Italian Salad With Cheesy Focaccia Croutons

Ingredients

Dressing


  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic pressed
  • 6 leaves fresh basil or 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano minced



    Salad


  • 1 bag prewashed romaine lettuce
  • 1 bag prewashed spinach leaves
  • 1 6 oz package diced pepperoni
  • 12 oz mozzarella slices, cut into short narrow strips
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large vine ripened tomatoes, cored and seeded (simply squeeze tomato halves to seed.) and cut into 12 wedges each.
  • 2 small focaccia, topped with mozzarella strips and bake according to package directions, then cooled and cut into cubes.

    Directions

    Dressing



    1. In a bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.



    2. To take the edge off the pungency in the fresh onions, marinate the onion slices in the dressing for about 30 minutes before serving.



    Salad



    Either make it into a do-it -yourself salad bar or just toss all ingredients in a large salad bowl.



    Serves 4



    Variations



    Add 20 large kalamata olives, each olive pitted and quartered lengthwise, and 1 cup jarred roasted bell pepper, cut into 1/2 by 2 inch strips.



    Or turn this into a Greek salad by substituting mint for the basil and one cup crumpled cheese for the mozzarella.



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