Fresh ‘n Tasty
The scan of the Mom’s original recipe clipping (below) hails from a Family Circle Magazine recipe from 1978. I don’t remember eating many salads in my younger years (hooray!) so I definitely dodged a bullet, as a lover of carbs.
Family Circle was one of my Mom’s go-to reads and I thought it was still in circulation. Sadly, it is no more but it had a good run of it from 1932 – 2019. You can read more about Family Circle Magazine here.
This salad is super versatile. You can add veggies or a protein and make it a mouth-watering meal. We added some grilled chicken to the salad and it was delicious!
We made the salad and pesto just a few days before departing on our 2020 Covid getaway to Colorado.
❤ For just two people we cut the salad and pesto recipes in half. If you are OK with leftovers for another meal, go all the way.
❤ A little pesto goes a long way. You don’t have to glob it on like a pasta sauce. If you love pesto you should try our family favorite that is a 100% legit basil pesto.
❤ I saw no evidence for what the asterisks were pointing to in the original recipe for parsley and basil. I can only presume the author meant to include “USE FRESH HERBS ONLY” because using dried parsley and basil sounds like a culinary disaster.
❤ We seasoned our chicken with a gift from a friend who makes it by hand – JB’s Special Blend is a staple in our home!
Total prep: About 90 minutes (includes chilling time).
for the dressing:
½ cup | olive oil or vegetable oil
¼ cup | tarragon vinegar
1 cup | parsley clusters
1 ½ teaspoons | fresh basil leaves
1 clove | garlic
½ teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon | pepper
2 tablespoons | fresh parmesan cheese, grated
for the salad:
3 cups | lettuce, hand torn
3 cups | spinach, hand torn
1 | red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 | green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 cups | zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup | raw green beans, slivered
3 | tomatoes, cut into wedges
1. For the pesto: Combine all of the ingredients (except the cheese) using an electric blender or immersion blender until smooth. Hand-stir in the cheese. Chill 1 hour to let the flavors mingle.
2. For the salad: Line a serving bowl with the lettuce and spinach. Arrange your chosen vegetables on top and chill until serving time. Serve tossed with the pesto dressing.
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Whether you enjoy it as a side dish or a main course, there’s one recipe that’s an essential for the southern foodie – pimiento cheese!
Ironically my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook didn’t contain a pimiento cheese recipe… likely because making the stuff was a culinary instinct for my Texas born and bred Mom – the recipe was memorized.
I interviewed my family (Jennifer!) and friends and curated the recipe below which makes a nice staple for your kitchen or as a gift for friends. Whether you serve pimiento cheese from a china plate or at a tailgate, “P.C.” is one dish that’s an undisputed crowd pleaser.
Pimento vs. Pimiento?
Pretty much my entire adult foodie life I’ve been plagued with how pimiento is spelled. I’ve often heard it referred to as “pimento” (3 syllables) or “pimiento” (4 syllables). Pimiento appears to be the correct spelling according to the Southerners Bible, Southern Living, as well as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. While either pronunciation will work, I prefer “pimiento” to “pimento.” Just pronounce it with confidence and don’t second guess the raised eyebrows you may receive. :)
I encourage you to explore the numerous ways to enjoy pimiento cheese including:
- Pimiento cheese-bacon cheeseburgers (score Bobby Flay’s recipe here)
- Pimiento cheese grits
- Pimiento cheese dip (see the bonus recipe below)
- Grilled pimiento cheese sandwiches
- Macaroni and pimiento cheese
- Pimiento cheese deviled eggs
- Pimiento cheese sausage balls
- Pimiento cheese ravioli
- Pimiento cheese schmeared on celery (my long-standing favorite)
Growing up my Mom would simply spread ¾ – ½ inch of the Texas gold between some sliced ButterKrust bread and that was that. Heaven!
❤ In a pinch for a few of the ingredients? There is an actual difference between pimientos and red bell peppers. So if you don’t use true pimientos, you can use a jar of roasted red bell peppers (drained and chopped) or red bell peppers, (roasted, seeded, and chopped). You can substitute white wine vinegar for the sherry vinegar.
❤ There are several alternate ingredients for making pimiento cheese including paprika or cayenne spices, yellow onion, finely chopped green onion tops – even toasted and chopped Texas pecans. Try your hand at finding the ones you like best!
❤ There are also several options to pair with your pimiento cheese – Triscuit crackers, naan, artisan breads, toasted breads, pita chips, vegetables… or as my Cousin Jennifer suggests “amply by spoon.”
Total prep: Same day or longer… depending on your patience. And your palette.
½ pound | cream cheese, softened
1 cup | mayonnaise
1 cup | goya brand jarred pimientos, chopped (see substitute above)
1 teaspoon | lea and perrin’s worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon | sherry vinegar (see substitute above)
¼ teaspoon | cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon | kosher salt
½ pound | monterrey jack cheese, grated
¾ pound | sharp cheddar cheese, grated
handful | green onion tops, chopped (optional, but wildly suggested)
iii. What to do
0. Set out the cream cheese to soften (about 45 minutes to an hour).
1. In a medium-sized bowl stir the first seven ingredients with a spatula or spoon.
2. With a spatula, fold in the Monterrey and Cheddar cheeses and mix well. If you prefer a smoother (vs. chunkier) cheese you can continue to mash the cheese with a fork. If desired add the green onions inside the pimiento cheese and or sprinkle them on top for some color.
3. Transfer the cheese into storage/serving containers. Spreads easiest fresh; if you store it in the fridge until you’re ready to devour, you’ll likely want to let it rest, uncovered, until it’s creamy and pliable.
Cheers to the gold and red!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
*** BONUS RECIPE > PIMIENTO CHEESE DIP ***
My cousin Julie emailed me a recipe she said she saw in Southern Living for their spin on a melty Pimiento Cheese Dip. I couldn’t find the recipe online so this is extra special:
4 ounces | velveeta
¼ cup | whole milk
3 tablespoons | pimientos
½ teaspoon | paprika
½ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper
what to do:
1. Microwave the Velveeta for about 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Microwave a few more seconds until the cheese is melted.
2. Whisk in the milk, pimentos, paprika, and pepper.
Serve while it’s warm with your favorite pairings (pita, celery, etc. per above).