It’s July. It’s hot. It’s humid. Looking for a refreshing entree salad that is light, healthy and cools you down from the inside out? This is it. Fresh blueberries and oranges’ sweet flavors contrast tangy goat cheese, salty bacon and hearty walnuts.
And the dressing? Mmmm… fresh orange juice (not store-bought) blended with herbs and garlic, go with me here, adds the perfect amount of zesty, juicy, savory goodness drizzled over this beautiful meal rich in colors, tastes and textures.
I’m super excited about this salad and hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Stay cool out there!
Summer Citrus Salad
5oz Baby kale mix
1 bunch Green onions (a.k.a. scallions); chopped
4oz Fresh mushrooms; quartered
4oz Walnuts; chopped or halved
2 Avocados; diced
1c Bacon; cooked & crumbled
2 Fresh oranges; peeled & sliced or quartered
4oz Crumbled goat cheese
1c Fresh blueberries
Fresh Citrus Dressing
Fresh Citrus Dressing
1/3c Plain rice vinegar
1/3c Canola or vegetable oil
1/4c Granular sugar
1/2c Fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 cloves Garlic; minced
1t Herbs de Provence
Dressing – Add all dressing ingredients into a bottle or bowl with tight-fitting lid. Shake well to blend. Or, add ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until thoroughly combined.
Salad – Layer salad in order of ingredient list beginning with kale and ending with blueberries on top. Drizzle dressing over salad upon serving.
Growing up in Florida, I’ve savored Cuban sandwiches ever since I can remember. Cubans can be enjoyed hot or cold, and whether served in school cafeterias, packed for lunches on the beach, or grab & go from the deli, Cubans have been a part of every season of my life. Mmmm….
So I thought I’d try my hand at transforming this delicious sandwich into a decadent salad!
Keeping this salad true to the original Cuban sandwich, the ingredients are especially important. A “real” Cuban does not have mayo, fancy mustards, tomatoes, or any type of cheese other than Swiss; nor is it served on a hoagie. If a Cuban sandwich comes your way with any of these, it’s a fraud. 😉
An authentic Cuban simply has butter, yellow mustard, roasted or barbequed pork, ham, Italian salami, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and Cuban bread. That’s it!
I used these ingredients (and their proportions to the sandwich) to keep this salad true to form. The dressing has real butter and yellow mustard. Italian seasoning compliments the salami’s spices. Rice vinegar and shallots are the mildest flavors of vinegars and onions so as to give this dressing personality but not dominate the salad or change the Cuban’s original flavor. And the vinegar also compliments the vinegar-soaked pickles; an awesome combination.
The point of the dressing is to get mustard and butter into this dish (like on the sandwich) and lightly coat the lettuce so it is still a proper salad yet with all of the authentic flavors of a Cuban sandwich.
Don’t skimp on the pickles! A true Cuban has bity dill pickles that deliver a crunch. Please skip the shelved, limp pickles and get the fresh, refrigerated pickles. Their crisp crunch and fresh taste is light years beyond any non-refrigerated pickle. Trust me on this! Good pickles are the ingredient that pulls this entire dish together. They are the crowning jewel of this salad; use at least 2 cups but add more if you’d like.
The mixed soft greens of spring, kale and watercress are given texture with crunchy cabbage and Brussel sprouts which do not add flavor, but do add texture and nutrition with the Brussels.
We prefer hard salami to Genoa, but either works. The roast pork is a cheat that I buy precooked from the deli. It’s definitely a time-saver, and since it’s part of the entree and not the main course I’m totally fine buying a pre-cooked portion of pork versus roasting an entire tenderloin – though leftovers are never a bad thing.
Lastly, serve with Cuban bread on the side or skip it for a gluten-free option.
My family kept saying that they couldn’t believe how much this salad tasted like a Cuban sandwich, woohoo!!
Enjoy Cuban sandwich flavors on top of a zesty, high-protein salad that, when paired together, you have a new, uncompromised version of the Cuban we all know and love.
Make the dressing by melting butter in the microwave or on the stovetop, then blend all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor.
If saving for later, pour dressing into a bottle, bowl or measuring cup that can be microwaved to keep butter melted if it cools and thickens. Otherwise simply set it aside. Dressing should be room temperature when served.
In a large bowl, toss spring lettuce, baby kale, watercress, cabbage and Brussels with the dressing until evenly coated. Divide evenly among 4-6 serving plates.
