Summer Veggie Salad with Buttermilk Cucumber Ranch Dressing

A hearty salad with all the fixins.

In our quest to eat more fresh veggies we combined Thomas’ love of buttermilk and new-found penchant for making killer sauces with Jake’s love of bacon (and Thomas’ dressing) to make a delicious “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” salad. For a different experience, and if you’re patient enough, put the sautéed vegetables in the fridge and serve everything cold. Good stuff either way.

Equipment Needed: Wok, Frying Pan, Baking Sheet, Colander, Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Whisk, Cutting Board, Wooden Spoon, Spoon, Paper Towels

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Whatever you’re drinking, this one has both light and hefty elements.

Suggested Beer Pairing: Same goes here. Crack open whatever feels right.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large zucchini ($1.99/lb)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard ($2.99/bunch)
  • 1 medium cucumber ($0.79/each)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce ($1.99/head)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 6 scallions (about $0.50/each)
  • 3 cloves of garlic ($1.99/lb)
  • 4 ears of sweet corn ($1.99/dozen)
  • 8-10 strips bacon ($6/lb)
  • 1 small loaf of ciabatta, Italian or pumpernickel bread (about $2-3/loaf)
  • 1 C low-fat buttermilk ($2.19/QT)
  • 1 C mayonnaise ($3.99/15 oz)
  • 1/4 C white vinegar ($1.99/32 oz)
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons worth, $0.50/each)
  • extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Dressing Preparation:

  • Peel and halve the cucumber. Using a metal spoon, scoop the seeds out then finely dice your cuke.

Get rid of the seeds, they're too watery and are annoying to eat.

  • Put the pieces in a mixing bowl, pour in the buttermilk, vinegar, lemon juice, and mayo. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate until everything else is ready.

Really, this whole recipe is just an excuse to make buttermilk ranch dressing.

Salad Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Wash and dry all the vegetables thoroughly. Cut the zucchini into discs, dice the onions, and mince the garlic and cut the chard into thin slices.

Give it a rustic, homestyle feel by cutting the zucchini cross-wise.

  • Cut the corn off the cob. Place the wok on the stove over medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Trim the tops off the scallions and slice them thinly. Toss them into the wok with the corn and garlic; season with salt and pepper.

Keeping your blade close to the cob, trim the kernels off for quicker cooking.

  • Add the rest of the veggies except the lettuce and cook everything down.

Stir every so often to prevent the veggies from getting soggy.

  • Place your frying pan over medium heat and start cooking and draining your bacon.
  • While the rest of this culinary circus plays out, cut your bread into one-inch cubes and place them on the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil evenly over all the pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the veggies have been cooking for about 10-12 minutes pop those soon-to-be croutons into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Once you've made your own croutons, you'll never want to use the store-bought ones again. We swears it.

  • Place the sautéed veggies over the lettuce, top with croutons, torn up bacon pieces and plenty of ranch dressing.
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