Necessity is the Mother of Invention Salads

Left: Ingredients for Avocado Miso Seafood Salad  Right: Ingredients for Chopped Deli Salad

Left: Ingredients for Avocado Miso Seafood Salad  Right: Ingredients for Chopped Deli Salad

Sometimes I love going to the grocery store. I meander up and down the aisles and fill my cart with what’s on my list and whatever tickles my fancy. I delight in the scent of firm summer peaches and weigh the relative merits of mixed berry and coconut cream yogurt. When I’m in no rush, and actually enjoying shopping, I stock my fridge for the dark days when the thought of making one more friggin’ trip to buy food makes me want to scratch out my eyes and feed my ungrateful family cold porridge. 

When I’m faced with a dearth of ingredients and hungry mouths, sometimes I order a pizza but more often than not, I rise to the challenge. I’ve been cooking all my life so I can always muster up something edible, but sometimes I hit on combinations that become family favorites. 

Both these salads have, as their origin, a nearly empty fridge, and a deep aversion to grocery shopping. They are whole meals in one bowl, have vegetables that can stand up to a bit of dressing, and won’t succumb to mush after a day or two in the fridge. Best of all, no cooking involved! 

As with all my recipes, amounts can be adjusted to your taste. 


Avocado Miso Seafood Salad

Avocado-Miso seafood salad.JPG

I generally try to avoid highly processed foods and fake crab is probably the most processed ingredient on the planet, but it’s convenient and tasty. Feel free to substitute chopped, cooked shrimp. This salad also tastes great with Original Vegan Ginger Miso Dressing by Genji.

For the salad:

1 package imitation crab meat

12 oz bag of frozen, shelled edamame

1 English cucumber

1-2 ripe avocados on the firm side

Lemons for juice & garnish

For the dressing:

1 very ripe avocado

1/3 cup white miso

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar


Left to right: Avocado & Miso, Cucumbers draining, Edamame in water, Ingredients for salad

  1. Smash the very ripe avocado and miso in a small bowl until well blended, add the sesame oil and rice vinegar. It will be quite thick. Set aside.
  2. Soak the edamame in cold water for about 10 minutes to thaw then drain.
  3. Grate the english cucumber with a large-hole grater. The holes on mine are 3/8” wide. Set grated cukes in a strainer with a bowl under to drain for about 10 minutes.
  4. Put the fake crab in a bowl and break into small pieces using your hands or a potato masher (thank you Eliza for this idea!)
  5. Combine edamame, grated cucumber, and fake crab in a large bowl, toss with dressing.
  6. Cube the firm avocado, gently toss into salad.
  7. Before serving, squeeze fresh lemon on top.
Empty bowl at party.JPG

I brought this salad to a birthday barbecue. I put it on the table & went to get my camera. By the time I got back, here's what was left! (Happy B-day Chris!)


Chopped Deli Salad with Garden Herb Dressing


Salad 1.JPG

This colorful salad is a crowd pleaser. For a more marinated salad, dress the night before serving. It also tastes great with Ranch, balsamic, or Italian dressing.

Ingredients for salad:

1 cup each of cubed smoked turkey, ham, salami, and Jarlsberg cheese

1 cup mozzarella pearls

1 cup cucumbers, peeled or not as you prefer, seeded, & chopped 

1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes

1 cup red onion, chopped

1 cup red peppers, chopped



Ingredients for dressing:

1 packed cup of herbs including: Flat parsley, basil, tarragon, rosemary, marjoram 

1/3 cup White wine vinegar

1 cup Olive oil

1 TBS Dijon mustard

S & P


  1. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. 
  2. Place dressing ingredients in a blender, puree until smooth.
  3. Toss with dressing
  4. Garnish with lemon zest curls
Deborah Norkin