eat well, live free

What boring salad?

As a vegetarian, nothing irks me more than a boring salad.  How would that bother me if I signed up to eat twigs and leaves for the rest of my life, you ask?  Because there are 100′s of locally grown fruits and vegetables and unlimited ways to dress them.  I think it is a shame when restaurants serve me lettuce and shredded carrots.  It’s enough for me not to return.

I won’t name names, but I ordered a main dish asparagus salad at a local restaurant last week, and I was served four stalks of asparagus with a small dollop of goat cheese on the side for $12.  When I looked up pleadingly at the waiter, he asked me if there was a problem!  Doesn’t the “chef” know about strawberries? Don’t they care? Of course I didn’t say that.  But I do believe, if people took more time to make incredible salads, many meat eaters would actually eat more vegetables.

This short post is comprised of my 3 rules that break all the stereotypical salad making rules.

Rule #1: Lettuce is not the answer.  Little to no lettuce.  Period.

Rule #2: No carrots or tomatoes, unless I feel like carrots or tomatoes.

Rule#3:  Only homemade dressing even if it is olive oil, lemon juice and a finishing salt.  Even that combo kills almost everything bottled.

Here are a few tips to help you wrap your brain around the new rules.  I hope it gets you thinking out of the box when it comes to making inspired salads.

  • Since lettuce is no longer the base ingredient, try no base ingredient or an alternative such as quinoa, millet, barley or whole beans.
  • Pull out everything “saladable” in your refrigerator and set it all on the table.  Chop up a little of everything.
  • Fruit isn’t always used in a fruit exclusive salad.
  • Choose a theme and build up around it to help you select ingredients.  For example, Fresh garden corn salad, has Mexican themed flavors and ingredients.  It is simple, yet has a purpose at the table with other dishes I served it with.
  • Visit Corti Brothers or an olive oil distributor near you and purchase legitimate olive oil.  Real olive oil is certified by place of origin and has a Denominacion de origen protegida seal stamped on it.  Or investigate your local olive oil makers.  We love Bariani oils which are sold at many local stores including Corti’s, the Co-Op and the farmer’s market.
  • Google salad dressing recipes.
  • Add a protein such as nuts, beans or imitation meats.  I like to keep a bowl of cooked beans in the refrigerator to toss on salads whenever needed.  I also like the smart meat ground “beef” well seasoned for a layer in my taco salads.
  • Add a finishing salt.  It will change your world.

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