When I set out to make a salad, I had to make one that fits into my favorite meal category: food you eat with your hands! Welcome to Hand Salad, which is actually just all the components of a regular salad, but assembled in a way that is much more fun to eat. Consider this the french fry and ketchup of the salad community! For the produce, I like to pick out whatever looks freshest at the grocery or farmer’s market, in a variety of colors and textures. Lettuces are soft while carrots lend crunch, the radishes are bitter and the snap peas are sweet.
Of course, like most salads, the real stars of the show are the dressing and the cheese, and I’ve taken both over the top here. The green goddess dressing is packed with flavor between the herbs, capers, and lemon juice, and the cheese is fried into perfect, dippable nuggets. I call them cheese croutons, but let’s be honest, they are mini mozzarella sticks and it’s hard not to eat them all before touching a single vegetable.
There are a lot of pros to a hand salad, but here are a few of my favorites:
- It’s so, so customizable since you can pick out all of YOUR favorite vegetables!
- You don’t have to worry about over or under dressing the salad since everything is dipped.
- It’s perfect for get-togethers because your guests can take as much or as little of each component (instead of picking around that one thing in the salad they don’t want to admit they hate).
Hand Salad With Green Goddess Dressing
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
For the Green Goddess Dressing:
- ½ cup mayo
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 bunch parsley leaves and tender stems (about 1 cup tightly packed)
- 1 bunch chives
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
For the Cheesy Croutons:
- 6 mozzarella cheese sticks cut into thirds
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 egg well beaten
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Kosher salt to taste
For the Salad:
- 1 head Little Gems lettuce washed, leaves separated and dried
- 1 head green leaf lettuce washed, leaves separated and dried
- 1 radicchio washed, leaves separated and dried
- 3 radish sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 6 ounce package sugar snap peas
- 3 carrots peeled and cut into halves or quarters
- First, make Green Goddess dressing. In a small food processor, add all ingredients, except salt and pepper. Process until combined, and small pieces of herbs are still visible. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a resealable container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Next, make the cheesy croutons. Line a small baking sheet with a wire rack and set aside. Then, set up breading station by placing flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs in three separate, wide set bowls. Add 4 pieces of cheese at a time into flour and gently toss to coat. Be sure to shake well to remove any excess flour. Add floured pieces to beaten egg and gently toss to combine, draining excess egg from cheese pieces. Finally, add to panko breadcrumbs and gently toss again to combine, shaking off excess breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining cheese pieces. Transfer to racked sheet tray and place in fridge for 10-15 minutes.
- Next, add 2 inches of neutral frying oil to a medium sauce pot. Preheat on medium high to 375°F.
- Using a spider or slotted spoon, add 6 cheese pieces at a time and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon or spider and transfer back to racked sheet tray and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining cheese pieces. Set aside.
- To serve, arrange salad greens on serving platter. Top with cheesy croutons, radish, carrots and snap peas. Serve immediately with Green Goddess dressing for dipping.