Summer is the time for salads and with all the options of fresh seasonal vegetables at hand, the combinations are endless. But – what’s the secret to building one that satisfies me until dinner instead of feeling like snacking at 3 pm? I think the answer is a combination of textures, flavors, protein and a tiny bit of fat. If each ingredient is seasoned enough to stand on its own, then every bite is an explosion of deliciousness.
This post is sort of blueprint for a salad that satiates. I love spinach, hard boiled eggs and red wine vinegrette together. Of course any item can be switched out to whatever is at hand or individual tastes; just make sure to use a nice big plate!
Steps to a Big Plate Super Salad
Greens- about two cups – pick just one variety such as spinach as I did here or mix it up with a combination of several.
Dressing – to drizzle on the greens – choose the vinaigrette I used or go for a flavored oil with an acid such as lemon or any kind of vinegar.
Simple Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic clove, minced or put through a press
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Whisk all ingredients together.
Layer of Density:
Roasted or grilled vegetables – try broccoli, cauliflower, even cherry tomatoes. It’s easy to oven roast any veggie at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes but here I used eggplant and zucchini cooked on the grill to acquire a wonderful smokiness.
Grill Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini
1 medium sized eggplant
1 medium sized zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Wash off and dry the eggplant and zucchini. Cut off the ends and slice into 1/2 inch rounds.
Place cut vegetables on a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Crimp up the edges. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables.
Put salt, thyme, marjoram, garlic, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together. Sprinkle over the vegetables and with clean hands, gently toss to distribute seasoning.
Heat up grill to medium high heat and place the vegetables on their foil sheet on the grids. Close the grill cover and cook for 20 minutes, turning the vegetables over at the 10 minute mark.
Allow to cool before placing on top of salad greens.
A legume spread – I used 1/4 cup hummus here, but any rinsed and drained bean such as black or great northern beans could be processed into something yummy.
Hummus from True Food by Andrew Weil, MD:
2 (15 oz.) cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 large garlic clove, put through a press
1 small jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine the beans, garlic, jalapeno, chili, tahini, lemon juice, lime juice, agave nectar, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, and salt in a food processor and blend well. Slowly pour in the olive oil as the mixture is processing until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
A little something extra – pour a little good olive oil over the hummus and then sprinkle with Aleppo pepper.
A Delicious Swoosh:
A great sauce – 1/4 cup of savory yogurt- optimizes the chance that a salad will satisfy. People with a dairy intolerance could substitute something wonderful like the jarred artichoke red pepper bruscetta that at Trader Joe’s.
Savory Yogurt Sauce- yields 1/2 cup
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon za’tar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Dash or two turmeric powder
Blend all ingredients except turmeric in small bowl. After spooning on serving platter, sprinkle a dusting of turmeric powder on top.
Protein – any choice – keeps hunger away. I love the combination of spinach, eggs, and red wine vinegar but shredded chicken, beef, or pork would work as well. Shrimp would be amazing too.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Gently place large eggs in a pan of enough cool water to cover them. Place on burner set to high and immediately set timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, run cook water over the eggs. Peel when the eggs have cooled down enough to touch.
Pickled vegetables – The cheating way- are so quick and easy to make. Since they crown the salad plate and are the last layer to be put on, they have plenty of time to soak up tangy vinegar.
Pickled Vegetable Cheat
1 cup sliced vegetables such as cucumber, beet, carrots, bell pepper, red onion, etc.
1/2 cup vinegar, plain or any kind
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Place vegetables in a small bowl. If using, mix the salt and sugar into the vinegar. Pour the vinegar over the vegetables and allow to sit at least five minutes before using.
So I’m curious- what other great combinations are there out there? Please tell – I’d love to try them!