Monday, November 28, 2011

Salad Snob

Since I've been eating more salads and vegetable dishes, I've become rather "snobby" about my food.

In NYC we're very lucky because about half the restaurants and delis have a make your own salad option. For me, the perfect salad has a spinach or mixed greens base; a few different types of veggies in different colors, i.e. carrots, beets, cauliflower, cucumbers; a bit of fruit, usually orange segments or apple slices; some type of protein, usually chickpeas or cheese; a couple of olives; dressing on the side. I never bog down my salad with pastas or crunchy bits or croutonsand I use the dressing sparingly because I like to experience the taste of the veggies.

When traveling, though, you have to depend on the restaurant's idea of a salad, and even with a salad bar present, this can be disappointing. While upstate a few weeks ago, I often ordered salads and it was almost the same thing every time: a slab of iceberg lettuce, some tomatoes and croutons. Since I don't like large tomato slices (but I like salsa and tomato sauce and tomato soup, and yes, I'm weird in my pickiness) and can't eat croutons, my salad would end up being ... lettuce. Even when we went to a salad bar, all they had was lettuce and then hardly any veggies! There were some sliced carrots and tomatoes, but then everything else offered was some variant of a "salad" drenched in mayo, like potato salad, chicken salad, tuna salad ... you get the idea. I don't know if this is an upstate thing, a way to keep the cost down on ingredients, or if we're just very spoiled in NYC. But I couldn't wait to get home to have my REAL salads!

Sometimed a prepared salad will surprise me -- in a good way. The other night, we went to a cute pub near us that we frequent. I usually order some type of chicken, but this evening I felt like having something less filling. I ordered that night's special salad, which had spinach, onions, oranges, goat cheese and cranberries (I guess because it was Thanksgiving weekend). It was SO good -- just a little sweet, but not over the top.

At home, we make some great salads, too. Jon's sister gave him a Moroccan cookbook for his birthday and one of our favorite recipes is a zucchini apple orange and mint salad. The juices mix together to make a "dressing" and it's amazing. We brought it to our Thanksgiving dinner and everyone loved it. Last year, I put together a tropical-style salad consisting of baby spinach, hearts of palm, mangoes and goat cheese. I then served it with a fat-free raspberry dressing. I'm no cook, but it was delicious!

I'm still finding it kind of funny that I'm actually CRAVING salads and vegetables, enough so that I have favorite ingredients and preparations. If you're trying to lose weight and think that you have to live on "rabbit food," think again. If you experiment a bit, you might just put together a great salad that's healthy and is a main event at your meal.

No comments:

Post a Comment