Monday, August 27, 2012

How to eat more salad: the home salad bar

Summer is for open windows and breeze through your bedroom at night. Summer is for dipping toes in lakes and streams and ponds and pools. Summer is for fingers stained with blackberry juice and fingernails lined with soil. Summer is for a diet where fresh local fruits and vegetables take center stage and turn meat and grain into understudies.

I have spent a month eating beautiful ripe stone-fruit and dark berries and leafy greens and fragrant tomatoes.  I keep my salad spinner in the fridge, full of lettuces and baby spinach and spicy salad greens. I eat a salad everyday, sometimes too. To eat so many salads, I had to find ways to keep it alluring everyday. I came up with the idea for a home salad bar and have kept it stocked since.

I used a plastic shoe box, sold at organization stores for a dollar or two. I fill it with canning jars, about six to eight will fit, depending on their size. Each week, I fill the canning jars with salad toppings, making sure to mix it up each time. Each week, I make sure to never use the exact same combination of ingredients, letting myself find new marriages of sweet and salty and savory and spicy. Be sure to keep a few different salad dressings on hand - checking labels to find some with lower amounts of fat (if you care about such things).

Next time you are at the farmers' market, look for salad greens beyond head lettuce. My favorites are mizuna and types of cress - they add a great spicy bite that I love. Here is a list of salad toppings that I have been using, to get your own ideas flowing:

  • diced tomatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • black olives
  • kalamata olives
  • chopped button mushrooms
  • sliced cucumber
  • roasted red peppers
  • diced raw peppers
  • blanched green beans 
  • roasted cauliflower
  • blanched or raw broccoli
  • feta cheese
  • blue cheese
  • grated mozzarella
  • mozzarella balls
  • garbanzo beans (marinated in olive oil, lemon juice salt, pepper and one grated garlic clove)
  • edamame (steamed soy beans)
  • french lentils
  • cooked, chopped beets 
  • grated raw beets 
  • grated carrots
  • diced red onion 
  • diced scallions 
  • baked chicken breast 
  • diced salami 
  • diced ham 
  • boiled egg 
  • leftover steak, sliced very thin 
  • smoked salmon 
  • spiced pumpkin seeds
  • walnuts 
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries 
  • boiled baby potatoes 
  • basil leaves
  • cilantro 
  • chopped mint leaves 
  • nasturtiums and other edible flowers

1 comment:

Mary said...

That's is an awesome idea. My husband was taking salad to work everyday for lunch, but he quickly got tired of eating the same thing everyday. I think I'm going to have to figure out a way to do this for his work lunches.