So far this Saturday theme has been all about soups and sandwiches, like my recipe for Jackfruit Chicken Noodle Soup, California Club Sandwich with Nori Bac’non, and Easy Creamy Tomato Soup with Basil Grilled Cheese. Today, I’m going to finally address some salads.
I have been trying to eat a salad almost daily for a meal for over a year now. At first, I figured I’d just put as many vegetables as I could possibly chop and cram into a large bowl with not much else, but there was so much chewing involved that I ended up eating it for over an hour. That wasn’t too fun.
Eventually I started getting the hang of it. To make a good meal salad, you typically need more than veggies. Although protein isn’t as big a deal as people make it out to be, we still need a minimum amount each day at least. That can be hard if you eat one meal a day without any substantial source of it.
For a long time I was obsessed with Boca Chick’n patties on my salads. I’d cook them in the oven, cut them up and toss them in. Nowadays, not so much. They’re a bit expensive and I’m not really a fan of them for other reasons as well. Sometimes I will get them as a treat, though or if they’re on sale.
Here’s a few salads I have made in the past:
This is I believe the Thanksgiving salad I had blogged about awhile back.
Here is the Burrito Explosion salad, also made awhile back.
Anyways, I think I’ve developed a bit of a formula for the perfect meal salad. It requires a delicate balance of textures and ingredients.
I’ve composed a little menu of different types of ingredients and things you can choose from to create the perfect salad. Each heading has the explanation of how many you should include…
The Base (2-3 cups)-Greens of some type:
- Mixed spring greens
(You get the idea, you can mix say, 1 cup of spinach with 2 cups of romaine, or any other combination you desire here)
The Protein- Usually soft (1-2 servings):
- Some type of your favorite veggie burger, chopped up
- Beans of any type
- Roasted chickpeas
- Marinated and grilled tofu (or even plain tofu)
- Tofurky slices
- Gardein Products
- Any other meat substitutes, like Beyond Meat
The crunchy element (1-3 things):
- Carrot rounds
- Crunchy Tortillas
- Potato chips (yes, I’ve done this!)
- Crispy fried vegetables like onions (or I like these crispy fried red pepper strips that I get in the salad supplies in the grocery store)
- Wontons or crispy lo mein noodles
- Water chestnuts
Other optional additions:
- Baby corn
- Regular corn
- Roasted butternut squash
- Dried Cranberries, raisins, or other dried fruit, like goji berries or whatever
- Red onion
- Fresh Salsa
- Vegan Cottage Cheese (my recipe can be found here)
- Basically anything you desire and think up!
The Smooth (dressing):
I try to base the dressing I select on the rest of the ingredients I have used. If it has a certain area of the world associated with the flavors, I will try to honor that. For example, maybe a salad with spinach and napa cabbage, tofu, sesame seeds, water chestnuts, wontons, and baby corn with have an Asian Ginger Sesame dressing. Or a salad with romaine, black beans, tortillas, carrots, red onion, and salsa will have a spicy South American style dressing, maybe by combining salsa with vegan sour cream and some hot sauce, even.
Avocados are also a great thing to add if you don’t want to add dressing, or if you want to make a dressing with them!
Here’s a good big list of no oil dressings you can make yourself that are easy and I’ve tried many of them. I really liked E2 Basics recipe for a long time…
I also wanted to share two of my favorite salads I have made through other vegan blogs that seem to fit my expectations:
Donut Salad from Bake And Destroy
Aloha Salad from Healthy Happy Life
There ya go! What are some of your favorite salad ingredients? Tell me in the comments.