I no longer have to miss one of my favorite restaurant salads. O'Charley's Black and Blue was a long time favorite. But no longer eating meat, gluten, soy or dairy made that salad SO far out of the realm of possibility. If I had gone to the restaurant and ordered the parts I could have, I would have had a bowl of dressing-free lettuce and tomato. Not my idea of a great restaurant dish.
I've finally come up with my version of that salad and it is fabulous.
Black and Bleu Salad:
This salad is made of mixed greens (spring mix and spinach), sliced onions, blackened portabello mushroom, grape tomatoes, croutons and bleu cheez dressing
Bleu Cheez Dressing:
The recipe from The Ultimate Uncheez Cookbook, with an added 1-1/2 cups of navy beans to make a thicker dressing. Because of the beans, it needs to be made in the blender instead of whisked in a bowl.
Croutons: (make as many as you want, each salad has croutons from 1 slice of bread)
Food for Life Brown Rice Bread
1 tsp olive oil per slice of bread
Cube the bread, toss in olive oil and seasonings (to taste) on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes until golden brown. Don't let them cook to get as crispy as you think you want them. If you do that, when they cool they will be WAY too hard.
Do the seasonings to taste, but I use a lot of fresh ground black pepper, a tiny bit of cayenne and a little garlic salt. Sprinkle seasonings on both sides of mushroom. Dry-fry over medium high heat in a iron skillet. Cook about 4-5 mins on the top side, then turn over and push down on the mushroom with spatula to flatten it and make the mushroom release it's natural juices. Cook another 4-5 mins on this side. The mushroom will get a little dry and have a nice chewy consistency. Slice mushroom to top salad. (I actually cut the slices in half again so I could spread the mushroom out some more).
Put about 3 cups of mixed greens on the plate, top with about 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes, onion slices (I think red onion would have been even better, but I'm out of red), mushroom pieces, and croutons. Then pour dressing over everything and enjoy while the mushroom is still warm!