Salads: The Easy Option

Soup has been my go-to food of the winter. I make a huge pot of tortilla soup or chili and freeze serving-size portions for nights when I get home late or it's too cold to do anything but wrap up in a blanket.

The warm, sunny weather in Lexington this weekend had me thinking about what my "easy meal" option will be for spring and summer. It, I decided, most likely will be salad.

My salad style is fresh and colorful. I like to start with baby spinach as the base, and from there the options are endless. Heavy doses of cucumber are a must, and nuts are a filling topping that add textural flair. (Almonds or walnuts or walnuts are my favorites.) Recently, I've been a fan tossing in extra green pepper and tiny heirloom tomatoes (in red, green, yellow and purple!) into the mix.

The great thing about salads is the flexible recipe. You can add anything your taste buds desire (or anything you can dig out of the fridge, if grocery day is approaching). Some of my other favorite salad mixers include:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Artichokes
  • Black beans
  • Garbonzo beans
  • Peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Avacado
  • Red Onion
Of course, some sort of dietary extra is required for a well-rounded flavor. I personally don't like cheese with salad dressing, so I usually choose one or the other. When it comes to cheese, I like something rich. Feta always tops a salad well, and I recently experimented with shredded asiago, which worked out pleasantly.

As far as dressings go, I prefer simple vinaigrettes. Equal parts olive oil and vinegar (red wine or balsamic!) work just fine. Kraft need not apply. If I want to get swanky, I finish my bowl with freshly ground black pepper sprinkled on top.

I'm looking forward to salad evenings - especially munching and crunching on my westward-facing porch while watching the summer sunset. My taste buds are always eager to try something new, though. Do tell me what you add to your favorite salad!

1 comment:

Michael and Yukiko Jones said...

To leave out a few calories, try a garlic and herb salad topping mix, or any variety of seasonings. A friend suggested it to me a few years ago, it's delicious and I now rarely use dressing at all. And a hard boiled egg is always a must :)