Valentine’s Day Heartfelt Salad

Valentine’s Day meals aren’t only about the chocolate for dessert. They begin with a salad made with hearts of romaine, artichoke hearts and red bell pepper hearts. The heart-healthy dressing marries olive oil and Meyer lemon juice, celebrating the happy coincidence of Meyer lemons ripening on Valentine’s Day.

serves two sweethearts

14 oz can Artichoke hearts

1 heart of romaine lettuce

1 red bell pepper, cut into heart shapes

Dress with Meyer lemon vinaigrette:

3 Tb Meyer lemon juice

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp fresh minced garlic

Combine ingredients in blender and run on high until emulsified.

Raspberry vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is barely sweetened by the balsamic vinegar and a scant teaspoon of raspberry fruit spread. Excellent on Raspberry-Pecan Salad or as a marinade for Raspberry Chicken Breasts.

Place in blender: ¼ cup raspberries, ¼  cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp raspberry fruit spread, ¼ tsp fresh thyme leaves, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil. Blend for 15 seconds until emulsified.

Nutritional Info for 2 Tb raspberry vinaigrette:

  • Servings Per Recipe: 8
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 80.6
  • Total Fat: 8.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 3.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 2.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 0.0 g

Basil-Meyer Lemon Salad Dressing and Marinade

I used the flowering parts of my basil plant.  They added a floral quality.

You can also make this just with leaves if your plant is not flowering.

Serves 3 salads:

2 Tb basil flowers and/or leaves

juice  of one large Meyer lemon: 2 Tb

1 Tb water

1 Tb garlic-infused olive oil and 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

sprinkle of salt to taste, about 1/8 tsp.

Blend together and pour over green garden salad. I made my salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado, and artichoke hearts canned in water.

I added sliced baked chicken breast, and the basil dressing worked well with that too.

Great on the grill! To use as a chicken marinade: Double the basil, lemon and oil to ¼ cup each. Increase the salt to 1 tsp. I added a ripe tomato to the blender and it made the chicken juicy and tender after a couple of hours marinade time. Remember to make several cuts on each side of the boneless breast to allow the marinade to penetrate. Reserve a few tablespoons of the marinade (that you don’t put the chicken in), and pour over cooked chicken for even more flavor.

I made this in a clay pot, cooking the chicken in the marinade. It came out very juicy and tender. Immerse clay pot in a sink-full of water for 15 minutes. Pour chicken with the marinade in the pot. Place in cold oven and set temperature for 400′ and bake for about 30 minutes until done.