2 large red bell peppers
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 tsp red chile powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and quartered
1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
2. Place the whole bell peppers on their sides in a foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes then turn them over and roast for another 20 minutes or until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft. Alternatively, they may be roasted in the broiler or on the stove.
When I want to prepare a light and easy recipe that is hearty enough to be served at lunch as well as at dinner, my Romine Salad with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette always comes to mind. I roast red bell peppers in the oven to sweeten and concentrate their flavors then lightly fry shallot and garlic to mellow and sweeten them. All of the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette ingredients are blended until smooth and creamy. The dressing is simply seasoned with a bit of ground cumin and red chile powder. I use a small amount of chile for its flavor and not to add heat. The bell peppers give the dressing body and intensity that most vinaigrettes do not have. It is a rich dressing that is healthy with all of the nutrition from the peppers, including fiber, vitamins C and B6, and antioxidants.
To complete the salad, I chopped a head of romaine lettuce and a handful of cilantro, then added slices of red onion, tomatoes and cucumbers to a large salad bowl. After tossing in a few handfuls of freshly cooked chickpeas, I dressed my garden-fresh salad with the vinaigrette. Add a fresh baguette or naan, and dinner is ready!
7. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a serving bowl or individual bowls. The dressing can be mixed into the salad or drizzled on top.
6. In a food processor or blender, purée the shallots and garlic. Add the bell peppers and pulse until puréed. Add the lemon juice and spices. Slowly add the remaining oil to the vinaigrette while the motor is running. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed.
5. Place the bell peppers in the same skillet and cook them for 4 minutes to reduce liquid and concentrate the flavors. This is a good opportunity to remove any remaining seeds. Let it cool.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet on medium-low. Add the chopped shallots and fry for 2 minutes before adding the garlic. Fry for 1 to 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Remove the peppers from the oven and let them cool for just a few minutes. Place the peppers in a paper bag and seal it so the steam will facilitate removal of the skin. Set it aside. When the peppers reach room temperature, remove them from the bag. Discard the stems, seeds and skin. Chop coarsely.