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Garbage Salad (not really) Recipe
by Amos Miller

Garbage Salad (not really)

This salad will make the meal, or be the meal. Broccoli, oranges, almonds, raisins, mushrooms, onion & bacon - and a fabulous classic sweet & tangy creamy dressing! Vegetarians can substitute bac-o-bits, or not add a bacon substitute.

Throwing together bits and pieces of a variety of items has long been the basis of some great garbage salads ('garbage' because they incorporate all kinds of odds and ends from the cooler and the pantry). This is my favorite - and a favorite to serve to family, friends and guests. There are always requests for 'more' - seconds, even thirds. And it never fails that some diners will want the recipe.

So make plenty - because this dish will guarantee clean salad plates - even from those who hate salads or what they call the 'crunchy water' salads.

The dressing goes a long way, so you can double the salad ingredients as listed here, and keep the dressing to this measure.

NOTE: DO NOT be put off by the double boiler (bain-marie). All you need is a sauce pan with an inch & 1/2 of water brought to simmer over med-low heat and then put a metal bowl wider than the pan where the lid should be. It will become just hot enough in that bowl to thicken your sauce beautifully without the risk of boiling or burning your product. You'll make a great sauce!

Rating: 5/5
Avg. 5/5 4 votes
Prep time: United States American
Cook time: Servings: 10

Goes Well With: BBQ, grilled meats, any lunch, All dinner entrees


  • 4 C fresh broccoli flowerets, blanched
  • 2 navel oranges, sectioned
  • 2 C sliced fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (your choice of variety - I find that baby 'bellos and baby whites are a perfect size, still identifiable when cut)
  • 1/2 C raisins (regular black or golden)
  • 1/2 C slivered or sliced almonds (well toasted)
  • 1/4 lb of bacon (diced, rendered and chilled) {I use our applewood smoked, lean)
  • 1/2 a red onion, halved, very thinly sliced and then halved again
  • 1/4 C tarragon wine vinegar (a MUST for this salad dressing)
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs sweet butter, melted is best
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk


  1. Make the dressing first, to give it time to cool completely in the refrigerator, cooler or freezer
  2. In a bain-marie / double boiler, bring the water to a simmer
  3. In a bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, dry mustard, egg yolk and egg, whisk well to combine and distribute the dry product
  4. Whisk vigorously and keep whisking as you
  5. Slowly add the water and vinegar to the egg mixture, whisking
  6. Add the egg mixture to the now hot bain-marie, whisking until the dressing has cooked to a thickened consistency - you'll know when it is thick & creamy
  7. When the dressing has reached the thick creamy stage, remove it from the heat and add the celery seeds, mayo and butter to the egg mixture, whisking well to combine
  8. Chill the dressing
  9. Trim the broccoli down: you want the salad components to be somewhat uniform in size, so your diners get a bit of several components in each bite
  10. Blanche the broccoli flowerets for 2 minutes, then into an ice water bath, drain and chill
  11. Cook the bacon, then chill the bacon in the refrigerator
  12. Toast the almonds well and chill
  13. Prep all the vegetables: section the oranges, then cut each section in half, slice the mushrooms and onion, returning all to the refrigerator to chill
  14. Assemble the salad by combining the broccoli, raisins, almonds, bacon and onions, the 'hard' components
  15. Gently turn into the salad the orange sections and mushrooms, the 'tender' components
  16. Add half the dressing, and turn with a rubber spatula to coat the salad ingredients
  17. Add more dressing, if desired, or decant the remaining dressing to a creamer to serve at table, should anyone want a more heavily dressed salad [TIP: CHILL everything well before serving. You make this salad in the a.m. to serve in the p.m. I find that soaking my raisins in cold water for 20 minutes relaxes and separates them. Just drain them well and CHILL, and dump them on a towel before adding to the salad - you don't want any unwanted water to go into the salad. Oh, yeah, and be ready for LOTS of complements.}