Balsamic Vinegar Salad – A Vegetable Delight

Origins of balsamic vinegar are from northern Italy. It’s one of the most popular salad dressings and wakes up the flavor of every vegetable mixed with it.

Authentic balsamic vinegaris still produced from the area of Modena, Italy. If you are looking to add a natural flavor to your salad, I recommend either the Modena red or the white balsamic vinegars. The red balsamic vinegar has as a rich and heavier flavor to it and it’s also what we tend to see more often in restaurants. The white balsamic vinegar is much lighter in acidity, but its signature flavor is still there to be enjoyed.

Mixed with olive oil it makes a wonderful salad dressing to use over a bed of lettuce, or tossed with fresh vegetables; like cherry tomatoes, onions and basil. I love the vinegars and oil as a dipping sauce with bread or poured over a thick slice of tomato, topped with buffalo cheese and a fresh basil leaf.

Salad Course

In our house the salad course is just as important as the main entree so there is some effort on the preparation. The first course is the beginning of the meal and its purpose is to lead into the next course with anticipation. With that said the making this salad is a piece of work and it takes some thought to what ingredients are available and how the finished salad is presented.

As a reminder about health benefits to this colorful salad, the more colors in the food the healthier the dish is for you. It’s the abundance of nutrients that this colorful salad contains that makes it so beneficial to your health. This house favorite salad uses a balsamic vinegar dressing to top it off! This balsamic vinegar salad is appealing, tasty and it makes a great first course as well as an entree.

A tip, if you need to keep this salad in the refrigerator, while you are preparing other dishes; try covering the salad with a damp paper towel, it will help the salad to maintain its crispiness.

This salad is such a staple that we have gotten pretty good at pouring the balsamic vinegar first directly over the lettuce bed, followed by the olive oil for the perfect splash of flavors. Until you find your perfect splash, I suggest that you stick with the mixture of equal parts between the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil.

Serve

Depending on your table setting and who’s coming to dinner, you can serve this salad in a separate salad bowl with a side of bread and butter. I have Italian friends who like it on the same plate with their pasta. So how you dish up this balsamic vinegar salad, is your choice. Be sure to offer an additional bowl of blue cheese, in case someone wants more added to their salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of lettuce salads or use what you have in your kitchen
  • 1/2 red onion – chopped
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes or 2-3 whole tomatoes quartered
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

First we start with a colorful salad of fresh green and red lettuces. Be sure to wash your lettuce, even if you are using the prepackaged salads mixes.

  • In a shallow bowl, place your first layer of lettuce
  • Next slice thin or diced half of a red onion and sprinkle it on top of the lettuce bed
  • Tomatoes – use ripe cherry tomatoes or quarter a full tomato
  • Crumble blue cheese over the top of the salad
  • Salt and pepper, salting at this pint allow the flavors to fuse together
  • Just before you are ready to serve this salad you want to drizzle the balsamic dressing over the entire salad and let it sit for just a minute
  • Before placing the salad on the table, toss it and make sure that some of the tomatoes and blue cheese crumbles show up on the top of the tossed salad

Enjoy!

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