Green Salad with Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette

Tonight's recipe comes from a 1967 newspaper article with the title 'The Three Faces of Tossed Salad.' Ahem.

Upon reading that headline, you, like me, might think that the article would hold three different recipes for salad-- or, at the very least, three variations on a single salad. Nope. The three faces of tossed salad are, I kid you not, 'appetiser, accompaniment to an entrée, or main course.' (Although the intro also mentions that a salad can also function as dessert, and I'm assuming the author means some kind of terrible jello-based 'salad' that I can only be grateful is not included in my box).

Anyway, this is the second (and last, to my knowledge) non-mayonnaise-based salad recipe in the box. At first I was kind of high-fiving Eleanor (mentally) for only owning two salad recipes (and one of the two has bacon in it, so I don't even know if that counts) and it was cracking me up that she lived in an era so different from our health-conscious one that she must not have even eaten much in the way of salads. Then I realised I think the only salad recipes I've ever used are... well, the two from this box. Salads are easy. I make them all the time without any guidance-- they're fun to assemble, they don't require much forethought or skill, and if you have a decent pantry, you probably already have the ingredients for a kickass homemade dressing.

As an aside, I always assumed everyone felt this way about salads, until I met Judson. When we were dating, he only 'knew how' (his words, not mine) to make one salad: a spring mix salad dumped out of a bag with Paul Newman balsamic vinaigrette on it. The first time I made salad dressing for us (because I was too poor to afford the $5 bottles at the grocery store), I thought his eyeballs were going to fall out of his head. He was so impressed that night that I've sometimes since wondered if it was half the reason he ended up proposing to me... you know, two years later. In fact, to this day in our kitchen, by Judson's request, I'm the only one allowed to make salads (he is the only one allowed to make eggs, which isn't quite a fair trade since I know how to make eggs, while he doesn't properly know how to make a salad, but I allow it since he always cleans the egg pan after himself).

This salad, though not super hearty, made a great light dinner with some roasted veggies. Judson loved it way more than I did-- I felt like it needed something to anchor it, like a piece of miso-roasted salmon or something, but it was definitely good. The sesame seeds and oil are the only ingredient in here that you might not have readily on hand, but I'd encourage you not to skip out on either one, as they are the thing that makes this salad really stand apart.

The best part of this recipe, as far as I'm concerned, is the ad in the corner of the newspaper that reads 'School Kids NEED SUGAR FOR ENERGY!' next to a giant bag of Dixie Crystals sugar. Truly the 1960s were a dark time for all of us.

The verdict:

3 spoons out of five. Judson would give it a higher rating than me, so if you trust his opinion, then this should probably have, like, 4 ½ spoons. But for me, if I'm going to take the trouble to follow a recipe for a salad, it better be mind-blowingly good, and this one just wasn't quite there (the original called for peeled tomatoes-- I mean, really?). The sesame seeds, though, were truly amazing-- roast them until they're nutty and brown, and the flavour will help set this salad apart from the kind you pour out of a bag. And it is spring after all-- maybe your make-your-own salad genes are a little rusty after a winter of pasta and chili and all things cosy, and if so, then this recipe is for you. You could make it a little easier by using premade croutons or salad from a bag, or you could easily make this vegan by swapping the honey for golden syrup, agave, or brown sugar. Even I can't ignore the fact that this meal is basically springtime incarnate. Eat it for dinner tonight, look out the window, and marvel at the fact that it's 9:30pm and still light outside. 

The recipe:

Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette


Preheat oven to 176C/350F.
Toast sesame seeds by sprinkling them in a baking dish and baking for up to 30 minutes, shaking dish occasionally to promote even cooking.
Prepare croutons by placing bread in a baking dish and drizzling olive oil over it until it is well-drenched, then sprinkling onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and 2 tbsp salt over them.
Bake croutons for 10 minutes, or until thoroughly browned and crunchy.
While croutons and seeds are toasting, prep the greens by washing them and tearing them into bite-size pieces.
Add onion, sliced into rings, and tomatoes.
Make dressing by combining pepper, mustard, and remaining 1 tsp salt in small bowl or jar.
Add vinegar and honey.
Stir in oil, whisking constantly.
prinkle seeds and croutons onto salad, toss well, drizzle with dressing and serve.

the ingredients:

3 tbsp sesame seeds
2 c dry bread, cubed
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp + 1 tsp salt
1 glug olive oil
2 little gem lettuces, or 1 small head of leaf lettuce
2 good-sized handfuls spinach
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, cut in thinnest possible rings
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp dry mustard
5 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 ½ tbsp honey
¼ c sesame oil (or to taste-- I use much less)