Do you have a signature salad? I do. I call it my house salad. It has just a few simple ingredients that I always have on hand. It’s compatible with any type of cuisine. I refer to it as a “season-less” salad, I can enjoy it all year round. Yet it’s basic ingredients, together, are so special & delicious that it becomes quite memorable.
The elements of this 4 ingredient salad are my favorite. Sweet and crunchy red and green butter lettuce, creamy avocado slices and tangy pickled onions are drizzled with a sweet, tart and tangy white balsamic vinaigrette. Simple and delicious.
I use butter lettuce as the base for many salads. I love it’s soft, yet crunchy texture and beautiful colors. And let’s face it, avocados make any dish feel special.
I always have some Pretty Pickled Onions on hand. They are so easy to make; and add so much flavor and color to your salads. If for some crazy reason I don’t have any in my fridge, I’ll often just let the sliced onions sit in some vinegar for a half an hour or so. And if I’m being really lazy when I’ve run out, I’ll toss some sliced onions into the previous pickling liquid. The longer they sit, the better they are!
One of my favorite dressings, and the easiest to make is Balsamic Vinaigrette. Here I like to use white balsamic vinegar so that the vibrant colors of this salad don’t get muddled. I like to add a little honey to my white balsamic vinaigrette. But one day, at The Fresh Market, I happened upon a honey white balsamic vinegar. And since I’m always trying out various vinegars and oils, I decided to give it a go. It’s so beautiful and delicious, I almost wanted to photograph it in a wine glass! But this sweet and tart vinaigrette compliments the salad ingredients beautifully.
I literally eat a salad every day. And I always say I can eat a salad a day for the rest of my life and never eat the same salad twice. But I must admit, I eat this salad at least once a week. It’s one of my favorites.
One of the things I like best about my house salad, is that it’s basic without being boring. Just a couple of special ingredients, like the avocado and pickled onions, really make it shine. And yet, I can always add bits of things leftover in my fridge. Green beans or asparagus. Black olives and artichoke hearts. Chicken or tuna. Nuts or croutons. But the base flavors of my salad always remain the same. It’s my go to salad!
Want to develop your own house salad? Here’s what you need to do:
- Pick your favorite greens and use them as the base for the salad. Maybe yours is arugula or spinach?
- Keep it simple. Use just a couple of ingredients.
- Be consistent by choosing a couple of key vegetables that you can get all year round. Or maybe an ingredient as simple as a hard boiled egg?
- Pick one ingredient that will bring a pop of color to your salad. Beets or carrots come to mind.
- Choose an ingredient that elevates the flavor of the salad, such as a marinated or pickled vegetable. Sundried tomatoes or marinated mushrooms or artichoke hearts may be your thing?
- Use a basic dressing that will go with any type of cuisine but compliments the ingredients of your salad. It could be as simple as olive oil and lemon juice.
- By using a few of your favorite ingredients consistently, your salad will surely have your signature on it!
My heart says chocolate and wine, but my jeans say, for the love of God woman, eat a salad!
- butter lettuce (about 1½ cups per salad)
- avocados (about ½ of an avocado, sliced, per salad)
- pickled onions (see recipe on this site)
- FOR THE WHITE BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE:
- ¼ cup of white balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- Whisk all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette together.
- Add salt & pepper to taste.
- If you are using the honey balsamic vinegar, you can omit the honey in the recipe.
- Place your greens on a plate.
- Top with avocado slices and pickled onions.
- Drizzle with vinaigrette to your liking.
All of my salads and dressings are just a starting place for your imagination. So feel free to add or swap ingredients and do what works for you!