It’s finallllllly heeeerrrrre.
Summer! I know I’m not the only one who feels like work should be out for the season, amiright?
The weather definitely turned summery in Chicago (read: humidity out the wazoo) this weekend, and you’d better believe that I took my hair for a spin around town to take full advantage of its maximum frizzy gravity-defying skills.
It’s really quite impressive when you see it up close, I assure you.
Of course, this weather also means that I feel the need to have a Summer Shandy in one hand and a burger in the other (or maybe a brat. Or a hot dog. OR … no, I’ll stop) at all times.
Though, it is also the season for fresh produce, which translates to lots of salads in my book. But if I’m going to put down the grilled meats, you’d better believe that my salads need to be delicious.
This one is my current favorite, on heavy work day lunch rotation.
Salad with Tahini Mustard Dressing
1-2 hearts romaine lettuce (about 4 cups)
1 medium carrot, grated
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 seedless cucumber, sliced into half-moons
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 T chopped cilantro
1/2 medium avocado, diced
2 T sliced almonds or peanuts, for garnish
for the dressing:
2 T tahini sauce*
1 T spicy brown mustard (or Dijon – whichever you prefer)
1 t soy sauce
1-2 T milk or water (to thin)
1. Place salad ingredients (through cilantro) in a large mixing bowl.
2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl (starting with 1 T milk or water) and mix well. If dressing is too thick, add additional milk/water until it reaches desired consistency.
3. Pour dressing on salad and toss to coat. Add avocado and toss again, gently. You want the avocado to break down just a little bit but not turn to mush. (This step is totally optional, I just like it this way)
4. Garnish salad with nuts and serve.
*I buy my tahini sauce at Trader Joe’s. It has lemon juice and garlic already mixed in. If you can’t find this product, use regular tahini and add a small squeeze of lemon and about 1/4 t granulated garlic to your dressing.
I would like to note that I am completely obsessed with this tahini sauce. I dunk veggies in it. I pour it on rice. I coat chicken with it.
I can’t be stopped.
The day I try to put it in a dessert, please send help.
On this go-around, I added the avocado before the initial addition of dressing and it got a little too mushy, but no matter – still delicious.
Serve some simply seared or grilled chicken breasts (these were cooked with just a bit of cooking spray, salt and lemon pepper on the stove and then finished in a 400° oven) alongside for a fresh but substantial dinner. Alternately, add a bunch of garbanzo or cannelini beans to the salad for some extra vegetarian protein.
Obviously, since this is a salad, it is entirely customizable to suit your taste preferences. I highly recommend this dressing, though. It is rich without being heavy and tangy enough that you don’t need to drown the salad in it.
Plus, no oil means more bratwursts on the side, right?