If you have ever shared a meal with Natalee and me, chances are you've experienced our salad. In fact, most dinner invites now include the question: "…and you'll bring the salad, right??"
Of course we will!
We call it the "Kitchen Sink" salad, because it's got everything but. Ingredients not traditionally salad-like are the signature of this creation, I encourage you to experiment with anything and everything in your kitchen, or whatever catches your eye at the market.
My guilty secret is that I HATE making salad. Especially with 487 ingredients I like in mine. So I make sure to maximize the work by making LOTS. I break out every container and make lunches for the whole week. (But if you are prepping ahead of time, save the smooshier stuff like mushrooms and avocado for last minute toppers, just do the basic chopping all at once).
Here's how it works…
Raid your kitchen and throw it all IN THE BOWL...
GREENS - Spinach°, mixed babies, arugula°, chard°, collards°, any kind of lettuce°.
RAW VEGGIES - Give it everything you got! And every colour… Cucumbers°, bell peppers°, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes°, celery°, green onions°, the options are endless
SPROUTS - anything alive (have you tried growing your own? So easy! And a nutrition powerhouse!)
NUTS and SEEDS -adds a layer of substance, protein and texture. Walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, chia, flax, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.
SOMETHING COOKED but COLD - This seems out of place, but it totally works. Our fave is leftover steamed broccoli° and whole baby (or chunks of bigger) potatoes (but chilled! not hot). Leftover grilled veggies (like eggplant°, zucchini° and peppers°) are perfect too.
ONE SWEET ITEM - Blackberries have become the star of this show. Strawberries°, blueberries, apple, pear and tangerine chunks are good too. Or dried fruit like figs, cranberries or raisins. But unlike the rest of the above items, DON'T overdo this one or you'll end up with a dessert instead of a salad. Pick one… ok, maybe two. A little sweet goes a long way.
PROTEIN - not essential if this is destined to be alongside a bigger meal. But a little protein will make this a perfect one-dish-meal. Hard boiled eggs, canned chickpeas or black beans, marinated tofu chunks, any kind of meat, fish or seafood. I like to grab a can of tuna for an easy office lunch. Just plop a whole can on top and toss.
FAT - Feed your brain!! Avocado is perfect! How about cheese (or vegan "cheese"): goat, feta, mozzie, parm, blue. Olive oil, for sure, but that comes later.
GRATED ROOTS - This is the signature item! I use a box grater to make the tougher root veggies more manageable, and it puts a gorgeous finish to the bowl. Essentials are raw beets, carrots, and radishes. Zucchini° is good here too since I'm not crazy about chunks of raw zuke.
And now for the best part… THE DRESSING!
If you MUST violate the bowl of beauty you just put together by using a cesspool of commercially processed and unpronounceable ingredients, go ahead, use the dressing from the store. Snorseville!
I encourage you to make your own. It's so easy and SO much better than anything you will find at the store. (exceptions… Cherry Creek from Granville Island, or Trader Joe's Goddess. For those, I will forgive you).
And let's address the issue of quantity…Don't be modest and deprive yourself of the flavour and goodness that comes with the dressing. Being scared of dressing is the quickest way to induce salad misery. These are all healthy ingredients!! I could even defend the mayo, depending on the quality of the source. (Feeling brave? Make your own.)
Besides, does anyone still believe the weight-loss bozos who say all you need to to do is limit your dressing to 2 TBS and the pounds will just fall off? POPPYCOCK!! Fresh homemade salad dressing is NOT the enemy. I guzzle this stuff while losing (and am maintaining) a 50 pound weight loss. Go nuts. It's not gonna kill you.
Feel free to adjust the qty, this will make a nice big jar and should last a week or so in the fridge. (But be careful if you took me up on the make-your-own-mayo challenge. That will drastically decrease the shelf-life. Proceed at your own risk. Be food safe!)
So let's get to it!…
OLIVE OIL - 1/2 cup
MAYO - 1/2 cup (or less if you are still a salad masochist and will feel better NOT enjoying your lunch).
BALSAMIC VINEGAR - 1/2 cup
TAHINI or DIJON MUSTARD - a few tablespoons of either. Not essential, leave it out if you don't have it handy, but tahini adds such a nice flavour, and dijon gives a nice bite.
GARLIC - 1 or 2 (or more!) raw or roasted cloves, crushed or grated very finely… talk about "bite"!
OREGANO° - lots! At least a tablespoon of dried, and more if fresh. BASIL°, CILANTRO° or SAGE° work too, but I prefer oregano.
BLACK PEPPER - 1 or 2 tsp, fresh cracked if possible
ONION POWDER - 1 tsp
Sling it all into a mason jar or other tight container and shake-shake-shake. Small appliances are not really necessary, but feel free to break out the immersion blender, food processor or bullet, especially if you feel the need to justify their purchase. "See, I use it all the time!"
And there you have it! Out of our vault and into your kitchen. Good stuff.
Did you notice I marked some of the ingredients with a dot (°). These are all items that grow beautifully in your Tower Garden: grow your produce at home, indoors or out, organic and local, year-round regardless of your climate. I count 14 tower options in this recipe!! Awesome!
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Impress us all with your mad salad skills and add your favourites in the comments.
Here are a few of my favourite crops that you will find in lots of my recipes:
FRUITS & VEGGIES