There is a not-so-mythical creature called The Salad Girl. The Salad Girl, or TSG, for short, typically evolves on a college campus after she discovers that the only way to drink a case of beer on the weekends and a huge choco-loco-moco-frappo-chino-latte with whipped cream and extra caramel every afternoon without starting to spill out of her skinny jeans and slutty tops is to eat virtually nothing the rest of the day and make the rest of us wonder how she does it. You see her in the salad bar line every day, looking sad, as she piles her take-out salad box high with every available vegetable, eschewing those items that ‘make you fat’ like meat, cheese, nuts, etc., and topping the whole thing with a hefty coating of nasty fat-free dressing.
You also see TSG wearing skimpy workout clothes and makeup at the gym, texting while she’s waiting for the elliptical next to the hot Sigma Pi guy who is only at the gym to pick up girls in skimpy workout clothing. And to bench press. Because that’s all that matters in the machismo-laden world of the college weight room. Never mind that his arms are so internally rotated that he can barely carry a kegerator: he can bench press it.
I am not this girl. There is no gym makeup on my face, no caramel in my coffee, no texting while I’m doing burpees till I want to puke, I totally dig shoulder mobility in guys… and my salads eat her salads for lunch.
Salads are one of my all-time favorite things to eat, but mine bear little resemblance to TSG’s pitiful iceberg bowls. My salads are a meal. We’re talking vegetables, meat, cheese, nuts, beans, etc. Sometimes we roast stuff, sometimes we grill stuff. There’s always a fabulous dressing. Sometimes we get cray cray and there’s a sauce and a dressing.
Pecan Vinaigrette is one of my new obsessions. It has ground, toasted nuts in it, which not only means it tastes amazing, but it also means it’s really rich, which is basically all that matters to me, the Food Hound, Milk Machine edition. It goes well with most every salad I make, particularly those made with roasted vegetables, goat cheese, or leftover Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak. This time, I poured it over my Cobb Salad, which consisted of butter lettuce, grilled chicken thighs, hard-boiled egg, bacon, grape tomatoes and avocado. Rich, filling, fun, healthy, amazing.
So to all you TSGs out there, maybe you need a little less cleavage at the gym, and a little more sweat. Maybe a little less pectoral girth in your men, and a little more hip flexibility. Less choco-loco-moco-frappo-chino-latte with whipped cream and extra caramel in your life, and a little more excitement in your salad. I promise you’ll still fit into your skinny jeans.
- ¼ c pecans, toasted (do NOT skip the toasting!!)
- ¼ c cider vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2½ t Dijon mustard
- 2½ t whole grain mustard
- 2 T honey
- 2 t sugar
- 1 t sea salt
- 1 t freshly ground black pepper
- 1 c light-tasting olive oil (or canola oil)
- ¼ c olive oil
- Grind pecans in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
- Transfer the pecans to a small bowl.
- Puree the vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, honey, sugar, salt and pepper in the food processor, and while the machine is running, drizzle in the canola and olive oils.
- Remove and pour into a container.
- Stir in the pecans and serve.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 30 days.