Sunday, January 29, 2012

Basic Techniques Series: Vinaigrettes (Lesson 2, Part 2)

(imported and edited post from "A Chef in Med School" 9/10/2009)

Basic Techniques Series: Vinaigrettes (Lesson 2, Part 2)

Making Hearty, Deli-style Salads:
Potluck fare or a quick meal on-the-go

This is Part 2 of 2 of the Basic Technique Series Lesson 2: Vinaigrettes. This cooking demonstration shows how to use the vinaigrette made in Part 1 (or any salad dressing that you purchase at the store) to make a hearty, deli-style salad - which is simply a salad made of a dressing on any combination of whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds/nuts and/or other protein. This technique will give you endless options for making a quick weeknight dinner, meal-on-the-go or a dish to take to a potluck. Many time-saving tips are given throughout. The example recipe used here is "Southwestern Vegetable & Brown Rice Salad with Lime Garlic Vinaigrette." The recipe is posted below.

Hearty, Deli-Style Salad
This recipe is the base recipe from which the “Southwestern Salad with Lime Garlic Vinaigrette” (below) recipe was adapted.  This recipe is not meant to be specific, but rather to give only the essential parts of a recipe for making an infinite number of hearty, deli-styles salads limited only by your imagination.  It focuses on the use of whole grains, healthful oils, lean protein sources and high-fiber, nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits so that you always have a healthful meal in your repertoire that can be ready in minutes with whatever you have on hand. 

Ingredients (example recipe)
1 part prepared and cooled Whole Grain(s) and/or Bean(s) of choice (example: 4 cups)
1 to 1-1/2 parts vegetables and/or fruits of choice, peeled, sliced, diced or otherwise prepared (example: 4-6 cups)
1/16 to 1/8 part toasted nut(s) or seed(s) of choice (example: 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
Dried and/or fresh herbs and/or spices, optional, to taste
1/8 to 1/4 part vinaigrette or other dressing of choice (example: 1/2 to 1 cup)
Salt, Pepper, to taste


  1. In a large bowl, mix together whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and/or spices that you have chosen to use.
  2. Dress with vinaigrette, erring on the side of using too little; you can always add more.  A properly dressed salad had a thin, shiny coating on all ingredient without any dressing pooling in the bottom of the bowl; add dressing accordingly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Toss the salad together and taste.  At this point, adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, herbs and spices.  If you are waiting to serve the salad for several hours or the next day, you will want to taste for seasoning again prior to serving.

Yield of example recipe proportions: 8 – 10 cups, or approximately 12 side servings or 6 main dish servings.

Storage: This salad taste good right away, but is best after sitting for a couple of hours.  It can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to five days.  This is a great make-ahead recipe to use for a meal one night of the week and for lunch later on. 

Serving suggestions: This is great served over fresh salad greens.  This recipe has a complete protein profile without any additional ingredients, but it also tastes great with the addition of you leftover grilled, sautéed or roasted protein of choice (tofu, tempeh, poultry, et cetera).

Jicama (actual size varies but most I see in the grocery store are generally bigger than a large baking potato)

Southwestern Salad with Lime Garlic Vinaigrette

This is the recipe used in the video, above.  It uses a variation on the “basic vinaigrette” from “Vinaigrettes, Part 1” and the “Hearty Deli-style Salad,” also above.

¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (*zest one of the limes before juicing if you wish to add chopped zest for extra lime flavor)
1-2 clove(s) garlic, finely minced or grated or ½ teaspoon minced garlic (the type sold in a jar pre-minced)
½-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped pickled or 1 chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (discard seeds if you don’t want it spicy)
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 cups julienne (1-1/2” length strips) jicama
1 small cucumber, medium (1/2”) dice
1 small red bell pepper, small (1/4”) dice
2 small carrots, grated or shredded
3 scallions, finely sliced or chopped
1-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup toasted pepitas (i.e. pumpkin seeds or other seeds, like sunflower seeds or pine nuts), optional
4 cups fully cooked, room temperature, brown rice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed, optional

1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix garlic (and lime zest, if using) into the lime juice and let it sit for at least five minutes, then whisk in the oil in a slow stream.

2. Taste and adjust acidity: the final vinaigrette should have a tangy flavor, but not be so sour as to cause puckering when you taste it.  If it is too sour, add a bit more oil; if it is not sour, add another tablespoon of lime juice.

3. Stir in jalapenos.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Whisk the cumin and coriander into the vinaigrette or still the spices directly into the salad, it doesn’t matter which you choose.

5. In a large mixing bowl, combine herbs, vegetables, pepitas and rice (basil, cilantro, cucumber, red pepper, carrots, scallions, jicama and brown rice).

6. Pour dressing over the top, adding just enough that when stirred well, the salad glistens with the vinaigrette but there is no vinaigrette pooling in the bottom of the bowl.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7. Wait to chopped and add avocado until just before serving to prevent it from turning brown and mushy.

Makes: about 8 cups (10 side servings or 5 main dish servings)

Serving suggestions: This is great served over fresh salad greens.  To add more protein try stirring in black beans or any leftover grilled, sautéed or roasted protein of choice (tofu, tempeh, poultry, et cetera).


WEB READERS: If you try the recipe, please share your ingredient ideas and what you liked or didn't like about the taste of the final dish in the comments section to inspire (or warn!) others.

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