- Dish type
A tasty and light summer salad with crisp croutons perfect as a starter, side dish or as a light lunch.
Nottinghamshire, England, UK
1 person made this
IngredientsMakes: 1 salad with crisp croutons
- handful rocket leaves
- handful spinach leaves
- handful pea shoots
- 4 to 5 sliced baby tomatoes
- 1/4 cucumber, diced finely
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 75g cubed Cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 packet ready salted crisps
MethodPrep:15min ›Ready in:15min
- Mix all the vegetables and salad together then season. Add the cheese then the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper then mix in the crisps. Eat immediately.
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Combine the garlic and olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Let sit out at room temperature for at least 4 hours to infuse.
Preheat oven to 300 F. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and add to a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese, dried herbs, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
Strain the garlic oil over the bread cubes, pressing the garlic with the back of a spoon to get every drop of garlicky goodness. Toss with a spatula until the bread is evenly coated.
Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove, and stir the croutons, as the ones on the outside will cook faster than those in the center. Return to oven, and cook for 15 more minutes.
Remove from oven, and sprinkle the last 1/4 of cheese over the croutons. Return to oven, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned and crunchy. Allow them to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise (I use a light mayo)
- 1 teaspoon (or 1 small clove) grated garlic
- zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
FOR THE SALAD:
- 8 strips center cut bacon
- 2 cups hand torn pieces seedy whole grain bread
- 2 medium heads of romaine lettuce, halved
- garlic olive oil, for brushing
- pickled red onion
- parmesan cheese shavings
Stacy Lyn Harris logotype_2
This Italian salad starts with a mouthwatering combination of fresh vegetables: crispy lettuce, deep-green flavorful spinach, red onions, and ripe tomatoes. Add green olives, crusty croutons, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a simple, tangy dressing, and you have a quick Italian salad recipe with full flavor.
An Italian Salad Recipe That Brings Back Good Memories
This happens to be one of my very favorite Italian green salads. That’s partly because it brings back great memories of my college days. My friends and I used to make a habit of dining at Olive Garden at least once a week. We’d feast on the salad and breadsticks. We thought we were watching our weight by ordering the dressing on the side — truly funny!
Well, to say the least, I still love a tossed Italian salad.
Last week, I made homemade lasagna for a few fabulous friends and thought, “Why don’t I make a simple salad with simple vinaigrette and serve the lasagna and salad with my homemade bread?” Everything was done when they got there, so I could spend time visiting with my friends.
Iceberg in a Tossed Italian Salad? Yes!
I thought iceberg lettuce–which I adore–would be a real no-no for Italian salad. But then I found this eye-opening read at Naples Daily News. Doris Reynolds states, “In Italy, where green salads are an important part of daily fare, iceberg lettuce is considered a rare treat and cherished as an exotic and delicious green.”
Now I feel much better about my addition of iceberg lettuce into my Italian salad. Iceberg has such a nice, mild taste along with the crunch I so desperately need in a salad.
A Healthy Green Salad That’s Packed with Flavor
I like my salads to be fully packed with nutrients and flavor, so I also add mixed greens, including spinach.
Ripe tomatoes add a burst of color as well as a hint of sweetness. Their flavor balances out the acidity of the green olives and vinaigrette and the “bite” of the red onion.
The sourdough croutons are easy to make. You toss them in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and then bake them until they are super crunchy and golden.
The croutons soak up the flavors in the vinaigrette and give just the right amount of garlicky goodness to this salad.
For the finale, a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh herbs pack on the flavor. You may put aside everything else and just feast on the salad like my friends and I back did back in college!
Whatever you do, enjoy this Big Italian Salad Recipe and pass it on to friends. I really do believe it is the Best Easy Italian Green Salad out there!
If you do make this recipe, snap a photo, tag me @stacylynharris, and use the hashtag #slhfoodie!!
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Crispy Pita Croutons | Baked Pita Chip Salad Topping
Who doesn’t love some good, crunchy salad toppings to keep our veggies interesting? Whether you’re chowing down on a Mediterranean salad, a vegan hummus bowl, or just craving a crispy snack, these baked pita croutons are a quick and healthy fix!
While traditional croutons can satisfy our cravings for crunch, they’re generally not-so-fuel-filled additions to a salad… Luckily, it’s SO easy to whip up your own, healthier crunchy salad toppings at home. And, the only ingredient in these pita croutons is PITA—no oil needed!
