This salad is inspired by the flavors from my favorite Italian recipes and features tomatoes, bell pepper, olives and artichokes. The croutons are reminiscent of garlic bread. It makes for a hearty, delicious side dish. Top it with chicken sausage or a grilled chicken breast to turn it into a satisfying meal.
If my body doesn’t have lots of fruits and vegetables on a consistent basis, I can tell a huge difference in how I feel. I get cranky, crave junk food and have absolutely no energy. I love eating fruits and veggies, but I’ll only reach for them if they’re easy to grab when I’m running around. It’s not like chopping veggies takes an hour, but it’s easy to prioritize other tasks when you’ve got a never-ending to-do list.
That’s where this salad comes in handy. I like to make this on Sunday or Monday nights to go with whatever we’re having for dinner. Because it’s just the two of us, there are always plenty of leftovers to take for lunches or afternoon snacks throughout the week. And, this salad is so much more satisfying than scarfing down a tempting cookie at the coffee shop near my office.
For me, great salads are like great fro-yo: the more toppings, the better. I tend to switch a few ingredients out depending on what’s in season and what looks good at the farmer’s market each week. But, this combination is my go-to. It makes for a hearty side dish or a satisfying meal when topped with some protein. My favorite meat to throw on top for lunches is spicy chicken Italian sausage — it complements the artichoke, tomatoes and pepper perfectly.
And, have you ever had homemade croutons before? Once you try them, you’ll never want to buy those bagged imposters again. Homemade croutons are ridiculously easy to make and infinitely more delicious. This recipe makes a large batch, so store any extras in an airtight container for up to one week. Then try not to eat them all while binge watching Gilmore Girls.
I think the only way to eat this salad is tossed in a little garlic lover’s vinaigrette, but it’s great no matter what the dressing. You should serve the dressing on the side if you plan on having leftovers. It will help you avoid a sad, soggy salad the next day. Enjoy!
Everyday Salad With Homemade Croutons
[ingredients title=”Salad Ingredients”]
- 1 large head red-leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 cup red, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/8 cup green olives, sliced
- 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, freshly grated
[ingredients title=”Croutons Ingredients”]
- 4 oz. sourdough bread
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven preheats, toss all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Refrigerate while you make the croutons.
- Cut bread into half-inch cubes. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, cheese, garlic salt and pepper. Add bread to the bowl and stir until bread is coated in the oil mixture.
- Spread bread cubes onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, giving them plenty of room to breathe. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until edges start to turn golden brown.
- Remove croutons from the oven and cool completely. Place croutons on top of salad and serve with your favorite dressing on the side.