I fall into ruts with my meals and cooking, and salads are no exception. I tend to make the same things over and over and over again. And it’s really difficult to “eat more salad” when you can’t seem to move beyond that one staple, go-to salad (which for me was a greek salad). I seriously lack creativity when it comes to dreaming up new and amazing salads. Fortunately for me however, this summer we paid a visit to Aunt Sis, who introduced us to my new favorite, healthly and delicious salad: the Wine Country Salad. I love the mix of ingredients–especially the marinated artichoke hearts and the toasted pine nuts, which give it a lovely nutty flavor. Or maybe it’s the asparagus and bleu cheese. All I know is that I love this salad!
- 1 pkg (10 oz) mixed salad greens
- 3/4 cup red pepper, cut into strips
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, cooked, and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup black olives, sliced in half
- 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast
A note on pine nuts: Make sure you toast them! They are so much better toasted–toasting brings out all their yummy goodness! But make sure you do NOT burn them. Burnt pine nuts are baaaaaad. Trust me. To toast your pine nuts, simply toss them in a frying pan on the stove over medium heat for a few minutes. Periodically shake the pan so both sides of the nut are toasted. And be sure not to forget about your pan of toasting nuts while you “just check Pinterest for a second” because you’ll surely end up with those burnt pine nuts I just referred to. Also, I’d let them cool a little before tossing them in your salad. And finally, pine nuts are pretty pricey, especially if you have to purchase an entire pack of them. If possible, find a store that offers pine nuts in their bulk section and just buy what you need. Or you could also replace with a different nut (see below). But don’t go nutless because nutless salads are just not right.
Some delicious variations include the following:
- Spinach instead of Mixed Greens
- Goat cheese or feta crumbles instead of bleu cheese
- Pecans or walnuts instead of pine nuts
- Rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store (SO easy!)
- Salmon instead of chicken
My favorite dressing in the whole wide world is Girard’s Champagne Dressing. I use it on everything (maybe a contributing factor to my salad rut?) and it is fantastic on this salad! Another dressing option would be a balsamic vinaigrette.
The toppings can be prepared and combined up to one day in advance. Simply add them to the greens to serve. Or better yet, serve them separately so you can save any leftovers…if there even are any.
And now I have a new go-to salad.
|Green Fruit Salad
||Blueberry Mango Quinoa Salad
||Apple Yogurt Salad
Check out my favorite Link Parties!