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Posts Tagged ‘balsamic vinegar’

dayfourteensteak

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Mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, green beans, mushrooms, and scallions. Balsamic vinaigrette.

dayeightquickdinner

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dayfivelunchsalad

Yummy. Arugula, tomato, mozzarella, basil, shallots, avocado, balsamic vinaigrette.

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Still using up the arugula, cherry tomatoes, shallots, and mushrooms. Today’s variation includes kidney beans, basil, dried cranberries and a pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette.
Kidneybeancranberrybalsamic

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Soup and salad. One of my favorite meals. I had the lentil soup bubbling on the stove, I just needed a salad to go along with it. I opted for a straightforward, assertive balsamic vinaigrette. I like extra crunchy salads to go with soup, so I grabbed the romaine lettuce and a really crisp bell pepper. I added lots of mushrooms to soak up the vinaigrette and help deepen the flavors of the salad. Parsley for fun, and I was ready to chop.

Ingredients for Recipe for Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Orange Bell Pepper, Mushrooms, and Parsley

Simple ingredients, ready to be transformed into a delicious salad.

Ingredients:
(Side salad, serves 4-6.)
2 heart of romaine.
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced.
5 medium mushrooms, sliced.
1 fistful of fresh parsley, chopped.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T balsamic vinegar.
1 small clove garlic, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp maple syrup.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

As usual, I started with the balsamic vinaigrette. I like making that first so that the garlic has time to mellow and infuse the salad dressing with yumminess. Once my vinaigrette ingredients were in the small jar I had on hand, I built my bed of romaine lettuce. I sliced up my bell pepper and mushrooms, and tossed them over the greens, and then I chopped the parsley and sprinkled it on top.

Once the soup was dished up and ready to eat, I drizzled my vinaigrette over my salad, tossed it, and served it up.

Recipe for Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Orange Bell Pepper, Mushrooms, and Parsley

Dive in!

The Verdict:
Delicious, straightforward, hearty salad. It was perfect with the lentil soup. The flavors complemented each other, and we devoured it all. I really like parsley with a good balsamic vinaigrette — it’s a remarkably simple herb with a flavor that blends well.

Make it a Meal:
Kidney beans work particularly well with balsamic vinaigrette, bell pepper, and mushrooms, so that’s my first choice. Leftover dinner meat, like roast chicken or sliced steak, would also work well.

Pack it to Go:
This one is easy to pack — put all of the salad ingredients into a nice large glass or stainless steel container with a good sealing rubber lid. The Ssalad dressing remains in it’s jar until you’re ready to eat. If you have a small jar for the dressing, just nestle it in with the salad ingredients. When lunchtime hits, simply drizzle as much dressing as you want over your salad, fork toss, and enjoy.

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We had a couple of good friends over for dinner, and an almost empty fridge. I knew I could pull a salad together, and I wanted it to have some protein so that our vegetarian friend wouldn’t feel deprived while the rest of us munched on sausages. I decided to go for the goat cheese, and I added the cranberries and olives to the salad because I adore really strong sweet and salty flavors with creamy goat cheese. Fresh herbs and balsamic vinaigrette tied it all together.

Ingredients for Salad with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, and Kalamata Olives.

Salad ingredients are ready for action!


Greens for Salad with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, and Kalamata Olives.

A gorgeous bed of mixed salad greens.

Ingredients:
(Serves 4-6 as a side salad.)
4-6 cups of arugula and mixed baby greens.
1 cup pitted kalamata olives.
2 T goat cheese.
1 T dried, sweetened cranberries.
1 fistful of basil.
1 fistful of italian parsley.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
(Use only what you need, refrigerate the rest for several days.)
1T balsamic vinegar.
3T extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1/2 clove of garlic, crushed and minced.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

This was a really easy salad to make. I mixed up my vinaigrette, and created a lush bed of greens. Then I just chopped my herbs and added everything to the greens.

We ate this with warm sourdough bread slathered with butter, chicken apple sausage wheels, and delicious mushrooms sauteed in butter with garlic.

Salad with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, and Kalamata Olives, Plated.

On the plate, ready to enjoy.

The Verdict:
The flavors here we spectacular. I broke my own rules, though, and regretted it.

Do you see what I forgot?

Crunch!

Salads really need crunch. The baby greens and arugula were incredibly tasty with the goat cheese and the rich flavors, but everything was a little on the soft side. It could have used some nuts, or maybe a lettuce with more crispiness (romaine, endive, you know what I mean). Nobody complained, and there was a little tussling over the last bits of salad in the bowl, but I noticed. I asked my husband what he thought, and first he gave me the raised eyebrow “are you crazy?” look, but then he conceded, that yes, crunchiness is good. So, I deem this salad delicious and worthy of improvement.

Make it a meal:
We had it as a side salad, but with the goat cheese (and toss some nuts in — candied pecans or something) I think it would be a very rich and delicious meal.

Pack it to go:
This would be easy to pack to go. Just keep the dressing separate, add it when you’re ready to munch, fork toss (or put the lid back on and give it a few quick shakes), and enjoy.

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Pear and Candied Walnut Side Salad

Finished Pear and Candied Walnut Side Salad, dressed and ready to toss.

Dinnertime.

I needed a hearty green salad to accompany our steak, sauteed mushrooms, and creamy pasta. I wanted something a little sweet, and with a lot of flavor. I was also eager to try out the candied walnuts I’d picked up the day before at Trader Joe’s.

I settled on a hefty bed of arugula with pears and candied walnuts in a balsamic vinaigrette. I like creamy pears with crunchy nuts, and peppery arugula can definitely stand up to their sweetness. I chose the balsamic vinaigrette because it works so very well with juicy red meat, and I thought the deep flavors would help connect the fruity salad to the savory steak and mushrooms.

Ingredients:
(serves three or four as a very generous side salad)
6 packed cups of arugula.
1 large pear, sliced.
1/2 a cup of candied walnuts.

Dressing:
(use what you need, there may be extra)
1 T of balsamic vinegar.
3 T of extra virgin olive oil.
1/4 tsp of maple syrup.
1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

After seasoning the steaks and slapping them into my cast iron skillet, I mixed up my vinaigrette, filled the salad bowl with arugula, and tossed a generous handful of candied walnuts over the top. I also put the pasta (leftover from a previous dinner) into the microwave and heated it up. While the steaks rested, I sliced up the pear and added it to the salad. Once the salad was tossed, the steaks were ready for eating, and the pasta was warm. This entire meal went from fridge to table in about fifteen minutes. Which was good, because we were all starving after a very long afternoon at the park with our friends.

The Verdict:
Success! My husband was particularly fond of this combination. The salad was delicious, and it definitely rounded out the plate with vibrant flavor and veggies. The nuts were perfectly crunchy, and the sweet, creamy pear worked really well with the spicy arugula and the tangy balsamic vinaigrette.

Make it a meal:
I think some steak sliced over the top would make a yummy meal. Very hearty and intense.

Pack it to go:
That’s a tricky one. Pears can be put into a larger jar with the dressing, but really ripe ones (like we enjoyed) get pretty darn mushy. In a pinch, I’d do it, but I prefer to pack other fruit. Apples would be a good substitute, though you lose the delightful creaminess of the pears. Regardless, the fruit would definitely need to be tossed in the jar with the dressing to minimize browning. A large container full of greens and walnuts. A jar with dressing and fruit. When you’re ready to eat, just combine, fork toss, and enjoy.

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