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Zernograd You have probably figured that I have a salad fixation. My love of fresh produce escalated enhanced after my last visit to Belize. I buy many vegetables there, but often at a huge cost. For example a single butternut squash cost $15.00 and sweet peppers, while vibrant and colorful, are a whopping $6.00 a pound…you get my drift.
By the time I returned to the United States I dreamed of salad and vegetables. I pulled up my “Returning Home Grocery List” and after oooing and ahhhing at my favorite Seattle supermarket, I filled my refrigerator containers with mostly winter items for salads: crunchy napa cabbage, fresh baby spinach, arugula, kale, parmesan cheese, garbanzo beans (from my freezer), roasted chicken breast meat, fresh mint from my still alive rooftop plants, tuna , toasted walnuts, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, hard-boiled eggs, cooked quinoa, cottage cheese, quickly made pickled red onion, cherry tomatoes, rainbow carrots, and homemade croutons.
For your information, it takes me under 20 minutes of prep time to wash, chop and store what you see. To begin the week, I made one of my salad dressings by blending some Tahina sauce (similar to this recipe but thinned with a bit more water). I like to make an additional easy dressing and then I’m good for several days to create simple or complex salads that I eat for either lunch or part of dinner. Like an artist, these are my tools.
The components change every few weeks depending on my mood. I might have citrus fruit sectioned or dry cherries on hand, vary the nuts, add steamed colorful potatoes, avocado, swap out sliced steak for chicken or fish, and add different grains. Often in the winter I warm a lot of the ingredients when I eat at home. In the summer I lighten up and include many varieties of fresh herbs…and every salad I make isn’t an exact carbon copy of the previous one. I thrive with variety.
One reason I believe many people don’t eat healthfully is that it takes too much time and effort. When we’re hungry – seldom do we want to take the time to prepare a nutritious meal or snack. So I plan ahead! If I have a lot of work to do or will be on the road I put my salad in a huge jar or container along with the dressing; very early in the day–that way I never have to hunt for something healthful and filling to eat.
Here’s an example of a lunch salad I composed the other day: Napa cabbage, arugula, beans, mint, hard boiled egg, roasted chicken breast, toasted walnuts, toasted sunflower seeds, pickled onions, cherry tomatoes, and lots of fresh black pepper. And I topped it with my latest salad dressing obsession my son concocted – delicious!
February Salad Dressing
Just enough for one person
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ Tbsp sherry vinegar
- About 8 drops toasted sesame oil
- pinch of sea salt
Put everything into a small jar with a lid and shake, shake shake. You can double or triple the ingredients and make enough for the whole week. It keeps well at room temperature.