5 Great California Salad Recipes

I have a few simple rules for any recipe to make it on to Stark Insider. (1) It must taste great as assessed by at least two others. (2) The recipe must be entirely original or ...

Here’s 5 great, original and healthy salad recipes fresh from Loni’s California Kitchen.

My weekend office.

What’s fresh lettuce and web analytics got to do with each other?

For those interested in healthy living and healthy web sites turns out they are kindred soul mates. From time to time I dive deep into the data about Stark Insider. I, along with others that help us on the marketing side, want to know as much as we can about you. Where do you visit from (New Zealand ranks surprisingly well, though the SF Bay Area is still number one)? How long do you stay (about 2 to 2.5 minutes, though some stay for much longer when landing on Clint’s longer tech posts or Cy’s theater articles)? And, probably most importantly, what are you reading here on Stark Insider? Salads!

Over the years, I’ve whipped up all kinds of variations, often using ingredients right from the garden (yes, yes, the planter box again…) and I have a few simple rules for any recipe to make on to Stark Insider.

(1) It must taste great as assessed by at least two others.

(2) The recipe must be entirely original or a modified one passed down from family.

(3)  Generally it just be easy to make and not require a lifetime of prep because I know you all have friends, families, and the Internet to get back to!

Based on web traffic, I hereby present the top 5 most popular salad recipes our readers love:

“Ugly, but Good” Papaya, avocado and macadamia nut salad

Don't let this one's homey looks fool you!

Okay, so not only of these recipes are ready for the red carpet… BUT you know how that goes. Been there, done that, right? Trust me this one is goooood.

After a week-long adventure on the Big Island Hawaii, I decide to spend my last evening lounging around the resort. I was craving a refreshing salad for dinner after several previous nights around the island discovering the delectable curries of Thai cuisine.

I poke into the kitchen, scavenging for salad ingredients. I didn’t want to go to the local grocery to purchase additional ingredients since I was flying back to the San Francisco Bay Area the next day. The results of this foraging for food was a salad so delicious, you won’t care that it looks ugly.

Recipe: Papaya, avocado and macadamia nut salad

“Pass the Chardonnay” Crab and Arugula Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

With such a refreshing salad, the only thing left to say is “Pass the Chardonnay”. Salut!

Here’s a great one to pair with some vino and friends.

In this salad, the sweetness of the crab meat balances well with the “peppery-mustardy” notes of the arugula. Arugula is often mixed with other salad greens, however in this salad, I use only arugula leaves as they have a body and structure that some greens such as spinach or mache lack.

Recipe: Crab and Arugula Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Caprese Salad with Mia Sebastiani

All Things West Coast meets old Italian soul! Another recipe that made the top 5 in traffic hits on Stark Insider.

What good are rules if you can’t break ’em!? On this one I get some help from Mia, of Mia’s Kitchen and of the wonderful Sebastiani wine family. Come to think of it I actually play the role of helper to Mia’s lead.

This one is pure joy, through and through. I’ve included the video for kicks, and you can see it got a huge vote of approval from those on location (yes, I admit it, Mia’s Dad was a plant!).

Recipe: Mia’s Caprese Salad

Fusilli Pasta with Spring Vegetables

Pasta salad - serve it hot or (my preference) cold!

This one I can’t source completely from my garden for obvious reasons, but it’s a wonderful change up to using traditional greens. This recipe because I like that it has a nice healthy dose of vegetables. In this case, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini and some peppers. It’s easy to make, but best of all it’s light and healthy fare. No deep frying, folks! Bad, bad, bad (yes, Clint, that includes In-N-Out burger). The recipe calls for it be served hot, but I’m guessing it would be equally delicious — maybe more so? — as a cold plate. Just a thought.

Recipe: Pasta with Spring Vegetables (or “I Need a Better Name” salad)

“Live simply” tomato and feta salad

I’m not surprised in the least this classic made it to the top 5. You can’t go wrong here. As I wrote, “A burst of sweetness melts against the saltiness of the feta. A tinge of acidity on the finish is smoothed away by the richness of the olive oil. Live simply.”

Recipe: Tomato and Feta Salad (live simply!)

Bon appetite and thanks for stopping by my kitchen.

Explore. Create. Live. Follow Stark Insider on Twitter and Facebook. Join our 9,000 subscribers who read SI on tablets and smartphones on Google Newsstand. Prefer video? Subscribe to 
Stark Insider on YouTube, the largest arts & travel channel in San Francisco.