March 21, 2013

Chopped Salad

This is a basic chopped salad that you can tailor to your own cravings or ingredients on hand. For me, when it's Italian, I make it with a vinaigrette and Parmesan cheese.  If it's Greek, then I use peppers and olives with feta cheese and heavy oregano.  I also love it with a creamy ranch dressing to balance out the acidity in a protein rich meal that includes steak.  The key is to chop it so the pieces are uniform, so they meld together in every bite.  Some people chop ofter putting it all together, however I chop each ingredient individually.

Large head of Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 lb. grape tomatoes, quartered
2 large carrots, peeled, shaved & chopped
1 small bag of radishes, chopped
1 seedless cucumber, quartered horizontally and chopped
1 small red onion, diced 
Optional: olives, peppers,peperoncini, cheeses based on "theme"
Dressing of choice or The Buttermilk Ranch recipe is below.  I also have many different dressings/vinaigrettes here at Cafe Vita.   
Chop all your vegetables and mix together in a large bowl.  
Dress just before serving.
Note:  I like to put the dressing on the BOTTOM.  Because everything is small and delicate, this method helps to keep the salad crisp, without wilting it or weighing it down.   
Dressing Ingredients 
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon  olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
Dressing Directions
  1. Place the scallions, basil, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. 
  2. Puree for 15 to 20 seconds to make a smooth mixture. 
  3. Add the mayonnaise, yogurt, and buttermilk and blend until smooth. 
  4. Transfer the dressing to a container, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour
  5. Arrange the lettuce and vegetables on a platter.
  6. Drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

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