Colo-RAD-o.

Can we all just talk about how awesome Colorado is for a quick second?

The mountains, the mountains, the mountains. Seriously. The mountains.

Did I mention the mountains, yet?

If you are a serious mountaineer, divert your eyes for a second. For a midwest girl like myself, anything that slopes even slightly upward (approx 100 feet elevation change) can be called a mountain in my came-from-a-very-flat-state opinion. When they are snow-capped, purple, and magnificent? Well, then I’m just in total awe.

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I was lucky enough to spend 4 days pretending to climb Colorado mountains with my brother a few weeks back, and I am still talking about it. This is the point where I need to apologize to a lot of people who have had to listen to my incessant pro-Colorado speeches for the past month. Sorry.

We are already planning a return trip in the future, but for now, I will be content with the memories… and the 400 billion photos I took.

(Insert creative segue to salad discussion) 

Salads. We’ve had this conversation previously, but I am a salad advocate. Salads are among my favorite dishes to eat in the summer —
– quick prep
– taste good
– fresh
– utilize the amazing produce we have this time of year
– taste good
– usually don’t require you to turn on the oven
– healthy
– taste good
– easily adapted and modified to please everyone at the table
– taste good

… I could keep going and going. If you are pro-salad, you are going to like this recipe. If you are anti-salad, I can’t help you.

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Italian Chopped Salad
Source: Annie’s Eats
Printable Recipe

1 red bell pepper (roasted, skin removed, and chopped into bite-size pieces)
1C chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4T olive oil, divided
1/2tsp oregano
1/4tsp red pepper flakes
1T lemon juice
salt, pepper
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
1 1/2T red wine vinegar
1 1/2T balsamic vinegar
3C baby spinach
3C chopped romaine
2oz shredded gouda

In a bowl, add chickpeas with 1T olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Season with a dash or salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. While whisking, add 3T of olive oil. Taste and add salt/pepper.
Toss the spinach and romaine in a large bowl. Toss with a few tablespoons of dressing. Top with onion, pepper, seasoned chickpeas, and gouda.
Enjoy!

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