Finding a salad I love at a restaurant is a rare occurrence for me. My husband would tell you that I usually have a handful of complaints about nearly every salad I order, no matter where I’m dining. Too much dressing, too little lettuce, too close to something I make at home, or too trendy are among my most frequent complaints. Honestly, I just don’t feel like making good salads are a priority for most chefs, so the salad part of the menu is more of an afterthought and thus often mediocre.
But once in awhile, I’m super impressed by a salad. So much so that I come home and integrate my own version of it into our family salad rotation.
The Roasted Green Vegetables Salad from North Italia – a delicious, albeit enormous, Italian restaurant near me – is one of those salads. The first time I ordered it, I swear I spent a whole minute on each bite (a long time when you’re dining with toddlers) so I could taste every bit of flavor.
The veggies in this salad are fabulous – Brussels sprouts, romanesco, and broccolini – but what really seals the deal is their lemon avocado vinaigrette. This dressing is super lemony and light, yet also creamy thanks to the avocado. I have no idea how they make theirs, but I was immediately in love and thus had to make my own.
At home, I made the salad to accompany this dressing pretty simple. Partly to highlight the dressing and partly because I rarely have time to prepare and roast a big tray of vegetables for my own enjoyment 😉
You can take your version of this salad in any direction – it’s very versatile. But the dressing is so flavorful and hearty, you really only need the lettuce!
- 5 oz Romaine hearts, washed and dried (I used a package of Earthbound Farm Easy Leaves)
- 1 green apple, chopped
- 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 large avocado
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Pinch of salt
- Blend ¾ of the avocado with the lemon juice, honey, salt and olive oil in a small blender or food processor until smooth (I used a stick blender - a.k.a immersion/hand blender and the tall cup it came with). Taste and add more salt if desired.
- Chop Romaine hearts into bite-sized pieces and place in a salad bowl along with the chopped apple. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Divide salad between two large bowls or plates and top each with half of the remaining avocado, goat cheese and sesame seeds.