Chef’s Garden Salad with Herb Cider Vinaigrette is an updated classic featuring the very best of the season’s fresh produce.
An entrée salad full of hearty ingredients, it makes a beautiful display while entertaining or a simple warm weather meal.
Easy spring entree salad
Chef’s salads are traditionally made with iceburg lettuce, eggs, tomatoes, deli meats and cheeses. But this version is lightened up with fresh greens, avocado, almonds, Parmesan, and fried ham strips. Plus a homemade herb salad dressing made with flavorful healthy ingredients.
I love when I first go out to the garden and find that there is something ready to harvest. This salad uses the ingredients that are ready first – chive blossoms, herbs, mixed greens, arugula and radishes.
For the warm days of spring when you just want an easy combination of fresh vegetables and protein this updated version of the classic Chef’s salad is a perfect answer.
- Garlic – anti bacterial, anti viral and high in antioxidants. Garlic is also a great source of selenium. And has been shown to have a healing effect on circulatory, digestive and immunological systems while lowering blood pressure.
- Fresh herbs – high in vitamins A, C, K and polyphenols. Herbs are potent antioxidants with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Apple cider vinegar – high in acetic acid apple cider vinegar has been shown to aid in the absorption of nutrients. And neutralizes body’s ph levels (amongst many other health claims).
- Extra virgin olive oil – rich in oleic acid, a super healthy monounsaturated fatty acid believed to help reduce inflammation. Loaded with vitamins E and K. And rich in antioxidants, including oleocanthal. Olive oil may help treat or prevent many diseases.
This salad is easily adaptable. Choose the ingredients that are fresh at the farmer’s market, ready to harvest in your garden or available in your fridge. Use whichever dressing you prefer (a homemade green goddess or balsamic vinaigrette would be delicious) and any protein and cheese you have on hand. Replace the meat with beans or quinoa for a well rounded vegan version.
Displaying this salad artfully to make it super aesthetically appealing. And make the salad feel just a bit more special. But layering on a platter also helps prevent softer ingredients, like avocados and eggs, from getting mushy. And for picky kids, entree salads on platters make it easy to pick and choose what ends up on the plate.
How to make ahead
Salad can be prepared ahead of time and covered and chilled. When ready to serve, add cheese, almonds, avocado and top with dressing.
Dressing keeps for a week or more in the refrigerator. The olive oil will form a lump when chilled, simply remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before using to allow it to liquefy. Shake well before serving to re-emulsify.
- 5 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 large carrot
- 2 tablespoons chive blossoms when available
- 1 medium avocado
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 3-4 medium radishes sliced
- ¼ cup parmesan shredded
- 1 cup sliced ham fried and cooled ham steaks or deli ham
- 3 large eggs hardboiled
herb cider vinaigrette
- 1 clove garlic
- ⅔ cup fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons chives minced
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Prepare salad ingredients – tear lettuce into bite size pieces. Slice carrot into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, peel and slice avocado and cut radishes.
- Arrange salad ingredients on a large platter.
- Top with dressing and serve.
herb cider vinaigrette
- Chop garlic, slice basil into ribbons and chop herbs.
- Add garlic to a small jar with salt and vinegar, add herbs and olive oil.
- Shake until combined.
- For a smoother dressing, add all ingredients (except olive oil) to food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Then, slowly add olive oil until combined.
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