Learning to Cook with 'Basically 10x10' Recipe 8

Learning to Cook with 'Basically 10x10' Recipe 8

Well, here we are!  A few busy days into 2019 and already right smack dab back in the Basically 10x10 groove ~ conveniently in the form of a [much. freaking. needed.] salad. If you’ve been keeping up with these recipes, week by week, you’ll know by now that I have a generally strong distaste for salads.  I’m just not the biggest fan.  However. I was quite honestly grateful  to see this recipe in the roster after all of the scrumptious snacks and goodies that came along with Christmas and the New Year.  So, I skipped the carbs, whipped up some grilled chicken, and had myself a healthy Wednesday night (Jan 2nd!) supper. New Year’s Resolution?  Let’s hope so.

Recipe 8: Every Night Salad with Yogurt Ranch  

**Assistance images from Basically


  • 1 garlic clove

  • 2 lemons

  • ½ cup plain full-fat yogurt

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 2 dashes hot sauce

  • ½ tsp kosher salt, plus more

  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more

  • A small handful of mixed herbs, such as dill, basil, cilantro, and / or parsley

  • ¼ cup roasted, salted almonds

  • 1 head of romaine or 2 romaine hearts

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

What you’ll Need

  • Measuring cups

  • Measuring spoons

  • Microplane

  • Medium bowl

  • Chef’s knife

  • Cutting board

  • Whisk

  • Small skillet

  • Large bowl


1. Peel 1 garlic clove and use a Microplane to finely grate into a medium bowl. If we're putting garlic into a dressing, we're almost always going to grate it. It's faster and easier than mincing by hand, and ensures that the garlic flavor is evenly dispersed.

2. Slice 4 sides off 2 lemons. Cutting the lemons this way makes it easy to remove the seeds, and creates easy-to-squeeze "cheeks." Squeeze juice from 1 lemon into bowl with garlic. Set remaining cheeks aside.

3. Add ½ cup yogurt, ¼ cup mayonnaise, 2 dashes hot sauce, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper and whisk to combine. Give the dressing a taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary—it should be plenty punchy.

4. Remove leaves from any tough stems from handful of herbs. (You can use whatever soft herbs you have lying around for this, alone or in combination, but the dressing will taste great even without them.) Finely chop leaves, then stir into yogurt mixture.

5. Crush ¼ cup roasted, salted almonds with the bottom of a small pot or pan. You can certainly toast raw almonds yourself if you want some extra credit, but using ready-to-go nuts is a good option if you don't feel like turning on the oven. Don't like almonds? Any nut or seed will work great here, too.

6. Cut off bottom of 1 head of romaine and let leaves fall from core; discard any leaves that are tough, leathery, or wilty. Continue cutting from the bottom, removing leaves as they fall.

7. Once you have removed all the leaves, slice larger leaves in half and leave smaller ones whole. (If your leaves are dirty or gritty, this is a good time to give them a wash—just remember to dry them off as thoroughly as possible afterward.) Transfer to a large bowl.

8. Squeeze reserved lemon cheeks over lettuce and toss gently to coat. (We always dress with acid—think citrus or vinegar—before adding any oil, otherwise it will slide right off.) Add 2 Tbsp. oil and a generous pinch of salt; toss again to coat. If it seems like you're dressing this salad twice, well, you are! This ensures that each leaf of lettuce is properly seasoned before that creamy ranch gets drizzled on—a pro move whenever you're dressing a salad.

9. Arrange half of lettuce mixture on a platter. Spoon dressing over, then repeat with remaining lettuce and dressing. Top with almonds; season with plenty of pepper. Repeat every night from now on.

Assessment: Simple, yummy, and relatively healthy.  This recipe came to be exactly what I wanted it to be (except I did heed the advice in the comments section of adding chives to the dressing - solid choice, there!). After eight recipes and eight weeks into Basically 10x10 - I will probably never purchase salad dressing again!

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