Vegetarian Salads for Dinner

By Bobbie Kitto
Editor Linda Kissam

Recipe included in this article:Baked Ricotta Pepperonata, herb Salad

After reading Jeanne Kelley’s new book, Vegetarian Salads for Dinner, one may be inclined to do just that.  The book gives a unique view on how to serve plant forward meals that are both healthful, visually appealing, and full of great taste.

Jeanne gives us seven different types of salad. Everything from basic chopped salad to bread salads are explored. Salads with seeds, pasta salads, roasted and toasted salads, and even pulse salads are shown in beautiful color photos. Each of these categories contain several examples of how to enjoy these various types of complete meals in a bowl. The recipes are written in easy to follow instructions.

The last chapter shares recipes for toppings, sauces, and spreads to enhance your salad experience like recipes for Garlicky yogurt, spicy coconut peanut sauce, and Ancho-spice pecans. If a Romesco sauce is on the menu, find it in this chapter along with how to make rustic croutons.

Go to  to see a short video provided by Melissas produce showing author, Jeanne Kelley, demonstrating two completely different types of salad. Her first demonstration is of a Red Quinoa and Red Kidney Masala (pgs.126-127).

Next up Jeanne goes Italian and demonstrates Baked Ricotta Pepperonata, herb Salad. A lot of salads in Italy are cooked during the day and served at room temperature later in the evening when the temperature is cooler. This one can be found on pages 207-208.

Being an award winning author of six cookbooks and a contributing editor at Bon Appetit magazine for 20 years gives Jeanne a lot of street cred in the cooking world. She is a culinary educator, food writer, and food stylist. All of this shines thru when viewing her beautiful book.  Every picture makes one want to dive into the vegetable crisper in the refrigerator and start creating something not only good for us but also visually stunning.

I really enjoyed this book for several reasons. The book has a feel of a well thought out idea that has been made easy to understand. The author makes one want to try their hand at some very appealing recipes.  The recipes are not hard to follow. It made me realize I could deliver the taste and visual appeal of a meal my family and friends would want to gather around the table before they realized there was no meat.

I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars.  It is beautifully presented in a hard bound edition that is sure to hold up to many years of use. Each section describes what adventure awaits the chef. With eighty recipes to choose from you will not be bored.

So like I asked in my title “Salad for dinner, why not?”  Joy can be found in serving a meal that satisfies and has good taste. Who knew?

Enjoy this recipe from the book.

Baked Ricotta Pepperonata with Herb Salad

Cooked salads are an Italian tradition. The salads are cooked during the cool hours of the day and served cool or at room temperature for lunch or dinner later. Classic Italian pepperonata is made of sautéed peppers, onions and herbs. In this vesion, I use sweet mini peppers and bake them until tender along with whole-milk ricotta. Top the summery ensemble with arugula, herbs and a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar.  Serve it with warm focaccia or crusty bread.

4 servings

15- 16-ounces whole milk ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 pounds mini sweet peppers (box peppers), stem ends trimmed

10 ounces (about 2 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes

½ medium-sized red onion, cut into ½-inch thick slices

16 pitted kalamata olives

6 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

½ teaspoon salt

Balsamic Vinegar

1 cup arugula leaves

½ cup basil leaves

Line a strainer with cheese cloth and set the strainer over a bowl. Carefully unmold the ricotta into the prepared strainer retaining the shape of the cheese. Refrigerate the cheese uncovered for 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Cut any peppers larger than your thumb in half. Toss the peppers, tomatoes, onion, olives and garlic with 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or similarly sized pan. Make a space near the center of the pan. Carefully place the ricotta in the space and drizzle with oil.  Sprinkle the pepper mixture and cheese with, oregano, red chili and salt and season with cracked pepper.Bake in the oven until the cheese and peppers are browned and the peppers are tender, about 30 minutes. Cool until warm.

Just before serving, drizzle the pepperonata with vinegar and top with arugula and basil.

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Author Bobbie Kitto

Bobbie Kitto

Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a free copy of the book to review. Her opinions are her own.

To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! Bobbie  highly recommends products from Melissa’s Produce, available at many markets.

Vegetarian Salad for Dinner: Inventive Plant-Forward Meals

by Jeanne Kelley  | Feb 21, 2023



List: $40.00$40.00


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