Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Romaine and Pepita Salad with Cilantro Ranch Dressing


Last Friday we had friends over for a simple get-together to visit and begin celebrating the feast days ahead. Pizza was on the menu, a variety of choices to satisfy everyone's tastes, and I had a tossed salad in mind but had to work out some kinks in my recipe. I did some internet hunting and came up with just the recipe I was looking for. Years (and years) ago when we ate out at restaurants (when all of our children could eat from a children's menu), we enjoyed Don Pablo's, a family-style, chain Mexican spot nearby. On the menu, they had a salad that I just loved. It was a simple salad, I think topped with grilled chicken (but I could be wrong on that -- it's been a long time) and pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels) and a fabulous spicy ranch dressing. The dressing was the one thing I had not previously figured out, but now I have it down. I served it to our friends on Friday and everyone really enjoyed it. I skipped the chicken because it was not a dinner salad, but I will keep it in mind for next summer when a grilled chicken salad is just the thing.

If you prep your salad ahead of time, like I did, hold off on the pepitas until you serve so that they don't get soggy. The actual ingredients of the salad can vary -- it's the basic romaine, pepitas and dressing that count the most. I kept it simple with carrot coins and sliced red onion. You can add diced tomatoes, zucchini rounds, whatever sounds good to you.

Romaine and Pepita Salad
makes six side salads

5 c. cleaned, chopped romaine lettuce
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin coins
3 slices red onion, quartered
1/3 c. pepitas, roasted and salted (buy them roasted and salted)

Cilantro Ranch dressing

3 fresh tomatillos, peeled and cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic

1 pkg. Ranch Buttermilk Dressing mix
1 c. mayonnaise (you could use sour cream also)
½ cup buttermilk
3/4 c. fresh cilantro
heavy dash cayenne pepper

Place tomatillos and garlic in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Add mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix, buttermilk and process until smooth. Add cilantro and cayenne and pulse until cilantro is finely chopped. Refrigerate for at least one hour.


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