The following recipe and photography were provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com.
We frequently eat salad for dinner at our house, especially in the summer months when lighter and fresher meals are so appealing, but, don’t think for a moment that our appetites are discouraged by the humid, dog days of a Midwest summer. No wimpy little salad for us. We want to feel like we ate dinner (not to be confused with lunch) even if it is 90 degrees outside and this big salad really satisfies.
It’s that easy: Nothing could be easier than opening a bin of lettuce, all ready to go, no washing, spinning or drying required. Look for Ohio-grown brands like Buckeye Fresh and Great Lakes Growers for local greens before the larger outdoor crops arrive. The convenience and taste are tough to beat.
- Prep time:
- Total time:
- 2 large dinner salads
- 1/2 red onion, thickly sliced
- 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch slices
- 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 2-inch squares
- 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, quartered, cored and cut into 1-inch slices
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for sprinkling
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup whole walnuts
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 small shallot, peeled and minced
- Great Lakes Growers Mediterranean Mix lettuce
- Great Lakes Supreme Greens Baby Arugula
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Tomz Ohio-Grown Mixed Snacking Tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup Buckeye Fresh Organic Basil, flat leaf parsley, fresh thyme leaves, mint or a mix, lightly torn or chopped
- Grilled or rotisserie chicken
- Heat a grill to medium-high heat or set an oven to 425°F.
- On a large cutting board, slice the onion, zucchini, red pepper and fennel and transfer it all to a large bowl. Toss with zest, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper.
- Heat the grill basket for a few minutes before adding the vegetables (they cook faster that way) and cook for about 20 minutes, giving them a toss every now and then. You want them to be tender and lightly charred. If using the oven, toss them on a sheet pan and roast them for about 20 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Add the walnuts for the last 5 minutes to toast them lightly. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly.
- While the veggies cook, in a large bowl (large enough to toss the salad) combine the vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and swirl until the salt melts. Whisk in the remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil and taste for seasoning, adding more vinegar or oil to taste. Toss the cooked vegetables with half of the dressing.
- When ready to serve, add a few handfuls of lettuce and arugula to the bowl with the remaining dressing and toss to mix.
- Arrange the lettuce on a platter and top with the warm vegetables, feta cheese, tomatoes, fresh herbs and chicken.
- Grind a little freshly ground black pepper over the top and dig in.
In the Glass: A sparkler like Argyle Vintage Brut or a dry rosé makes this meal a party, but one of the things I love about this meal is that you can pair it with just about any wine you like with it. White, red or pink, it all works.
Extra Hungry Kids: Add chopped hard boiled eggs for even more protein and nutrition. Other add-ins include olives, pepperoncini, cucumbers, grated carrot, croutons or sun-dried tomatoes.