Even though Thanksgiving dinner calls to mind cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and a vast platter groaning under the weight of a browned, aromatic turkey (and Thanksgiving weekend calls to mind mounds of leftovers), don’t neglect your roughage. Nothing fancy here. A colorful mixed greens salad will do nicely, and shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge even for rank beginners.
Likewise, making salad dressing is so easy there’s no need to buy the bottled stuff … unless you just don’t want to take the time.
red oak lettuce
red leaf lettuce
baby spinach leaves
red onion, thinly sliced
seedless cucumbers, cut into match sticks.
Pick out a mixture of greens: mesclun mix, red oak and red leaf lettuces, baby spinach leaves, arugula, etc. Allow about one cup or so per person. Rinse the greens in a colander the same day that you plan to use them. Tear large leaves into pieces 2 ” or 3 ” long. Wrap in a non-terrycloth towel, put into a plastic bag, and refrigerate until it’s time to toss. Make sure the greens are dry, or the dressing won’t stick to the lettuce.
No problem if you don’t own a bowl big enough for tossing; use a clean plastic shopping or garbage bag, Gently toss the salad in the bag or toss the salad with your hands.
Other salad ingredients: keep it simple, such as thinly sliced red onion and seedless cucumbers cut into match sticks. In season, you might try sliced strawberries or orange slices.
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup each: extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste dash cayenne pepper freshly ground pepper
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk or shake before using. Use just enough dressing to coat the lettuce. The vinaigrette will keep up to a week.
See Back to Basics: Cooking for Thanksgiving Weekend for more recipes.