Two to three nights a week, our dinners are comprised of the recipes you see here on this blog. But what about the other three to four nights a week where we eat at home (we go out to eat on Fridays)?
Well, it goes one of two ways: 1.) Lazy Bones Roasted Dinner, or 2.) Use-All-The-Things Mega Dinner Salads.
Squeeze with lemon juice, then eat. In the summer, this method moves to the grill, but it never involves more than three or four ingredients, or more than ten minutes of prep time.
Then, we have the nights where I make Use-All-The-Things Mega Dinner Salads. These are the complete opposite of my three-ingredient lazy meals.
Because I keep a pretty well-stocked fridge and pantry, I have a lot of options for salad ingredients on hand, and I throw anything and everything I can find onto that platter.
These salads are also great for getting rid of odds and ends that are nearing their expiration date (like the buttermilk I had left after making buttermilk chicken marinade). I mean, nearly anything can be a salad ingredient if you chop it right.
If you don’t keep as well stocked of pantry as I do, no worries. These mega salads are meant for mixing, matching, substituting, and using what you have.
You can use chicken instead of shrimp, black beans instead of white beans, bell peppers instead of tomatoes, etc. etc. I don’t advise skipping the roasted Idaho® potatoes, though – they’re my favorite part!
Potatoes are a heart healthy way to add some heft to your favorite chopped salad, as they are fat free and cholesterol free. Bonus: one potato provides 45% of your daily Vitamin C needs. So go forth, and conquer the mega salad! Have fun!
Psst – another great homemade salad dressing option for this salad would be my Citrus Salad Dressing.
For the Salad:
- 3 small Idaho® potatoes, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
- ¾ pound peeled and deveined 31-35 count shrimp
- 1 large head Romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 4 hard boiled eggs, quartered
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup chopped green beans, steamed
- 1/3 cup pitted olives
For the Pesto Ranch Dressing:
- 6 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 425F. Place potatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until potatoes deep golden brown and tender, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, place bacon in large skillet over medium heat. Cook 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp, stirring frequently. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Return skillet with bacon drippings to stove over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through. Transfer shrimp to medium bowl.
- Make the Pesto Ranch Dressing: In small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, yogurt, mayonnaise, pesto, parsley, dill, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and paprika.
- Arrange lettuce on large platter. Top with avocado, eggs, radishes, tomatoes, cannellini beans, green beans, olives, bacon and shrimp. Serve with Pesto Ranch Dressing.
Home Chef Tip: Add your bacon to a cold pan, and THEN turn on the heat. The bacon fat renders slowly this way, leading to super crispy bacon!
Disclosure: This was a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Idaho® Potatoes. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.