You all know I use the term recipe very loosely. In my case it’s more like gathering stuff I have on hand together and legitimizing it by creating a name for it. Well, I wanted to introduce you to a little bit of a new concept (to me anyway) in salad making, based on this gathering theme.
Meet Grammy. She’s my Lobster’s mom, the small person’s grandmother, and my mother-in-law. As they all go, she’s a stellar example, and if there were molds created for any of the aforementioned titles, she surely would represent the gold standard. She’s great about braving extended visits with us, and always helps in the kitchen. And one of her most requested dishes is her salad.
Of course a salad is basically comprised of anything. Veggies, fruits, greens, meats, cheeses, nuts, seeds, twigs, rocks….you name it. The fact that Grammy puts many things in her salad is not the unique feature here. It’s how she seasons it that makes it special to us.
Grammy is on a specific diet for health reasons, and as a result has changed her meals to incorporate very little processed food. This means that bottled salad dressing is out of the question. As I covered in my condiments post, I rely heavily on these types of flavor-givers, so having another option is a great way for me to baby-step my way down the cleaner path.
So what does she use? Well, for starters she uses olive oil. This is not new news to the salad situation, I realize that. However she also adds spices – not to the oil but to the salad. For some reason, having these little sprinkles of crunchy flavo-flakes clinging to the olive oil kissed ingredients is different enough to intrigue mine and my family’s taste buds. She’s also big on slicing the veggies into very small pieces, allowing the flavors to be distributed more evenly, and making it easier to eat. I don’t know about you, but I despise awkwardly wrestling a huge leaf into my mouth or having one bite dominated by a big chunk of whatever. Smaller pieces promote a nice balance of everything.
GRAMMY’S SPICY SALAD
4 handfuls of baby mixed greens, torn into small pieces
Two handfuls halved cherry tomatoes (the halving is important, as the juice adds to the overall flavor and allows the tomatoes to absorb the spices)
1 handful diced mushrooms (Grammy buys them whole and small to ensure freshness and smaller stems, which she finds yucky)
1/2 medium cucumber, diced. 2-3 slices for garnish
2-3 clumps of cauliflower broken into small, marble-sized bundles
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp/sprinkle of celery salt or celery seed – not too much
1/2 tsp/good shake of garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
Sea salt to taste – we skipped due to Grammy’s diet
Whatever else you love and have on hand – Grammy also likes shredded carrots, sliced banana peppers, thawed frozen peas, spring onions, red bell pepper, artichoke hearts, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, almonds, walnuts, onion powder/onion flakes, Mrs. Dash, Italian seasoning.
Toss all greens and veggie together thoroughly with the olive oil. Sprinkle the spices onto the mixture and toss again. Serve alongside lean protein and a complex carb – splendiferous salad spectacular!
Give this a try and let me know your thoughts, and don’t just limit it to what we have here. This opened the entire spice rack to me, once I realized it was an option, so play with it. Find your favorites (and send it to me so I can share :))!