Greek Salad

I shared my brother-in-law’s tzatziki quite a while ago, so it’s about time I share another of his great recipes – Greek salad.  This is my go-to when I’m asked to bring a side dish to a cookout or party… I feel like there’s never enough healthy food at those types of gathering (just lots of chips, macaroni, buns, and sweets), so I love bringing this colorful salad chock full of veggies to balance out the meal.

I’ll start off by saying that I don’t actually make the original recipe.  The dressing is perfect the way it is – I don’t recommend any changes to that, other than doubling it for a larger salad!  But you can adjust the actual salad ingredients based on your taste.  I’m not a fan of raw onion (even purple, even using the soaking in ice water trick) or roasted bell peppers, so I just leave them out.  My sister doesn’t like cucumbers, but likes the onions, so she makes her own version.  So feel free to use the salad ingredients that you like, and leave out the ones you don’t – make it your own!

Dressing ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp olive oil (12 tbsp = 3/4 cup)
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced finely

Combine ingredients by whisking in a bowl or shaking in a Mason jar (my preferred method).  If you can let it stand at room temperature for a few hours before use, it tastes better, but if you don’t have time it’s still OK, just not as flavorful.  You can also make it the night before and store in the fridge, just put it on the counter to warm up to room temperature a few hours before use.

Salad ingredients, in proportions you’d like:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • English cucumbers, sliced and quartered
  • Purple onion rings (can be soaked in cold water to decrease potency)
  • Roasted red pepper, sliced (from a jar is easiest)
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half or sliced

My perfect salad has 2-3 heads of Romaine, about 6 Roma tomatoes, 1/2 an English cucumber, 1 tub of pre-crumbled feta, and 1/2 jar of sliced Kalamata olives, tossed with a double recipe of dressing.

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This is my giant 4 quart Pyrex mixing bowl, which conveniently comes with a lid for easy transport to a party

As with most salads, dress right before serving so it stays crisp and not soggy.  However, 2nd day Greek salad is also a favorite in our house – I’m not exaggerating when I say the dressing gets better as it sits!  Even though the lettuce starts to get wilted the next day, our family definitely doesn’t let it go to waste!  I know you will love it as much as we do 🙂

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Knock Your Socks Off Caesar Dressing

One of my favorite salads is Caesar.  That shouldn’t be a surprise, as I LOVE garlic!  My grandfather invented this recipe for home-made Caesar dressing, and passed it on to my mom and then me.  It’s definitely not for someone who doesn’t like garlic – it really will knock your socks off!  But it’s one of our family favorites, so I knew I had to share it on my blog.  They used to grind the garlic with the salt in the salad bowl using a pestle, but one day my mom decided to use her Magic Bullet and we haven’t looked back since!

Knock Your Socks Off Caesar Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c lemon juice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 4″ (about 1 tsp) anchovy paste (from the tube)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Add all ingredients to a blender and pulse until a uniform mixture is achieved; be sure all the garlic is chopped small!  Serve over Romaine lettuce with your favorite “stick cheese” (Parmesan, or Parmesan blend) and croutons.  Store in a glass jar (recycled from a store-bought sauce or Mason) to prevent garlic from getting into plastic; keeps for a week in the fridge.

Radar complains that my dressing is too lemon-y, because I also like lemons, so you can cut down on the juice if you prefer (although I already cut it back some for this recipe – I usually do a 1:1 ratio with the oil!).  When I’m by myself, like now with deployment, I tend to skip the cheese because I just don’t eat it fast enough; I’m also not a huge crouton fan, so I pretty much just eat lettuce and dressing – yum!

You’ll definitely want to keep some breath mints handy for after you eat this delicious dressing!

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Caesar salad, “au naturelle”

Hearty Corn and Black Bean Salad

This salad is one of my favorite sides to bring to parties and gatherings.  It can be eaten on its own with a fork, or scooped up with tortilla chips – whatever you want!  The onion and chili powder gives it a little zing, but it’s definitely not too spicy for anyone’s pallet.  It tastes good the first day, but I’ve found it’s even better after it marinates overnight!  It’s very easy to double or triple if you’re feeding a crowd, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can sweet corn, drained
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced

Combine vinegar, oil, salt, sugar, pepper, cumin, chili powder and cilantro with a whisk in a bowl. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, and onion and stir well. Serve cold (although it’s still good at room temperature).

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Colorful and delicious!

I hope y’all like this recipe, it’s become one of our go-to’s!