This week I was able to share my salads with more than just my husband (who is severely missing tacos right now). Monday I served the Black Raspberry Balsamic & Fried Goat Cheese salad with friends. Pair with yummy bread & creamed cinnamon honey, and copious amounts of wine and laughter. On Wednesday, I brought my Copycat Cheesecake Factory Chop salad to share at golf league. Yes, golf. Salad is a fantastic meal to eat while golfing if you’re not into hotdogs. (Is hotdog two words or one? Great debate.)
BLACK RASPBERRY BALSAMIC & FRIED GOAT CHEESE SALAD
It’s no surprise that frying goat cheese makes it EVEN BETTER. Then paired with the freshest black raspberries, tangy balsamic and smoked almonds – it’s an amazingly complex flavor combination. I loosely follow this recipe from Closet Cooking if you need exact measurements on the dressing. Rather than blending the dressing in my food processor, I just used a fork to crush the berries – which were from my backyard!
- FRESH: Romaine, red onion, black raspberries or blackberries
- PROTEIN: Rotisserie chicken, fried goat cheese (freeze a log of goat cheese before slicing into 1/2 inch rounds. Dip in flour, then egg, then panko bread crumbs, and fry in vegetable oil just a few minutes until browned).
- CRUNCH: Smoked almonds (Trader Joe’s)
- DRESSING: Fresh black raspberries (or blackberries) – crushed, balsamic vinegar, honey mustard, olive oil, salt & pepper
CRISPY CHICKEN BLT SALAD
Nothing says summer like a BLT. As a kid I would only eat the bread, mayo and bacon, so this salad makes up for the lack of tomato & lettuce in my childhood! Crispy homemade croutons add that carby touch I just can’t live without. Bottled ranch would work, but I had all the herbs in my Aerogarden so I made it fresh. And chicken may not be a traditional BLT ingredient but it does turn this salad into a heartier meal. You could add bleu cheese and avocado to make it even better!
- FRESH: Romaine, tomato
- PROTEIN: Baked crispy chicken tenders (chicken tenders dipped in flour, then a mixture of egg, mustard, salt & pepper, and a layer of panko breadcrumbs, then baked), bacon
- CRUNCH: Homemade croutons – stale bread diced, tossed in butter, garlic, salt, pepper and dried parsley, browned on the stovetop. Watch them carefully – they burn quickly.
- DRESSING: Homemade ranch dressing (mayo, buttermilk, salt, pepper, fresh chives, parsley, and dill)
COPYCAT CHEESECAKE FACTORY CHOP SALAD
Whenever I go to Cheesecake Factory, I just want a salad so I can save as much room as possible for a slice of cheesecake the size of my head. No regrets. Their “skinny” chop salad is one of my favorites and doesn’t taste the least bit skinny with the rich additions of avocado, bacon, and bleu cheese. These ingredients carry a lot of taste value even in small amounts. Cheesecake Factory dices each ingredient extra small so all of the flavors are represented in every single bite.
- FRESH: Romaine, corn, tomato, avocado
- PROTEIN: Rotisserie chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, bleu cheese
- CRUNCH: Green apple
- DRESSING: Honey mustard vinaigrette (honey mustard, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper)
GREEK ISH SALAD
Disclaimer – I didn’t make this one. But, I did have the friendly people at Horrock’s assemble it for me when my power went out and I needed lunch! This could easily be done at home with a rotisserie chicken. The rye chips were just for some crunch and they were the perfect addition.
- FRESH: Romaine, mixed greens, pepperoncini, sun dried tomato
- PROTEIN: Chicken, feta, garbanzo beans
- CRUNCH: Rye chips
- DRESSING: Greek feta dressing
My salad consumption is starting to exceed my garden’s ability to grow lettuce so I’ve started buying some at the Farmer’s market. I’m so inspired by all of the fresh ingredients! Do you grow your own vegetables? I’ve already decided that next year I will have another #julysummersalad theme, and that I’ll grow a few more varieties of lettuce to support my efforts!