everyday-mixed-berryI love salads! I honestly believe that you can put almost any fruit or vegetable on a bed of lettuces and make a fabulous salad. The five salads this week have no measurements, just a list of ingredients. Mix and match the salad toppings, cheeses and nuts to your taste and top with one of these delicious vinaigrettes. Simple, beautiful and delicious!

Mixed Berry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:

5 tablespoons seedless red raspberry jam
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
For the salad:
Baby romaine salad greens
Fresh blueberries
Fresh raspberries
Fresh blackberries
Chopped walnuts, toasted
Place jam, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender. Pulse until blended. With blender running, pour vegetable oil through lid in a slow, steady stream; process until smooth. Place salad greens in a large bowl; toss with vinaigrette. Top with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Refrigerate any unused vinaigrette.

Southwestern Chicken Salad
Green-leaf lettuce, torn
Canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Shredded deli chicken
Grape tomatoes, halved
Sliced pickled jalapenos
Fresh cilantro leaves
Fresh salsa

Bottled taco sauce or ranch dressing
Place lettuce on a large platter. Top with pinto beans, chicken, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro leaves and fresh salsa. Serve with bottled taco sauce or ranch dressing.

Mesclun Salad with Beef Tenderloin and Balsamic Reduction
For the balsamic reduction:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
For the salad:
Grilled beef tenderloin filets, sliced
Mesclun salad greens
Red onion, thinly sliced
Baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
Fresh asparagus spears, halved lengthwise and lightly sauteed in olive oil
Grape tomatoes, halved

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the vinegar mixture has reduced to 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Set the balsamic reduction aside to cool. Place mesclun greens on a large platter. Top with red onion, sliced mushrooms, asparagus spears, sliced beef tenderloin and grape tomato halves. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Mesclun Salad with Fruit and Champagne Vinaigrette

For the dressing:

everyday-mesclun½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon dried tarragon

¼ teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil

For the salad:

Mesclun salad greens

Refrigerated mandarin orange slices, drained

Fresh blueberries

Goat cheese, crumbled

Candied pecans

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, parsley, thyme, tarragon, sugar and olive oil. Set aside. Place salad greens in a large bowl; toss with vinaigrette. Top with oranges, blueberries, goat cheese and pecans.

Green Salad with Blueberries and Pistachios

everyday-green-blueberriesFor the dressing:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

For the salad:

Mixed baby lettuces

Fresh blueberries

Salted roasted pistachios

Whisk oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Set aside. Place lettuce in a large bowl; pour dressing over lettuce; toss until coated. Top with fresh blueberries and pistachios.

The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of two cookbooks, Gold Medal Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 525-0350 or by email at dbc@cateringbydebbicovington.com