The Big Salad

I know this is a little out of season and I started writing this in September, but here it is.

Summer and Fall are great times to play with awesome seasonal veggies and to create some amazing salads. I will call this a “lighter” meal, but when I get done adding things, “light” is probably not the best adjective to use. I have enjoyed making variations of this meal for years!

I like to start with a combination of romaine lettuce and some type of organic leafy mix. Next is to decide on what you want to add to your salad. This is where the real fun is!  There is no such thing as too many things to add into this salad! Here is my typical list (Warning, this can turn into a prep nightmare if you aren’t careful. Here are few suggestions to help get a handle on the prep. Plan out what you want to add in advance. Boil the eggs way before you need them so they have time to chill. Make sure you have a good-quality, sharp knife, and if possible get a prep helper. I would also suggest you watch some Youtube videos on knife skills). of add-ins: artichoke hearts, tomatoes, onions, olives, cucumber, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, sweet peppers, chickpeas, avocados, etc. I also grill and thinly slice chicken, steak or pork to add to the salad, though it is entirely NOT necessary. Feel free to add or subtract to this list.

For a dressing, I like to make my own. I use a combination of organic balsamic and red wine vinegar, organic olive oil and a little water. I season the dressing with dried oregano, dried? basil, salt, pepper, parmesan/romano cheese, and garlic powder. I use fresh herbs and garlic when I have them on hand. I usually let the dressing sit for about an hour before I use it. The dressing is based on my Grandma Rose’s recipe, so good!

Dressing Ratios:

  • ⅓ cup Olive Oil
  • ⅓ cup Vinegar
  • ⅓ cup Water

The last thing I usually include is a nice piece of crusty toasted bread that I drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.

Serve and enjoy!

I would love to hear any suggestions or variations to this salad!

Roasted Beet Salad

Being able to cook for friends and family is a way of sharing part of myself and one of the ways I show love. It is one of my favorite things to do.  So, when I was invited to a dinner party recently, and I asked my friend what I could bring. He said, “make something delicious.” Game on!

I love a good beet salad. There is something so satisfying about the way all of the different flavors and textures come together. The arugula adds some subtle spice, the goat cheese is mellow and smooth, the nuts add some crunch and salt, the vinaigrette some zest and the beets complete everything in such a unique way. If you haven’t had a beet salad, I suggest you try this recipe. It is excellent!

I searched for a while before settling on this specific recipe from Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa. It was super fun to make. Especially when my fingers looked like I butchered an animal as I was peeling the roasted beets. I shopped around for some good locally sourced organic beets. I found them at the food co-op in Rochester called Abundance. They were awesome! I roasted them exactly the way the recipe suggested and they came out great!

I bought organic arugula at Wegmans and used all organic products to make the dressing. I would say it came out pretty damn good!

Click here for the complete recipe.

Another great thing about using fresh beets is that you can cook and serve the greens as a delicious side dish. I used the recipe linked here.

Let me know what you think!