FRESH Ideas: Grilled Salad

Grilled Salad with Jalapeño Ranch and Balsamic Vinaigrette



1/2 cup pecans, plain

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke

1 packet spicy ranch dressing, prepared according to package directions

2 teaspoons green Tabasco sauce

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

2 avocados, peeled, halved, seed removed

2 lemons juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large tomato, sliced, 1/2 inch thick

1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings

16 asparagus spears, ends trimmed

1/4 pound fresh mozzarella ball, sliced, 1/2 inch thick

4- 2-inch by 2-inch slices of parmesan cheese

4 cups mixed greens



Place the pecans in a bowl and stir in two teaspoons of olive oil and the Liquid Smoke. Sprinkle with salt. Place on a sheet of foil and wrap tightly. To make the vinaigrette, in a jar combine the balsamic vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake to combine. Prepare spicy ranch and add the Tabasco. Shake to combine. Refrigerate dressings until ready to use. To make the salad, spray a grill pan or grill with cooking spray and heat to medium high. Place the packet of pecans on the grill. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Spread out on a baking sheet the avocado halves, tomato slices, onion rings and asparagus spears. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush with the oil and lemon juice. Place the avocados, hole side down, on the grill for 30 seconds and remove. Do the same with the tomato slices, onions and asparagus making sure to grill 30 seconds on each side. Place the mozzarella and parmesan slices on the grill for 15 seconds on each side. Watch carefully. If they begin to melt too much remove. Remove the pecans after everything else is grilled.

To assemble the salad, divide the greens among four plates. Slice off a small piece of the rounded bottom of the avocado so that it will sit flat on the plate. Place the avocado on top of the greens, top with a tomato slice, mozzarella slice, a few onion slices and a slice of the parmesan. Top with a few of the smoked pecans. Lean 4 asparagus spears around the tower. Drizzle with a small amount of each dressing and serve the remaining dressing at the table.

Recipe by Christine Gardner


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