Like Making Salads? Try a Salad without the Lettuce
by Josh Day
Let's be honest for a moment.
salads. They're not the most fun thing to make, especially when you've
been cooking for an hour or more and have prepared a main course and
several sides. I know after I've been making a meal for a couple hours
the last thing I want to do is break out the cutting board, wash and
scrub and then peel some vegetables, and then go to town chopping.
I discovered a trick to escape the doldrums of salad making.
I share my secret, here's a recipe for your standard salad, with all
of Romaine lettuce, torn
1 kale leaf, julienned
Handful or two of baby spinach leaves
1 large carrot, chopped
1 radish, chopped wafer-thin
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cucumber or zucchini, sliced finely
1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
4-6 sweet basil leaves, torn
1 medium onion, cut intro strips
Extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar, to taste
Celtic sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Dried oregano or Italian seasoning, to taste
all ingredients together in large bowl. Add olive oil and vinegar
and season. Stir thoroughly (two bowls together works great for
simply things and remove the lettuce and spinach. This will save time
and effort; no rinsing the leaves and tearing them up.
a funny thing, making a salad without lettuce. Almost like making
ice cream without ice. However, you'll find lettuce is not a foundation
of the salad, unlike the ice in ice cream. And this revelation will
open up all kinds of possibilities.
we're removing the lettuce, let's also remove another key ingredient:
the carrot. Only recently have I realized I absolutely hate
carrots in their raw form. They're too crunchy and after a few bites
they turn me off to the entire salad. I don't think I'll make a raw
salad with carrots ever again, in fact.
don't want to get me started on pure
enjoy cooking with carrots, especially when they make up a base of
a dish. This trinity is prevalent through cooking, and it's even got
a name: mirepoix. More on that in a future article.
a basic recipe for a refreshing, raw, and lettuce-free salad:
1 large red tomato
1 red onion
1 green bell pepper
3 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Chop veggies into tiny cubes and toss with oil and lemon juice.
Add a dash of sea salt and pepper to finish.
it doesn't get easier than that, does it?
things even easier, track down a quality
food chopper, like the one I've written about here.
a list of veggies and herbs I like to have on hand for lettuce-less
salads. Some are pretty exotic, but trust me, they make for some good
eats. I start with those that I use more prominently.
(red and sweet onions are my favorite raw)
(little green Mexican tomatoes with a husk)
add pretty much any of those to our easy chopped salad above. Try
experimenting with the basic recipe until you find flavors you love.
cuisine is Mexican food,
so here are a couple Mexican inspired sautéed and fresh salads.
cups corn kernels, raw
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
3 Tbs chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs olive oil
veggies to about twice the size of corn kernels. Heat olive oil
in skillet under medium low heat. Add everything but cilantro and
lime juice. Cook until the corn softens. Add fresh cilantro and
lime juice, tossing rigorously.
plum tomatoes, deseeded
1 red onion
1/2 Jalapeno, deseeded (or a whole one if you want it HOT)
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
best way to make pico de gallo is in a vegetable chopper. But you
can slice the vegetables manually too; just be prepared to spend
half an hour getting everything minced.
all vegetables as finely as you can.
Jalapeno in half and remove seeds. The seeds are the true source
of the pepper's heat and can overpower the pico de gallo.
the lime, add the garlic and cilantro, and season to taste. Stir
well and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.
folks don't care for the soapy taste of cilantro. Personally, I love
it and can't get enough. You can always substitute Italian parsley
-- never curly parsley which is bitter and only used as garnish.
talk about Mexican salads without mentioning salsa.
know what salsa is? It's salad in sauce form!
on-the-vine tomatoes, quartered
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
1 Jalapeno pepper, deseeded (or 1 Tbs Jalapeno from a jar)
1/4 tsp sea salt
all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
"salad" can obviously be a dip for chips but can also coat
raw radishes, turnips, carrots, and celery.
of sauce, let's discuss dressings for a moment.
dressing is simply a sprinkling of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic
vinegar. You can also make your own dressings. Try the above salsa
as a dressing on a salad and you'll be in for a treat.
yet another Mexican recipe:
cilantro, rinsed and destemmed (ideally you want just the leaves)
1 28 oz can tomatillos, drained
1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs sour cream
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp jarred Galapagos
everything into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You
may add more sour cream if desired.
sauce goes great on bitter and onion-based salads. It's perfect for
the salad below.
radishes, leaves and roots, destimmed and rinsed well
1 turnip, peeled
1 red onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 cups parsley leaves
2 on-the-vine tomatoes
1 Tbs olive oil
tear radish leaves. Dice everything into cube-sized pieces, except
garlic which should be finely minced. Sauté in pan with olive
oil until vegetables give off a powerful aroma. Serve warm.
are countless variations of salads you can make without lettuce. They
all can be just as healthy and delicious. So next time you take down
your cutting board and dread making a pre-dinner salad, why not skip
the lettuce and try something different?
Throughout this entire website, statements are made pertaining to
the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat,
cure or prevent any disease.