Ina Garten’s ‘Modern Comfort Food’ Salads Are All About the Dressing

Dressing can make or break a salad. Perhaps no Food Network star knows this better than the Barefoot Contessa. Because Ina Garten’s Modern Comfort Food salads are all about the dressing. Sure, she has many Barefoot Contessa salad recipes. But when it comes to her 2020 cookbook, dressing is where Garten’s salad recipes really shine. 

Ina Garten ‘Modern Comfort Food’ salads: broccoli and kale salad with Caesar dressing

Caesar dressing isn’t just for the namesake salad. Garten puts it on her broccoli and kale salad. The recipe, which can be found on page 91 of Modern Comfort Food, is inspired by a Jean-Georges Vongerichten dish. One Garten wrote she could eat “for lunch every day.” 

Think of it as a Barefoot Contessa twist on the classic Ceasar salad. Garten serves her homemade Caesar dressing with blanched broccoli and baby kale. Croutons and soft-boiled eggs complete the dish. 

Back to the dressing for Garten’s Modern Comfort Food salad. She puts all of the ingredients in a food processor save for “good” olive oil and parmesan cheese. Then, with it running, she slowly drizzles in the olive oil until the dressing thickens. Finally, she adds the cheese, and the dressing, which will keep for a week in the fridge, is done. 

A note from Garten on making Ceasar salad dressing at home: “It’s important that all the ingredients be at room temperature, particularly the eggs.” 

Fresh pea salad with mint and manchego gets a boost from a zesty lemon vinaigrette

Next up in Garten’s Modern Comfort Food salads is fresh pea salad with mint and manchego. A dish she loves making in the spring when fresh peas and sugar snap peas are in season, it features a simple lemon vinaigrette

The Barefoot Contessa star whisks together the juice of two or three lemons in a glass measuring cup with “good” olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. That’s the vinaigrette, which happens to be Garten’s favorite, done. 

She pours it over the assembled salad and tosses it to coat. With a sprinkle of manchego cheese shavings (Garten uses a vegetable peeler), the salad is ready to serve. 

Vinaigrette is also something Garten thinks everyone should know how to make

Ina Garten ‘Modern Comfort Food’ salads: green salad vinaigrette 

Garten’s green salad vinaigrette is just about as simple as her lemon vinaigrette. She whisks together the ingredients. This particular recipe, found on page 88 of Modern Comfort Food, contains the following: champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and egg yolk.

Not so sure about putting an egg yolk in salad dressing? “If you’re worried about eating raw egg, just eliminate it,” Garten wrote in Modern Comfort Food. As she whisks, she pours in “good” olive oil until the vinaigrette’s emulsified. 

Then she puts the vinaigrette in a bowl before piling greens on top and not combining them. Garten waits up to 30 minutes before tossing and serving. 

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