I’m not a great salad person. I love salads, don’t get me wrong, but I seem to enjoy them more as a main dish because you can add things like grilled chicken and black beans. Most of the time they fall flat as a side dish for me since I seem to have absolutely no creativity when it comes to vegetables. (Fruity salads on the other hand don’t seem to be a problem.) One of my goals is to try to find more side-salads to add to my repertoire. So, if you know any good ones feel free to shout them out!
We’ve been making this salad since last year. It started out as just a cucumber and tomato salad since the guys love cucumber. Then we made a few more additions and turned it into a favourite. So much so that it’s pretty much the only salad we eat. And so far we haven’t gotten tired of it (that’s saying a lot).
I wasn’t sure what to call this salad. It’s pretty reminiscent of a greek salad but it tastes nothing like it since it’s coated in ranch dressing rather than a greek vinaigrette. It goes great with pretty much any main dish or grilled meat and it takes advantage of those plentiful summer cucumbers and tomatoes.
One thing I have learned is that the key to a tasty salad is seasoning the vegetables with salt and pepper before dressing. This seriously makes all the difference and I strongly encourage you to try it in all your savoury salads.
What’s your go-to salad at dinnertime?
Chunky Cucumber Salad
Feel free to adjust the amounts to your taste. I always just toss things in until it looks good, so this is an estimation of the amounts you use. Do what’s best for you.
- 1 english cucumber, quartered and chopped
- 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup (heaping) olives, sliced lengthwise
- 1/2 cup chopped feta
- 1 cup croutons
- 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
- Place cucumbers and tomatoes in a medium-sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add olives, feta, croutons and dressing. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Feeding a crowd? To make this salad stretch further add a head of chopped romaine lettuce.
Last week I put the call out on Facebook for some trusted company-worthy eats. There were many delicious suggestions but this one from Natasha (a fellow Canadian ex-pat living in Switzerland) really stuck out to me because a) there was a link to the recipe and b) it contained sun-dried tomatoes, which I love and James hates.
Being the bad wife that I am, I like to make at least one dish that James doesn’t like when company comes over because I know that I’ll have someone to help me finish it. After all, I’m cooking for them not him, right? (Although it sounds more like I’m cooking for me.)
James, being the good husband that he is, usually tries a piece anyways, and I couldn’t believe when he reached for seconds, thirds and fourths of this dish.
I wouldn’t have needed to make anything else, because this was really all we wanted to eat. Even Max was unhappy with his bowl of usually pre-occupying spaghetti and kept reaching for the plate full of bruschetta.
Who could blame him? A crusty slice of baguette topped with a pungent and robust Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade. Such simple ingredients melding together to make one mouthwatering bite.
This would be a great appetizer or side dish to serve alongside a summer barbecue. You could even keep the house cool by popping it on the grill once the meat is done and resting. I have some leftover tapenade in my freezer and I have a feeling it’s going to make it’s way onto some homemade pizza very soon.
I know we’ll be having this often, to the disdain of all those within a five mile radius of our breath. Goodbye friends, it’s been nice knowing you.
Sun-dried Tomato, Feta and Basil Bruschetta
inspired by Natasha Kay
- 1-9 inch baguette
- olive oil, to drizzle
- sun-dried tomato tapenade (1/3 of recipe below)
- Slice the baguette into 1 inch pieces at a diagonal. Brush or drizzle lightly with olive oil. Top with tapenade.
- Bake at 350ºF for 6 minutes. Serve immediately.
Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade
adapted from allrecipes
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 ounces feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons dried basil (or 6 tablespoons fresh)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Remove the tomatoes from oil (reserving 1/3 cup oil) and chop finely.
- Stir together tomatoes, 1/3 cup reserved oil, red pepper, and garlic. Crumble feta over top and add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Can be made a couple of days in advance. Stir before using.
Makes enough for 3- 9 inch baguettes
Make sure to check out Natasha’s blog Domestica. She did a disturbing yet intriguing “McMold” experiment with a McDonalds Cheeseburger and Fries. You may be surprised by the results.. or not.