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Vegetable Salads

Here in the South Texas Sub-Tropics, it can get mighty warm during Great Lent, let alone the even hotter summer fasting periods.  It's always nice to have a good stock of vegan or near vegan recipes for various types of vegetable salads for days when it's just too hot to do much cooking. 

Copper Pennies (Also called “Cool Carrots” or Marinated Carrot Salad)

This colorful carrot recipe comes from the kitchen of India Peters of Mission, TX.

5 Cups Carrots, Barely Cooked & Sliced about 1/4” Thick

1 Onion, Chopped

1 Green Pepper, Chopped

1 Can Tomato Soup

1 C. Sugar

½ C. Olive Oil (or other)

¾ C. Vinegar (or Lemon, Lime, Sour Orange or other Citrus Juice/s)

1 Tsp. Mustard

Salt & Pepper, to taste


Barely steam or boil the carrots, so they are still bright and aren’t at all soft and mushy.

Slice the carrots and stir them together with the pepper and onion.  Set aside. Stir together all remaining ingredients, them pour over the vegetables.  Mix well.  Refrigerate several hours before serving.


Russian Beet Salad (Vinegret)

A Russian style recipe with a slight South Texas twist, shared with us by parishioner, Tatyana (Polataeva) Adams. She is originally from Cherkessk, Russia, which is located in the Caucasus near the Black Sea.  Tatyana, along with her family, lives here in the Rio Grande Valley.  This beet salad is very popular in Russia, and Tatyana has brought it to Church dinners here at St. George’s.


2 – 3 Red Beets, Boiled, Peeled & Chopped

3 Med. Potatoes, Boiled, Peeled & Chopped

2 Med. Carrots, Boiled, Peeled & Chopped

1 Dill Pickle, Chopped

2 Med. Onions, Peeled & Chopped

1 Can Kidney Beans

¼ C. Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Sauerkraut, to taste

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (or other oil)

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Scallions & Parsley, for garnish


Cook the vegetables in their skins.  Peel them, chop rather small, and mix all ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Garnish the top with chopped scallions and a bit or fresh parsley or cilantro.  Chill before serving.  This salad is very good, and can (without the Olive Oil) be eaten during Lenten fasts as well.


Pyaz – Turkish Onion Salad

During onion season in South Texas, I like to pull out as many recipes as I can to utilize the wonderful onions which come our way. Some years, there are field after field of sweet red onions grown here in the Valley. The following recipe comes from Turkey. One of my cousins married a young lady from Turkey. This salad is similar to those which would have been used back in her family home.


3 Lg. Red Onions, Cut in Half & Thinly Sliced

½ C. Fresh Parsley, Minced

2 Tbsp. Sumac Powder or Green Zatar (Thyme, Sumac & Sesame Seeds)*

1 Tsp. Powdered Red Chile Pepper

1 Tsp. Salt & Black Pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to serving.

*One can get powdered sumac or green zatar from a Middle Eastern food store or specialty section in larger supermarkets.


Fresh Tomato Salad

The following recipe also came from our Pharr neighbor and special gardening and cooking friend, Barbara McClellan.  Barb is also a teacher and a wonderful musician. In addition to her other many skills, she directs the choir at a local Lutheran Church and writes her weekly cooking column! Barb is almost as much of a gardening “addict” as I am, and both of us love growing and using fresh herbs.  This is a great veggie and fresh basil recipe, sure to become a summer favorite! 

7-8 Medium Ripe Tomatoes (red and yellow ones are pretty in this, but all red
ones will do fine)
1 Bunch Fresh Basil (Barb uses about 1 cup of fresh, stemmed leaves)
2 – 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Slice the ripe tomatoes and arrange on a large platter.  Place a basil leaf between each slice.  Mix the oil and vinegar and sprinkle over all.  Season it all with salt and pepper.

Barb’s Variations: “Now, I will give you my version: I chop the basil (I use spicy globe basil), and sprinkle it over the tomatoes before the drizzling step.  A suggestion with the recipe was to add mozzarella cheese, and/or red onions.  My youngest child, Katie, makes something like this, and adds slices of buffalo mozzarella cheese to it.”

Editor’s Variation: As with Barb, we chop up the fresh basil, and allow it to marinate in the olive oil for several hours. We also add THINLY sliced circlets of red onion and sometimes, thinly sliced peeled cucumber.  Rather than preparing the oil and vinegar (above), we sometimes serve this with a Greek-style Salad Dressing (see pg__). Often, we will also top this with chunks or cubes of feta cheese or mozzarella.  Greek Olives can also be sprinkled over this salad. 

