The humble salad.

Hi All.

So this month’s recipe is not really a “recipe” per se, but more just a bunch of suggestions for making salad. The “humble” salad is probably the most neglected and underrated food group or type in a lot of households, and yet it’s one of the greatest sources of vitamins, nutrients, and fresh enzymes that we have available. And so, for me, the idea is to make it as varied and tantalizing as possible so that you and your loved ones will want to eat more of it.

Now, I call it “humble” because a salad can be as simple as a hand-full of lettuce leaves ‘thrown’ onto a plate, or, as varied and elaborate as you want it to be. For me, when it comes to salad, variety really is the “spice of life.” I often like my salads to be as full of as many colors and flavors as I can (within reason of course). So, here are my suggestions;

Start off with a bed of lettuce in your salad bowl. You can use a single variety or a blend, e.g. ‘broken up’ or chopped Romaine and Green or Butter lettuce, use your favorites, experiment with whatever you like (by the way, avoid iceberg lettuce whenever you can. While it tastes pretty good and is usually nice and crisp, out of all the lettuces, it contains the least amount of nutrients). Add a few baby Arugula leaves or a few whole Cilantro leaves or parsley for added vitamins and flavor. Maybe add a little thinly sliced red cabbage for some extra crunch and color as well. Use as much ‘greens’ as you need for however many people you are serving.

And then, the sky really is the limit. Here’s a list of some of the ingredients I like to add to my salads. Not all at once of course but it gives you an idea of just how varied your salads can be to make them less “boring” and, hopefully, more enticing.

Sliced bell peppers (red, green, yellow or orange), sliced cucumber, (try the small “Persian” variety, really good, and you don’t have to peel them), sliced tomato, sliced red onion, sliced (or grated or halved hard-boiled eggs (boil for 6 mins), grated carrot (all colors), sliced cooked beet root, sprouts (alfalfa, broccoli, bean, mung bean etc, delicious and good for you!), chopped celery, lightly steamed veges like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, etc, edamame (cooked soy beans, preferably shelled), sliced or grated Jicama, sliced avocado, Feta cheese, chopped cooked chicken meat, canned tuna . . . and the list goes on . . .

Now, I know what you’re thinking too, well, some of you . . “yeah, but it’s a lot of work and effort to prepare all that.” Actually, it’s not really. And if it is, it’s worth it! You’re worth it! So just do it. Your body will greatly appreciate it. Oh, and by the way, no croutons. You don’t need the extra carbs (especially not “refined” carbs, which has all the ‘goodness’ pretty much extracted from it). J

The salad dressing you use can be anything from simple olive oil with vinegar or lemon and a little salt and pepper, or a simple balsamic dressing, to your favorite store-bought brand. Whatever gets you to eat salad! Be sure though, when you do buy ready-made dressings, to check the ingredients. Organic is always best, and so is ‘simple,’ i.e. as few ingredients and “additives” as possible. And try to stay away from cream-based dressings like “Ranch” and “Thousand Island.” They’re fine when you’re at a friend’s place for a barbecue and there’s not much else, but, “all things in moderation.” A lot of dressings I find too are too thick and “gunky” and don’t pour well, or, the flavors are too strong, so what I sometimes do is add a little water to it, not much, just to thin it out a little, and shake it up really well, and it pours a lot better and even tastes better too.

So, good luck with your salad “creations,” have a great rest-of-the month, and ‘see’ you next time.

- BILL. ;)