EAT THIS: The Well-Dressed Salad

Posted on April 28, 2012 by

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We’re finding an increase of greens and fresh vegetables in the Farmer’s Markets – and this turns our brains to the wonders and versatility of salad.  There is truly no end to the many combinations of possibility – we’re way past the iceburg lettuce and tomato wedges of old!

To build a perfect salad, start with the freshest of greens. With all the varieties of lettuce available, a green salad can take on a whole range of flavors, textures, and colors. My own versions depend on the time of the year and the greens that look best at the market.  With robust greens, I will not add other vegetables to my salad as the greens are what I am after and I eat a variety of veggies all day long in other ways.  My greens are a simple, lovely bed for dressing and meat.

Whatever you choose, start with the freshest greens you can find, those that appear just-picked. Look at them closely, feel them, smell them.  Try new greens, and experiment with mixing them.  Greens you might find include spinach, endive, romaine, frisee, boston, watercress, mustard, bok or pak choy, radicchio, tatsoi, green or red leaf, arugula…

Many greens grow in sandy soil. If you don’t wash them well, you’ll end up with grit in your salad. But simply rinsing your greens under running water won’t get rid of all of the dirt. Instead, submerge them in a large bowl or in a sink full of cool water.

Any excess water on the leaves will dilute the flavor of your dressing, which also won’t cling well to wet greens. A salad spinner does a good job of drying greens. Don’t cram in the greens: instead, dry them in batches. Don’t spin too hard or the leaves will be crushed in the spinner. If you don’t have a spinner, spread out the leaves on a clean dishtowel and roll them up gently, or pat them gently with another towel.  I will also lay the greens between two towels, and gently shake the whole thing up and down.

 Greens with small leaves, such as arugula, basil, purslane, watercress, and young spinach, should be stemmed but the leaves left whole. Larger leaves, from greens such as romaine, large red oak leaf, and escarole, should be trimmed and preferably torn. Cut away thick, woody stems. Use a sharp knife to slice off stems like those found on arugula and watercress.
Thinly slice or grate any of the following vegetables to add to your salad, depending on how light or dense you want it:
carrots, beets, celery, cucumber, any variety onion or radish, any color of bell peppers, any type of sprout or micro green, green or red cabbage, zucchini, fennel, jerusalem artichokes, snow peas, broccoli, jicama…
FRUITS that work well:  avocado, tomato, tomatillos, apple, pear, and berries
…and of course, remember to eat some protein either on or at the side of your salad for a whole meal!
ON TO THE DRESSINGS:

Avocado Salad Dressing

A refreshing dressing with good body.

Ingredients:

1 avocado

1 garlic clove

.25 cup fresh lemon juice

.5 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 green onions

.5 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions:

Pit, peel and chop your avocado. Roughly chop onions.Crush and chop garlic clove. In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients except olive oil. Process until smooth. With the processor or blender running at a very low speed slowly add olive oil. Thin with water if desired.

Basic Vinaigrette

The flavor will get better and better over a few days.

Ingredients:

.67 cup apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves

1 TBS raw honey

1 TBS dijon mustard

.5 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp italian seasonings

dash of cayenne

black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Pour all ingredients into a jar or shaker bottle and shake well. Keep in the cupboard, do not refrigerate.

Basil Salad Dressing

Delicious and healthy dressing for meat, salads, and veges.

Ingredients:

.5 cup apple cider vinegar

.25 cup fresh basil

1 TBS low sodium tamari

2 garlic cloves

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

Description:

Perfect for summer greens.

Instructions:

Put all ingredients in blender, mix until smooth.

Chia Seed Dressing

Ingredients:

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 TBS chia seeds

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together and pour on your salad…enjoy! You can add any no salt seasonings/herbs that you like and/or a couple of drops of stevia.

Creamy Basil Garlic Salad Dressing

This is rich and creamy and good for you too! Great on greens with grilled chicken.

Ingredients:

.5 cup great northern beans, cooked

3 TBS balsamic vinegar

.33 cup fresh basil

3 garlic cloves

.25 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Puree everything together in the blender until creamy.

Sheri’s Favorite Salad Dressing

This is a light vinaigrette with lemon instead of vinegar. If it is too lemony, add more oil. If it is too bland, add more lemon. Start with a little bit of garlic and add more if needed. This has a wonderful bite to it. (you can also substitute raw apple cider vinegar for the lemon)

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove or .5 tsp granulated garlic

.5 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp powdered mustard or 1 TBS  prepared mustard

1 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Measurements are approximate so you can adjust them to suit your own taste. Use fresh cracked pepper to taste. Garlic cloves should be crushed & sliced into a few pieces. Blend all ingredients in a blender, except the olive oil, until well combined. With the blender running at slow speed, slowly pour in all of the olive oil. Taste and adjust as needed.

Tahini Goddess Dressing

Much better tasting than store bought tahini dressing.  Goes great on salads, meats, eggs, and vegetables.

Ingredients:

.5 cup water

3 garlic cloves

1 TBS raw honey

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

.25 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 oz fresh parsley

.5 cup raw sesame tahini

1 TBS low sodium tamari

Instructions:

Add all the ingredients, except for the oil to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth and creamy. Slowly add oil until well mixed. Dressing will be thick, add water for desired consistency.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Sweet, creamy, tangy, and easy to make dressing.

Ingredients:

3 TBS balsamic vinegar

2 TBS raw honey

1 TBS dijon mustard

.5 cup extra virgin olive oil

.5 cup fresh raspberries

Instructions:

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until creamy.

Posted in: Eat This!