Earth Bowl Salads with Smokey Candied Walnuts and Basil Dressing combines spicy roasted broccoli and sweet corn with fresh tomatoes, creamy white cheddar cheese, and smokey-sweet candied walnuts in one sensational salad!
Tell me I’m dreaming and that our long, holiday weekend isn’t over yet… No dice? Darn!
We’ve had a fantastic last couple of days and one of my favorite parts was breaking in the new patio set Ben gave me for my birthday. It’s a charming, 2-person table, chair and blue umbrella that we’ve dubbed Bistro Praiano as a nod to the tiny Italian town we fell in love with a few years ago. It’ll definitely do until we get that retirement villa up and running. In 30 years. But who’s counting? ;)
My birthday was on Saturday but he set everything up on Thursday night so I could have breakfast out there alone on the 4th. Just me, a mimosa, and a breakfast scramble. Bliss!
The afternoon of the 4th was just as gorgeous so later that day we packed the little boy up and drove 25 minutes north to Madrid, IA – home of the High Trestle Bridge and trail. (Here’s more about it in a post I wrote a few years ago!)
This is such a cool feature of the tiny town, and the trail/bridge was BUMPIN’. Tons and tons of bikers and walkers. Very festive indeed.
We went to a couple BBQs later that day then enjoyed more time on the back deck after this little firecracker went to bed. No parades or fireworks on the 4th for us this year, but the patriotic music we had blasting over the speakers was still fun!
I’m glad we got our outdoor adventures in on Friday because it rained most of the day Saturday. Luckily it stopped just in time for Ben and me to head downtown to celebrate my birthday that night.
For years my birthday tradition has been to go to our all-time favorite sushi restaurant for dinner, Miyabi 9, but the threat of gluten cross contamination at the sushi counter, soy sauce use, etc was too much of a headache to deal with so we decided to give a new, gluten-free-friendly restaurant in town a try – Malo!
I was sad about Miyabi for about a minute because Malo ended up having the best outdoor patio, mojitos, chips, salsa, AND guacamole. First impression was that it was a total home run!
Unfortunately our entree orders got messed up four (yes, four!) times but it all got figured out in the end and the restaurant more than made up for it. Locals, you’ve got to try the chorizo tacos on homemade corn tortillas (not the flour ones pictured below.) So, so awesome – we’ll definitely be back!
On Sunday the family gathered for a birthday feast which included grilled salmon with avocado salsa, gluten free pasta salad, and fresh green beans.
Finn and my Mom decorated chocolate cupcakes for dessert, and it was alll good.
Oh boy – 31. There’s no turning back now! ;)
Now, in case you couldn’t tell, Ben and I enjoyed ourselves immensely this weekend. Like, Immensely which means I’m soooo ready to get back on track with the help of Earth Bowl Salads with Smokey Candied Walnuts and Basil Dressing!
This salad is a freaking masterpiece. Mixed greens are topped with Smokey Candied Walnuts, creamy white cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, and spicy roasted broccoli and sweet corn. Then it’s drizzled with an easy homemade basil dressing. Tastes ultra decadent but eating healthy has never been this big of a treat.
I’ve been wanting to share this summery salad recipe for months after spying it on the sweetgreen menu in DC when we visited earlier this spring. While sweetgreen’s version includes spicy broccoli and corn, white cheddar cheese, and tomatoes, I decided to add in crispy, Smokey Candied Walnuts for a boost of protein and burst of flavor using Fisher Nuts, whom I’ve been developing recipes for this year. It was a fabulous addition. So fabulous that Ben asked for more when he was done.
MORE. SALAD. Win!
This salad was substantial enough for us for dinner, on account of the cheese and walnuts, but feel free to add grilled chicken or shrimp on top. Anything more would just enhance the yummy flavor. Dig in, people!
Start by making the Smokey Candied Walnuts, which is just a fancy name for 3/4 cup Fisher Walnut Halves and Pieces tossed with 1 Tablespoon honey, 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP) and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
The sweetness from the honey and smokiness from the smoked paprika is an absolutely killer combo!
Spread the walnuts out on a silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet then bake for 4-5 minutes at 350 degrees or until they’re golden brown. Give ‘em a good stir then let ‘em cool. Don’t worry, they’ll crisp as they cool.
Next turn the oven up to 400 degrees then toss fresh sweet corn kernels cut from 2 ears of corn (about 1-1/2 cups) and 4 cups broccoli florets with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and red chili pepper flakes. Pop into the oven to roast for 10-12 minute or until golden brown.
When I first saw the term “spicy roasted broccoli” on the sweetgreen menu I was turned off a bit, but the tiny bite of heat is actually awesome!
While the veggies are roasting, whip up a garden-fresh basil dressing. In a food processor or blender add 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon honey, salt, and pepper then process while drizzling in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil. Easy.
And like I said, totally garden fresh. Herb hill is outta control!
This dressing was not only delectable when drizzled over this salad but it’d make a really good marinade for chicken or shrimp, too. The color is so vibrant.
Finally, divide mixed greens between bowls then top with the Smokey Candied Walnuts and roasted spicy broccoli and sweet corn. Add cubes of white cheddar cheese, fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, and you’re set!
Earth Bowl Salads with Smokey Candied Walnuts and Basil Dressing
4 cups broccoli florets
kernels from 2 ears sweet corn (or 1-1/2 cups frozen-than-thawed sweet corn kernels)
extra virgin olive oil
red chili pepper flakes
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
6oz white cheddar cheese, cubed
10oz mixed greens
For the Smokey Candied Walnuts:
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Fisher Walnut Halves and Pieces
For the Basil Dressing:
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey
salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- For the Smokey Candied Walnuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees then line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside. Add all ingredients except walnuts to a small bowl then stir to combine. Add walnuts then stir to coat. Spread walnuts out on prepared baking sheet then bake for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven then stir and let cool (walnuts will crisp as they cool.)
- Turn oven up to 400 degrees then spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray and set aside. Add broccoli to one baking sheet and corn to the other then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, red chili pepper flakes, and salt, then toss with hands to coat. Roast for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
- For the Basil Dressing: add all ingredients except extra virgin olive oil to a food processor or blender then pulse to roughly chop the basil. Turn processor on then slowly stream in olive oil.
- Divide lettuce between bowls then top with roasted broccoli and sweet corn, smokey candied walnuts, white cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and basil dressing.
This salad is all about the toppings. Crunchy, creamy, sweet, smokey, fresh and totally feel good food!