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Talk to me about the salad and/or dressing that you are obsessed with now

l
lilmomma Jan 8, 2011 07:15 AM

I have been eating salads like crazy. I think more so then usual because I discovered the joy of croutons. I always avoided them in the past thinking that they were just extra calories. But, I realize now that the crunch and the extra salt/seasoning that they add are just YUMMY!!!

So anyway, I always make a big salad of baby spinach, romaine, red peppers, red onion, red cabbage and grape tomatoes. I mix up some Italian dressing with that Good Seasonings packet. Add croutons, (so far my favorite is the Texas Toast brand). And there you have it. Delicious.

What kinds of salad or salad dressing are you loving right now?

  1. meadandale Jan 8, 2011 07:24 AM

    Something I was eating a lot over the holidays was pomegranate vinaigrette. I got a hold of some fresh pomegranates so I made a simple pomegranate vinaigrette with pom juice, raspberry red wine vinegar, honey shallots and olive oil.

    For the salad I'd do romaine, butter lettuce or chopped read leaf then add toasted walnuts, dried cherries, crumbled bleu cheese, sliced apple or pear and a sprinkling of fresh pom seeds and then toss in the dressing. Delicious!!

    I've also been making lots of fresh lemon vinaigrette from the lemons on my dwarf meyer lemon tree and using it on everything: chicken salad, tossed salads, steamed asparagus.

    1. jfood Jan 8, 2011 07:30 AM

      Olde Cape Cod Lite French is the go-to at the house.

      1. a
        AdamD Jan 8, 2011 10:00 AM

        Japanese style onion dressing. For the past 6 months, I have been putting it on every green veg except brussel sprouts.

        3 Replies
        1. re: AdamD
          goodhealthgourmet Jan 9, 2011 05:13 PM

          are we talking the basic soy sauce/vinegar/oil/grated onion combo, or do you have a special recipe you'd be willing to share? ;)

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
            a
            AdamD Jan 11, 2011 08:47 AM

            Nothing special. Basic combo-but I do like the sweet onions.

            1. re: AdamD
              goodhealthgourmet Jan 11, 2011 05:30 PM

              i figured, but it never hurts to ask in case someone's sitting on a gem ;) agree about the sweet onions - they make all the difference!

        2. chefathome Jan 8, 2011 10:06 AM

          Blood red orange vinaigrette with raw shaved asparagus, slices of pear, toasted pecans, Gorgonzola and shaved Parmesan.

          lilmomma, IMHO homemade croutons are vastly better than purchased and so easy to season them according to the salad they are destined for. But I definitely agree that in the appropriate salads they do really add necessary crunch. Yum!

          3 Replies
          1. re: chefathome
            shanagain Jan 9, 2011 11:49 AM

            I'm close to yours - pears, shaved Pecorino-Romano and a drizzle of white balsamic.

            1. re: chefathome
              l
              lilmomma Jan 11, 2011 08:13 AM

              OH MY!!! Recipe PLEASE!!! I always have to look away when they ring up the croutons. They are expensive! I would love to make my own. Thanks.

              1. re: lilmomma
                chefathome Jan 11, 2011 08:36 AM

                Homemade croutons are soooo much better than bought, fun and easy. I often find sourdough bread half price (day old) or just use heels or chunks of stale bread. Rather than cut uniformly croutons looks great just torn into rustic pieces.

                I often make an infused herb garlic oil to drizzle on top of the chunks. Bake at 425 for about 8 minutes. Depending on the salad I will use my Italian seasoning blend or Herbes de Provence blend to add to the oil. Or my seasoning salt blend. Don't forget to season with S and P! You can also drizzle with butter or fry in butter but my personal preference is extra virgin olive oil. One of my favourite herbs to use is thyme. Play around with herb and spice combinations.

                There will be a few delicious crumbs in the bottom of your crouton bag which are excellent on baked Macaroni and Cheese, etc.

            2. r
              rafjel Jan 8, 2011 10:14 AM

              Shredded raw beets and carrots in equal amounts, chopped cilantro, chunks of creamy chèvre and roasted pumpkin seeds. A spoonful of grainy mustard, 2-3 spoonfuls of red wine vinegar and 3-4 spoonfuls of olive oil. Delicious, and so addictive.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rafjel
                r
                raclette Jan 9, 2011 01:16 PM

                That sounds absolutely amazing! I wish I had some right now.

