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Food chat: How to love salad when you hate greens

Spring cobb salad with scallion dressing is one option if you're not a fan of salad greens.  (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
Spring cobb salad with scallion dressing is one option if you're not a fan of salad greens. (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
By Washington Post</p><p>food staff

Each Wednesday at noon, the Washington Post Food staff fields questions about all things edible at Here are edited excerpts from a recent chat.

I can’t stand greens – lettuce, arugula, spinach, mixed greens, etc. – I don’t like any of them. Are there any salads you really love that are essentially just the good parts of salad with no (or minimal) greens? They’re always my hurdle to having salads on a regular basis.

Consider a Cobb salad! The leafy greens are optional, in my opinion, and you can pick and choose the vegetables, proteins, crunchy additions and dressing you like. – G. Daniela Galarza

In summer, how about panzanella? – Becky Krystal

What are your favorite ways to dress up cabbage as a main-course salad?

I love the idea of slaws as a main course! To turn them into a main course, I like thinking of them as I would any other salad. Pulled chicken, pork or beef, cooked and drained chickpeas or other beans, crisped cubed tofu or shredded tempeh could be tossed in with a slaw to bulk it up into a main course. – GDG

I had just pruned some leaves from my dwarf banana plant when I saw a recipe for fish fillets en papillote. I am so excited to try this with banana leaves instead of paper! Do you have any experience or tips for using banana leaves for cooking a dish?

What a great idea! You can absolutely do that with this recipe for fish fillets en papillote – just be sure the leaves are big enough. First, I would steam the leaves so they are flexible enough to make packets out of. Then, wrap the fish and any additions into the insides, wrapping them as well as you can, and using toothpicks to create seams as close to the top of each packet as possible.

If your banana leaves aren’t big enough, you can still capture the flavor of the leaves by including smaller pieces into the parchment packet. These packets, like the paper ones, aren’t airtight, and that’s fine because the steam needs a place to escape anyway. – GDG

Have any of you used your convection ovens as air fryers? Do any recipe adjustments need to be made?

One thing I came across in my research is that there are large air fryer baskets you can use in your ovens. It also seems that the oven setting is slightly less efficient than countertop air fryers (due to size), so recipes might take a little longer. – Aaron Hutcherson

When recipes call for coconut milk, does it ever mean the kind in the refrigerated section near the other types of plant milk, or should I always assume it means the canned kind? And what is the difference between the two types?

I guess, ideally, recipes would be clearer and say canned when they mean it, but that is the default I assume unless it specifies otherwise. When you use canned milk, you want to shake it well before opening, or whisk or blend it back together after opening because, yes, it can separate out between the fat and the liquid.

Some recipes call for just the fat/cream, in which case it will tell you that’s the part you want, sometimes including instructions to refrigerate the can to encourage the separation that lets the cream rise to the top. Canned coconut milk is thicker, with more fat. In the carton, it has more water. More of a beverage or a swap for dairy milk in baking, etc. – B.K.

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