Meatless Monday: Clean Blog Summer Salad

Oh how I love an interesting combination in a salad.  Though I love salads of all kinds, I tend to make the same things over and over again.  Novelty saves me.  This one popped up recently and I’m completely enamored, especially because this salad includes nectarines.  Fruit always entices the boys into trying something and this one is a hit.

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons finely minced shallots
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Salad:
5 ounces arugula and spinach mix (or just arugula)
4 ounces snap peas
2 nectarines
1/2 cup radishes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup mint

Ingredients:

  1. Toast the pine nuts. Place one teaspoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low. Add the pine nuts and toast, constantly tossing until lightly browned (don’t step away from the pan as they burn easily).
  2. Make the dressing. Finely mince the shallots and shake or whisk with the other dressing ingredients.

  3. Prepare the vegetables. Wash and dry the arugula mix. Thinly slice the radishes (preferably with a mandoline slicer). Wash the snap peas. Thinly slice the nectarines. Pick mint leaves from stem and (optionally) chop.
  4. Add all ingredients to a large serving bowl.
  5. When you’re ready to serve, toss with the dressing (we recommend only adding 1/4 of the dressing at a time to prevent overdressing). Store remaining dressing in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Summer Salad: Watercress Salad with Chicken, Fennel and Pickled Shallots

As summer heats up, there are days when during the oven on isn’t my idea of fun.  My idea of nourishing my body in the evening involves crunchy, flavorful greens protein and some other interesting textures on one plate.  Thats where a salad like this comes into play.  Plus, with this recipe the vinaigrette that accompanies it can become a staple in your kitchen. I came across it through American’s Test Kitchen, which in my opinion is an authority on streamlined, efficient cooking techniques.  Something that I love about Watercress?  When you buy it, it includes the root ball, which, you can plant and continue to grow watercress!  I love that!

Watercress Salad with Chicken, Fennel and Pickled Shallots

Salad Ingredients

⅓ cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
Kosher salt and pepper
2 shallots, sliced thin
10 ounces (10 cups) watercress, torn into bite-size pieces
1 fennel bulb, fronds minced, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and sliced thin
¼ cup recipe Make-Ahead Vinaigrette – see below
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (see my roasted chicken recipe here)
2 ounces aged gouda cheese, shaved
½ cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped coarse

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Salt
¼ cup wine vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup vegetable oil

Vinaigrette Directions:

Regular or light mayonnaise can be used in this recipe. Do not use blackstrap molasses. You can substitute toasted hazelnut or walnut oil for the extra-virgin olive oil.

1. Combine mayonnaise, molasses, mustard, and salt in 2-cup jar with tight-fitting lid. Stir with fork until mixture is milky in appearance and no lumps of mayonnaise or molasses remain. Add vinegar, seal jar, and shake until smooth, about 10 seconds.

2. Add ¼ cup olive oil, seal jar, and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds. Repeat, adding remaining ¼ cup olive oil and vegetable oil in 2 additions, shaking vigorously until thoroughly combined after each addition. (After third addition, vinaigrette should be glossy and lightly thickened, with no pools of oil on its surface.) Refrigerate for up to 1 week. Shake briefly before using.

Salad Directions:

Bring vinegar, sugar, and pinch salt to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat, add shallots, and stir to combine. Cover and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard liquid.

2. Toss watercress and fennel fronds and bulb with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to serving platter. Add chicken to now-empty bowl along with remaining 1 tablespoon vinaigrette and toss to combine. Arrange chicken over watercress mixture, followed by pickled shallots. Sprinkle with gouda and peanuts and serve.

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