A summer chopped salad. It’s all I want right now! I just finished eating my massive nightly sundae, and I could still go for this like RIGHT NOW. The light, JUST barely creamy, champagne basil vinaigrette tossed into all of these little bits of crunchy veggies, sweet corn, fresh herbs, and chewy little pieces of brown rice or farro… it’s everything I want in a bowl right now.
So there are a few things that are CRUCIAL to this salad for me. And make it what it is.
- Sweet summer corn – I feel like corn gets a bad wrap. I’m totally on team corn. LOVE IT. and Feel free to get fancy and grill yours. But I’ve gotten so lazy and hooked on microwaving mine in the husks for like four minutes. Do you think less of me? I know dressed in those charred grill marks, it sure is pretty… but when my chicken’s already grilled from yesterday… I’d rather not hover over the grill in 100 degree heat– so I’ll eat my corn naked thanks.
- BASIL! Sometimes I add mint too, if I’ve got it on hand, I love what it adds but can live without it, but the basil is a MUST. I think fresh herbs are the best secret weapon in a salad. Underrated. GAME changer to add that fresh extra layer of flavor.
- CHOPPED- size matters. I like all of it small. Even the arugula I pile on the cutting board and chop fine. I feel like with it so chopped, and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper, you almost don’t even need dressing. Except that you need this dressing.
- THIS DRESSING- so light and simple. Definitely vinegary since it’s so light on oil to keep the fats low. But man I’ve really grown to love that! If you’re not into that and not watching your fat, whisk in a good 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil! But as much as I love olive oil, it’s not where I’m willing to spend so much fat, and I love the tangy, slightly sweet, herby kick of this one.
Ok so let’s talk macro-counting if you’re into it. Or skip down to the recipe if you’re not. And tell me if I’m alone. When I started counting macros, it got too hard to build a big family salad and figure out how to track it– so I stopped. I stopped!
But HELLO– I’ve missed tossing a giant salad for everyone like a normal person. (Or letting my three year old toss it like below.)
I’m sick of building my own in the corner like an old lonely salad maid and I’m determined to be able to serve us all from one giant bowl again! I’m hoping this will help others be able to do the same.
So usually for me, a salad recipe is just a rough outline — you get the gist and then do whatever amounts you want. And while you can still OBVIOUSLY do that. I’ve written this recipe so that you can actually follow it to a tee, then serve yourself however much you want and log my version from MFP! Which also means you can pre-log a portion of it and know it’ll work with your dinner before you ever make it. I would have killed for that in the beginning! So I’m counting on at least one person wanting to give me a virtual kiss for this.
The down side is maybe you don’t want corn, or rice, or cherry tomatoes in yours… and you don’t have to! Feel free to use it as an outline and make your single portion and log the normal way, one component at a time. But if you ever need a big beautiful bowl of salad you can serve a group and easily track? She’s your girl.
And if you’re just making a nice big salad for yourself, half this recipe! It should be perfect. Add your favorite chicken… or my favorite grilled chicken… more greens if your bowl’s not full enough… ha! done.
Summer Chopped Salad with Light Champagne Basil Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
- Several handfuls 150 g of Arugula (my favorite) or mixed greens -chopped fine. (Or if you’re not trying to track this as my recipe, just plenty of greens for your family!)
- 1 cup cooked brown rice farro, or your favorite grain (136 g of rice, 175 g farro)
- 1 cup chopped cucumber 130g
- 1 cup corn sliced off the cob 150 g (grilled if you’re ambitious! I wasn’t, so I microwave mine in the husk for 3-4 minutes)
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes 150 g
- 1/2 cup diced red onion 55 g
- 1/2 cup diced sweet bell peppers 75g
- Half of an avocado 60 g
- 1 oz shaved parmesan 28g
- 1/4-1/2 cup fresh chopped basil 12 g
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint 5g (*optional, I add it if I have it, but basil is KEY!)
- Salt and Pepper
- Everything Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joes optional
- 1/4 cup 60 g of champagne basil vinaigrette (recipe below)
For the Champagne Basil Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup champagne wine vinegar can use red wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil
- Juice from 1/2-1 whole lemon
- 1/4 tsp koser salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 7 g 1/2 tbs honey
- 15 g 1 tbs olive oil
- 100 g non-fat greek yogurt
For the Vinaigrette:
- Blend together all ingredients from the vinegar to the honey. You don’t have to go crazy here, I like some bits of herbs in mine.
- Continue to blend while slowly drizzling in the olive oil.
- Add yogurt and give it one last whirl.
- Store in fridge until you’re ready to use. Keeps for about three days.
For the Salad:
- Make sure everything is chopped small. Add greens to a giant bowl and top with everything else!
- Drizzle on about 60 g of the Champagne Basil Vinaigrette and toss.
- Season with salt and pepper and everything bagel seasoning if you’ve got it!
- If you’re adding chicken, this apple cider dijon is our go-to! Always on hand in my fridge to throw in to salads all week.
- *Rice and farro are similar enough in macros to use interchangeably- photographed here is rice, I buy the frozen packs from Trader Joes for ease and I love them. But I really love the big thick chewiness of farro! I get mine in a bag from Trader Joes, (it’s on my list of Trader Joe’s Favorites.) It’s easy to cook– just like pasta- boil then drain.)
- I’m not a huge meal-prepper. But when I get hooked on something (like I am this salad, this week) I definitely try and give myself some short cuts. I love to keep baggies stored within one pyrex in my fridge each with chopped cucumber, peppers, corn, and herbs… whatever leftover grain… for easy tossing the next day.
- For macro-tracking in My Fitness Pal, search for “Lillie Eats and Tells Summer chopped salad”. You should find an entry w/o dressing, and one WITH dressing. So you can make this exactly and log your portion, or you can log just the salad if you choose to use a different kind or different amount of dressing! To search the dressing alone, look for “Lillie Eats and Tells Light Champagne Basil Vinaigrette”.