Posted by: scootrah | June 30, 2014

Red, White and BLEU Salad

I love making different salads for potlucks and parties because they can feed a lot of people and it’s a great way to use up smaller bits of stuff in the pantry and refrigerator. The ones that turn out best I always post on my blog and include a citrusy rice salad, a roasted corn and tomatillo salad, a diabetic-friendly “faux-tato” salad, a super fast cole slaw, my favorite pea and almond salad with curry dressing and a parsley pesto pasta salad. So with the 4th of July a few days ahead and the chance that we were going to have some glorious BBQ weather (remember – I’m in Seattle and our summer doesn’t start until August!), it was time to come up with something new.IMG_6876

It seems that everyone jumps onto the “red, white and blue” theme for holiday food, and I had every intention of joining in. The thing was, I didn’t want to just fall back on the standard blueberries, raspberries and strawberries thing. But it’s a challenge because how many BLUE foods are really out there? I was thinking blue corn tortilla chips, blue potatoes and then I kind of hit the wall until I realized I didn’t need to be so literal with the color, but go with the name! And the first thing to hit my brain was bleu cheese – as a creamy dressing I could get the “blue” and the “white” covered – the ball was rolling! Add some red leaf lettuce, tomatoes and red onion and all the “red” was covered too.

The dressing I came up with is kind of a ranch style with bleu cheese in it. You can add the bacon to the dressing if you like, but of course you can leave it out for your vegetarian eaters and serve the bacon as a condiment to crumble on individual salad portions.

When it comes to tomatoes in salad, I prefer putting in cherry or grape tomatoes – it’s a visual thing because it seems to me there is more intense color spread through the salad. But one thing that’s not fun is standing and cutting all those tiny tomatoes one-at-a-time. So to save you the time and hassle and hopefully influence you to start adding them into your salads as well, I’ve got a super easy way to cut a bunch of them at once. And it’s a trick that works for grapes, olives and pitted cherries too – click HERE to see it and become a believer!

One of the things I love about bleu cheese is how well it goes with grilled meats, especially hamburgers, which tend to be the standout at a summer BBQ, and you could even top your burger with this salad if you like. Bleu cheese is great with pork as well, and would be great to accompany grilled pork chops or tenderloin, and I’m already thinking I’m going to make it to go with my next batch of “Picnic Chicken” – oops – I haven’t gotten you that recipe yet, but trust me it’s delicious and you’re going to love it, so stay tuned!

Have a fun, safe and delicious 4th of July!

Red, White and Bleu Salad

  • One head red leaf lettuce – washed, dried and torn into bite size pieces
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into thin rings and separated
  • 2 or 3 slices bacon, cooked crips and crumbled (use in the dressing if you prefer)

Dressing

  • 1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (Greek yogurt will give it lots of tang if you like that)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tblsp fresh chives, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • scant 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Combine the dressing ingredients, mix well and refrigerate at least an hour – if you can make it a day ahead the flavors will blend together really well and you’ll love it even more!

Place the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Just before serving, add the dressing and toss well – one more hint: when you add dressing to a salad, pour it around the outside edge of the salad in the bowl, NOT in the center. The ingredients will get more contact with the dressing and be more evenly distributed when you do this – trust me! (And don’t look at the way I did it in the picture!)

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