I’m going to set the bar really high and right out tell you that I have yet to meet a single person who did not like this salad. It is the first to go at parties. I mean I converted my carnivorous, vegetable hating brothers to request this salad. Yes, they actually request this salad whenever we have family gatherings. My children ask for seconds. I am the designated salad maker in my family. And I finally decided to part with this recipe after holding on to it for almost ten years. Yes, I believe in the powers of this salad that much!
Growing up, I despised salad. I mean really, deeply loathed it to the point where I would entertain giving up television in exchange for never having to eat salad again. I think that was the experience a lot of us had growing up. Now, salad is the part of the meal I look forward to the most. I love the crunch of fresh, crisp lettuce; the earthy smell of freshly chopped vegetables; the salty, sweet, tangy cheese. I love all aspects of salad. You know why I hated it? It was bland, with little shreds of carrots and pieces of cucumbers, and iceberg lettuce. I have banished iceberg lettuce from my salads. It is after all, nutritionally vacant.
Not only does romaine lettuce do much better, nutritionally, it also doesn’t fall apart as easily. It has a crisp, hearty texture and a “clean” taste. Now pair it with roasted red peppers and caramelized red onion and you have the foundation for full meal that not only tastes good but brings it’s nutritional A game to the meal.
Salty, briny feta cheese has a sharp flavor and a smooth texture. It pairs well with the sweetness from the caramelized vegetables. The problem with feta is that it tends to fall apart and dissolve when handled too much. I get around that by add large chunks of it, after I’ve tossed the salad in the dressing and lightly tossing again, just to disperse the cheese evenly.
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into half inch strips
- 1 orange bell pepper, cut into half inch strips
- 1 large red onion, sliced into half in half rings
- 1 large tomato,seeds removed and diced roughly
- 1 large english cucumber (or a seedless variety), diced roughly
- 1 cup pitted black olives, halved
- 1 cup roughly chopped artichoke hearts packed in water
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 large head romaine, chopped into bite size pieces
- ½ cup lightly crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- for dressing:
- 3 tbsp good quality olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven at 400 degrees.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and toss peppers and onions with olive oil and salt and arrange in a single layer. Roast in oven for 35-40 minutes, flipping vegetables over halfway through, to ensure even cooking. Set aside to cool once cooked.
- to make dressing: In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, salt, pepper, and water and whisk to combine. While whisking rigorously, stream in olive oil until very well incorporated.
- In a large bowl, toss lettuce, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, chickpeas, and artichoke hearts, and cooked onions and peppers together. Top with dressing and toss to coat, making sure to get the vegetables at the bottom.
- Add the feta cheese and toss lightly, make sure to keep the crumbles in tact.
- Serve immediately.