Balsamic Peach Watermelon Salad

summer salads  I’ve always been a fan of the popular feta watermelon salad, even before it was popular. But in true Alyssa fashion, I can never leave well-enough alone, especially after something has become too popular. So when we recently picked up a hulking watermelon  (and I do mean hulking, as it did indeed look like the Hulk), I decided I had more than enough watermelon to play around with some new salad combinations. I have to say I’m pretty peachy keen (pun intended) on the peach adjustments and prosciutto additions I made to the watermelon salad and I know this healthy and refreshing salad will be regularly appearing on our summertime menu…or at least, until I get bored again!

P.S. You can find the recipe for quick pickled onions here.

Peach Watermelon Salad  || Runway Chef peach watermelon salad prosciutto watermelon salad watermelon recipes

Peach Watermelon Salad
A light and refreshing salad that's perfect for a hot summer day or night
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 peach
  2. 1/2 a medium-sized watermelon, or about 4 cups of watermelon cubes
  3. 3 slices of prosciutto
  4. 1/4 cup pickled onions
  5. 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
  6. 1/4 cup grated manchego cheese
  7. A sprig of mint, chopped
  8. Balsamic vinegar
  9. Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Chop the peach and watermelon into cubes and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Chop (or free-hand shred) the prosciutto into small pieces. Toss the pieces into a frying pan over medium-heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the pieces turn slightly crispy, making sure to toss them a few times while they're cooking. Let the pieces cool for a few minutes, then toss them on top of the fruit.
  3. Next, add on the pickled onions, feta cheese, and mint. Finish the salad off with a heavy drizzle of balsamic vinegar, some fresh black pepper and the manchego cheese.
  4. This can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time. Just leave the prosciutto off until you're ready to serve the salad. Please note, though, that as this salad sits, it will become juicer.
Notes
  1. This salad pairs nicely with grilled chicken or steak and a crusty bread.
  2. You can also toss some crusty bread cubes or farro into this salad to make it a bit heartier of a meal.
  3. Bleu cheese can be substituted for the feta and manchego cheeses.
  4. I chose not to add any additional salt to the recipe because of the salt from the meat, the cheeses, and the onions, but feel free to add more salt per your tastes.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Greek Salad

Greek Salad Up until we went to Greece, I typically thought of Greek salad as rather blah. With bland produce and a basic dressing, about the only thing the salad had going for it was the feta cheese (give me all the feta!!). And then, in Santorini, I had the most life-changing Greek salad ever. Literally, my life will never be the same (you can see the salad here). I have visions of this salad while I eat lunch, or nightly dreams where I’m back in Santorini eating it, and to this day I can still taste the sweet, crisp vegetables, the crunchy bread, and the salty feta all topped off with the slightest hint of oregano. The vegetables alone would have been life changing. They were literally bursting with juicy flavor unlike any I had ever experienced (even homegrown) and the green pepper (which I’m normally not a fan of) tasted like candy. Now, every time we go to a Greek restaurant, I order a Greek salad, in the hopes that it will somehow magically be like the one in Santorini, and every time I’m so let down by the plate they bring out, that I just want to send the plate back. I’ve informed Mr. RC that the only remedy to this problem is to go back to Santorini so I can get my Greek salad fill (and hoard about 50 pounds of it back on the plane). He had to go and be all practical and suggested I just recreate it at home. Obviously, my idea is much better, but to tide me over I’ll go with his idea. Of course, it’s not exactly identical (the vegetables aren’t quite up to par in flavor and mine is missing scallions), but this Greek salad is still, most definitely, life changing. 

