This recipe is one of two salads that are in constant rotation in my kitchen. Its flavors are bright and fresh and it compliments everything from rigatoni and meat sauce to grilled chicken. Topped with a protein of choice, it’s a satisfying lunch option, rivaling your favorite restaurant’s entrée salad, at a fraction of the price. Personally, I like to remove a single serving of the salad before I toss it with the dressing and refrigerate. The following afternoon, I add leftover dressing (recipe makes enough for multiple salads) and a hard-boiled egg. In an instant, lunch is served for this busy mom. Also, great for a light dinner. Did you overeat on Thanksgiving? And the day after, and possibly the day after that? I did. I LOVE a traditional Thanksgiving meal, but I was feeling a bit glutinous after the second day of eating leftovers. I made this salad for dinner, adding sliced leftover turkey and didn’t feel guilty about the amount of pie I consumed for dessert.😇
Let’s talk about the dressing for this salad. It’s so tasty, you may just want to drink it! The fresh oregano combined with lemon, parmesan, and olive oil, will convert even the non-salad lover in your family. It couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Toss all ingredients (except olive oil) into blender, blend, and slowly pour in the olive oil through the opening in the top to emulsify, pour into a mason jar, stirring in parmesan, extra salt, and pepper, if needed, at the end. That’s it. Fresh dressing with healthy ingredients. While on the topic of dressing, I want to mention just one more thing. Have you noticed that salads, dressed and tossed in the bowl, right before serving, just taste better? I have. A light, even coating of dressing vs. a mixture of some veggies swimming in dressing while others remain naked? No contest for me, the salad tossed with dressing…superior.
Aside from the even distribution of salad dressing, another element that should not be overlooked is the addition of fresh herbs to the salad. I once purchased a mix of field greens and fresh herbs from my grocery store. Wow! So delicious! Such a minor addition, but makes the salad much more interesting. I have a perennial herb garden providing me with numerous combinations to add to my salad, but even if you don’t, it’s a great way to use up those fresh herbs just hanging out in your fridge.
Serves: 4-6 Prep Time: 15 minutes
- 2 Romain lettuce hearts, chopped
- 1 English cucumber, 1-inch dice
- 1/4 head radicchio, leaves roughly torn
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 cup feta, cubed
- 1/2 cup imported black olives (Cerignola, sliced in half, are my favorite)
- 1/2 cup fresh leafy herbs, leaves removed from the stems, but not chopped (I used flat leaf Italian parsley and mint)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon added once blended if needed)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepare ingredients for salad and place in a large serving bowl. In a blender, add all ingredients through 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. blend a few seconds. Through the opening in the top of your blender, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. The dressing should be nicely emulsified at this point. Pour into a 16 oz. mason jar, add Parmigiano Reggiano, ground pepper. Taste and add extra salt, if needed. The dressing recipe makes more than you will need for this salad but keeps nicely in the fridge for another salad later in the week. I start with about 1/3 cup of the dressing added to the salad and toss to combine. Adding more dressing if too dry. Do this right before you are ready to eat and not a minute sooner.