Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Salad with Yogurt Dressing

My fellow Cantabrigians, I believe we can safely say that spring has sprung! The past few weeks I have longingly read about the rhubarb, asparagus, and ramps that fellow foodies in warmer climes have been enjoying. But with the leaves unfurling and the daffodils blooming, I feel I can say that I'm done eating kale and potatoes for the next six months.

For me, this salad encompasses that greenness of spring: a mixture of herbs paired with chopped lettuces and crisp cucumber. I wish I could take credit for the original inspiration for this recipe, but that belongs to the inimitable Ana Sortun, the chef and owner of Oleana and Sofra Bakery. These are two of my favorite foodie haunts around our fair city. When I don't have the time, money, or transportation to visit either place (Sofra is located on the edge of Watertown), I'm mollified by Ms. Sortun's cookbook Spice. Many of the restaurants' best recipes are included, though they are not for the novice chef or anyone who doesn't have at least an hour to spend on cooking dinner. The recipes are intricate, yes, but always delicious. As I've cooked my way through, I've found ways to cut corners and adapt so that I don't find myself bursting into tears when I realize that I've forgotten to make my own ras-el-hanout from scratch.

This salad is adapted from the recipe for "Chopped Romaine and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing." I've changed some of the proportions and omitted a number of steps (by the time I start making dinner, I could care less about toasting nuts). Basically, this is a simplified version that any chef armed with a good cutting board and sharp knife can tackle.

Spring Salad with Yogurt Dressing
below are the quantities per single serving
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 generous handful arugula
  • 2 T chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 1 T chopped mint
  • 1 T chopped dill
  • 2 T chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 of an English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 1/2 T yogurt, preferably fat-free Greek
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 t fresh lemon juice
  • fresh ground pepper and salt
  • cayenne pepper
Coarsely chop romaine and arugula and place in a serving bowl. Top with herbs, walnuts, and cucumber. In a small mug, mix together with a fork yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. Pour over salad and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with several dashes of cayenne.


  1. it's beautiful! i love the photo. for a second i got really excited- thought you were also from cambridge uni- (cantabrigians) but then i realised it was meant for the inhabitants of Cambridge,MA ;) i just penciled down a recipe for tahineh dressing and now am penciling this yoghurt one down, too. it's absolutely lovely.

  2. this salad looks so delicious! great recipe and beautiful photo!

  3. thank you, you both are very sweet! shayma, hope you'll share the tahineh dressing recipe =)