Cooking Tutorial: Greek, Niçoise, and Cobb Salad
Last week I posted a reminder to myself about “Simplicity” and how I need to share more about my journey in seeking it. Did you know that we all have the same 24 hours in a day and that when my fridge is full of beautiful meals, my laundry does not get done, and when the laundry is done, there is nothing to eat? Funny how I have to rob Peter to pay Paul- we all do!
Today you are going to rob Peter of one precious hour and make 3 delicious Salads, but these are no normal salads, they are big fanciful meal salads of which you will get 6. One Hour, 3 Salads, 6 Meals. 1:3:6. Now figure out which hour you are going to steal- Facebook? Football? Housework? Work? A tough choice we all have to make, but guess what? We have to eat. I get many emails, questions in real life, comments about how people don’t know how to cook, or have the time to cook. You make the time, I’ll teach you how. Deal? Now, give me one hour and I will make this as SIMPLE and painless as possible.
Greek, Niçoise, and Cobb Salads- 3, 2, 1 Go!
1. Grocery List
one- 5 ounce container baby romaine, spinach or other favorite salad greens.
tiny cherry or grape tomatoes, one small container will work
1 red onion
12 fresh green beans- a reader noted that very long beans will not stand in jar, so go for shorter ones.
12 nice black olives- I like mine with pits, from olive bar or purchase a jar
2 pepperoncini peppers- from olive bar, or purchase a jar
1 avocado- to pack un-cut and eat fresh with your Cobb Salad.
one bag tiny potatoes- These are about 1 inch in diameter, if you cannot find these, then use 1-2 red new potatoes cut into inch cubes. **If you are strict paleo, may I suggest roasting 12 fresh tiny radishes in place of the potatoes, you will love them!
1/2 pound ground beef 85% lean
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 slices bacon- buy the whole pack, I think you can figure out what to do with the rest. **Strict Paleos will use uncured, organic, sugar-free bacon. Let me know where I can get some. Please.
2 cans wild caught albacore tuna, salmon, or boneless skinless sardines in olive oil
Dairy- **If you are paleo, leave the cheese out
Feta crumbles- leftovers freeze well
Blue cheese crumbles- leftovers freeze well
Extra Virgin olive oil
white wine vinegar
6 mini grease-proof cupcake liners for holding bacon and cheese- optional but nice. Found in the baking isle at your local grocer. So far I really like the If You Care brand of baking cups, parchment paper, and sandwich bags. That they are greaseproof has really been great for stacking all my salads in jars. If you ever see then on sale at Amazon. let me know.
2. Prep your Ingredients for Roasting
You will need one 9×13 inch glass baking dish. I like my Anchor Hocking brand 9×13′s because the lid has come in handy for potlucks or when I have cooked a bunch of dishes and I need to stack them up in the fridge.
Use the photo above as a guide as to how to lay out your ingredients. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
a. Place the eggs in a silicone cupcake liner if you have one or a cup formed from foil will work well too. This is just in cast the eggs decide to have a wardrobe malfunction all over your other ingredients. Hasn’t happened to me yet.
b. Wash your beans and potatoes. Make two bundles of 6 beans and wrap each with a piece of bacon. Lay in dish seam side down next to your potatoes.
c. Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs and place in the dish. I like thighs as they have more flavor and remain juicy when cooked.
d. Cut two 1/2 inch thick slices from the red onion and top each with a piece of bacon that has been cut in half. The roasted onion is delicious in these salads!
e. Make your Gyro Meat. See recipe in the box below. You will thank me for this! Place the Gyro meat in the dish too.
f. Drizzle everything but the eggs with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
g. Place baking dish in preheated oven for 27 minutes. As all ovens are different, be sure a sharp knife can go through the potatoes- they should be soft, the gyro feels firm, and the chicken is no longer pink. Do not let the eggs go longer than 27 minutes- trust me. Note- a reader stated that her eggs were not done in this time and her bacon was not crispy. All ovens are different, so you may have to remove the chicken and beef and let the bacon and eggs go a few minutes longer. *I made this using large eggs, not jumbo or extra large, so that may make a difference too.
