The September Salad: The Ultimate Italian Salad

Today marks a very special day. Well, more like a special month, but either way, it’s special. 11 months ago, I started my “A year of salads” category, and have since posted 11 salad recipes – one for each month. There have been some recipes which you may have approvingly nodded at, as it didn’t seem too far-fetched to combine said ingredients. But I’m sure there have also been those that you raised your eyebrows at, thinking there was no way that would ever taste good. Am I right?

Well, this last salad is most likely one you’ll raise your eyebrows at, as it’s not at all intuitive. I mean, who puts radish and artichokes in the same salad as white beans?

I do. I did. And it turned out so delicious that I wish I would’ve come up with it sooner! I made this for a little barbecue my boyfriend and I wanted to host, which turned into a “make everything in the oven because it’s raining too hard” dinner.

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On a base of romaine lettuce, I added cucumber, radish and green onion, as well as artichokes, roasted cherry tomatoes and, the very best part, crunchy white bean croutons! Dress it all in some creamy goat’s cheese vinaigrette, and you’ve got yourself THE PERFECT ITALIAN SALAD. Seriously, I never would’ve thought that this combo would end up being as tasty as it was…but the croutons especially really made this salad for me.

I planned this salad as a side, but if you wanted to make it for yourself as a main dish, I would divide it into two large servings and perhaps add a hard-boiled egg to each serving for extra “Italian Salad Feeling” and protein. It keeps quite well until the next day, as the amount of leafy green isn’t too large, but obviously tastes best fresh.

The September Salad: The Ultimate Italian Salad

  • Servings: 4 as a side, 2 as a main
  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients:

for the salad:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce (or iceberg lettuce)
  • 1 handful sliced radishes
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced/chopped
  • 4 artichockes from a can, halved
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chopped parsley

for the roasted tomatoes:

  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • a bit of olive oil for the baking tin

for the white bean croutons:

  • 1/2 cup cooked white beans
  • 1 Tbs. tomato-infused olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika

for the goat’s cheese dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 1 slice goat’s cheese (30g)
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried salad herbs
  • 1/4 cup water

Note: For a vegan dressing, either sub the cheese with vegan cheeze, or try adding 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast and 1 tsp. tahini to the dressing instead of the cheese.

Procedure:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Halve the tomatoes and place them on a baking tin spread with a bit olive oil. Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt and brown sugar, and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

2. In a small pan, heat the tomato-infused olive oil, and then roast the white beans with the salt and paprika until they turn lightly brown on the outside. (about 5-7 minutes)

3. Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor, and pulse until well-combined and creamy.

4. In a salad bowl, throw together all the ingredients for the salad, then add the roasted tomatoes and mix with the dressing.

5. Sprinkle the white bean croutons on top, then serve immediately.

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These croutons can be used for any salad, of course. I think they will become a weekly staple in my household…seriously delicious, packing loads of protein, gluten-free and vegan! What more can you ask of a crouton?!

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This salad dressing comes incredibly close to a caeser salad dressing, in my opinion. It is definitely not a “light” salad dressing, but that much more delicious for it. To lighten it up, add 1/2 cup of water instead of only 1/4, and separate into two servings.

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Roasting the tomatoes may seem like extra work, but it is so worth it, as it really brings out those extra tomato flavors. Now that the tomato season is coming to an end, I feel like we really need to relish those last “good” tomatoes!

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The salad prior to adding the croutons is already pretty and looks very summery, in my opinion. Add those croutons, though, and you’ve got yourself some serious food porn…

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YUM! My mouth is starting to water by just looking at that bowl of goodness. This is definitely a salad that feels like junk food, but packs all the goodness! Truly happiness-inducing, and fairly easy to prepare. Granted, spending 20 minutes on making a salad may seem like too much time, but you can prepare both the croutons and the dressing at the beginning of the week, and then use them as needed. And, if you’re really short on time, leave out the roasting of the tomatoes…even though it really does make tomatoes even better than they already are.

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