The Topic: Standout Salads by VegNews Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria
The Dish: It's very clear—my love for salad is here to stay. I could (and often do) nosh a big pile of greens for two meals every day, and nothing makes me happier than seeing a big, beautiful kale salad as a part of any meal. But you know what I don't particularly love? Making salad. As a kid, my family cooked dinner together just about every night, and somehow the task of making salad almost always fell to me. Woe, the injustice! How I longed to sauté, to scramble, to, well, anything but make salad! Clearly, my burgeoning culinary talents were squandered. But, on the bright side, I now make a pretty decent salad, which can't always be said of my other kitchen experiments. Plus, buying restaurant salads (like the one pictured above from Herbivore) can be insanely expensive. So, how's a gal to eat gargantuan amounts of veggies every single day while saving money and not spending her entire life chopping broccoli? Simple. Here are my time-tested salad-making methods:
1. Buy in Bulk. Duh. I like to fill my cart once a week or so with a couple kinds of kale, pre-washed spinach (hint: buying the spinach with its stems means you have to spend time chopping, washing, and you usually pay by the pound, which means you're literally throwing money away!), red and green cabbages, and romaine. Is cabbage usually the cheapest of these? Yes. Does it also fill you up and add awesome crunchiness to your salads? Hell yes.
2. It Slices! It Dices! So, the greens are probably not what take you the most time, salad prep-wise. With a handy food processor equipped with a shredding disc, carrots and beautiful red and golden beets are done in no time.
3. Go Big. Find yourself a huge freaking bowl. Like, a really, really, really big one. Really. Big. I like a simple stainless steel bowl (check out your local restaurant supply store for super cheap options!) that's really wide, fairly flat, and ideally about the size of my torso. I'm on the short side, but who's counting? This enormosity is now your salad bowl. Put all your prepared veggies (in addition to those mentioned, I like green onions, hearts of palm, garbanzo beans, cucumbers, bell peppers, and sometimes cubed tofu) in said bowl. Now, the most crucial step...
4. Stay Naked! You know what dressing your whole salad does? Freaking ruins it, that's what! Leave your week's worth of salad in the huge bowl undressed, and it'll stay fresh through the week. Dress it the first night you make it, and you now have a huge pile of slimy pre-compost. Throughout the week, serve yourself a plateful, and just dress that. Voilà! Soggy spinach is a thing of the past.
The Final Word: Here's hoping you find yourself with tons more time, a happily full stomach, and a slightly more full wallet. Just think, if you started a company that you only worked on in the time you saved by not having to make salad every night, someday you could be totally rich! Or, you could just sauté something to go with your salad.