3. Prep the Rest of Your Salad Ingredients
While your ingredients are roasting, clean up your previous mess and prepare the remainder of your ingredients, then clean up that mess too. Sip water as you go.
a. Place 1 tablespoon of Feta cheese in each of the two mini cupcake papers. Place 1 tablespoon of blue cheese in each of the other two.
b. Count out 12 olives and 2 pepperoncini peppers, drain well.
c. Wash and dry 18 grape tomatoes.
d. Make your Vinaigrette Dressing- Whisk together 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. dijon mustard, pinch black pepper. You may use your favorite bottled dressing to save more time.
e. Slice lemon into 6 wedges. This is optional, but I do like a fresh squeeze of lemon over my salads.
f. Prepare 6 containers for your salads. Everyone by now knows I use Mason Jars, and here, I have used 6 wide-mouth pint-size jars. Find what works for you! Don’t let NOT having Mason Jars keep you from doing this.
g. Fill a medium bowl with ice and water. This is for your eggs after they roast.
a. Immediately after pulling your dish from the oven, place the eggs in that bowl of water and ice you had prepared earlier. Set aside.
b. Slice chicken and gyro meat.
c. Cut onion slices in half.
d. Cut bacon into bits and place in 2 mini baking cups.
e. Place all of these items on a plate to cool for about 10 minutes.
f. Peel eggs and cut them in half length-wise.
5. Build Your Salads
a. Divide the dressing evenly between all the jars. About 1 1/4 tablespoon each. I even divided the pan drippings between the jars. No waste.
b. To build 2 Niçoise Salads- Stand a Green Bean bundle on the edge of 2 jars, or other container, and fill jar with 6 tiny potatoes, 3 olives, 3 grape or cherry tomatoes, 1/2 egg, top with lettuce (press the lettuce gently into the jar and continue to add more without squishing it), top with a lemon wedge. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Pack or serve with one can of tuna, salmon, or sardines. I like this with albacore tuna packed in olive oil. You may also use fresh fish, cooked to your liking and packed in a separate container. Eat fresh fish within a day of cooking it.
c. To build 2 Cobb Salads- To 2 jars add, half each of the chicken slices, half of the onion slice, 3 tomatoes, 1/2 egg, top with lettuce, top lettuce with a baking cup each of blue cheese crumbles and bacon crumbles along with a wedge of lemon. A classic Cobb has avocado which I serve fresh with this salad as I do not like the way cubed avocado stores- it turns an ugly brown. So pack a fresh one and a knife and enjoy this delicious classic salad. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
d. To build 2 Greek Salads- To 2 jars divide meat evenly and stand up on the side of each jar, fill jars with 3 olives, 3 tomatoes, half of the onion slice, fill with lettuce, top with a baking cup of feta cheese, a pepperoncini pepper, and a lemon wedge. I like this salad with sliced cucumber as well, so add it if you have it down in the jar with the other veggies. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
1. Lay out all the ingredients you need for that particular salad and start layering the items in the jar with the dressing always on the bottom and more delicate ingredients on the top such as leafy greens or fresh herbs. I tend to pack creamy dressings separately as they can turn watery at the bottom of the container/jar.
2. Make the meals look visually appealing by making the layers look nice and even. The more appealing the meal, the more likely your family will want it!
3. Layering salads helps if you want to reheat any salad items, like the potatoes or gyro meat.
4. Items that need to remain crispy, if you like croutons for instance, need to be stored in a little baggie or container and placed with the jarred salad.
5. We like to eat up our salads within 3-4 days.
6. I do not seal/can/preserve these salads in any way other then putting the lids on them and refrigerating. I am simply using the jars as short term, fresh, and green storage containers. Any container will work well for this as long as the lettuce is not touching the dressing. Do not freeze salads.
Update- A reader stated that this took her 3 hours to prepare. I must admit that I have done this so many times, that I can do it in a hour. Reading the notes alone can take a while. So if you are a first-timer, this make take longer than an hour. Tips to make it faster…
1. Have your kitchen cleaned up and ready to cook.
2. Pull out everything you will need to make this dish.
3. Clean as you go.
4. Get help, make it a date, or a fun day with a friend and split the meals.
5. Read all instructions a few times before starting.
6. One friend wrote that it never made it into her jars, her family enjoyed all of it for dinner, with everyone getting a little of this and that- they loved it!
- ½ pound ground beef, 85% lean
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium bowl mix all ingredients very well. The key to getting this meat dense is to knead it extensively. It should look pasty when you are done with it.
- Form meat into a 3×5 inch patty.
- Place in baking dish and bake for 27 minutes.
- Remove from oven, allowing to cool a few minutes and slice thinly.
- Serve in a gyro sandwich or salad.
Who is this tutorial written for?
1. Busy students, couples, and families.
2. Individuals who are looking for efficient meal making. More meals in less time.
3. Individuals who are looking for healthy meals.
4. Individuals who are looking for healthy lunches to pack.
5. Individuals who are trying to decrease eating out.
6. Budget wise people.
7. People who enjoy eating delicious meals.
For more Meal on the Go ideas, or Mason Jar Meals, go HERE.
Disclaimer: Some of the links go to my Amazon Store. I have linked products I love and use regularly in my home. I have no association with the brands but do make a small bit of money from Amazon if you purchase through my store. Thanks!