Pick Your Pita Wisely
If you’re a fan of pita chips, these crispy pita croutons will be right up your alley. Honestly, they’re a tasty snack all on their own! But, they’re also a simple healthy substitute for classic croutons, with a Mediterranean twist. Simply split your pita pocket into two rounds, bake until crispy, and crumble!
Since pita is a heartier bread, it gets perfectly crispy without any oil at all. And, I chose mini pita pockets to help me with portion control, so I don’t overdo it on my pita croutons. That way, I can crumble just 1 mini pita pocket (split into 2 rounds) onto my salad or bowl without losing track of how much I’m eating.
Most importantly, the kind of pita that you choose to make your pita croutons will be crucial. For the most part, pita bread sold at grocery stores is just refined white bread. But, if you do some searching and read nutrition labels, you can find a 100% whole grain pita. Or, gluten free pitas, if needed!
Whatever you choose, a healthier pita bread will make for healthier pita croutons. For some inspiration on how to use your pita croutons, check out my Mediterranean vegan hummus bowl!
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Wedge Salad with Crispy Prosciutto and Crunchy Croutons
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees . In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, buttermilk, blue cheese, mustard, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, toss the bread with 1 tsp. olive oil transfer to a rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cool.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tsp. oil over medium. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 4 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Divide iceberg wedges among 4 plates. Garnish each with 2 tomato wedges, the croutons and prosciutto. Spoon the dressing over the salad.
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 medium garlic clove, grated (½ tsp.)
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cups packed chopped romaine lettuce (from 2 [8-oz.] lettuce hearts)
- 3 hard-cooked eggs, quartered lengthwise
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium avocado, chopped (¾ cup)
- 4 thick-cut bacon slices, cooked and chopped (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup drained and rinsed canned black-eyed peas
- Cornbread Croutons
Whisk together red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, honey, and salt in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil until completely combined, about 30 seconds set aside.
Toss together lettuce and ⅓ cup vinaigrette in a large bowl. Transfer mixture to a platter top with cornbread croutons, eggs, cheese, avocado, bacon, and peas. Drizzle salad with remaining ⅓ cup dressing.
The Best Salad Croutons Are Actually Cheese
Halloumi, seared until golden, is perfect on a salad of crisp, bitter greens.
Baked feta may be having a moment, but it’s got nothing on a slab of halloumi seared until golden, crisp and slightly melted.
A mild, firm Cypriot cheese traditionally made from a combination of sheep and goat milk and submerged in brine, halloumi has a higher melting point than many other cheeses. This makes it ideal for any fiery encounters: whether fried in a skillet, seared on the grill or flambéed in a saganaki, a small pan with two handles that’s also the name for the cheese dish cooked in it.
High heat unlocks the best of halloumi’s tangy, salty nature, turning a rubbery cheese into something gorgeously bronzed on the outside, and soft within, with the texture of a molten marshmallow just before it gets squished into a s’more.
Seared halloumi makes an excellent appetizer on its own, but I love it tossed into a salad, where fresh greens — preferably bitter, bracing ones — can contrast with the oily richness of the cheese.
For this recipe, I cubed the halloumi before pan-frying it. This gives it more surface area, meaning greater caramelization and crispier edges. Another upside: The small, golden cubes mingling with the leafy greens resemble croutons, but offer a springy, cheesy bite rather than a crunchy, toasted one.
For a hint of smoke and spice, I like to dust the halloumi with pimentón (smoked paprika) just as it comes out of the pan. It gives the illusion that the cheese has been grilled over a wood fire. Or use regular paprika, which will give you the spice part, at least.
As for the greens, I chose escarole because of its pleasing bitterness and rigid texture, which won’t immediately wilt on contact with the hot cheese.
A handful of slivered shallot or red onion adds pungency, while fresh parsley leaves brighten everything up. And finally, as an optional garnish, I sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top. Not only pretty, the ruby seeds lend a juicy sweetness that’s perfect with the saltiness of the cheese and garlicky bite of the dressing.
Once available in only specialty shops, halloumi has been popping up in many supermarkets. But if you can’t get any, other firm cheeses suited for frying and grilling — kefalotyri, queso blanco, bread cheese, paneer — can be used instead.
You can even substitute feta, though with its newfound fame, it may be the hardest of all to find.