There comes a time when all I want is a just a big bowl of veggies. Whether it’s because I’ve been on the road or been frequenting restaurants more often than my own kitchen, there comes a point when only a salad will make me feel like a normal human again. Bearing in mind that there tends to be a lot more indulgent treats on hand in during the upcoming holiday season, now is as good a time as ever to think about stepping up your veggie intake.
I’ve been trying to rely less on animal products in the last little while and this salad is completely vegan. Since I’ve been using more plant based sources of protein I’ve come to love having chickpeas as a staple in my pantry.
I use both canned chickpeas and dried chickpeas, and in all honesty I can’t taste too much of a difference. It all depends how much time I have on my hands and whether or not I’ve thought in advance to plan ahead. But I will tell you, it’s pretty nice to crack open a can of chickpeas and rinse them off, without having to worry about contaminating anything in the kitchen with salmonella- yes chicken, I’m looking at you.
There are a few things I appreciate in a salad that makes we want to come back to the same recipe again and again.
I like a salad that has some contrasting textures. I particularly like to to have some crunchy elements, some softer pieces and some bursts of freshness. Some veggies I prefer to shred, rather than chop and carrots are one of my favourite shredded veggies. I also find thinly sliced cabbage a great addition and is a veggie I would normally overlook, but it really helps build up the layers of texture.
Yes, accessibility is key. How accessible is your salad? There’s something about trying to wrangle a great big leafy vegetable and all of its branching ends in your mouth that makes eating a salad a chore. I can’t stand it when I’m having a salad and feel like I can’t look anyone in the eye while I’m trying to stuff a miniature tree in my mouth. Are you with me? Needless to say, I like it when everything is in bite sized pieces. Even when I use a base like spinach, I like to chop it up to make the leafy pieces more manageable.
I prefer dressings that have a creaminess to them, but I want to make sure that I’m using good for you ingredients so the notion of having a salad isn’t sabotaged by the dressing.
There are some days when the quickest option is the best, or only, option in the kitchen. A small investment in a bit of preparation can mean that you have a go-to meal ready in the fridge for the rest of the week. I like to make use of my food processor for things like grating carrots. It’s a huge time saver, particularly if I’m prepping a bigger quantity for the week ahead.This salad ticks all those boxes for me and has been something I’ve been making up in my kitchen for the past few months. This recipe calls for fairly standard ingredients that are always on hand at the grocery store or they may even be in your fridge right now!
For the Salad
(makes one big bowl of goodness)
2 handfuls of spinach
¼ cup of cucumber
1/8 cup celery
1/8 cup cashews
¼ -1/2 cup of shredded carrot
¼ cup of thinly sliced red cabbage
½ cup of chickpeas
Chop the spinach, cucumber, celery and cabbage. Shred the carrots. Add everything including the cashews and chickpeas to a bowl and toss with dressing.
For the Dressing:
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
¼ cup of tahini
1 teaspoon of finely grated ginger
1 ½ teaspoons of soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten free version)
The dressing is enough for a few servings of this salad and can be stored in the fridge to be used through the week. In a resealable container add all of the ingredients and shake to combine. Then add to the salad, toss and enjoy. When stored in the fridge this dressing will thicken up. I add a little extra apple cider vinegar to thin it out the next day and add a bit more oil or soy sauce if needed.
Do you have any tips for eating salads more often? Or is there anything prevents you from eating them?