If you have followed my blog, you are probably aware that I love salads. I am by no means a vegetarian, but I love to include a good salad with every meal. Often times, when there is meat as an entrée, I also serve a really wholesome salad as I love all the color and variety you can include in a hearty salad. I happen to love gorgonzola cheese, half of my family does not care for it and I know it is not popular with everyone. You could very easily substitute feta or goat cheese if you don’t count yourself as a blue cheese lover! Make your quinoa ahead allowing it time to rest and steam as it sprouts and becomes fluffy as it steams. If you prefer a simple vinaigrette, simply eliminate the mayonnaise from the dressing. I think a little creaminess in the dressing really elevates the whole salad. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a beautiful presentation…while this salad would taste just as good all tossed in a bowl, by lining up all the ingredients, it is so visually appealing and allows your diners to see all the delicious components.
- 1 heart of romaine lettuce, cut in 1/2 inch strips
- 3 cups favorite baby greens, arugula, spinach, etc..
- 3 hard boiled eggs, quartered
- 1 cup dry red or white quinoa, cooked according to package directions
- 2 cups chickpeas (I prefer to boil dry beans when I have the time)
- 3 slices cooked, extra-thick cut bacon, cooked and broken in pieces
- 1 cup crumbled gorgonzola
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 firm, but ripe pear, like Comice, sliced
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Select a large platter (square or rectangular works well, but any platter is fine. Prep all your ingredients by chopping and slicing ahead of time. Start at one end of the platter and beginning with one of the lettuces, assemble salad and other ingredients in lines. You can add the slices of pears and avocados last tucking them in between the strips of ingredients. Just before serving, whisk together all the ingredients for the salad and drizzle dressing on top and serve immediately. Enjoy!