Sunday, March 27, 2011

The salad formula: Amazing salads made easy

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Salads are an amazing meal option. They offer a variety of tastes and textures and a mega dose of nutrients. They're also super portable and don't require heating, which makes them a great lunch for work.

Sadly, many people have an irrational hate for the salad. A hate that stems from the unfortunate myth that salads are confined to two to three ingredients, one usually being lettuce, and that they can't ever be enough to fill someone up, and that they're just for diets and therefore a food you don't really want to eat but do occasionally and grudgingly like it's a punishment.

The truth is that salads, with their endless combinations, are a form of culinary art; they require imagination and innovation. And without it, salads are in fact just lettuce with a slice or two of tomato and cucumber, maybe some onion. But don't be scared; it's an artform that can easily be taught. Making balanced salad that serves as a healthy and satisfying meal, like most things in life, comes down to a basic mathematical formula:

whole grain + protein + vegetables + greens + dressing

It's that easy. And have you SEEN the produce section at any grocery store? It's huge! Imagine the possibilities!

Dressings are an essential component of making delicious salads that don't leave you wanting more. And all too often this is the part people put the least effort into, leaning toward oil and vinegar, maybe some mustard...If you're one of those people who is on the fence about salad, it could very likely be that it's your dressing that's keeping you from experiencing true salad love. Step outside of your cupboard and look to your fridge and blender for dressing inspiration. Avocados or nuts make a great creamy base and lemons, tomatoes and even oranges add that wonderful tartness. If you're settling for store-bought dressing because you're nervous about potential dressing disasters in you're bag, rest assured: mason jars, with their powerful seal, make great containers for dressings.

Here is one salad that I made the other day that we're currently quite obsessed with. It left us both nicely full but also feeling energetic - not heavy or tired. And it was so delicious, we were still talking about it two days later and had told almost everyone we knew about it!


Whole grain
2c quinoa, cooked (1c uncooked)

Protein

2c mixed beans, rinsed well if using canned

Vegetables
1 tomato, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
3 cloves garlic, derooted and diced
1 hungarian pepper, deseeded and sliced thinly
Olives, pitted and halved


Mix together in a small bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. If you're prepping your salad for lunch at work, store these chopped veggies in a container separate from the greens to avoid the dreaded soggy salad.
 
Greens
1c mixed sprouts (I used a combination of broccoli and daikon radish sprouts)
Carrot greens, chopped
1 head red leaf lettuce, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped

Chop greens and wash and dry thoroughly. If you don't have a salad spinner, I highly recommend purchasing one. They're not very expensive and are an invaluable investment in making a great salad. Thanks to my lovely friend Anita for providing me with both my salad spinners (the second one after i accidentally melted the first...).

Dressing
1 avocado
2tbsp hemp seeds
Juice from 1 lemon
1c spinach (optional)
½ tomato
Water, as needed
Cayenne to taste

blend together. I find the magic bullet quite useful for salad dressings and sauces because of the blender's small size.

Mix everything together and toss with the dressing. 

Enjoy the salad that dreams are made of!
xo
Selene

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3 Comments:

Blogger VeggieAmanda said...

I love your salad formula and I love salad! Yum! I'm going to remember your formula when people speak negatively about salads. Thanks for sharing!

March 27, 2011 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger Iris said...

Yes! Salads can be so amazing once you get creative with them!

March 29, 2011 at 11:22 PM  
Anonymous The Healthy Apple said...

Love this salad...looks delish and you've done a beautiful job with this recipe...have a great night. I am so happy to have found your blog; tasty n' healthy recipes just how I like 'em!

April 6, 2011 at 9:37 PM  

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