Energize the left side of your menu with exciting dressings and exotic ingredients.
Regional ethnic cuisine ranks among the top 20 trends in the National Restaurant Association's annual Restaurant Industry Forecast, which surveys member chefs from the American Culinary Federation. Often expressed in appetizers and entrées, ethnic flavors can find a good home in salads, too. From an operation standpoint, moving a salad into an ethnic profile only takes a few ingredients, or a subtle embellishment of a dressing already used in house. Our chefs at the Kraft Culinary Centre, inspired by pantries from around the world, developed ethnic salads that are big on wow factor.
Behind the Recipes
Curried Whole Wheat Pasta Salad
This pasta salad presents a great interpretation of Indian flavors, but in a familiar profile. Our chefs do a simple plus two of pineapple juice and curry powder to transform Kraft Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette into an Indian dressing. The vegetables are treated as they often are in Indian cookery: blanched or cooked for a variety of textures and flavors. Here, we see a mingling of blanched cauliflower and carrots, roasted eggplant, tomatoes, cooked green peas and red potatoes. For aromatics, they add coriander and mustard seeds. For a protein component, our chefs marinate tofu in the dressing, then coat in sesame seeds and sear it. "It's a pretty savory salad," says Aliza Katz, senior corporate chef for Kraft Foodservice. "You could warm up the salad for service, or offer it at room temperature. It would be a great accompaniment to lamb, or a nice stand-alone pasta salad."
Korean Taco Salad Stack
Technomic called Korean fare as one of the "new" Asian foods to hit U.S. foodservice this past year. Indeed, when we see multi-units such as California Pizza Kitchen include it on their menus, we know it's a good indicator that the trend has made significant in-roads. The star of this recipe? A beautifully complex marinade, simply made with A.1. Steak Sauce, soy sauce, sugar, white wine, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, green onion and garlic. "The A.1. counters the sugar perfectly," says Chef Katz. "It works well with soy, balancing it out, and it glazes the beef really nicely."
Black Bean-Jicama Salad with Queso Fresco
This salads boasts the lively flavors of Mexico, with ingredients like queso fresco, jicama and poblano chiles. Kraft Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette adds a bright, Latin finish.
Margarita Ranch Chicken Salad
This fun, flavorful salad sees chicken marinated in a margarita profile: Kraft Italian Dressing, lime juice and tequila (optional). The chicken is grilled and laid over a salad of romaine, black olive and onion, all tossed in a dressing made with Kraft Ranch Dressing, lime juice and red-pepper flakes.
Mexicali Taco Salad
This salad offers diners a great choice when looking for better-for-you options. All the great flavors of a Southwest taco salad in this leaner profile: ground beef, kidney beans, chili powder and Kraft ChedaSharp Pasteurized Process American Cheese Shred. To finish, our chefs drizzle it with Kraft Light Ranch Dressing.
A tropical salad perfect as a garnish or salsa, our chefs turn this salad toward Thailand with the use of green mango, a tarter choice that plays well against the Sweet Orange Curried Italian Dressing. For the dressing, they simply add orange marmalade and curry powder to Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing.
Thai Temple Noodle Salad
Shannon Johnson, C.E.C., executive chef at Applebee's and one of our 2010 Chefs of Grey Poupon, created this ethereal, delicious salad. He combined napa cabbage and baby bok choy with asparagus, green onion, peanuts, cilantro. He made the spicy Grey Poupon Dressing by adding demerara sugar, water, ginger, sesame oil, sambal oelek, soy sauce, green onion and sesame seed to Grey Poupon Classic Dijon Mustard.
Red Snapper and Udon Salad
This entrée salad responds to the twin mega trends of Pan Asian and seafood with a wonderful flavor combination. While familiar ingredients, such as cucumber, celery and spinach, keep the dish approachable, green onion, cilantro, mint, edamame, Kraft Signature Oriental Sesame Dressing and udon noodles give it that fantastic Asian profile.
Sesame Soba Noodle Salad
This Sesame Soba Noodle Salad answers the pan-Asian trend with lively flavor, using Kraft Oriental Sesame Dressing to bring out pleasing notes of soy, sesame and citrus. "The flavors here really wake up that fifth sense, umami, with the mushroom and the soy sauce," says Chef Katz.
Chopped Chicken Fattoush Salad
Our chefs interpret this popular Lebanese salad, combining cucumber, red and yellow cherry tomato, grilled green onion, chopped romaine, red and orange pepper, toasted pita squares and shawarma seasoning (cumin, coriander, chili powder, cardamom, paprika). They steer Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing toward the Middle East with a simple plus two of lemon and lime juice. "It's a refreshing salad," says Chef Katz. "Bright and juicy. Fresh-tasting and crunchy."
Greek-Style Skirt Steak Salad with Grilled Romaine
Mediterranean continues to dominate trend reports. This entrée salad captures the best of the Mediterranean: kalamata olives, sun-dried tomato and feta cheese. For the protein component, our chefs marinate skirt steak in Kraft Greek Vinaigrette with Feta Cheese, adding a Mediterranean profile to this inexpensive cut of beef. This salad offers both perceived value and on-trend composition to diners. For a textural contrast, it's served with grilled romaine drizzled with the vinaigrette.
Click here to learn how to transform your salad dressings and move your menu in different ethnic directions.
Plus, for our complete portfolio of Kraft Dressings, click here.