Eat Well: Salads as Center Stage

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
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A few years ago after I visited my octogenarian naturalist aunt and uncle in Ashland, Oregon, I started seeing salads as more than a side dish. Watching my Aunt Dot create her daily salad broke me out of my leafy green salad mentality and catapulted me into the world of Salad as Center Stage. I’m not talking about main course salads with rice or quinoa, pasta or bulgur wheat. I am talking about making a salad that is so full of a rainbow of hearty raw vegetables that you don’t really need a whole lot more to be satisfied for dinner.

Larry and I often have a huge chopped salad with a slice of quiche or some quinoa on the side. This makes a really easy, healthy and filling dinner. You can make the salad before serving or let it marinate for awhile in the refrigerator.

Years ago, I bought a large wooden bowl with wide sides at Costco and I love using this bowl for my chopped salad. It’s easy to toss without losing any ingredients over the edge.

Aunt Dot’s chopped salad

1. Take a smashed garlic clove and rub it all over the inside of your salad bowl.
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2. Pour into the salad bowl a tablespoon of red wine or apple cider vinegar, a few splashes of Braggs Amino Acids or tamari sauce and 2-3 tablespoons of oil. (I like a 1:2 ratio of vinegar:oil for this type of salad, but you can experiment and find out what you like best).
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3. Take a fork and whisk the oil and vinegar together.

4. Chop all of your vegetables into small dice and add to the salad bowl. I like to use any combination of the following: carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, radishes, snap peas, celery cucumbers (without the seeds) fresh cilantro or dill, and chopped red or green cabbage or other heavy greens.
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(If you use kale, rub olive oil into the leaves on both sides, let marinate for a few hours, and then chop).
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chopped veggies...
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+ cabbage...
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+ tatsoi and mizuna

5. Mix well. Add pepper and some salt to taste. If you need more oil and vinegar, add and mix some more. Add a generous amount (1/4-1/3 cup) of raw or toasted sunflower seeds and mix some more. Either serve or refrigerate for later. (If you make ahead of time, add the seeds just before serving).
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This salad keeps well and is delicious the next day since there are no watery items in it such as and tomatoes. I love to make extra and have it the following day for lunch with a piece toast smothered in hummus.

The only thing that really matters with this salad is to pick vegetables with a low water content and don’t use anything that can get crushed (no fruit or delicate lettuces). And stay on the savory side.
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Enjoy!

Love,
WWW

21 comments:

Kristen | 10:17 AM

I never thought to add the dressing ingredients first. I'll do that next time. This salad looks yummy!

the actor's diet | 10:40 AM

texture is so important when it comes to a good salad! i am now super lazy and use these scissors/chopping gadget that has made my life very easy:

http://theactorsdiet.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/the-sloths-tools/

Sydney | 10:51 AM

Looks delish. I had a wonderful mixed salad from Leon healthy fast food place in London. It had broccoli, alfalfa, peas, cucumber, avocado, quinoa, feta, fresh mint and parsley, toasted seeds and it was DELICIOUS.

http://www.leonrestaurants.co.uk/

Glenda | 11:30 AM

love. i can eat salads as a meal anytime. yummy!

Amelia | 1:43 PM

First time commenting, wanted to say thank you for all your lovely "Eat Well" posts, they are very inspirational. One question, I noticed you stated to use cucumbers without the seeds - why is that?

You all rock, keep it up!

Wendy Woolf | 1:52 PM

Amelia, You can add the seeds if you want and are going to eat it right away. The inside of the cucumber is very wet (the area around the seeds) and I wanted this salad to be one that could last for several hours without getting watery.

Rebekah Wolf | 2:14 PM

Thanks for the inspiration. I'm having this for dinner!

Rose | 2:38 PM

Yum! Can't wait to try it. There is some impressive longevity going on in your family! Are your mother and aunt and uncle vegetarians too?

Emily | 2:47 PM

Looks delicious, Wendy! I, too, have never thought of adding the dressing first. Chopped salads are becoming a favorite at my house as well

Cynthia | 5:17 PM

This salad looks divine!! I can't wait to make it.

Kailee | 5:43 PM

Looks fantastic! I just wanted to say that the 'Eat Well' series has definitely pushed me to try new veggies and prepare more meatless meals. Thank you for the delicious inspiration!

Anonymous | 2:22 AM

Aren't green beans supposed to be poisonous if they're eaten raw? I think they contain some toxic substance that is only neutralised if they're cooked...any idea if that's true?

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 8:52 AM

Hey, Anon! That's a silly rumor I grew up eating green beans straight off the vine and still do with my kids (well, Fable loves them). Raw green beans are delicious and better for you than cooked beans. xo!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 1:03 PM

Hey, Anon! I meant sugar snap peas! Not beans. (This recipe calls for sugarsnap peas, not beans, so I assume you meant peas, too?)

Regardless, I've never had an issue eating raw beans either. I had never heard of them being anything but good for you. xo

Wendy Woolf | 1:23 PM

Anon...My recipe called for raw SNAP PEAS, not raw green beans. There is a lot of controversy about eating raw green beans. Many people, especially in Europe, say we shouldn't because of the prussic acid in raw beans. From all that I have read, the amount of prussic acid is so small, and a person doesn't eat that many raw beans at a time, for there to be any problems. For instance, spinach is good for you, but it contains oxalic acid which can destroy your kidneys if too much is ingested. My feeling if eaten in moderation, they are fine.

That being said, I wouldn't put raw beans in this salad because I they don't have the right consistency or taste that good. If you want green beans in it, I would par boil them for 1-2 minutes, plunge them into ice water, and then chop for the salad.

Amber | 4:01 PM

I've been told for health reasons that really need change my diet to 50% raw vegetables. Please keep these great ideas coming! I've been eating mostly dairy, meat and carbs so I need all the help I can get!

Anonymous | 4:31 PM

Oh my this looks fabulous! You have changed my entire approach to eating - and it's so easy and delicious! Thank you.

And seeing your salad bowl makes me think you're the perfect person to ask: I've been given a beautiful wooden salad bowl, and it needs (what is the correct word?) cured? What do you use and how do you use it the first time?

Rub it all over with oil? What kind? Etc. I'm so eager to use it but don't know how - and certainly don't want to ruin it! And then how do you clean it after having mixed a salad in it?

Thank you in advance for your help, and always for sharing your recipes and knowledge.

Barbara

Sarah Buttenwieser | 6:12 PM

i love your hippie mom (i feel a certain kindred spirit with the braggs at my house)

Wendy Woolf | 7:34 PM

Barbara,

All you need to do to cure your salad bowl is to smother it in vegetable oil (or you can use food grade mineral oil from the pharmacy which is probably better since it never will spoil). Then, as long as you don't put meat or eggs in your bowl, you just have to rinse and wipe it out...no soap needed. If you never soak or use hot water in your bow, it will last forever!

Anonymous | 6:12 AM

Thank you both for clarifying the green bean dilemma! :)
I always look forward to the good food posts (not that I don't enjoy the others, because I do, your blog is lovely!)
Happy salads! :)

Vera | 8:39 AM

This was SO awesome! I used Trader Joe's Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar, because I love any excuse to use that delicious stuff, and I left out the seeds because I'm weird and don't like seeds in my salads, but otherwise made it just like yours - perfect! My 4 and 5 year olds loved it too. I especially love that it can be stored in the fridge. I always make more salad than I can eat (because I love lots of ingredients!) and hate that often they go to waste.