With the temperatures reaching 100 degrees in Texas I wanted to prepare a light and easy recipe that is hearty enough to be served at lunch as well as at dinner. The Romaine Salad with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette includes some of my favorite vegetables plus chickpeas for protein. The dressing, however, is the best part of the entire recipe.

Romaine Salad with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette

Romaine Salad with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette

I roast some red bell peppers in the oven to sweeten and concentrate their flavors. In addition, I lightly fry the shallot and garlic to mellow and sweeten them as well.

All of the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette ingredients are placed in a food processor or blender and processed 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!

I also used my recipe for Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette as a dip for carrot and celery sticks because I couldn’t resist the flavor of the dressing. It makes a great dip!