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!
Tips and Substitutions
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.
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.
Pistachios, chopped walnuts, or sunflower seeds would all be great in place of the pine nuts.
Roasted chickpeas or grilled chicken would be perfect to add to this salad!
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.
No. Dried basil will not work for this recipe.
If you make this Deconstructed Pesto Salad, tell me in the comments!
Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad with Cracked Peppercorn Parmesan Dressing
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 tablespoon 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 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 3 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper [or 1 tablespoon cracked Black Pepper]
- ¼-½ teaspoon Salt, or to taste
To make the dressing:
- 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.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Makes about 1 ¾ cups (about 14 servings)
To assemble the salad:
- 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.
- Divide among 2 - 4 plates.
- Top each salad with pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, and fried garlic, if using.
- If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
- Drizzle each salad with about 2 tablespoon dressing.