Italian Dinner Salad

by Anne Bennett on July 25, 2017

Our dinner salad, served family-style, in Lucca, Italy

Restaurant dinner salads tend to be simple — greens, some chopped tomato and onion and, for those who like gilded lilies, shredded cheese and croutons. Not very exciting or all that satisfying, but standard fare to be endured before the entree arrives.

One night while I was in Italy we ordered a dinner salad for three of us to share with our dinner. The server brought out this bowl and sat it down in the center of the table. The bowl was filled with fresh crisp greens, tomato and onion, and more — shredded carrot, white cannellini beans and kalamata olives. She also brought cruets of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil for us to dress our individual salads. That’s customary at Italian restaurants — you dress your own salad with vinegar and oil.

I thought to myself, this is genius! This is something I can do on any weeknight in Kansas when I want a healthy dinner but don’t want to actually cook. Grab fresh lettuce, tomatoes and favorite veggies from the salad bar and add protein at home: canned and drained beans, water-packed tuna, rotisserie chicken, shrimp, feta cheese. The whole point is to build a delicious meal from some fresh produce combined with pantry ingredients. Add a generous splash of balsamic vinegar and a Tablespoon of olive oil.

Bada boom. Dinner is served!

WW SmartPoints for:

Salad greens, tomatoes and onions: 0
1/2 cup cannellini beans: 4
3 oz. chicken: 2
3 oz. shrimp: 1
3 oz. water-packed tuna: 1
5 kalamata olives: 1
2 Tbsp. feta cheese: 2
1 Tbsp. olive oil: 3

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