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Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette: A Classic Combination of Freshness and Flavor

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A mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette is a timeless and versatile dish that celebrates the simplicity and freshness of seasonal greens paired with a tangy-sweet dressing. This salad is not only easy to prepare but also offers a delightful combination of textures and flavors, making it a perfect starter or side dish for any meal. In this article, we will explore the appeal of mixed green salads, discuss essential ingredients for the salad and dressing, and provide a step-by-step recipe to create a delicious Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette at home.

The Appeal of Mixed Green Salads

Mixed green salads are celebrated for their versatility and ability to showcase a variety of fresh greens, from crisp romaine lettuce to tender spinach and peppery arugula. They provide a nutritious base for adding a wide range of toppings and dressings, allowing for endless variations to suit personal tastes and seasonal ingredients. Mixed green salads are also known for their vibrant colors and refreshing textures, making them a popular choice for health-conscious individuals and food enthusiasts alike.

Ingredients for Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

To prepare a classic Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, gather the following ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 6 cups mixed salad greens (such as romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, and mesclun mix)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced radishes (optional, for added crunch)
  • 1/4 cup toasted nuts or seeds (such as walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds)
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (such as parsley or basil)

For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional, for added flavor)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation Steps

1. Making the Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • In a small bowl or jar, combine the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey or maple syrup, minced garlic (if using), salt, and pepper. Whisk or shake vigorously until the dressing is emulsified and well combined. Adjust the sweetness and acidity to your taste preference. Set the dressing aside.

2. Assembling the Mixed Green Salad:

  • In a large salad bowl, combine the mixed salad greens, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, sliced radishes (if using), and toasted nuts or seeds.

3. Dressing and Serving the Salad:

  • Drizzle the prepared balsamic vinaigrette over the Mixed Green Salad, starting with a small amount. Gently toss the salad to coat the ingredients evenly with the dressing.
  • Divide the salad among serving plates or bowls. Garnish with fresh herbs, such as parsley or basil, for added freshness and presentation.

Tips for Serving and Variations

  • Protein Additions: Enhance the salad with grilled chicken, shrimp, tofu, or chickpeas for added protein and a satisfying meal.
  • Cheese Options: Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese, shaved Parmesan, or goat cheese over the salad for added creaminess and flavor.
  • Make-Ahead: Prepare the dressing and wash the greens in advance. Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving to maintain its crispness and freshness.

Serving Suggestions

Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette is ideal as a light appetizer or a refreshing side dish. Serve it alongside grilled meats, seafood, or pasta for a balanced meal. Pair with a glass of white wine or sparkling water with lemon to complement the tangy-sweet flavors of the salad.

Conclusion

Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette is a classic dish that highlights the natural flavors and textures of fresh greens paired with a flavorful dressing. By following this recipe and adding your own personal touches, you can create a delicious salad that is both nutritious and satisfying. Enjoy the crispness and vibrant colors of Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, and share this refreshing dish with family and friends as a perfect addition to any meal or occasion.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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