                1. re: raclette
                  r
                  rafjel Jan 9, 2011 01:33 PM

                  It really is! I just kind of threw it together once, and I was shocked by how good it was - the watery crunch and slight sweetness of the beets and carrots with the milky tang of the goat's cheese. And the colour is amazing, of course. We've got about 3 feet of snow in the last 2 days, and it's certainly livened me up.

              2. f
                fryerlover Jan 8, 2011 10:18 AM

                Right now I am loving baby spinach, blue cheese, walnuts, cranberries or fried pears with rasberry vinigarette dressing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fryerlover
                  j
                  jhopp217 Jan 11, 2011 09:24 AM

                  I have what I believe is a slight allergy to walnuts, but I recently had something very similar. Baby spinach, gorgonzola, pears slices and I if I remember correctly, chopped bacon. It too came with a raspberry vinaigrette. Delicious.

                2. r
                  rudysmom Jan 8, 2011 11:38 AM

                  DH is addicted to Brianna's GInger Mandarin dressing. he puts it not only on salads but sometimes on rice. judging by how quickly it goes, he may drink it when i'm not looking.

                  1. ipsedixit Jan 8, 2011 11:53 AM

                    Dunno if obsessed is the right word, but lately it's been watercress with chopped walnuts tossed with a peanut ginger dressing.

                    1. Nicolette S Jan 8, 2011 12:05 PM

                      lilmomma, this is a great question. the only problem for me is that I want everyone's dressing recipes! I wonder if you'd ask it over on the home cooking board, too, and ask folks to share recipes. Even just listing the ingredients used would be great, as many of us just toss things together. I enjoy the very simple viniagrettes I make but get stuck in the rut. Would love to try all of those mentioned so far!
                      And boy, oh boy, after the extremely bad behavior I've indulged in over the past couple of months, I am really ready for some delicious salads. :)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Nicolette S
                        visciole Jan 8, 2011 02:48 PM

                        There's a huge thread on the Home Cooking board about dressing. To me, dressing is super-easy to make, and tastes way better than what you can buy. I also like to add some fruit to a salad -- grated apple, segments of clementine, etc. Also +1 on grated carrot on salads, and I love strong greens like arugula mixed with more mild lettuces.

                        My go-to vinaigrette is basically about 1/2 good-tasting EVOO (whatever you like), and then the remaining half is 1/2 dijon mustard, 1/4 seasoned rice wine vinegar, and 1/4 lemon juice. This is approximate -- I'm a taste-and-adjust type cook. Easy to make in quantity and keeps a long time in the fridge. Take it out an hour or so before you dress your salad to un-clump the olive oil.

                        Salad is the best! (except for maybe cookies....)

                        1. re: visciole
                          mrsfury Jan 8, 2011 03:17 PM

                          Sounds like the vinaigrette I like but add a hint of horseradish to mine please.

                          1. re: visciole
                            Nicolette S Jan 9, 2011 12:17 PM

                            Of course you're right, I'll head over to the home cooking board. I make the same vinaigrette over and over, too, main variables being vinegars and/or citrus. You're so right, good salad is SO good. Cookies ain't bad, either. ;)
                            Thanks for you reply!

                        2. e
                          escondido123 Jan 8, 2011 03:12 PM

                          I'm trying to go vegan during the day--anything goes at dinner, So for lunch I put together arugula, sliced carrot, chopped apple, toasted nuts, raisins and a dressing of walnut or olive oil, some balsamic and a lot of Madras curry powder. Sweet and hot it makes for a wonderful salad.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: escondido123
                            chefathome Jan 8, 2011 03:18 PM

                            Mark Bittman is doing the same and has inspired my husband and I to follow suit. I think it is a brilliant idea.

                            1. re: chefathome
                              e
                              escondido123 Jan 8, 2011 08:18 PM

                              I have mentioned Bittman on this sit half a dozen times so didn't want to sound like a broken record. Yes, he was my inspiration. It seemed like such an easy way to "have your cake and eat it too." Also, on dinner dishes my husband makes he likes to top it with some chopped proscuitto. Lately, I've asked him to just keep it on his side of the casserole/pan. Although I probably get a little of the flavor in my half, I really don't miss that meat at all.

                          2. a
                            AdamD Jan 9, 2011 07:55 AM

                            Japanese style onion dressing (I usually double the recipe and use a sweet onion)
                            3 Tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
                            4 Tbsp vegetable oil
                            1 tsp soy sauce
                            1/2 tsp sugar
                            1 Tbsp grated onion
                            Preparation:
                            Mix all the ingredients other than oil in a bowl. Add oil gradually into a bowl and mix well.

