Remember when I said I was going to try to write shorter posts…yeah, I suck at that.
Let me start by saying, I adore being a part of a CSA, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but last Thursday, when I was putting away our most recent share, I opened the crisper drawer and got smacked right in the face with a whole bunch of lettuce. Ok, maybe it didn’t actually hit me, but I did think, “Oh crap, there are three heads of lettuce here. How the hell did that happen?!” These aren’t just small bundles either (check out the picture above, the lettuce is bigger than the watermelon); they are packed tight and full of leafy goodness. It’s lettuce on roids.
When I realized just how far behind I’d gotten, I knew drastic action was necessary, or at least a lot of salads. You may remember I was on a huge salad kick earlier this summer, and I’m not sure what happened. Alright, I know what happened. I didn’t do the prep work: washing it, drying it and tossing it in the crisper so it wasn’t quite so easy to grab and go, and grab and go, I definitely didn’t. 🙁 Instead, it sat in my crisper and piled up; I had neglected my beautiful greens. Oh, the shame. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I asked the Hubby to handle it. The Hubby is a man of action, and he prepped that lettuce like a pro (smack it up, flip it, rub it down…oh no). It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Armed with clean fresh greens, I got to work. And since I like to use more than one CSA item is a single meal, I put together a watermelon salad, which was ridiculously good. I’m serious; you must make this. The salad is one of my favorites and comes courtesy of Eating Well. There’s something so wonderful about the flavor combo: the refreshing and juicy watermelon, the tangy creamy goat cheese, the crisp sweet red onions, the crunchy toasted nuts, all tossed in a light citrus dressing. Literally, this salad melts in your mouth.
This picture doesn’t do it justice, but I was starting to get hangry so I said Eff it. Hangry Meghan ain’t pretty and cusses a lot (more). In any event, if you are digging watermelon right now, you really have to make this salad. Just do it.
Watermelon & Goat Cheese Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
5 servings, 2 cups each
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 8 cups watercress, tough stems removed, or mixed salad greens (5 ounces) *I used Romaine
- 4 cups diced seedless watermelon, (about 3 pounds with the rind)
- 1/4 cup very thinly sliced red onion, (1/4 small)
- 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, (2 ounces), toasted *I used walnuts
- Whisk oil, orange juice, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Add watercress, watermelon and red onion; toss to coat. Divide among 5 plates. Top with goat cheese and hazelnuts to serve.
As delicious as this salad was, and it really really was, it barely put a dent in our lettuce pile (I could buy stock). So I got even more creative and decided to make salad our main course for dinner twice this past week. With some ideas gleaned from Heather at Kiss My Broccoli who has practically made dinner salads an art form, I put together not one, but two phenomenal dinner salads which left me completely stuffed, yet still wanting more. The concept, start with an enormous baking size bowl, add lettuce, protein, carbs, veggies and pretty much anything else you can find or your little heart desires.
The layers, from bottom to top, are green leaf lettuce, followed by roasted sweet potato (OMG so good), red onions, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese and of course, some sprouts. This lovely bowl of deliciousness was delectable and delightful; it played with my taste buds (in a good way) and pretty much did the Cha-cha on my tongue. The roasted sweet potato completely put it over the edge, and all I did was throw a pile of one very finely diced sweet potato (think food processor fine) into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. I seasoned it with olive oil, salt, pepper, lots of paprika, and I stirred it once halfway through the baking process. After it had cooled down, I threw it in the fridge until it was salad o’clock, and one sweet potato ending up making enough for four ginormous salad bowls. I’d say going forward, this little gem is going to be a staple in my salads.
Our second salad included red leaf lettuce, more roasted sweet potato, goat cheese, garbanzo beans, hard-boiled eggs, avocado and yes, sprouts. You want to know what to do with all those cans of garbanzo beans floating around your house. Here’s how you use them, unless you want to make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. Add them to your salads for a great source of protein and fiber with zero saturated fat. How you like them apples….ooooh that would have been good in the salad too.
Both salads were so completely satisfying and out of this world fabulous which makes for a pretty perfect dinner in my book. The build a bowl salad idea was genius (thanks Heather), and in case you were wondering, we’re now down to just one head of lettuce (although it is the one larger than the watermelon). 🙂
What’s your idea of a perfect salad? What toppings would you include?