During the rare occasion where I actually watched some of the news last night before my Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy lineup (yeah, no shame here), there was a feature on Farmer's Fridge, a Chicago-based company that's literally turning vending machines into salad machines, with the mission to make access to healthy and delicious food the rule, and not the exception.
Really quickly on how it works: they get fresh produce every morning, create every salad from scratch and then deliver the jars to their kiosks...by 10 a.m. All unsold salads from that day are then donated to a local food pantry. They're giving a fresh (pun intended) meaning to salad in hopes that people will get over the stigma that salads are boring and flavorless.
Salads are a pretty stereotypical thing. They're not "filling" enough, there's too much lettuce and not enough "stuff," or the age old favorite...where's the meat? Come on now, salads are my JAM. You can squeeze all kinds of things in there and get your fixin' of greens, proteins, complex carbohydrates, so on and so forth. As long as you don't drench it in ranch dressing or something, then you go Glen Coco. I, on the other hand, am known to drench mine in just a tad too much olive oil. Heart-healthy fats, people.
But if salads aren't really your jam, for whatever reason, I'd like to shake things up with some super delicious, super seasonal salads that might just shut ya up, literally! Time to get over those stigmas and start becoming salad crafting ninjas.
QUINOA. Learn to love it, if you don't already. Minimal greens and lots of protein and fiber in this one. A little corn, some black beans and my very favorite....tempeh. It's an upgraded, homemade, healthier version of a Chipotle Burrito Bowl, if that helps any.
For a nice twist on that traditional butter lettuce, anchovy-fied Caesar Salad (you do know that there are anchovies in caesar dressing, right?), treat yourself to the kale and brussels sprouts version with a dreamy parmesan-like dressing that's vegan and anchovy-less. With some crispy chickpeas that contain similar flavors of bacon, you'll be sleeping well after you get some of this in your belly. Also, here's a slightly similar version if you're really into getting your fix of kale. And...this one, because helloooo garlic croutons.
Why yes, you can compile a bunch of beets and call it a salad. This one's got a little ginger, turmeric, grapefruit, chopped mint and pistachios to bring some some tickling to your taste buds. Not a fan of that canned cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving? Me either, so let's make it a point to serve some sexy beets instead.
Miss McKel over at Nutrition Stripped really knows how to fancy up a bowl of greens in the most simple of ways. Here, she's (beautifully) tossed in sweet potato, kale, figs, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and a nice drizzle of tahini. Subtract things that you don't particularly like, or add additional things like chickpeas, a poached/fried egg and some other healthy, crunchy toppings.
And how about some roasted potatoes? This Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard-Walnut Vinaigrette is like a big winter hug on a plate. Comfort-like carbs in the form of potatoes meet toasted walnuts, fresh basil, and sliced scallions to create a dish that is just something else. Now, if only someone can do this with some sweet potato tater tots.
So there, five delicious salad ideas that are full of everything BUT wilted lettuce and the same-old-same-old toppings that you find at a typical salad bar. Use this as inspiration to make yourself a grocery list and get to fixin' some cozy weeknight salads. Tip: eat it from the largest bowl that you have. Game changer.
Cheers to eating well. With some kick-ass salads.