This Champagne Vinaigrette Salad is my new favorite.
It’s one of those salads that goes with just about any meal. But don’t be fooled by its versatility.
This salad has a distinct taste. Much of that is due to the champagne vinaigrette.
Champagne Vinaigrette Components
Champagne vinegar is classy. Its smooth flavor sets it apart from other vinegars. Champagne vinegar is simultaneously tart and sweet. Somehow, it has all the necessary qualities of vinegar without being overly pungent.
As such, champagne vinegar makes great salad dressings. Like this champagne vinaigrette.
I’m not a fan of using mustard as the emulsifier in my salad dressings.
Mustard is commonly used in dressings to keep the vinegar and oil from separating. But for me, that mustard flavor is almost always too strong. It overpowers the other elements of the dressing. I’m left complaining that if I’d wanted a mustard vinaigrette, I would have made one.
So I use Vegenaise as my emulsifier. Vegenaise is simply vegan mayonnaise. If you’re a mayonnaise fan, you can substitute it for the Vegenaise in this recipe.
With Vegenaise as the emulsifier, the champagne vinegar in this vinaigrette shines. The champagne vinegar is further complemented by the salad’s homemade croutons, toasted cashews, chickpeas, and Parmesan.
Make This Champage Vinaigrette Salad
Serve this salad alone for a light lunch, or make it a meal. Pair it with white beans and my Savory Mini Pies for an elegant dinner, or bring a touch of elegance to a more casual dish like my Grilled Potato Spinach Quesadillas.
No matter how you serve it, this Champagne Vinaigrette salad is a showstopper.
A Few Things!
All homemade salad dressings require good olive oil. PJ KABOS, straight from the olive groves of the Panagiotopoulos Family in Greece, is my favorite [aff. link]. You can purchase PJ KABOS olive oil in my Amazon store here.
Champagne Vinaigrette Salad
For the champagne vinaigrette:
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 ½ Tbsp Vegenaise
- 2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
For the homemade croutons:
- 3 cups cubed ciabatta bread, about 3/4 inch cubes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion salt
- 9 oz lettuce, I recommend green leaf, such as Pete’s Nice and Crunchy
- ½ cup cashew pieces, pine nuts would also be delicious
- ½ cup Parmesan, freshly grated
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
Make the vinaigrette
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Whisk until everything comes together and emulsifies. The vinaigrette is done.
- Note: if the vinaigrette separates as it sits, simply whisk everything together again.
Make the croutons
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Toss the cubed ciabatta bread, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and olive oil together in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Spread the coated ciabatta cubes out on a baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.
- Take the baking sheet out of the oven, and toss the croutons with a spatula. Let them cool for 3 minutes, then taste one.
- If the crouton is not crisp enough, bake the croutons for an additional 3 minutes. If you like the texture as is, the croutons are done. Baking time will vary based on the bread used.
Toast the cashews
- Put the cashews in a skillet over medium heat, and toast for 5 minutes, until the cashews are lightly browned. Shake the skillet occasionally to keep the nuts from burning.
Compile the salad and serve
- Compile individual salads with greens, dressing, croutons, chickpeas, Parmesan, and toasted cashews to taste.
- Or, make one big salad. Use 9 oz of green leaf lettuce, all of the chickpeas, all of the croutons, all of the Parmesan, all of the cashews, and 3/4 - all of the dressing. Just toss everything together in a large bowl and serve.