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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Morrison

Diving into flavorful summer salad combos

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Lemony Vinaigrette recipe, Quinoa Florentine recipe, and Texas Cobb Salad recipe #salads #healthy #eatyourveggies #sharecooklove

I love salad season. The variety of fresh produce that can be the center of a meal at this time of year is astounding. Add in meats and cheeses for a protein boost. Minimal cooking is required, and it is a great way to beat this summer heat. Fabulous salad meals are all about fresh flavor combinations.

Melons with honey and lime, spinach with grilled veggies and blue cheese, and wild rice with tropical fruits and sweet onions have to be some of my favorites. Flavor combinations bring in sweet, tart, and fresh for an epic salad.

Flavor combinations bring in sweet, tart, and fresh for an epic salad.

There are some trending fresh veggies out there that make phenomenal salads. Kale is the “it” green of the year. Fennel is taking a close second. While both are very different in flavor, they are both absolutely scrumptious in lemony vinaigrettes. Lemon satisfies both vegetables by taming the bitterness of kale and mellowing the black licorice flavor in fennel. Whip together my easy Lemony Vinaigrette to make either a hit with grilled chicken and green apples.

Sometimes my appetite is a bit heartier than lettuce alone. I like adding pasta, rice, or quinoa to salads to give me a healthy full feeling. That is the direction I head in with Quinoa Florentine. This salad can be served warm. But I like it best chilled. This salad boosted with wilted spinach and parmesan provides a meal or lunches for one for a couple of days. Shoot, I even eat this one as a snack.

Cobb salads are a classic that can be spun in different ways. Avocado, bacon, and chicken fill out this otherwise ordinary green salad. I add some chili powder and lime to the chicken before grilling it. I also like broccoli florets in my Cobb. I call my version a Texas Cobb with honey mustard on the side.

This is how I have a crisp, cool summer. Make and share these simple recipes with friends.

Lemony Vinaigrette ¼ cup lemon juice 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar 1 small shallot, minced 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp. Dijon mustard ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard. Create an emulsion by slowly streaming in the olive oil while whisking. Whisk in garlic and shallot. It can be emulsified in a blender instead of whisking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Quinoa Florentine 2 tbsp. olive oil, separated 1 shallot, diced 1 cup quinoa 2 cups low sodium chicken stock 1 pint grape tomatoes 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 2 cups chopped fresh spinach ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Sauté shallot in 1 tbsp. olive oil on high heat. Add quinoa to the shallot and sauté one minute more. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes. Toss tomatoes with remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic. Place on a baking sheet in the oven. Cook ten minutes or until tomatoes begin to pop. Remove the lid from cooked quinoa. Fold in spinach and cooked tomatoes. Replace lid and set quinoa aside for 10 minutes. Top with parmesan. Serve immediately or chill to serve. Serves 2. Texas Cobb Salad 1 lb. chicken breast ¼ tsp. kosher salt 1 tsp. black pepper ¼ tsp. cumin 1 tsp. paprika 1 tsp. chili powder 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves ¼ cup lime juice 3 slices bacon 5 cups chopped iceberg lettuce 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce 1 pint cherub or grape tomatoes, sliced in half 2 large avocados, chunky diced ¼ red onion, halved and thinly sliced ¾ pound broccoli crown, trimmed and chopped 5 oz. crumbled queso fresco or cojito cheese Honey Mustard Dressing ¾ cup light mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons prepared or Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons local honey 1 tablespoon lime juice Rinse chicken under cold water and trim any excess fat. Coat chicken in ¼ cup lime juice, cilantro, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika together and rub into chicken. For spicier chicken, add more cilantro. For smokier chicken, add more paprika. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Cook bacon on medium heat until done. Drain cooked bacon on a paper towel and chop once the bacon has become cool to the touch. Place chopped bacon in the refrigerator until you are ready to build your salad. On a grill pan on the stove or on the grill, cook marinated chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let the chicken cool to the touch and dice to bite-sized portions. Set aside.

Toss romaine and iceberg lettuces together. Spread the lettuce in the bottom of a serving bowl, preferably square or rectangle for portioning. Place chicken in a row down the middle of the bed of lettuce. Place bacon next to chicken in a row. Place queso fresco next to bacon in another row. Row the red onions next to the queso fresco. On the other side of the chicken, make rows of avocado, tomatoes, and broccoli in that order. Once finished, the top of your salad should be rows of toppings from one end of your serving bowl to the other. Whisk together mayo or yogurt, honey, mustard, and remaining lime juice. Serve on the side of Texas Cobb Salad. Serves 8.

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