If you are looking to really up your game with salad recipes, then this Farmer's Market Salad with beet vinaigrette is the one for you. Lettuce alone would be boring and this salad is anything but boring. Full of every vegetable I could find at my local farmer's market (hence the name of the salad), and a most delicious beet vinaigrette that is bright and fresh.
Summer months are perfect for main course salad recipes. It is usually hot out, nobody wants to turn on their oven, and nobody wants to eat heavy food. Salad recipes can be whatever you want them to be, they are super adaptable, like my Thai chicken salad with noodles or my Tuscan white bean tuna salad. And like this farmer's market salad, these can be made with whatever vegetables you have on hand.
But ultimately, nothing beats a good homemade dressing - nothing. And we are all about the light vinaigrette dressings in this house, like my honey lemon vinaigrette that is basically good on everything. And this beet vinaigrette is so bright and vibrant that it will be a welcome addition to any of your salad recipes - main course or side dish.
What are the most popular salads?
While I never really thought to ask this, I have seen it asked other places and was actually curious myself, so I did some looking, and turns out cole slaw tops the list followed by caesar (which would probably top my list), then macaroni salad and Chinese chicken salad and in fifth is cobb salad (also one of my faves).
That are the top three salad dressings?
So this one, I kind of already knew the answer, even though I knew I was not going to like it. RANCH. Puke, this is by far my least favorite, in fact I loathe it so much I can barely even look at it. Creamy, heavy dressings are just not my thing. But second is Caesar which is a vinaigrette and one that I love, and rounded out by Italian.
I wish I could take total credit for this farmer's market salad, but I can't. It is an adaptation of a salad recipe I found in Saveur many many years ago. It is the perfect combination of cooked, pickled and raw veggies. All of which add amazing flavor and different texture to the salad. And what makes this salad recipe so great is its adaptability to what produce looks good, what's in season and what is in front of you. So while I am giving you a list of ingredients, this is a loose list. The farmer's market salad can and should be, changed to your preferences.
- Cherry or grape tomatoes. These will get tossed in some vinegar before assembling the salad
- Fingerling potatoes. These get a quick pan fry with some onions.
- Whole grain bread. Feel free to use any kind of bread, but I think whole grain adds a nice texture.
- 1 cup pickled red cabbage from a jar drained. This gives a great sweet and sour flavor to the salad
- Red peppers. These stay raw and thinly sliced for great texture and crunch.
- Yellow summer squash. Also stays raw for a good bite.
- Lightly steamed green beans. You want them to still have some crunch.
- Cooked chicken. YOu can grill up some chicken breasts, use leftover chicken or a rotisserie from the grocery store. Or, you can leave it out altogether and make this a fully vegetarian salad.
- Hard boiled eggs
- Salad greens. I like to use arugula for the peppery flavor.
Ingredients for the beet vinaigrette
Like I feel with most salad recipes, this dressing is the star of the show. It is tangy and sweet and incredibly vibrant and holds up nicely to the heavier elements (like the potatoes) in this salad. I made a tray of this salad for a party last month and didn't tell anyone what was in the dressing (even though everyone asked because of the bright color), I just said it is a vinaigrette and you should absolutely try it...not one person didn't like it. When I told them it is a beet vinaigrette and I can't tell you how many were shocked because they hate beets.
This beet vinaigrette couldn't be easier, all the ingredients get tossed into a blender and blended together for a thick, brightly colored perfectly balanced dressing.
- Dijon mustard. I prefer grainy.
- Red wine vinegar
- A neutral oil - like avocado or vegetable.
- Olive oil
- Pickled beets. Make sure to drain them, but don't rinse them.
- Fresh herbs. I used basil, marjoram, mint and parsley.
Tips for success
- Don't overthink it. Farmer's market salad should be thrown together with whatever vegetables you have around and really love.
- Make sure to mix up your vegetables. Cook some of them, leave some raw for a bright, crisp texture, and definitely throw in one pickled.
Make extra dressing. I don't know if I will ever be able to fully describe how delicious this dressing really is, and that you should absolutely make it. It is great for the farmer's market salad, great as a dip for fresh vegetables, and great on a sandwich as well.
- saute pan
For the salad
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1.5 lbs Fingerling potatoes
- 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1 small onion thinly sliced
- 8 slices whole grain bread cut into cubes
- 1 cup pickled red cabbage drained
- ½ cup raw red pepper chopped
- ½ cup yellow summer squash cut into pieces
- 1 cup green beans lightly blanched and halved length-wise
- 1 cup cooked chicken
- 4 hard-boiled eggs peeled, and quartered
- 2 cups arugula
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the vinaigrette
- 1.5 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup vegetable oil or any neutral oil
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small shallot chopped
- 4 tablespoon fresh herbs I did basil, mint, marjoram and parsley
- 1 cup pickled beets drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 400.
- Toss tomatoes, 1⁄4 cup vinegar, the 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, 6-8 minutes. Drain and thinly slice.
- Next heat 1⁄4 cup oil and garlic in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook until soft, about 1 minute. Add bread, salt, and pepper and toss together with the bread. Place the coated bread and garlic on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 mins until browned and crisp.
- Heat the remaining 1⁄4 cup oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook until slightly caramelized, 5-7 minutes. Add sliced potatoes, salt, and pepper; cook until potatoes are golden, 10-12 minutes.
For the vinaigrette
- Puree red wine vinegar with beets, mustard, honey, shallot, salt, pepper, and 3 tbsp. water in a blender until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in remaining oil; puree until emulsified.
To assemble the salad
- Spread mixed greens on a large platter. Arrange tomatoes, potatoes, croutons, cabbage, summer squash, red pepper, green beans, chicken and eggs in alternating rows over greens. Drizzle about 1⁄4 cup dressing over the top and sprinkle with your herb selection. Serve additional dressing on the side.