Lighten up!  Spring is here and summer is just around the corner (alright, alright, just let me dream for a second).  You can almost smell the aroma of ripe tomatoes, taste the sweetness of fresh corn, and wipe the juice of Georgia peaches dripping down your chin.

For now though, I celebrate longer, lighter, sunnier days with this Chopped Salad with Roast Beef and Homemade Croutons.  The salad took place of crepes on our Sunday breakfast table.  Along with the salad, I drank a glass of tomato juice.  The Artist sipped a glass of chilled Chenin Blanc.  Regardless of your beverage choice, I encourage you to chop the ingredients for the salad and enjoy the meal in the company of someone you like.

Chopped Salad with Roast Beef and Homemade Croutons

Ingredients

1 large tomato, diced
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup yellow corn, fresh
1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons banana peppers, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
salad greens (pick your favorite)
olive oil
2 slices of crusty bread, cubed
salt and pepper to taste

balsamic syrup (purchased or made at home from balsamic vinegar)

sliced roast beef
Directions

1.  Combine all vegetables in a large salad bowl.
2.  Heat olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high heat.  
3.  Add bread cubes; season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring often, until bread is golden brown.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook croutons until crisp.  Set aside.

4.  Drizzle the salad with olive oil and balsamic syrup.  Mix gently and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.



5.  Mound the salad on two plates.  Lay roast beef on top of the salad and garnish with croutons.  The croutons, still hot, will sizzle slightly as they come in contact with the salad – fun!

Add your beverage of choice and enjoy this delightful, colorful, and healthy salad.

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