Monday, May 25, 2009

Loving Salad & 'Dressing for Success'

Salad is my very favorite food in the whole world. There, I've said it. I have always loved creating and eating salad...I could eat salad for lunch and dinner every day and never tire of it.

It's the first item I make when preparing a meal for my family and guests, and my mainstay for picnics and 'potlucks'.
For me, a 'basic' salad includes romaine lettuce, spinach, shredded carrots, diced tomatoes, peppers, & cucumbers.

I really love tabouli salad, and lately I've been making it 'bulghar free' by just mixing
diced tomatoes, peppers, & cucumbers with finely chopped parsley, mint, lettuce & spinach (use the 'S' blade on your food processor to chop all the greens quickly and effortlessly) and then mix with olive oil and lemon/lime juice, a little sea salt & pepper, (garlic & onions optional). It is SO delicious and you can eat as much as you want!

Making a salad can bring out the 'artist' in anyone - you can be creative, spontaneous, experiment with color & texture, and 'throw' in whatever strikes you, and slice, dice, chop, shred, mince...

I find it relaxing, almost meditative, and really enjoy the process...listening to good music is a plus, and finding 'helpers' make things go quicker...I especially love working with my girls - Annette & Bettina - they are a great help all around, and have become experts in dicing...we have fun and a lot of love goes into everything we make.

There are so many options for 'adorning' a salad...alfalfa and bean sprouts are refreshing, sprouted lentils are delicious and crunchy, as are fresh corn kernels, fresh peas and chopped nuts...go 'crazy' by adding shredded coconut, chopped apples, jicima, tiny pieces of fresh pineapple, green or black olives, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, chick peas, avocado, tofu, raisins, (soak your raisins in water for 10 minutes to be plump)...the list goes on and on.

Any lightly steamed vegetable goes well in a salad, like broccoli & cauliflower florets, string beans, beets, zucchini...

'Dressing' a salad is most important...I usually use a blender and start with extra virgin olive oil and lemon or lime juice...most of the time I don't follow a particular recipe.

You can create your very own 'house dressings' by stocking up on and combining the ingredients listed below
...have fun experimenting!

Extra virgin olive oil
Juice from a lemon/lime
Bragg liquid aminos or soy sauce
Agave or honey
Fresh garlic
Black pepper
Sea salt
Onion powder
Cayenne powder
Curry powder
Ginger powder or fresh
Dijon mustard
Tahini (sesame paste)

  • Homemade dressings last for at least 3 days and are so much healthier, tastier and cheaper than store-bought, and they don't include MSG and other ingredients we should stay away from.
  • Soaked raw cashews or silky tofu mixed in with any of these ingredients gives it thickness and a ranch-like taste, especially with onion or onion powder.
  • Check on line for recipes for dressings with your favorite ingredients, there are 1000's!

You may not want to take the time to make a salad and dressing, all that chopping, cleaning the food processor, blender,'re busy, tired, wanna grab something quick...but if you create good habits by filling your fridge with an abundance of greens, veggies and herbs, and get organized by preparing certain things beforehand - you will feel so good, save a lot of money, and reap the health rewards big time.

Bon Appetit!


Tricia said...

Wow! What great pictures! Your ideas sound so yummy, I think I will make salad this week. I love tomato-cucumber salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
It made me think of the "formula" for my favorite type of salad. It's always good no matter which type of greens, nuts, etc. you use. So Yummy!
I think you mentioned that you don't eat dairy, but you can substitute tofu or another fruit for the cheese. That would be really good I'll bet.

The Formula:
any two or more greens
any vegetable
any fruit
any cheese
any nut

Thanks for the salad inspirations! I'm adding tomatoes and cucumbers to my shopping list!

Kimberly said...

Great recipes! I love salad too; my husband laughs at how much I love to add "crunchy bits", as he refers to them. Raisins, sunflower seeds, etc.
Thanks for sharing this info. :)