Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing

This healthy Pesto Salad with cracked peppercorn parmesan dressing is exactly the deliciously light side dish you want to go with any Italian dish – or make it a light meal by adding a protein of your choice! We feature creamy sundried tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts, salty Parmesan cheese, and crispy fried garlic, all on a bed of basil, arugula, and spinach. Splashed with the quickest peppercorn parmesan dressing, and it’s a one way ticket to taste bud nirvana!

Jump to Recipe
Plate of salad with sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and fried garlic.

Tips and Substitutions

What other greens can I use?

Any! I chose the arugula mix for the peppery notes it brings to the dish, but use any greens you like and have on hand! Romaine or baby kale would be delicious, too.

Is there a sub for the silken tofu?

Yes! Use an equal amount of fat free Greek or regular yogurt (plain), or fat free sour cream. If you do, you may want to reduce the amount of lemon juice you use.

What can I use instead of pine nuts?

Pistachios, chopped walnuts, or sunflower seeds would all be great in place of the pine nuts.

What protein do you recommend to make this a meal?

Roasted chickpeas or grilled chicken would be perfect to add to this salad!

Do I have to use the sundried tomatoes in oil?

I chose to use the ones in oil because of their softer texture. But you can use the dried ones. I recommend reconstituting them for about 10 or 20 minutes in some water before using them.

Can I use dried basil for this?

No. Dried basil will not work for this recipe.

Plate of salad with sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, fried garlic, and dressing. being drizzled over

If you make this Deconstructed Pesto Salad, tell me in the comments!

Find more of our Salad recipes here! And if you’re a huge pesto fan, you’ll also love Roasted Parsnips with Arugula Pistachio Pesto, and Pesto Scalloped Potatoes.

Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing

Deconstructed Pesto Salad with cracked peppercorn parmesan dressing is exactly the deliciously light side dish you need to go with any Italian dish – or make it a light meal by adding a protein of your choice!

Course Lunch, Salad
Cuisine American, Italian
Diet DiabeticDiet, GlutenFreeDiet, LowLactoseDiet, LowSaltDiet, VegetarianDiet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Assembly 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 161 kcal
Author Laura Yautz

Ingredients

For the Pesto Herb Salad

  • 4 cups 6 oz Spinach Arugula Mix (or just baby spinach)
  • ¼ cup Toasted Pine Nuts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Parsley
  • 1 oz package fresh Basil, leaves only
  • 2-4 Tbsp Sun Dried Tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
  • 4 Garlic cloves, sliced and fried (optional) See notes
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing

  • 1 cup Silken Tofu
  • ½ cup unsweetened Soymilk (or milk of choice)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground Black Pepper [or 1 Tbsp cracked Black Pepper]
  • ¼-½ tsp Salt, or to taste

Instructions

To make the dressing:

  1. Place all ingredients for the dressing into a blender or food processor. Blend on high until smooth. Add a little more milk if it’s too thick.
  2. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Makes about 1 ¾ cups (about 14 servings)

To assemble the salad:

  1. In a large bowl, toss the spinach arugula mix with fresh basil and parsley. Tear any very large basil leaves so they are smaller than the spinach leaves.
  2. Divide among 2 – 4 plates.
  3. Top each salad with pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, and fried garlic, if using.
  4. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
  5. Drizzle each salad with about 2 Tbsp dressing.

Recipe Notes

Don’t forget to check out our Tips and Substitutions section above!

To fry garlic, slice the cloves thin. Heat enough oil in a small skillet to submerge the slices. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, and fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel before using.

Pesto Herb Salad

Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing

Plates of salad with sundried tomatoes, and fried garlic. Text overlay: Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing
Plates of salad with sundried tomatoes, and fried garlic. Text overlay: Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing
Plate of salad with sundried tomatoes, and fried garlic with dressing being drizzled over. Text overlay: Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing
Plate of salad with sundried tomatoes, and fried garlic with dressing being drizzled over. Text overlay: Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing
Plate of salad with sundried tomatoes, and fried garlic with dressing. Text overlay: Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing
Plate of half eaten salad with sundried tomatoes, and fried garlic with dressing. Text overlay: Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing
Plate of half eaten salad with sundried tomatoes, and fried garlic with dressing. Text overlay: Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Close up of a strawberry being dipped into brownie batter dip.

Did you know: Snacks don't have to be unhealthy!

Download our FREE guide to snacking well for your heart! This guide is packed with delicious ideas (including brand names) for any snack craving! You'll also get all our latest tips and recipes in your email!

Success! Check your email for your free guide!