At the start of my Whole30, I had a plan. I had shopping lists and meal plans and was incredibly organized. As the 30 days have marched on those well-laid plans have started to unravel. I only had about two weeks planned and never took the time halfway through to schedule the rest of my cooking and eating. And frankly, cooking for yourself (and another sometimes) for all meals of the day everyday gets exhausting! That’s where this recipe come in…This salad was another miracle hodgepodge of fridge finds and perhaps the most delicious one yet!
I had about half a pound of ground pork, lots of greens and many jarred condiments, like harissa, capers and roasted red peppers that were calling out to me this particular afternoon.
I turned the pork into quick little meatballs that I then seared in a cast iron pan to maximize outer crispiness and inner tenderness. The salad came together quickly as most of the ingredients were prepared already and simply required assembly. The saltiness of the capers and olives was rounded out by the sweetness of the orange and peppers, everything being off-set by the tangy spicy harissa with the almonds providing great crunch, this was an ever-changing by the bite delight that kept me full for many hours. Give this one a try!
Mediterranean Inspired Salad with Lemony Pork Meatballs and Harissa Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
- 2 cups mixed greens, I used arugula and spring mix
- 1 large roasted red pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon capers, lightly chopped
- 1/4 cup mixed pitted olives, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Aleppo toasted almonds (see note)
- 1 small Cara Cara orange, peel and pith removed and thinly sliced
For the Meatballs:
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper, olive oil
For the Harissa Vinaigrette:
- 2 heaping tablespoons harissa
- splash of red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 big squeeze fresh lemon juice
Note: For the Aleppo toasted almonds, combine 1 cup slivered almonds with a few teaspoons of olive oil and a heavy sprinkle of Aleppo pepper. Toast in a skillet over medium-low heat until golden and fragrant.
To make the meatballs, add all ingredients into a bowl and mix together with your hands until homogenous. Pinch off golf ball sized amounts and roll in cupped hands to form nice round meatballs. Set on a plate and continue making meatballs until meat mixture is gone. I got about seven meatballs out of my batch.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the meatballs and cook until golden brown on all sides and a nice outer crust has formed, about 4 minutes for “top” and “bottom” and about 2 minutes per “side”.
Remove to a clean plate and set aside.
To make the vinaigrette, put all ingredients except salt into a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Season with salt to taste. The vinaigrette may start to separate after it sits, just whisk it back together if that happens.
In a large bowl, add the greens and layer on the roasted red pepper, olives, capers and orange slices. Tuck a few meatballs over the greens and fixins while they are still warm. I only put four meatballs in my salad and ate the other three on the side 🙂 Sprinkle the whole salad with the Aleppo toasted almonds and dress with the Harissa vinaigrette and enjoy!