This is not your mama’s salad. With that said, it’s not your normal salad either. This is the salad you’d serve with a super rich dish. I thought this one up while making my last recipe, “Tomato Cream Sauce With Linguine.” The pasta has a rich tomato base that’s finished with cream. It’s not too too fat laden but needs something to cleanse the palate between bites and what better way to do so than with a taste bud popping vinaigrette and some bitter greens?!
Everyone’s writing about greens lately and opinions, like everything, vary from person to person.
One thing that holds true though in all the recent articles I’ve read is the vinaigrette. When I was in cooking school we were taught the 3:1 ratio as far as the oil to vinegar goes. Even then, I thought it always tasted too oily. When I started working in professional kitchens I adjusted mine to 2:1. It was tangier and more balanced. If I felt it was too harsh on the palate with the extra acidity, I’d adjust the sweetness, usually using a bit of honey to help mellow it out.
This recipe uses two acids, white balsamic vinegar and fresh lemon juice. I chose balsamic vinegar because it married well with my Italian themed pasta dinner. You can use whatever vinegar you’d like, but I’d recommend using something a little better than plain white distilled. And if you’re feeling a little more lemony when you make this dressing forgo all the vinegar and use just fresh squeezed lemon. I like the vinegar for this salad though because it holds up well to the greens.
My “bitter greens” are baby kale which is way easier to eat than non baby kale and tastes better too. Regular kale is fine for me…in soup. As far as salads go I prefer to use baby greens, especially when using bitters. It’s not only a texture thing but also a taste thing. The more mature leaves tend to be far too bitter, versus the more delicate flavor of the baby varieties.
Dandelion greens was my other choice. Dandelion greens are high in fiber (like the kale) and help aid in digestion because of this. Dandelion greens are thought to purify the blood and are high in vitamins K, A, C, and B6. They are also rich in nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and iron.
The pickled vegetables, in this case cucumbers and carrots, add even more zing and interest to the glossy dressed salad leaves. The recipe below is a super quick pickle that’ll come in handy on busy weeknights when you only have time to throw together a quick salad for dinner.
Bitter Greens Salad with Tangy Mustard Vinaigrette and Pickled Veggies
Bitter greens are torn together and dressed with this super tangy dressing that'll make your mouth pop.
- 1 cup each of baby kale and dandelion greens
- 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/8 teaspoon Lemon Peel, about 1/2 Lemon
- 1 teaspoon Shallot, minced
- 2 teaspoons Stone Ground Mustard
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- Step 1 In small mixing bowl combine shallot, mustard, lemon juice, and vinegar. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Whisk in salt and lemon peel. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.
Pickled Salad Vegetables
Salad vegetables are soaked in a quick pickling solution of vinegar, sugar, and salt. These can be eaten almost immediately or stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- 2 carrots, shaved using a vegetable peeler
- 1 small pickling cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Step 1 Combine sugar, vinegar, and salt in a small bowl. Mix until sugar and salt dissolves. Add in vegetables. Let sit at least 10 minutes before using. Refrigerate up to 3 days, covered.