Balsamic Greek Salad

Greek Salad with Balsamic Dressing + Anakena Chardonnay

Greek Salad with Balsamic Dressing | salad recipes | healthy recipes

I ran a 10K last weekend!

Greek dressing

Okay, in the interest of honesty, I walked most of it. But I finished it! It was the inaugural Disney World Dark Side race weekend [Dark Side as in Star Wars. Yes, I saw runners dressed as everyone from Rey to Slave Leia to Matt” the Radar Technician].

I did this:

  • To support Robby, whose idea it was
  • To put my money where my mouth is regarding getting in shape
  • To prove to myself that I could do a thing that I didn’t want to do

The expected results:

  1. I wouldn’t like running, but I would have fun at the race because it was at Disney World
  2. I would be really super proud of myself
  3. I would sign up for 10Ks every couple of months, even a half marathon

The ACTUAL results:

  1. I am pretty proud of myself!
  2. …but I still don’t like running.
  3. Also, it turns out that 6.2 miles (10K) is a long way even if it’s through Disney World
  4. …which means I’ll probably stick to 5Ks from now on.

I’m kind of disappointed that the race didn’t magically make me enjoy running (although now that I’ve written that, it does seem like it was a long shot). I did work out during lunch today, though, per my training schedule, so I appear to have gained a workout habit. Not the primary result I wanted, but a worthwhile result nonetheless.

Oh, and one really cool random thing? I saw my high school marching band! Disney sometimes pays in tickets for local groups to come out and play by the side of the course, and half a mile in, there was the band I spent four years of my life with, and my old band director, and they were in full uniform playing the Star Wars theme song. I wanted to yell something at the students, but in the end I couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t be weird (those kids are now TEN YEARS) younger than I am, so I took a really blurry photo and kept running. Go Regiment!

And now, hard left: a salad, plus a wine pairing from Robby!

Greek Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Greek SaladThis Greek salad is really made by the balsamic dressing. Any balsamic vinegar will do, but I encourage you to try this at least once with a nicer balsamic. If you’ve never tasted a really nice balsamic vinegar, get a little bottle and try it—it’s a completely different taste and textural experience.

You’ll notice there are several optional ingredients in the dressing. There are two versions of this: One is the simpler version that I prefer, the one that’s just vinegar, oil, a little mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. It’s a solid, straightforward balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a little tangy, a little sweet, perfectly serviceable.

Greek dressing ingredientsIf you add all of the ingredients, you get the more complex, layered flavors that Robby liked. (We did conduct a test, by the way—I had four ramekins out with different versions of this dressing, and I regret that I didn’t get a photo of them or the way the dressing splashed all over my pajama top when I got a little overenthusiastic with the whisk.) This version has a kind of sweet richness from the honey and shallot layered under the bite of the balsamic. If, like Robby, you like food that makes you think a little bit, you might prefer this one.

Try making the simpler version first, then split the dressing and add the extra ingredients. They are related but distinct.

Robby’s Recommendation

Pair salad with Anakena Chardonnay. This is an unoaked chardonnay from Chile’s Central Valley. It’s less like an American chardonnay and more like a pinot grigio, but with tropical flavors instead of citrus. (Also, it’s only $8.99 a bottle, which is hard to beat!)

Alternate: Willamette Valley Pinot Gris

Greek Salad with Balsamic Dressing + Anakena Chardonnay

Yield: 3-4 entree portions

Greek Salad with Balsamic Dressing + Anakena Chardonnay

Ingredients

Salad

1 bag romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped or shredded

1/2 pound deli ham, sliced into strips

1 cucumber, diced (cut into rounds, then quartered)

1/2 cup red onion, diced

Cherry or grape tomatoes

Pitted kalamata olives

Pepperoncinis

Feta cheese, crumbled

Balsamic Dressing

1/4 cup balsamic dressing

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium shallot minced, optional

1 teaspoon honey, optional

1/2 teaspoon oregano, optional

1/2 teaspoon basil, optional

1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

Assemble salad ingredients in a large bowl.

To make either version, whisk all ingredients EXCEPT for the oil together. Then drizzle the olive oil in while whisking, until it’s all incorporated. Or you could put it in a salad dressing bottle and just shake it before use; OR you could whiz it together in a food processor or blender.

This will last about a week in the fridge.

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