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Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 5, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Product Description
Culinary legend Patricia Wells is back with the definitive guide to creating delicious and hearty salads for any occasion—including more than 150 recipes and gorgeous color photographs.

It's a simple yet compelling concept: enjoying a light and delicious main-course salad as a healthy, fresh alternative to more conventional and traditional fare. You can experience a whole world in a salad—with tender greens, savory meat, seafood, and vegetable accompaniments, and versatile dressings—and salad-friendly sides such as homemade bread and home-cured olives. In Salad As A Meal, Patricia Wells gives readers hundreds of delectable ideas, with concepts inspired by her Provencal garden and the interests of students in her high-demand cooking classes. Patricia knows how we want to eat today—and shows us with these exceptional recipes, including:

  • Spring Salad: Asparagus, Peas, Beans, and Fennel
  • Summer Salad: Green Beans, Toasted Nuts, and Cured Olives
  • Provence on a Plate: Eggplant, Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, and Tapenade
  • Zucchini Blossom Frittata with Goat Cheese and Mint
  • Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Parsley, and Spring Onions
  • Chicken and Soba Noodles with Ginger-Peanut Sauce
  • Lobster Salad with Green Beans, Apple, and Avocado

Patricia also offers recipes for soup sides, from Cilantro-Flecked Heirloom Tomato Soup to Watercress Soup with Warm Oysters, as well as breads of all kinds, including Crispy Flatbread, Tortilla Chips, Ham and Cheese Bread, and Multigrain Sourdough Bread. Plus, a list of Patricia's favorite pantry items and an entire chapter devoted to dressings and sauces will inspire readers to come up with their own unique salad creations with ingredients in season and on hand.

From Salad as a Meal: Cobb Salad
Robert H. Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, is said to have invented this salad in the 1930s as a late-night snack for himself. No wonder it has remained an American classic. With the crunch of the iceberg and onions, the soft richness of the avocado, the saltiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the tomato, and the bite of the blue cheese, this salad has it all! And it is beautiful to boot.

4 servings


  • 2-1/2 ounces smoked bacon, rind removed, cut into matchsticks (3/4 cup)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped (4 cups)
  • 2 ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cubed
  • 4 ounces chilled blue cheese (preferably Roquefort), crumbled (1 cup)
  • 4 small spring onions or scallions, white part only, trimmed, peeled, and cut into thin rounds
  • Yogurt and Lemon Dressing (page 331)
  • Coarse, freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large, dry skillet, brown the bacon over moderate heat until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to several layers of paper towels to absorb the fat. Blot the top of the bacon with several layers of paper towels to absorb any additional fat. Set aside.

2. In a large, shallow bowl, combine the bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and spring onions. Toss with just enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat the ingredients. Season generously with pepper, and serve.

Wine Suggestion: This is a special salad, one that seems to hit the spot with all my guests, so let’s open a nice, special bottle of smoky- style Alsatian Riesling from the house of Léon Beyer, Trimbach, or Hugel. Neither you nor your guests will be disappointed.

From Salad as a Meal: Lobster Salad with Green Beans, Apple, and Avocado
I first sampled a version of this light and lively salad as a meal at chef Yves Camdeborde’s Le Comptoir in Paris’s 6th arrondissement. Yves and I participated in the New York marathon in 2006, and I am sure that the strength gained from this protein-rich salad helped me make it to the finish line! This dish has it all: color (the red bits are lobster roe), crunch, and a light touch imparted by a dressing of yogurt and mustard.

4 servings


  • A 5-quart pasta pot fitted with a colander
  • 4 large chilled dinner plates


  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 10 ounces slim haricots verts (green beans), trimmed at both ends and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
  • 1 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon imported French mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (do not peel)
  • 1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 pound (2 cups) cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-sized pieces


1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

2. Fill the pasta pot with 3 quarts of water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the coarse salt and the beans, and blanch until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. (Cooking time will vary according to the size and tenderness of the beans.) Immediately remove the colander from the water, letting the water drain from the beans. Plunge the beans into the ice water so they cool down as quickly as possible. (The beans will cool in 1 to 2 minutes. If you leave them longer, they will become soggy and begin to lose flavor.) Drain the beans and wrap them in a thick kitchen towel to dry. (Store the cooked beans in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.)

3. In a large, shallow bowl, combine the yogurt, mustard, and fine salt and whisk to blend. Taste for seasoning. Add the green beans, chives, apple, avocado, and lobster. Toss to coat. Arrange on the plates and serve.

Wine Suggestion: A fine Chardonnay is in order here, such as a dependable Burgundy, like the well-priced and well-made Viré Clessé from the Cave de Viré, particularly their Cuvée Les Acacias, with its hints of fresh apples and honey.


