top of page

Hang on to Summer – Salads (and More)

By Joy Johnson, Master Gardener

As fall harvest season arrives, the challenge is to create or try new recipes to fully appreciate the array of tastes available to us. As always, Master Gardener Joy Johnson is ready with recipes, this time, salads that help us to hang on to summer. And just to make sure that you use the abundant apple crop available to us now, she provides a scrumptious apple-centered dessert bar. Let your mouth water while reading these delicious recipes.

Hang on to Summer – Salads (and More)

Happy days are here again, the skies above are clear again, let us sing a song of cheer again, happy days are here again!

As fall harvest season approaches, I think of those old song lyrics because harvest time comes around every year and it’s always fun, exciting, involves lots of work, and often puts our creativity to the test when the broccoli, kale, cabbage and apples challenge us with, “how are you going to make use of us in a new way this year?” Yes, my veggies talk to me. At times they can be a bit snarky.

Since September tends to be quite hot and dry, I am not thinking of fall soups or hot casseroles pulled steaming from the oven, fogging your glasses, and making your mascara run. I’m still in salad mode. My motto is, “if you can hear crickets, it’s still summer!”

Here are two delicious salad recipes that use apples, peppers, cabbage, snow peas, broccoli, and green onions to assist you with answering the challenge to make tasty, creative dishes from your abundant garden produce. If the rabbits ate your snow peas (like they did to mine, right through the fence!), you are still the salad queen even if you purchase ingredients at a farmer’s market or grocery store.

Chicken, Apple and Cabbage Salad


Applesauce-Soy Vinaigrette (recipe below)

3 large apples, cut into bite sized pieces

6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (can also use Napa)

1 cup very thinly sliced red cabbage

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 cups snow peas, trimmed and cut in half if they are big

4 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken (I use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)


Applesauce-Soy Vinaigrette:

Whisk together 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (which of course you’ve already made from your early apples), 3 TBSP soy sauce, 3 TBSP apple cider vinegar, 2 TBSP light olive oil, 2 TBSP dark sesame oil and 1 Tsp grated fresh ginger in a small bowl. Makes about 1 cup.

1)    Prepare Apple-Soy Vinaigrette and place about 4 TBSP in a medium bowl. Core and cut up apples into bite sized pieces and toss in vinaigrette to coat (this will help prevent the apples from browning).

2)    Combine green cabbage, red cabbage, bell pepper and snow peas in a large serving bowl or platter. Add remaining vinaigrette, tossing to coat. Add apples and chicken and gently toss.

Broccoli-Apple Salad


6 cups broccoli florets

6 TBSP Mayonnaise

6 TBSP plain yogurt (you can also use sour cream or a mix of the two)

2 TBSP sugar

2 TBSP hot sauce

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

6 medium apples

3 green onions

1 medium hot banana pepper cut into tiny cubes (can use any hot pepper or leave this out if you’re not into heat)

2/3 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1)    Blanch broccoli in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until bright green. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.

2)    Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

3)    Core and chop apples; add to mayonnaise mixture.

4)    Stir in broccoli, green onions, cranberries, and sunflower seeds; toss to coat and serve or refrigerate until serving time.

Pecan Apple Bars

These nutty apple bars are a favorite with everyone I’ve served them to. At the last party, I’d cut the bars into large pieces knowing that these are so good, everyone would want a large piece. The hostess cut them into smaller pieces thinking there wouldn’t be enough to go around. I was fine with that; it was her buffet after all. However, I did notice that almost everyone went back for another bar or two!


4 apples – I used Pizzaz and Honeycrisp

½ cup sugar, divided

1 TBSP Cornstarch

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp lemon juice

2 cups flour

1/3 cups finely chopped pecans (you can also use walnuts or a combination)

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1)    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter an 8- or 9-inch baking pan.

2)    Peel, core and chop apples into small pieces, place in a large bowl. Stir in ¼ cup sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Set aside.

3)    Combine remining ¼ cup sugar, flour, pecans, brown sugar, and butter in a large bowl Stir until well blended. Transfer 2/3 of this mixture to the prepared baking dish and press into the bottom evenly.

4)    Bake 15 minutes.

5)    Remove baking dish from oven and spoon apple mixture and all the liquid evenly over the baked, hot crust. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/3 of the crust mixture.

6)    Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown.

7)    Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Photo credits: Joy Johnson (all)

bottom of page