I was recently categorizing all of my recipes for my new website and realized that I have a decided lack of salad recipes (aka none). I elected to rectify this by adding one, and what better day to do so than the first day of spring?
In the spring and summer I frequently pair mains with a simple salad using this Quick and Easy Vinaigrette. My eldest daughter loves these simple salads, however my other two kids sometimes need a bit more convincing. That being said, I have found that all three love a chop salad. The first chop salad we tried was the California Chop Salad, from Chloe's Kitchen. It is delicious and has a place of honour on our meal planning rotation.
I love the combination of flavours and textures that make up a chop salad. I decided to make the Mediterranean my inspiration for this dish, including staple ingredients like roasted peppers, avocado and artichoke hearts. I fell in love with tarragon thanks to Veganomicon's delicious French Lentil Soup recipe and decided it needed to be part of the chickpea marinade, along with thyme, rosemary and basil. Fresh herbs would be even better - I look forward to adding some this summer! I finished the salad off with some Omega 3 rich hemp seeds and calcium rich sesame seeds. Quinoa isn't exactly Mediterranean, but I added it anyway as it provides a lovely protein packed boost and is quick and easy to prepare!
If you have never made quinoa before, simply add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups boiling water and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and lower the heat to medium. Let simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and let rest for another 5 minutes before serving. I find cooling the quinoa before adding it to this recipe works best, as your salad will not wilt due to the heat.
Mediterranean Chop Salad
1 head organic romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite size pieces
1 batch Quick and Easy Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
2 roasted red peppers
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled to room temperature
1 1/2 cups Marinated Chickpeas (see recipe below)
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Add washed and dried lettuce to a large mixing bowl and add enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Add additional ingredients and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
Quick and Easy Vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup seed oil of choice (hemp, flax, sesame, pumpkin etc)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. You can also add the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth for a creamier consistency.
I sometimes change this up by adding a bit of maple syrup or by switching out the vinegar for whatever I happen to have on hand. Infused vinegars work really well with this.
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or a 14 oz can - Eden Organic is a great option)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried tarragon (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried Rosemary (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried basil (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp organic lemon zest
1 tsp organic lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Assemble all ingredients, let marinate for at least 1 hour and serve.
This salad works great as a packed lunch salad, if you keep the lettuce and dressing separate and combine everything just before serving. I would suggest bringing all additional ingredients in a mason jar, adding the lettuce and dressing, and shaking everything to combine.