You know all those silly quizzes that circle around cyberspace– what type of sandwich are you? what color is your aura? –yeah, those things. I admit, they’re a fun mindless break for me every now and then.
A while back I completed a multiple choice one on Facebook- some sort of “how well do you know me?” competition between friends. My answer to the simple question “What food could you not live without” threw even my best of friends for a loop. Out of the multiple choices presented, they overwhelmingly guessed sushi. Sure, I have an unnatural attraction to raw fish, but I could give it up if absolutely necessary.
The one food category (if you can call it that. The quiz did, so I am) that I would never want to go without is salads. I actually crave them if I go more than a few days without one. The combination of so many different flavors and textures on one plate is delightful and can be completely satisfying as a main dish meal. Today’s Meatless Monday recipe is just that. Tasty, filling, and one that I’ll come back to again and again, especially since my husband gave it two thumbs up!
Serves 2 for entree, 4 as side dish. Adapted from Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup diced grape tomatoes
1/2 cup canned red beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup mix of 1/2-inch cubes reduced-fat white cheddar cheese and 1/2-inch cubes reduced-fat Pepper Jack cheese (3 oz total)
White and blue tortilla chips for garnish (I had some red on hand as well)
In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the oil and whisk until emulsified. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, beans, chickpeas, olives, and cheese together; dress lightly with the balsamic vinaigrette*. Garnish with the tortilla chips and chives (optional).
*Note: The recipe makes a little more dressing than I prefer to put on the salad when serving. Instead, I pour only 4 tablespoons of it into the bowl with the salad mixture, toss, then separate out onto 2 plates. This leaves an additional 2 tablespoons of dressing that you can use for another salad the next day!