There are no rules to my salads except one: I never use store-bought dressing. In fact, I hardly use any oils at all, even the healthy ones.
You can throw anything you want into your salad, but the more super foods you can add, the more your salad becomes an energy-sustaining meal, instead of a light side dish or starter.
Denser food items will keep you feeling full longer and smooth out blood sugar levels longer. By the way, there is very little oil in this salad, making it heart-healthy.
2 STEPS TO PUTTING IT TOGETHER
- First, I grab a couple of handfuls of already washed, very dark, leafy lettuces.
Generally speaking, the darker the green, the higher the nutrient content.
I added arugula, which I try to keep on hand. Also, you can sneak in your beet tops. See BEET NOTES, below.
- Next, I tossed in just few shakes of my favorite seasoned salt (here, I used Lemon Pepper, but sometimes I use Cajun Seasoning, or Cavender’s, or Lawry’s. Whether you have Dollar Store spices, or fancy mixes from boutique or organic vendors, surely you have some favorite seasonings. Use them. Sprinkle in a little at a time.)
- Next, I squeezed in about a teaspoon of lemon juice, since I used only a few handfuls of lettuce.
- Then, and here is the surprise, I added only two or three shakes of extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil.
With these ingredients in my large bowl, I use my favorite Dollar Store scissors to cut (right hand) and spin the bowl (left hand) which chops and incorporates the lettuces, lemon, oil and seasoning.
Now, cover a dinner plate with this tossed, seasoned and chopped lettuce mix.
Separately, chop and set aside these ingredients:
- 1/4 cup of loosely chopped, Roasted Walnuts
- 1/4 cup ripe Avocado
- 1/4 cup sliced, sweet Plantain
- 1/4 cubed, ripe Tomato
- 1/4 cup sliced, then cubed Artichoke hearts, from a can.
- 1/4 cut fresh (boiled earlier) beets. *See note below on beets!
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced Onion, white or red.
Arrange these remaining ingredients around your lettuce in a way that appeals. Start with the darker items, like the beets, which will serve as a nice backdrop to offset the lighter items, such as plantain, avacado, tomato.
Onions and walnuts go on last.
TIPS: If you really can’t wrap your head around beets, or think you can trick your family into them, think about adding steamed carrots or heart of palm.
If you need more protein, go ahead and add a boiled egg or some lovely turkey breast. Grapes, raisens, apples, olives … and a little flax seed could also add some tang and substance.
DRESSING TIPS: Rather than douse your greens with oils, in addition to lemon and seasonings, toss in a bit of your artichoke, olive, or pickle juice. Squeeze in a spritz of orange or mandarin juice. Or pineapple. All these liquids can add zing to a dressing without adding oils!
*BEET TIPS: People routinely make the comment: “I hate beets.”
Maybe they do. Or maybe the think they do.
Beets are very nutritious and I think, misunderstood. If served right, they are a surprisingly beautiful addition to dishes. And sometimes easy to disguise! Here are my beet tips:
- Boil your own beetroot but not until squishy. When you use them in a salad, they will still have a firm feel, even a crunch. And they really tend to take on the flavor of your dressing.
- Keep them cold, in their boiling juice, until ready to use
- Chop them small and mix them into dark lettuce. People hardly notice.
- SAVE the beet tops. The leaves are even more nutritious than the root and, you can chop these into your lettuces! Who will know?
- Beets can be processed raw and are lovely when combined with onion, mandarin, even a little citrus rind. Try them in a bowl with onion and Blue Cheese! Dreamy….
- You can save and use the beautiful magenta juice in dressings, or even drink it.