I wanted to throw out a quick salad recipe for any of those last minute 4th of July BBQ parties. Sometimes we get invited to something and either I can’t think up a dang side dish to bring or it’s a late invitation and I don’t have time to run to the store. I wanted to provided a quick, but delicious side that will be devoured at a party, but it doesn’t take extra effort on your part. Some of you may not need such an easy salad, but you still will want to try the homemade dressing. I include the salad recipe for a very specific reason. I get asked often what to throw in a salad. In fact, many times I’ll be talking to someone and they will say, I’d never throw together a salad. I always buy the bags because I wouldn’t know what to put in it. First of all, that’s sad. Not dumb, just sad. How sad that we live in a society that depends so much on others making our food that we’ve forgotten how to create our own food. Vegetables in salads are lovely, and not difficult. Sometimes you just need to try someone else’s recipe and then as you get more comfortable you find yourself not only taking note of what others are making which makes you start trying things, but it also gets you to start experimenting.
First of all, not everything turns out perfect. Relax. Take a deep breath. It doesn’t matter. If you go to throw together a salad and all you have are eggs and croutons, no worries. A little protein never hurt anyone. It may not be a big, beautiful salad like you planned, but it can still taste awesome and people will love that something so simple turned out great.
Second, don’t be afraid to try new things. I know you love the store bought salad dressings, but it is not hard to make your own. In fact, you can even throw everything in a Mason jar and let the kids shake it up.
Last, buy fresh produce when you can and base your meals around the produce instead of the meat. I’m serious. You’ll find yourself using it more instead of wasting so much from the crisper, annnnnnnd you will find yourself trying new things. Think about it, if all you have left in the fridge is asparagus, and bacon and tomatoes, you may find yourself trying a new sandwich like my old friend, Lee who created an awesome sammy a while back with garlic aioli. Buy fresh produce. Use it. Experiment. And if you are scared, go out to eat, order something with veggies on it, in it, or a veggie dish and let it inspire you at home.
One more thing before we move on. Remember above, how I mentioned making your own dressing? Do it. Tomorrow. The next day. Forever. I’m serious. One you go fresh you’ll never go back. Well, depending on the dressing you may occasionally, but homemade really is easy and so yummy. This dressing has a little hit of dill and garlic which almost gives it a ranch-y taste, but it’s still unique. I happen to really enjoy it. And having it in a jar makes me happy. Not completely sure why. It’s kind of like having someone else make your sandwich. Even if they use the same ingredients it’s somehow better than if you’d done it yourself.
Easy Green Salad with Garlic Dill Dressing
*Use what you have in the fridge. Substitute lettuces, different kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus (blanched), peppers etc. Just go with it.
1/2 bunch Spinach, rinsed and dryed
1/2 Head Romaine lettuce, rinsed and dryed (for a little crunch)
1 1/2 Cups Grape Tomatoes, Halved (I prefer to half them for BBQ’s since you are already struggling w/paper plates)
1-2 Large Carrots, sliced or ribboned (cut in half and use a potato peeler to make ribbons)
2 Eggs, hard boiled, cooled, chopped
3 Slices of bacon, cooked, chopped
1/3 Cup Three Cheese Blend, shredded cheese
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl and serve.
Garlic Dill Dressing
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Light Mayonnaise
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Clove of Garlic, minced
1/4 Teaspoon Dry Parsley
1 Teaspoon Dried Chives
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Dill
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Whisk all of the ingredients in a large bowl and transfer to a jar. Refrigerate 20 min to an hour before serving. Will keep for at least 2 weeks.