Thursday, September 8, 2011

Salad on the Fly

I don't know how it happened, but suddenly, it was 5:30 and I still didn't have a clue what I was making for dinner. I was flipping through cookbooks, but nothing was striking my fancy. All I knew was that I wanted something relatively light and easy to put together.

I don't have a lot of fresh produce on hand right now, but I did have some baby spinach, some English cucumbers, three tomatoes, an orange bell pepper, and some celery. I also had some cannellini beans, kalamata olives, capers, and marinated artichoke hearts in the pantry, and some frozen cauliflower in the freezer. I could steam the cauliflower and toss it with some nooch, I thought. Then I could whisk up a balsamic vinaigrette to pour over the top. Mmmmm. Suddenly, I had dinner!

Salad on the Fly
Makes 4 entree sized salads

1/2 lb baby spinach
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
3/4 large English cucumber, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 6-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
4 tablespoons capers, drained
1 lb bag frozen cauliflower, cooked according to package

Balsamic vinaigrette (I used the Basic Balsamic Dressing in 1,000 Vegan Recipes)

Divide the spinach among 4 bowls. Top each bowl with tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, celery, beans, artichoke hearts, olives, capers, and cauliflower. Drizzle each bowl with balsamic vinaigrette, to taste.

The warm cauliflower was awesome on this salad - it absorbed the dressing and got really yummy. Plus, the warm, soft texture was a nice contrast to the crunchy raw veggies and the tangy, salty olives and capers. This is what is so great about improvising with what you have on hand - you just never know what great new dish you'll come up with!

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