Tag: refreshing salads

Five-Minute Chef–Simple Caprese Salad

Need something quick and delicious for dinner? This simple caprese salad takes five minutes to prepare. Serve it with some rustic bread and a glass of peach iced tea (my favorite) and you’ll have a fabulous, healthy meal in the blink of an eye. Here’s what you need to prepare this salad:

Simple Caprese Salad

2-3 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced (I bought mine at the farmer’s market)
Fresh basil, chopped
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Place several tomatoes on each plate, top with slices of fresh mozzarella and chopped basil. Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle on top of salad. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. That’s it. So simple and delicious.

Weekend Chef: Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad

I pulled this recipe for Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad from the September 2011 issue of Southern Living Magazine and placed it in my recipe folder a year ago. It seemed like an odd combination of ingredients and I wasn’t sure that I’d like it, but I was curious so in my folder it went.

I remember thinking at the time that this recipe would either be great or it would be awful, and today I put it to the test. It was fabulous. From the tangy sweet and sour dressing to the crunchy broccoli,  pecans, and red onion; smoky bacon, cool crisp grapes, and chewy bow tie pasta this salad has everything a salad lover craves and more–it’s a regular party in your mouth. I made a couple of  revisions to the recipe to suit my taste and reduce the preparation time and I’ve noted them below. I hope you enjoy this pasta salad as much as my family did.

Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad

1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (I didn’t bother to toast them)
1 16-oz. box bow-tie pasta (cooked al dente)
1 lb. fresh broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise (I used Duke’s mayonnaise)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (I used a jar of Hormel real bacon pieces)

Prepare pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, separating the florets into small pieces with a paring knife. Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar in a large bowl, add broccoli florets, pasta, diced onions, grapes, bacon, and pecans. Cover and chill for 3 hours (or eat it immediately like I did because it’s so darn good and I couldn’t wait). Give this refreshing salad a try and let me know what you think.

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