This post is inspired by my kiddos, 2 in particular – 1 asked with her head cocked “we’re going to have salad everyday?!” YES and is that a problem? The other, our youngest, said this when he got his plate “Where’s the salad? That’s not salad…. there’s no lettuce. Where’s the lettuce?”
So here’s the deal. First things first… the key to having a “salad” is NOT the lettuce; it’s fresh ingredients (not including meat, of course) and a “dressing” of some sort. And second….. I would eat salad CONSTANTLY if I could.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’m giving you a few SALADS you may not have considered before. A few quickies about each of them:
- All of these can be eaten at any temperature, but are really great cold.
- None of these include mayo, so they’re great for outdoor shindigs – no spoilage.
- No mayo also benefits my health conscious friends – less fat & calories.
You’ll need a basic vinaigrette for each of these so just go ahead and make a full bottle like you would normally buy at the store anyway. If you don’t want to use the same vinaigrette for your salads, you can put a spin on it as you use it by adding ingredients directly to the salad.
Ok, this first one is easy because you really could just choose any veg you like, not just what’s listed; it’s all about the BEP & the more “colors” you can get in the better!
Black Eyed Pea Salad
- 1 lb black eyed peas (please don’t use canned – it’s just not good)
- cherry tomatoes, a handful or two, quartered
- 1/2 large red or yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
- 1 celery stalk, diced
Cook the black eyed peas as you normally would. Add everything to your salad bowl, top with vinaigrette, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss, chill, and serve!
This next one is sort of a twist on a caprese salad (Mmmm Mm!)
Corn & Tomato Salad
- fresh corn (sorry I never measure this one 🙁 )
- cherry tomatoes, a handful or two, quartered
- 1/2 red or yellow onion OR 1 green onion, diced
- mozzarella cheese, cut into small slices (or you could dice it)
- fresh basil, about a handful, chiffonade (roll it up and slice thin strips)
Cook the corn just enough to make it edible, should take 2-3 minutes or so, then shock it (to keep the crunch and color). Add everything to your salad bowl, top with vinaigrette, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss, chill, and serve!
Next up… perhaps it sounds too good for you to be good. Ohhh, but the yummy crunchiness….
Kale & Brussel Sprout Salad
- 2 bunches of kale, washed and shredded
- 2 lbs of brussel sprouts, sliced thinly
- 1/2 head of cabbage, washed and shredded (optional)
- bacon (optional)
Cook the bacon on the stovetop (please don’t burn or char it!) and when it’s done just set it aside. Add the kale, brussel sprouts, and cabbage to the bacon drippings and saute for a minute or two. THIS is why the bacon has to be on the stovetop and NOT burned/charred – we want that flavor, but it still needs to look pretty.
Remove the mixture to your salad bowl; crumble the bacon over the salad, and pour on some vinaigrette (start slow, less is more). Toss, chill, and serve!
Variation: For a twist or some extra crunch, especially if you don’t add bacon, try some chopped nuts in this. Delish!
Bonus: Like sushi? Then you’ll love
Spicy Tuna Salad
This ain’t your mama’s “tuna fish”!
- 2 tuna steaks OR 2 sushi grade tuna steaks OR 1 can tuna in olive oil or water (olive oil amps up the omega-3 factor)
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or less if you can’t take the heat)
- homemade mayo, avocado, or “oily” vinaigrette (I’ll explain that little nugget in a minute)
If you are using tuna steaks, sear them quickly on a grill or cast iron skillet; allow to cool before handling. Add all ingredients into a bowl and stir just enough to combine. Chill and serve with crackers, on a lettuce leaf (lettuce rolls), or as a sandwich (sometimes it is a must).
Variations: I love this stuff so much that I tried it all kinds of ways.
- Greek – with olives (green, black &/or kalamata), capers, tomatoes, and feta.
- Italian – with green olives, tomatoes, onions, and garlic
- Asian fusion – with cucumbers, onions, avocado, soy sauce & sesame (seeds &/or oil)
- use avocado in place of mayo, just make sure it is really ripe so you can easily smash it to get the consistency you want
- if you don’t like avocado, and you’re just not “ready” for homemade mayo, make an “oily” vinaigrette – 3 parts oil, 1 part acid – shake it up really well or put in the blender to emulsify. Just use a little of this – just enough to hold it all together.
Before I go, here’s a tip for ya… we eat so much veg – yup, a salad a day… FOR 6 PLUS the multiple servings with dinner – that I would have to live at the grocery store to keep enough freshness around.
My solution… Buy frozen veg! By flash freezing it, all the flavor and nutrients are locked in. Just make sure the only ingredient is the veg itself – like these; anything more and it’s either been boiled to death or it has additives.
Hope you have a chance to try these, AND experiment with even more salad options. If you do, let me know how it goes. Some of these you’ll either really love or REALLY hate! Either way it’s be fun to see what happens!