Vegetarian Wedge Salad

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I’m not exactly sure where or when the wedge salad was invented, but the combination of iceberg lettuce, creamy dressing, tangy blue cheese and crispy bacon seems like a quintessentially American creation.

While looking in my fridge one night, I spotted a number of Wedge Salad ingredients and started to get excited, until-–dun dun dunnnn–-I didn’t have any bacon. In search of a quick substitute, I found that I had falafel and thus a (meat-free) salad plan was hatched. To go along with my newly-inspired Mediterranean take on the wedge salad, I whipped up a feta-buttermilk dressing in place of the standard blue cheese dressing and substituted grilled romaine for the typical iceburg lettuce (I don’t think romaine is typically Mediterranean, but I just really like the chargrilled romaine flavor, so I went with it).

VEGETARIAN WEDGE SALAD (Recipe)

Serves: 2

Ingredients

1 head of romaine lettuce, sliced in half
extra virgin olive oil
4 pre-cooked falafel patties
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/3 red onion, thinly sliced then chopped
2 tbsp. cheese; the classic recipe uses blue cheese, I use whatever tangy and crumbly cheese I have on hand
chives
Salt and pepper to season

For the dressing
1 small garlic clove, pureed or finely chopped and mashed
2 ounces feta cheese; again you can substitute whichever cheese you have around
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary (or 1 tsp. fresh rosemary)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
Freshly ground pepper

Preparation

  1. To make the dressing: In a mini food processor or a mortar and pestle blend together garlic, cheese, rosemary, buttermilk and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to a day in advance to allow flavors to meld.
  2. Preheat grill or grill pan over medium high heat. Dress cut-side of romaine with olive oil and salt and pepper. When grill pan is hot enough for water droplets to sizzle and evaporate immediately, place romaine cut side down. For the best and most prominent grill marks, avoid moving and flipping the romaine too often. Ideally each side of the romaine will only touch the grill pan once.Since I like the grilled romaine to be warm when eating the salad, I make sure all of my other ingredients are chopped and ready to go before I turn on the grill pan.
  3. Simultaneously, heat the falafel in your preferred method and chop into smaller pieces.I like to grill the falafel in the same pan as the romaine.
  4. Place one romaine wedge each on two plates and drizzle with feta-buttermilk dressing. Divide and sprinkle remaining ingredients over each wedge and serve.

Tip: For extra protein, add a sprinkling of a chopped hard boiled egg.

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