Monday, June 20, 2011

Bird's Nest Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spring salads make me sing!

  1. The ratio is one part vinegar (or other acid) to three parts oil. That is very convenient because it breaks down to one teaspoon to one tablespoon.
  2.  The acid can be any vinegar (rice, balsamic, wine vinegar, lemon juice, etc.). The oil is most often a good extra virgin olive oil, but it might be grapeseed or canola (if I want to minimize it's flavor) or sesame, walnut or mayonnaise.
  3. Add mustard (Dijon, yellow or any flavor) for pungency and to stabilize the mixture.
  4. Usually I mix it in the bowl before adding salad ingredients. 

Also, some fun and easy tips to change a basic vinaigrette recipe up a bit:
  • Use stevia, (I prefer liquid stevia in dressings) sugar or pure maple syrup instead of honey
  • Use a flavored vinegar; tarragon, raspberry or red wine, champagne, rice wine or white wine vinegar instead of balsamic
  • Use a spicy or whole grain mustard instead of Dijon.
  • Garlic or not, it's your choice.
  • Add some fresh chopped green onion, dried onion or some Italian seasoning or any other herbs you like.
  • If you choose to use a juice, always use fresh; lemon, lime, or orange juice. 
So like me are you amazed that this is the last day of Spring?  We have been working in our yard, raking, planting fruit and shade trees and hanging feeders to bring in the birds.  One of my favorite things about our house is a small pond that is behind us and the birds and ducks like to congregate there, but I miss seeing them close-up.  So in their honor, and the fact that it took removing 3 nests from our front porch, (birdie behavior modification), "hey flying friends, we'd like you to move to the backyard, please."  Finally they complied and we are now observing new baby birds!

Here's an easy composed salad, my ode to Spring....Bird's Nest Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

I found this little rake like tool at TJ Maxx, (I have no idea of what it's called ;D) and pulled it down the sides of yellow and green zucchini...

creating yellow and green julienne shreds that I laid over top a romaine and spinach bed.  

We grilled up some chicken breast, let it rest for 5-10 minutes and slice it on the diagonal.

Garnish nests with any of your favorite veggies; cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and marinated artichokes, quartered.  Finish with quartered hard boiled eggs, lightly roasted asparagus spears and feta cheese and add my favorite go-to dressing.

Best Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
Mix well with a whisk or food processor.

Good-bye spring, hello summer!


      1. Love all the colors in this salad, perfect for summer!

      2. This salad is perfect! Fresh, colorful and brimming with flavor. Hearty with the egg and chicken too :)

      3. Thanks for the vinaigrette recipe Gnee! Love your new salad toy too:@)

      4. You have my mouth watering here...I love big bowls of salad filled with fun and unexpected inexpedience (hubby not so much on the unexpected).
        I think I am going to try your easy to make vinaigrette too

      5. Yay! The salad lady is back! I am in the mood for some new salad ideas since that's the main thing I like to eat in the summer. I am so definitely shredding some squash on my next masterpiece. I love that.

      6. What a beautiful salad! It looks like a piece of artwork! Hope you guys are doing well. Sending hugs from soggy Nebraska!

      7. It all sounds so good! I love that little rake, and what it does to the zucchini - so pretty.

      8. Yum, yum yum -- I can't believe how fast the summer has gone! Better take some time to smell the roses. While visiting your site, I just said yes to my son making a fire in the fire pit -- it's a bit late, but I guess that is taking time to smell the roses. I hope your husband is doing well. I want one of those cool vegetable tools. Joni

      9. Gnee,
        That is my kind of salad. I love a chicken breast in a salad. I need to go to the market.

      10. Wow, I would say that is just about a perfect meal! I love a good salad with homemade vinaigrette. Thanks for the recipe and excellent tips.

      11. That looks so delicious!
        I had no idea why the dressing needed to be parts and such.
        Thanks for the great lesson.

        The veggies are so pretty and inviting.
        I was feeling all gourmetish cuz I cut up a fresh pineapple and used a huckleberry vinegarette (not homemade....don't judge)
        You inspire me!

      12. I've never seen such a pretty salad! This looks so fresh & yummy!

      13. Anything w/asparagus has my name on it.

        Would luv for our readers to discover this.
        please add it to our linking party here
        Have a great week,

      14. This sounds wonderful....and looks even better. Beautiful..

      15. Come make those salads for me! That is soooo mouthwatering! I am craving a salad in this heat today. I knew we would soon be complaining about the heat - 96 today - and now the snow melt should become a real problem!!!

        That little rake is so great. I love how tiny it shredded the veggies. Isn't TJ Maxx a treasure hunt? Love it.

      16. Yum

        I am just reminding everyone about tonights link party that runs Friday evening through Mondays!
        I also have an ongoing give away link party now too.
        Hope to see you soon.
        come strut your stuff

      17. Looks delicious! Perfect Summer dinner.


      Thanks so much for leaving a comment. I read each and every one and they make me sing! renée