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Saturday, April 23, 2011

About Those Hard-Boiled Eggs


Egg salad sandwiches. Hard boiled eggs with toast. More egg salad sandwiches....

Not ready with a lot of options for all those eggs you are spending today decorating and hunting tomorrow? Here are a few ideas for using them up.

(Of course, you did keep them refrigerated except for the hour or so--at most--that you were hunting them, right? If not, don't take chances; they need to be composted rather than eaten.)

But, for the safe eggs you want to incorporate into menus this week, an old-time vegetarian main dish salad and a variation on the tried and true Chef's Salad:



Kidney Bean and Egg Salad

1/3 c finely diced sweet onion
2 c (or 15 oz can) kidney beans, drained
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 c diced or thinly sliced celery
Yogurt Dressing

Combine all ingredients with dressing. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. Chill for an hour or more to blend flavors. Garnish with parsley or serve on lettuce leaves if desired.

Yogurt Dressing

2/3 c plain yogurt
1 to 2 t prepared yellow mustard
3 to 4 t sugar (see NOTE)
salt or seasoning salt and pepper to taste (see NOTE)

Combine ingredients and mix well. This is very similar to "mayonnaise style salad dressing" that works well on old-fashioned potato salad or even as a sandwich spread instead of mayo.

NOTE: If using canned kidney beans, be aware that these almost always contain added sugar and salt, so don't add either of these ingredients to the dressing until you have tasted the salad to see how much will be needed.

One more thing--the serving suggestion in the photo above includes fresh orange slices. Keep in mind that the iron in plant foods (and kidney beans are a particularly good iron source) is far better utilized if you include foods rich in Vitamin C at the same meal.

Vegetarian Chef's Salad

Per main dish serving:
1 to 2 c baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 c iceberg or romaine lettuce, torn
2 T diced bell pepper (see NOTE)
sweet or red onion--2 t finely chopped OR thinly sliced and separated into rings
3 to 4 black olives, sliced
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
1 oz cheese, your choice, grated or cut in fine cubes
1 T chopped parsley or fresh basil (optional)
vinaigrette dressing of your choice
freshly ground black pepper

Combine the greens, peppers and onions and toss in the black olives and cheese. If serving in individual bowls, arrange the egg slices over the top of each serving and sprinkle with the parsley or basil. Otherwise, fold the egg slices in with the olives and cheese, reserving a few for garnish on top. Serve the dressing at the table.

NOTE: This time of the year, fresh tomatoes rarely are very flavorful, and bell peppers can be quite price-y. If you are making this salad with good tomatoes available, by all means add them in. If, however, you don't have either tomatoes or red bell peppers, look for roasted sweet peppers in the pickle section of the market. These are often reasonably priced (compare the weight to the cost of fresh produce) and will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks, and they add a nice touch of color to salads and casseroles when we are really looking for some brightness in our menus.

And--if you have a Trader Joe's near you, look for their frozen pepper strips. These too are a reasonable alternative for casseroles and even salads when the price of fresh peppers might otherwise keep these wonderful vegetables off your table.

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