Crunchy Grape Salad with Garlic and Basil [CYOB]

With a nutty aftertaste and perfect balance of sweet and salty, this warm salad is perfect for an early summer evening - when the air cools down and you're eager for a satisfying yet light and healthy end to the day.

With a nutty aftertaste and perfect balance of sweet and salty, this warm salad is perfect for an early summer evening – when the air cools down and you’re eager for a satisfying yet light and healthy end to the day.

Create Your Own Bite #36

Crunchy Grape Salad with Garlic and Basil

Makes 2 Servings

 

1 Cup Red Globe Grapes (With Seeds)

1 Cup Cauliflower, Sliced Thin or Shaved

2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

6 Basil Leaves

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Fat Free Feta

2 Teaspoon Olive Oil

Estimated Calories: 85 Per Serving

It may not be the season of the grape, but it is the perfect time of year for a sweet, fruity salad (a continuation of the theme started with my Grilled Romaine and Strawberry Salad). The concept here is similar: balance the sweet, sugary fruit with a savory, flavorful cheese and complementary herbs and seasonings. I was inspired by this recipe from Food 52, which provides a simple framework with plenty of room for innovation and substitution.

While other varieties of grape work perfectly well with the salad's flavor profile, the large globe grapes are easier to cut, and provide fresh grapeseeds for the dressing.

While other varieties of grape work perfectly well with the salad’s flavor profile, the large globe grapes are easier to cut, and provide fresh grapeseeds for the dressing.

To start, preheat the oven to 400, and arrange the cauliflower on a baking pan. Toss with half the olive oil. Meanwhile, thinly slice the globe grapes with a paring knife, removing and saving the seeds as you go. While similar recipes typically call for almonds or walnuts as an accompaniment, I love the way the grapeseeds – when toasted with the garlic and olive oil – add a satisfying crunch and somewhat bitter contrast to the sweet cooked grapes.

Slice the basil into thin ribbons – an attractive chiffonade – and toss with the grape slices. When the oven is hot, load the cauliflower and bake for 20 minutes, or until crispy and beginning to brown along the edges.

In place of lettuce, roasted cauliflower is a more substantial base, for balancing the juicy grape slices.

In place of lettuce, roasted cauliflower is a more substantial base, for balancing the juicy grape slices.

In a sauce pan, heat the remaining olive oil with the grapeseeds and garlic. When the garlic is fragrant and soft, and the grape seeds are crispy, remove from heat – about 5 minutes. Whisk in the balsamic vinegar and pour the garlic and grapeseeds over the grapes. Set aside.

Plate the salad over a bed of butter lettuces and radicchio for a larger portion, without doubling the serving size and adding unwanted calories.

Plate the salad over a bed of butter lettuces and radicchio for a larger portion, without doubling the serving size and adding unwanted calories.

Arrange the cauliflower evenly on the plate, and top with the dressed grapes. Finish with the crumbled feta, and cracked pepper.

A salad such as this is perfect for its versatility and dynamic flavor. Fold the salad into a whole wheat wrap for a hearty lunch, or keep things grain and gluten free by chopping the salad into a salsa-like consistency, and serving it over a whole-roasted cauliflower steak.

Until next time,

Melanie

 

 

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