                            1. mamachef Jan 9, 2011 08:49 AM

                              I've been eating shredded romaine with homemade green goddess dressing according to a new recipe that I love love love.

                              1. linguafood Jan 9, 2011 09:18 AM

                                I've posted this on several threads now, but what the hey.

                                Belgian endive slice lengthwise in half, then chopped into slices. One can of tangerines, chopped into smaller pieces.

                                Dressing - vegetable oil (or walnut oil), a good squeeze of lemon or white wine vinegar, lots of dill (dried, and added to the oil ahead of time - I find fresh dill over-powering for this particular salad), sour cream or yogurt or crème freeeeeesh, salt & lots of fresh ground pepper. Done.

                                Sometimes I add a little curry powder to the dressing. This is by far my favorite winter salad, as I tend to crave citrus and crunchy bitterness this time of year.

                                1. k
                                  kevin47 Jan 9, 2011 12:13 PM

                                  I've been making a vinaigrette with garlic olive oil and balsamic. I add a touch of mustard, dark honey, plenty of minced shallots and a bit more salt than is intuitive, then finish with a bit of truffle oil.

                                  For the salad, I like spinach with a bit of other greens mixed in. I usually top with bleu cheese or gorgonzola, craisins, walnuts and onions. The onions get a bit intense with the shallots, so I'm going to carmelize them next time.

                                  The key to a good salad for me is mixing sweet/sour/savory and contrasting textures. I much prefer nuts to croutons, and adding raisins/craisins gives it some body without adding fat.

                                  1. a
                                    AdamD Jan 9, 2011 12:23 PM

                                    The most popular "salad" in our house consists of two main ingredients-daikon and hijiki.
                                    I make a carrot/daikon salad-shredded carrots and daikon served with a dressing that consists of kewpi mayo and rice vinegar-topped with toasted sesame seeds
                                    I also make a hijiki salad which consists of hijiki, shelled edamame, and finely diced red and yellow peppers. The dressing is made with rice vinegar, yuzu and a touch of sesame oil. The dressing is a bit watery as I do not emulsify it, but it tastes darn good!

                                    1. l
                                      LeoLioness Jan 9, 2011 12:46 PM

                                      Very basic but I just love it: A mix of Boston lettuce and arugula, roasted pears, pickled red onion, goat cheese, and the standard vinagrette I make with balsamic, dijon, lemon juice, honey, shallots and olive oil.

                                      1. m
                                        Mayor of Melonville Jan 9, 2011 01:13 PM

                                        a bit off topic, but the best croutons ever are from Dekalb Farmers Market in Atlanta

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Mayor of Melonville
                                          DuchessNukem Jan 11, 2011 11:48 AM

                                          !!! Oh how I miss that place. We only lived there a year but I so fondly recall that market. Took my mom there once (visiting from NY) and she plunged her arm into a tilapia tank to have a look at one. LOL.

                                          Best salads lately are home-sprouted sprouts, assorted, with simple vinaigrette and/or lemon/lime squeeze. I can't tell you all how satisfying it is to look at a pile of your own grown greens (tiny, yes) in the dead of winter. And so easy.

                                        2. s
                                          shaebones Jan 9, 2011 10:10 PM

                                          Thinly sliced celery, fennel and black olives. Dressing is freshly grated parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest, evoo and mayo. S & P.

                                          1. b
                                            bob96 Jan 9, 2011 11:48 PM

                                            Wouldn't say I'm obsessed with either salad or dressing, but always like butter lettuce with classic mustard vinaigrette; fennel/orange/red onion/gaeta olives; or finely shredded romaine/celery/cucumber/parsley. The only dressings I use are either mustard vinaigrette or a mid-weight extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar or lemon juice, s/p.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bob96
                                              l
                                              lilmomma Jan 11, 2011 08:17 AM

                                              All of these good salads...I am really getting hungry! Keep em coming. thanks.

                                            2. g
                                              gordeaux Jan 11, 2011 08:23 AM

                                              Simple vinaigrette, but made with blood orange olive oil, and tangerine balsamic vinegar. garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and just a scant amt of sugar. I'llmake a simple salad, but add a tart fruit like a granny smith apple. Salads are disappearing quickly and being requested now. Not sweet, either. I hate sweet salad dressings.

