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Cooking for One: Inappropriately Large Salad

Here’s another attempt at avoiding delivery while Erik is out of town – a salad that is nearly the same size as my laptop. I’m a hungry girl, so normal salads don’t really do it for me. I need a thoughtfully composed bowl of tasty things or I don’t feel satisfied. Instead of giving a recipe, I’ll give you my little guiding principles for making a GIGANTIC, super-filling salad.

Enormous salad with apples and roasted beets

Guideline 1: Commit. Get a big bowl. Much bigger than you think you’ll need. Better to look silly and keep your salad together, than use a small bowl piled precariously high. The second part of committing is to use your hands to toss everything together. Maybe I’m not very coordinated, but I’ve never had good luck with salad tossing utensils. I either toss more on the floor than in the bowl or don’t adequately mix everything. My (clean) hands work great though!

Guideline 2: Only use things you like. I don’t like celery, so you won’t see it in any of my salads. I prefer dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.) to lighter ones (romaine or iceberg). I also like some sweetness from fruit and a mixture of crisp and soft things. I don’t like a huge bowl of crunchy veggies, because I get bored of chewing them. You get the picture. It also helps to have some prepped stuff in the refrigerator. If you like beets on your salad, as I do, roast a few right away, so that they’re ready for a quick salad later in the week.

Guideline 3: Know a few good dressing recipes. I love the standard oil and vinegar, but it doesn’t always make the cut. We have found that raw food cookbooks and websites (like Choosing Raw) have great recipes for interesting dressings that can turn a pile of produce into a meal.

Guideline 4: Mega salads aren’t diet food! It’s a meal, so treat it like one and pay attention to what you’re putting in it. Like any meal, it should be substantial enough to keep you full, but not overloaded with calorie-rich ingredients. The salad I made today had a riff on this avocado-mustard dressing with a small avocado (about 200 calories) and a tablespoon of olive oil (120 calories). I also added about a tablespoon of toasted pine nuts (50 calories or so). As a meal, this is fine for me. It’s filling and delicious, but not a reason to reward myself with ice cream this afternoon. Even though it’s definitely ice cream weather…

Check out our salad posts for some ideas. As the weather warms up, it’s nice to have an arsenal of dinner ideas that don’t require the oven or stove.

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