“A guide to serious salads—every detail considered and handcrafted for maximum satisfaction. . . . A full serving of inspiration.” (Buffalo News )

“From cover to cover, the book is lovely: glowing photographs of Wells’ French garden, bright and appealing recipes, and accessible wine recommendations offered in the friendly, snoot-free tone of your local wine shop guy.” (Epicurious.com )

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; First Edition edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006123883X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061238833
  • ASIN: B005CDT3TO
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,228,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jennifer L. Rinehart VINE VOICE on March 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"I could live on raw fish." If you agree with this statement, then you might really like this cook book by renowned foodie, cooking instructor and gardening enthusiast Patricia Wells. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of raw scallops and the like. I picked this book based purely on the title; Salad as a Meal. I love salads and I love making them the main dish of a meal, sounds like perfection, right?

Sadly, this book is not for me.

Here's what I liked about it;

1..Excellent and inventive recipe for croutons - one in particular using polenta may actually get me interested in buying polenta to make them

2. Perfectly detailed instructions on how to poach fish. Poached fish, especially salmon is an auto pick for me when I go to nice restaurants. I've never tried to make it at home because I thought I'd need one of those specialty fish poacher thingies and frankly I have neither the extra $ or the cabinet space.

3. Lovely and very useful recipes for flavored salts. I don't know why it's never occured to me to make some of my own at home (I'm slow, I guess), but I just mixed up a batch of lemon salt per Ms. Wells recipe (it smells divine) and I'm going to try it out on some chicken I'm making for dinner tonight. But I could also see using this on hummus, tabouli, chocolate caramels, bread dip, the applications are flipping endless!

Here are the reasons I do not like this book, they are biggies.

1. There aren't as many salads in this book as I'd supposed, the book is broken down into chapters, Soups (comprised mostly of cold soups, seven out of the nine are chilled soups and I' not a fan of cold soups, sorry), Eggs, Fish, Poultry, Meat, Bread and sauces.

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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As many reviewers have already noted, Patricia Wells has a very broad definition of the word salad. This includes cold meat dishes, chicken and soba noodles with a ginger peanut sauce, and hummus (just to list a few examples). I tried two of the salads, the cobb salad and the grilled sausage salad with quick apple compote and watercress. The cobb salad was excellent and had a nice lemon yogurt dressing. The grilled sausage salad also hung together nicely. Both recipes I tried were well written and came together very quickly. The layout of the recipes is done well and she includes a wine suggestion list. In the back of the book, there are resources for finding ingredients, a list of essential kitchen equipment, and a list of the items she considers essential for her pantry.

The recipes in this book range from the relatively simple to the very adventurous. For example, there is a recipe for curing beef fillet in salt and sugar (a 3-15 day operation), a recipe for smoking duck or chicken breast, and a recipe for an oxtail salad. Another section is recipes for making your own condiments, from fig chutney to curing your own olives and capers- Fun! If you are up to this challenge, you will delight in this book. Personally, I love trying bizarre and strange new foods so this is a definite selling point. If you like your menus simpler, you may be frustrated by the unusual ingredients and strange recipes.

A minor point is that while the pictures in the book are all very beautiful, they are not always relevant to the recipes. Personally, I like a picture per recipe and I wish this had more pictures. I tend to choose the recipes with a picture and I often never cook those without.

All in all, I enjoyed this cookbook and will probably use it quite a bit.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In some ways this is an extremely poor book on salads:
1. There is an awful lot of non-salad recipes for a book with "salad" in the title.
2. There are an awful lot of odd ingredients (fish cheeks-- preferably halibut cheeks?!).
3. There are some weird issues with the typeface, so that one and a half comes out looking like 11/2. It took me a minute to realize that was not 11 divided by 2.
4. There are some very fussy steps, involving things such as wood chips and some stove-top contraption (conveniently sold by Ms. Wells herself, right here on Amazon). "Salad as a Meal" implies everyday cooking, not ordering halibut cheeks from Alaska and building a fire over my kitchen stove.
5. Very, very, very few photos of the actual completed recipes. Instead, if a recipe uses lemons, there is a very pretty photo of a bowl of lemons.
6. For my tastes, the writing is a little too personal and a little too pretentious (why she cannot possibly resist writing "haricots vert (green beans)" each time is beyond me).
7. I would never, ever go along with her "love of raw food", including shell fish and beef.

So why 3 stars and not just 1? Because there are some great ideas in here, you just have to make a lot of substitutions. Instead of tatsoi, red mustard and mizuna, just use strongly flavored salad greens. Instead of Halibut Cheeks, just use chunks of firm fish or scallops, and for "sucrine", use iceberg lettuce (she actually suggests these substitutions). Instead of the complicated grilling she calls for, just stick it under your broiler. Don't worry about the garlic cloves being "plump and moist". As long as they are decently fresh, you'll be fine. Best quality French Brine-Cured Black Olives?
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