Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Salad Formula and Berry Berry Spinach Salad

After all the football feasting we did on Superbowl Sunday, my body was in dire need of a seriously good salad. I LOVE salad. I usually will always choose a salad if I'm out to lunch and it's not even because I'm watching my weight or anything like that. I genuinely just love them. I try to serve one everynight for dinner. That was instilled to me by my aunts who both make great salads. Sometimes I get in a salad rut and only make the same one or two I have in my repertoire. Last night, I threw this together based on what I had leftover from Sundays feast. Now there are quite a few variations you could do here based on your personal preferences. For me, I have more of a formula that goes into my salad than a recipe usually. I will give you the ingredients and some variations. Also I don't really measure my ingredients for the dressing, so if you have one you use, go for it.

Before I added the almonds:
Bowl of rinsed greens- I used mostly spinach, which I tore into bite size pieces, some iceberg lettuce, yuck I know, but it's what I had, and I needed to add a crunchy green. Romaine would have been nice. I also added a few leaves of basil that were rolled and sliced into slivers. Arugula would be a nice addition instead of the basil. It adds a nice peppery flavor that would pair nicely with the berries.

Berries- Here I used raspberries, blueberries, and quartered strawberries. If you don't have fresh fruit add dried. Dried cherries and golden raisins are my two favorites in my normal romaine salad.

Cheese: I usually use reduced fat Feta made by Athenos or the one sold at Costco. I like those two brands because I prefer my Feta on the dry side. The Costco brand is not reduced fat. On this salad you could probably do a goat cheese as an alternative to Feta.

Nuts: Sliced almonds are my all time favorite! I use them almost exclusively, toasted of course is my preference. In this berry salad walnuts or pecans would be fab. Candied, toasted, or raw, you decide.

Dressing: This is a recipe I found with the same ingredients I used for my balsamic honey mustard dressing.
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
3 Tablespoons EVOO (olive oil)

However, I didn't follow this recipe. I always start with 1/4 to a 1/3 cup of olive oil in a glass measuring cup. Then I just add the rest by eye and taste it. I honestly probably did at least a tablespoon of honey and maybe a bit more of the vinegar and mustard. I just use a small whisk and mix it until it's nice and thick. Mine was about the color of Hershey's chocolate syrup when I was finished. Other good options for this salad would be a poppyseed dressing or raspberry vinaigrette.

Notes: For our usual salad, I use baby tomatoes, halved, and English cucumbers. Do not peel or de-seed the English cucumber, just rinse and chop. I omit fresh berries and use dried.  I always chop the lettuce in small pieces. They are manageable and truly bite-size. I always use Romaine hearts, chop off the end, slice it 4 or 5 times lengthwise, then horizontal in about 1 inch segments. Then I put it in the cheapest salad spinner I can buy. The self draining kind. I also usually sub Worcestershire sauce for the balsamic vinegar in the dressing. Lastly, I always buy my produce from Costco. It is much cheaper and a much higher quality than that of our local grocery store. Plus there are no produce stands open here this time of year in these parts! Serve this baby with some grilled chicken and you have a meal!

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1 comment:

LeAnn said...

Thanks for the recipe it looks like a yummy one.