I call this little number Bullshit Summer Salad. Why? 1) Because my tastebuds want this salad for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 8 days a week, and wanting a salad that much seems like a bunch of b.s. and 2) I recreated it from Saba Restaurant‘s b.a. salad and I’d be bullshitting you if I passed it off as my own.
Saba is a pseudo Italian joint, but I don’t go there for the pasta. It’s all about the salad. I decided to give my wallet a break from the weekly $10+ salad runs and created this recipe, minus the feta cheese they put on their version. It ended up being pretty close in taste to Saba’s. I did not ask the restaurant for any ingredient secrets or tips; I give my food research assistant (i.e., tongue) the credit.
B.S. Summer Salad
Citrusy Balsamic Basil Dressing
This recipe makes just over ¾ c. of dressing. Depending on how saucy of a salad eater you are, you may or may not have leftovers.
- ¼ c olive oil
- ¼ c packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 small orange, juiced
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tbs water
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbs maple syrup / liquid sweetener
- 1 clove garlic
- Sprinkling of red pepper flakes
- Herbamare / salt and pepper to taste
- Mixed baby salad greens
- 1 1/3 c cooked black beans
- 1 medium red onion, diced and caramelized
- 2 roasted red peppers, cut into thin strips
- 4 roma tomatoes, sliced
- 1/3 c uncooked rice, your choice (I used brown basmati and it was delish)
- Olive oil and salt, for the caramelizing/toasting
For the salad dressing:
- put everything in a small blender (I used my handy bullet) and process until smooth.
For the stuff:
- Caramelize that onion. Roughly dice the red onion while a frying pan heats over medium heat on the stove. Put around 1.5 tbs olive oil in the pan and throw the onions in there. Sprinkle some salt over the mixture if desired. After 5 minutes of sizzling, turn the heat down to low and let those suckers caramelize for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Toast that rice. In a small pot bring 1/3 c water and 1/3 c rice to a boil on medium heat, stirring regularly. Once the water disappears (the rice will only be partially cooked), put 2 tsp olive oil in the pot, turn the heat down to low, and let the rice toast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Slice those roma tomatoes. About ¼ inch thick.
- Cut those roasted red peppers into 1 inch strips. I used roasted red pepper from a jar. Feel free to roast your own, but I loathe the process.
- Drain and rinse one can of black beans.
For the assembly (each salad):
- Put four handfuls of baby mixed greens in a big bowl (x4 if you’re making all 4 servings at once).
- Go to town: mix in 1/3 c black beans, 1 sliced roma tomato, half of one of the red peppers you cut into strips, some caramelized onion, and a generous sprinkling of the toasted rice. Toss the salad with as much dressing as you prefer. Eat and be merry.
Notes & Tips:
- You may want to make the toasted rice and caramelized onion ahead of time, since those two steps do take time.
- I like my salad bowls like I like glasses of wine: big. I recommend using big bowls for salad since salad ingredients tend to fly about the place when being tossed in dressing. Also, this is a meal salad, not a side salad. It’s going to be a substantial size.
- For extra onion caramelization (for the extra patient), you can let them cook on low heat for up to 40 minutes. It really develops the flavor.
- Regarding the rice toasting, if you already have cooked rice on hand, simply fry it in oil until it’s nice and crispy. I totally made this “toasting” method up as I went along, and there’s certainly a better way to toast rice – suggestions welcome! – but this method worked after google failed me. FYI, this rice is pretty crunchy. Like eating bar nuts, chewers beware…
- Dried beans are superior to canned beans, but the latter is perfect for those days when you didn’t think about your meals ahead of time or didn’t want to deal with the bean soaking/cooking process.
***Originally posted 5/2014***