One of my pet peeves about meatless food is the assumption that all vegetarians eat is salad. If I offered a meat-eater a salad for dinner, they would laugh at me, yet they expect me to eat what they mock. The major point of the complaint is asking restaurants if they have vegetarian options and being told that they have salads, particularly when few or none of their salads are actually vegetarian. Caesar salad? Not vegetarian. Bacon bits? Even if they’re not made of bacon, I don’t really want processed pseudo-meat on my salad — if I want a salad at all.
Of course after all that, I’m going to give you a salad “recipe.” Salads can be satisfying and filling without being covered in chunks of ham and drowned in dressing.
While I don’t normally consider a salad a meal, this one makes a nice lunch, or even a light dinner if your midday meal was filling (Chipotle, I’m looking at you). While you could mix up a vinaigrette, it saves dirty dishes to dress the salad in the bowl. The contrast of the sweet-tart dried cranberries and the salty cheddar cheese makes a more intriguing combination. The nuts add protein, and the shallot/onion/leek adds some depth to the greens. It is earth-shattering? No, but it tastes good.
Hearty One Bowl Salad
It’s a salad. All measurements are approximate to give a general idea of ratios.
a generous handful of mixed salad greens
1 tablespoon minced shallot, onion, or leek
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon good balsamic vinegar
a pinch of salt
1 ounce cheddar cheese (medium or sharp), diced
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, or sunflower seeds
fresh ground pepper
1.) Place washed and dried greens in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar on top and toss gently. Sprinkle pinch of salt on greens. Top with cheese, cranberries, and nuts. Crack some black pepper on top. Serve immediately.
Don’t worry, I have some sweets and starches coming up in the next few posts. But try this salad before you knock it!