26 July 2008

Chopped Salad Verde with Sweet Pea Vinaigrette

My Hubs is a beer nerd, it's true. He is one of those guys who, when his pint of microbrewed-fancy-schmancy-oddly-named beer is placed in front of him, he will hold it up to the light to look at the color and stuff. Then he carefully puts the glass back down on the table and smells it for awhile. Then he sips it, and tilts the glass to ogle the lacing. Then he scribbles furiously in his pocket beer journal. Oh, yes. He is one of those weirdos. And yet I married him anyway.

Due to this affliction of his, I am guaranteed a meal his favorite restaurant/brewery in town at least twice a month. And I'm not complaining, really - Free State Brewing Company has not only great beer, but awesome food as well. More often than not, I go for my most favoritest thing on their menu: the chopped salad verde.

I'm a chopped salad nut. This one is like my other favorite chopped salad, with lots of veggies and pasta, but this version also has this a great tangy-yet-slightly sweet vinaigrette along with huge chunks of avocado and a lovely Vella Jack cheese. Mmm, what a good salad. So imagine my delight when, the last time I ordered this salad, our waitress casually mentioned the recipe had been printed. Printed! Awesome! That means I can make it at home!

Make it at home I do, and will continue to do. A lot. It costs less than $10 that way, you see. ;) Plus, you'll have tons of leftovers with this recipe (well, if you usually cook for two; it'll serve 4-6). That is not a problem: this salad is even better the next day, after the flavors meld.

Chopped Salad Verde with Sweet Pea Vinaigrette


For the dressing:
1/2 c. fresh or frozen sweet peas
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. honey
1 clove roasted garlic
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1/3 c. canola oil
1/4 c. water

For the salad:
1 c. dry pasta (baby shells or elbows)
2 ripe avocado chopped
4 oz. (about 4 c.) fresh spinach, chopped
2 oz. grated Vella Dry Jack Cheese (or a mild hard cheese)
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 small carrots, julienne cut

Make the dressing:
Place all of the dressing ingredients except oil and water in a food processor and blend until well combined. (Alternatively, place the ingredients in a large, deep bowl and use an immersion blender.)

While pulsing the processor, slowly add oil to emulsify. Thin with water as needed to salad dressing consistency.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, place all remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. When pasta is cooked, drain, run under cold water to chill, and drain again. Add cooked chilled pasta and all of the vinaigrette to the bowl and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.


Anonymous said...

this looks so delicious! I was just thinking about putting the chop salad on our menu for the week since it's too hot to cook, maybe I'll try this one instead! I haven't been to Free State Brewery in a few years, I don't think Tyler's ever been, I'll have to take him sometime soon.

Amanda said...

That looks absolutely delicious!

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Anonymous said...

what a good salad, perfect to mixed with Generic Viagra, according to my wife this salad have a curious flavor, definitely I going to taste it this weekend.

Unknown said...

Oh. My. Goodness. I also love this salad and finally decided to Google it and try to recreate it at home. Low and behold, you've done it for me.

Thank you so much. You are a goddess.