Does the idea of a salad make you feel immediately deprived and stifled? When I first began to heal my relationship with food, I was all high and mighty about not ordering a salad. I would look at ladies with their grilled chicken over lettuce and think… those grill marks are like PRISON BARS. BREAK FREE, WOMAN, THERE’S MORE TO LIFE.
As it always does, my pendulum has now swung back to a more balanced place and now I really appreciate spending time in salad land. This time of year, greens are so vibrant and they make me feel so great. I feel my liver grinning every time I eat some raw kale!
Even if you are not communicating with your organs like me, maybe the current jillion degree weather in the Northeast US is leading you to experience the ultimate oxymoron, a salad craving. Is it confusing you because it conjures up images of wilty iceberg on bacteria-laden salad bars and general tastelessness, unless soaked in dressing and cheese?
Leave that confusion behind, my friend! I’ve got five quick ways that you can put some joy in your salad bowl.
Throw some Candied Walnuts on top
- Take two tablespoons or so of walnuts (about a handful).
- Warm a lightly oiled pan over medium heat.
- Add the walnuts along with a teaspoon or so of honey, a few shakes of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
- Sautee this around until they look toasty and smell amazing
Or some Roasted Tomatoes!
This recipe is just a low-key version of one from Ina Garten, my patron saint.
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Slice one pint of cherry tomatoes in half and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet
- Drizzle the tomatoes with 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 – 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 minced cloves of garlic, and a few pinches of salt, pepper, and sugar.
- Roast for about 20 minutes, or until tomatoes start to caramelize… and smell amazing.
Make this dressing, for heaven’s sake
I have nothing to adapt with this carrot ginger dressing from Smitten Kitchen because it is FRIGGING PERFECT. It is exactly the dressing that you get on free salads in Japanese restaurants. The kind that could make a sneaker taste delicious! Man. I wish I could do a shot of it right now.
Okay, fine. Make this one instead
Don’t feel like hauling out your food processor? Does sesame oil make you feel barfy? I may not understand you, but I do have another dressing for you.
When making this salad from Choosing Raw I discovered a simple formula for a beautiful fruity vinaigrette: whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup fruit preserves of your choice (I love raspberry or strawberry), 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, and salt and black pepper to taste.
It tastes a zillion times better than anything you’d get out of a bottle and takes two seconds to make. Look at you, you domestic goddess, making things from scratch!
Sass that shit up with superfoods!
You know those foods in the bulk aisle of your health food store that make you feel like superwoman, but cost a whole lot per pound? Those superfoods are your salads’ best friends!
Listed below are some of my favorites. They’re full of flavor and texture and really robust health benefits – so you only need a few pinches to load up your salad with nutrition and fun.
- Dried coconut - Coconut is good for your heart and is full of fat-burning and anti-viral properties. Plus, it tastes like the inside of an Almond Joy! It is the very thing that puts my Massaged Swiss Chard Salad right over the top.
- Cacao nibs - Cacao is gonna save us all, mark my words. It is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, good for blood pressure, the skin, and opening the heart. Without it, my Strawberry, Cacao Nib, and Goat Cheese Salad would be… still delicious. But missing that savory chocolate crunch, which would be sad.
- Hemp seeds - OH HEMP. Hemp is worth all the hype! It’s full of digestible protein, it contains all nine essential amino acids, and has been used as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic in Chinese Medicine. Sprinkle it on top of any salad to add a nice nutty crunch. You’ll find that it keeps you full for a LONG time. And makes you feel like a hippie!
Now, your leafy greens can sparkle instead of being a snooze fest! Let’s all start wearing lettuce leaves like superhero capes! Enjoy!