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.

Vegetarian Farro and Corn Salad

The best part about this recipe is that you don’t really need a recipe. Just toss together however much (or little) of each ingredient you’d like and eat. To save time on the week days, prepare the farro ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to build the salad with whatever else you’ve got—like corn, avocado, asparagus, etc.

Vegetarian Farro Salad

Vegetarian Farro Salad

Ingredients

2 cups farro
1 1/2 cups corn, raw or cooked
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cucumber, sliced then quartered
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup pea shoots, torn in half or chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2-3 tablespoons honey balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Cook farro as directed and drain. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, toss whatever ingredients you’d like such as corn, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, pea shoots and feta cheese in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together vinaigrette. (Typically for a vinaigrette, you’ll want one part vinegar/acid to two parts oil. For this specific recipe, I used honey balsamic vinegar and olive oil, but you could also use lemon juice or sherry, apple cider or rice wine vinegar. To kick up the flavor a little more, you can also mix in a small amount of dijon mustard or soy sauce, depending on whatever type of flavor-profile you’re going for.)
  4. Combine all ingredients in large bowl, toss until well coated and season with salt and pepper. Finito!

Tip: I like to let the farro cool a little bit so that it doesn’t wilt the greens too much. However, don’t let it cool too much! Tossing the farro with the vinaigrette when it’s slightly warm allows the farro to absorb more of the vinaigrette.

Tip: Serve this salad on its own or over a bed of greens such as arugula, spinach or escarole.

Tip: Wanna keep it meatless, but still want more protein? Add a soft-poached or hard boil egg.