Salad with Basil Pesto Dressing

I bet y’all had just about given up on me.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking at all (though it has been substantially less than usual), it’s that I was on vacation and since I returned I’ve been working like a crazy person.  My work days have been even longer than that last sentence!  Tonight I’m going to try to catch up just a little.

My first cooking assignment post-vacay was to bring a salad to the monthly potluck.  I hate making salad.  It’s boring.  This was to be a side salad so not a lot of opportunity for creativity.  Still, I wanted to bring something worthy of the potluck girls.  Two things that made this salad a little special:  roasted vegetables and homemade dressing.  I diced the peppers and a red onion and put them under the broiler sprinkled with a little salt.  Twenty minutes under the broiler and the vegetables were a little tender and sweet enough to balance the dressing.  My garden is still churning out tomatoes so I threw in a few of those and a little cucumber to round things out.  It’s awfully pretty!

The dressing is the key piece of this.  My basil plants did really well this year.  I have plenty of dried basil to get me to next summer and now enough fresh basil pesto to last a while.  Pesto is a very versatile condiment.  You can add it to cream cheese and spread it on crackers.  You can mix it with a little Duke’s mayonnaise and make fantastic chicken salad.  Of course you can eat it on pasta.  Turns out you can also stir in some vinegar and make a salad dressing with it.  Add equal parts pesto and red wine or white balsamic vinegar.  I used 3 tablespoons of each to make enough for this large salad bowl.

My only tip about salad is to keep the dressing on the side.  There’s always salad left over at the end of dinner.  If you’ve tossed the dressing with the whole bowl your salad will be slimy and gross when you try to have it for lunch the next day.  If you let everyone dress their own salad folks will be happier and your lunch won’t be so wilty.  I had two lunches from the leftovers of this salad.  I added chicken one day and shrimp the next.  Thumbs up to both.

Good? Yep.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Sure.
Special shopping? No way.

Salad with Basil Pesto Dressing

Ingredients

Green leaf lettuce, chopped
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
4-6 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced

3 T fresh basil pesto
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T white balsamic vinegar

Directions

Put peppers and red onion in a shallow pan and broil 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and sweet. Toss with lettuce and green onions.

Whisk together pesto and vinegar. Serve with salad.

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