Mixed Greens with Crunchy Almonds
This salad came together out of pure luck one day. The chili-almond “croutons” were left over from a soup recipe, and they just happened to be the perfect match for mixed greens with tart apple cider vinaigrette.
The Almond Topping
The crunchy topping is part of a carrot-harissa soup recipe that I taught in cooking classes last winter. It adds a little crunch and heat without any added gluten or sugar. Be sure to save any extra crunchy almond topping. There are so many ways to put it to good use:
- Sprinkle it on goat cheese for an appetizer
- Add as a garnish to tomato or carrot soup
- Use it to add crunch to a turkey sandwich
- Add as a topping for roasted or grilled zucchini
The dressing is my favorite apple cider vinaigrette, which is a riff on my super simple salad dressing. It will last in your refrigerator for a week or longer, so feel free to make a double batch. Feel free to substitute minced shallot for the garlic, but I prefer the garlic version here. Be sure to let the minced garlic macerate in the vinegar before adding the remaining ingredients, it will help mellow the bite of the garlic.
Use your favorite salad greens for this: Arugula, baby gem lettuce or red leaf would all be delicious. And use your discretion on the amount of dressing. Do not overdress, but add just enough to coat each leaf of lettuce. You can always serve extra dressing on the side for heavy hitters.
Mixed Greens with Crunchy Almond-Chili “Croutons”
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil for the vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for the almonds
- 1/4 cup Marcona almonds chopped
- 3 tablespoons rosemary leaves minced
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups mixed greens
To make the vinaigrette:
- In a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the minced garlic and the apple cider vinegar. Let the garlic macerate in the vinegar for at least 10-15 minutes. The vinegar will mellow the flavor of the garlic and soften the flavor slightly.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Seal tightly and shake to emulsify.
- Alternately, in a medium-size bowl add the first four ingredients. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.
To make the almonds:
- In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm a tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering, about 30 seconds.
- Add almonds, chili flakes and rosemary. Stir occasionally until the sizzling stops and the rosemary is slightly browned but not burned, less than a minute. Remove from the heat and transfer almond mixture to a plate. Let cool completely.
To assemble the salad:
- In a large salad bowl, combine the greens with about 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Toss gently to combine. Sprinkle on the almonds and a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Taste and add a more vinaigrette sparingly if desired.
The linens and serving pieces in this post can be found at Only On The Avenue.