Laura’s Best Tomato Salad Version: A similar recipe was served to us back in Georgia by our friend, Laura.  It is yet another variation on the theme of using up those delicious, vine-ripened garden tomatoes. Laura first blanches and skins her tomatoes, then slices them quite thickly.  She arranges the slices with 1 basil leaf per tomato slice, topped by a very thin slice of onion.  Over the arranged tomatoes, she sprinkles a mixture of fresh herbs, including: 1/8 C. Fresh Basil, Minced; 1/8 C. Fresh Thyme, Minced and ¼ C. Fresh Parsley, Minced. The salad is then completed by drizzling it with Laura’s special tomato salad dressing, which follows.


Laura’s Tomato Salad Dressing: ½ C. Balsamic Vinegar (or ¼ C. plus ¼ C. Red Wine Vinegar); ½ C. Olive Oil; 2 Tbsp. Honey or Sugar; 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Squeezed; Salt & Pepper, to taste.  Mix all together. Shake well and pour over the arranged tomato salad.  This salad is absolutely unforgettable!


Barb’s Herbal & Salad Note: “Speaking of growing and using fresh herbs, it is a good idea to keep them cut back (topping out about one-fourth to one-third of the plant) to make it spread out rather than going to seed so quickly.  When you cut those tender stems out, toss the leaves into green salads.  I add basil, mint, fresh dill, and occasionally thyme and/or anything else (except rosemary) to salad greens.  It really makes the salad unique and delicious.” Editor’s Note:  Even basil blossoms which are being pinched can be slightly chopped and added to a green or potato salad. Pruned herbal sprigs, including the tougher stems, can also be used when making soup stocks.  If you’re not making stock the day you happen to prune the herbs, just rinse, pat the herbs dry and store them, refrigerated or frozen, in a tightly sealed zip-lock type bag until you’re ready.


Salat Iz Redisky ~ Ukrainian Radish Salad

Several of St. George’s parishioners are native to the Ukraine. During some of our festive dinners at the Church, they have brought a version of this very tasty salad, which I always love to eat. The cool sour cream and dill mixed with spicy radishes is a winning combination.

3 C. Radishes, Thinly Sliced

2-3 Scallions (Green Onions), Thinly Sliced

¼ C. Fresh Dill, Minced

3 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley, Minced


2-3 Tbsp. Olive or Sunflower Oil

1 ½ C. Sour Cream or Creamy Tofu, if during the fast

1 Tsp. Salt

½ Tsp. Paprika

Cayenne or Powdered Red Chile Pepper, To Taste

Mix together the radishes, scallions, dill and parsley.  Mix together the sour cream, oil, salt, paprika and red pepper.  Stir the dressing over the radish mixture. Cover and chill well before serving.

Shenandoah River Broccoli Delight

My dear Kansas college friend and “sister-in-law,” Lyn Bement, shared this delicious recipe one summer when our oldest two daughters were having a delightful visit with “Aunt Lyn and Uncle Doug” in Virginia. Lyn shared this on the very day that Uncle Doug took the girls for a “short” canoe trip down the Shenandoah River. Some 7 hours later, the weary threesome finally came ashore, much to Aunt Lyn’s relief.  The girls, who did most of the paddling, were quite tired and ate well that night, but they still have stories to tell!


Combine in a bowl:

2 large heads of uncooked fresh broccoli, broken into flowerets

1 lb. fried bacon, crumbled (or Vegetarian Bac’Uns substitute to equal same amount)

1/2 med. red onion, diced fine

3/4 c. raisins (can be golden or other)

1 c. whole cashews (or pieces)


Mix and add to above:

1 c. salad dressing

1/4 c. (2 Tbs.) sugar

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar


Chill for a few hours before serving. It’s a great summer dish!

Cucumber or Zucchini Salad w/Artichoke Hearts

A tasty recipe come from Katherine Powers in New Mexico via Paula Price – which has quickly become a favorite at our house!  Great as a Lenten meal side dish, or anytime! We like to serve it with a meal of humus and good Arabic bread.


4 – 5 Cucumbers (Peeled) or Young Zucchini Squash, Very Thinly Sliced into Rounds

1 Bunch Scallions (Green Onions), Thinly Sliced

2 Lg. Jars Marinated Artichoke Hearts (Quartered) - Undrained

2 Lg. Cans Black Ripe Olives, Whole, Halved or Sliced - as you wish!

1 Pkg. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, Cut into Halves

Juice of 1 Lemon or Lime - Optional

Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste


Prepare the vegetables.  If some of the artichoke hearts are rather large, cut them into smaller pieces.  Mix all ingredients together, including marinate reserved from the artichoke hearts.  Place in a covered container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Stir or shake occasionally. Drain prior to serving or serve with a slotted spoon.