                                              1. u
                                                ultimatepotato Jan 11, 2011 08:30 AM

                                                Mixed greens, shredded beetroot, lightly cooked tenderstem broccoli, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds with some grilled haloumi cheese. Dressing is the standard simple olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper and lemon juice. If I don't have any haloumi (funny how quickly that stuff disappears from the fridge!) I'll use a handful of thin rice noodles and change the dressing to soy, sesame oil, lemon or lime and chilli.

                                                1. s
                                                  SonyBob Jan 11, 2011 12:53 PM

                                                  Ott's dressing. It's the best bottled dressing I've ever tasted. Available only in the midwest. Sort of a Russian type red dressing. It's like crack!
                                                  Bob

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: SonyBob
                                                    goodhealthgourmet Jan 11, 2011 05:36 PM

                                                    i just checked the Ott's site and they have like 40 different dressings! even with your "Russian type red dressing" description there are still several possible contenders...which one is it, the "Original Famous?"

                                                  2. lisavf Jan 12, 2011 12:29 PM

                                                    Well, I suppose 'tis the season for salads. I've been on a real kick of eating a huge salad for supper, but it's nothing special. Romaine plus whatever fresh vegetables I have on hand - right now it's carrots, cucumber, radishes, orange pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, black olives, pickled red beets, grape tomatoes - plus whatever protein is in the refrigerator - currently salami, American cheese, hard-cooked egg - but always topped with dried cranberries, toasted pine nuts, and croutons. What is missing currently is beans, which I think I'll get on my way home. Maybe chickpeas. I like spreading all of the ingredients throughout the salad, and as I'm eating, I'm not really looking at the plate, so every bite is a different taste and texture combination.

                                                    My current dressing favorite is Newman's Own Poppy Dressing. It's not a buttermilk or ranch style, it's like an emulsified vinaigrette. It's got a sweet-and-sour kind of thing going on. But with all the flavors in the salad, I use dressing sparingly.

                                                    Now I'm hungry. Darn, it's only 4:30. Time to go home soon!

                                                    1. h
                                                      haiku. Jan 12, 2011 12:44 PM

                                                      I have 2 no-fail dressings that everyone loves.
                                                      1. Mayo, lemon juice, sugar, freshly ground black pepper, toasted sesame seeds
                                                      2. Honey, dijon mustard (grainy), olive oil, black pepper

                                                      1. m
                                                        mamueller Jan 12, 2011 01:37 PM

                                                        I didn't go through all the postsso this may be a repeat, but my favorite these days is simple, no measuring required

                                                        1 or 2 minced shallots
                                                        A teaspoon or so of dijon
                                                        about 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
                                                        about 1/2 cup of olive oil
                                                        salt, pepper, and a little honey or sugar to taste.
                                                        I tend to make my vinaigrette with just enough oil to emulsify, but you can use more or less as is your preference. Takes no more time than it takes to mince the shallot, throw the rest in a jar and give it a good shake.

                                                        I love this on any simple green salad

                                                        1. Jay F Jan 12, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                          I don't make "dressing" per se. I dress the salad like Marcella: Olive oil to coat, then salt, then toss (I use tongs, gently). When the greens are coated, I add vinegar or citrus juice, and toss some more.

                                                          I like Boston or butter lettuce, arugula, red leaf lettuce, endive, basil, dried cranberries, parmigiano-reggiano (shaved), some kind of nut, and sometimes tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, shallots steeped in vinegar or citrus, blue cheese, or flax seed. I put pepper on at the end.

                                                          Sometimes I'll "make dressing" if I want the taste of mustard.

                                                          1. t
                                                            tastesgoodwhatisit Jan 12, 2011 08:25 PM

                                                            Recently I've been doing some nice orange based salads.

                                                            Start with Mandarin orange, peeled and sliced across the grain (this gives nice, manageable pieces without losing a lot of juice). Very thinly slice some onion and soak in a bit of white rice vinegar. Drain and toss the onions, orange, chopped cilantro, and toasted walnuts. It's good with pomegranate seeds as well.

                                                            For a very simple one, julienne jicama and toss with lime juice and salt.

                                                            For another simple one, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber and a bit of sliced onion. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. This combo of vegetables is really good with a sprinkling of chaat masala as well (an Indian spice blend that can be used as is as a topping - kind of like seasoned salt).

                                                            In winter I do canned tomatoes topped with diced green onions and either sea salt, or seasoned salt, or chaat masala.

                                                            I also eat pico de gallo as salad, after decreasing the amount of hot pepper - peel, seed and chop tomatoes, and toss with diced onion, chopped cilantro, a bit of hot pepper and lots of fresh lime juice and salt.

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