels bitterness.

Roughly chop the lemon peel.

Pour in ¼ cup of olive oil into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the blanched, chopped lemon peel and bay leaf. Heat the lemon peel and bay leaf in the oil for 30 seconds.

Add in the sliced white or red onions. Stir and cover. The onions should make noise when hitting the oil.

Cook the onions over medium heat until they soften and begin to color. Stir occasionally.

Cook about 10 minutes, then take the cover off. Add two overflowing tablespoons of honey and ¼ cup cider vinegar. Stir.

Cook until the onions are well caramelized- about five minutes. The onions will look thick and “jammy.” Add in 2 teaspoon of the sumac blend, stir. Scrape the onions into a bowl. Take out the bay leaf. Set aside.


Slice off fennel "stalks". Remove the hard first layer of the fennel bulb: both great for flavoring soup broth.

Hold the fennel so that the fat part of the bulb is directly in front of you. Cut the bulb in half. Place each half cut side down. Slice off the root bottom of each half (discard).

Slice each half into ¼” slices: wash, check, drain. Place in a steamer and cook for ½ hour.


Place the dried currants in a bowl. Cover the currants with hot water. Set aside.


Put a few baked pita chips into the food processor. Process them for about 15 seconds. Some pita pieces might be bigger than others. You are looking for smashed not crumbs. Repeat until all the pita has been processes.


Place the pita into a bag and bang it with a pan until it crumbles.

Have all the primed ingredients at arms-length: broken pita, sumac seasoning, cooked eggplant, chickpeas and cooked tomatoes, steamed fennel, drained currants and the Onion Jam.

To assemble:

Drain the dried currants. Set aside.

Place ¼ of the pita at the bottom of the serving bowl. Sprinkle with a good pinch of sumac seasoning.

Use ⅓ of eggplant and make a tight, even layer. Use the potato masher and gently press the eggplant into the pita. Use ⅓ of the chickpeas and grape tomatoes over the eggplant.

Next, place ⅓ of the fennel covering the chickpeas and grape tomatoes. Scatter a ¼ cup of currants. Then evenly cover with a third of onions.

Repeat starting with the pita. Scatter ¼ of the pita over the surface. Repeat as necessary.

The trifle is best when allowed to sit for at least a couple of hours after being assembled.

The trifle can also sit for a day in the refrigerator.

A couple hours before serving: drizzle with ½ cup date syrup or honey. If going dairy (see above picture), spread a thick layer of yogurt on the surface of the last layer of eggplant.

Either way:

Make a “rocky road” by sprinkling with the last ¼ of pita and ¼ of currants. Sprinkle with the remaining sumac seasoning.


Serve generous portions into bowls at the table. Use a large spoon and go deep.

If used in a buffet, set out a large serving spoon- dairy or meat as appropriate.

Don’t forget that this works using matzos in place of the pita!

Note: if using matzos, brush the sheets with olive oil. Crisp in the oven for 20 minutes at 300 ºF. Cool.

Place the matzos into a bag and bang it with a pan until all have been crumbled.

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