Summer is close. Can you feel it? I think it’s hiding just beyond the gray clouds that have been dampening my spirits for days. Go away, clouds! I’m ready for sunshine and long days by the pool. Margaritas and late walks with Cookie. Potlucks full of fresh salads.
Since I often pull up my own salad archives to find a simple recipe and then kick myself for making my salads so involved, I thought I’d share a simple, summery dressing today. It’s inspired by classic basil pesto (basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and lemon) and comes together in just a few minutes in your food processor. I typed up a list of mix-and-match ingredients that should go well with it, too. It’s a build-your-own summer salad extravaganza!
I’m inevitably in a hurry when I make salads for potlucks and girls’ nights, so I’m pretty excited about a new-to-me option offered by DeLallo Foods. They are my favorite source of sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes and olives, not to mention whole wheat pasta. DeLallo packages up salad-sized portions of themed complementary flavors called SaladSavors, so you can just combine them with fresh greens and a dressing of your choice. Boom! Salad’s ready.
I threw together the salad you see here in about five minutes flat, thanks to DeLallo’s SaladSavors in Sharp Asiago. I say thumbs-up to making salads easy and eating more greens!
Mix-and-match flavors that pair well with this basil dressing:
- DeLallo SaladSavors in Sharp Asiago: shredded Asiago cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and marinated artichoke
- DeLallo SaladSavors in Zesty Feta: crumbled feta, Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers
- Bell peppers
- Fresh leafy greens
- Goat cheese
- Green beans
- Roasted eggplant
- Summer squash (zucchini and yellow squash)
- White beans
- Whole grains, etc. (farro, millet, quinoa, wheat berries…)
Let me know what you pair with this dressing! Be sure to snap a picture and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #cookieandkate. I can’t wait to see all of your summer salads!
Basil Pesto Salad DressingCourse: SaladsCuisine: Italian
This simple basil salad dressing takes cues from pesto and pairs marvelously with green salads, Italian/Greek flavors and a variety of bold, summery flavors. Recipe yields about ½ cup dressing and keeps well for up to 10 days.
- Basil dressing
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons raw pine nuts
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon, juiced)
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Salad as shown
4 ounces chopped romaine lettuce
4 ounces fresh spring greens
1 DeLallo SaladSavors in Sharp Asiago (shredded Asiago cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and marinated artichoke hearts)
Basil pesto dressing, to taste
- In the bowl of your food processor (a blender will probably also work), combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts. Pulse until coarsely chopped. While the machine is running, drizzle in the olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and blend until smooth. For best flavor, use immediately, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- STORAGE SUGGESTIONS: This dressing is best served immediately, but will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for another day or two.
- CHANGE IT UP: Feel free to play around with the herbs and nuts used in this recipe! Mint or cilantro would be lovely additions or substitutions. The pine nuts blend right into the dressing, which is nice, but you could also experiment with almonds, cashews, pepitas and sunflower seeds.