Last weekend J-Mo and I were driving home from a family reunion where I mostly ate pasta salad, hamburgers or pulled pork, Diet Dr. Pepper and his Mom’s famous Monster Cookies. Let me tell you, I was SUPER healthy (my own doing, I purposely ignored the healthier options at any given meal because I was on vacation). On the way home I started craving vegetables and salad and all things fresh and delicious. I started dreaming about it out loud, and this BLT salad was born. And let me tell you, it is delicious and the variations are endless. I opted for grilled chickpeas instead of croutons and cherry tomatoes instead of large ones because I had them in the fridge. Rooting around I discovered the last of the Parmesan cheese and decided to throw it in as well as a garnish because it seemed like a good addition. I added fresh basil–gold star for me! My basil plant has yet to die!–and some fresh green onions that are growing in my kitchen windowsill (I planted them there in a jar, I don’t live in a house that sprouts onions from random places.) The dressing is a mayo/Greek yogurt concoction with Dijon and lemon juice to make it zippy. Basically, this is an explosion of flavors in your mouth and you will probably want to make it every day you have both tomatoes and bacon (which, let’s be honest, should be always).
10-12 strips bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped into pieces
1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I am anal and also pull most of the shells off of canned chickpeas because I think they are slimy)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence (or any combination of Oregano, lavender, basil, or chives)
1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1 container cherry tomatoes, halved (10 ounces, or about 1 1/2 cups sliced tomatoes, more if you like tomatoes or they are summer-delicious)
1 bunch green onions, diced
1/2 bunch fresh spinach, chopped (about 6-8 ounces, I imagine)
3-4 large Romaine leaves, chopped
1/3-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8-9 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade (sliced into very thin strips)
I used basil from my basil plant, leaves are about half the size of my thumb. Basil leaves from my grocery store are at least twice that size, so you’d use half as many.
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2-3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
8-9 twists of ground black pepper
generous splash of lemon juice (probably just under tablespoon)
milk or buttermilk to thin, if necessary (I used 1-2 tablespoons)
While your bacon is cooking, grill the garbanzo beans. When skillet is hot (over medium-high heat) add olive oil and 1 can of drained, rinsed (peeled) garbanzo beans. Add spices and let heat, stirring occasionally. When the garbanzo’s get hot they will start to pop, kind of like the sound of popcorn, but without the explosion of white fluffy goodness. When the are hot, they are done.
While those are cooking, chop the rest of your veggies and whisk up your dressing. Add everything to a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top, as much as you’d like (I didn’t use all that I had made), and eat immediately.
J-Mo and I ate this as a meal, but we were starving and vegetable deprived, so we ate all but a small container of leftovers. Under normal circumstances you could probably get 4 servings out of this recipe, more if you added chicken or turkey or something to bulk it up a little, or used it as a side instead of your main/only course.