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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

The Magnificent Salads Cookbook 1988 with Bean Salad & Layered Taco Salad! -- Vintage Cookbook #TBT

Vintage Cookbook: Magnificent Salads Cookbook, Kathryn Ramsay

Publication Details: Magnificent Cookbooks Publishing, 1988

Magnificent Salads Cookbook is a wonderful piece of late 80's kitsch. Done with a sturdy spiral binding and illustrated with a full page, full colour, and fully 80's picture for each recipe, it runs the gambit from the solid and traditional to the almost absurd and over-the-top.

Part of a series of cookbooks from a small Richmond Hill, Ontario publisher, they also released "Magnificent" cookbooks for cookies, casseroles, muffins and more, none of which, sadly, I have yet been able to get my hands on! If the salad cookbook is any indication, they would likely be rather fun.

Magnificent Salads has 60 recipes with names like "Harvest Vegetable", "Warm Spinach", "Eggs Benedict Salad", "Molded Salmon" (which rather needs to be seen to be believed!), and so on. These are all over the place from healthy and vegetarian to "Steak Salad" which is pretty much as it sounds!

Yes, this is a real photo!

I have an affection for this cookbook that is entirely in inverse proportion to its culinary seriousness. This is perhaps due to the fact that so many of the salads are really, really good as well as the fact that they could be made by absolutely anyone.

So, without further delay, we are sharing two recipes as they originally appeared and that reflect two opposite poles of what you will find if you ever pick this up this little blast from the 80's past. We have also tossed in the scan of a third.

Bean Salad:

Yield: 8-10 servings


Green beans 1lb/500g

Yellow beans 1lb/g

Red kidney beans 2-14 oz. cans/796 ml.

Chick peas 19 oz. can/540 ml. can

Spanish Onion 1 large

Vinaigrette - Yield 1 1/2 cups (375 ml.):

Corn oil 1 cup/250ml

White vinegar 1/4 cup/ 50ml

Lemon juice 1/4 cup/50 ml

Salt 2 teaspoons/10ml

Granulated sugar 1 teaspoon/5 ml

Dried thyme leaves 1 teaspoon/5 ml

Ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon/2 ml

Celery salt 1/2 teaspoon/ 2 ml

Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon/15 ml

Worcestershire sauce 2 teaspoons/10 ml

Trim the ends of the green and yellow beans and break them into pieces of the desired length. Wash them, put them in a pot and cover them in cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the beans until they are firm but can be pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes. Drain them well and place in a large bowl.

Drain the juice from the kidney beans and chick peas and rinse them under cold water. Drain them well and add them to the beans.

Chop the onion into small pieces and add it to the vegetables. Toss all the ingredients to combine well.

To make the vinaigrette place all the ingredients in a jar, blender or food processor and combine until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to coat all the ingredients. Cover the salad well and refrigerate several hours to allow the beans to absorb the flavor of the dressing. Stir the salad several times while marinating and toss again just before serving.

Layered Taco Salad

Yield 6 servings


Ground Beef 1lb/500g

Taco seasoning mix 1 package

Iceberg Lettuce 1/2 head

Tomatoes 2 medium

Kidney beans 15 oz/425 ml can

Grated cheddar cheese 1 cup/250 ml

Chopped green olives 1/2 cup/125ml

Chopped black olives 1/2 cup/125 ml

Chopped green onions 1 bunch

Avocado 1/2 medium

Lemon juice 1 teaspoon/5 ml

Dressing-Yield 1/2 cups (375 ml):

Salsa picante 1 cup/250 ml

Sour cream 1/2 cup/ 125 ml.


Tortilla chips

Cook the beef and the taco seasoning mix together according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.

Mix the salsa picante and sour cream together in a small bowl.

In a large glass bowl shred the lettuce. Pour 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the dressing over the lettuce. Peel the tomatoes, cut them into wedges and arrange them on top. Drain the kidney beans and lay them over the tomatoes. Cover with 1/4 cup (50ml) of the dressing. Sprinkle on the cheese and pour 1/4 cup (50ml) of dressing over. Spoon the cooled meat over top and pour on the remaining dressing.

At serving time, sprinkle the olives and onions around the edge. Cut the avocado into slices, moisten it with lemon juice to prevent discoloring and arrange it on top of the salad. Surround with tortilla chips and serve.

HINT: This is also very attractive if made in individual dishes. Salsa picante is available in the Mexican food section of most grocery stores.

This post originally appeared on The Left Chapter blog, May 28, 2015

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