Friday, June 22, 2012

Guest Post – Step-by-Step Garden Salad & Homemade Croutons

The crazy humidity has finally subsided here in Southern Ontario but summer has definitely arrived. Nothing says summer meals to me like salads and One Hungry Dude is here today to share a simple and delicious fresh summer salad. Enjoy!

A cool, crunchy salad is one of my favourite treats during a hot day — it's such a refreshing and tasty side to almost any dinner. I've prepared this recipe in stages, and although it looks like a lot of steps, the preparation time for everything is only about 30 to 40 minutes. Perhaps the best part of this recipe is that you'll have plenty of dressing and croutons left over for future salads (though I've also often found myself snacking on the crusty, salty bread cubes), since both last for several weeks.

• 1/2 Cup olive oil
• 1/2 Cup white vinegar
• 2 Tbsp lemon juice
• 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 Tsp dried thyme
• 1/2 Tsp dried basil
• Splash of hot sauce
• Sprinkle of paprika
• Sprinkle of garlic powder
• Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a Tupperware container, then seal the lid. Shake the container until all of the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Place the container in the fridge for at least a few hours, though overnight will really allow the ingredients to meld.

• 4 to 5 slices of light rye bread (about a quarter of the loaf), cubed
• Olive oil
• Sprinkle of basil
• Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cube the bread, and place in a large bowl. Drizzle just enough oil over the bread to cover each piece. Add the basil, salt and pepper, then toss. Place the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the croutons become golden brown and crisp.

• 4 to 5 leaves of Romaine lettuce, washed and broken into pieces
• 2 slices of tomato, diced
• 1 mushroom, stem removed and sliced
• 1 baby carrot, julienne style or shredded
• A sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese
• Pepper, to taste

The salad is built in layers. Start by placing the lettuce pieces on the bottom of the bowl, then in order, spread the mushrooms, tomato, carrots, cheese and pepper on top. Add the dressing (make sure to shake, before pouring) and croutons, and serve.

* The amount of ingredients for the salad portion of this recipe is based per bowl.

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