Georgia *Salad* on my Mind

When my husband told my he wanted to go to Georgia I was confused. It didn’t sound like the far off places he usually suggests. Except he meant Georgia – the COUNTRY – at the same time all our friends were going to Ibiza – so there was a slew of reasons why I was originally against this idea. Turns out, Tbilisi is awesome. Qveri wine, while interesting, has it’s merits. Khachapuri and Khinkali are BOTH phenomenal. And the Georgian answer to a Greek salad was the perfect accompaniment to the aformentioned butter-topped cheesy bread.

SHOPPING LIST: 1 cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, feta cheese, walnuts, lemon, olive oil, chopped garlic, salt, pepper

This is VERY much like your traditional Greek salad – except the dressing is an herb-less walnut-based “pesto” for lack of a better word. Begin with your usual Greek salad prep. Trim the ends off your cucumber, slice in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and then slice into about 1/3″ inch pieces. Take 1/4 of a red onion and mince finely (unless you love red onion in which case you could totally slice into larger pieces). Hopefully your kalamata olives are already pitted – that’s annoying! – and take 1/2 cup of those and slice in half lengthwise as well. Finally, take a cup of cherry tomatoes – I went with the tri-color version for appearance (are you sensing a theme?) – and slice them lengthwise as well. Add 1/2 cup of crumbled feta and set aside to be dressed.

In your food processor, add 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1 heaping tB. of chopped garlic. Add the zest and juice of one lemon. Add 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Pulse until the mixture comes together like a thick pesto. You WANT there to be bits of walnut – DO NOT EMULSIFY THIS INTO MUSH. Add 1-2 extra tB. of olive oil if your walnut dressing needs more liquid to properly pulse. Once your dressing is set – add 2 3 tB. on top of your chopped vegetables and mix thoroughly. Dress with a little extra feta for the fun of it.

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