Thursday, October 6, 2011

Favorite Italian Salads


Admittedly, I post a lot of dessert recipes on this blog. But truth be told, as much as I like making desserts, I often find salads a whole lot more satisfying (and amazingly, my clothes are still likely to fit me after making them!). Here are three of my favorite salads, all with an Italian flavor.


CAESAR SALAD WITH GRILLED CHICKEN

1 bunch Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
½ bag garlic and butter flavor croutons
½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled and sliced into strips (I marinate the breasts overnight in Grill Mates’ Zesty Herb Marinade, and then grill the chicken either on an outdoor or indoor electric grill)

Dressing:
1 ½ to 2 tsp. minced garlic (depending on taste)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ tsp. granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T. fresh parsley, minced

Combine all the dressing ingredients together and refrigerate at least 1 hour. In large bowl, place the lettuce, croutons and Parmesan cheese. Add dressing and toss. Top with freshly-grilled chicken pieces and serve.


GRILLED ANTIPASTO SALAD

2 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered
2 green bell peppers, seeded and quartered
2 cups oil and vinegar salad dressing
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 (16 oz.) container bocconcini (mozzarella balls), drained
1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, drained
16 slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted

Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to high (400 to 450 degrees). Place bell peppers in a large bowl. Add salad dressing, turning to coat. Remove peppers from dressing; reserve dressing. Place peppers on grill. Grill 6-7 minutes per side or until softened and lightly charred (without overcooking!). Transfter peppers to a cutting board, and let them cool. Meanwhile, ad garlic, mozzarella balls and lives to reserved dressing; toss to coat. Set aside. Cut peppers into 1-inch pieces. Add to bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours. Place toasted bread slices on a serving dish. Spoon antipasto salad on the bread and serve.


GREEN PEPPER TOMATO SALAD

2 green bell peppers, sliced thinly
3 large tomatoes (beef steak is best, preferably ripened on-the-vine)
1 large Spanish onion, sliced thinly
1 cup pitted black olives, sliced in thirds

Dressing:
¼ cup canola or olive oil
¼ cup white or wine vinegar
1 T. oregano
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Stir bell peper, tomato, onion and olive slices together. Mix dressing ingredients together and stir into vegetables. For best flavor, chill 1-2 hours before serving.

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