Are you in a salad rut? Let me help you get out.
You do not need to begin all salads with a bowl of lettuce. This fact alone should be considered revolutionary to most.
I grew up with a beautiful salad on the dinner table every single night and I do feel like I am missing something if I am not eating leafy green lettuces with my meal, BUT if you are stuck in a “same-ol-salad” rut I have a solution for you.
Stop filling your salad bowl with lettuce, tomato, and some kind of awful jar salad dressing and expecting grand results. My friend, you will not get them. When tomatoes are in season and lettuce is plucked fresh from the garden then by all means have your simple salad (please put down the jar dressing though) BUT if you are ready to really stretch your salad muscles try some of my favorite ideas to make an unexpected treat.
- Use beans and a fresh herb as the base, build from there. Below is one of my favorite varieties of salads. White bean, avocado, tomato, parsley, (full recipe below) This is a go-to dish in my kitchen. It works perfectly as a pre-workout snack or as a satisfying lunch. You can use any variety of bean/herb/veggie. Try chickpea, fennel, and fresh basil or black beans, cilantro, and bell pepper. If you want more green action chop watercress or arugula and toss it in.
- Try a grain salad. I love making a big grain salad at the beginning of the week and using it in a variety of ways all week long. Quinoa, farro, bulgur, or barley are some of my favorite grains to use. Try my recipes for farro butternut squash salad, or asian quinoa salad, or kale tabbouleh salad. Some afternoons I will have a bowl of the “grain” salad exactly as is, then the next day to mix it up I will toss 1/4 cup of grain salad with a variety of other veggies.
- Have you met cabbage? Cause cabbage wants to meet you! I simply love a raw shredded cabbage salad. I make it super simple like below (kale, red cabbage, a bit of brown rice, olive oil and red wine vinegar) or I get “fancy” cabbage works super well with asian flavors like fish sauce, lime juice, and honey (maybe a little shredded chicken and peanuts on top!) Best part of a cabbage based salad is that most markets sell shredded cabbage all ready to rock and roll. (Although I must say it is pretty darn easy to chop cabbage as needed, and a head of cabbage will stay fresh for quite some time in your fridge)
If you’ve tried mixing up your salads and you are still finding yourself dreading that salad you have packed for lunch take a salad break, start making soups or bring leftovers from dinner for your lunch.
- 1 cup of cannellini beans
- ½ avocado, chopped
- a handful of grape tomatoes, halved
- a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of kalamata olives
- a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- sea salt and pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl drizzle with olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
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