When it comes to lettuce salads, I have very particular tastes and very high standards. I like to use mixed healthy greens as my base both for flavor and nutritional value, and I avoid such everyday boring old lettuce varieties as iceberg. My salads need lots of texture and crunch, and I prefer olive oil and vinegar dressings over heavier creamy ones. I enjoy making big salads that can become an entire meal on their own by adding protein in the form of meat, beans or nuts, and I like to add lots of fresh, seasonal vegetables when I can.
I was at a local specialty store recently and found a new variety of mixed greens that I had not seen before that contained baby kale and spinach. Although I do like to add regular kale to my salads, I do know that raw kale can be an acquired taste and isn’t for everyone. This baby kale mix by Organic Girl is great, because the tender little kale leaves are very mild in flavor compared to the full grown variety but still have that earthy green taste I like so much. If you cannot find baby kale, you can use baby spinach, arugula, a mesclun mix, or any salad greens you prefer. I was craving Mediterranean flavors and my salad was going to be our entire meal, so I added chickpeas, artichoke hearts, cucumbers, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and prosciutto crisps. To dress this salad, I kept it simple and used white balsamic vinegar and olive oil, lightly seasoned with oregano. The ingredients I used in this salad melded together really well, the salad turned out great and met my high standards for everything I like in my salads. You could also vary this salad by adding cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, and sweet peppers without changing the overall flavors too much, and use sliced toasted almonds or walnuts in place of the pine nuts if you prefer.
Deborah Mele 2013
Baby Kale Salad With Artichokes, Chickpeas, & Prosciutto Crisps
- 4 Cups Baby Kale Salad Mix
- 4 Green Onions, Trimmed & Chopped
- 1 Cup Chopped Cucumbers
- 1 Cup Chopped Marinated & Drained Artichoke Hearts
- 1 Cup Canned Chickpeas, Drained
- 4 Large Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Thinly Sliced
- 1/4 Cup Lightly Toasted Pine Nuts
- 2 Thin Slices Prosciutto, Cut Into Slivers
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- Salt & Pepper
- Lightly spray a frying pan with olive oil, and cook the prosciutto over medium heat, stirring often until crisp, then set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the salad greens, onions, cucumbers, artichokes, chickpeas, and sun-dried tomatoes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Pour half the dressing over the salad greens, toss, and taste.
- Add additional dressing if needed.
- Divide the salad between two plates, then sprinkle with the pine nuts and prosciutto crisps.
- Serve immediately.