Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Easy Weeknight Salad {with homemade dressing}

Happy St. Patrick's Day Gals! Today I'm sharing one of my very favorite salad recipes that I make at least once a week, along with the homemade dressing that has replaced every single bottled version in my fridge! I love how easy this is to throw together, and it's easily adapted based on whatever veggies and greens we have in the fridge. The one constant that never changes is the dressing I use. After playing around with the ingredients a couple years back, I finally mastered the most perfect balsamic vinaigrette recipe and I now refuse to even entertain any bottled version - especially since this one is so easy to whip up!


Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1 tbsp of olive oil
1.5 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Juice from half a lemon
Hefty squeeze of balsamic glaze
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the above ingredients and whisk together until everything is combined. The above makes enough for 2-3 salads, so feel free to half or store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

As for the salad, as I mentioned above, I tend to vary the ingredients based on whatever we have on hand, but below is my favorite combination - feel free to adapt based on your tastes. I almost feel silly posting, since it is just a hodge podge from my fridge, but I figured it's always good to get a little inspiration from what others put together (after all, that's what keeps Pinterest in business!).


Easy Weeknight Salad (Serves 2):
1 bag of baby spinach
Handful of cherry tomatoes
1 bell pepper, diced
Crumbled goat cheese
Crispy onions
Handful of dried cranberries
Handful of crushed peanuts 
2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced
Drizzle of homemade balsamic vinaigrette, to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss to incorporate the dressing. A couple of notes to take this baby to the next level:

For the goat cheese, I use a log, and then run my fork across it over the salad. It's the easiest way to get a very fine crumble and avoid any huge chunks of goat cheese! Plus this way you don't overdue it with the cheese.

Next, to crush up the peanuts, very unglamourously add the peanuts to a ziplock bag, seal, and proceed to crush with whatever is handy - in this case, the back of a screwdriver.

Lastly, I'll also share my secret for delicious and juicy grilled chicken - brown in a VERY hot pan on both sides (about 2-3 minutes), then cook in an over at 400 degrees, for 10 minutes. It seriously cooks the chicken perfectly and completely through, without losing any flavor, plus it's pretty healthy since the only oil I use is a quick spritz of non-stick cooking spray.
And that's really it - a delicious and balanced meal that comes together in about 20 minutes!

Linking up today with EmilyJennifer JuniperKaryn,  KristenEmilyMandyMaryJessicaMandySusanLisaNatasha, Meg, and Molly!


24 comments :

  1. Looks delicious! I love balsamic dressings, too :)

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  2. This looks delicious! Don't you just love how easy it is to throw salads together? I love craisins in mine too! And they pair so well with almonds or pecans. Also, I love that you put some mustard in your dressing...so creative!

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  3. Yum- this looks and sounds awesome!
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  4. Ohhh that homemade dressing sounds perfect!! I love anything with balsamic!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  5. Yummy and nutricious, win-win!

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  6. I love salad topped with chicken, and the dressing sounds delicious! This would make an awesome lunch.

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  7. YUM!!! I've been very into salads lately, so I'm definitely saving this one for the near future. Plus, how easy is that dressing?! Genius!

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  8. Oh this sounds so good - especially the goat cheese part!! I've been loving a particular brand of goat cheese from trader joes (it's truffled) that would be so good on this!! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

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  9. This sounds SO delicious! I'm a lover of a good salad and goat cheese - can't lose there!

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  10. This looks so good, I love salads with cranberries!

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  11. I love a good salad, and this one looks delish! Happy St. Pat's!!

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  12. This looks so good! Salads are always hard for me. I can never be creative. (; Thanks for the inspiration!

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  13. Looks delicious! I'm always looking for some new salad ideas, so thanks for sharing! :-)

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  14. this salad looks so yummy - don't judge but i would totally have without the chicken lol. i wish i could make my own salad dressing, but i don't like balsamic and i don't know how to make ranch at home haha! love the back of the screwdriver trick!

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  15. This looks so good! I really need to start making my own dressing - it's kind of scary what "ingredients" are in the bottled kind!

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  16. This sounds SO good, and I love a quick and easy salad. Saving this recipe for sure :)

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  17. YUM! I made a similar salad for dinner tonight... Delish!

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  18. I'm always looking for easy dinner. This is perfect and it looks so yummie.

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  19. That looks so yummy!! I've been into making my own salad dressing now and love it!!

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  20. I could literally eat a salad like that ever night! Love your gif ;-)

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  21. That looks delicious! I love coming up with new ways to make a salad interesting!!
    www.amemoryofus.com

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  22. What a yummy salad. I could eat this every day ... I love me some salad!

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