This week’s Blogging Marathon ( a three-day post for four weeks, but I am doing only two weeks) theme is “Summer Salads.” It’s perfect timing, after all the scrumptious holi meal, here are some simple, low calorie and healthy salads that can be assembled pretty quickly. I am starting off with the popular one, Olive Garden style garden salad – with sweet pickles and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Olive Garden is one of our favorite restaurants, and if we are dining in there or taking to go, salad and minestrone will be there in our order for sure. I love the crunchiness of this salad. I wanted to try this salad at home but make it palatable for the kiddo also, so ignored the pepperoncini and included sweet pickles. When we move to the Bay area, the preschool that kiddo went to, didn’t allow food from home. They served lunch, and a side salad was part of the meal. I always thank that school for introducing salads and touchwood Vaandu loves salads. So I always prepare two dressings, one for him which is ranch or mayo based and one for us with a vinegar based. You can skip the pickles in this salad too. As I am a big lover of pickles, I just randomly add them to my salads and sandwiches.
Before getting into the recipe, I wanted to talk about pepperoncini and pickles.
These are mild Italian peppers used in salads, antipastos, pizzas and of course sandwiches. In spite of the heat, it has got the tiny sweetness and adds loads of flavor to all the recipes.
These are fermented cucumbers in acidic solutions, and there are zillion varieties in them depending upon the vinegar used. I usually prefer the sweet ones dipped in Apple cider vinegar. Here are my store bought sweet dill pickles. Will post the homemade pickle recipe soon.
Here is what I did, (This measurement provided here serves 2. But adjust the quantities according to your preference.
- Chopped Green Lettuce – 2 cups
- Chopped Tomatoes – 1/2 cup
- Croutons – a handful
- Sliced Onions – 1/4 cup
- Halved Olives – 1/4 cup
- Pickle slices – 5 (chop them roughly)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 3 tbsps
- Balsamic Vinegar – 1.5 tbsps
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Pepper powder – 1 tsp
- Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Chop all the veggies and layer them.
- Before serving, add dressing and mix well.
- Adjust the veggies proportion according to your preference.
- Green lettuce can be replaced with iceberg lettuce.
- Add the dressing just before serving.
- Cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes can be used too.
- To mimic the olive garden style salad, you can add the golden pepperoncini instead of pickled cucumbers.
- If you are serving for kids, instead of balsamic you can use mayo or ranch.
- Chopped Green Lettuce - 2 cups
- Chopped Tomatoes - 1/2 cup
- Croutons - a hand ful
- Sliced Onions - 1/4 cup
- Halved Olives - 1/4 cup
- Pickle slices - 5 chop them roughly
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 3 tbsps
- Balsamic Vinegar - 1.5 tbsps
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Chop all the veggies and layer them.
Before serving, add dressing and mix well.
Adjust the veggies proportion according to your preference.
Green lettuce can be replaced with ice berg lettuce.
Add the dressing just before serving.
Cherry tomatoes or heir loom tomatoes can be used too.
To mimic the olive garden style salad, you can add the golden pepperoncinis instead of pickled cucumbers.
If you are serving for kids, instead of balsamic you can use mayo or ranch.