Plate salads by dividing remaining ingredients evenly and layering them on top of the dressed greens in the order listed above beginning with ham and ending with pickles.
5. Garnish with Cuban bread, optional. Serve immediately.
This salad!!! Oh my! New family favorite. I love to cook using ingredients in their peak season and right now peaches are perfection. Mmmm! This salad is our only meal of the day…it’s that hearty and satisfying!
The base flavors of this salad are peaches, goat cheese, blueberries and basil. These flavors compliment each other with sweet, savory and tangy tastes.
Salad notes – I always try to add a hidden vegetable to bump the nutritional value and the hidden jem here are green beans. They don’t change the taste but add nutrition and pack a crunch.
Bacon and peaches play off of each other with salty & sweet flavors and give this extra layers of YUM!
Compote note – Leeks add a savory tang to the sweet peaches and sugar in the compote. Balance is key to a yummy dish.
Marinade note – I always use grapeseed oil when I can. It’s better for our hearts than other oils and can handle heat up to 500 degrees which makes it perfect for the grill to help keep proteins from sticking when flipping.
6 fresh peaches; peeled and sliced
1 leek; white part only finely sliced
4 -6 chicken breasts (# of pieces depends on # of servings)
4T balsamic vinegar
3T garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1T Herbs de Provence
4T grapeseed oil
Salt & pepper to taste (be a little generous with the salt)
1/2c balsamic vinegar
1/2c extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh peaches; peeled and Sliced
2T good white wine (preferably not “cooking wine”)
1T Herbs de Provence
10oz spring lettuce
5oz baby kale
1/2c fresh basil; finely chopped
2c fresh green beans; ends cut off and beans cut in thirds
1. Begin the peach compote. Place 6 sliced peaches and sugar in small saucepot and cooking on medium heat, stirring often so it doesn’t burn.
2. Once bubbling, turn down the heat to low and add sliced leeks. Simmer on low until sauce becomes translucent and compote is loose-jam consistency. It will take a good 20 minutes so start this step first.
3. While compote is reducing, prep chicken by rinsing the chicken then the trimming fat and cutting breasts in half lengthwise.
4. Add chicken halves to a gallon plastic bag and then add the marinade ingredients.
5. Massage the bag gently and thoroughly to coat the chicken pieces evenly. Set aside.
6. Now make the dressing by blending all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pour into a serving bottle and chill until ready to use.
7. Place cut green beans in a small pot with enough water to cover and boil for 5 minutes (set a timer!).
8. Immediately remove beans from heat and dunk them in an ice bath (a bowl with enough ice and cold water to cover the beans). This is called blanching. Boiling will slightly cook the beans, and the ice water bath shocks them so they stop cooking and keep their crunch and color. Keep them in the ice bath until ready to use.
9. Heat grill and place chicken halves on the grill. Cook thoroughly. (You can also bake the chicken in the oven or air bake for approx. 20 minutes @ 350 turning halfway through- in lieu of grilling.)
Time to assemble the salad…
10. Compote should be finished. Once it is thick, pour into a bowl and let cool on the counter while making the salad.
11. Keep checking on and turning the chicken, then remove from heat.
12. Assembling the salad – plate the ingredients per their list order beginning with lettuce and ending with avocado. (I always put the green items on the bottom so the colorful items pop on top.)
13. Drizzle dressing over top. (Leftover dressing makes a great marinade for chicken or pork – or more salads!)
14. Place two grilled chicken halves on top of each salad. Evenly spoon compote over all chicken pieces. Serve immediately.
I’m a firm believer in working smart, not harder, in the kitchen. This salad requires minimum prep and I buy our favorite crab cakes from the market. We prefer Charleston-style crab cakes versus Maryland crab cakes, but both work with this entree salad. If you’re feeling it, make your own crab cakes. More power to ya! Bought or made, they are a perfect compliment to this dish.
There are several different tastes and textures layered in this meal. Sweet, savory and salty work cohesively to give this salad a big, flavorful personality. There is also plenty of crunch in the carrots, Brussels, pepper, sugar snap peas, walnuts and pepitas which contrast this salad’s softer side of tomatoes, pickled onion, cucumbers and blue cheese.
Added proteins of nuts, pepitas and blue cheese elevate this meal from filling to downright hearty.