Greek Salad Greek Salad Ingredients Croutons cucumber, tomatoes, peppers Greek-Salad-Recipe

Greek Salad
A light and fresh dish based on a traditional Greek salad served in Santorini
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Kalamata or Greek mix olives
  2. Caper berries
  3. Feta cheese
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Green pepper
  6. Cucumber
  7. Bread (I like to use a rustic or Italian style)
  8. Parsley
  9. Oregano
  10. Lemons
  11. Olive oil
Instructions
  1. First, make the "croutons". I like to use a cast iron skillet, but a regular skillet would work as well. Place the pan on a burner turned to medium heat. Add in some olive oil, and let it heat for a couple minutes before adding the bread. Toss the bread in the oil, and cook for a few minutes, tossing the whole time, until the bread is crispy and golden. Turn the burner off and set the pan aside.
  2. Next, prep and cut the vegetables and cheese. The feta cheese I like to cut into thick triangles and the tomatoes I like to cut into sixths. The peppers and cucumber I cut into thin, matchstick strips that are about 3-4 inches long.
  3. To begin assembling the salad, place a generous handful of croutons on the bottom of a large plate. Next, arrange the cucumber and pepper strips on top of the bread. Add on a few tomato slices and pieces of feta. Drizzle the entire plate with olive oil and squeeze on the juice of half a lemon. Finish the salad off with a sprinkle of oregano, salt and pepper, and garnish with parsley.
Notes
  1. This salad is great as an appetizer, a light lunch, or as a part of a dinner meal. We love to have this with grilled chicken and a glass of red wine.
  2. This can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Any leftovers can be refrigerator but keep in mind the bread will get soggy, so I would recommend storing the two separately if you do happen to have leftovers.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

3×3 Food- Picnic Salads {Springtime Farro Salad}

3 picnic salads When you were younger, did you ever play that game “Going On A Picnic…?” It had to have been mine and my sisters favorite game, especially for long car rides, which we just so happened to take a lot of (my poor parents). I still love to go on picnics (hands down, favorite warm weather activity), but these days, instead of bringing ‘A’ for asparagus, ‘B’ for bananas, and ‘C for cookies, I’m bringing ‘M’ for Mango-Berry Salad, ‘C’ for Chopped Antipasto Salad, and ‘F’ for Springtime Farro salad.

Speaking of farro, have you guys ever tried it? It’s incredibly delicious and super easy to make so I highly recommend adding it into your grain rotation.This farro salad recipe is light, fresh, and easy to make so it’s the perfect farro dish to make for all you farro-firsttimers.

picnic Salads farro salad farro salad recipes for farro recipes for picnic salads

Springtime Farro Salad
A light and refreshing salad that's perfect for warm weather and picnics
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups of faro, cooked (about 8 oz. uncooked)
  2. 2 apples, cubed
  3. 3 scallions, chopped
  4. A handful (about 1/4 cup) of fresh dill, shredded
  5. 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  6. Juice of 1 lemon
  7. 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  8. 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, toss the farro, apples, scallions, and dill with the lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Crumble the goat cheese on top right before serving.
  4. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Notes
  1. You can serve this salad right away, however I have found that it tastes even better after it has been marinating in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

 Don’t forget to check out the other picnic salads on Grace and Luci’s blogs. 

3 Easy Salad Dressing Recipes

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Dressing Everything is always better homemade (at least in my opinion), and salad dressing is no exception. A homemade dressing is the difference between a salad that’s just a salad, and a salad that’s delicious and explodes with flavor in your mouth. And of course, without all the added preservatives, you won’t feel quite so badly when you want to slather one of these dressings on your vegetables, or marinate your meat in it, dip your bread in it, or just plain eat it off the spoon (What?? Who?? Me?? Never!). 

Two of these salad dressing recipes (the Italian and the Shaker), have been made in my family for years (Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, Mom). In fact, my Grandmother always has a bottle of each in her fridge, and when I was younger, and she would prepare mashed potatoes for dinner, I would always sneak a couple of the potato skins and dip them in the shaker dressing (so yum!). The roasted garlic dressing I recently made up solely based off my obsession with roasted garlic. The creamy texture you get without having to add mayonnaise has quickly made it a favorite of mine not only for salads, but also for dipping bread.

I hope you enjoy these easy salad dressing recipes to jazz up your next salad, and I’d love to know- what’s your favorite salad dressing?

