how to make a green salad that is not for rabbits

I stayed in a health ranch the other week for work, and I had called ahead to check that they could accommodate a vegan (they could) so I arrived with expectations and only a bag of almonds in my purse should things go wrong.  Now, for their credit, they are in the Caribou, owned by Germans and cater to people who want to ride horses and be in the wilderness – not your typical crowd of would-be-vegans, and that should have been my first red flag.  My foodie vegan snob radar went off at dinner the first night. There was a salad bar, but the salad was lettuce, tomato, cucumber and red cabbage. NOTHING else. The dressings were from a bottle – Kraft, I’d bet. I’m sure the 3 bean salad was from Safeway. Really!? Ok – I won’t go on about the lacklustre effort with their vegetables, but I was not impressed. Is it really that difficult to make a good salad (particularly when you’re a health spa that supposedly accommodates vegan diets?).  This experience inspired me to take it back to the basics and talk about what makes a good green salad – and how I make it a satisfying meal.

First things first: I always include squash and avocado. I can’t decide between the two which one is my favourite, but I can’t live without either of them.  Squash (yam and kabocha squash are my favourites!) adds some substance and vitamin A and vitamin C, avocado gives a boost of over 20 essential nutrients, fibre, pottasium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and folic acid.

<— For this salad, I have a base of spinach, then added microgreens, roasted kabocha squash, roasted broccoli, sauteed shiitake mushrooms and red onion, avocado, and fried Fields Apple and Sage vegan sausage.  For the dressing, I used my Tahini sauce (because I can’t get enough of it!).  I’m very close to adding the vegan sausage to my list of things that I can’t live without – they’re soy free, and so so good. It’s my boost of protein, and iron. Voila! A great, hearty salad.  How easy is that?!

Above and beyond the typical salad ingredients, here are some other suggestions than what I added in the recipe above, of what to add for a great salad:

– beans (always a good add to any salad to make it hearty and give you some protein/iron, etc)

– sprouts

– beets (roaster or grated fresh – nicely paired with red onion, basil, orange)

– nuts (hemp seeds/roasted pumpkin seeds/walnuts/roasted pecans… experiment!)

– fresh herbs (basil/mint/cilantro, or do your yams roasted with fresh rosemary… yum!)

– mango (especially with black bean and avocado!)

– grated diakon radish (for a little natural spice!)

– marinated tofu/tempe

– kale (steamed, or crumbled kale chips)

Now THAT is a salad!!

Enjoy!

xo Kristin

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