In Kansas City, we frequented a restaurant called Ingredient. Among other things, they offered a create your own salad. They had an extensive list of fresh ingredients to choose from that you could check off a create your own salad pad of paper. At first I found it a little overwhelming, but after a few tries I found my perfect salad with a surprisingly good raspberry vinaigrette.
Flashback 10 years and I wouldn’t touch a salad if you paid me. As you grow older, it’s true, your tastes change and develop, but I think I prematurely determined that I didn’t like salad. I let one bad bite dictate years of my life. Later I discovered that it was iceberg lettuce that I didn’t care for. Through the years, I’ve come to appreciate that, too, just covered in heavy dressing. It was actually adding fruit to my salads that really began my craving for them. It was very unexpected for me! Now, I can’t get enough. I almost always choose fruit over vegetables for my salads.
My sister doesn’t care for a lot of vinaigrettes, but at my urging, she tried my raspberry vinaigrette and loved it! Most are a little too tangy for her. You can always adapt based on your taste. The more vinegar you use, the tangier it will be, however, it will also significantly reduce your calories because you use less oil. I have found this to be my perfect blend that appeases even the pickiest of eaters.
Okay, back to that perfect salad I created at Ingredient…just a few fresh ingredients, of course, starting with a bed of mixed greens. One of the keys to a great salad is fresh cheese. Please, save yourself from pre-crumbled cheese. It will be lesser quality, drier and yet still more expensive! I purchase a log of goat cheese and use a fork to directly crumble it on my salad. It’s just as easy and tastes far better. Add slices of a granny smith apple, a few grapes and candied walnuts and you have my perfect summer salad! I usually purchase my candied nuts, but my friend Ali of Gimme Some Oven also has a great recipe if you want to make a batch in advance.
Also note that I don’t like mustard. Not even remotely! I incorporate it into this dressing to balance the tang from the vinegar without having to use more olive oil, resulting in a skinny salad dressing!
To mix, just combine ingredients and shake in a jar. I love using this mason jar infuser because it also controls my pour.