I aim to enjoy at least one green salad everyday. Not just a little "side salad," but a huge center of the plate celebration of greens, rainbow colored veggies, and protein. Salad as the main meal, once a day. For me it is life changing.
Right now our garden is bursting with romaine and butter crunch lettuce. What fun to go out each day and gather our mid-day meal (well, the base of it anyway). Once brought inside, the greens are washed, spun dry, and chopped. From there, our options are endless! I love to be creative when composing the daily salad, drawing from what has looked good at the market or farm that week, any leftovers that may be in the fridge (more on this in a moment), and color variety. I'm always looking for plenty of color to ensure the greatest variety of nutrients.
My not-so-secret weapon in creating a hearty salad is to beef it up with something interesting from the refrigerator, a scoop or two of a yummy leftover from the night before. It may sound like a strange idea at first, but stick with me here... it works.
Leftover ideas for topping salads:
- fried rice
- chili (the thicker the better)
- curry noodles
- stir-fry veggies
- roasted potatoes
- cooked grain such as quinoa or wheatberries
- pad thai
- bean/veggie burger broken up into small pieces
- stuffed grape leaves
- baked tofu
My dressing of choice for salad is usually a simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This duo works just fine in combination with any of my leftover toppings.
I tend to keep the focus more plant-based on the average day, but roasted salmon, thinly sliced venison steak, or fresh local goat cheese are all nice additions too. Those sort of things tend to fall in the normal salad topping ideas for most people, and today I'm trying to get us to really look at last night's dinner as an addition to our green salads.
Is this something you already do? A huge salad a day with a scoop of leftovers? Please feel free to share your favorite ideas!
In addition to a scoop of yummy leftovers and a rainbow of veggies, I also like to add fresh nuts and cooked beans. Beans especially are incredibly filling for me - but don't think you can sprinkle a tablespoon on top and call it a worthwhile serving. I top my daily salad with anywhere from a half to a full cup of cooked beans... yum yum.
Today I'd like to share a recipe with you that has been popular in my classes, created to be a stand alone salad or side dish - but it also makes a wonderful green salad topping. I hope you enjoy it!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange Cilantro Glaze
Preheat oven to 400°F
- 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (1 inch dice)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted on the stove top
- 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped
- Place peeled, chopped potatoes in single layer on large, heavy baking sheet. Drizzle melted coconut oil over potatoes, toss gently with spoon or spatula to coat. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine dressing ingredients in bowl and whisk together. (Or shake it all up in a screw top glass jar.)
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle chopped garlic and turn potatoes carefully. Place back in oven for 10-20 more minutes. This will depend on the size you cut the potatoes and your oven. I like to let let them get nice and brown/caramelized.
- I like to serve this dish at room temperature, so cool the potatoes right on the tray for a little while. Then place them in a bowl, drizzle the glaze over, stir and serve.