Looking for easy, no-cook, light summer meals? This cold roast beef salad is simple to make with vibrant flavors and a tangy sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Look no further for easy summer salads.
I don’t mind leftovers, ever. In fact, Scott will tell you that “leftovers night” is my favorite night of the week… cleaning everything out of the fridge and indulging in a smorgasbord is weirdly satisfying to me. This cold roast beef salad with a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette came from one of those leftovers nights and it’s also a welcome light summer meal for nights you don’t feel like turning on the stove.
Let’s start with the vinaigrette… this one is a garlic and dijon spiked dressing with two tablespoons of oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes as well as the finely diced tomatoes themselves. Whisked together with fresh lemon juice and zest, this zingy sun dried tomato vinaigrette would be good on just about anything, but its especially tasty on this cold roast beef salad.
Arugula is tender with a peppery bite and it’s my first choice for a salad like this. For added texture and crunch, thinly sliced brussels sprouts add another dimension. If you’ve never tried brussels sprouts raw, they’re kind of like cabbage and really hold up to that dressing.
The fun stuff comes next. Ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion (for color and heat) and some frozen peas (thawed, of course). To me, a good salad needs layers of flavor and olives (specifically kalamata olives) are one of my go-to ingredients. Their briny bite adds another dimension to the cold roast beef salad. Because of the strong flavors in the dressing, olives and arugula, a more neutral, creamy cheese makes a strong supporting member of this cast of ingredients. Fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks or those cute little mozzarella balls (ciliegine) are perfect here.
Finally, the leftover roast beef. You could use leftover steak or chicken… even shrimp. This was a leftover eye of round roast. I didn’t have enough to make these awesome roast beef sandwiches but there was plenty to top the salad. If you have it, garnish the cold roast beef salad with a few shavings of Grana Padana, or Parmigiano Reggiano for more flavor!
Sun-dried tomato vinaigrette is the dressing that ties this easy summer salad together. Pour a glass of chilled rosé and enjoy this salad with a bit of French bread on the patio for a relaxed alfresco dinner at home.
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Cold Roast Beef Salad
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 cup brussels sprouts sliced thin
- 1/2 cup frozen peas thawed
- 1/4 cup red onion sliced thin
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives pitted and halved
- 1 cup ciliegine halved (or diced fresh mozzarella)
- 1/3 pound very thinly sliced leftover roast beef (I used eye of round roast) (or use leftover steak, chicken, pork, shrimp)
- 2 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano or grana padana shaved
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes in oil finely minced
- 1 tablespoon oil from sun dried tomatoes
- pinch kosher salt
- pinch black pepper
MAKE THE DRESSING:
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic, dijon mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomato oil, salt and pepper. Whisk to emulsify. Set aside.
- in a shallow wide bowl toss the arugula and shaved brussel sprouts. Top with peas, red onions, tomatoes, olives and ciligiene. Mound the thinly sliced roast beef on the salad and sprinkle with shaved parmigiano reggiano and basil. Drizzle with dressing and toss to serve.
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