“The crunch” chopped salad with homemade Ranch dressing

I originally had a sweets recipe planned for today, but since I think we’re all still swimming in chocolate eggs from yesterday, how ’bout a salad to balance everything out?

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This is my latest salad fave and I will eat it until forever.

By “forever” I mean until I burn myself out and am onto the next fave πŸ˜‰ This one is perfect for spring, and has everything you could ever want: 

crunchy, sweet, savory, nutty, fruity.

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While it’s kind of a “kitchen sink” kind of recipe, there is a little bit of method to the madness; the ratio of ingredients and homemade Ranch dressing take it over the top.

This was inspired by a beloved salad from Eclectic Cafe in Tucson. My last memory of the salad isn’t a very fond one: We were surrounded by boxes, I took bites in between jumping up and down watching the basketball game, and we ended up losing. Even though it wasn’t my best salad memory, I knew I’d be recreating it soon πŸ™‚

Much better:

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The dressing is probably my favorite part. It’s creamy, savory, and devoid of any weird ingredients. Make a batch to enjoy on salads, wraps and roasted veggies this week! 

Hope you enjoy <3

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The Crunch chopped salad with Ranch dressing
Serves 2
A spring salad with a beautiful combination of flavors and textures. Feel free to adjust the ratios or substitute with additional or different ingredients!
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups chopped spinach
  2. 1 1/2 cups chopped raw asparagus
  3. 1 heaping cup chopped squash (zucchini and yellow squash work well; can be raw or steamed)
  4. 1 cup grapes (can slice in half lengthwise)
  5. 1 cup olives (I like green Spanish olives in this recipe)
  6. 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  7. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (for serving)
  8. Ranch dressing (recipe in this post: http://fitnessista.com/2011/07/a-new-favorite-beast/)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the walnuts.
  2. Plate or distribute between bowls and top with walnuts.
  3. Serve with dressing and chopped fresh dill.
Notes
  1. If you're making this in advance, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the walnuts and spinach (as they can get pretty soggy). Store them in a separate container in the fridge and add them just before enjoying. You could also make these in two mason jars with the spinach and walnuts on top. Add the dressing, shake and eat!
Adapted from Inspired by the glorious salad at Eclectic Cafe
Adapted from Inspired by the glorious salad at Eclectic Cafe
The Fitnessista http://fitnessista.com/
What’s your favorite restaurant salad?

xoxo

Gina

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Comments

  1. No protein?

    • Fitnessista says:

      walnuts and goat cheese both have protein

      • ALL FOODS HAVE PROTEIN!!!!

        sorry, HUGE pet peeve. No one in America is dying of protein deficiency- eat a well balanced diet and you’ll get all the stupid protein you need!

        • Fitnessista says:

          (amen)

        • Alexandria says:

          lol THIS. soooooo true. driving me nuts with everyone putting protein powder into EVERYTHING. cray cray

        • Easy girl πŸ™‚ Some of us are still learning…kindness please

        • Wow Amy, didn’t see this until now. First of all, relax. Seriously. How rude are you to scream like that at someone you don’t even know? Calm down! It was a simple question, I was just curious, and here’s the kicker: the question for Gina so keep your two cents to yourself. I have been a LONG time reader of hers and yes, her salads typically have some animal protein (not always) so I was just curious if it was optional this time or maybe she just wasn’t in the mood. I’m surprised at your “amen” Gina, there is no need to encourage these self-righteous know it alls any further.

          Again, it was just a question, which Gina politely answered so thanks but no thanks, Amy. Don’t jump all over people for asking a question, just worry about yourself.

        • Wow Amy, didn’t see this until now. First of all, relax. Seriously. How rude are you to scream like that at someone you don’t even know? Calm down! It was a simple question, I was just curious, and here’s the kicker: the question for Gina so keep your two cents to yourself. I have been a LONG time reader of hers and yes, her salads typically have some animal protein (not always) so I was just curious if it was optional this time or maybe she just wasn’t in the mood. I’m surprised at your β€œamen” Gina, there is no need to encourage these self-righteous know it alls any further.

          Again, it was just a question, which Gina politely answered so thanks but no thanks, Amy. Don’t jump all over people for asking a question, just worry about yourself.

  2. Shaina Anderson says:

    I’m normally not a chain restaurant kind of girl, but Cheesecake Factory’s fresh vegetable salad is SO GOOD. Talk about a kitchen sink salad….I couldn’t even try to list everything in it (asparagus, beets, edamame, and a million other things). I usually get the grilled salmon on top when I order it and it’s amazing.

  3. I don’t have a favorite salad, but my favorite style is certainly chopped salads!

  4. My fave is a local restaurant’s Grilled Vegetable Salad. It has grilled peppers, eggplant and onions topped with arugula. They serve it with a crispy parmesan cheese disc and goat cheese balls rolled in crushed hazelnuts. To . die . for .

  5. I love a salad with a little crunch. Sounds delicious.

  6. I love that the salad doesn’t have a meat protein. Sounds light and flavorful!

  7. WAHOO πŸ˜€ I cannot wait to make this πŸ˜€ I am definitely not a huge fan of fruit in my salads, but grapes are a different story!

  8. Brittany says:

    My favorite salad is from a local place just outside of Boston. Mixed greens, candied walnuts (I dont candy them when i make it at home) goat cheese, dried cranberries and a fruity vinaigrette {not sure what kind). It is TO DIE FOR!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Reagents pizza in UTC has an amazing toasted goat cheese salad. And some amazing Chicago style pizza for the pilot

    • Fitnessista says:

      i can’t wait to try it! thank you! we had pizza port tonight and it was INCREDIBLE

      • I’m sure its a fine line between trying all the amazing new food and making sure you don’t go out to eat every night. Speaking of…best fish Tacos can be found at Mitches in Point Loma.
        And if you haven’t found a vet for the puppies yet I take my doggie to Sunset cliffs Animal Hospital in OB and they are great with him (he is a rescue and is very shy and has issues with strangers.

        • Fitnessista says:

          we have to keep telling ourselves we’re not on vacation. we live here and can cook here haha, but yes, all of the new-to-us restaurants are very tempting! i will definitely try out those fish tacos πŸ™‚
          thank you for the vet recommendation, too. i will give them a call!
          xo

  10. I enjoy a good Greek salad!

  11. I need to come to your house for lunch!

  12. I am always getting bored with my salads, what a yummy looking one!

  13. LOVE kitchen sink salads! My favorite ingredients lately (it’s always changing) are hard boiled eggs, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, hearts of palm and grilled chicken. Yum!

  14. Salads are so great because of how versatile they can be. My all time favorite salad is the grilled vegetable at Pita Jungle.

  15. I love recreating restaurant salads at home, too–this looks like a good one!

  16. like the natural sunlight photos and the recipe layout!!!

  17. I love going to a restaurant and trying a salad and taking that taste home with my own spin. Here in Thailand Som Tam is very popular and I have recreated it at home with less chili and stevia instead of sugar! Its so yummy I literally eat it everyday! lots of love C

  18. I make a spinach, pear, chicken, and goat cheese salad for lunch every day. I love it!

  19. yum, this salad looks so fresh and delicious. i love crunchy veggies, so this recipe is definitely a winner in my book! πŸ™‚

  20. OMG!! I have to say, this salad sounded a little weird at first but I was craving a “new” salad so I searched back in time for this guy and I have to say… AMAZING!
    I made some subs (kale instead, green grapes, pecans) due to lack of proper ingredients but it was still incredible. Nice job!! Totally my new fave. πŸ™‚

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