Greek Salad Superb

 

traditional greek salad

traditional greek salad

I’ve enjoyed Greek salads for years and thought I knew what they consisted of- a generous bed of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, green peppers, Kalamata olives, some feta cheese sprinkled on top, with lemon and olive oil dressing. Sounds good (and it is) but what’s wrong with this recipe? Nothing, but it’s not exactly the traditional way.

I recently had the good fortune to visit Greece and was even more fortunate to eat traditional Greek salads in lots of tavernas. Guess what? No or very little (a few leaves) of lettuce. Yes, lots of fresh, delicious tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and green peppers, sweet red or white onion and both green and black Kalamata olives with big flat slabs of feta cheese on top, usually sprinkled with dried oregano. No lemon, but good first press Greek olive oil and sometimes red wine vinegar. Fresh, tasty and of course, healthy- no carbs to speak of. In one (my only) high end restaurant the feta was soaked in olive oil and covered in toasted sesame seeds plus plump capers were added – a delicious variation.

This salad is best with fresh tomatoes and the other vegetables from your garden or farmer’s market. And please use only best quality extra virgin Greek olive oil!

Traditional Greek Salad

INGREDIENTS (serves 2-3)

  • 1-2 ripe fresh tomatoes (depending on size), chopped into 1/2 ” pieces
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 peeled cucumber, sliced into thin rings or chunks
  • 1/2 red or sweet white onion slices
  • 1/2 cup green Greek or black Kalamata olives
  • 1/3 Lb. feta cheese in a flat slab
  • Oregano to sprinkle on top of the Feta
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • Capers (optional)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Greek olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

TO DO:

1. In a large bowl, put cucumbers on the bottom.

2. Add tomatoes, green pepper, onion.

3. Add olives (and capers if you like).

4. If you like, soak feta in olive oil and roll in toasted sesame seeds.

5. Put feta slab on top; pour olive oil and vinegar over the salad; sprinkle feta with oregano.

6. Enjoy! www.type2delicious.com

Rick’s Chicken Salad

healthy-chicken-salad

Chicken salad on our old wooden plates!

We enjoy cooking together, and I admit that Rick is a much better chopper! One of our favorite lunch foods is chicken salad; it’s a great use for leftover chicken as everyone knows, right? Also it’s low in carbs and has a good combo of protein and veggies in our version. (The amount of chicken I’m giving is based on leftover roast chicken; you can start fresh and cook your own chicken if you prefer.)

Rick’s Chicken Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • Approx. 2 cups of cooked chicken shredded; (we use the whole leftover chicken breast as we both prefer dark meat so usually the breast is left over)
  • carrots diced (last time we used 2 carrots)
  • celery, diced (3 stalks)
  • 1/3 red onion, diced
  • 6-7 roasted or raw almonds, chopped fine
  • 3-4 Tbsps. light mayonnaise
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Mustard (last time, whole seed Dijon)
  • 1Tbsp. Pickle relish
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Lemon pepper (salt free) to taste
  • Dash of Cayenne pepper (or drop in Siracha- our new found favorite)
  • Optional; 3-4 Tbsp. apple, skin on, diced; your choice; (we are lucky to have an apple tree and use those when in season or get what’s featured at the Farmer’s Market)

A Variation: Susan’s Chicken Salad Sauce (a bit more Indian/Mediterranean spice mix)

First mix the sauce:

  • 3-4 Tbsp. light mayonnaise or 1/4 cup light mayo and 1/4 cup Greek plain yogurt (if dairy is not a problem)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (more or less, depending on your taste – lemon to me is a necessity)
  • 1 tsp. White wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard any type you like (Dijon or whole seed; I also like Snug Harbor * mustard)
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder and/or turmeric
  • Salt-free spice mix like Mrs. Dash’s
  • Ground pepper to taste
    *www.snugharborcompany.com

As I’ve said before, use the amounts you like, but these proportions work well.
Combine all ingredients into a bowl, and mix well.
Serve on lettuce leaves and/or whole grain toast; depending on your carb situation.

We really like eating our lunch al fresco under the apple tree in the back yard.

Enjoy!!

Salad with Goat Cheese, Persimmons or Pears and Mustard/Garlic Vinaigrette

salad with persimmons, endive and greens

Persimmon and Endive Salad–salad with persimmons, endive and greens

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Salads are a big part of our diet, especially in summer. We have them at the end of almost every dinner, with many types of  dressings; (my parents and grandparents who lived with us were European, and this was what we did–I still do as I find it is a great savory way to end a meal–plus no big need for a heavy dessert). One dressing I made recently is a variation of classic vinaigrette. This dressing makes enough for a large salad to serve 3-4 (or 2 major salad lovers).

We like the taste contrast of fruit and a bitter green, such as endive and arugula, with this tangy, mustard/garlic dressing. This salad can be a main dish if you add grilled chicken (leftover from your barbecue) or really good topped with grilled or roasted salmon.

Amounts aren’t exact- use your own taste as a guide; for example, not everyone likes as much garlic as we do.
SALAD WITH PEARS/PERSIMMONS AND GOAT CHEESE
INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 to 3/4 head of red butter lettuce; washed, spun and torn
  • 1/3 cup of endive, arugula, and/or frisée (you can substitute any local greens you have but we like this combo)
  • 1 small pear, and/or fuyu persimmon,sliced thin (depending what’s in season)
  • 1 avocado sliced into approx. 1/2 ” cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin or chopped
  • Shred goat cheese such as goat Gouda ( any type) or Midnight Moon* on top
  • 2-3 tsps Chopped toasted pecans or sliced almonds (optional)

(Tip from caterers: add dressing to lettuces and toss, then spread other ingredients on top so that they don’t all fall to the bottom before serving.)

* a semi-hard goat cheese made in Holland, from Cypress Grove Creamery, www.cypressgrovechevre.com.

DELISH MUSTARD/GARLIC VINAIGRETTE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil (just a small amount adds a subtle nutty flavor)
  • 1/4–1/3 cup white wine vinegar; to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed garlic; 3 cloves crushed *
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. Dijon or Mendocino mustard**
  •  Salt-free spice like Mrs. Dash’s; Pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients (or shake in a jar)
* Cook’s Illustrated Magazine tip for crushing small amounts of garlic:
Smash heads with flat of a chefs knife to peel, cut off ends; rub the peeled heads between the upside down tines of a fork; then crush the larger pieces with the fork to yield crushed garlic.
**http://www.mendocinomustard.com
Enjoy!