Easy Palestinian Salad

There are so very few Christians left in the Holy Land. For those who remain, daily life is always a struggle. In a small way, we at St. George’s have tried to support at least some of the Christian women in Palestine by selling the lovely embroideries they create and sell to feed and support their families.  Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery always keeps a good stock of Palestinian embroideries on hand to sell and support the Palestinian women. The following recipe is one likely used in some of our embroidery artist’s homes.


2 Lg. Ripe Tomatoes, or 4-5 Ripe Romas, Diced

1 Lg. or 2 Med. Cucumbers, Diced

1 C. Fresh Parsley, Minced

1 Bunch Scallions, Minced



1/3 C. Olive Oil

2 Tbsps Lemon Juice, or to taste

1 Tsp. Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste


Mix together cut up vegetables.  Blend together the dressing ingredients. Stir all together. Chill or serve at room temperature.


Super-Easy Cucumber Salad

Several Cucumbers, Peeled, Quartered, Sliced

2 Fresh, Ripe Tomatoes, Cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 C. Onion, Chopped into bite-sized pieces

Good Blue Cheese Salad Dressing, Ranch or Plain Yogurt

Fresh or Dried Dill Weed, to taste

Salt & Ground Black Pepper, to taste (esp. if using plain yogurt)


Prepare the vegetables. Mix them together. Top with Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing.


Minted Cucumber Salad


A refreshing and cool, Rio Valley summer salad recipe which can be made ahead of time, and which is easy to prepare.


4 Cucumbers, Peeled, Halved, Thinly Sliced

¼ C. Red Onion, Chopped

½ C. Fresh Mint Leaves, Minced

¼ C. Fresh Parsley Leaves, Minced

1 Orange Peel, Zested

½ C. Olive Oil

½ C. Red Wine Vinegar

½ C. Sour Orange Juice

¼ C. White Sugar

Salt, to taste


Toss together the cucumbers, onion, mint and parsley.  Whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, sugar and salt.  Pour over the cucumber mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.  Toss again prior to serving.  Serve on a cool bed of lettuce or mixed salad greens.


Middle-Eastern Cucumber and Feta Salad

During the fast, simply eliminate the feta cheese and/or substitute with firm tofu, crumbled and marinated in the oil and lemon mixture.


2 Med. Cucumbers, Peeled & Diced

1 Med. Onion, Finely Diced

6-8 Oz. Feta Cheese, Crumbled

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 Tsp. Fresh Thyme, Oregano or both

Salt & Pepper, to taste


Combine cucumber and onion. Add feta. Mix together oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Mix together all ingredients.  Serve with fresh Pita Bread.


Ensalada de Chayote (Chayote Salad)

Chayote is also called choko, chowchow, christophene, vegetable pear, pear squash or mirliton. It is a tropical vine which is a member of the squash family and is both grown and eaten throughout Mexico and other warm-climate regions. The fruit is a light green color which is similar to that of a Granny Smith apple. The taste is more like that of a zucchini squash.


2 Chayote, Firm & Tender

1 Ripe Avocado

1 Lime, Juiced

Salt, to Taste

Red Powdered Chile

Pico de Gallo


Peel the chayote if the skin is tough.  Or, if young and tender, just wash them well. Halve them lengthwise and remove the seed.  Slice each half into match-stick type pieces.  Simmer briefly in boiling water, for about 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain and arrange the chayote on a serving plate and top with similarly sliced avocado. Drizzle the top with lime juice and salt, to taste.  Add a pinch of red powdered chile as a garnish.   Serve with Pico de Gallo on the side, to use as a “dressing” for the salad.

Salata ~ Syrian Tomato Salad

Middle Eastern recipes just seem to fit the hot, Rio Grande Valley, especially the wonderful and diverse salads. For thousands of years, these civilizations have had to deal with mealtimes during hot summer month and in even hotter kitchens. We have much to learn from their cuisine!


4 Lg. Ripe Tomatoes, or 6-8 Ripe Romas, Chopped

1 Lg. Sweet Onion, Cut in Half & Thinly Sliced

1 C. Parsley, Minced



¼ C. Olive Oil

½ C. Lemon Juice

2 Tsp. Dried Mint (Not Fresh!), Crumbled

2 Tsp. Salt

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Dash of Cayenne Pepper, to taste


Combine tomatoes, onion and parsley. Blend together dressing ingredients. Stir all together and mix well. Served either chilled or at room temperature.  This salad is a great accompaniment to any lentil or garbanzo bean dish.

