I’m a huge fan of the big salad, in theory.
I like looking at it. I like eating it. I just don’t like making it. Running a few miles? Sure! Cooking a risotto? No problem. Cutting up some salad fixings? DEATH FIRST! (Arbitrary laziness: it keeps life exciting!)
And so it was for quite a while—that despite my love of a good, big salad—I would only end up getting one when I was at an actual salad place. (Marry me, Chopt’!)
With arbitrary laziness, however, comes unpredictable changes of heart, and I decided that I wanted to start actually making my own big salads. The secret, I realized, is having healthy, filling, salad-ready stuff on hand that I can quite literally toss on top of some lettuce and be good to go. (I also make my own dressings, but that’s another topic altogether.) Aside from the obvious things (chicken, cheese, deli meat, etc.), here are a few of my favorite salad ingredients that are flavorful, (mostly) easy to prepare/keep on hand, and actually keep you full:
- Frozen edamame (soybeans)—Boil ‘em for about 5-7 minutes, and keep them on hand in the fridge.
- Canned chickpeas/black beans—What could be easier than opening a can?
- Nuts—I use slivered almonds; they blend in well, and add a ton of protein and flavor.
- Tempeh—MUCH more textured and flavorful than tofu. I like to make a batch of 101 Cookbook’s marinated tempeh “bacon,” cube it, and—as with the edamame—keep it on hand in the fridge.
- Hard boiled eggs/egg whites—Even more fun if you have a funky egg slicer.
- Teriyaki portobello mushrooms—Sauté 2 tbsp. olive oil and 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce over a medium flame, toss in sliced portobello mushrooms and cook until liquid is absorbed. (Then guess what you do? Can you guess? It involves the fridge, and keeping them on hand!)
- Jarred roasted peppers—So versatile; these are great for a ton of recipes, but for our purposes, just pop the jar, and toss a few in your salad. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, toss a bit of balsamic on them first.
Do you have any favorites you like to include in your own salads? I’d love to add to the list!