Salads are a great way to add some vegetables to mealtime, whether as a starter, side dish or even a meal itself. While the first thoughts that salad might bring to mind are fresh vegetables, cooked veggies are perfect for salads as well. Needless to say that sous vide is the best way to prep the ingredients for such dishes.
Aside from the usual leafy greens, there are many other veggies which can be used for salads. Zucchini, squash, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus and corn are just a few things that work well. These may all be seasoned and cooked through sous vide before being mixed with other ingredients.
Warm salads that use cooked greens, beans and grains are also excellent candidates for a sous vide salad. This method of cooking is preferable to the usual steaming, blanching or boiling since it allows the vegetables to retain more of their vitamins and minerals. Exposure to high heat tends to break down cell walls in plants causing the loss of nutrients. Of course, other than this, sous vide also provides vegetables which are not overcooked.
Aside from veggies, sous vide can also be used for cooking other salad ingredients such as chicken, fish, seafood and beef. These meats are often added to or served with salads. Cooking this using the same method as that of vegetables will ensure that it stays tender and moist as well.
Vegetables are usually cooked at 183°F, with cooking time depending on the desired outcome of the vegetables. Sous vide salad ingredients are also commonly weighed down to help keep it in the water. The end product of this technique is tender vegetables that have a unique texture to them. Once cooked the veggies may be used right away. It may also be roasted or grilled very quickly if desired.
Sausages are one of my favorite things to sous vide because they end up so much juicier than when I cook them traditionally. I like to finish them off with a quick sear on the grill, and while I'm there I'll often grill up some vegetables. For this recipe, I use mixed bell peppers that I put a hard sear on. I combine the sausage and the peppers with a simple cucumber salad for a flavorful, tasty meal!
With a relatively bold flavor, sous vided halibut pairs well with many things but for this summer salad I combine it with sweet cantaloupe, zesty feta, and sour lemon for a simple but tasty dish. The addition of wheat berries rounds it all out with a nutty and sweet flavor. This dish also works well with other white fish, or even chicken and turkey.
Lightly seared tuna is one of those lunch meals that tastes great and fills me up without leaving me feeling heavy afterwards. Sometimes I have trouble making sure the middle is warm without overcooking the outside. Cooking it with sous vide at a lower temperature ensures it is heated throughout without over cooking it at all. Finishing it off with a really quick sear adds some color and texture while leaving the rest of the tuna perfectly done.
Top round is a very lean but tough piece of meat that really shines with sous vide. After 1 to 2 days it turns very tender. As a definitely milder cut of meat, it can sometimes be on the dry side, so I like to pair it with a flavorful salad for a light summer meal. The peppery watercress combines with the earthy kale for a nuanced base salad that is brightened up with the lemon vinaigrette. Pomegranate seeds and berries add bursts of sweetness without overwhelming the taste of the steak.
I think chicken salad is a great summer and spring meal but more and more I crave something refreshing during the winter months too. It comes together really quickly, especially when using sous vide chicken breasts. I love using varied garnishes to add texture and bursts of flavor. In this recipe I call for the typical celery and carrots, but I also add toasted cashews and green grapes to add even more flavor. Some basil rounds it all out. When served on a bed of greens it's an amazingly flavorful meal.
The 13 minute egg is one of the most popular ways to cook eggs because it's easy, fast, and the results are really great. This recipe gives it a brightness by serving it on top of a wilted spinach salad.
Butternut squash is a fun winter squash that is often made into a soup or puree. For variety I like to combine the sous vided squash with walnuts, goat cheese, sage and a drizzle of maple syrup for a chunky savory and sweet salad.
This sesame crusted tuna recipe uses sous vide low temperature cooking to make a delicate fish entree. I top it with a fresh avocado salad and a vinaigrette dressing to provide some enhancing flavor punch!
This is a unique mustard-vinegar potato salad which has a tartness not found in the typical mayonnaise based potato salads. The vinegar also helps this dish to complement fattier main courses like ribeye or duck breast. The sous vide potatoes turn out nice and tender and always perfectly cooked.
Sous vide salmon is a classic recipe and here we complement it with a cucumber and dill salad. The balsamic vinegar will give it some extra sweetness and tartness while still allowing the salmon to shine through
Mahi Mahi is a full flavored fish that can stand up to bolder ingredients. Here we pair it with some summer vegetables and a lime vinaigrette with some moderate heat. For a spicier dish you can add sliced serrano or jalapeno peppers to the dressing.
Sweet potatoes are a favorite food around my house and I'm always looking at ways to incorporate them into more dishes. To make them more convenient I often sous vide sweet potatoes. Here I take sous vide sweet potatoes cubes and combine them in a salad with beans and corn. The chipotle adds a nice burn to the usually super sweet potatoes and helps turn this into a savory salad.
Right now we are getting lots of spring veggies popping up in our garden and in markets around us. I wanted to do a simple salad to highlight the flavors of our veggies. I also added some sous vide chicken to help make it more filling.
One of the hard parts about summer cooking is keeping the food light. While I love pulled pork, big steaks, and juicy hamburgers I can only take so much heavy food. This sous vide beef salad with figs recipe is a nice alternative to some of the heavier meals while still giving me my beef fix.
This sous vide recipe for steak salad is a different use of the sous vide technique. Instead of using sous vide to cook the meat for a long period of time, you use it to add perfectly medium rare steak to your salad. The thyme and garlic help add a little kick to the steak while the honey mustard dressing adds a strong flavor to the salad itself.
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