One of my childhood friends moved to Italy 20 years ago. During a recent visit to see her, I enjoyed a scrumptious salad made with tortellini and fresh vegetables. I fell in love with the dish and have been trying to recreate ever since. How'd I do? —Kelly Mapes, Fort Collins, Colorado
Served warm, this satisfying salad combines pasta, chicken, lettuce, mandarin oranges and romaine and is tossed with a slightly tart dressing. From Coos Bay, Oregon, Diane Conrad comments, "My daughter-in-law gave me a basic dressing recipe, and I adapted it to suit our tastes."
A tart lemon-pepper dressing accents this colorful vegetable combination. Mom doesn’t always add the asparagus spears, but I think the steamed stalks make it twice as good.—Emma Rea, Columbia, South Carolina
Ground beef turns an ordinary spinach salad into a main dish. Minced garlic adds just the right amount of zip. You can easily substitute any type of lettuce for the spinach. - Rita Goshaw, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
An envelope of salad dressing mix gives this salad a jump start. Basil from my herb garden boosts the fresh flavor of the dressing when drizzled over colorful salad fixings.—Deb Morrison, Skiatook, Oklahoma
Don’t let the ingredient list fool you—this summery chicken salad is so simple! Prepare it in the morning; let it chill all day; and then toss with the dressing right before you serve it. For another spin, I sometimes add fresh grilled corn. —Sharon Pellegrini, Auburn, WA
I created this salad when I needed a crowd-pleaser for an event at a community charity drive and it was a huge success. I have been asked repeatedly for the recipe and asked to please make this at least six events this year. This salad keeps very well if you keep it refrigerated.—
In Grand Blanc, Michigan, Brenda Lancaster tosses together this pretty medley of greens, mushrooms, red pepper, onion and oranges. She uses raspberry vinegar in the homemade dressing, but cider vinegar works nicely in a pinch.
THIS salad is surprisingly flavorful and light, a refreshing change from a mayonnaise-based dressing. There is a nice contrast of textures and it's very easy to make. It can be adjusted to the number of people served.