Weekly Winner: Green Goddess Goes Hipster

IMG_0459People generally fall into two categories with salad dressing: you’re either on Team Vinaigrette or Team Creamy.  Me? Definitely Team Creamy — ranch, blue cheese, French, Thousand Island (don’t judge!), I love them all.  Perhaps my favorite is Green Goddess.  This rich, herbaceous dressing is not as widely known or used as others, but to me, it just screams “Spring”.

I’m still waiting for Spring here in Chicago, so this recipe served as a nice reminder that yes, eventually, warmer weather will arrive.

Chicken-Quinoa Salad with Green Goddess Dressing comes from Southern Living magazine.  It’s very light and fresh-tasting and the quinoa and chicken both add substance to make it more filling.  Then there’s the fabulous, herby, dressing — no need to feel guilty about drizzling on this rich dressing since it is only enhancing all the healthy goodness in the salad itself.  And should you feel the slightest bit guilty about using rotisserie chicken, just stop!  It’s my secret weapon.  Cheap, delicious and ready instantly.  Honestly, if you’re picky about where you get your rotisserie chicken, I dare say you can’t make it better yourself, so why even try??

Chicken-Quinoa Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, divided
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 5 cups torn butter lettuce or butter lettuce mix
  • 3 cups pulled rotisserie chicken (from 1 chicken)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced English cucumber (from 1 cucumber)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes (about 5 radishes)

Procedure:

Process mayonnaise, chives, vinegar, anchovy paste, lemon zest, lemon juice, black pepper, 1⁄4 cup of the fresh parsley leaves, 1 tablespoon of the fresh tarragon leaves, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt in a food processor until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.

Bring water, quinoa, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Stir and cover. Reduce heat to low, and cook until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Remove lid, and fluff with a fork.

Toss together butter lettuce and remaining 1⁄4 cup each fresh parsley leaves and fresh tarragon leaves. Toss lettuce mixture lightly with about 1⁄4 cup dressing. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle cooked quinoa over lettuce mixture; top with pulled rotisserie chicken. Arrange thinly sliced English cucumbers and thinly sliced radishes on top and around sides. Drizzle salad with an additional 1⁄4 cup dressing, and serve remaining dressing on the side, if desired.

Weekly Winner: Grilled, Green Goddess Goodness

Try saying that a few times fast. Or better yet, don’t…just eat it! This Couscous Salad with Green Goddess Dressing has a lot going for it: Israeli couscous, chickpeas, grilled summer veggies, and creamy, green goddess dressing. (Cue Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things”)

As a kid, the only way to get me to (reasonably) willingly eat a salad was to have a bottle of Green Goddess, Creamy Cucumber, or …as a last resort, Ranch dressing nearby.  I’m still a sucker for those and this one is a keeper.  Plus, with all that healthy goodness in the bowl, you don’t feel so bad adding a creamy homemade dressing.

The recipe comes from Food Network Magazine.  I can see this making a perfect picnic potluck salad, a great side dish for any grilled meat, or…as we had it, a very cool and tasty lunch all by itself.   I suppose you could make this without grilling the vegetables but it adds so much that I don’t know why you would.  The veggies grill up in the time it takes to make the couscous and is definitely worth it.

Couscous Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Serves 6

Ingredients

Kosher salt

1 cup Israeli couscous

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 15 -ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup green goddess dressing (see below)

Procedure:

Preheat a grill to medium high (or do what I did and use a grill pan). Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the couscous and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, soak the red onion in a small bowl of hot water, 10 minutes. Toss the bell peppers and zucchini in a large bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Grill the vegetables, turning once, until well marked and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature. Cut the peppers into 1-inch pieces and slice the zucchini into half-moons.

Drain the onion and add to the couscous along with the bell peppers, zucchini and chickpeas. Add the dressing and toss; season with salt and pepper.

Green Goddess Dressing

Combine 1/2 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream, 1/3 cup each chopped parsley and chives, and 1/4 cup chopped tarragon in a blender. Add 2 anchovy fillets, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon capers, the juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper; puree until smooth. (Makes 1 1/2 cups.)