Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mediterranean Salad with Hummus Pesto Dressing

It's a little strange that I chose to share a recipe for a hearty soup on day that held promise of the spring to come and this salad just a few days after the snow just wouldn't stop falling, but during the tumultuous transition between winter and spring, it can be a little hard to eat with the weather. But even though this is a salad, it certainly leaves you plenty satisfied and full of energy to tackle shoveling or more optimistically, take a long walk with the dog on a sunny spring day. Perhaps the Mediterranean Salad moniker is a bit too liberal or a bit too generic, but it is a collection of many ingredients often used in Mediterranean cooking that I absolutely love. It's a riff on my typical salad recipe, a plethora of raw and roasted veggies with cheese and nuts, but made particularly rich-feeling by the creamy hummus pesto dressing. The roasted red pepper adds an element of smokiness, the marinated artichokes spiciness and astringency, the olives and cheese both richness and saltiness, all finished with a sprinkling of crunchy, toasty walnuts. My initial instinct was to toss this salad with balsamic vinaigrette, but when I saw some lonely last bits of pesto and hummus in the fridge, I immediately thought of transforming them into a simple, flavorful dressing that became the pièce de résistance that finished this salad. It's perfectly filling as is, but if you're feeling particularly ravenous or want to stretch this to feed two, some chickpeas or grilled chicken certainly wouldn't be out of place. It may not be a warm Greek beach looking out upon cerulean waters, but perhaps these collection of flavors will take you away from the toils of winter for just a lunch.

Mediterranean Salad with Hummus Pesto Dressing
serves 1

2 cups chopped fresh spinach, lettuce, or salad greens (about 2 ounces)
1/2 jarred roasted red pepper, sliced (about 2 ounces)
4 or 5 jarred marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced (about 1.5 ounces)
2 tablespoons black olives
2-4 tablespoons crumbled goat or feta cheese (1/2 to 1 ounce)
2 tablespoons chopped toasted pine nuts or walnuts
Hummus Pesto Dressing, for serving (recipe follows)

1. Spread greens evenly on a large plate and top with peppers, artichokes, olive, cheese, and nuts. Drizzle with Hummus Pesto Dressing (or other dressing of choice) and enjoy!

Hummus Pesto Dressing
makes about 3/4 cup

1/2 cup roasted garlic, roasted red pepper or regular hummus
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
1/4 cup water

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar and whisk or shake to thoroughly combine.

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