noun sal·ad \ ˈsa-ləd \
: any of various usually cold dishes: such as
a : raw greens (such as lettuce) often combined with other vegetables and toppings and served especially with dressing
Well it is certainly safe to say that during the holiday season, I gave Sesame Street’s the Cookie Monster some job security concerns – however, as we hit the proverbial reset button this first week in January, it is time to get this train back on the tracks.
I won’t pretend to be the world’s expert on nutrition or profess my love for all things kale and organic – but how many folks out there really enjoy a salad? I mean the jump up and down screaming like Buddy the Elf before Santa arrived kind of excitement…be honest.
Last summer, my Mom and I sat around griping about salads – when finally we settled on “why does a salad NEED to have lettuce?” Lettuce certainly isn’t a deal breaker in my book, but it often leads to the predictable eye-roll every time I reach for it when I make a salad. Enter the sacrilegious salad – one that “breaks the boundaries” and nixes the lettuce for a more modern take on a year-end nutritional go-to.
Over the last few years, in an effort to find newer and exciting recipes, I have often turned to Foodgawker (wonderful Pinterest-style food-blogging-centric site full of amazing ideas) – in need of some ideas for your own sacrilegious salad? Try some of these:
- balsamic chicken salad with lemon quinoa
- 15 minute greek cucumber salad
- shrimp and avocado salad with miso dressing (for those looking for a mix of both worlds)
Depending on the season, I prefer to mix up a composed salad (where each ingredient is arranged in separate piles in the salad – looks as great as it tastes) – here are a few quick go-to ideas:
- Summer – lobster chopped salad – with sliced hard-boiled egg, cooked lobster meat, tomatoes, bacon, cucumber, corn, avocado and mango
- Winter – brussels sprouts all around – braised brussels sprouts (halved or shaved), avocado, walnuts, shaved Parmesan cheese, and a delicious dressing
- Fall – fiesta in a bowl – shredded chicken, black beans, corn, avocado, tomato, crumbled goat cheese and smoky chipotle dressing
- Spring – peter rabbit’s salad – sliced radishes for a peppery kick, blanched or raw green beans, crumbled feta cheese, sunflower seeds, green pepper, and drizzled with olive oil and citrus juice (lemon or lime – I prefer lime with this one)
Sometimes the key to reversing the ravages of a pseudo-Cookie-Monster-wannabe during the holidays isn’t the latest fad or sexy shortcut – I still find that it comes down to food prep on the weekends and planning what you should be eating during the week – a revelation bestowed upon me from my friend Kelly. The mantra is simple – take a look at what you already have in the pantry, on its last leg in the fridge or freezer and see how to incorporate it into the week’s plan.
Even if this feels like solving world peace as you stare blankly into your fridge on a Sunday night, try a few simpler prep items to give you a head start:
- Baked chicken – I usually bake 1-2 packages of chicken breast on Sunday nights splashed with some olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder and S+P at 425 degrees for 20 min
- Quinoa – while the chicken is baking, throw some boiling water and quinoa on the stove and even mix it up by trading 1/2 the water with some chicken or veggie broth
What other make-ahead or sacrilegious salad ideas do you all try every week?
Lobster-chopped salad for the win… (pictured above)
A sometimes OCD weekly meal prep view…even a few traditional mason jar salads (pictured above)