Crunchy, cold vegetable salads better without lettuce – Los Angeles Times

Though salads are the staple of the healthy lunch illuminati, my intolerance for eating a bowl of lettuce has always left me feeling out of the club. But once I realized that a great salad, full of crunchy vegetables, need have no lettuce within sight of the mixing bowl, I became a convert to the lunch salad life. Instead of fibrous ribs and flapping leaves, I lean on cucumbers, celery and various refreshingly crisp vegetables that add sturdy vitality to a simple and light but filling salad. My kohlrabi slaw with yogurt dressing is the recent addition to my repertoire, but the dependable standbys are an ever-revolving list of riffs on a handful of staple dishes.
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For a similarly creamy-crunchy slaw as the kohlrabi dish, I love the classic celery root version, here mottled with tart pomegranate seeds. This Israeli salad uses a sprinkling of dukkah seasoning to add flavor and interest to refreshing chunky-cut veggies tumbled over a bed of yogurt. When I want a little more heft, I use most of those same vegetables — cucumbers always, tomatoes often — and toss them with cooked couscous in a cold pasta salad that gets better the longer it sits.
I’ll typically add a fillet of salmon or chicken to these salads, but on occasion I’ll put in a little more effort and make this peanut noodle salad with crab and tons of crisp strands of red onion, cabbage and the reliable cucumbers. When lunchtime can feel like the make-or-break point of your day of eating, it’s great to have these staples in your back pocket, ready for a lift in the right direction.

Large chunks of carrot, cucumber and tomato make the typical Israeli salad a filling dish, sitting atop a bed of yogurt and sprinkled with spiced sesame dukkah.
Crab meat adds sweetness to this peanut-rich sesame sauce bathing noodles and loads of sliced crunchy cucumbers and shredded cabbage.
Chewy and tender Israeli couscous adds heft to this simple salad that’s great with any leftover raw crunchy vegetables you have in your fridge.
The sweet, crisp texture of kohlrabi makes for a lighter rémoulade salad, here brightened with tart apple and minced red onion.

The classic contender for slaw, crunchy, hearty celery root is balanced with pops of tartness and spice from pomegranate seeds and sliced scallions.
For this L.A. Times Dinner Series event, join actor, writer, producer, winemaker and pizza aficionado Eric Wareheim (“Tim & Eric,” “Master of None”) for a Pizza & Wine Party taking place across three cities with chefs Daniele Uditi (Pizzana, L.A.), Thomas McNaughton (Flour & Water, San Francisco) and Joe Beddia (Pizzeria Beddia, Philadelphia).
The event, on March 14 at 5 p.m., will include a pizza, available from a local restaurant in each city, paired with a bottle of Las Jaras’ Glou Glou wine. The Pizza & Wine Party will bring the three chefs together in a conversation with Eric Wareheim and will be hosted by L.A. Times columnist Jenn Harris.
Tickets are $95 per person. Get information on the event here and tickets here.
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Ben Mims is the cooking columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He has written three cookbooks and has worked as a food editor and recipe developer for several food media publications, such as Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, Saveur, Food Network and Buzzfeed/Tasty.

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