Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Best No Lettuce Salad Ever

Today I am sharing with you a new and delicious and really healthy No Lettuce salad. On Sunday our beautiful friends, Don and Ina, had us over to their house for lunch. I love cooking with Ina. She is inspirational and she cooks like I do which makes it much more fun when we cook together! What do I mean when I say, "she cooks like I do?" I mean we make things up on the fly. We start pulling stuff out of the refrigerator and chopping and mixing and creating and stirring and tasting and what results is nothing short of intense yumminess!

I credit Ina with the fact that I roast pretty much all of my vegatables now as opposed to boiling them (gag!) or ((gulp)) microwaving them! (Blech!) On Sunday we made a wonderful roasted vegetables mix; sweet young carrots fresh from the farmer's market, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower. We threw in a handful of chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, and sage), some kosher salt and some herb seasoning from the local organic food store. Added a hefty drizzling of EV Olive Oil and Ohhh, the wonder. I cannot feel guilty about pigging out on vegetables. And I did pig out. (Don't worry, there were still some left after we had all pigged out on them.) We made lots because everyone loves them. My children would probably have licked the platter when they were all gone if I had let them. I would have fairly gorged myself on the roasted veggies alone if we had not thrown together the Best No Lettuce Salad Ever. Never one to leave a just recently conceived recipe alone, I have already tweaked it and added a few items that were not in there before (yes, it was so good on Sunday that I decided to make it for dinner tonight.)

This salad packs more nutrition into one bowl than I think I could get in any other meal and did I mention yet that it is heaven on the palate? I made this in the morning as cooking never feels as stressful in the morning and the flavors get to marry throughout the day.

Mix the following ingredients in a large salad bowl:
(all measurements are the pre-cooked measurements but the rice, barley and pasta all need to be cooked and cooled in the refrigerator for about an hour or two before making the salad. I threw them all in the same bowl to cool.)

1 1/2 cups brown rice
3/4 cup (pot) barley
3/4 cup alphabet/stars pasta. The kids chose alphabet today.
1 can olives, drained and halved (can use red grapes halved if you want a different/sweet take on it)
1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1 can artichoke hearts drained and quartered
3 to 4 sun dried tomatoes julienned
1/8 to 1/4 cup of grated or julienned red bell pepper
3/4 cup finely shredded asiago cheese

For the dressing, in an another bowl combine:
3/4 cup mayonaisse (can use light)
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (0 fat or 2%)
1/4 cup chopped dill (can use fresh or freeze dried)
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. EV Olive Oil

Pour the dressing over top of the salad mixture and stir until everything is thoroughly coated. Go ahead! Lay it on! It's a lowfat dressing!

This cold meal in a bowl is about enough to turn me into a vegetarian it is so good! You may look at this list of ingredients and doubt me but I'm telling you, it is already my favorite no lettuce salad and definitely replaces plain old pasta or potato salad. I am going to make this for the Fourth of July. I have a feeling my Dad won't be able to keep himself from wanting thirds of it... if I know my Dad!