Man, oh, MAN, do I love this salad. Right here is another one of those crowd pleasers that disappears within minutes.
Now, I know it doesn’t look super great to some of you, but trust me when I say that the flavour is off the charts. Sweet shallots combine with spicy Dijon, honey, olive oil, and red wine vinegar to create a zesty, rich dressing that’s light enough not to dominate this (relatively) healthy salad.
Super-healthy watercress sits atop a bed of fluffy red quinoa and wild rice, with chunks of tomatoes and avocado to add freshness and texture. Add to that a boiled egg, and you have a pretty slammin’ salad. For those with gluten-free diets in mind, I used my favourite rice blend for this recipe. You can find it all over the U.S., and in about 50% of “fancy” grocery stores in Canada (think Urban Fare, Whole Foods, etc.). I just ordered a 6-pack for crazy cheap from Amazon and picked it up on a recent trip to the States: Lundberg Wild Blend is gluten-free and tastes so good. And I hate rice. Can’t digest it, don’t want to try to. Besides that, this salad is fairly diet-friendly for almost anyone. You can play around with toppings as far as vegetables go, and easily opt out of the bacon—whatever route you choose, I guarantee this will be a staple for your future lunches and dinners!
Cobb Salad with Grains
From Bon Appétit magazine, June 2012
6 ounces bacon (about 6 slices), cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. minced shallot (about 1/2 medium shallot)
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. honey
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups watercress sprigs with tender stems
3 cups mixed cooked grains (such as quinoa, semi-pearled farro, or wild rice), cooled
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, quartered
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tomato, preferably heirloom or vine ripened, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/4 cup crumbled fresh hard cheese (such as Cotija or ricotta salata)
3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives (optional)
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy and most of the fat is rendered, 7–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Whisk lemon juice, shallot, vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, and honey in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place watercress on a large platter. Arrange bacon, grains, eggs, avocado, tomato, cheese, and chives over. Drizzle with dressing**.
**Dressing can be made a day in advance, though the shallot flavour will intensify slightly.