The dressing is my bruschetta dressing. Super light and summery but full of flavor. Works great as a dip for veggies, or don’t blend it and voila! You have bruschetta ready for a sliced baguette.
Enjoy the fresh flavors of the season with this summer dish!
1. Prepare dressing by adding all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until thoroughly combined. Chill until ready to use.
2. In a skillet on medium heat, heat grapeseed oil. Add crab cakes and pour lemon juice on top. Flip halfway through cooking (according to package directions or recipe). Or air fry at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
3. While the crab cakes are cooking, plate salads by dividing prepped ingredients into fourths and layering them in order listed above.
4. Drizzle dressing over salad. Top with crab cakes. Serve immediately.
*Note – use a female pepper because they are sweeter and better for eating raw. Male peppers are better for cooking. Female peppers have 4 bumps on the bottom. Male peppers have 3 bumps. You can taste the difference! 😊
1. Trim chicken and place halves in a gallon Ziploc bag with all chicken ingredients. Massage until well coated. Place on greased cooking tray and spray pump oil top to top help crisp the breadcrumbs.
2. Bake at 350 for 20 min or until cooked through. Or air fry at 400 for 20min (flipping halfway through). Or pan fry in extra oil on medium heat until cooked through.
3. Prepare dressing – combine all ingredients in a bottle/bowl with lid & shake well until sugar dissolves or blend in food processor/blender.
4. Divide salad ingredients in fourths. Plate the salad in order from bottom up: lettuce, basil, Brussels, onion, pepper, tomatoes, carrots, pepitas. Drizzle dressing over salad. Place chicken on top and drizzle dressing over chicken. Serve immediately.
Cooking note – use a female pepper because they are sweeter and better for eating raw. Male peppers are better for cooking. Female peppers have 4 bumps on the bottom. Male peppers have 3 bumps. You can taste the difference! 😊
I love the look of the classic wedge salad with tomatoes, bacon and blue cheese. Very swanky. Unfortunately, iceberg lettuce has practically zero nutrition. So I remade this salad into a much hearty, healthier version…and it’s addictive!
INGREDIENTS: Makes 6 entree-sized salads
1 pkg Center-cut bacon; cooked
1 Orange pepper; fresh (not frozen), sliced with seeds removed
1 Yellow pepper; fresh (not frozen), sliced with seeds removed
1/2 Red onion; peeled & sliced
4T Grapeseed (preferred), vegetable or Canola oil
1 + 1/2, 10oz boxes 50/50 lettuce & spinach
2 Crowns of fresh broccoli (crown = without the stalk, if there is stalk just cut it off); chopped
Cook bacon @ 325 degrees for about a half hour (flip bacon halfway through). Place cooked bacon on plate with paper towel so as to absorb extra grease. Set aside.
While bacon is cooking, saute orange & yellow peppers and red onion in 2T oil on med-high heat on stove until they just start to blacken. Set aside.
While bacon is still cooking, make the dressing – Combine dressing ingredients (except blue cheese) in a food processor or blender and blend thoroughly. Add blue cheese and mash together until well blended. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare remaining vegetables according to their descriptions above (chop, slice, etc).
Using 6 large bowls, divide the lettuce into the bowls.
Divide the remaining vegetables equally and layer on the lettuce beds.
On med-high heat, cook the beef (salt and peppered) and 2T oil on stove until no longer raw or as you wish (it’s safest to cook meat completely through). It only takes a few minutes; do not overcook or the meat will be tough.
Optional – add a few splashes of red wine to the beef and cook for another minute or two.
Do you like BBQ dinners but not the heavy feeling after eating them? This BBQ plate fills you up without needing a nap afterwards.
This dish looks as yummy as it tastes, with several flavors going on here.
Red wine vinegar offers a cohesive flavor between the onions, BBQ sauce and the slaw dressing amid the different textures and tastes of this recipe. The crunch of the slaw, pickled onions & pumpkin seeds pairs well with the soft pork. The mixed greens catch the extra BBQ juices and slaw dressing, making it a bonus salad unto itself. The cornbread replaces a traditional bun and has much more flavor (and doesn’t get soggy like a bun). I like to mix everything together (sans the cornbread) so as to get even flavors of everything in each bite. Enjoy a lighter, yet filling, take on this Southern dish!
