Big Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

The idea to write about the “Big Salad with Orange Vinaigrette” meal at a vegan restaurant began as a joke. I laughed about the idea one day with my friend Brianna and the conversation veered into laughing about the idea of vegan food making people feel icky and disgusting.

This salad is big enough for a meal – roasted edamame, toasted almonds, cherry tomatoes, fresh bell pepper tossed with an orange vinaigrette dressing served over a few big handfuls of baby arugula and finished with Parmesan cheese crisps.

Big Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

Salad:
5 oz baby arugula
5 oz mixed baby greens
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup raisins
1 cup toasted almonds
1 cup cooked kidney beans (or chickpeas or cannellini beans)
Note: The beans have a much better texture when cooked from scratch, but feel free to substitute canned beans.
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed

Parmesan Cheese Crisps:
3 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
11/2 teaspoons flour

Dressing:
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Start by making the dressing. Combine the orange juice, zest, vinegar, honey, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper and puree using a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
3. In a large salad bowl, combine the diced bell bell pepper, tomatoes and raisins.
4. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and spread out the edamame and beans in a single layer, pictured below. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and some chili powder if you like it spicy.
5. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until the beans begin to turn brown and crispy. Move the beans around halfway through cooking so they don’t burn on one side.
6. Once the beans have cooled, add to the salad bowl and toss with the veggies.
7. To make the Parmesan cheese crisps, combine the grated cheese with the flour and mix well.
8. Bring a large nonstick cooking pan to medium-low heat. Using a measuring cup, place 1/2 cup mound of the cheese mixture to the pan. Flatten out using the back of a spoon or spatula. Repeat until you have 4 mounds on the pan, making sure they are at least an inch apart. Cook for a few 1 – 2 minutes until the bottom sides are golden brown. Remove from the pan and rest on a baking rack. Repeat until you have 6 to 8 mounds total. Note: You can also make these cheese crisps in the oven, using a baking sheet, at 300 degrees F, for about 5 minutes.
9. Just before you are ready to serve the salad, gently toss all of the ingredients in the large salad bowl with a bit of the orange vinaigrette. Top with the toasted almonds and arrange the Parmesan cheese crisps around the perimeter of the salad bowl. Now drizzle the top with the rest of the dressing.

Enjoy!

Big Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Ingredients
  

  • Salad:
  • 5 oz baby arugula
  • 5 oz mixed baby greens
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup toasted almonds
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans or chickpeas or cannellini beans
  • Note: The beans have a much better texture when cooked from scratch but feel free to substitute canned beans.
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame thawed
  • Parmesan Cheese Crisps:
  • 3 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 11/2 teaspoons flour
  • Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Start by making the dressing. Combine the orange juice, zest, vinegar, honey, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper and puree using a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine the diced bell bell pepper, tomatoes and raisins.
  • Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and spread out the edamame and beans in a single layer, pictured below. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and some chili powder if you like it spicy.
  • Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until the beans begin to turn brown and crispy. Move the beans around halfway through cooking so they don’t burn on one side.
  • Once the beans have cooled, add to the salad bowl and toss with the veggies.
  • To make the Parmesan cheese crisps, combine the grated cheese with the flour and mix well.
  • Bring a large nonstick cooking pan to medium-low heat. Using a measuring cup, place 1/2 cup mound of the cheese mixture to the pan. Flatten out using the back of a spoon or spatula. Repeat until you have 4 mounds on the pan, making sure they are at least an inch apart. Cook for a few 1 – 2 minutes until the bottom sides are golden brown. Remove from the pan and rest on a baking rack. Repeat until you have 6 to 8 mounds total. Note: You can also make these cheese crisps in the oven, using a baking sheet, at 300 degrees F, for about 5 minutes.
  • Just before you are ready to serve the salad, gently toss all of the ingredients in the large salad bowl with a bit of the orange vinaigrette. Top with the toasted almonds and arrange the Parmesan cheese crisps around the perimeter of the salad bowl. Now drizzle the top with the rest of the dressing.

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