This is a Root Formula, a simplified recipe that shows which ingredients are core and which can be changed to create different flavor combinations or use what you have on hand.
See our Variations on this Blitzed Salad Formula below.
When we get into those dog days of summer, no one wants to turn on the oven or even the stove. And if you don’t have access to a grill, there really are limited options. Of course there’s salad, but no one’s living for lettuce. We wanted to create a satisfying salad with hearty vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or Brussels sprouts as the base. We then added quinoa for substance, a second veg for interest, and seeds or nuts, dried fruit, onion, and fresh herbs for heaps of texture and flavor. And we realized that you can make the entire salad (and dressing) in the food processor, hence the name “blitzed salad.” These combos are crunchy, zippy, and straight-up tasty.
With the help of the food processor, this salad comes together quickly. No need to wash the food processor bowl between chops. Better to under-process than over-process this salad (you don’t want cauliflower rice). If a few pieces aren’t breaking down, simply dump out the vegetables and hand-chop the rest. If you don’t have a food processor, rough chop everything instead and make the dressing in the blender.
This is a blue ribbon “chopped” salad
We make some version of the it almost every week, because it’s the kind of thing you could eat endlessly. I have made this recipe twenty times and often for friends and family for lunch. Every time someone takes a first bite their eyes widen and they ask, “What’s in this?” At first glance this dish just looks “healthy.” Then you taste it, and all the crunch, texture, and layers of flavor unfold. You thought you were simply eating a salad and instead—you get blitzed!
Main course or side
With the addition of protein-rich quinoa, this salad becomes a satisfying main course. If you want to serve it as a side dish you can leave out the grains. But, if you don’t add grains, ease up on the dressing and reserve for another use. This is the perfect dish to bring to a picnic, cook-out, or potluck (when we have those again!) because it travels and keeps well, even dressed.
Why the dressing is so darn good
This dressing is really well-balanced. As with our Versatile Vinaigrette we use two kinds of vinegar. In this recipe – it’s apple cider vinegar, which we balance with rice wine vinegar. The addition of a tablespoon of sugar cuts the acidity and gives it the slightest hint of sweetness. I’m betting you’ll want to make it and use it on other salads, too.
Make this chopped salad your own
This is a formula in the truest sense. We give several examples of our favorite blitzed salads, but you can use the root formula as a guide and experiment with other grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, onions, herbs, etc. In the cooler months you could certainly stir in some roasted vegetables, too. You truly cannot go wrong!
Our favorite Variations are Cauliflower with Almonds and Golden Raisins, Cabbage with Pepitas and Apricots, Broccoli with Sunflower Seeds and Craisins, and for an autumn twist, Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Walnuts.
Blitzed Salad (A Root Formula)
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 pound Vegetable: broccoli crowns, cored cauliflower florets, cored cabbage (cut into large chunks), or Brussel sprouts (trimmed)
- 4 ounces (1 large carrot is about 4 oz) carrot (cut into large chunks) and/or radishes (trimmed) and/or apples (cut into small dice)
- 1/2 cup each: diced red onion, dried fruit, chopped roasted nuts/seeds
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, optional
- 2 tablespoons each: apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Bring 1 1/2 cups of water, a light sprinkling of salt, and the quinoa to boil over medium-high heat in a small covered saucepan. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let quinoa stand a few minutes longer. Spread quinoa onto a small baking sheet to cool.
- Meanwhile, place Vegetable of choice in a food processor; pulse to chop, 15 to 20 short bursts. Dump into a large bowl and then pulse carrot (or radishes) to chop, 15 to 20 short bursts; add to bowl, along with red onion, dried fruit, nuts/seeds, and optional herbs. If using apple, add it now. (If dried fruit or nuts need chopping, blitz them in the food processor).
- Add vinegars, mustard, sugar, a light sprinkling of salt and several grinds of pepper to the food processor. Process to combine; With motor running, slowly add olive oil to make a smooth, emulsified dressing. Add to salad, toss, and serve.