Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sublime Kitchen Salad

 



 This is my go to salad recipe and it's so versatile-you can add whatever you like to suit your tastes as well as use what you have on hand. Plus, it is consistently good....my old reliable.
 I think a lot of what makes this salad so good is using a high quality balsamic vinegar. I became aware of this type of vinegar a year and a half ago. I randomly went into a store with many large tins of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I saw the price tag and thought to myself, "who would ever pay that much for a bottle of vinegar". Then the saleswoman came over and started having me taste some samples. She gave me traditional balsamic vinegar (AMAZING), flavored balsamic vinegar, flavored extra virgin olive oil, and then she started mixing them. The flavor possibilities were endless. My taste buds were so impressed and I was hooked. I spent a decent amount of money there that day and couldn't wait to get home to cook with my goodies! Recently, I have noticed there are many high quality balsamic and olive oil stores popping up. If possible, I suggest you go to one and try everything! See what you like and if you only get one thing, get the traditional balsamic vinegar. I can't buy the cheap stuff at the grocery store anymore. You won't be disappointed!


 

Ingredients (Makes 2 large or 3-4 small salads)

  • 1 head of red or green leaf lettuce and/or butter/Boston lettuce, about 6 cups of lettuce total
  • 1/2 cup of artichoke hearts quartered
  • 1/8-1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of organic croutons
  • 1 Roma tomato, cut into 6-8 pieces
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup of garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup of vegan or dairy cheese (optional)
  • 2 T high quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T EVOO (I used a roasted garlic olive oil)
*I also love sliced red peppers and cucumber in this salad!

Method

Wash lettuce then use a salad spinner to dry lettuce (or wash and dry thoroughly if you do not have a salad spinner). Once the lettuce is dry place it in a large bowl and assemble remaining ingredients, except vinegar and oil, on top of the lettuce. Lastly, dress the salad with vinegar and oil. Then toss and serve. Enjoy!

*Note: Generally when making salad dressing, one uses a 2 parts oil, 1 part vinegar ratio. I, however, LOVE balsamic vinegar so I flip-flopped the equation. I also chose to use more vinegar than oil because vinegar is less caloric than oil. You could try both methods and then make it the way you prefer.

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