Da Capo Press
“Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love” is by Terry Hope Romero.

"SALAD SAMURAI: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don't Have to Be Vegan to Love," by Terry Hope Romero, Da Capo Press, $19.99, 180 pages

Folks who have grown up on the salad as a side dish — a vehicle for the cook to sneak in one more helping of vegetables — may greet the recipes in Terry Hope Romero's "Salad Samurai" with something akin to wonder.

Her creative salads are absolutely beautiful. But they are also filling and full of surprise, offering tastes that pop. Her East-West Roasted Corn Salad contains the expected, but adds cilantro, fresh basil, lemongrass tofu, chili juice, coconut and lime for a salad that's unforgettable. She pairs beets with ginger, tahini and lentil for a memorable repast.

In the introduction, she writes: "The real salads I crave and eat on a daily basis are hearty, genuine meals! They are true one-bowl wonders, beautiful unions of crunchy fresh vegetables and often fruit, that are always loaded with hearty, plant-based proteins, freshly made dressings and crunchy toppings that gild something much tastier than a lily."

She delivers on that promise, but every salad is also fast and simple to prepare, though some thought will go into gathering supplies, which one might not routinely keep on hand. It's safe to say that will change.

The book offers recipes for dressings, suggestions for substitutions, gluten-free options and takes advantage of each season's offerings. The pictures are lovely, the instructions concise. Not in the mood to make a salad? Romero's prose is still worth the read, for its colorful language and lyrical descriptive power.

This cookbook is bound to be a favorite.

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