Salads & Dressings

Strawberry-Balsamic Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnuts

There is nothing better than the combination of strawberries and balsamic. Well, maybe Nutella and banana, but that’s another story. Add to that, some crisp baby greens, blue cheese and walnuts, and you have yourself one delightful salad. Ready in just a few minutes.

  •  3 cups of Mixed Baby Greens (Or lettuce of your choice. I used mixed greens and spinach for this.)
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 2 – 4 strawberries, sliced (depending on size and preference)
  • Balsamic Dressing

It’s pretty simple from here, folks. Mix together lettuce, blue cheese and walnuts. Pour dressing over. Season with salt and pepper. Toss.

Arrange on a plate, add sliced strawberries and drizzle with a little more dressing. Not much left to do, but enjoy.


Green Bean, Feta Cheese and Walnut Salad

Crisp-cooked green beans, creamy feta, crunchy toasted walnuts and spicy red onions come together in a delightful and healthy salad.  Dressed in a delicate dill vinaigrette. It’s quite pretty, too.

  • 1  cup  coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3/4  cup  olive oil
  • 1/4  cup  white wine vinegar
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2  teaspoon  minced garlic
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper
  • 1 1/2  pounds  fresh green beans
  • 1  small purple onion, thinly sliced
  • 1  (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

Bake walnuts in a shallow pan at 350°, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until toasted; set aside.

Combine oil and next 5 ingredients; cover and chill.

Cut green beans into thirds, and arrange in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 15 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender. Immediately plunge green beans into cold water to stop cooking process; drain and pat dry.

Combine walnuts, beans, onion, and cheese in a large bowl; toss well. Cover and chill.

Pour oil mixture over bean mixture 1 hour before serving; toss just before serving.


Garden-Fresh Tomato Salad or “Tom” Salad

I call this “Tom” Salad because my husband really does make one awesome tomato salad.  He puts a bunch of different spices in it.  Whatever he feels like.  This is what I have caught him putting in to it.

  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • one long-hot pepper, seeded, deveined and cut in to rings
  • salt – a couple of pinches
  • pepper – a couple of grindings
  • garlic powder – a couple of shakes
  • 2 Tbps. olive oil
  • 4 or 5 basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dry parsley

Cut tomatoes into one-inch chunks.  Add sliced onion and pepper.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic salt.  Pour in olive oil.  Turn to coat.  Add parsley and basil. Turn again.  Refrigerate and serve.


The Best Guacamole Ever

I had an amazing guacamole one time at El Vez over in Philadelphia. Good thing for me, it was made table side.  I was able to watch how they made it and then was able to make it for my family.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • half of a red onion, diced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped tomato
  • juice of half a lime
  • kosher salt to taste – about 1/2 tsp.

Prepare all of the ingredients and set aside.

To prepare the avocados:

Cut avocado lengthwise around into two halves.  Carefully, with the heel of your knife, remove the stone.  Or pop it out if it’s ripe enough.  Score the fruit into a checkerboard pattern and scoop or squeeze it into a bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Lightly stir.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Serve with chips or as an accompaniment to dishes such as Fire-Roasted Chicken Enchiladas.


"It's Just Awesome" Balsamic Dressing

I love this dressing.  That’s all I can say about it.

  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp.  red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)

Combine vinegars and mustard in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously.  Add remaining ingredients and shake again.

Store in refrigerator.