Last month, I taught a class with Peter Garland, owner of Porta Via here in Beverly Hills. If you have never heard of the restaurant, it’s probably because Peter likes it that way. Because he knows that if word got out on this darling neighborhood canteen, it might cease to feel like home to his adoring clientele.
Porta Via serves the kind of farmers market-inspired dishes that you would make yourself if you had the time. Seasonal salads, vegan soups, simply grilled fish and Double Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies have made Peter one of the most popular restaurateurs in town (of course, it hasn’t hurt that he is charming, handsome, and single).
This beautifully balanced salad is a perfect sampling of Porta Via’s fare. It’s packed with flavors, textures, and nutrients. It’s satisfying to the point of bliss. And it leaves you with plenty of room for dessert. Maybe that’s why I can’t seem to get enough of it.
At the restaurant, the salad is topped with grilled onion and fried leeks, two steps you may want to skip to save time. In my version, toasted pine nuts add crunch, while dried cranberries give a delightful sweet touch. Diced avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, grilled corn and garbanzos highlight the homespun. However you toss it, it’s a salad for a celebration, Father’s Day, or any day.
Now, about those Double Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies? Write to me and I’ll send you the recipe. You can thank Peter yourself.
Serves 6 as a main course salad or 8 as a side
Makes 1 cup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1/3 cup Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 bunch flat kale, stems removed, shredded as thinly as possible (about 4 cups)
2 cups cooked quinoa (use 1 part quinoa to 1 part water)
1/2 cup freshly shaved or grated Parmesan cheese or vegan Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. Prepare the Champagne Vinaigrette: In a small bowl or a blender, combine the mustards, vinegars and honey. Stream in the oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a large salad bowl, toss the kale, quinoa, cheese, pine nuts and cranberries. Pour in about 1/2 cup of the Vinaigrette and, using your fingers, coat the salad entirely. Season with salt and pepper, adding more dressing as desired. Can be made a few hours before serving.
All the recipes from my class, Light and Healthy Italian with Porta Via, are now available for purchase! E-mail me a request and I’ll send you the details. The cost is $9.99 for 6 recipes. Here is the menu:
Summertime Peach Bellinis — Easy SoCal Gazpacho — Kale Quinoa Salad — Kamut Pasta with Pea Pesto — Grilled Salmon with Fresh Corn and Leek Relish — Double Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies
Here are some more salads that pack a punch:
- Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Tower
- Israeli Tomato Feta Salad
- Tomato Cheddar Salad with Yogurt Dressing
- Arugula Salad with Creamy Parmesan Hempseed Dressing
- Summer Peach Salad with Sunflower Vinaigrette
- Mediterranean Whole-Grain Couscous Salad
Enter the Summer Cooking Contest for a chance to win some nifty Farmgirl kitchen swag!
Photo credit: Mountain Mama Cooks
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