People frequently equate the word “summer” with other phrases, such as “vacation,” “beach time,” “hot,” “mosquitoes.” As a lover of food, I typically associate it with “barbecue.” Whenever my friends hint at the possibility of a cookout, I become ecstatic. My mind starts whirling as I imagine all the dishes I could create. I do a quick mental inventory of my go-to recipes and ones I’ve been dreaming about trying. Should I stick with classics like potato salad or baked beans? My friends love meat, and my carnitas are always a hit. I could make a decadent dessert, maybe the Lime Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce I’ve wanted to make for the longest time. Or do I even have a time in my schedule to make something elaborate, which leads my thoughts to guacamole. Just sitting here typing about barbecues makes my mouth is salivate!
As we roll into the season of barbecues, I am dedicating the next several posts to dishes that are guaranteed to be a hit. The first dish is a salad, which may seem sacrilegious at a barbecue, but let me explain. Salads pair perfectly with any meat, from hot dogs and hamburgers to brisket and tri-tip. They balance out heavier side dishes like macaroni salad and coleslaw. And, for those of you who are visual, a salad lends a bright splash of color to a typically mute setting.
I love this salad for so many reasons. It is super quick to throw together if you are in a hurry. On a hot, sunny day (which I hope all your barbecues are blessed to be), the raspberry champagne vinaigrette is light and refreshing. My favorite thing about the salad, though, is the contrasting colors; not only the juxtaposition of reds and greens, but the various shades in each palate.
Don’t forget to grab a piece of bread to soak up the vinaigrette…yum!
Christmas in July Salad with Raspberry Champagne Vinaigrette
- 6 cups of dark leafy greens (I used half baby spinach and half kale, torn into bite sized pieces)
- 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 20 raspberries (Note 1)
- 1 cup cucumber, chopped
- Raspberry Champagne Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Chill until immediately prior to serving. (Note 2)
3. Toss with Raspberry Champagne Vinaigrette and enjoy.
4. Can be made 1 day in advance.
Raspberry Champagne Vinaigrette
- 7-8 raspberries (Note 1)
- 4 tbsp champagne vinegar
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Muddle raspberries.
2. Add oil and vinegar.
3. Just prior to dressing salad, stir/shake to distribute ingredients.
4. Pour over salad.
5. Can be made 2-3 days in advance.
Note 1: When choosing which raspberries to put in the salad and which go in the vinaigrette, I select the “pretty” berries for the salad, leaving the more “beat-up” berries for the dressing. Each are equally delicious, but the “pretty” ones will enhance the overall appearance of the salad.
Note 2: If you dress the salad too far in advance, some of the greens (spinach, arugula, etc) will pickle slightly, causing them to look wilted. While they will still be edible, they will not look appetizing.