Shaker Salad Dressing Creamy Balsamic Italian Dressing

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Dressing
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of roasted garlic (about 12 cloves)
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  4. Juice of half a lemon
  5. 2 tablespoons of water
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. Dash of pepper
  8. 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart or immersion blender. Pulse for a few seconds, until all ingredients are blended together. Store in a glass jar (or other airtight container) in the refrigerator for up to one month. Shake before using.
Notes
  1. To roast garlic- cut the top off a head of garlic. Place it, cut side up, on a foil lined baking sheet, then drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil on top. Wrap the foil loosely around the top, then bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Shaker Salad Dressing
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup olive oil
  2. 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 2 teaspoons salt
  4. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  5. 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  6. Pinch of thyme
  7. 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce
  8. 4 cloves of garlic
  9. 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  10. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  11. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  12. 1 tablespoon parsley, fresh (or 1 tsp. if dried)
  13. 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  14. 2 tablespoons green pepper, minced (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart or immersion blender. Pulse for a few seconds, until all ingredients are blended together. Store in a glass jar (or other airtight container) in the refrigerator for up to one month. Shake before using.
Notes
  1. This will solidify in the refrigerator so make sure to remove it about 30 minutes prior to using, or run the bottle under hot water for a few seconds.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Creamy Balsamic Italian Dressing
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup olive oil
  2. 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I've also done this with 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, 1/4 c. mayo)
  3. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (you can also use apple cider or red wine vinegar)
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I've also used a handful of fresh basil)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (regular salt will work too)
  7. A dash of pepper
  8. 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart or immersion blender. Pulse for a few seconds, until all ingredients are blended together. Store in a glass jar (or other airtight container) in the refrigerator for up to one month. Shake before using.
Notes
  1. This will solidify in the refrigerator so make sure to remove it about 30 minutes prior to using, or run the bottle under hot water for a few seconds.
Adapted from My Great-Grandmother
Adapted from My Great-Grandmother
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Christmas Salad

easy, healthy Christmas salad

When it comes to diet I am a firm believer of “everything in moderation” (3 glasses of wine, french fries, and an ice-cream sundae is totally moderation, right?!). Despite my well-balanced diet (I swear I have one), it would appear otherwise if you looked through the recipes I feature here on RC. Since the holidays are especially notorious for being difficult on your waistline, I thought it was the perfect time to share one of my healthier recipes, an easy Christmas salad. Also, I may have consumed an entire recipe of english toffee (it was “burnt” so I couldn’t let it go to waste!) so my life kind of needed some healthiness in it. Annnnnd, I’m going to be shoving more ridiculously rich and buttery holiday recipes down your throat very soon so basically this salad is my way of helping you balance everything out in advance.

Also, it should be noted, this salad, while called a Christmas salad, is not just for Christmas (we eat similar versions of it year round). I simply call it a Christmas salad because of its festive red and green colors and because of how well it goes with a Christmas dinner menu.

easy Christmas salad Christmas salad fixings Christmas salad recipe Christmas Salad healthy Christmas salad

Christmas Salad with Cranberry DijonĀ Vinaigrette
Serves 4

For the salad:
1 large head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (for a unhealthier version use candied pecans)
1/3 cup of dried cranberries
1 apple, sliced (I like to use a Granny Smith, but use whatever variety you prefer)

For the dressing:
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar
3 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
1/2 a teaspoon of salt

 

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in the cuisinart. Puree until the cranberries are finely chopped up and everything is combined. This is a thick dressing that is a touch on the sour/spicy side. To make a thinner dressing- add more orange juice. To make a sweeter dressing- eliminate the vinegar and use only 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard.

To assemble the salad, add the lettuce to a salad/serving bowl. Layer on the apple slices then sprinkle with the cranberries and pecans. Drizzle with the dressing. Give the salad a quick toss right before serving.

Notes:

  • This salad can be prepared up to 4 hours in advance. Simply assemble the salad ingredients (minus the dressing) then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve the salad, toss on the dressing.
  • Though it becomes less healthy, this salad also tastes delicious with some cheese sprinkled on it (my favorites are goat, feta or bleu).
  • You can use pear in place of the apple and walnuts in place of the pecans.