Happy Wednesday! The summer is here!!!!
I have a perfect salad recipe that can go with any and every type of meal you will enjoy this summer. This is actually my attempt to re-create “Apple Gorgonzola Salad” from “Buca di Beppo”. The salad has granny smith apples, candied walnuts and pecans, dried cranberries, and gorgonzola cheese tossed with lettuce in light vinaigrette. The fresh crunch and tanginess from the apple, creamy pockets of saltiness from the cheese, and refreshing and light vinaigrette with just a touch of sweetness from the walnuts can satisfy anyone, and yes, even a non-salad lover!
I didn’t grow up eating Italian food, so it is not exactly on my list of “Georgie’s food cravings”. I never had a craving for pasta. I rarely have a craving for pizza. Then, fresh homemade pasta with bolognese sauce happened. Oh my goodness, that was amazing!!! Ever since that moment, I’m kind of on this “Italian food” kick.
I used to crinkle my nose at the idea of going to an Italian restaurant, but not any more! The more exposure I have to Italian food at restaurants will help me learn how to make those dishes at home. I recently went out to a dinner with Hubby and couple of friends. We went to “Buca di Beppo”. It’s a chain restaurant that serves Italian food family style. All the dishes are meant to share with people at the table. It was my first time going there, and I enjoyed all the dishes we ordered, but, particularly, I loved their Apple Gorgonzola Salad.
Salad is not my hubby’s favorite choice of appetizer, but even he enjoyed the dish. While I was savoring my new favorite salad, I told myself I need to re-create the dish, and I did!
I thought about using regular Italian vinaigrette at first, but the one I tasted had very subtle and light flavor, but I could taste hint of mustard. I am a huge fan of mustard. I equally love all the mustards and there is never any discrimination toward this beloved condiment. So I decided to make a light mustard-based vinaigrette for the salad.
I really enjoy making salad dressing at home—not because it’s a hip thing to do and not because I’m a food blogger. My grand reason for making salad dressing at home is because I usually get tired of eating the salad dressing after, oh maybe the fourth time eating it?! I used to have five to seven different salad dressings that were occupying the precious space of my fridge. Then a year or two passed and those salad dressings found their way to trash can. I hate wasting food and throwing away almost-full bottles of dressing didn’t feel right. Ever since then, I try my best to make my own in, of course, small quantities.
This salad dressing is very light and, therefore, won’t interfere with the other wonderful ingredients that really make this salad shine. In my humble opinion, salad dressing should always be a tiny assistance but never a star. The true star of the salad is different veggies and fruits!
Instead of buying over-priced candied nuts, I made my own at home using Gimme Some Oven’s Candied Pecans recipe! These are super addicting, and they make great snacks!
I am sharing the vinaigrette recipe that I used for the salad. There really isn’t any special recipe for the salad itself. It is just a matter of assembling it. So here is how I assembled my Apple Gorgonzola salad:
Apple Gorgonzola Salad
- 3-4 cups of romaine lettuce
- 1 green apple, sliced
- 3-4 tablespoons gorgonzola crumbles
- 2 tablespoons candied nuts
- 3-4 tablespoons vinaigrette
- In a large bowl, lightly toss together romaine lettuce and vinaigrette.
- On a large plate, place the dressed lettuce.
- On the side of the plate, place the apple slices. Sprinkle with candied nuts and cheese. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon whole grain mustard
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place all the ingredients in a jar with the lid.
- Shake well to mix.