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Summer Salads from the Folk School Cookbook

Recipes for entrée salads abound in our new Folk School Cookbook just out this month! This collection of modern and vintage recipes from the shared tables at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina celebrates our love for a unique learning environment open to all adults. As a life long foodie and folk school participant it’s been a great pleasure to undertake the creation of this latest folk school cookbook.

A few years ago, while helping with menu planning, I recommended to our chef at the John C. Campbell Folk School that we create huge platters of seasonal vegetables, fruits and proteins to serve family style at the noon meal in our lovely light-filled Olive Dame Campbell Dining Hall. The resulting colorful dishes delighted the students as they sat down to partake. These salads were so chocked full of hearty fish, meat, cheese and beans that no diner left unsatisfied. And to make certain of that, we followed the salad main course with a luscious homemade dessert.

The Folk School Cookbook follows the seasons of the year and presents dishes that are appropriate to serve in spring, summer, fall or winter. Entrée salads can work in any season. Like Greek Pasta Salad and Southwest Salad, some can even be served warm! The cookbook includes recipes for Caribbean Shrimp Salad, Black and Blue Salad with Grilled Flank Steak, Tuna Salad Nicoise (try it with smoked trout as well), Autumn Harvest Salad, Quinoa Salad with Mangoes and Curry Vinaigrette, Grilled Tempeh and Shitake Salad and classic Southern favorites like Broccoli Salad and Apple, Beet and Red Cabbage Slaw. Recipes for many simple homemade dressings are also shared.

Ingredients for Southwest Salad

Keather Gougler and I spent many happy hours recreating and photographing the beautiful salads I wanted to feature in the book. We made sure the set for the shot was filled with handmade textiles, pottery, and other beautiful crafts our school is known for. Some of the photos were shot in almost darkness with a good camera and wide open aperture. We didn’t have to use any false enhancements on the food and we usually ate the dish together after the shoot.

Here is a delicious Thai Chicken Salad with Orange Peanut Vinaigrette from the spring section of the Folk School Cookbook. This dish has every component needed for a complete meal. If you don’t eat chicken, substitute baked tempeh or tofu as the protein element.

Thai Chicken Salad

Serves 6-8

Preheat oven broiler to high.

Season with salt and pepper, and broil until done, turning once

3-4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing thinly. Reserve.

Arrange on a large rectangular platter

6 cups baby spinach or other young greens

Cover the greens with horizontal rows of

1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

½ fresh pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced

1 sweet red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

cooked sliced chicken

3 green onions, thinly sliced

6 ounces rice stick noodles, cooked according to package directions

Sprinkle over the top of the salad

½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Serve with Orange Peanut Vinaigrette

Pour into a pint jar with a tight fitting lid

½ cup orange juice

juice of 1 lemon

¼ cup grapeseed or peanut oil

2 tablespoons peanut butter

½ teaspoon salt

large squirt Siracha sauce

¼ cup Thai chili garlic sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)

Shake all ingredients together in the jar. Pour some over the salad and pass the remaining so diners can dress their own.

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