Have you noticed that local food has been cropping up now more than ever? I’ve been happy to see a big selection of produce at stores like Whole Foods with the “I’m a local” sign next to it. And recently, I’ve also been seeing signs at more mainstream grocery store like Shaws, advertising a few New England grown produce items. A few days ago I picked up a convenient box of organic mixed spring greens by a brand called “Locally Known,” which comes from a farm in Maine. It makes me happy to see more sustainable food options growing, and I love being able to get food at my grocery store that hasn’t been trucked all the way across the country.

I took the box home, which contained  lettuces, mustard greens, beet tops, baby spinach, baby arugula, baby swiss chard and baby kales,  and attempted to re-create an awesome salad that I had at a restaurant last week, adding a few of my own twists. Even though I know how good it is to eat leafy greens, for some reason, I can’t ever get excited about a regular garden salad – if it doesn’t have a theme and extra add-ins, I just won’t end eat it. This recipe has heart-healthy walnuts, red grapes, a little bleu cheese, and a warm shallot vinaigrette to jazz it up:

½ shallot, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

About 2 cups of mixed baby greens

¼ cup chopped walnuts

1 tbsp blue cheese crumbles

½ cup of red grapes, sliced into halves

Sautee the shallots and garlic in olive oil in a small pan, until the shallots turn brown and crispy. Meanwhile, toss salad greens, blue cheese, walnuts, and grapes. Wisk mustard and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl, then add olive oil-shallot mixture and stir. Toss with the rest of the salad. So gourmet, and so easy! I made this as a single serving, and ate it for a very filling dinner. You could definitely make it in a bigger batch and serve multiple people, or as an appetizer.

– Jean