There’s a reason why happy hour involves cocktails and not salads. That reason is this: Cocktails are way more fun than salads.
But, sometimes you are trying to detox, or have vowed to eat more things that are green (lime wedges on a margarita don’t count), or can’t stomach the thought of imbibing more alcohol after that karaoke bender you went on last night. And for those moments, here’s the perfect option: a salad that pulls in the flavors of your favorite adult beverages without the booze.
We were introduced to the idea at Brooklyn restaurant Fabbrica, where the Bloody Mary salad, a rotating menu special, is made with the flavors of a well-garnished Bloody: tomatoes, celery and pickled green beans, brought together with a black-pepper vodka vinaigrette. (Okay, maybe there’s a little booze in this one. But just in the dressing!)
Plates empty, we wondered if other cocktails could be morphed into health-food form. Martini? Nah. Manhattan? It would just be a liquored-up cherry on a plate. Mojito?
Bingo! Gluten-free blogger Kristi of Bulldog Bistro created this mojito salad, featuring a heavy dose of lime and mint alongside juicy mango and cucumber.
Or if margaritas are your thing — and who are we kidding? Margaritas are everyone’s thing — try this margarita salad from Ashley McLaughlin of blog Edible Perspective. “While you won’t be getting drunk off of this salad, it still holds that refreshing, limey, sweet and salty flavor you are familiar with,” she writes. The peaches, raspberries and strawberries all call out to classic marg flavors. Well, at least classic in divey bars in Cancun, which totally counts.
Using the recipes below, make, eat and enjoy! And, most importantly, relish your non-hangover the next day.
Bloody Mary Salad
3 plum tomatoes
Salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
⅛ cup sugar
4 green French beans
⅛ cup coarsely chopped arugula
6 pieces light green celery heart leaves
1 tsp. grated ricotta salata
1 tbsp. lemon black pepper vodka vinaigrette (recipe below)
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on a sheet pan with juicy part facing upward. Add salt, sugar, pepper and oregano. Bake for 2 hours, then let cool.
2. Heat rice wine vinegar, garlic clove and ⅛ cup sugar to boil. Remove from heat, then add beans. Let cool.
3. On the plate place the tomatoes in a row, juicy side up. Top them with arugula, followed by remaining ingredients. Add more salt if desired.
Lemon Black Pepper Vodka Vinaigrette
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. black pepper vodka
½ shallot, finely minced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl, then slowly whisk in olive oil. Leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
Mango Cucumber Mojito Salad
1 mango, diced
½ English cucumber, sliced
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
⅛ cup chopped mint
In a bowl, mix together and enjoy!
Lettuce, to taste
Strawberries, to taste
Peaches, to taste
Raspberries, to taste
5 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. limeade juice
5 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. honey or agave
½ tsp. lime zest
½ tsp. salt, divided
1 tbsp. avocado
¼ tsp. pure cane sugar
1 tbsp. lime zest
1. Rinse and pat dry the desired amount of lettuce and fruit to build a personal-sized salad. Slice fruit into bite-sized pieces and chop the lettuce.
2. In a blender, add the olive oil, limeade, fresh lime juice, honey or agave, lime zest, ¼ tsp. salt, and avocado and blend until smooth.
3. In a small bowl mix the remaining salt, cane sugar, and lime zest with your fingers. 4. Assemble salad, pour on desired amount of dressing and top with a few sprinkles of the zest mixture. Leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.