Here's the story: I'm cooking Xmas dinner for my fiance's family. This will be the first time I cook for his mother, so I'm wigging out just a bit -- she's a very traditional, old-school Mexican (!) mom who churns out home-cooking like a well-oiled machine. To boot, I'm a vegetarian. Mexican future mother-in-law + vegetarian Xmas = WOW! The risks we take.
In any case, my main entree is a spinach-ricotta pie (based on Molly Katzen's Moosewood recipe), which I'm serving with tomato sauce dribbled on top. Because the pie is VERY green and spinach-y, I'm eager to serve some type of salad (be it warm or cold; cold is better) that serves as a punchy contrast to the pie that will come after it. Something fresh, light, tasty, and of course, vegetarian. I was thinking of incorporating beans (NO BLACK BEAN SALAD, however) for a protein element. Normally I'd go with tofu and raw veggies lightly tossed in vinaigrette, but I don't want to completely freak them out.
Any ideas for creative but fairly simple salads that don't feature greens as the main building block?