There are only two reasons I order a salad at a restaurant — either I’m not that hungry or I’m on a healthy eating spree. When I do order a salad, I rarely expect it to be memorable.
Then I tried this salad…
My honey & I spent a week in Portland last May, and during our trip we went to the Deschutes’ Brewery Pub for a fun and relaxing dinner in their rustic atmosphere.
I had eaten a rather excessive amount of scrumptious biscuits & gravy for brunch that morning, which left me feeling ridiculously stuffed and about 17 pounds heavier.
Lets just say when dinner came around, I felt the need to counter-balance with a much lighter meal. So I ordered the Butter Leaf salad based on reasons 1 & 2 above, expecting only to check “healthy deed for the day” off my list. I soon found myself raving about how fantastic the salad was!
What made this salad so rave-worthy?
Really, it was the combination of unique ingredients that made the magic.
Fresh green butter-leaf lettuce, sweet dried cherries, salty & sweet crushed “Beer Nuts” (peanuts), crumbles of creamy goat cheese, and flaky rosemary crackers. Topped with a light dressing that tied it all together perfectly.
After months of telling my husband “Mmmm… I wish I could have that salad again. I keep thinking about it!” I finally decided to create my own version. Knowing it could never taste exactly the same, I was really pleased with how it turned out. My secret weapon, however, was the fact that their dressing recipe was actually readily available on their website.
So that saved me a trip back to Portland just for a salad. #kidding #notkidding
A couple of notes before we get started… goat cheese was part of the original salad but it is not pictured here because hubs does not like it so I left it off. (The things we do for love, right?) Also, the original Deschutes’ dressing recipe makes 5 cups of dressing. (Whoa! That’s a lotta dressing.) My adaptation below is half the original and still makes quite a bit so feel free to cut it down further. I got pretty thorough in creating this salad but I’ve included some quicker alternatives which are noted below.
Butter Leaf with Dried Cranberries, Peanuts, and Deschutes’ Dressing; Recipe or Not (inspired by Deschutes’ Butter Leaf Salad)
Green or red butter leaf lettuce
“Beer Nuts” (I used this recipe but cut the sugar & salt in half; quick alternate – honey roasted peanuts)
Croutons (cut small pieces of day old bread and sauté with olive oil until crisp; quick alternate – store-bought croutons)
goat cheese, optional
Original Deschutes’ Dressing
1 1/2 c. pale ale
3/4 c. white balsamic vinegar
1/4 bunch parsley, chopped
1-2 T. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 bunch of basil, chopped
Pinch of salt & pepper
Whisk all ingredients together and chill until ready to use!
Notes: I know, beer in salad dressing? Crazy, huh? But it’s super delicious. If you’re not a beer drinker and are wondering what to do with any remaining beer, make these New England Fried Shrimp! They are delish!