INGREDIENTS: Serves 4
1# Pulled pork BBQ
2 bags Broccoli slaw (or cabbage slaw)
1, 5oz bag Mixed greens
1c Pickled red onions
1 box Cornbread
3T Red wine vinegar
4T Agave syrup
3T BBQ sauce
1/2t Celery salt
Whisk together all of the slaw dressing ingredients together and then blend in the bag of broccoli slaw, tossing well to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve. *OR* Buy slaw dressing in the refrigerated section of salad dressings in the grocery store and add 6T per total jar (adjust amounts depending on your servings size). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Use store-bought cornbread or make with either a BOX MIX or THIS RECIPE (I half the sugar and butter in this recipe).
Use store-bought pork BBQ or make it fresh with THIS RECIPE.
Use THIS RECIPE for the pickled red onions. It’s really easy and one batch lasts for an entire month.
When ready to serve, assemble the salad: greens on the bottom, then slaw, then BBQ, and top with pickled onions. Add cornbread and your all set. Enjoy!
If you can name the ingredients in a typical salad, then it’s time to change what’s in the bowl.
I was craving a new salad this week, and after concocting this one it is now one of my all-time favorites! It’s not a light, sweet summer salad. Although a chilled salad, the eclectic collection of tangy, tart and savory ingredients makes this winter salad perfect for cold weather or any time of year.
The smoky bacon pairs perfectly with sweet green peas. The crunch of walnuts plays off the soft quinoa. Tangy pickled onions and zesty blue cheese spice up the light tomatoes. The dressing has warm, layered flavors of balsamic vinegar, red wine and spicy brown mustard – and a little will go a long way. It adds just the right amount of zip without dominating the salad’s flavor. Add chicken for an entree salad, or omit it for a lighter side side.
If you’re looking for a salad to IMPRESS, this is it. Pull up a seat at the adult table and enjoy this awesome, healthy, hearty meal!
2, 5oz bags of mixed greens for 4 entree salads
3c of Brussel sprouts; raw chopped thin with stalk ends cut off
2 handfuls of petite peas; frozen
Quinoa; plain, cooked per bag directions with salt & pepper to taste; COOLED (about 1/2c cooked for each salad)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes; halved
Half-handful of green onions; chopped
2 handfuls of pickled onions – for recipe click HERE (I’ve tried several recipes and this one is by far my fav – and one batch will last a month!)
2 handfuls of walnuts (or pecans); chopped or pieces
2.5 oz blue cheese; crumbled
2 handfuls of bacon (I use the Kirklands precooked & crumbled and keep it in the freezer so I can use any amount and throw the bag back in the freezer for later.)
Chicken; Rotisserie cooked, pulled and chopped
1c Olive oil
5T Balsamic vinegar
4T Spicy brown mustard
3 Cloves fresh garlic; mined
1T Agave syrup
1T Red wine
1T Red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
Salad: Divide ingredients into 4 bowls. Wrap each bowl with plastic wrap and store in fridge. Just before serving, take 1 bowl at a time and dump that bowl’s ingredients into a large mixing bowl and toss thoroughly. Add the tossed salads back into their respective serving bowls.
*The quinoa can be cooked the day or two before. Add the peas & bacon frozen, they will be thawed by the time you’re ready to serve the salad.
Dressing: Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until thoroughly combined. Let dressing warm to at room temperature to avoid the olive oil from thickening once refrigerated. Blend dressing into the bowls when tossing. You will have dressing left over. Yay!!
50/50 Spring greens and baby spinach Grilled chicken; chopped & seasoned w/salt, pepper and garlic powder Sauteed yellow onions, red & orange peppers; chopped & sauteed in grapeseed oil Green onions; chopped Grape or cherry tomatoes; halved Canned corn; no salt added, drained Canned black beans; no salt added, drained and rinsed Canned pinto beans; no salt added, drained & rinsed 4-cheese Mexican blend shredded cheese Avocado; sliced Salsa; drained Tortilla strips (optional) Sour cream (optional) Guacamole (optional) Best paired with a Mexican ranch or jalapeno vinaigrette dressing Splash of plain rice vinegar
If there is a Chuy’s restaurant nearby, their creamy jalapeno dip is awesome on this salad!
I’m obsessed with salads! They are probably my favorite food because of their diversity. Unfortunately, they can get a boring wrap. Not so! Start with a green base and salads can take on any flavor and any culture. They can be served warm or cold, spicy or sweet – the possibilities are endless!
This week I made two different salads: Mexican and Sweet Fruit.