Borderlands Jicama Salad

Jicama is a root vegetable which grows in the tropics and is often used in Mexican and Borderland recipes.  This salad a combination of sweet and sour, with a crunchy texture, and is particularly good served as a side to tacos or enchiladas.


1 Med. Jicama, Cut into Matchstick Slices

1 Med. Red Onion, Diced

3 Red or Green Apples, Cored & Cut into Matchsticks

½ C. Fresh Orange Juice

1 Lime, Juice & Peel Zest

2 Tbsps. Cider Vinegar

1 Tsp. Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tbsps. Brown Sugar

Black Pepper, Optional

¼ C. Fresh Mint, Minced


Toss together the prepared jicama, onion and apple in a large serving bowl.  Combine remaining ingredients (except for the mint).  Stir, whisk or shake these together, blending well. Pour the mixture over the salad.  Add mint leaves and toss. Serve on a bed of lettuce, optional, or with wedges of orange and/or lime on top of individual servings. Serves 4.

Russian Radishes in Sour Cream

This is one of my favorite salads which is often brought to Church dinners by some of our Russian and Ukrainian Parishioners.  Besides being very tasty, it is quite easy to make. It is not vegan, but can be eaten during Cheese Fare Week, or during the fast if the sour cream is substituted with a creamy tofu sauce.


1 Bunch Firm Radishes

½ C. Sour Cream

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

2 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tsp. Fresh Dill, Optional


Wash radishes and slice them very thinly. Cover with sour cream and add seasonings to taste. Chill and serve cold.

Italian Style Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad

This is an easy and flavorful recipe which can be eaten as a side salad or served as a main dish on a hot, fasting day.  It can easily be multiplied for Church dinners, company and such.  Serve with hot, crusty Italian style bread on the side.


1 Bunch Fresh Broccoli

1 Head Fresh Cauliflower

1 or 2 Cans Garbanzo Beans, Drained, Optional

2/3 C. Olive Oil (if an oil day), Optional

½ C. Lemon Juice

Zested Peel of 1 or more Lemons

1 Sweet Onion, Minced

3 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Finely Minced

2 – 3 Tbsps. Fresh Basil, Parsley, Oregano or Cilantro, (or a mixture), Finely Minced

Freshly Ground Pepper & Salt, to taste


Trim broccoli and cauliflower and cut apart florets at the stems. Steam the vegetables in salted water until bright and still al dente.   While the vegetables are steaming, place the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a glass serving dish. Mince the garlic, onion and fresh basil, parsley, oregano or cilantro. Stir these into the lemon and oil mixture. When the vegetables are finished steaming, thinly slice the stems. Add florets and sliced stems to the mixture. If you are using the garbanzo beans, add them as well. Stir all together well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or serve the salad immediately, while still warm.


Greek Beet Salad (Pantzaosalata)

This Greek style beet salad was adapted from one once shared by a nun from the Ormylia Greek Orthodox Monastery in Macedonia. This is served as one would do with humus.



1 Lg. Beet (or 2 Smaller)

4 Tbsp. Walnuts, Chopped

1 Slice Dried White Bread

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed

1 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley

6 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice or Wine Vinegar

1 Tsp. Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper


Cook beet in water until tender. Peel and chop slightly. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve warm or chilled, with crackers or pita bread.


Southwestern Corn Salad

We created and made this up for one of our St. George’s monthly fundraising dinners, and it was a big hit. Easy to make and could be served as a hot-season fasting day “main dish.”


1 #10 Can Whole Corn, Well Drained

1 Can Diced Tomatoes

2 Small Cans Diced Mild Green Chiles

2 Cans Black Beans, Well Drained

1 Small Jar Diced Pimientos

2 Med. Onions, Diced

2-4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced

1/3 C. Fresh Cilantro, Minced

½ C. Lime Fresh Lime Juice

½ C. Olive Oil

1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning

½ Tsp. Ground Cumin (Cominos)

Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste


Mix all ingredients together the day before (or at least 6 hours before) serving, so flavors can meld. Refrigerate and serve cold on a hot summer day!


Moroccan Carrot & Raisin Salad with Orange Juice

A refreshing recipe for a fasting salad, perfect served during South Texas Rio Valley during the Great Fast and citrus season.


½ C. Golden Raisins

½ - ¾ C. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

2 Tsp. Salt, or To Taste

8-10 Carrots, Grated


Mix together raisins, orange juice and salt. Grate carrots. Mix all together. Cover and chill for several hours before serving. This salad can even be made a day ahead of time, as it holds very well.
































¡Gloria a Dios por todo!
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