Monday, June 11, 2012

Today's Salad: Western Asian

School's out for summer!  And I'm back. . . .

Since the Roman world considered Turkey Asia, and India is in that direction, too, I'll call this salad Western Asian.  I like the routine of a big nutritarian salad for lunch, but I like variations, too, and making the most of the ingredients I have around.

The Basic Plan

6-8 cups mixed lettuces (I buy the 1-lb box of baby lettuces from the grocery and it lasts me a bit under a week, supplemented with other lettuces like romaine hearts or whatever looks good)
1-2 cups other veggies (leftover cooked veggies that appeal, as well as carrots, cucumber, radishes, and other things for flavor or crunch)
1 fruit (diced apple or pear is one of my favorites, but sometimes I'll do a few raisins or other dried fruit, sliced grapes, or citrus)
1/2 - 1 cup beans (chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, whatever -- home-cooked or rinsed from the can)
1/2 - 1 oz seeds or nuts (sunflower seeds, almond slices or slivers, walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds)
Vinegar, lemon juice, plain yogurt, and/or small amount of salad dressing to "spin" the salad in a particular direction

Making sure the salad has the beans and the seeds and the fruit gives it enough calories (300-plus) to satisfy, and the fruit gives enough moisture that the dressing is truly a condiment--just a touch. I sometimes like to create a dressing (recipes on this site) based on seeds or nuts, then portion it out so that I'm not doubling up on those.

Western Asian Variation
6 cups baby mixed greens
2 cups iceberg lettuce mix
1/3 large cucumber, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tomato, diced
1 pear, diced (apple might have been better)
3 radishes, sliced
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup Tasty Bite Madras Lentils, warmed (I just had this around -- no requirement for it to make the salad!)
1/2 oz lightly toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 oz grated fresh ginger
juice of 1/3 lemon

Put all these ingredients into a mixing bowl or serving bowl in roughly this order, then stir a bit to mix. The fruit adds most of the moisture needed for the salad, but the lemon juice and ginger added a bit of zing.

Verdict: Very Good.  I love my lunchtime salads, but I reserve "Excellent" for the really outstanding ones.

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I'd love to know what you think of these or if you have suggestions for improvements!