Big Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing

During the winter, I’m a Sunday meal planner. I spend the morning flipping through cookbooks and scrolling through recipes I saved on Instagram to plan out meals for the week (usually leaving Thursday open to use up random odds and ends), followed by a big grocery shopping trip.

CSA eating shakes that up a bit as I don’t pick up my share until Monday (I’m ahead of you all for recipe writing purposes), which leaves a night that I arrive home with a bounty of fresh produce and just a drive back to Worcester to make a dinner plan. It being a Monday and all, dinner shouldn’t be too taxing. Since I can almost always count on lettuce, and I like to use up the most delicate veg first, the BIG salad often comes into play.

Big Salads in my house are dinner salads, with a base of lettuce or mixed greens, topped with crunchy veg, herbs, some kind of protein (usually beans or fish, sometimes leftover chopped meat) and finished with a zippy dressing.

You can make a big salad out of anything! Just follow these rules:

  • Have a mix of textures (below we have crunch lettuce and turnips, creamy beans, and meaty tuna)
  • Season well (always chopped herbs, salt, and pepper)
  • Make you dressing zippy (it should be a little too tart/sour/strong when you taste it straight, because all the other ingredients dilute it)

My full share this week was 2 heads of lettuce, salad turnips, chard, dill, basil, garlic scapes, kale, fresh onions, and carrots. If you’re not making the salad below, you could try this version with lentils and tzatziki. Early season root veg like radishes, turnips, and carrots are excellent in these turmeric noodles which barely require any cooking. I used up literally all the greens in my share by subbing them for the cabbage in this lo mein, along with the onion tops and garlic scapes (warning: if you make this you will be forever disappointed by take out lo mein). I’m very intrigued by the idea of potatoes on the grill which I want to try this weekend and finish with some fragrant dill.

Big Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing

Serves 3 as a main, or 6 as a side

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 small lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 head lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 3 salad turnips, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can tuna (or chopped chicken, or omit)
  • ¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup chopped dill

In a jar or bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Shake/whisk to combine.

Build your salad by layering lettuce, turnips, beans, tuna, olives, and dill. Finish with a grind of pepper, sprinkle of salt and your dressing.

(I didn’t have any feta when I made this, but it would be excellent on top.)

Dijon Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes

Vegetal Matters - Dijon LentilsThis French lentil recipe by Ina Garten was my first introduction to cooking lentils. I’ve made it many times since that first delicious occurrence, but with quite a few changes. I find that the dressing adds enough flavor to the lentils that cooking them with a turnip that is discarded is unnecessary. Her quantity made just enough for 4 small meals, but I always wanted a little more and leftovers. I’ve made the lentils with roasted sausages, which could be in place of or with the cauliflower and potatoes. Some toasted bread with olive oil alongside is also quite nice, as would be a green salad.

Dijon Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes

Serves 8 as a side, 6 as a meal.

  • ½ cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 lb cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 2 cups carrots (about 4 medium)
  • 2 cups onion or leeks  (1 large onion, or 2 large leeks)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F. Mix the whole grain mustard and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss cauliflower and potatoes in mustard olive oil mixture plus salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes.

Pick over the lentils for debris and rinse. Bring a pot with the lentils generously covered in water to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Heat a large skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and saute for 5 minutes, until they just start to soften. Add the onion, and saute for another 5 minutes until both are soft. Add the garlic, and saute for a minute or 2 more then turn off the heat.

While the carrot and onion are cooking whisk together the ½ cup of olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. In a large bowl mix the sauteed carrot and onion, Dijon dressing, and lentils. Serve with the roasted cauliflower and potatoes on top, with extra vinegar if needed.