I know, I know. It’s not the most exciting thing I can write about. I mean, who doesn’t know how to make a salad? But hear me out. I was serving pasta and nothing is more unhealthy than a pasta dish because there’s very few elegant ways to sneak vegetables in there. And serving a traditional vegetable side with it seemed a little off. Hence the salad. Plus, if you buy the right greens, it can be really healthy.
Now iceberg lettuce has essentially no nutritional value and romaine has ver little. I am also not a fan of the texture of romaine lettuce. So I opted for a mixture of spinach and radicchio, both fairly nutritious greens. Bagged spinach was also on sale but I didn’t think an entirely spinach salad would go over well, so I used the bitter radicchio as a complement. Another preference of mine is a bag of power greens. It’s like a bag of the healthiest leaves you can get. And honestly I prefer buying a bag of mixed greens because if I bought a whole head of everything I’d need, I’d have a lot of salad to eat through that would probably just go t waste.
So this is what radicchio looks like. It looks a lot like a tiny red cabbage (so much so that it was actually charged as red cabbage because the check-out person didn’t realize it was a different produce. Oh well. Saved me some money). And much like cabbage, you have to cut out the tiny core part since that’s essentially inedible. Then I cut it into salad sized chunks and mixed it together with a couple handfuls of spinach.
In addition to a different flavor to jazz up the spinach, the radicchio adds a nice color to the salad as well. Then, I added in some feta cheese for a little creaminess and some walnuts for crunch and texture. It’s important, at least in my opinion, to make a salad that is not a singular texture. Because then it’s boring and actually pretty unappealing after the first few bites. You can also add in raw vegetables that you typically like to eat in a salad but I was going for simplicity. And because I served this with pasta, I opted out of croutons because I was serving enough bread as it was. But we did have some nice homemade sourdough bread that would’ve made the perfect crouton. Some other time I suppose.
As for the vinaigrette, I opted for a super simplistic lemon-dijon vinaigrette. Personally, I don’t care for any dressing that’s not a vinaigrette because I think they’re super heavy and super gross when a salad is even a little bit overdressed. But to each their own. For my super simple homemade lemon-dijon vinaigrette, I used some honey, dijon, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. All you need to do is throw this into a bowl and whisk it up pretty thoroughly.
I only made enough vinaigrette to cover this salad, but you can always make it in bulk and have it on hand for any other salads you make later on.
I only add the dressing to the salad right when I’m ready to serve it. I don’t want the salad getting soggy because that’s also unappetizing. You could also just serve the vinaigrette on the side so people can add as much or as little as they want, but I didn’t give my dinner guests that option.
So there you have it, a quick side dish that can really help make pasta or anything a little more nutritious.
Spinach and Radicchio Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1 head of radicchio
- ½ a bunch of spinach
- 2 oz walnuts
- 4 oz feta cheese
- 3 tbs olive oil
- zest of ½ lemon
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbs Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbs honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Cut radicchio into bite sized leaves
- Toss with spinach
- In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon, sugar, honey, salt, and pepper
- Toss walnuts and feta into radicchio and spinach
- Add vinaigrette just before serving
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegetarian